(1939-01-06) Honeyed Words
Details for Honeyed Words
Summary: The day after terrible carnage and people tortured and/or being burnt to a crisp, and whence does Fabia turn her conversation with a chance-met Bailey? To cuddly fluffy puppies, of course. (Warning: It would be possible to discern mature content herein.)
Date: January 6th, 1939
Location: Sweet Temptations in Diagon Alley
Related: It's the day after Holiday Horror, and a luncheon or so after A Pair That Fits.

Sweet Temptations

This shop is both a malt shop as well and bakery and sweetshop. Polished hardwood floors and walls painted a soft ivory give the room a welcoming and calm air. Green plants and flowers are placed in planters throughout the room and landscape paintings of the countryside cover parts of the walls. Two counters run across opposite sides of the room leaving the center area open for seating. The tables are set up for groups of two or four, the tables polished wood and the cushioned chairs made to match. The counter to the right is the malt counter, its wood polished to a high shine and cushiony bar stools lined up in front, provides a place for patrons to sample all manner of drinks that fizz, foam and steam. On the left is another counter dedicated to candy and pastries. The candies sit in elegant glass jars atop the counter with plates of every kind of pastry or cake you can imagine. There are both muggle and wizard flavors for everything sold here. A large board hangs over the front wall across from the door with a neatly organized menu of what is for sale at each counter.

Bailey sits in Sweet Temptations, nursing a soda pop and shaking her head at the Daily Prophet. The news of the horrific events of the Sykes Gala have spread like wildfire around the wizarding world, and it's all most anyone has heard about today. Her mind turns frequently in worry to her oft-times charge, Rhyeline Diderot. There is no mention of her in the article, but her suitor is named as one of the victims of the Cruciatus Curse.

Luncheon with one's dear friend Cooper is always such a delight. But they polished off the cognac almost forty minutes ago, and had only one dessert between the pair of them; and so with one thing and another Fabia Fairfax's footsteps carry her briskly not just into the Leaky Cauldron in Charing Cross Road but through it, out into Diagon Alley, and up the road to Sweet Temptations. Just a little box of truffles, perhaps. She'll have one now, and the rest later. Tomorrow, perhaps. Even the next day. Heavens, yes.

And the bell over the door tinkles as Hogsmeade's reigning Queen of Self-Justification sashays onto the premises, in her sables and sun-spectacles and dark-red veiled hat. Though her most chic accessory is the tiny pug puppy at the far end of the leash held tightly in her left hand — a creature of pale fur and a firmly-squashed face darkening further, it seems, with each passing day, wrapped up warmly against the January weather in a pink sweater and a hat with a bobble on it, and who attempts to charge ahead of her mistress into this wondrous place of wholly unfamiliar smells — only to be scooped up and tucked firmly beneath Fabia's arm. "Now, Honey, my love," she scolds, beaming at her pet, "you'll be a marvelous girl, won't you? We'll only be a few minutes and then you can stretch your legs again…" The little dog has been carried most of the day, squashed against Fabia or Cooper or both, and she's restless. Wouldn't anyone be?

There isn't a queue before the nearest counter — people seem, oddly enough, to be thinking of things other than tasty little morsels of chocolate today — and Fabia charges straight up to it. "Afternoon, sweetie!" she exclaims to the girl serving there. "Open a box for me, will you? I'll have — oh — three of the strawberry champagne truffles, and two of the dark chocolate raspberry ones, and… oh… oh," she sighs, in an agony from which she can't quite be distracted even by the wiggling and the snuffling little barks under her arm, as Honey yearns for Freedom. She scratches the dog's ears absently with her suede-gloved fingertips. "Surprise me, will you?" she begs. She favours the chocolate girl with a self-deprecating smile, and then deliberately looks away, so as to ensure she shall be surprised. Her eyes fall upon Bailey. She hesitates, and then stops scratching the dog to wave her fingers at her.

Bailey has been absorbed by the newspaper, ignoring all else. But one does not simply ignore Fabia Fairfax. It does take a few moments for the voice and presence to register, but Bailey finally looks up about the time that Fabia is looking her way. Her lips part in mild disbelief, and she returns the wave, gesturing to the seat across from her invitingly.

