(1938-12-24) Christmas Lights
Details for Christmas Lights
Summary: Adam and Madeline visit Leicester Square to see the Christmas decorations. Then they go to Cafe Tasseo and bump into Variel.
Date: December 24, 1938
Location: Leicester Square and Cafe Tasseo

Appearing in Muggle neighborhoods was a bit tricky - and Perry Evans made certain that he and his niece apparated into the narrow space between two buildings. It's a short time before the leave, as Perry rubs Madeline's back soothingly, and gives her a concerned look. "Alright then?"
"Ugh. It still twists my stomach right around, but I don't think I'm going to throw up this time."
"You'll get used to it," her Uncle assures her, before gesturing out of the alley. When you're ready - why don't /you/ go knock on the door, hm?"
After a few more deep breaths, Madeline seems to have a handle on herself and practically bolts out of the alley, and up to Adam's front-door, rapping eagerly. Perry follows his brightly dressed niece at a more sedate pace, his hands in the pockets of the grey coat he's wearing.

Adam lives with his parents in a rundown apartment building that looks as though it might be home to rather unreputable types of people. A stern-looking man in his early thirties with short black hair and a moustache answers the door. He wears a ragged linen shirt and his face is dirty. He stares at the pair at the door suspiciously. "Evenin'," he says. "What do you want?" Inside, behind the man, Madeline and her uncle might be able to make out a cramped living area: kitchen, living room, and bedroom all squashed into one space. They might also see Adam sitting on the bed, his legs drawn up as he reads one of his schoolbooks.

"Hello sir, Mister Irving, Sir," Madeline greets the man with a cheerful overexhuberence of energy. "Apologies for disturbing during the holiday season, sir, only I'd wondered if maybe Adam might be home." She can perfectly well see him, of course, but she keeps her eyes on the boy's father instead, beaming up at him with hope and cheer.
Perry stands behind his niece's shoulder, offering Mister Irving a polite nod. "Good evening," he says simply.

The man seems quite taken aback, but his expression softens a moment later thanks to the girl's infectious cheer. "He's here," he says with a jerk of his head. "Adam, c'mere!" But Adam is already hurrying over to the door, having heard his name spoken by a familiar voice. He peers at the girl in amazement before saying, "Madeline! Hi! I didn't know you were coming. Dad, this is my friend Madeline. From school. She's in the same year as me. And this is her, um… father? Uncle?" He grins at the girl, clearly excited that she's here. "Wow, what are you doing here?"

"Uncle Perry!" Madeline informs Adam brightly. "Uncle Perry, this is Adam Irving - I already told him you're a Hufflepuff, so hopefully he's already done with all of his 'not a Ravenclaw' attempts at humor. He's horrible, really. We were just going to go look at all the lights and decorations and things - you know, at Leicester Square, you know at the park there? And then we though - well, I'd thought, and Uncle Perry said it'd be alright - he was going to bring me to this Fountain of Fortune thing, it's based on one of the stories by Beedle the Bard (have you heard of those?) and I thought, well, it'd be more fun with a friend along and so, if your parents don't mind, you could come see the decorations tonight, and maybe even go to the Fountain thing next week?"
"Breathe before you pass out, Maddie," Perry suggests in a dry tone.

Though his father looks rather overwhelmed, Adam's eyes light up with excitement. "Wow, really?" he says. "That'd be great! I've never been to Leicester Square at Christmas. Or the Fountain of Fortune. I've never heard of it, or any stories about it. Who's Beedle the Bard? Is it a magic thing? I want to go! Can I go please, dad? Please, please, please!" He looks up at his father with pleading eyes, and the man smiles, bemused, and consents. "All right, you can go. You won't be out too late, I hope?" he says to Perry.

"Of course not, Mister Irving," Perry reassures the man. "Just a walk around the Square - perhaps a stop in somewhere to get some nice to tea to warm up with, and back in time for a bedtime story." He takes a step foreward nod, offering his hand to Adam's father as he adds, "Perry Evans, Uncle to young Madeline here as mentioned. I work at the Ministry."
Madeline is bouncing on her toes - but remaining silent as the two adults talk.

