(1938-12-06) Book Club
Details for Book Club
Summary: Another Hogsmeade weekend. Douglas and Medusa are so hard up for a table that they end up sitting with Fabia; and discussing… hats. And books. And it's a Book and Hat Club.
Date: December 6th, 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.

The Broomsticks may have been doing less and less business under Fabia Fairfax's reign of modernity; but Friday afternoon on a Hogsmeade weekend will always be rush hour, happy hour, and a game of sardines, all at once.

When Douglas and Medusa come into the pub towards five o'clock there isn't a table free in the place, and most of the booths are similarly packed with their schoolmates. It looks as though the Slytherin Queen may have to eject a few second years and claim their real estate — or is there another option? There's one booth with a single tenant, the proprietress in the flesh, or rather in a very smart Linton tweed suit in sage green with a cerise overcheck and a small veiled hat perched upon her upswept henna'd hair. Her sable coat occupies much of the seat next to her, and several parcels have been thrown negligently onto the table in front of her, next to her inevitable martini glass. She has a notebook or a pad of writing paper or some such immediately in front of her, tilted so that no eyes but hers can see it, and the hand with which she is waving to Douglas clasps between two fingers the stub of a pencil.

'Over here', she mouths, pointing to the seat opposite her.

Douglas thumbs his chest with his free hand, raising a brow in question at Fabia. The other (hand, not brow) is looped casually around Medusa's shoulders, making it quite clear to anyone who might dare to get in their way that he's attached to the Slytherin queen, and thus enjoys a certain amount of distance from any sardines or worse. Medusa has this aura around her which seems to dispel younger students. Douglas nudges her with his hip, nodding over to Fabia's table. "C'mon, let's join the old bag, then."

She is like a Mean Moses, parting the snot-filled waters. Medusa hmmms quietly and follows Douglas' line of sight to the glamourous but aged landlady and nods. The threat of rain meant she left her own fur behind and opted for a sensible woolen coat instead. As they make their way over to Fabia she reaches up to tug the Gryffindor knit hat off her pale head, it is then shoved into his much lighter weight jacket pocket. "Hiding out, Mrs Travers?" She is nosy and does try to glance at the pad of paper as she slides into the booth.

"You can have the booth in a couple of minutes," Fabia says to them as soon as they're close enough to hear; "but I was running all over London all afternoon and I thought I might die if I didn't sit down and have a drink." This explains the smart clothes, the hat worn in her own establishment. She lifts her martini glass to her lips by way of illustration, then puts it down and — illustrates. By the deft flicks of her elderly and much-abused little pencil and the way her eyes keep lifting past her young companions to a target in the middle distance, it's apparent she's drawing rather than writing in her notebook. "How are the two of you? TESSA," she shrieks abruptly, and waves the pencil in the direction of a nearby bar wench, who stops what she's doing, rolls her eyes in a carefully-selected other direction, and comes to the boss's table to receive orders.

Douglas winces a little at the shriek, absently poking one finger in his ear, then wiping it down his top. "Uhh, aye, we're good, thanks. Aye. Good." He looks to Medusa for confirmation of that. "Uh, I was going to go to the bar," he apologises to Tessa. "Two butterbeers, please? Ohh, and have you got any nuts? You want nuts?" he asks of his companions.

Thankfully Medusa is well versed in the pre-shriek female face and knew enough to lean back a little before Fabia called out so effortlessly. She briefly considers changing the order but then nods in agreement and concurs, "Nuts would be nice." Her gaze lifts to Fabia's hat and she grins smugly at Douglas, "See, Mrs Travers has a hat similar to my fascinator." With a forlorn shake of her head she confides in the older woman, "Douglas has no understanding of fashion. I wore a fascinator for our date which never quite happened and he mocked it."

"Plenty of those last night," mutters Fabia to herself, her eyes having drifted down to her work in progress. (The other two probably won't catch such a soft remark. Probably.) She clears her throat. "Just another of my usual, Tessa, bless you," and as the most capable (and incidentally the prettiest and darkest-eyed) of her barmaids weaves a passage away between the tables, she puts in a tiny bit of shading just here and then beams with delight and hides her notebook in her lap. "It's a rare boy, a rare man, who has any idea," she sighs to Medusa, sympathetically. "My little grandson, though — I wonder sometimes whether four and a half is too young to tell whether a boy might be queer." She still has her pencil out; she looks at it, sighs still more deeply, and lifts her handbag onto the table, popping the clasp. "Of course he may just grow up to be a marvelously sensitive date." It's overstuffed, this handsome crocodile bag; straight away wads of untidy Muggle money fall out. Wads and wads of it. She shoves it back in, plus the pencil, and does it up somehow. "You should know better," she instructs Douglas, "than to speak slightingly of anything a lady is wearing. Even those really awful hats which make a girl look like a Pekinese."

