(1938-11-20) Familiar Faces
Details for Familiar Faces
Summary: A slice of life, as a handful of acquaintances run into each other at the Leaky Cauldron.
Date: 20 November, 1938
Location: The Leaky Cauldron

It's early evening luckily before the dinner time rush so the place isn't packed to bursting. The pub is still doing good service though and there is a bit of chatter here and there mostly at each table a group sits at. It's cold outside and this seems a much better place to be so more than just regulars are here too. Graham would likely be a regular and he walks in from the muggle London side he steps off to the side to see if he knows anyone present here this evening.

As it happens, there is a face in the crowd that Graham might recognize. Though Rhyeline's bodyguard (or, one of them, anyhow) looks a bit different than he is used to seeing her. The blonde hair, normally pulled into a tight bun, drapes freely down her back, tucked behind her ears. Her usual utilitarian work robes have been eschewed in favour of a more casual peasants blouse and slacks under a warm winter robe. She sits alone at an out-of-the-way booth, nursing a mug of brandy, her hazel eyes staring at nothing in particular as she wanders in thought.

Graham spots the witch sitting away from others swinging by and grabbing his cider from the bar he makes his way over. He pauses only when close enough to not have to speak to loudly. "Miss Bailey, isnt it?" he smiles in greeting "Would you mind if I joined you?" he asks after a moment though he'll wait to sit only if she allows him to do so.

Bailey snaps her head up, mildly startled from her meditation. "Oh…Auror Cohen?" Her eyes scan around him, perhaps expecting to find Rhyeline with him. "Ah, sure. Please." She gestures to the bench seat across from her, retracting her legs a bit so she doesn't end up kicking him with her thick-soled boots.

"Thanks, you can call me Graham if you want though." He does move to sit down taking his mug with him taking a drink before he continues. The smile fades a bit before he speaks. "How are you? I've been kept rather busy so haven't been able to drop by Rhyeline's for a visit though i'll have to again soon. Meant to appologize for her taking off as she did to the hospital apparently the owl they sent said i'd been mauled by a dragon." he shakes his head.

Bailey shrugs, shaking her head. "Nothing for you to apologise for. I imagine she'd have come running like that if the message had said you'd gotten a paper cut." She smirks, proud of herself for actually managing a joke that kind of worked. "You can call me At-…" She shakes her head, sighing at herself. "Bailey. Call me Bailey."

Graham smiles and gives a small chuckle "Indeed, likely she would but admittedly i'd likely have the same response." he says easily. "It's good to meet you Bailey." he takes another drink before looking back up across the table. "I owe you another apology I think not saying anything soon even though i'd been over to Rhyeline's and her to my house a few times. I suppose I was one who was leery of her having a hired guard at first." he sighs "I guess seeing as we're both here it shows neither of us can be there one hundred percent of the time."

Bailey shrugs, dipping her head. "Your devotion to her is admirable. It's good that she has a friend like you. As for me…I'm just one of several bodyguards. It's a job. Not that I don't like her. Miss Diderot is very sweet. So I understand why you'd want to be there all the time for her." She arches an eyebrow. "Do you mind if I ask something personal?"

"I try, but as Mr Malfoy pointed out my job makes me both a great body guard and a bad one with being busy as I am. If you two get along that's important the first two guards just stood back like brick walls stealthy as howler." Graham says taking another drink before setting the mug down on the table he shakes his head "Not at all, go right ahead." he says and waits for the question.

Bailey smirks at the thought of her two colleagues that stuck out like sore thumbs while watching over Rhyeline. Bailey has a bit more finesse, and few can blend into a crowd like she can…when she chooses to. "As you know one of my instructions regarding Rhyeline is to intervene on her behalf if she finds herself at the hands of people trying to take advantage of her or romance her. But you…with the way you two care about each other, I'd have otherwise assumed those feelings are there. But you both insist it's more like a brother and sister relationship. So, how is it you don't have romantic feelings toward her? Please, if I've overstepped, just change the subject." She's already wincing, feeling how she may have dug too deep.

