(1939-01-23) Nature's Nobility
Details for Nature's Nobility
Summary: The morning congregation at Books Unbound in Diagon Alley includes authors, critics, occasional shoppers, and a woman whose dog just wanted a book to eat. Purebloods, Half-bloods, and even a Muggleborn — nature's nobility, and otherwise. (Incomplete. If you have the earlier part, please feel free to append it!)
Date: January 23rd, 1939
Location: Books Unbound

Books Unbound

From the outside, this bookstore looks rather simple. Red bricks build up this two story building, with a large front window and three windows on the top story. On the large store front window, in large, crisp, golden letters, the words 'Books Unbound' is written, while a large wooden sign hands sideways above the black door, with the carved image of a stack of books.

Almost every inch of wall space has been lined with deep wooden bookshelves. Each lined with various books ranging from muggle to wizard literature. Dark hardwood cherry floors line this shop, with a large spiral staircase leading up to the loft on the right side. A bridge has been built between the right and left loft, connecting them. In the center of the store, a large twisted tree with dark green leaves, appears to have grown right out of the floor, it's twisted gnarly branches point to various sections, with small signs hanging off them pointing to different sections of books.

Underneath the tree several sofas, cushiony armchairs and coffee tables have been placed haphazardly, all apparently mixed and match, creating a rather eclectic look. By the door a large dark cherry bar can be seen, long enough to seat about five people, on the simple oaken bar stools. A large silver espresso machine, sits in the middle along with a small glass case of baked goods. Behind the bar, several shelves of boxes various types of tea, mismatched coffee cups and plates, can be seen below a large black sign with the days menu. Often times, the store's manx cat, can be seen slinking through the store or hiding in the tree, trying to get one of the multicolored song birds that have made the tree their home.

Gilbert is also of the stripe to ignore the reputation of a place when he decides he wants to visit it. As he walks up to Books Unbound he ignores any untoward looks he gets with the haughtiness only royalty or trained actors can usually achieve. Once he's inside the store he shakes the snow off his coat, finds somewhere to hang it and starts making his way to the counter.

"Many thanks sir," Cooper pulls off her tacky fingerless gloves and reaches for the paper, eyeing the moving picture of Cassius Malfoy making his speech. There's disdain in the way her mouth curls into that subtle frown. "I'm doing as well as I can. Quite busy, but I'm glad to see this place back up to speed compared to how it was before the holidays." The distinct clink of a few bronze Knuts is payment for the coffee.

Over her shoulder, Cooper peers at the new arrival, and her gaze sails to his hair, which makes her press her lips together in thought. Certainly not natural. Though she can only think of one other person bold enough to do the same. Languages are mentioned. Cooper's blue eyes volley back and forth between Thomas and Gaillard. "Polyglots?" It's asked casually to no on in particular as she blows the steam from her coffee.

"Oh yes, actually. Nature's Nobility and a Black coffee," Beauclaire orders, deadpan, timed just as the notorious Gilbert Sullivan himself enters; combined with the highly political wardrobe, it may be hard though to discren whether either or both halves of Gally's quip are, in fact, intended to be humorous.

At that moment Cooper makes her curt, enigmatical one word incursion, and he swerves about towards her with surprising interest. "The novel? William Gerhardie. Not at all bad. Young Carrow here shelves it with the Muggle fiction for some reason,though anyone with even a hint of discrimination can tell Gerhardie was a Durmstrang man."

Thomas greets Gilbert as he enters, "Ah Mr. Sullivan!" he exclaims with a smile, of course he knows him, he has read and sells his book after all. "I loved your latest book." he says with a small nod and smile, "Would you care for coffee or tea today?" he says gesturing the man over, "Thomas Carrow, you of course don't know me, but I certainly know you." he says nodding taking another sip of his coffee. His attention turns back towards Cooper as she pays.

Picking up the Knuts he opens a register and tosses them in, he notices the look Cooper gives and shrugs a bit, "I still personally think it is all poppy cock." he says gesturing towards the paper, before presses his coffee to his head, "If we are talking the novel, I prefer Doom over Polygots." he says with a small wave of his hand, "If we are speaking of Linguists, that is the list of my current languages. Working on Latin right now." he says still pressing the coffee to his head.

"Ah, well he is shelved with muggle fiction because it is muggle fiction." Thomas says with a small wink and smirk, "Not everyone is quiet ready to blur the lines, as we are Mr. Beauclaire. Many people still refuse to see the muggles as capable of producing brilliant art and written works." he says with a small dismissive wave of his hand, "I however think that our two worlds often converge with each other, in the form of written work." he says nodding slowly.