"Right," says the man, his handshake firm, if somewhat rough. He seems surprised when he learns of Perry's place of work. "Victor Irving. That'd make you an, er… Well, I take it you can do…" He seems somewhat reluctant to talk of magic openly, so he pats Adam on the back and ushers him through the door. "You lot'd better be off before it gets too late. Oh, you'll need your jacket." He takes a few steps into the room and grabs an olive-green jacket from the bed and hands it to Adam, who puts it on over his old, brown jumper. "Have fun then."

"That would be correct, sir. But I was in young Adam's shoes growing up - and my parents were in yours," Perry responds in a way that he hopes is reassuring.
"Oh, loads of fun!" Maddie promises, before hastily adding, "But no trouble!"
Perry rolls his eyes. Madeline was pretty guileless - and it shows. "Come along, young Mister Irving." He starts leading the pair back to the same alley from which they had appeared.

The man nods and gives Perry a strained smile before saying goodbye and closing the door. "Thanks, dad!" Adam says happily as he follows Madeline and her uncle. "This is so exciting. I can't believe you just showed up here!" He hesitates. "Er, I hope it wasn't too much trouble. I know it's a bit…" He can't think of a suitable word for calling it a dump without saying so outright, and he scratches the back of his with one hand. "Wait, why are we going into the alley?"

"Because we're going to get all smooshed up and sucked through a little tube and spat out the other end!" Madeline explains eagerly. "But you'll probably throw up. Just a warning. I did. /All over/ the place."
"Uh - yes. Thank you for the colorful explination, Maddie," Perry comments in a dry voice. "We're going to apparate - it's much faster. But it /can/ upset your stomach if you haven't done it before - and I'm going to guess that you haven't."

"Wow, really?" Adam says, at first excited. But that's quickly dashed when he learns about the throwing up part. "Oh. And, uh, it's safe, this Apparate thing?" He tries to sound casual, but the worry in his voice is clear. He shakes his head, his eyes slightly wide. "No, I haven't. Didn't even know about it. Um, isn't it magic? I thought it wasn't allowed to do that outside of school."

"/You/ aren't allowed to do intentional magic," Perry concurs. "But you won't be doing the magic - I will. And it's safe, as long as you don't let go. It's called a 'side-along apparate.' You and Maddie hold my hands, and we'll blink away here, and reappear near the park. You do /feel/ like you're being all squished and stretched - it's a very strange sensation - and don't feel bad if you do get sick. Maddie did, and so did I the first time. Plus, I brought a little canteen of water with, just in case." No one likes to walk around with the taste of sick in their mouth.
Madeline nods eagerly, promptly taking her Uncle's hand.

"Wow," Adam says again. "Just like that? We'll instantly be near the park?" He glances at Madeline for reassurance and then nods as well. "Ready," he says, taking a deep breath as he reaches out for the man's hand. When he does, her uncle might notice that he is trembling slightly, but his face is set and determined as he waits for whatever comes next.

Perry gives the boy's hand a squeeze, and then offers a countdown. "Okay. Three, two, one…" and snap! The three are sucked through a single point in space, and spat out near the heart of London in another alley - with a slight stumble. Madeline is concentrating on not emptying her stomach in front of Adam - while Perry reaches into his pocket for his canteen, under the assumption that it will, in fact, be needed.

Adam, clinging tightly to her uncle's hand, gasps as he's suddenly sucked into nothing. His feet slam onto the floor of the alley, and he stumbles sideways, releasing the man's hand just from the shock of being in another place all in one instant. He looks quite dazed, blinking about without really seeing anything. "I think I'm okay," he manages to weakly say before he lurches, staggers, and sprays the contents of his stomach onto the nearest wall.

Perry offers the water to the boy, smiling at him sympathetically. "You know. There's a good chunk of the kids in the first year who /won't/ have ever done a side-along apparate - even loads of the pure-bloods. You get to hang this over them until 6th year, if you like," he remarks.
"I'm gonna," Maddie volunteers promptly.