Graham watches across the table, as he waits for the question to be asked he nods at her duties to protect Rhyeline "She does seem to draw many to her, i've seen it first hand myself." he agrees to this point. He takes a drink of his cider likely trying to think how to place his words correctly. "I am seeing someone to start with, and would not betray her." he figures is a good place to start. "We are like brother and sister it's true perhaps closer then that, but that's the best title one can give. Like two people who love one another but a line is there which isn't crossed. It's why it's natural to curl up on the couch and fall asleep well you've been there. With us."

Bailey nods, averting her eyes and avoiding any commentary on just how comfortable that was or wasn't. "I'm sorry to pry. It's just, I've witnessed that closeness. But I really don't get the impression you have some secret desire to woo her, and Mr. Malfoy seems to trust you. So…I was curious as to how you are immune to her innocent charms."

"It's okay Bailey, it was a fair question to ask." Graham says trying to reassure the other a bit "I can admit, that I don't see her that way as a romantic interest, but I do love her." The auror explains still speaking as if things were natural as can be which they are for those two at least. He takes the last bit of his cider though he'll order another it would seem. "I am not immune Bailey, her and I barely knew each other more than a year ago. I was drawn in but just without motive other then her health and safety."

Bailey cannot help a bit more curiosity. "And if, Merlin forbid, your current relationship came to an end? Do you think your start to look at her differently?" She leans forward, saying quietly, "By the way, this is off the job. I'm not fishing for information to feed back to Mr. Malfoy. In case you were concerned."

"Drinks and food are on me if you want anything." Graham offers as he orders another cider and some chips which is about his usual meal. The question brings a thoughtful expression to his face at the what if he leans in to hear what she says nodding "I'd have wondered, part of both our jobs to be curious and cautious." he says though she seems honest enough in her look. "I cant see it happening, but to say no absolutely not would be foolish. I am knew to relationships but recent events with friends of mine have shown what happens when the heart changes course."

Bailey lifts her mug of brandy, indicating that her drink is taken care of. "Well, my advice is that if it happens, make sure she's not with Malfoy before you try anything. I know what my orders are, but the man is a Malfoy. There's a certain…reputation there. I know I wouldn't want to end up on his bad side."

Graham accepts his new cider taking a sip. He grins and nods "Yes, sound advice though I don't think you need worry about this alternate reality." he says all the same. "For starters we just got to be friends, would be horribly rude to have to have you attack me now." he grins kidding clearly "Mr Malfoy, i just hope he stands his ground on things as they are, i've agreed to help unity if it helps end this violence."

Bailey arches her eyebrow inquisitively when he calls them friends, but makes no direct comment. "Unity? Politics aren't really my field. But I'm surprised. I thought you didn't approve of their beliefs."

"They aren't mine either to be honest." The auror says in agreement with her words. Graham is silent a moment "I still am not sure about them, but I find myself unable to sit idly by and allow things to happen and without a stronger front than just myself I don't know what I can do." he explains still trying to keep his easy tone.

Bailey nods in agreement. "I know the feeling. I'm not sure I could back the Unity Party. But…I feel sort of helpless in the face of everything going on. At least you're in law enforcement. You can make a difference."

Graham scrunches his nose a bit "I am one bookish auror we'll see if I am any good." He says modest and down playing himself is his usual traits. "What about you, your a body guard I'm sure your handy with a wand to get that job." he says to her "I'm sure you'll have a part to play if you want to."

Bailey shrugs, dipping her head as she does so. "I can handle myself. But I don't even know what the sides are. You've got the Army of Truth, the Unity Party, the Preservation Society, and everyone is accusing everyone else of being hateful about just about everything. Who knows what to believe?"

"It is rather confusing no doubt. I guess it depends on what you believe though. I would stand with the preservationists but they are not a strong enough force or seemingly unwilling to stand against the rising tide. The unity movement has more numbers and I hope at least will stand up to the army of truth." he takes a drink of cider "The army of truth well dont get me started there purism has always been a false-hood." it's the only one of the three that gets a response out of him though he cannot stand purists as a rule.

Bailey lifts her mug to clink against his. "You won't find me arguing in favour of pure-blood supremacy. Their rhetoric is just nonsense." She takes a drink, then sighs, frowning. "I'd like to stand for something. I just don't know where to start, and I can't get behind something I don't feel strongly about."

