(1938-11-24) We Be Who We Be
Details for We Be Who We Be
Summary: Laurence takes Bailey out for her first broom flight since the accident, and the two find some common ground.
Date: 24 November, 1938
Location: Flights of Fancy Broomshop, Diagon Alley
Related: To Fly Again

The sun is already below the horizon when Bailey Atalanta Potter darkens the doorstep of Flights of Fancy. It's near closing time, ideal for the reserved witch to avoid other customers, who are much more likely to recognize her if they're already patronizing a broom shop. She looks around as the door charm chimes: success! Not another shopper in sight. Her flaxen hair is down, tucked behind her ears, and she wears a simple cloak over a light blouse, slacks, and thick-soled boots.

The soft cooing of the door charm causes Laurence to look up from where he's seated behind the desk, quill moving quickly as he signs off on another invoice and takes time to fold it neatly and tuck it away into an envelope. "Ahh! Miss Atalanta…" He greets softly, getting to his feet and moving around from behind the desk, offering a hand. "You're just in time, I was about to get the pot of tea I put on, its this delicious new spice blend a friend of mine had sent earlier this week. Its good to see you."

Bailey dips her head, giving Laurence a reserved smile. "Hello, Mr. Toulson. Thank you. That sounds lovely." She half-turns, glancing back at the front windows of the shop. "Clever. With the mirror, I mean. I'm not too sure about the poster. I think you might be giving a few mothers heart attacks." She smirks and takes his hand in a firm, almost masculine handshake.

Laurence smirks gently and shrugs a shoulder. "I'll take it down in a day or so, and only put it up at night if need be…thankfully, most children are in school during the day." He accept the firm handshake, shifting his grip slightly if allowed to raise the hand and incline his head in a gentleman shaking the hand of a lady manner before releasing the hand and taking a deep breath. "Ah, right! Tea! And some crispy chocolate biscuits I think…and some sausages…well maybe not any sausages, have you already eaten?"

How easily Bailey slips from the masculine grip to the delicate, feminine touch when Laurence prompts her. "I haven't, actually. But I wouldn't want to put you out. Actually…I came to talk to you a bit more about that broom we'd discussed." She looks to the ceiling, taking a steadying breath. "You said you wanted me to fly again, and…I want to, as well. I can't bring myself to get on my old broom." She shakes her head ruefully. "But maybe with something new, crafted by someone with your passion for it."

"Ahh, yes…the Atalanta model, I'm working on getting the engravings just right before sanding the handle down to be finished…" Laurence explains softly before he moves to scribbles something down on a piece of parchment, whistling sharply as a rather grumpy looking owl flutters from the backroom and he ignores her pecking and snapping to attach the parchment to her leg, grimacing and listening closely to what Bailey says. "Hmm…I think i have an idea. If you can't get on your own broom…"

Bailey gives the owl a curious glance before turning her attention back to Laurence. "Alright. What's your idea? Oh…and…this is a little embarrassing, but…I've decided to go back to my given name. It's Bailey. Atalanta…was a conceit, I suppose."

Laurence's head tilts to the side as he moves to open the front door, letting the owl fly out the shop before closing the door and looking back to Bailey. "…which would you prefer that I call you? Bailey…Atalanta…Amazon Goddess…there's many things I could do here, say here but who are you to you? I will be sure to call you that."

Perhaps Bailey had momentarily forgotten Laurence's propensity for exaggerated compliments. Her cheeks flush with a nervous smile, and for a moment, her hair even seems to turn a shade of red. Surely, some trick of the light. "Mr. Toulson, you can call me whatever you like. I just thought I should mention it. So…um…what is this idea of yours?"

Laurence's lips curve in a hint of a smile before he offers a small nod. "Very well…Miss Atalanta." He watches her blush with a tilt of his head. "Well, the idea is we go flying. Maybe not tonight, or why not tonight? I mean its a lovely night…Beag's gone to get chips and sausages, and I have plenty of tea…but seeing as I'm still making your broom, I have so many brooms you could choose from, just for tonight."

Bailey nibbles at her lip, nodding slowly. "I thought you might say that. I…don't know. Maybe if-…can we get away from the city? I don't fancy the thought of eyes on me, soaring over Diagon Alley."

"Of course! There are fields and such out there, no witnesses but the stars." Laurence holds up a finger. "And of course whatever else is flying up there. The choice is however, yours."

The trepidation is painted clear as day on her face, but Bailey nods. "Alright. We'll go flying, then." A light shudder runs through her body. Still, she finds a modest smile for Laurence. "Thank you, Mr. Toulson, for being my muse in this."

