(1938-12-16) Muggle Sympathising
Details for Muggle Sympathising
Summary: Jocunda joins Frid for breakfast and expresses her views on muggles.
Date: 16th December 1938
Location: Three Broomsticks

Monday morning is stock counting time, just another one of Frid's duties he takes on with care before his employer is even awake, no doubt blissfully unaware of such petty things. After all, isn't this why she employs him? Having done the actual counting, he's now sitting over in a booth to one side, tucking into a plate full of breakfast as he reads over the figures he's drawn up, tallying them against the money in the till and pausing every now and then for a sip of tea.

Being a Witch does give you several promising abilities. One of which is the ability to commit small theft without the risk of rebuke. Jocunda makes the most of this early one weekend morning, a trip to see her beloved little brothers and sister, kicks off with a piece of Frid's meat secured between Quidditch roughened fingers, and then popped into her mouth. "Morning."

Theft or no theft, Frid is a gentleman, and Jocunda is a lady. He rises to his feet politely, inclining his head. "Miss Sykes, how do you do." A brief glance to the gap on his plate where bacon once was, and he clears his throat. "Would you like some breakfast?"

Jocunda either has the presence of mind or the sense of humour to suggest. "I've already eaten, thank you, Frid. It was delicious though. Sit, you silly muggle." She gazes curiously at the barstaff. "And I've already ordered a coffee to be brought to me. I was going to enjoy it alone, but you looked so occupied. I had to ruin it.

Frid doesn't immediately sit, waiting for her first, although he does fold the paperwork together and rustle it out of the way and upside down. A lady need not be troubled by the affairs of business, after all. "I'm honoured, ma'am, to have my breakfast ruined by so delightful and august an interloper," he insists, a slight smile tugging at his lips.

"Were you always so charming to irritating guests, or was it instilled into you by the lovely Mrs. Fairfax?" Jocunda teases immediately, "I swear. I'd have no idea how to deal with someone like me at the best of time. Famous or no… Putting up with Jo Sykes is far beyond me." Her coffee is brought over, while she's busy being so playful. "So, what's the news? All of your papers in order?"

"I don't have nearly enough practice with irritating guests, ma'am, only delightful ones like you," Frid responds easily, finally resuming his seat and taking up his cup of tea. "I don't think we're losing anything this week," he agrees, brows drawn. Well, apart from the copious quantities of gin and vermouth, but that's accounted for in his head, as who could live with Fabia Fairfax for five years, keeping her books for her, without accounting for the gin and vermouth. "And business has picked up at least a little for Christmas. We ought to pay you to be here more often, though. Every time you're in town, the locals come out to see you, and that means higher sales."

Jocunda's turn comes to look a little more serious. From light and airy to serious in half a moment. "If Mrs. Fairfax needed the assistance, she need only ask." She frowns, the dissatisfaction obvious. "I'd say I owe her enough in favours by now, to pull a little PR here and there." Some might call it sweet stress relief. Without Emrys, the level of attention she was receiving was about as close to love as she could get. Few, far between. Enough. "I wouldn't want Mrs. Fairfax to have to abandon this place. It's a treasured place in the hearts of all Hogwarts children."

Frid half smiles, admitting, "I keep Mrs. Fairfax far away from the accounts, madam. The woman has all the financial sense of a cheese sandwich. Perhaps if you might inform us when you are in the area, however, we could take advantage of the fact. If you don't object horribly, of course?"

"I assume you have the fiscal sense to tell her that her business might yet be circling the toilet." Jocunda shakes her head, and sighs. "Oh perhaps someone might have told her that it's poor business etiquette to keep a trained muggle on staff, in the current climate." She frowns again, the expression doesn't sit so well upon her face. "No offense, Frid. You're not hard upon the eyes, you're bright enough, but you're still a muggle. Not much'll change that. Perhaps you'll avoid some of the stigma by playing your hand at being a Squib… If I get you enough chocolate frog cards, you can lie about Wizard Lore with the rest of them." A chuckle, as she makes a joke out of it. "I'll even give you one of mine."

"I think I would rather be a Muggle, ma'am," Frid insists, setting his tea down in its saucer. "Although I had assumed that, being merely the help, my presence here wouldn't cause any issues. Do you believe that not to be the case, ma'am? In which case I shall remain out of sight."

Jocunda shrugs, taking her cup, and having a slow sip. "I wouldn't know. I don't detest your kind, Frid." Although it seems she does draw a very firm line between that which is Wizard, and that which is not. "I'd say that's your call to make, if your nature helps or hinders business. Your nature with customers probably more than makes up for any problems outside of your control." Coffee. It helps. A smirk follows again. "Regardless, Frid. If you need a hand - A cause for an increase in business, or should things reach a critical point - I'd like to be able to help Mrs. Fairfax out. Discretely, or discreetly, it makes no matter."