The young man clinks glasses. with the body guard. "That's a tough one, depends on what you feel is best." Graham says to the other knowing this isn't something he can find for her. "You've ruled out one already, so I suppose it's where you stand on the other issues and who you can follow without regret." he says to the other lightly.

"See, there's my problem. I've never been very good at following anyone." Bailey chuckles ruefully. "I can be a team player, but I've got to really want something to get behind someone else's vision. So, with politics, I've usually just avoided the whole mess. I don't really trust the politicians to tell us the truth about their intentions, anyhow. So why put my faith in them?'

Ten or fifteen minutes ago a woman in a lustrous sable coat, with a little matching toque perched upon her dark red hair, about whom the only un-Mugglish quality is the fact that she's managed to get herself into the Leaky Cauldron in the first place, came in from Charing Cross Road. She went straight to the bar and has been sitting on a stool there ever since, chatting with that handsome bartender, Reece Jones. He has made her some sort of cocktail, in a very pretty goblet, which she has sipped perhaps half of, in between giggling at things he says and letting him light for her a herbal cigarette from a box under the bar.

At length Fabia Fairfax, or is it the Widow Travers, stubs out the cigarette and, with her small silvery evening bag in one hand and her goblet in the other, traverses the taproom, heading apparently for the stairs — or, no, the alcove beneath the stairs, a place made of pillars and shadows. She vanishes briefly, then comes out again, looks toward the bar, and shakes her head.

It is then, from this new vintage point, that her glance falls for the first time upon the secluded back booth where Bailey 'Atalanta' Potter is sitting. Her eyes brighten. She essays a little wave.

Rhyeline slips into the Leaky Cauldron, soaked to the bone after getting caught unawares by the sudden storm outside. A sharp clap of thunder, followed by a few drops of rain served as the only warning before the heavens unleashed buckets of precipitation over Diagon Alley. Resembling a slightly bedraggled kitten, Rhyeline tries to keep her teeth from chattering as she heads for the fireplace. Never far, one of the little one's female guards follows a few steps after into the tavern.

Bailey's conversation with Graham comes to an end when the busy Auror is called away, ever dutiful. So she is left as he found her, drinking brandy alone with her thoughts. She had noticed Fabia at the bar earlier, and would have gone to greet her, had she not seemed so very…interested in the bartender. But as the man's duties seem to have consumed him, and poor Fabia is left adrift, she meets the wave with a smile, waving the other woman other.

Rhyeline's bodyguard scans the room with a hawkish gaze, assessing every face she sees. But one, in particular, catches her eye. Her own colleague, Bailey Potter. "Hn," she makes a little sound of interest. But she makes no motion toward the woman. Not while she's on duty, shielding Rhyeline from all the bad people out in the world.

Rhyeline sheds her wet cloak and comes out looking a little less like a half-drowned kitten. A bar wench offers to take it for her and asks what the girl might like to drink. Her drink of choice: a glass of warm, mulled wine. It is then that the delicate creature notices the wave of Bailey's hand as she returns Fabia's greeting. Tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, Rhyeline follows Bailey's line of sight towards the vaguely familiar witch sitting at the bar, before peeking back over at her off-duty guard.

When Bailey smiles, it's all the invitation Fabia requires. Her coat sways about her, revealing a low-cut red satin evening gown beneath — and copious diamonds — as she hurries to her new friend's booth. She slips in not opposite her but next to her. "Hello, sweetie," she says, with air kisses which echo those she bestowed when they parted on Monday afternoon, "how was everything the other day? Was she there?" Wide emerald eyes look up into Bailey's face, seeking the truth of how she is now…

Though Bailey invited the woman over, Fabia's arrival, so full of air kisses and questions and all of it, leaves her a bit overwhelmed. "Ah…hello, yes…she was. Listen, do you mind switching places with me?" She makes a roundabout motion with her fingers. "I'm sorry, it's…" She gestures to the wall behind her, which the bench meets right up with. Giving Fabia a grateful smile as they both rise to switch, her eye catches another familiar face or two. It seems she is destined not to drink alone tonight. She gives Rhyeline a wave over as well, knowing full well that her bodyguard will simply shadow at a respectful distance. "Miss Diderot. This is a surprise. Um…would you like to sit with us? This is Ms. Fabia Fairfax, a…friend."