"You are /more/ that welcome." Laurence offers kindly before looking around thoughtfully at the brooms on display. "I…would suggest something with a oak base though, for stability…ah, right, rowan tempered with a bit of cedar like the one there…the one painted coffee brown and gold. Stability and Adaptability…she'll treat you very well dear, very very well. Shall I go get my coat and tea?" It really is a beautiful broom, painted brown and gold, with the gold swirled artistically…the faint scent of cedar coming from it and the foot rests also gold, head a bit broader for stability as opposed to speed, but its sleek that's for sure.

Bailey admires the broom with a hint of childlike awe. Though the detail work is given only a quick glance. Her inspection clearly focuses much more on the touch and feel of it — the thickness of the shaft, the texture of the grip, the overall weight and mass of the thing. It is the eye of an expert broom-rider. Finally, she nods. "Yes. I think this will do very well. So…we leave now? Don't close early on my account."

Laurence watches Bailey quietly for a few moments before he quickly heads for the back of the shop, returning with his fedora firmly in place, his light grey trenchcoat worn over a pair of light grey leather trousers and a white button down top, and he holds a leather satchel in one hand, slinging the messenger bag styled bag over a shoulder and he holds in his other hand…A rather elegant broom…its a lighter wood, almost seemingly white with silvery accents. Its the white walnut wood that makes it looks pale and somehow the cherry and reed graining seems to complement the deep engraving of vines and leaves along the handle, the binder for the bristles is silver, the bristles tapered and bound in a way for speed and easy maneuverability. "Of course, Beag will find us. She always finds us."

Bailey gives Laurence's broom the same appraising look, nodding appreciatively. At the mention of Beag, she arches an eyebrow. "Your owl, right?" She hefts the broom she was offered, tucking it under an arm so the bristles hang just above the ground. She smiles softly — the wood feeling so natural, so right in her possession. "Lead the way, Mr. Toulson. Do you prefer 'Mr. Toulson'? Seeing as the question of names came up."

"Yes, my owl." Laurence winks and then adjusts his fedora. "I /prefer/ my friends to call me Laurence but you can call me whatever you like…Miss A-ta-lan-ta." He flashes a grin before leading the way out of the door, holding it open for Bailey. "Now /this/ does bring back memories…sneaking out at night to go flying…" He muses this over before shaking his head.

Bailey laughs softly. Not her usual muted chuckle, but a light, genuine laugh. "Now that sounds like a story that needs to be told, Laurence." Somehow the emphasis doesn't work as well as his enunciation of Atalanta. "Why did you have to sneak out to go flying?"

Laurence leads the way, pausing briefly to lock up the shop before looking around thoughtfully and squinting up towards the sky. "I know a few empty fields…" He muses his voice. "Hm? Oh, because when I was home for the hollidays, my father only really wanted me to fly if I was practicing, but the rest of the time…walking, picking up stones…patching the roof and so on, building character…but for me, I wanted to just fly, no practice plays or rides or positions just…fly. So I'd sneak out, head down the hill and fly…take off and soar as high as I could, used to imagine if I could reach a star…just one…" He trails off and shakes his head. "I still /hate/ Apparating, but we're not going to make it fast enough without it."

Bailey's mellow smile brightens as Laurence describes his love of flying. There's an unspoken understanding there. "I've gotten more accustomed to it," she says with a shrug. "Merely out of necessity." She steps up beside him, and hooks her arm into his in preparation for a Side-Along Apparition.

Laurence pats Bailey's arm. "Now this part…I don't mind so much." He grins and then shudders before concentrating and focusing as one needs to do before Appariting as he focuses on the point he needs to get to, then that annoying CLAP sound before they reappear not that far from a field, empty field by a dirt road as he looks around thoughtfully, taking a deep breath.

Bailey braces herself for that gut-wrenching feeling of being squeezed through a tight tube. As the world twists back into its proper shape, she takes a moment to steady herself. She slips her arm free, taking in their surroundings. "This is good. You fly here often?"

"When I need to get away from it all? Heh…yeah." Laurence stares up at the sky, closing his eyes and stretching out his arms on either side, inhaling deeply before looking back to Bailey. "Alright now, they alllways say ladies first. You ready for this?"

Bailey shuts her eyes for a moment, taking several long, slow breaths. She nods, swinging her broom around to straddle it, hooking one heel into the footrest. "As ready as I'll ever be." She gives Laurence a skeptical smile. Then, kicking off the ground, she is off like a shot into the sky.

As Bailey takes off, Laurence grins and gives a sharp wolf-whistle, taking a bit of a running start as he swings a leg over to straddle his broom after its lifted into the air a bit, taking off after Bailey and wooping enthusiastically.