"I shall inform her," Frid insists quietly. He clears his throat quietly, idly poking at a tomato on his plate with his fork. "Do you know, I had never even considered that my presence here might be bad for business. How thoughtless of me. But of course, with the current political climate, I ought to have realised. Thank you, ma'am."

Jocunda laughs in absolute delight. It's short lived, but sincere. "You're precious, Frid. You expect too much of yourself - You can hardly run another persons entire life and retain enough presence to cover all of your own bases. The sheer truth of it is that you and Mrs. Fairfax both smack of it, Frid. You, more than her. Now for me," Jocunda swirls the last of her coffee around, flashing that lovely smile at Frid. "I find excitement in her company. In her… Oddities. Political climates don't often last though… And while I might agree that the Muggle world threatens ours a great deal more than we might think…" A pause. She rephrases, with a smirk. "If I thought there was a difference to be made, I'd make one." Trademark. Even Jocunda can find amusement for herself, in what is essentially purism.

"But Mrs. Fairfax is a witch," Frid points out, bemused. "A witch of impeccably good bloodlines. Her daughter is a muggle, that's in no doubt, but Mrs. Fairfax herself attended Hogwarts, can trace her line through father and grandfather and beyond. She smacks of it?" He shakes his head. "I shall have to see to it that she whips out a wand at every opportunity, then."

"A witch who parades a muggle around. Who interferes in their culture." Jocunda blushes faintly. She shouldn't approaching this subject, in light of her recent 'experiment.' It's rare to see that expression, embarrassment. "Do you think me so vapid that I'd fall for the first glamorous older witch I met? Fabia," First name. "Is delightfully different. For all I know her blood is pure, but her nature isn't. I could see it from a mile away - Although mine is bluer than most." She's Jo Sykes, after all. "A wand doesn't make you a witch any more than a handle makes you a broom. And far be it from me to trust you to keep that to yourself, but I can only hope you have the common sense not to question whether or not she's already aware of it."

"Miss Sykes, I would never consider you to be vapid," Frid assures her, shaking his head. "But I would also consider Mrs. Fairfax to be unique. I disbelieve that there is a man or woman alive who could meet Mrs. Fairfax and fail to fall, at least a little, in love with her. She is magnetic, an absolute whirlwind of life, laughter and passion. I don't believe that to be the nature of a Muggle, but the nature of Mrs. Fairfax alone."

"… Frid, you're a muggle, so I'll excuse you not knowing this. I am one of the few 'young' celebrities that exists in our world. I've accomplished a great feat of endurance, I'm exceedingly well bred, I enjoy a dream 'job', and I'm the boyhood fantasy of most every hot blooded male who roams these streets." Jocunda comments. The seriousness in her voice betrays her ego. "We are nothing more than the sum of our experiences. I would /never/ call Mrs. Fairfax a muggle. But a sympathiser? That's far from unreasonable." A bare hand reaches out, to touch his lightly. Calloused, from years of holding a broom, far from the softness her radiant skin might promise. "Because otherwise there's really no explaining you."

Frid draws his hand back, promptly if not exactly sharply, tugging on his cuffs. "I would call Mrs. Fairfax a sympathiser to human nature, ma'am, not to Muggles or to Wizards alone. I am hired because I am good at my job, not because I am a Muggle or a Wizard."

A teasing smile. A rise. "Frid… Can you hear yourself?" Jocunda leads so sweetly. "What witch in her right mind would hire a muggle - And risk violating the Statute of Secrecy - No matter how good at his job he might be?" Her hand returns to her side, and she drains the last of her coffee. "You're frighteningly good at what you do, Frid. I think there's no-one Mrs. Fairfax would or should rather have at her side. But who she has surrounded herself with will always arouse questions, especially in these volatile times." She toys with the rim of her cup, and smiles. "Either make peace with that, or become a much better liar."

"The statute of secrecy, ma'am, is waived under certain circumstances," Frid points out. "On a need to know basis." Most commonly, and almost exclusively, as it happens, to the muggle parent of a half blood or muggleborn wizard. "I assure you that the Ministry of Magic are quite aware of who I am and what I am."

"I didn't doubt for a moment, Frid. And it's not my place to ask, though I think we know they'd answer /me/." Jocunda takes a slow breath, "Mrs. Fairfax is many things. Stupid enough to allow a Muggle to work in her service illegally isn't one of them. But it changes nothing. A muggle valet is a handicap that most wizards would never suffer gladly." The quidditch pro gestures at him, again. "And again. You're attractive. You're beyond skilled when it comes to what you do. Hell, I'd hire you," A smirk, "Having seen you in action. But you two are a hell of a team. I can only imagine the stories you've shared." She looks down at her coffee again. "Is it too early to start something stronger?"