And lo! the arrival of another customer in Mr Carrow's bustling emporium is heralded by the stentorian (well, she's doing her best, you can't say she isn't) barking of a small pug dog bundled up against the snow in a bright yellow jumper and a hat with two bobbles on it. Both bobbles have been chewed.

The other end of the procession is brought up by an enormous snow-speckled sable coat, accessorised with Fabia Fairfax's enormous smile and Fabia Fairfax's latest pair of enormous tinted sun-spectacles (how many has she lost lately? Every shop in Diagon Alley must have a pair of its own by now). She's carrying a white fur muff rather than a handbag; it is thence that the puppy's lead, as well as her hands, have disappeared, and she quite depends upon the gentleman on his way out of the shop to hold the door for her to make her way into it. "Oh, bless you, sweetie," she's saying, beaming a carmine smile up at him; when her eyes are drawn away along the length of the lead, to see what has Honey so excited, and there in today's rose-tinted world she espies: Cooper! Oooh, she would much rather have a Cooper than a new novel to read! Dog, and dowager doxy, descend in a herd upon the young Auror. "COOPER!" Fabia shrieks.

Gilbert just glances at Gaillard. He pauses for a long moment, his features schooled into a blank canvas as he hears the critic clump yet another Muggle author in amongst the Wizarding writers. A few seconds later he just shakes his head slightly and simply says, "Beauclaire, good morning." before turning his attention to Thomas, "Thank you very much, Mr. Carrow and yes. Could I get a coffee with a dash of cream, two sugars and a dash of cinnamon?"

Cooper raises her own brows, in surprise. She certainly didn't expect that answer. "The noun, actually. I wasn't aware there was a book. Is it worth the length to read it?" This asked of Gaillard and then turning to Thomas she follows up, "And is it available here?" For what is gift shopping if one doesn't purchase a small reward for oneself! Thomas' list of languages is certainly impressive and she grins saying, "Ahhh yes, you're the noun polyglot that I meant. After all those tongues, it's odd to pick up Latin now. Though I don't doubt you'll have no problem with it at this point."

Her next intention is to turn and see exactly who Mr. Sullivan is, except her name rings in the shrillest of sounds across the shop. It frightens her so much that she spills a bit hot coffee on her hand and subsequently on the floor. "Oh honestly Fabia!" she gives an exasperated but quite warm smile to the woman. Her hand is held out for Honey the pug to lick the caffiene off her fingers.

"Well, it's certainly an original work, flawed of course, as Gerhardie is so inclined, like most Durmstrang-schooled minds, to let an overinvolved theory ruin a perfectly clean, decent style," Gally rattles off happily, running a long, pallid, beringed hand through his hair. The mention of 'Doom' makes him grin - however apparently incongruously - but why will never be revealed. For he suddenly frowns in intense, almost painful concentration, on being greeted by Mr. Sullivan. What a painful dilemma; the other is a genuinely famous acquaintance with whom he has a certain amount in common, but also a pariah to purists upon whom he has just casually declared public war. After a visible struggle, curiosity prevails over prudence. "Why, Gilbert old fellow," Gally declares resoundingly, "it has been far too long. I did find your latest so…intriguant."

And then the next newcomer ruins a promising morning and freezes his face back in a state of thunder. Her again. The ambulant curse, who reduces him, as is her wont, to sullen silence while he inspects a mental quiverful of barbs.

Gilbert turns his gaze on Gaillard once he's put in his order and smiles slightly at him. Considering the phrasing of his words they're probably meant for Thomas even thought he keeps looking at his fellow writer, "Mr. Beauclaire here gave a similar opinion although apparently my new work seems to have had an unexpected effect on him. The book is meant to be a purely objective examination of the life of Squibbs and Muggle-born as they try to adjust to a new society but it seem some are taking it as a political treaty. It seems to have convinced Mr. Beauclaire that Unity is a good policy." His words are delivered with a tone that hints at amusment but his face sends a different message. One closer to confusion than amusement. Fabia and Cooper are spared a glance but since he 1) doesn't know them and 2) they are not part of the conversation all they get is a polite nod.

Thomas runs his hand through his hair taking a sip of his coffee, "Morning Fabia, Coffee or Tea?" he asks her with a small chuckle and shake of his head, he knows her, as she does have a subscription service of rather interesting books from him. Reaching under the bar he pulls out a small dog treat, "Is it okay if she has one?" she asks Fabia curiously waiting for her permission to give it to the dog.