Adam takes the canteen with a visibly shaking hand and carefully rinses his mouth out. He hands it back to the man when he's done, his face rather pale, and he avoids making eye contact with either of them. He manages a weak smile. "Yeah, me too," he murmurs, and then, ashamed that he just threw up in front of Madeline and her uncle, adds, "Sorry 'bout that."

"You don't need to apologize. We've all done it," Perry responds reassuringly.
"Yeah, me too," Madeline adds - as if she weren't already included in the other statement. "You, umm, okay to go see the lights? Or you want to start off with the tea and settle your stomach a bit more?"

Adam, feeling reassured and better now that the worst is over, brightens at the reminder of why they just went through all that. "Let's go see the lights!" he says, sounding a lot more like his pre-Apparition self. "Where are we exactly? I can't believe we traveled all that way in the blink of an eye! Do you guys come here every year?"

"Not every year - but I've come with my mum and da' before," Madeline supplies, as her Uncle puts away the canteen. She dashes out of the alley way, turns full circle as she looks up and down the street, and then points. "Look! Over there! I see the trees!"
"Maddie - don't go running off ahead," her Uncle cautions her. "I need to be able to see the pair of you."
"Yeeeees Uncle Perry!"

Adam hurries after Madeline, though Uncle Perry can perhaps be thankful that he doesn't quite feel up to running anywhere just yet. "Where? Where?" he asks eagerly, peering about in every direction until he finally gets the presence of mind to look where Madeline is actually pointing. "Brilliant! Let's go!" But he glances over his shoulder at the man's warning, hesitating. "Yes, sir," he says meekly before turning his attention back to the trees. "Let's go, but slowly!"

Madeline nods, glancing back at her Uncle, then moving on ahead with Adam. She glances back from time to time to make sure they haven't gone too far - though she does wait for him at the intersection, before crossing over into the park.
"Hey, you remember me talking about that second year, Niles Avery, and how he might not be so bad…?"

Adam soon forgets about making sure they're not going too far ahead, so it's a good thing Madeline's checking. His hands are shoved deep into the pockets of his coat to keep them out of the cold, but he no longer looks pale. Instead, his face is flushed with excitement as they get closer to the park. "Who?" he says, not recognizing the name. "Oh, yeah, I remember you saying something about a second-year. Why?"

"Well, just - umm. Don't. I mean, don't even go near him. He's-" the girl makes a face. "Just /don't/. Ugh." She looks like she has a sour taste in her mouth when she talks about the boy. Sure he /apologized/, but how can apologies really fix anything? Not when you're a jerk like that.
With Perry just a step behind them, they cross the street - at which point, Maddie sprints to the first tree and her sour expression turns to a beaming smile. It's just so /pretty/!

"Er, okay," Adam says, surprised by her vehemence. "But you said he might not be so bad, right? So what happened?" When she sprints off, he tears after her, having by now recovered enough to be well up to it. "Wow," he says, staring up at the tree, his mouth slightly open and awe in his voice. "That's amazing. Thanks so much for bringing me with you."

"It's more fun with a friend!" Madeline responds brightly. She shoves her hands into her pockets, and she's still staring up at the tree when she confides quietly, "He called us mudblood scum. And he's got something against Hufflepuffs - which I can't even understand. I mean, yeah I can sorta see thinking that all Ravenclaws are stuck-up and too bookish. I can even see thinking that Gryffindors are too… too brash, and wreckless, or something." And she doesn't even need to mention Slytherin. "But - /Hufflepuffs/? Who doesn't like Hufflepuffs?"

Adam smiles in silent agreement, his eyes still fixed on the tree as well. But her next words pull him away from pleasant thoughts of Christmas, and his brow furrows in confusion as he turns his head to her. "He does?" he asks, sounding a little afraid. "I don't know. I know a lot of Slytherins don't like me. They always push me around, but I'm used to that. And I'm used to being called M-mudlood. But I never thought they'd hate me just for being in Hufflepuff." Now that they aren't moving, he shivers and draws his arms closer to his body, feeling the winter cold through his too-large clothes. "I'm sorry he called you that."

