(1938-11-29) Verisimilitude
Details for Verisimilitude
Summary: Lara falls asleep in the Broomsticks for long enough that she's certain of arriving back at Hogwarts after curfew; luckily there are several practiced alibi witnesses at hand.
Date: November 29th, 1938
Location: The Three Broomsticks

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.

Guilt, remorse, the determination to be a better human being — these things keep Fabia Fairfax in the Three Broomsticks during the current infestation of students. (The tulip gentleman's Saturday-to-Monday hunting in the shires doesn't enter at all into her very worthy calculations.) She's made herself useful, more or less, and only mixed up two or three drink orders and dropped one plate, and as for the hour and half upstairs with her feet up, well, sweetie, you know her feet aren't what they used to be, after her many years on stage… She helped, which is the main thing. She helped.

The herd thins and is gone; Fabia can't decide whether to be glad of the rest or mourn the hubbub. She does like a good hubbub. Sigh. She rubs scented cream into her hands, from the jar she keeps behind the bar — so hard on the skin, making drink upon drink upon drink — and glances about, trying to gauge the percentage of empty versus occupied seats and stools. She could not have done this even if she hadn't had five large martinis. As it is she loses count twice before her gaze can pass halfway along the taproom; and so she pouts a little and says to Tessa, "Well, that's it, isn't it… Sweetie, will you make me a—"

"Yes, Mrs Fairfax," Tessa smirks. How is she so bright and cheery still?

"Bless you." And Fabia trots round the bar, intending to sit down and sigh — but from her new vantage point, she espies — one remaining uniform…

Lara is curled up in one of the padded chairs, her head tilted to one side, letting her mouth droop open just a tiny bit. In her lap, almost sliding out of her fingers, is a hard covered book, open to a page midway through. A shining slender thread slowly pools downwards from the corner of her mouth, rising and falling with each breath as this young female naps in what must surely be an uncomfortable position.

"Sweetie," Fabia says tenderly, reaching down to put a handkerchief into the poor child's grasp, "I'm so sorry to wake you, but it's getting on a touch."

Having spent some time tidying up after Fabia's 'helping', and generally apologising to the staff quietly whenever his employer gets in the way, knocks back another drink, or drops something, Frid breathes a sigh of relief when Fabia finally moves to the right side of the bar, giving him a chance to clean up.

Lara startles awake, eyes blinking rapidly as she grabs for the book that attempts to fall off of her lap, squeezing the foreign object in her hand, looking at a strange face near her own, head turning quickly from side to side as she tries to take in what and where, whom and when, and especially why she's where she is now. Various emotions flicker over her face, flashing from one expression to another as she tries to turn her brain on and process what's been said and what she's supposed to be doing, all punctuated by a - "Bwaa?? Wha?" She coughs, clearing her throat, automatically wiping with the handkerchief she finds like a miracle in her hand. She pauses, trying again. "Oh blinkers, but what time is it?" Anxiety and fear are building in her eyes.

What a question to ask a person. "Oh," Fabia says, blinking rather herself, and straightening up, a Mugglish woman in a Mugglish black velvet frock afire with diamonds about her throat. "I'm not sure," she admits, "but all your schoolmates seem to have gone…" She turns, and flaps her freshly-scented, French-manicured hand in the direction of the bar. "FRID!" she calls. "What time is it? And is that my martini?"

Frid glances to the clock up beside the bar. "Just after ten o'clock, madam," he responds promptly, then gives Tessa an apologetic look as he pops the olives into the glass she's made, and moves round to deliver the martini to Fabia. Ever the professional, even when slowly getting his employer drunk, he dips his head. "Will the young lady require an alibi?"

Lara clasps one hand against her heart, her eyes growing ever larger. "After 10pm! Oh no! It can't be that late! They couldn't have just left me here." Ah, the melodramatics of the youth of the species. She looks around, somewhat frantically, as though by her very will power, she can make the people she's trying to spot appear. "Oh, oh - " With a sharp intake of breath, she grips her book tighter, one finger still holding her place. "Alibi? I'm late, so what on earth is an alibi going to do?" That mysterious handkerchief is used to dab her eyes this time, then dragged across her lips - evidently something finally drawing her attention to that particular area. Her heartbeat can be seen fluttering rapidly at her neck.