As Gilbert makes his order, Thomas moves with his free hand pullign down a twisted and warped but stable, blue mug and sits it under the espresso machine, tapping it with his wand and doctoring the coffee as ordered, sitting it down on the bar, "Just let me know if you are looking for anything and of course you are going to have to sign a copy of your book for me." he says with a smirk at Gilbert.

"Actually I do, have it on the shelves again even I believe." he says nodding slowly, his free hand coming up and tapping his chin in thought, "Second Floor, right side, third book shelve, to the right, second shelf." he says still tapping his chin, "Or around those parts." he says with soft chuckle under his breath."As far as languages go, it started when I worked for I.M.C. learned langagues that were deemed important, truth be told lots of great works written in Latin that I would love to read." he says nodding.

"Can I get anyone some baked goods? The Banana bread is rather amazing today, I might note." He says with a smile, trying to stare the topic away from politics again.

"Oh, good morning, Thomas, sweetie," trills Fabia to the proprietor behind the bar; then her face falls fractionally. "Oh, she's being trained now, she's not supposed to have treats unless—" And she glances down at the glee with which her flat-faced companion is licking coffee from Cooper's fingers. "Oh, go on," she sighs, weakly. One hand, encased in a pearl-buttoned white evening glove with stains on two fingertips which match her lipstick, pops out of her white fur muff and tucks itself into Cooper's elbow. "I'm sure she'd love it," she confides to Thomas. "Tea for me, please. Well, perhaps just a sip of coffee first." Her hand glides down Cooper's arm to find her cup and (compounding the indignities the glove in question has suffered since she donned it yesterday evening, with a stain from the coffee splashed by her advent) lift it, held in both their hands, up to her lips for just a sip. Her shoulders quiver, once, beneath her furs. "Mmh! Thank you, sweetie." As though she'd left her friend any choice in the matter… She bestows beaming smiles upon all around — how pretty everyone looks in pink! — and — "Oh, Mister Beckley!" She lowers her chin to peer at him reprovingly over her sun-specs. "You still owe me a luncheon."

As for Gaillard, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, he is already regretting the not entirely fulsome notice he gave the said devil in the Prophet. Flashing Mrs Fairfax a jagged, insincere, wan little grimace of greeting, he moves closer to his fellow Oxford man and even extends his arm, hardly consciously, its hand quivering, towards him for mental and all but physical balance. "Gilbert old fellow," he insists in a sugared near-stutter, "you, you must see, it would, would undoubtedly be a r-r-rapid solution to all those, ah, incomparably moving problems you covered in such admirable detail…"

Cooper mutters under her breath, repeating Thomas' instructions in her head. "Second floor … right side … third … You know, I'll just figure it out. Thanks," she shakes her head. It's far to early for that. Without a second thought, she obliges Fabia with a sip of her drink and the crook of her arm like a perfect gentleman. Such intimacy between the two women is quite evident. But before Fabia can retract her hand, Cooper catches it in her own to eye the stains on the gloves. "Good morning. Or should I say good night?" she gives her a knowing smirk.

And suddenly her bright eyes widen at Gabriel's words, just before she breaks into a hearty, mocking laugh. "Unity?! A good policy?!" she exclaims between fits of laughter, pausing only to cough into the crook of her arm because her coffee went down the wrong tube. Cooper is certainly part of the conversation now. Though she leaves no explanation to her amusement, and continues to burn the banana bread olive branch with every snort.

Can it be that Gaillard Beauclaire yet resists the luscious charisma of Fabia Fairfax? Can it be that he prefers to deny his prandial indebtedness to her and flee into strictly masculine, strictly academic comradeship? … Well — Fabia pops her fur muff up onto the bar (a tiny spangled evening purse spills out of it, ignored) and adjusts the angle of her sun-specs the better to inspect this picturesque recurring specimen — perhaps. Perhaps. What's that he's got pinned to his fr— his robes now? Some sort of— brooch—

And Fabia is aware of Cooper clasping her hand, inspecting her in turn; and her fingers tighten upon her friend's. "You Aurors," she murmurs, "always so alert to detail. Darling, I don't know that I ought to have had that coffee, on top of all the—" She waves her other hand vaguely, twitching at Honey's lead, setting her off barking again. Oh, was anyone trying to read in here? "Do you know if one may sit down in a chair in here at all?" she inquires faintly, inclining her headscarfed henna'd head toward Cooper's blonde behatted one, and yet with one eye lingering upon Beauclaire.

Just this once, much to his surprise, Gally seems to have managed to put Fabia as out of sorts as quickly as she did him - and without even saying anything, or, really, looking her way at all! It's probably the sheer oddness and shock of this rather than any residual shed of his long abandoned snse of chivalry that makes him the first to respond to Mrs Fairfax's request, drawing out his wand, neatly levitating a pile of Russian (wizarding) books from a chair over to Thomas's desk, and motioning his enfuriating acquaintance to be seated.