"Ain't your fault. Ain't nobody's fault 'cept probably his mum and da'," Madeline replies, shrugging her shoulders. "Just steer clear of him, hear?" Somehow, the brasher girl has already started to feel protective of Adam. He seems to be having a harder time with the Slytherins than she is.

"Yeah, I will," Adam says with a firm nod of his head. "I don't plan on going near any of them. I know we're supposed to try to get along with everyone, but they scare me. Oh, but there was this one nice Slytherin girl on the train!" he adds, suddenly remembering with a grin. "She accidentally scrunched up a picture I wanted to show my parents, because she thought it was rubbish, see? But to make up for it she gave me a teacup to give to them for Christmas. Isn't that great?"

"Oh, that is nice!" Madeline agrees brightly, beaming at Adam. Did the girl /know/ he was a Muggle-born when she did it…? Well. Probably better not to ask. "Who was it, do you know?"

"I think they called her Sykes," Adam says uncertainly. "Her first name starts with an R, maybe?" He shrugs. "She was a prefect. But I'm real pleased with it. It's supposed to keep your tea warm so it never gets cold. Now my mum doesn't have to drink cold tea ever again!" He grins up at the tree. "Oh! And my parents said I could have a kitten! As long as I take real good care of it. And I will! Did you find one?"

"I've got one tucked away in my room right now. Mum and da' have been callin' her freckles on account of she got in the way of their painting, one day, and had these white little flecks of paint all in her fur for a while. It's not the loooongest fur, but it's not short fur either. It's sorta… got longish patches? And she's not as tame as Scat, which is why I've got her in my room, so I can spend some time with her and see if she's doing alright and comin' round to people. She doesn't seem too stressed out by it - so I think she'll do. She's young yet, too - about two months, mum said. Real cutie," Maddie blathers cheerfully as she walks towards the next tree, her Uncle still trailing behind.
"I should get a cup like that for /my/ mum," she adds in a musing voice. "Don't think I know a Sykes, yet. Other than- gosh, I met-" Madeline cuts herself off, looks around at all the /Muggles/ surrounding them, and then lowers her voice. "I met Jocunda Sykes. Heard of her? She's the first and only witch /or/ wizard to fly a broom clear across the Atlantic. I just wanted to shake her head, but she liked me well enough she gave me a chocolate frog with her card inside the box - and it was already signed 'Keep Dreaming, Jocunda Sykes.' I haven't opened it yet, and I don't think I will. I'm just gonna /keep/ it like that."

"Wow, really?" Adam says, excited all over again. "That's great! I hope she likes me. D'you think you'll be able to bring her back to the school? This is going to be the best Christmas ever!" He follow Madeline over to the next tree, gazing at it with a look of utter contentment, though he looks around at her when she lowers her voice. "No," he answers quietly, having not heard of a Jocunda Sykes. "Wow, did she really? That's amazing!" His eyes grow wide. "And she signed a chocolate frog card for you? Wow! Where'd you meet her?"

"In the bookstore - Flourish and Blotts - on Diagon," Madeline explains. "She was doing some shopping. It was real nice meeting her - she was a real lovely witch, she was, the way she treated me 'n everything."
"And there shouldn't be any reason why I couldn't bring her along," Madeline adds. "I mean - assuming she doesn't seem all stressed out and frightened by being around me. So far she seems alright, but I'd hate to bring her to the- to school if she seems too scared. And you don't need to keep the name Freckles - you can call her any ol' thing you like, just I'm calling her Freckles for now because my parents are."

"I'll see once I meet her," Adam says, grinning. "Maybe she'll strike me as a Freckles too! But don't worry if she's too scared. I'd rather not have a pet at all than make one be somewhere scary." He takes his hands out of his pockets and rubs them together, his breath misting in the air as he breathes on them to try to warm them up a bit. "So you've been to Diagon Alley since you've been back from school?" he asks. "I haven't been able to go yet. My dad says he'll take me before school starts again, if he has the time, but he hasn't been able to yet. Wish I could just Apparate there."