Bailey isn't doing much whooping, herself, as may become clear as Laurence gets closer. Her grip is white-knuckled, much too tight for proper control, which is just as well, since she seems to be going just one direction: Up and out. Her face is tight with the first signs of panic, like a non-swimmer that just realised they've jumped into the deep end.

Laurence comes along side Bailey, adjusting his grip and taking a deep breath as he holds out a hand towards Bailey. "Atalanta…Bailey!" He adds just to get her attention. "Give me a hand, grip with your legs, you have to steady out…you have to even out, loosen your grip and give me a hand…you HAVE to listen to me, beautiful…listen to me, where we are, now."

Bailey already, the air is getting thinner, she's ascended so quickly. It won't be long before this could go very, very badly. She looks over at Laurence, even now trying to put on a brave face, but the fear in her eyes is all too evident. It take a few tries before she can let go for more than half a second, but finally, she slaps her hand into his, gripping painfully tight.

Laurence grips Bailey's hand tightly, maneuvering his broom closer and he murmurs softly in Greek before hooking a foot into his foot rest by his toe and working on doing his best to slow the brooms down by slowing his own down. "Its okay! Its okay, pick a star luv, pick any star…tell me which one it is, I'm here…just pick a star."

With something…someone…to hold onto, to anchor her, Bailey can start to see straight, without visions of spear-headed broomsticks and impossibly heavy bludgers flying about. She looks skyward, trying to do as he asks, and suddenly wishing she'd paid more attention in Astronomy classes years ago. "Th-there," she stammers. "That one. On…on Orion's Belt." She can't quite indicate which one in particular, but it's a start.

Laurence glances up to see the the star indicated, nodding firmly. "That's your star, now we're going to drop down a couple of feet, when you're ready, and I'll be with you, we're going to lower ourselves down a few feet and don't you dare take your eye off that star. Its watching you, and I've got you…are you ready?"

Bailey inhales sharply through her nostrils, nodding shakily. She steels herself, forcing herself to be brave. Now if she can just get her body to cooperate. She keeps her gaze steady on the star above. Even the few feet of descent tightens her gut, and her grip tightens like a vise. But she nods again, "I'm okay. Just…keep going."

That grip tightens and Laurence's determination grows as he guides the brooms to drop those few feet, pausing and counting out a few seconds before dropping once more and then easing the brooms forward, to meander of sorts in a mild zig-zag. "Fly with me luv, that's it…you see, that star above never moves, it'll always be watching you…put all your fears, and all your doubts, and all your memories here…leave them here, let the starlight consume them and /own/ that star…that's your star Atalanta…"

His soothing words gradually bring Bailey down, further, further, until they've slowed to a lazy drift. She flexes her fingers on the broom, her knuckles cracking. But her other hand remains firmly locked in his. As last, she pulls he eyes away from the star to gaze over at him. "Thank you," she says softly. "Once I got started, I just…froze." There is a flush of shame, and this time there is no doubt, as her hair changes before Laurence's eyes to a vibrant red-orange.

Laurence takes a deep breath and then chuckles lowly, bowing his head as he tilts his head to the side. "You're welcome, so very welcome…" He tears up a bit, blinking furiously and bahing softly, and he has to blink again as he notices her hair and just he smiles slowly. "Now, are you still frozen?"

Bailey shakes her head slowly. "Not…not really. But I think I'd like to get my feet back on the ground. This was a good start. Or…it turned out to be." Regaining a bit of control, she starts to guide her broom down the last several yards toward terra firma.

Laurence nods slowly and takes a deep breath before he's following after Bailey, keeping a closeness just in case and bowing his head. "A little bit at a time, that's the spirit…"

At last, her feet touch the ground, and Bailey begins to breathe a little easier. "Again…thank you. Not exactly my finest moment. You're a kind soul, Laurence." She gazes skyward again, to the star Laurence named as hers. "Do you use that method often?"

Laurence swallows as he makes his own landing, hovering a bit to sit on his broom like a bench, before finally letting his feet touch the ground as he tilts his head to the side. "You were beautiful, it…was a beautiful thing to witness, what just happened there." He comments with a soft smile before shrugging his shoulders and looking up. "For myself, aye."

"Watching me completely lose my cool on a broom was beautiful?" Bailey squints skeptically at Laurence as her hair slowly fades to a strawberry blonde, on its way to its usual flaxen colour. "Thank you, but you don't need to sugar-coat it for me. I can take my licks."

"No…watching you find…another tiny bit of yourself, that was beautiful." Laurence murmurs almost in awe, biting his bottom lip. "Heh, and you didn't fall…you found your star and you didn't fall…and that was beautiful."