Gilbert lets his eyes drift from person to person, taking in reaction and mannerisms like another person would sniff the bouquet of a glass of wine. After a few moments of this he finally answers Gaillard's comment, his lips spreading in a grin at Cooper's reaction to the conversation, "Au contrair. If you really study my book it highlights the challenges integration would bring. Think about it. If both societies treat their outliers the way they do when there is just a small number of them think about how they would react to what is essentially an invasion of the kind of people that many of them most revile and despise. Like I have told Mr. Malfoy on multiple occasions, Unity is a beautiful dream and an excellent ideal but almost impossible to make work in reality. And if we /can/ make it work it is going to take much more finesse, preparation, and time than what he is proposing."

Once his little speech is made and after he's given time for Cooper to finish coughing he asks her, "I assume you believe Unity to be a bad idea as well?"

Cooper gives Fabia's gloved fingers an affecionate kiss before relinquishing them. "They pay me well enough. I might as well be able to do my job adequately," she shrugs non-chalantly, and moves forward to scoop Honey from her friend's arms, "Let me have her a while, the poor dear. I think she could use a different set of warmth at this hour." But the oddly tense manners of the dandy literary stranger aren't lost on this sharp witch. Unfortunately, Cooper isn't one to beat around the proverbial bush either. "She hits you like a flash bang at first, but Mrs. Fairfax really is a gentle soul." There it is. That knowing smirk of hers oncemore. "But I suspect you already have an idea of that."

She has been listening to Gilbert this whole time though! She swears. "It's a terrible idea," she says flatly while cradling the pug like a baby against her shoulder, "Though I'm not so much concerned of our well-being or out treatment so much as I am concerned over muggle-kind. The Statute protects them, I believe, almost as much if not more than it protects us. You say you wrote a book on it? What is the title?" Even if she isn't familiar with the literary world, there is a burning in Cooper's eyes. Vestiges of a young suffragette that has been tucked away but likes to wake every now and then.

Fabia looks at the chair which has been so kindly emptied for her as though it were a dentist's rather than a bookseller's; but indicates her gratitude for Beauclaire's gesture with a nod and a deliberate smile, even as she relinquishes Honey (lead and bobble hat and all) into the arms of the friend who was so exquisitely, devilishly thoughtful as to bestow her in the first place. Her sable coat sways about her as she takes three or four gliding steps to her newly-appointed throne — she snuggles deep down into coat and cushions, crossing her silk-stockinged ankles, and doesn't the least bit listen to the discussion going on over her head. It is either too early in the morning or too late at night for that sort of thing, and whichever it is, she can't follow it. The cup of tea she requested arrives via shop assistant, Thomas having been called away. She rests it perilously upon the arm of the chair whilst she admires how good Cooper always is with Honey, and unbuttons the wrist of one stained glove, eases her hand free, tucks the fingers up inside the sleeve.

"Aha…well…far be it from me to dissent from an expert of your distinction, and vintage," Beauclaire murmurs in his hand-picked favourite tone of disingenuous attack, eyes glinting and mouth watering at the glinting proximity of journalistic advantage, "but…'if we can make it work'? That already sounds just a little like a concession to me…"

With a deep, satisfied, sigh, he develops the theme, "Besides, it seems to me that more exact, accurate knowledge of 'the other' would serve to counter the many absurd prejudices you so…substantially laid out each community practising against Muggleborns and Squibs, their own. Why, to this day my father and brother are kept firmly Obliviated by my mother, who is convinced they would turn against us, their own nearest and, well, relatively speaking, dearest, if they knew our nature! So absurd of her. If pater knew how rich we Princes really are, he'd kiss his wife for the first time in a decade, I expect…"

Gilbert arches an expressive eyebrow at Gaillard's hint that he's conceeding and answers back with, "Not a concession at all since its a stance I have maintained since the beginning. And yes, Miss… Did I hear Cooper at some point? But yes, the Statute protects both the Wizarding community and the Muggle community. More knowledge might counter some of the prejudices or it might engender even more fear and cause even more conflict on both sides." With a shrugs he takes a sip from his now luke warm coffee, "Do we dare take the risk? Especially since the Muggles have shown themselves, over and over, to be highly intollerant as a group. even if I do know some magnificent and gentle souls individually."