One doesn't mind if one does! Fabia and puppy bounce across the shop — the former leans down over Bailey to kiss the air above each of her cheeks, before settling daintily upon the edge of the empty chair; the latter is released to scramble down from her mistress's lap and leap and bark about Bailey's ankles with a remarkable ubiquity for something that size. "Honey!" Fabia half-wails, wrapping the lead around her hand again and again, "do come here, my love… Oh, Bailey, this is Honey. Honey, this is Bailey. How do we all do. What's that you're drinking, sweetie? How peculiar… What an age it's been," Fabia sighs, hauling her puppy up into her lap again and endeavouring with a scritch here and a scratch there to distract her from climbing onto the table.

Bailey smiles, chuckles softly at the puppy's antics. "Hello, Honey." She reaches across to give the dog a scritch under the chin. Bailey folds up in the newspaper and its distasteful headline, setting it to the side. "Fabia, it really has been an age. It's nice to run into you. How have you been, and when did you get a dog?" She grins, and cannot help giving Honey another pet of greeting.

"Oh! She was a Christmas present," Fabia explains breathlessly. "Quite the nicest one I had, except possibly for these earrings," and one of the hands restraining the dog darts up to emphasise a small but somehow rather prominent fall of diamonds. Honey makes a spirited lunge onto the table. Fabia laughs and lets her develop her bad habit — trying, however, to keep her away from Bailey's peculiar drink… "No, really, even better than the earrings," she decides, though it's a debate she goes into practically every day lately. "I'm delightful, sweetie, though I must admit I've missed you. How are you? Did you get the whisky all right? I do feel a bit peculiar," and her very red lower lip is drawn briefly between her teeth, "just giving something to an owl…"

Bailey moves the pop safely away from the scrabbling pug. "I did get the whisky, and thank you. It was a very thoughtful gift. I'm so sorry I didn't get you anything." She winces slightly. It's always uncomfortable venturing into the realm of finances, and her general lack of them. "Fabia…have you ever owned a dog before? You've got to teach her to behave now, or you'll struggle with her all her life."

"That's what people keep telling me," Fabia giggles, "and I must admit, to judge by my experience training gentlemen, it does rather sound true, but, oh, she's so funny I forget to be cross…" She starts to sigh, is stirred back into laughter by a PUGnacious little bark from the puppy who is now surging across the table towards her mama again, and ends up cuddling Honey against the front of her extraordinarily expensive coat whilst shaking with noisy amusement. "She doesn't know she's a little dog," she explains to Bailey, "she so often behaves as though she were quite an enormous dog… such sound and fury!"

Bailey grins, nodding. "I know how it can be. We're dog people, too. I used to take our dog out hunting. So, I know a thing or two about training them. It can be fun, and even adorable. Trust me, you'll save yourself a lot of headache."

"I didn't know I was a dog person," sighs Fabia, looking down at her squirming sooty-eared friend in an obvious rapture, "but lately I do seem to be… I do seem to be picking up all sorts of new interests, lately. Do you know a lot about dogs? My friend who gave her to me knows lots about dogs, she has one herself, so whenever I don't know what to do I ask her… but do you know too?" she implores, with wide green eyes. Honey has become a handful; and Fabia sets her on the floor, holding her on a short rein so she can't gambol far.

"I know enough to teach a puppy how to behave. But you have to be disciplined to teach discipline." Bailey gives Fabia a strained smile. "Do you think you can do that? What I mean is that you cannot give in to bad behaviour just because it's cute. Every time you do that, you'll be undermining your own efforts, and setting Honey up for failure."

"I like bad behaviour," Fabia protests feebly, in a tone pitched just for Bailey's ears. None of the other candy-nibblers' business, is it. And of course it sails straight over Honey's sooty ears. She's only a puppy. What does she know? — Though puppies grow up fast, so if Bailey intends to pass on real, sensible advice to Fabia, it had better be on the accelerated programme… "I've only had her a few days," she adds, "and I've tried, I really have tried, not to let her on the furniture much. It helps that she's so small. She can't get on the sofa, or on the bed, unless I help her up, and usually I don't, either I have her in my lap or I lean down to play with her… I really do have to have her in my lap, though, what's the point of a puppy otherwise? She's only chewed up one shoe and a bit of a jumper, only when I left them lying around and didn't watch her… I'm sure she'll be better if I don't put any sweet temptations in her way. Really, if you were a puppy, wouldn't you chew a shoe now and again?" From behind her spotted dark red veil, Fabia blinks haplessly at Bailey.