With the stem of a cocktail glass in her hand Fabia is much more herself. She swigs enthusiastically, exhales the usual indecent sigh from which she can never seem to refrain when her tongue makes contact with gin for the first time in ten or fifteen minutes, and nods her deep gratitude to Frid. "Oh, yes, I expect so. What sort of alibi, do you think? Or shall we just hurry her along as quickly as we can? What a shame the lights don't work on the car anymore… Too dark and too icy, you can't drive her back again or I might not have you back again. Oh, Frid, what's to be done?" she inquires anxiously.

Frid folds his hands behind his back. "I would suggest, madam, that the young lady was witness to an accident, which necessitated her remaining here to assist you in case you were injured? We might send the school a letter to thank her for her kind assistance."

Lara rubs her forehead, looking extremely confused. "Accident? But, where- whom?" She looks around the room again. "Oh!" That expression, combined with that exclamation might mean the wheels in her brain are finally engaging. "but, um… Why would you do that for me?" She's moved to the edge of her seat, ready to do what needs doing, to jump, to sit, or to run.

"Oh, sweetie," sighs Fabia, with an infinitely compassionate smile. She extends her martini glass towards Frid — and it seems to hover in the air for an instant, between his hand and hers, as she takes a step away and then collapses sideways to the floor.

Frid collects the martini before it drops, looking at Fabia with a brow raised. "Ah. Ahem. Goodness. If only there were a young witch here who could assist, Mrs. Fairfax appears to have had an accident."

Lara looks shocked, but, with a fast shove of her book into the depths of her robe, half dives, half slides towards where Fabia is collapsed upon the floor. "Oh goodness, oh goodness," she rapidly repeats mostly under her breath, while gingerly and tentatively trying to slide her lap under Fabia's head. "Are there any smelling salts available?" She looks up at Frid, eyes wide, innocence personified. "Should I try to loosen her corset?" She lifts Fabia's arm towards herself and begins to chafe one wrist. "I need a cool cloth at the very least."

Ah, how small, how limp, how artistically arranged is the figure of Mrs Fabia Fairfax, landlady of this establishment, within the black velvet puddle of her gown… She utters a faint moan and appears not to have the strength to rise, or indeed to evade Lara's solicitous attentions; she surrenders her wrist into the girl's grasp, unfurling it like a palm frond. "Oh," she breathes, as her big green eyes peer ingenuously up into Lara's face, "perhaps I have had… a little much to drink this evening…" She spoils it by winking.

A few of the other patrons of the Broomsticks, those who remain at this hour — the regulars often drink at home on Hogsmeade weekends — have turned their heads to see what the devil the fuss is about, but, seeing it's only Fabia, and the inevitable Frid, they return to their libations. Who cares?

"If you might help me get her to a seat?" Frid suggests mildly, hands still folded behind his back. "I apologise for delaying you in your return to school, but thank you for your selfless assistance. Who knows what might have happened were you not here to help. Is there somebody to whom we might write to offer apology for your absence and our gratitude for everything you have done, miss?"

Lara captures her bottom lip between her pearly white teeth as she shifts her weight, to better help Fabia move to a more upright position. "I've never been late before," she finally offers in explanation. "I honestly don't know whom to contact." She tugs carefully, every motion just so, skirts never lifting to expose anything they shouldn't, top never dipping low. Such an earnest young lady, of the type who've had manners drilled into their heads for a lifetime, judging from her body language. It is perhaps not a complete surprise when her eyes flick between Frid and Fabia, with a tiny gleam shining in the background. "Then again, I don't think I've ever gotten so comfortable reading my book that I fell asleep in public before either."

"Shh!" Fabia hisses reprovingly, as she permits herself to be manipulated upwards, all the while affecting a certain haziness of movement. Her head lolls, just once, against her shoulder, before she appears to regain control of it. "Oh, heavens," she says more loudly, "thank you, sweetie, I can't imagine what came over me…" Lara is a little smaller than she; she rests her velvety arm comfortably round the girl's shoulders, quite as though leaning upon her for support, and looks significantly at Frid. "If I might have… some sort of restorative…" She jerks her head toward the table where he put down her martini; and, when he provides it, drinks deeply, then gives it back into his keeping and tucks her arm shamelessly round his waist. "Perhaps you might help me upstairs?" she asks them both, beaming.

Lara is the dutiful Ravenclaw child - helpful and smart enough to do what she's told. "Oh my goodness, but I hope you don't have a nasty headache from where you hit the floor," she exclaims softly, in deference to the 'illness' of her companion. "Ice packs on your head, lavender scented nosegay's, and a simple syrup with just a touch of bourbon are my mother's favorite remedies for ill health."