"Ah, I see! You represent the rhetoric of fear over hope, just like Herr Grindelwald," Gally glosses glibly. "Might I tell dear Mr. Carrow's betrothed Miss Rowle as much? I'm sure she'll be thrilled to quote you on the matter. But for now, alas, Gilbert old man, I must bid you ta ta, and tinkerty-tonk." Mr. Beauclaire is more noted for apparition than good manners, as Fabia will have yet another opportunity to note, when he cracks, pops and fizzles from sight before her enshaded eyes.

God forbid Cooper handle an actual, human child. But a young pup? Not a problem. She can listen and contribute to a political conversation, and care for another life all at once. She is the modern woman! "Yes, yes I know. We'll take this thing off and let you breath." You heard her correctly. The bobble hat is removed much to the relief of Honey, who lays her head more languidly on against Cooper's neck. She throws a look to Fabia before saying, "Why on earth would you subject her to long hours of this." This being the dreaded, chewed bobble hat.

"While money is quite a helpful medium for reconciliation - just look at the Kindertransport mess - not every witch or wizard is made of it. And - Mr. Beckly was it? - there are plenty of accounts of mundane parents abandoning their magical child," Cooper adresses Gaillard head on. "As Mr. Sullivan here explains, it's likely out of fear. He may choose to label it as intolerance, but I see it as the very natural fear of the unfamiliar. They're afraid. And perhaps they should be, not because we're magical, but because we're human and subject to greed and thirst of power in addition to our abilities-" Oh but she can't continue on. For Gaillard disappears and with him, his ears for listening.

"It's a matching set, sweetie," Fabia protests in a feeble tone; and seems to breathe out a trifle more deeply when the air is filled more with snaps, crackles, and pops than pallid and disingenuous literary critics. Not that anyone's looking at her, as she sits and sips her tea, save Cooper in reproach.

Gilbert leans up agains the counter top, nodding with agreement to pretty much all of Cooper's points. When Gaillard decides to disappear before waiting for the answer to his questions both of Gilbert's eyebrows climb up his forhead then he lets out a sigh. "Well. That is not at all a surprise. Mr. Beauclaire had hand a tendency for avoiding debates he can not win for a while. Althought the truth of the matter is, this is an unwinnable debate for either side. I would not call my reticence fear but instead educated concern however the only way to see which group is in the right is to actually try to unify both societies. But if at that point Preservationists are proven to be the correct group then it will be too late to go back to teh old status quo…" Taking another sip from his coffee he looks around the shop and remember back to the events that took place here a few months ago, "This place is the perfect example of why we should not look for Unity. Even such a small effort like offering Muggle literature for sale caused a riot." And as an after thought he adds, "he Joys and Pains of Integration: An examination of the difficulties of Muggle born wizards integrating into Wizarding Society and Squibs integrating into Muggle Society. I will warn you, it is meant to be a text book for advanced Muggle Studies."

Cooper blinks, confused and still staring at where Gaillard had just disappeared. She bounces up and down silently for the puppy's sake while patting her on the back. She's quite the happy docile creature despite the political heat in the room. "Where on earth did you find a character like that?" she quirks a brow at Fabia.

Turning back to Gabriel, she sighs and shrugs, "Yes unfortunately, correctness tends to always be late. I can admire enough Malfoy and any other Unity members eagerness and intrepid initiative to change the tides. But unfortunately, most of the founding members of the Unity party are purebloods and lack the knowledge of that 'other' Mr. Beckly described." She holds a gentlemanly hand out for Gilbert, "Mr. Sullivan right? You deserve a proper introduction. Geneive Cooper, MLE. I'm a muggleborn." There's a strange look on her face, as if she had forgotten the sound of that word from her mouth. "And I'm quite interesting in this topic so I'll be sure to read your work. Especially if you and I are on the same page-"

A pause. There's an odd tickle she's feeling. And immediately she moves to deposit Honey into Gilbert's arms. Hopefully, he'll take her for she immediately begins heading to the exit. "I've dropped something important Fabia. I'll be back!" And off she runs down the Alley.

"Well, I found him in the bar at the Dorchester, boozing grimly with the most dreadful people," Fabia sighs to Cooper, "and he seems to have been everywhere ever since… Though he tells me he didn't write that paragraph about me in the Prophet, so I suppose that's one point in his favour. He doesn't know who did, though." She sighs again, distractedly, and takes a soothing gulp of her tea — beneath the French scent and the satin evening frocks and the defiantly henna'd hair, beats the heart of a British woman who paddles round the tea-pot almost as habitually as the gin-bottle. "Oh, have you got to? Oh," she murmurs, nibbling her lip, sitting up a whit straighter in her armchair to look after her rapidly retreating friend. "I wonder what?"