Rhyeline extends her hands towards the fireplace, hoping to warm them. The wave from her off-duty guard serves to beckon the little one closer. She approaches with her hands clasped behind her back. Fabia- she seems familiar, but the girl can't quite place her. Rhyeline comes to stand at the booth, head slightly bowed as she peeks up at them both. "Hello…" she murmurs before looking to Fabia with such shy caution "I… I think we have met… yes?"

"Oh," Fabia breathes, snug in her inside seat, having been happy to oblige Bailey's sense of caution, "we've certainly met, haven't we, Miss Diderot? In that frock shop before I had to catch my train. Your blue frock; but I fancied it in more of a turquoise… It did look very sweet on me," she confides, "though I only wore it once or twice before the weather became too chilly… Hogsmeade, you know, it's a sort of frozen hell, but with plenty of gin." She lifts her goblet, saluting the new arrival, and drinks deeply from its depths. "Do sit down," she adds; and, looking from one of the younger women to the other, "How do you know one another?"

Bailey gestures to the bench across from Fabia, setting Rhyeline settled in before resuming her own seat. "I know Miss Diderot from my work," she explains. "I've been her bodyguard for several weeks now. Well, me, and two others." She gestures toward a formidable looking woman taking a seat a few tables away.

Rhyeline nods with a small smile, "Ah yes, I remember… I-, well, I'm glad that you liked it… The shopkeepers there make such good suggestions…" As Bailey mentions that she has been guarding the girl for the past few weeks, the little one nods to confirm. Then she follows Bailey's gesture towards her other guard sitting down across the bar. She bites her lower lip. Of all her guards, the girl finds her the most intimidating. At that moment, the serving wench arrives with the girl's mulled wine. With a small nod of thanks, she warms her hands against its sides and peeks back over at Bailey and Fabia.

"Tell Reece, will you," Fabia says to the serving wench who has brought Rhyeline's wine, "I'd adore another one of these…" She lifts her goblet, drinks down the last drops from within it, and puts it into the girl's hand as she departs. And then, snuggling back into the corner of the booth, she looks again between her companions and says, "Heavens. Miss Diderot, what dreadful things have you done, that you require a bodyguard? One would hardly have suspected it of you… Hidden depths, sweetie?" she teases.

Bailey interjects on the little woman's behalf. "It's not that Rhyeline has done anything. She's an important person. So some extra security is warranted." She lifts her brow at Rhyeline, as if to ask if that answer is suitable.

Rhyeline turns a bit pink at even the most gentle teasing. She hesitates and parts her lips to attempt to explain, when Bailey is kind enough to interject. Hiding behind her mulled wine, she gives a small nod before taking a sip. She watches the pair with a hushed caution from over the brim.

"Oh," Fabia breathes, "do forgive me, it was simply my first thought…" And she stretches out a hand as though to pat Rhyeline's arm; but can't quite reach. Probably for the best. "But of course you're not the sort of girl who really would have made enemies, are you?" she goes on, unbuttoning with some small difficulty the wrist of one of her white kidskin mousquetaire gloves. It's her right hand; the index fingertip has a lipstick stain on it. She busies herself folding up the hand and tucking it inside the arm. Something clicks in her memory. "Of course! You're the girl who's to marry that Malfoy gentleman, aren't you? Now, who told me that? Who could have told me that? Probably someone in the pub," she confides, glancing from Rhyeline to Bailey. "People do so like to chat after a few drinks…" And back to Rhyeline. "Did you get too frightfully wet outside? I think I just missed it myself. I couldn't see a star in the sky when I was on my way in."