"Bourbon?" The very prospect has a beneficial effect upon Fabia's health. Indeed, by the time Frid and Lara between them have guided her delicate, faltering steps around the bar and through the Staff Only door — Frid holding aloft the martini, because goodness knows what sort of trouble he'd get into if he left it behind — she's almost chafing against their grip upon her…

And then, in the back corridor, she tickles Frid, sits herself down on the stairs, spreads her skirts elegantly about her, and reaches out for her drink. "Bless you, sweetie," she says to Frid, and, "That wasn't too bad, was it?" to Lara, as she pats the place beside her. "Let's wait here a moment, for viresi— vesi— fuck." A swallow of her drink. "Verisimilitude."

Lara smiles in amusement as she sits nearby. "I'll stay here, in case someone wanders through. But, yes, my mother told me that sherry is what a lady drinks in public when she's needing to dampen her throat, gin if she's trying to burn out her taste buds, but bourbon is the drink of choice when in private. It mixes with simple syrups and various flavors to become as smooth or as strong as one needs and can bring the most frail of women back to health." She shrugs one shoulder delicately. "Though, it's not proper at all to drink it in public."

The relation of these rules for drinking brings a smirk to Fabia's precisely-outlined carmine lips. "Happily," she sighs, with a flick of her gaze up at Frid, where he looms betwixt them and the door, prepared to prevent anyone coming through it before the alibi is established, "I'm not a lady." She sips again from her glass, and offers it teasingly to Lara; "Martini," she explains, "if you'd like a taste, O my gallant saviour." Belatedly, she adds, "What's your name, sweetie?"

Lara smiles wryly at Fabia. "I'm Lara Stuart, and thank you, but I think I'll skip the drink for now. I can't see that coming in with alcohol on my breath will do me any favors. Especially on top of being late." Still, her gaze is curious as she looks at the glass. "What's in a martini?" She tilts her head to one side. "I wonder if my mother has ever tried one of those," she muses.

This hadn't occurred to Fabia. Mind you, Ravenclaw colours, clever girl, no wonder… "Oh," she ponders, "you're probably right." The rest of her drink vanishes; leaving only a trio of olives, the first of which she masticates meditatively as she regards her young guest. "Gin and dry vermouth," she explains, "and," a wave of the stick, which dislodges one of the remaining olives and sends it rolling along the passageway, "these."

Frid fetches the olive and does something with it, but forbears to comment.

"Lara Stuart," Fabia repeats, proving she's not all the way gone yet. "Fabia Fairfax. How do you do?" She drops the one olive she has left into her glass, and shifts it from her right hand to her left, in order to offer the former to Lara in her usual palm-down style, which permits the clasping of the fingertips but little more.

Lara has clearly been trained properly. Her hand automatically rises, palm half turned upwards, fingers creating a small cup in which to allow Fabia's fingers to rest. "It is a pleasure to meet you," she intones, her neck bending in the perfectly poised bob of a youth to an adult, status unknown. The corners of her mouth curl up as she glances through her lashes.

"Enchanté," murmurs Fabia, froggishly, beaming. She nibbles the last olive off the stick and sets her glass on a step somewhere above her; and, withdrawing her hand from Lara to fold both with elegant asymmetry in her lap, she looks up at Frid where he has returned to his guard duty. He nods imperceptibly, and she says to Lara, "Well, I think that's probably been long enough, don't you? We'd better not stretch it too far. I'm ever so slightly too blotto to put pen to paper but as I have to go up anyway now I'll dictate a few lines to Frid and he can send an owl along after you. Chin up, sweetie, we're good at fibs."

Lara nods her head again, rising with youthful grace to her feet. "I thank you for the graciousness of your aid, and for the willingness you have shown to keep me safe and secure within the folds of my school. I wonder though, do you have a favorite flower?" She tilts her head just a touch, lips still curled into an amused smile. "After all, if the note should fail to shield me sufficiently, this might be our last meeting for some time."

"Well," Fabia breathes, "since you ask, I do admit to being partial to tulips." Her wide, friendly green eyes, rimmed with kohl and set pleasantly alight by gin, dart from Lara to Frid (just as her smile happens to deepen) and then back to Lara. "Frid will see you on your way, sweetie. Good luck!"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License