"We can't get apparating liscences until we're 16 - that's what Uncle Perry told me, but that's okay, because it's not like we're allowed to - you - do our /school work/ outside of school anyways. And apparating doesn't even /work/ at school - that's something else Uncle Perry told me - so it's not like we could be apparating up and down the stairs - though I wish I could, I mean, why is the Gryffindor dorm on the /seventh/ floor?! How is that fair?!"

"What!" Adam gasps. "Sixteen? But that's years away! How do they expect us to wait so long? It'll be torture!" He looks at her with interest. "Your common room's on the seventh floor? Wow. Ours is right near the ground floor. It's not even that far from the entrance hall. I can't imagine having to climb down all those stairs just to get to breakfast in the morning. I'd probably fall back asleep halfway down!"

"Going down to breakfast isn't the problem," Madeline mutters quietly. "It's going back /up/ at the end of the day… I wish I could fly a broom up the stairs."

"Oh, yeah," Adam says. "That must be even worse! I wouldn't mind it if we could fly brooms, though. It'd probably be fun. I love flying! Are you any good at it? I think I did pretty well in the lesson, but that was just the once. Wish I had my own broom. Have you had the chance to play Quidditch yet? I haven't. It looks really fun though."

Madeline shrugs her shoulders. "I was alright at it, I guess. I mean, I'm not wild about the game. Especially not watching - I don't get the point of /watching/ a game. Playing might be pretty fun. And I don't have a broom, either-" She catches a woman giving her a weird sideways glance and she hastily says, "Because I broke the handle, but mom says she's buying a new one today, and as soon as I get home I have to sweep the whole house! With the broom! Because that's what they're for!"
There. Smooth save, right?

Adam looks a little disappointed to hear this, but but Madeline is forced to cover up their conversation before he can respond. "Oops," he mutters, his cheeks going a bit red as he realizes he was talking a bit too animatedly about magical things. "Forgot we're supposed to keep quiet about that sort of thing out here. Nice, catch though." He grins at her. "But how d'you know it won't be fun unless you try it? I say we give it a go once we're back at school!"

Madeline shrugs her shoulders. "I'd give it a go, sure. But don't expect me to go watch every game if you go and get on the Hufflepuff team or something. I mean, no offense or nothing."

"I'm not offended," Adam says easily. "I just thought it'd be fun! I won't be upset if you end up hating it." He shivers and pulls his baggy coat closer to him, wrapping his arms tightly around his chest. "D'you think we should go get that tea?" he asks. "It's getting cold out here."

"Tea'd be great!" Madeline agrees, though not without one last look at the trees. "You know. I think that one's my favorite." She points at one with purple ornaments, but red bows tied all over it. "Gryffindor red! And purple's just nice. Isn't it nice?" That said, she looks for her Uncle, and mimes drinking from a cup. He nods in agreement. "I think Diagon's really close to here," Madeline confides quietly. "And there's a tea shop there that does… umm… Tassimancy? Something like that. Everytime you get a cup of tea, they tell you your fortune. Isn't that neat?"

"Yeah, it is," Adam agrees as he looks at the tree she points out. He lowers his voice as well. "Wow, really? That sounds incredible. I didn't think I'd get to go to Diagon tonight too. This is so great!" He beams around at the trees, both reluctant to leave them and eager to get out of the cold and be in Diagon Alley again. "I think that one's the best, though. It's got yellow ornaments and silver tinsel. For Hufflepuff! It's probably supposed to be gold, though, but still!" He looks around nervously, then asks quietly. "We won't have to, er, Apparate to Diagon, will we?"

Madeline shakes her head. "I think we can walk. But we'll have to apparate back to your place." And her own, afterwards. Madeline spins around to ask her Uncle brightly, "Uncle Perry - can we walk to Diagon from here?"
"It's less than a kilometer," Perry confirms simply.
"Well then - there you have it! Let's go!"