"Oh," Fabia breathes, "do forgive me, it was simply my first thought…" And she stretches out a hand as though to pat Rhyeline's arm; but can't quite reach. Probably for the best. "But of course you're not the sort of girl who really would have made enemies, are you?" she goes on, unbuttoning with some small difficulty the wrist of one of her white kidskin mousquetaire gloves. It's her right hand; the index fingertip has a lipstick stain on it. She busies herself folding up the hand and tucking it inside the arm. Something clicks in her memory. "Of course! You're the girl who's to marry that Malfoy gentleman, aren't you? And something about a cake. Now, who told me that? Who could have told me that? Probably someone in the pub," she confides, glancing from Rhyeline to Bailey. "People do so like to chat after a few drinks…" And back to Rhyeline. "Did you get too frightfully wet outside? I think I just missed it myself. I couldn't see a star in the sky when I was on my way in."

Bailey arches a skeptical eyebrow at Fabia. "A cake?" What in the world sort of mental connection is the woman making. She quickly decide it might be better not to know, and addressed Rhyeline directly. "How are you getting on, Miss Diderot?" She subtly shifts her eyes toward her imposing bodyguard, Helga, a light smirk playing on her lips. She knows Helga well as a no-nonsense witch with a Stunning Spell that will leave a man aching for a week.

Rhyeline's cheeks are still rather pink from being described by Bailey as an 'important person'. And her hands tighten a little upon the glass of mulled wine when Fabia reaches out for her. Although the girl's manner is always on the shy side, she seems a bit more skittish than usual this evening. Identified as the girl 'betrothed' to Cassius Malfoy, her eyes widen. Hiding a bit more behind her glass, she takes a long, slow sip. Asked if she got wet, she gives a small nod. It isn't until Bailey inquires after how she has been. "Em… well… I've just- I've just come from Twilfit and Tattings actually…" She hesitates, shifting a bit in her seat. "And… and you can- can all me Rhyeline if you like…"

Fabia's exquisitely ears detect the sound of a cocktail shaker, far away; she inclines her head in the direction of it, yet speaks still to Rhyeline. "Oh, bless you, sweetie. I'm Fabia, of course. What did you buy today? Do tell me. Anything gorgeous? I haven't had a new frock in weeks, Frid's so strict with my money… Sometimes I just order something and have them send the bill, but the looks he gives me…" She rolls her eyes heavenwards, for all the world like a woman complaining about her husband, rather than her valet. Bailey of course knows about Frid. It would be a miracle if Rhyeline did. "It's warm in here, isn't it," she sighs, wriggling within her abundant furs. She smoothes her coat a little way down her arms; the straps of her evening gown come away with it, baring her discreetly muscular shoulders.

Bailey has, indeed, met Frid, and gotten enough sense of the interesting relationship he has with Fabia to give an amused smirk at the situation. "Say hello to him for me," she comments quietly, but quiets to let Rhyeline answer the question. She's a little curious about what was purchased, herself.

Rhyeline's cheeks burn with her blush. Of course they do. Biting her lower lip, she seems a bit like she'd rather not talk about it. However, both of them seem too curious to let her get away with sneaking into another topic of conversation. "Well… You see, I've… I've always just followed their recommendations… but- but now, they- Well… they've also heard about- about my courtship… and- and now they are trying to get me to wear… mm… rather elegant gowns… and… and they- they kept telling me about wedding dresses…" Lowering her gaze, she retreats once more behind her glass and drains the last of it.

A nod to Bailey, and a twinkling of Fabia's eyes; perhaps Frid's liking for this particular guest of hers is just so slightly reciprocated. And then Fabia practically pounces upon Rhyeline's words, extricating her arms from her coat (her gloves are revealed to be of the eighteen-button variety, as befits her gown; though it's perhaps a little early in the evening to be so resplendently done up) and leaning forward upon the table. "Wedding dresses," she gasps rapturously. "It is one of the great regrets of my life, that I had two husbands but only one wedding dress…"

Just then the bartender Fabia was flirting with earlier, before Rhyeline came in, arrives at the table with her drink. She's sufficiently diverted to look up into his eyes for a long moment, favouring him with a sultry smile which, it must be said, Reece Jones returns in his own tranquil, easy fashion, as he puts the goblet into her hand. Their fingers brush for just an instant; Fabia's lips part, and, to cover her reaction, she says, "Thank you, sweetie," as though she had intended all along to speak rather than to sigh.

And then he's gone.

Fabia can't help smiling into the goblet as she sips from it.