Cue the blush, and the return of the ginger hair. Bailey's stoic demeanour can only take so much before it breaks down. "You're…very sweet. Thank you." She fidgets for a moment or two, feet shifting uncomfortable, until she finally makes herself step forward to wrap her arms around him for a grateful hug.

Laurence actually seems surprised when he's hugged, blinking and just returning the hug gently, patting Bailey's back and he chuckles softly. "A golden finish with a ginger core…you are most welcome, so very welcome. Thank /you/ for trusting me."

Bailey draws back with a befuddled expression, then her brows lift with the dawn of realisation. She looks down at the lengths of her hair draped over her shoulder. "Ah. So…yes. That happens." In that moment, the hair ripples back to blonde.

"I can see." Laurence comments with a small smile, quirking an eyebrow. "But it only happens when you blush, just a bit…there's more to you than what people think they see." He thumbs the side of his nose and tucks a hand in a pocket.

"I suppose so. Do you know what a Metamorphmagus is?" Bailey shrugs and vaguely gestures to herself. "I'm usually better at controlling it. It's just been a stressful night. I hope you don't think I was trying to hide something from you," she says with sudden worry. "It's not like that."

"Metamorphmagus." Laurence repeats softly, moving his hands to cover his face for a moment, turning away before looking back to Bailey and nodding, hands lowering as he takes a deep breath and just nods slowly. "Aye…I…I know what one is." He clears his throat and waves his hands a bit. "Its…its alright, trust me, its so alright."

Bailey furrows her brow at the reaction. "Are you alright? I haven't upset you, have I?" She sighs, shaking her head and saying in as relaxed a tone she can force, "It's alright. I understand if it's too bizarre for you."

Laurence just laughs softly and shakes his head. "No just…reminds me of when I was younger. I spent six months…reading everything I could about them, studying so hard…wizards don't pray but if I had been praying it was praying that there was some way…something that could help, help a person be who they knew they were…" He trails off and looks up at the sky once more, focusing on a start of his own before closing his eyes and bowing his head before turning back to Bailey with a smile. "Nah, not bizarre at all. You have amazing control…and I must commend you on that."

Bailey blinks, struck by Laurence's words. She tilts her head, offering a sincere smile, and even reaching a comforting hand to touch his arm. "Hey…it's okay. I haven't always been allowed to be who I am. So…whatever it is, trust me, I understand."

Laurence looks to the hand on his arm, distractedly patting it and just closing his eyes. "Yeah, I think you would, aye…you would understand." A small smile before he quickly shakes his head. "But hey, look at us now. Gorgeous, successful and not half ill mannered…we be, who we be…bad grammar and all."

Bailey smirks, shrugs. "One of us is successful, anyhow. But you're right, we're both still kicking, so that's something. Look…you're helping me with my, ah, problem. So, if you ever need someone to talk to, I'm a good listener."

There's the annoyed screech of an owl as Laurence opens his mouth to speak, and he quickly holds out an arm to allow the cranky bitch of a bird to land with her paper wrapped packages. "Bah, we're both successful…you're alive and I get to play with wood all day." He drawls softly before he looks genuinely touched at the offer, lips curving in a bit of a smile. "I…I really appreciate that. I know it sounds cliche but…that means a lot."

Bailey shrugs. "Cliche doesn't make it a bad thing. What you're doing for me means a lot to me, too. So I certainly owe you. Not that I wouldn't offer anyhow." She lifts her brow curiously. "So…do you want to talk about it? I'm not prying," she insists. "Just opening the door."

Laurence considers that question as he offers Bailey one of the brown paper wrapped packages. "Sausage bun and chips, good post flying food." Then he bites his bottom lip at the question, flopping down on the ground and sighing. "Did you know…I learned to love by flying? It was…my first love, and it taught me how to love and love deeply…" He begins carefully.

Bailey settled down on the grass beside him, digging into the bag hungrily. "You and I have that in common. See? I'm understanding already." She grins, feeling more at ease all the time. It's been a long road from the days when she was eyeballing him suspiciously over Rhyeline's shoulder.

Laurence is selects a biscuit from his pocket, offering it to Beag as she snatches it and flies away, leaving her owner to just smirk gently as he bites into his bun, chewing with an appreciative mming, nodding his head and chuckling lowly as he swallows. "I loved my mother…she climbed on top of the house when I was eight and was prepared to jump, and I loved her so much I alerted my father and then men came and took her away. I loved her so deeply…and then I lost her. But I still had flying."