Adam looks quite relieved that they won't have to Apparate again just yet. "I just hope I can keep my tea down on the way back," he says with a sheepish grin. He gives the park one last content look and is then ready to head off to Diagon Alley. "Okay!"

The two children talk eagerly and excitedly about nothing of importance during the walk, but they finally make it to the tea shop, pushing open the door while Madeline is talking about a dream she had. "And then he's clawing at my head with these real sharp… talons almost, right? But then I wake up and I find out- well. I find out Freckles was chewing on my hair while I was sleeping. Can you believe it?"

Adam laughs. "No way!" he says as he follows Madeline inside. Perhaps he says it a bit too loudly, for several of the patrons give him dirty looks. Or it could be his clothes, which, old and worn and too-big-for-him as they are, might offend some of their sensibilities. Looking a bit guilty, he drops his gaze and continues more quietly. "I had a dream like that once. This great big snake was lurking in the dark, and I could feel its poison dripping onto my head. But turns out it was just water leaking through the ceiling."

Madeline can't help but giggle at the dream as she drops into a seat at an empty table. "Better water than poison," she remarks, smiling at Adam, and then her Uncle as he sits beside her at the round table. "They have green tea here," she confides. "Have you tried it yet? It's real nice."

"Loads," Adam agrees. "Though it was a bit of a shock waking up with a wet forehead." When he sits down he gets a chance for a good look around the place, his eyes wide at what to him seems like rich decor. "No, I've never been here before," he says, looking uncertain. "It's a bit posh. Er, I'm not sure I can afford…"

"It's my treat," Perry replies easily. "So long as, one day in the future, when you are a great and powerful wizard and I'm old, and retired, and impoverished… You remember to buy me a cup of tea." The man leans back into his seat. "And maybe a slice of cake."
Madeline giggles at her Uncle. "I think we can both make that deal. Except maybe for the cake. I might eat that myself."
"You see how much she loves me? It's not very much, let me tell you."

"Deal!" Adam says, grinning at the man. "And I'll buy you a whole cake." Then, with a bit of a cheeky smile, adds, "And give you a slice and have the rest myself!" After settling back in his chair, he goes on more seriously. "Thanks, Mr Evans. And thanks for bringing me with you tonight. This whole evening has been really great."

"Well that's right gener-" Perry starts, before the boy finishes the thought, prompting a laugh from the wizard. "Oi. You're just like her. I'm doomed." He smiles at Adam before adding, "It's been my pleasure. Truth is - I just like spoiling my little Maddie," and what Muggle-born wizard wouldn't, suddenly having another wizard in the family? "You're just collateral damage. Thankfully, her taste in friends isn't entirely atrocious."
"Uncle Perry!" Madeline protests with a laugh - just as the serving witch approaches to take the orders of the three muggle-clothed wizards. Madeline goes for green tea, while Perry gets something black, with a slice of lemon - along with a slice of cake and three forks to share it with.

Adam laughs as well. "Sorry," he says, feeling he should. He's not quite as brave as Madeline, and the man isn't his uncle, after all. "I guess I'm real lucky she doesn't mind Hufflepuffs, right?" He grins at her uncle, remembering what she told him when she arrived at his door earlier, how his uncle joked about non-Ravenclaws. He's unsure of what to order when the witch comes by, but decides to go with Maddie's recommendation and asks for the green tea.

"I keep telling her that if she goes around judging folks by their houses, I'll box her ears," Perry responds simply. "I had plenty of Hufflepuff friends when I was in school - still do, now that I'm out of school. I figure - can't really blame them, just because they weren't lucky enough to get Ravenclaw."
'See?' Madeline mouths.
"He really would, mind. Box my ears," she adds. And she would /really/ hate to disappoint him, to boot. "That's why I keep giving Slytherins a chance."

"I feel like I was lucky enough to get into Hogwarts in the first place," Adam says. "I'm not going to complain which House I'm in. I'm really pleased with Hufflepuff though." He looks at Madeline with dawning comprehension. "So that's why! You did a good job, sir. Did she tell you that she gathered Christmas cards for a Slytherin in our year who had to stay at school for Christmas? I made one too," he adds proudly and, turning to Madeline, asks, "Were you able to get it to him?"