Douglas holds up his hands. "In my defence, I was concerned that a bird had ploughed into her head and died."

"It is a perfectly stylish fascinator," laughs Medusa. "Not a bird that ploughed into my head." She pulls off her coat and looks at the various parcels near Fabia. "You must only just have the one grandson, I cannot imagine you being any older than my mother. Your child must have had children quite young." Because Fabia is not her mother, thank goodness, nor likely to object Medusa sees nothing wrong in settling in against Douglas' side. "You must have infinite patience to go out shopping. I get rather bored by it."

"Aren't you sweet," Fabia drawls, affecting to be less pleased than she is; she lifts her glass to Medusa, but simultaneously gives Douglas a long look. Is he paying attention? "I do like shopping," she confesses, "although I didn't get everything I meant to today…" She eyes her parcels and sighs again. Down goes the rest of the martini. "I wished particularly to replace a book of mine which was damaged the other day, but it seems it's banned in this country, can you imagine? It's in every bookshop in Paris, no one thinks a thing of it there." She shrugs haplessly in her perfectly-fitted Hardy Amies tweeds. "It's the fashion now, I suppose, for girls to wear hats less often, especially young girls, but of course I don't feel quite dressed without one; I think the right hat is always the ideal finishing touch upon one's ensemble. You must wear this delightful little feathered thing of yours next time you come in, do please, and let me give you the compliment you ought to have had from Douglas. Oh, Christ, it's that one." The door of the pub, within Fabia's sight but not the young people's, has just opened and shut again; Fabia's eyes light up and she's fishing frantically for her pencil.

Douglas presses a kiss to the top of Medusa's head, arm going back around her shoulders to absently stroke his thumb down the side of her neck. "She looked all right in it, but I can't just tell her that. She'll get a big head and all that, eh? What's the book, Mrs. Travers? It's not that one Medusa keeps lending out, is it?" And then there's clearly something interesting just walked in, so he cranes his neck, peering back towards the door to see.

The offer has Medusa smirking in such a way as to make it clear she will take Fabia up on that someday. "Take a trip to Paris and get a new one. My cousin loves to go prowling through the bookstores of Paris." She reaches up to pull her hair aside, away from the hand on her neck. "Have you read Lawrence's Chatterley, Mrs Travers?" A little look around is followed by Medusa saying, "I can lend you my cousin's copy. It is rather racy but an excellent story. Most informative on muggle society after the Great War."

Douglas snaps his fingers, extricating himself. "Reminds me, I've got to go pick something up. I won't be long."

Two Butterbeers, a martini, and a plentiful supply of nuts arrive upon the table, via Tessa's tray, tucked smoothly up under her arm as she departs.

Whoever has come in, and caught Fabia's attention, it's hard to say; only students and dowdy locals in that direction, a few of the latter looking as though they've lately crawled from holes in the ground and taken the trouble to bring most of the rest of the contents of the holes with them. But Fabia has her notebook and pencil in her hand and is plainly drawing someone, with hectic confidence, while answering Medusa in distracted, slightly wistful tones. "Yes, isn't the prose rather turgid, though? I always thought so… They say Lawrence had in mind Lady Ottoline Morrell and the stonemason who was carving something or another for her garden? She just died a few months ago, her doctor gave her the most awful drug, for the cancer I think, and it killed her; I used to meet her now and again at parties because we knew some of the same people… I once heard the loveliest gentleman, the Earl of --, asked whether he'd mind if his daughter read Lady Chatterley. He said he wouldn't, but he'd mind very much if his gardener read it…"

Medusa seems rather interested in what Fabia is saying, perhaps because she liked the book but just then a rather ornate carriage rolls up outside. "Do pardon me, that is my ride." She picks up her butterbeer and quaffs a good deal of it to make it worth Douglas's money. "If you could please let Douglas know my brother arrived and I'll meet him at the gates at nine?" She flashes the budding Picasso a grin and then slides out of the booth, scooping up a small handful of nuts as she makes her way for the exit. Anxious to avoid Medusa, in fact even more frightened by the seemingly cheery smile on her face a third year Hufflepuff flails and throws herself to the side, bumping into a local farmer.

"Oh, of course," says Madam Picasso. Family popping in is a regular feature of the Hogsmeade weekend for her younger clientele, though rarely do they — she smiles faintly out the window at the carriage — arrive in such style. "I do hope you have a pleasant visit with your brother." She sips her gin and draws her picture; she's slipped off her shoes under the table, where she'll no doubt leave them for Frid to find in a couple of hours, and she rubs her stockinged feet against one another, deliciously. Her plan to retreat to her own rooms has been abandoned for now; this is really just too much fun

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