And she beams gloriously up at Gilbert, because he's next. "You're a Mr Sullivan, I think I heard…? The puppy's mine, I'm afraid, thank you for being an angel and holding her while I… get up…" The lipstick-stained cup clatters into the saucer and Fabia puts them down again on the arm of her chair. Its hold proves tenacious upon her small, heavily-fur-coated figure; she giggles, rolls her eyes to the heavens, and extends the hand which has had its glove peeled back and tucked up, fully expecting to be helped to her feet. By the same total stranger who has already been dragooned into dealing with her dog.

The door swings open with a flourish as the tall, well dressed blond figure of Alistair enters the shop with his normal confidence. A harried valet walks behind the man practically buried in packages. "Mr Travers sir…I don't think the library needs any more books…we have plenty." Alistair raises a brow at the man. "Who said it was for my library Rodger? I

Kahren steps inside, walking to the shelves and walking along them, her hand trailing along the spines. She pauses occasionally, pulling one out to inspect it, flipping through some pages, and then putting it back. She's not entirely sure /what/ would catch her fancy - but some cheerful and diverting fluff wouldn't go amiss.

The door swings open with a flourish as the tall, well dressed blond figure of Alistair enters the shop with his normal confidence. A harried valet walks behind the man practically buried in packages. "Mr Travers sir…I don't think the library needs any more books…we have plenty." Alistair raises a pale brow at the man and huffs. "Who said it was for my library Rodger? I am buying books for mother's birthday…She always loved to read." He looks around trying to decide whether or not he should just buy the whole store or just a few sections as the man behind him sweats in fear of having to carry even more.

Gilbert shakes Coopers hand, "A pleasure, truly." And then he's catching dogs and staring at her retreating back. He holds the dog up to his face with both hands only to quickly tuck the squirming animal under one arm when it threatens to lick his face and starts yapping at him, "Nice puppy…" is about all he has to say about that if mumbling it in a half-hearted way counts as saying.

When Fabia makes to stand up he does indeed help her to her feet. Indeed he had already started to offer a hand before she extended out her own, "Mr. Gilbert Sullivan at your service." His voice carries, even when he's not trying. Too many years of treading the boards showing in this small way.

Guy lips into the bookshop, glancing around with the air of one slightly jaded by existence, but still determined that some day he will see something new. Today does not appear to be it.

Kahren picks up another book, turning to look the other day - and her gaze sweeps over Alistair and his man. Oh… dear. She lets out a quiet sigh, ready to turn away with Guy enters a moment later. The squib is greeted with a smile, one hand rising in greeting.

"How do you do?" Fabia sighs delightedly. She enjoys a good voice; it earns Gilbert the second, deeply appraising glance from her which his balding head and the set of matching luggage beneath his eyes would, entre nous, not. "I'm Fabia Fairfax. And you've already met Honey! … Oh, now where did I…?"

Has Guy ever before seen a small henna-haired woman in rose-tinted sun-spectacles and a vast sable coat scooping up from the floor a tiny yellow woolly hat with two well-chewed bobbles on it — and restoring it to the head of a squirming pug puppy clasped gingerly beneath the arm of a gentleman attempting to affect a courtly introduction? Yes? Well, has he seen such a woman turning suddenly upon the heel of her burgundy satin evening shoe (dyed to match the protruding hem of her frock; and at this hour of the morning, too!), as though warned by some sixth sense above and beyond magic, and shrieking, "FRID!"

Guy winces slightly, and limps quietly out of the way. Such harridans, of course, are best avoided. Kahren's wave is greeted by one of his own, a raising of hand.

The Frid in question has sadly seen both all too often, but to be spotted as he's barely in the door is a new one. Still, this is Frid, ever unruffled, ever professional. "Mrs. Fairfax," he responds to the shriek, resisting the urge to poke a finger in his ear to check it still works after that, and instead folding his hands behind his back and looking around the place bemusedly.

Kahren invites the man over with a gesture - and then, seeming to remember the difficulties his injured leg gives him, starts in his direction as well. "A pleasure to see you again, Mister Grosvenor. The first potion we decided to try has been helping, I hope?"

Guy gives a faint smile, "Yes. It's a little easier. Although not entirely sure it should make my water that colour! You could have warned me!"

Kahren can't help but let out a quiet laugh, one hand going up to cover her mouth. "Oh. Gracious. I should have- well. That's something we all learned in our early potions class, and it somehow never occured to me that- Well. It should have done. I apologize."