"Brandy, Miss Sykes?" Frid offers, immediately rising to his feet and moving to make towards the bar to arrange it. "But you would hire me, ma'am? And you are a Sykes? The handicap would not concern you, then, or were you simply being facetious?" He shakes his head. "We have an understanding, Mrs. Fairfax and I. We work well together, and without wanting to blow my own trumpet, I don't believe there is a Wizard who could do the same as I."

"Double." Jocunda calls out, reaching into her purse. "I find it delightful to tweak the noses of others. A Sykes with a Muggle Valet…" A chuckle. "You're right about one thing, Frid. Beyond all shadow of a doubt, you are suited to Mrs. Fairfax in ways no-one else ever could be. And that's all part of the fun."

"I am extraordinarily fond of Mrs. Fairfax," Frid admits as he returns to the table with a large measure of armagnac, setting it down in front of her with a brief nod. "Her continued wellbeing and happiness are my primary concern. If you are looking for a valet, however, I can make it known at the club in London, and arrange for interviews. Having him vetted by the Ministry to work here, or within the Wizarding world, however, is something you would have to arrange yourself."

Aha. No. Jocunda doesn't ever have a flicker of amusement when it's suggested that she get a valet of her own. "I'm happy enough with my own two hands. Besides, occasionally I am attended to by one by proxy." The brandy is greeted with an appreciative smile. Jo is sitting at a booth, complete with a stack of paperwork and sometimes a Frid. "Well, if you're done with your accounts, and I'm done baiting you, perhaps we could have a drink? As long as we don't go too far, you shan't forget my offer." PR, that is.

"If you've no objections, ma'am, I'll stay with just tea this morning," Frid insists with a faint smile. "Mrs. Fairfax will be up and about soon, I have no doubt, and I shall need my wits about me. The headiness of a morning with your company shall, I am sure, be sufficient to addle me enough regardless."

"Well now, I'm confused. Is that an insult, or a compliment, my fair Valet? Or just a fair assessment of the situation." Jocunda takes a sip of her brandy, couching it neatly in one hand. It's AWFULLY early to be getting drunk. Perhaps she'll just go with tipsy all day. It'll be good for the assembled masses. "I wouldn't dare raise an objection. But if/when you do have to tend to Mrs. Fairfax, give her my fondest regards."

"Oh, a compliment, ma'am," Frid insists solemnly, echoing her own words, "You are, after all, the boyhood fantasy of every hot blooded male who roams these streets." He flashes a faint smile, flipping over his accounts once more to check them, before carefully folding the papers and placing them into the inside pocket of his jacket. "And of course I shall pass on your regards."

Clever. Jocunda's real smile - Not playing, not toying, not teasing - Is radiant. "And yet you've the decency not to look at me. Frid, you are a man of great mystery." She lifts her brandy, in toast, and sips. "So, I guess what I really want to know now is… Why the Broomsticks? Who decided? If you're playing manager and accountant?"

"The pub was among the effects bequeathed to Mrs. Fairfax upon the death of her former husband, Mr. Travers," Frid explains, briefly and to the point. "Mrs. Fairfax felt it might be worth turning her hand to, given her naturally gregarious personality. What better profession for a lady such as Mrs. Fairfax than one of hospitality?"

"She is certainly an excellent host." Jocunda notes. "I… I am beginning to understand, Frid. Things are beginning to make a little more sense here." Her brandy is swirled in one hand, the woman looking down into the spirit with a thoughtful expression.

"I dread to think exactly what you are beginning to understand, ma'am," Frid notes with a disarming smile, enjoying the last of his tea before it gets too cold to drink. "With the exception of a few disgruntled wizards, most of whom have never even met her, the clientele here have taken to Mrs. Fairfax like a fish to water."

"I never said they didn't." Jocunda answers levelly. "And a few disgruntled customers are the nature of any business. I hope you'll forgive my fascination with Mrs. Fairfax, and with you. Without a decent man, and an active Quidditch Season, I've little else to do than meddle in the affairs of others." A remarkable flash of honesty from her.

"The offer stands, ma'am, to find you a man," Frid tells her, settling back and straightening his cuffs once more. "There are few enough households taking on staff, and plenty enough households cutting back, given the current economy."

Jocunda giggles a little, like something of a schoolgirl. "A /Man/, Frid. Not a 'man'." The woman smiles kindly, needing another sip of brandy after that comment. "As I said. I take care of my own needs, by and large."

Frid clears his throat quietly. "Ah. I see, ma'am. Well, I'm not sure I'm quite so qualified to give advice in that case. Although I am certain you should have your choice of gentleman friends."

"I wouldn't expect you to be, Frid. I don't call for miracles often. Besides, I've my eye on a poor, unsuspecting victim back in London. Keep a weather eye on the news for me, won't you?" Jocunda finishes her brandy, and sets the glass down.

"If I see a poor, terrified looking young man on your arm in the Daily Prophet, ma'am, I shall raise a glass to you," Frid tells her with an easy smile.

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