Bailey cannot help a genuine smile at Rhyeline's bashfulness. "I imagine you would look stunning in such gowns. But…wedding dresses? Has Mr. Malfoy proposed?" She withholds her congratulations until the good news is shared. But her hand is ready on her mug, just in case.

Rhyeline's bashfulness only seems to deepen as she sees Bailey's smile. Fabia's gasp of rapture causes the little one to give a tiny squeak. She looks so small sitting across from them. Shaking her head, she murmurs, "No, we- it's… it's just courtship… but… that- that is his… his eventual hope…"

All diamonds and decolletage, Fabia leans forward over the table, sipping her drink, intent upon Rhyeline's every word. "It's what he hopes? You haven't said yes yet?" she breathes. "Sweetie, what a profoundly fascinating moment in your life… You make me so curious, you know," she sighs. "I've never met the gentleman. I saw him, once, when he came in with his little sister. I know her boyfriend. What's her name? Medusa… He's awfully handsome, isn't he? Oh, I shouldn't press you, should I? You and I have only met twice, after all… Do please pardon," another gulp from her goblet, "my fascination… I hope that you'll decide he's the one who can make you happy. You'd be so beautiful, the two of you together."

Bailey nods quietly as Fabia waxes on about Cassius Malfoy. But a niggling though pulls Bailey's features tight, just bursting to be heard. At last, she speaks. "You said it's his hope. Is it yours?" She keeps her voice low. She's not on the clock, but she hardly needs Helga reporting back to the company that she's asking questions that might be awkward for a client — especially a client as rich as Cassius Malfoy. "Do you want this path for yourself?"

Rhyeline clings tight to the glass in her hand. Already rather skittish after her overwhelming trip to Twilfit and Tattings, the gushing attention from Fabia is a bit more than the little one can take. She edges to the side, looking as if she is just waiting for Fabia to glance away for just a moment before sneaking off. But then Bailey's words root her in place. "Y-yes… of- of course… I mean-" Suddenly, the little one pauses and glances back at Fabia. "Cake… someone told you about… about my courtship… and cake?" Her eyes shine with caution.

"Cake," Fabia agrees. "I… I honestly don't know who, sweetie. I only know it. You had cake, didn't you? And there was a Muggle gentleman… Or am I confusing things?" She gazes at the goblet in her right hand, and, because it's there, sips from it again. "I'm not drunk yet," she says honestly, "but I may have been drunk when I was told…" She giggles slightly, a voluptuous sound which rises from deep within her chest, and runs the tip of her tongue over her lower lip. "Ought I not to know?" she inquires plaintively.

Bailey winces sympathetically to Rhyeline. "Fabia, perhaps this isn't the best topic for public conversation," she says softly. "I know it seems harmless, but…well, it isn't my place to say."

"No, it's- it's alright…" murmurs Rhyeline, although she seems a touch unsettled. Setting down her glass, she lowers her gaze. "I… I should be going… But- thank you for- for inviting me to join you…" She peeks over at Bailey, "I'll… see you soon…" And with that, she places a hand upon the table to help push herself up to stand with a slow, careful grace. She pauses before looking to them both and murmuring, "Good night…" And with that, after the wench helps her on with a now warm and dry cloak, the little one heads off into the night- followed close by her bodyguard.

"Goodbye, sweetie… I'm so sorry if I was too indiscreet," Fabia sighs, and the goblet touches, once more, her very red, very curvaceous lips. "I can keep a secret, honestly, if I must; but between the two of you I thought… Oh, I don't know what I thought. Take care of yourself, sweetie, and buy lots of pretty dresses, no matter what they're for." An honest-to-goodness gulp of her drink. "It's all right as long as you're happy, mmm? Goodnight…"

Bailey rises to see Rhyeline off. "Take care, Rhyeline," she says with a sincere smile. She remains standing until she sees that Rhyeline is once again protected against the climate outside, with Helga in her shadow. When she sits again, she takes the bench opposite Fabia, which Rhyeline so recently vacated. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to chide you. She's just…very delicate."

"Apparently," Fabia breathes as she watches Rhyeline go. "Christ, did I overdo it? I often do, and only then realise… How delicate is she? Oh, won't you tell me, so I don't make a mistake if I meet her again?" she pleads, wide-eyed.