Alistair is holding an internal debate and doesn't see Kahren just yet. He looks to his package carrying valet and questions him. "Okay Rodgers. Do I buy out the whole shop or just the sections with mystery and drama novels?" Rodgers lets out a long suffering sigh trying to hide his horror. "Sir..might I suggest just buying the Lady Travers some custom jewlery?" Alistair smiles sweetly at him. "Oh I already ordered a custom piece for her we are going to pick it up after we are done here." The valet nods in defeat as his boss walks further into the store looking around with a critical eye.

Gilbert knows that second look he gets all too well. Once again, a gift of all his years on stage. Fame has its own allure and he has been the recepient of that look enough time to know it well. Even thought his expression shows nothing but polite interest in meeting a new person his relief at Frid's entrance and the distraction he provides could be guessed from his next words, "Mrs. Fairfax? A pleasure to make your aquaintance. And Honey's of course." The dog under his arm get a pat on the head as soon as he has a free hand then it is offered back to Fabia when she is on her feet and ready and able to take the pup back. "And I assume that is /not/ Mr. Fairfax given the formality of his greeting?"

As usual Gilbert isn't one to keep his eyes on only the people he is speaking to, instead roaming the shop and taking in the rest of the customer's coming and going.

Fabia emits a not-quite-ladylike little snort of laughter. "Oh, no, sweetie, Frid's my valet," she explains, as though this fact is so obvious as to beggar belief. She retrieves Honey from Gilbert (lead trailing) and transfers her straight into her loyal servant's custody. "Oh, Frid, I know I said I'd be in the apothecary, but suddenly I thought how nice it would be to have something new to read, I haven't anything much in Hogsmeade at all… Mr Sullivan, I do apologise, I'm afraid she has such a fluffy winter coat at present— rather like her mama—" She has whipped out a crumpled lacy handkerchief and is dabbing at his winter coat with it, chasing away the short pale hairs her dog has deposited upon him in such plenitude.

Frid accepts the puppy with quiet resignation, although he doesn't quite stoop to the level of holding her, instead crouching to set her down on the ground to snuffle around his trouser legs, while keeping a close hold on her leash. All this while maintaining good posture, and while somehow, through some unidentified form of not-magic, just being unobtrusive, part of the furniture. When Fabia finishes with the handkerchief, he's there, at her side, somehow managing to move from the door to beside his employer without actually being seen to move, ready to accept the soiled lace and tuck it away who knows where and replace it with a fresh handkerchief without a word needing to be said.

Guy grunts, "Yes. But some of us didn't _learn_ how to do potions, did we?" There's an air of strained patience to the man.

Thomas returns from being in the back room and blinks with all the new individuals who have come into his store. Sitting down a stack of books he raises his hand in greeting, "Oh Hello Hello! Would anyone like some coffee or tea?" he asks curiously, looking at everyone.

"I realize," Kahren replies, apology in both her voice and expression. "It just… it slipped my mind, in the moment, that you wouldn't have. I should be more aware of these things. I am sorry." As Thomas returns, she looks up, shaking her head. She won't be staying much longer. "I was thinking of getting this, though," she responds, holding up the book in her hand.

Guy waves a hand, and makes a tutting noise, "Oh, think nothing of it." Thomas gets a, "Tea would be awfully nice." And he sinks down into a couch with a little sigh, "But thank you. The leg is considerably easier, actually."

"I'm very glad to hear it," Kahren responds with a relieved smile. "I'm only sorry you had to suffer with it all this time. I hope you'll feel comfortable enough to come seek us out at St. Mungo's if you've ever need again…?"

Gilbert is too much of a gentleman to shrink away from Fabia as she starts to brush doggy fur off his clothing. He smiles ever so slightly as he says, "Pay it no mind, Mrs. Fairfax. These old rags need to be laundered regardless so that should take care of it." Once Fabia is done he nods politely at Frid, "Well, Mr. Frid. I do enjoy meeting new people. Welcome to the party."

Twisting to the side a little bit he places the misshapen blue mug that had recently contained his own coffee and smiles at Thomas, "Thank you for the coffee. If you are kind enough to bring a copy of the book I would be happy to sign it for you."

Guy gives a slight nod, "Actually, yes. I rather thought you felt it might be worth trying different things to see what works best?"

Thomas nods at Kahren, "Good choice." he says as Guy gets back to him on the Tea, moving towards the bar to brew some tea. "Ah yes, I have one behind the bar here, Mr. Sulivan." he says with a nod as he reaches under it as the espresso machine roars to life, pulling out a copy of the book and sitting it on the bar top, "What kind of tea would you prefer?" he asks guy curiously.