"Oh, yes, she told me all about that particular escapade," Perry replies - and there's obvious pride in his voice. "She did a right fine job. I hope it helped the poor lad."
"And yes," Maddie assures Adam. "I borrowed Avi and sent him off to Professor Dumbledore with the card. So if Travers doesn't have it now - he'll get it tomorrow morning, when the /rest/ of the cards get dumped on him." Then in a musing voice she adds, "I think I'll send him a New Years card, too."
As they're talking, the serving maid returns with a tray, giving them their three teas, and a slice of chocolate cake - with three forks. "Let me know if you need anything else!" the woman adds cheerfully.

"Great!" Adam says. "I really hope he has a good Christmas. It's not fair that he's stuck there by himself, even if he is in Slytherin. Oh, good idea!" He pauses as their order arrives, and he smiles up at the serving witch and says "Thanks." Then, looking back to Maddie, he says, "I made a card for you too, but it's at home. I was going to send it back with the owl you were going to send to ask about the kitten, but I can give it to you when we get back."

"Oh! Great!" Maddie responds, beaming broadly - and then looking embarrassed. "But I didn't do anything for y- OH. FRECKLES. RIGHT. I'm covered."
Perry lets out a quiet laugh, and picks up his tea to take a sip. Kids.

Adam laughs. "You joking?" he says, beaming back at her. "Tonight was one of the best Christmas presents I ever got. I'm still going to owe you for Freckles!" He picks up his own tea and gives it a skeptical look; he's used to drinking ordinary tea at home and at school. But after a tentative sip, he's quite eager to drink it. "Wow, this is nice!"

"Isn't it? I really like green tea. I'm glad I tried it."
Perry seems content to stick to his black tea, though. And to start in on the cake.
"And don't be silly. You don't own me anything for- hey!" Madeline protests, as her Uncle cuts off a playfully oversized piece of cake. "Save some for us!"
"Oh, you wanted some of this, too?"

Adam watches the exchange from behind the rim of his teacup, which he holds in both hands for the warmth. He's grinning as he lowers it from his face. "I'd like to try some," he tells her uncle. "If you don't mind. It looks really good."

"Of course. Feel free, Mister Irving," Perry invites easily. He doesn't actually eat his oversized piece - he sets it down instead, and cuts it into a more manageable size before taking a nibble. "Mmm. Not too dry. It's nice."
Madeling promptly reaches out with her own fork to snag a little bit. "Does it explode?"
"No, it's just cake."
"Well that's a shame."

Adam is sitting at a table with Madeline and her uncle. They each have a cup of tea - green for the two kids, black for the uncle - and there's a slice of chocolate cake with three forks on the table. "Thanks," Adam says to the man, though his cheeks turn a bit red. "But please call me Adam." He laughs at Madeline's comment as he takes up a fork and cuts a piece - a very small piece - for himself. "It doesn't?" he asks with mock disappointment. "But we're in Diagon Alley!"

Variel enters and shuts the door, stamping his feet. "Evanses! And company, evening!"

"If you prefer, Adam," Perry agrees easily. He takes a sip of his tea before asking, "Now - I know all about how Madeline's studies are going - but how about yours? Having a tough time? I imagine your fellow Hufflepuffs are looking after you. They tend to be a good-hearted bunch."
For the moment, Madeline seems content to listen, and enjoy her tea. And non-exploding cake.

At the shout of 'Evanses,' though, she turns to blink in surprise at Variel and greets him with a cheerful, "Va- err, Weasley! Hello! Come join us!"

Adam thoroughly enjoys his little piece of cake, and he nods his head eagerly at the man. "Yes, sir," he says. "They've been great. Some of the other Houses can be a little unfriendly, especially the Slytherins, but so far everyone in Hufflepuff seems nice. I love the classes, especially Transfiguration - that's my favorite. I'm doing horrible in Potions, though. Maddie's said she'll help me with it, and I'll help her with Transfiguration." He looks around at the shout and gives a friendly wave and smile to Variel, though he doesn't know him.