Bailey gives Fabia a strained smile. "She's a difficult one to figure out. I can only say so much, you understand. But…she embarrasses easily, and she doesn't have the best sense about people. She's easy to take advantage of." She sighs, shrugging. "You can see I have my work cut out for me."

Biting her lip, Fabia notes. "I'll take more care, next time… I know I can be a little much, I suppose… but you didn't find me too much, did you?" She quirks an eyebrow, and drinks from her goblet as she awaits Atalanta's response.

Bailey's slowness to answer might be telling unto itself. "It's fine. I'm not a fragile thing like Rhyeline. Besides, you were so kind to me. If you have 'too much' of that to give, I'll take it."

"Sweetie," Fabia sighs, "it may be foolish of me, it may be mistaken — but I always have a little more to give…" Her goblet is suddenly in her left hand, and her right is reaching out for Atalanta's. No, Bailey's. "I'm so pleased," she says softly, "that it was all right, the other day."

Bailey tilts her head, furrowing her brow. "Of course it was alright. I haven't met many people with that kind of compassion. Or…are you talking about when you grabbed my-…" She shakes her head. "You were obviously asleep. It's fine. Truly."

Oh, Christ. Fabia can follow, more or less, what must have… "Sweetie," she gasps, "did I…?" And, for all she's intending to reassure Bailey that it meant nothing, she leans forward against her. Diamonds and decolletage. "I was asleep? Oh," she sighs, hopelessly, and has earnest recourse to her goblet. "I'm quite ashamed," she giggles. And then she whispers. "What did I grab?"

The directness of the question brings colour to Bailey's cheeks, and just a hint to her hair — thought it isn't nearly the wash of ginger that overcomes her when alcohol has weakened her control. She leans forward and whispers, "My arse. I woke up and you had a handful." She drops her face, smiling bashfully and shaking her head.

"Oh, darling," Fabia gasps, "I'm… so sorry," and never have three less sincere words been spoken. Fabia bites her lip, trying desperately not to grin. It doesn't work. She drains the rest of her drink.

Bailey peeks up at Fabia, hearing that tone. "You most certainly are not," she calls her on the fib, but doesn't look especially put out. "Don't fret. It was innocent. Merlin knows I've suffered worse." She sniffs a light chuckle and drains the rest of her brandy.

"Oh," Fabia sighs hopelessly. There's a little left in Rhyeline's goblet; she draws it across the table to dispose of it properly after her own has run dry. Hmm, not quite her taste, but any goblet in a storm? She sets it down and draws her hand upwards over her gown, restoring the straps belatedly to her shoulders with one, two, quick touches, which serve only to highlight how bare they were before. "It's too sweet of you not to mind; I only wish I remembered, because what a frightful waste otherwise…" Her big green eyes gaze up into Atalanta's. "Do you mind? Really…"

Bailey smirks. "Well, I'm not inviting it at your whim, or anything. But no, I don't mind. It happened, it's fine. I'm hardly going to complain, considered I'd just woken you up with a scream and smashing glass."

What Fabia wants to say is, 'If you invited it at my whim, it would be happening right now'; but she's not quite inebriated enough that her lips form such words of their own accord. "Thank you," she murmurs, "for not minding… I didn't mean to, if I'd meant to I'd remember…" She sighs, and drinks down the rest of Rhyeline's mulled wine, now somewhat cooled. She puts the glass on the table and pushes it away. "I'd never mean to take advantage," she adds softly. "You came to me as a friend having a rotten night, that's all. That's enough."

Bailey lifts her mug to Fabia, though empty, it's more about the gesture than a proper toast. "And I'll always be grateful. Genuine people are a rare commodity, but I think that's what I've found in you. So, here's to you. Thank you."

Fabia glows. No other word for it. "Thank you," she says softly. And then, "Will you let me out? I had probably better go home…" They repeat their earlier exchange of positions; and then, her bulky fur coat hung awkwardly over one arm, Fabia leans down and presses her lips swiftly, softly against Bailey's forehead. She doesn't wait to see the other woman's reaction before flitting away towards the fireplace and the Floo.

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