"Well, there are other potions we can try. There's one that often seems particularly effective - but it does take time to build up, so I'm afraid you may be in quite a bit of pain at first…" Kahren explains, a touch of regret in her voice. "And as much as I'd like to stay and discuss it, I am expected home today. I'd best buy this and go." She smiles at Guy, waiting for his reply before making her way to the counter to pay.

"Oh, are you an author, Mr Sullivan?" inquires Fabia in rapt fascination — having missed this, having missed such a lot of things, when earlier she was having her nice quiet sit-down in the armchair which nearly ate her up. "What's your book about?" She tucks her fresh handkerchief away in the pocket from whence the original one issued, without any apparent awareness that it is a fresh handkerchief. "Would I like it?" Dread, dread question. Particularly from a woman who looks as though the latest Nancy Mitford might weigh down unduly whatever grey cells have survived the onslaught of scent, hairspray, and yes, that's gin on her breath, before noon. But let's be charitable. As Cooper established before rushing out and leaving Gilbert to hold the dog, it isn't an early morning — it's a late night.

Frid carefully gathers the dead teacup, still stained with Fabia's distinctive lipstick, from the edge of the armchair, offering it over to Thomas with a brief nod of thanks. And then it's hands folded behind his back once more, waiting for Fabia to finish her business (her business which appears to be Being Fabia at poor, unsuspecting authors), and trying to keep the puppy from chewing anything vital.

The puppy had a lick of coffee from Cooper's fingers earlier and in consequence is feeling quite delicious.

Gilbert takes the books from Thomas and shows Fabia the cover, which reads: 'he Joys and Pains of Integration: An examination of the difficulties of Muggle born wizards integrating into Wizarding Society and Squibs integrating into Muggle Society'. Once she has had a chance to soak in the long title he opens the book to the first blank page and signs it,

May Muggles forever fascinate and entertain you!
Gilbert Sullivan'

Once the book is signed he slides it back to Thomas, making sure to avoid any liquid on the bartop then smiles graciously at Fabia, "That would depend. I will admit its probably a rather dry read as it focuses on the experiences of Muggles and Squibs trying to intergrate into societies that little understand or want them, from an academic's point of view."

Thomas smiles, "Thanks Mr. Sullivan." he says as he takes the book and finishes making the tea and he collects the coins for the book being paid for, "Thanks please come again." he says with a small nod, bringing the tea over to Guy with a smile, "Anything else I can help anyone out with today?" he asks tilting his head curiously.

Fabia regards this tome for a long moment with eyes which are so tired and which do need a little while to focus upon such long words; her hand behind her back, snuggled up against her fur, gives Frid what she thinks is the secret signal. (Her signals, having an improvisational quality, are so often secrets even from him.) "Well, sweetie," she says to Gilbert with determined brightness, "I don't think we need a book to tell us about things like that, but how good of you to write one. I'm sure reading it will help a great many people think about the lives of others with more sympathy; and that can only be of benefit to us all. It was such a pleasure to meet you, but, do you know, I'm not sure anymore that I… Frid, hadn't we one more errand before we're off to the pub?" She tilts her head, affecting surprise to find her valet so close behind her, and her discarded white fur muff and spangled evening bag already in his hands.

Guy waves a hand towards Thomas, "Hot and wet." Well, yes. Presumably that relates to tea. And then to the author, he says seriously, "And they wouldn't treat you lot like the 'Other' in their midst, like's happening in Germany?" He sounds deeply skeptical.

The muff and the bag are handed over to Fabia, and Frid dips his head. "We do, madam," he agrees solemnly, adding towards Gilbert, "I'm so sorry, sir, but I must insist that Mrs. Fairfax gets on. I'm sure it's been a delight to meet you."

Gilbert nods slightly at Fabia and Frid, completely nonplussed at her reaction to his book. "I would not dream of making a lady late for her appointments. I hope you both have an excellent day." Social niceties ot of the way he turns his attention to Guy and his comment, "In both my experience and my studies, humans tend to be draw to others like themselves. So, yes, a large enough group of Muggle-born or of Squibs would probably treat either Muggles or pure blood wizards as outsiders. And I would be willing to bet they would treat them just as badly as well."

It's beyond Fabia's control. Obviously. She favours Gilbert with a Gallic shrug; tucks hands and bag alike into her fur muff; and repeats, "Such a pleasure." To Thomas, "I'll come in next week and see if you have my delivery from Paris, mmm? Bless you." And then, trailing Frid and Honey (both of them by now accustomed to walking in her cloud of scent), she sails out of the bookshop, bookless. Well, if you want a thing done methodically, don't call Fabia Fairfax. And she'll forget to call you.

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