Bailey sucks in her lips, stifling laughter. Suddenly she has a better understanding of Fabia's inability to curb amusingly bad behaviour. "Actually, sweet temptations are a great way to train her. This is the fun part. You reward her for good behaviour, including when she avoids bad behaviour. A lot of people think you just scold a dog when she's bad…and you do, but you've got to reinforce when she does something right, so she learns what you expect from her. Trust me, she wants to please you. It's your job to teach her how to do so."

Well, well. What a familiar language Bailey is suddenly speaking, bless her. "Does she," she murmurs indulgently; her gaze lingers on Bailey's face for another second or so before, biting her lip again, she leans down to inspect Honey, who is sitting upon her haunches and gazing up at her with her tiny pink tongue hanging out. Fabia beams. Honey pants softly. And then, beauteous creature that she is, she's lifted up into Fabia's lap again; Fabia unfastens her coat, revealing colourful tweeds and pale pearls, and making a pleasant nest for Honey against the bright wool of her skirt, with the edge of her sable coat drawn across her. We are resting now. We're quite done in.

Fabia looks up at Bailey. "One does comprehend the general principle," she murmurs, tilting her head, lifting her eyebrows. Probably gentlemen again — goodness may not know, but badness assuredly has a clear idea.

Bailey's smirk may indicate she has an inkling of what is going through Fabia's mind. Could she have deliberately guided the conversation this direction? Surely, she wouldn't. "If you're not sure whether you can do it, I could take her for a time and get the basics down. I promise, I would return to you a well behaved dog that will sit, stay, fetch, and roll over on command. All for the pittance of a bit of jerky."

Three remarks cross Fabia's mind — their succession quite visible to Bailey in the shifting of her smile, and her eyes — and are all dismissed as being not quite the thing to utter in a public shop, to a woman who is, after all, just a friend, and whom one hasn't seen in weeks… They're stored up for next time, though, don't doubt it. She settles, at last, for her fourth thought. "It's so good of you to… But she's growing up so fast. She's bigger already than when I had her on Christmas Eve, she feels so different in my hands. I shouldn't like to be without her for long. Or… oh," Fabia sighs, "would it be better for her to learn to—? But aren't you terribly busy, sweetie? I know you work such a lot, and a dog is such a constant presence. Even for me," she confesses in a whisper, "every day is different now… I mean, I adore her beyond words but I'm always trying to get rid of her for an hour or two whenever I want to do something that doesn't quite require paws scrabbling at the edge of the bed and interrogatory little snuffles…"

"Well," Bailey says, lifting her hands in caution, "You probably won't like hearing this, but a cage is a not a bad thing when training a dog to be alone. She'll whine and fuss, but eventually she'll get used to it, and it allows one to be away for a time without her tearing up the house. Alternately, she doesn't have to stay with me full time. Perhaps we could arrange a training schedule. A bit like going to obedience school."

Oh, yes, go on. Require Fabia Fairfax to put anything in a cage. It'll never happen. She draws away in mock-horror which covers a certain real horror, affecting to cover Honey's ears with her hands, and in the process smooshing down the bobble on her little hat. But then… "Oh, I'm sure any time with you would be good for her," Fabia sighs, flicking her gaze down at Honey and up again to Bailey. "I'm sure you'd be a marvelously sensible and healthy influence in her life. Everything I'm not. Sweetie, what's your hourly rate for dogs? Oh, we can work something out, can't we," she says comfortably.

"Fabia," Bailey says admonishingly, "I'm not going to charge you. I like dogs. It'll be fun. Won't it, Honey?" She beams at the pug, reaching to offer up her fingernails for another chin-scritch.

Fabia looks down into her lap, which contains a most contented tiny pug and, not to put too fine a point upon it, Bailey's hand, just brushing over her sables, and Bailey's fingers, offering such a welcome caress to her new pet — and how she giggles, looking up again. "Well, sweetie, if that's your idea of fun… I've been going about it all wrong, haven't I?" But however Bailey may protest, she'll find a way to repay her for such a kindness. Fabia may be one of the most spoiled women in Britain; but she gives as ferociously as she demands.

Bailey arches an eyebrow at the odd comment…then her cheeks pinken just a touch. Clearing her throat, she rises from her seat. "Well, I'm sorry to hurry off so suddenly, but I need to go check on Miss Diderot after all of the nastiness that's gone on." She casually gestures to the newspaper. "Send me an owl and we'll arrange some time for me to take Honey out for training." She gives Fabia a warm, sincere smile. "It was good to see you again. Let's not wait so long next time." With an affectionate touch to Fabia's shoulder, she makes her way out.

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