Variel says, "Ahh, one from the bager's den, eh?" Variel quips as he sits. "Unfortunate, that name, completely misrepresents badgers. Makes folks forget those critters are like the vicious, soldiering cousins of skunks. Wouldn't want one mad at me, a beast like that. Eats snakes," he muses. "Variel Weasley, kiddo. If you're tight with Maddie, I'll consider you good people. She's got sense about people, if nothing else." He winks at Perry as he teases the tiny blonde."

"Oh, Adam's great," Madeline enthuses. "I'm gonna help him with potions, and he's gonna help me with transfigurations, and we're gonna get /straight O's/ on all of our O.W.L.s, right Adam?" The girl beams at her friend before adding, "Variel's a Gryffindor. I hear they usually are - I think it's on account of the red hair, huh?"
Perry answers Variel's wink with a friendly nod and a smile before adding, "I was treating Maddie and her friend to tea. Since you're a friend as well, if you'd like to add something to the tab…" he invites.

"Hi!" Adam says to the Weasley. "I'm Adam. I'm not vicious though." He nods his head in vehement agreement with Madeline. "That's right! Not only that, but we're gonna be the best in our year all the way up! And," he adds to Variel, leaning over and lowering his voice conspiratorially, "we've already Apparated!" Grinning ear-to-ear at this, he looks over at Perry. "May I have another piece of cake, please, Mr Evans?"

Variel says, "You don't say! All on your own, have you? And not a speck of vomit on you?" He sniffs. I shan't believe it. There's a fib there someplace! " He shakes his head with a smile. "No thanks, Mister Evans. I'm full up.""

"Certainly not on their own - I don't stand for delinquient and dangerous behav-" Perry pauses, and eyes his niece. "Well, certainly not /excessively/ dangerous and /illegal/ behavior. They side-along apparated - and both acquited themselves quiet well, I may add." Hey, he's not going to admit that Adam threw up - or that Maddie did the first time /she'd/ experienced it.
"He implied I indulge in dangerous behavior. Did you see that, Adam?"

Adam scratches the back of his neck, looking a bit sheepish, and he's relieved and grateful when Perry omits that little fact. "I did!" he tells Madeline. "I mean, we only think there are dragon eggs in the Forbidden Forest. We won't know until we go and find out, will we?" He drinks his tea and falls into a comfortable silence, listening to the others talk. After a moment, he starts to doze a bit.

Madeline can't help herself - she lets out a snort, and a little spray of tea goes flying. The poor girl then bursts into a fit of giggles, after letting out a protesting, "Adam!"
Perry, meanwhile, is giving his niece an alarmed look. "You /haven't/ been going into the Forbidden Forest, Madeline Percival Evans! … have you?"
The girl can only shakes her head helplessly as she laughs.

Adam wakes with a start. "Huh?" he says. "Oh, no she hasn't. Not yet. We're planning on going when we get back to school, right Maddie? I think they're supposed to be near the werewolves. We'll stop by to see them on the way, of course." He starts to grin, but it turns into a wide yawn that he belatedly covers with a hand.

Madeline is still giggling, but she nods. "Yes. That's right. When we- hehehe. When we get back!"
Perry lets out a sigh, but he's smiling with amusement now. At least it seems the children are simply messing with him. "They must have put a laughter charm in the cake. Come along, let's get you both back home safely - and good evening to you, Mister Weasley." Leaving behind enough money to cover the bill, Perry rises.

Adam giggles a bit as well as he stands up. "And, oh! We'll have to have tea with the giants too, don't forget them." He pulls his oversized coat close around him as they get ready to leave, his hands deep in their pockets. "Bye, Variel," he says with a sleepy smile. He leaves with the Evanses, hoping he doesn't throw up again on the way back (but he does, although not as forcefully).

"And the centaurs. And the-" Madeline supplies helpfully as they leave.

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