Bailey grimaces with pained sympathy. "That's terrible. I'm sorry. But it's good that you found an outlet. No wonder you were so insistent on getting away to just fly."

"I can fly like the wind blows, in fact I can think best when I can feel the wind blow…its how I leave things behind but I stopped for almost 10 years because every time I felt like I had wings and found like a dove my mate for life, the woman I could love…I would lose them. And finally I stopped flying. I tried walking for a while, I learned the language and history of wood and trees even better than I had known them before and I walked." Laurence takes another bite of his bun, chewing slowly.

Bailey listens as she takes large bites of the sausage bun. She's got an appetite, this woman. His poetic turns of phrase earn little smiles from her, as do his descriptions of the love of flying. It's something she can relate to. "So…heartbreak drove you away from flying for a time?"

"Aye, heh…for quite some time. I thought maybe with my head in the clouds, I wasn't seeing things clearly, so I came back down. I lived…I worked…I traveled and I fell just as hard again, like…like that feeling when I first straddled a broom just more adult in a way, would do anything for her…sacrifice my life, and then…I lost her as well." Laurence devours a few chips and shrugs a shoulder with a soft laugh. "So guess where I went back to?"

Bailey chuckles mirthlessly, nodding. "Why do we do it to ourselves? Walk the same paths that have burned us before?" She sighs, giving his arm another pat. "It's part of being human, I suppose. Sorry, please go on. I'm listening."

"I know, right? You'd think we'd remember." Laurence smirks gently and shrugs. "I came back, to London…set up shop, started life anew. Then…got up the gumption to really fly…like really /fly/ again. Letting go, letting loose, letting all the pain and memories blow away in the wind and fly." He stares at his sausage bun before taking another bite, sighing softly with his mouth full and taking his time to chew. "And I didn't think it would happen again, but I fell…and I fell hard once more." He frowns and rummages around distractedly in his pockets, pulling out a tiny get intricately carved box. "I made this…" Its a ring box. "Made plans, had…everything I thought set in place. Then I lost her." He shrugs helplessly. "And almost died as my heart broke literally…and your brave little Rhyeline, she made sure I got the help I needed at the hospital…and checked on me for a while, was a true friend…and I decided to just focus on each day, and remember that my first love was flying."

Bailey nods solemnly, having overheard some of the information about these events through her job. "I'm sorry for your loss, Laurence. For what it's worth, I think you've got the right idea now. It's risky, getting so wrapped up in another person." She tilts her head curiously. "So, if I'm allowed to ask, how does this relate back to your study of Metamorphmagi? You said you wanted to find a way to be who you knew you are."

Laurence squints a bit and just snorts softly. "Perhaps." Then he falls silent at the question that's being asked and he considers how to respond, looking up at the stars once more and just smiling slowly. "It was a silly childhood dream, really…something I thought of, I thought if I could be exactly who I see in my head to everybody else…I would be happier. But that was a passing fancy."

Bailey nods slowly. "Ahh. Well, if it helps, take it from an expert. Nobody is exactly who he sees in his head. Even I think I look strange in pictures, and I can look like whatever I want. I won't pretend I have the key to happiness, but I do know that a path to UNhappiness is trying to change yourself for the sake of others' perceptions. Live for that person you know you are inside."

"Aye, I learned that, it took time but I learned that. I live that." Laurence smirks gently and just shrugs helplessly as he leans back and peers up towards the sky, biting his bottom lip. "I know sometimes I seem like a dirty old man slag but…there's more to me. Honest."

"I believe you," she insists. "I've seen that already…and I'm sorry that I judged you so quickly before. I should know better. I'm enjoying getting to know the other sides of you."

Laurence grins and winks. "Don't go and spreading that around. I've a reputation to maintain." He grins and then devours another chip. "Mm…but I am enjoying just getting to know you better and talk and eat unhealthy food and…ya know…not have to pretend to want to hump everything that's got two legs and breathes…"

The lines in Bailey's forehead deepen as her brow goes up. "So it's an act? Why portray yourself that way if that's not how you feel?" When she discovers the chips, she rediscovers her hunger and begins to devour the potatoes.

"Well." A pause. "The randy bits aren't an act exactly…I have a dirty, dirty mind." Laurence sticks out his tongue before taking a deep breath. "I'm still learning who I am I think, more about myself so I share what I do know…"

"You and I have far more in common than I ever imagined, Laurence. Maybe not the dirty mind part." Bailey smirks with a hint of teasing. "Maybe."

"Oh, stick around me long enough, its bound to rub off." Laurence grins cheekily before shaking his head. "Alright, finish your chips. I have to make sure I get you back to town, all proper like at a good time, like a good gentleman."

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