(1939-01-24) The Crowded Lunch Hour
Details for The Crowded Lunch Hour
Summary: With the Leaky Cauldron bursting at its seams due to its usual lunch-time rush, new arrivals tend to converge on Rhyeline's table near the fireplace.
Date: Friday, January 24, 1939
Location: Leaky Cauldron

The lunch-time rush is in full swing. It didn't take long at all for the Leaky Cauldron to reach full capacity. All the stools at the bar creek under the weight of working wizards while every table crowding into the cramped, angular room has at least one occupant.
One such occupant sits at the smallest table near the fireplace. Eyes lowered, she gazes throughtfully into her glass of mulled wine. Standing not far against the wall, her two guardwitches seem rather on edge. There is far too much jostling and animated conversing in their young charge's vicinity for their comfort.

Bailey hurries into the pub from Diagon Alley, scanning the room hopefully, her mouth stretched in a worried grimace. She sighs at just how packed the place is. But when her eyes catch Rhyeline, she perks up a bit. Approaching from an obvious angle to be sure the guardwitches can see and identify her, she gives Rhyeline a muted smile. "Rhyeline, hello. This is a nice surprise. Um…" She glances back over her shoulder at the complete lack of available tables.

Rhyeline blinks and peeks up at Bailey through her lashes. At once, a soft smile warms her young features. "Hello, Bailey…" Leaning forward as she rests her glass of wine upon the table, she tilts her head to the side. With a warm, inviting smile, she murmurs, "Would you like to join me?"

Duncan Potter is next to enter about the time Bailey gets to Rhyeline's table. He saw her enter from the street, so he knew she was already in here, but he hadn't been himself for the last few weeks, where he would have previously just given quite the volumed greeting to her from up the street, today he's quite docile. Bailey would know that meant something was bothering him, along with him not attending the family christmas when his schedule was definately open. Something was amiss.
He steps into the pub, looking around and spotting Bailey, but not making so much of an obvious path towards the table, since he wasn't aware just yet of Rhyeline and her guardwitches. And why one would be cautious to walk directly toward their table. He was even a little sneaky about it, trying to sneak up on Bailey, maybe to give her a start with even the simplest of greetings. "Hello, sister." He would say, that is if the guardwitches didn't take him out first.

Being an experienced guardwitch herself, Bailey isn't easy to get the jump on. Especially not when reading the reactions of the other two guardwitches at the "sneaky" approach of Duncan. She just smiles, looking over her should at her brother. "Hello, Duncan. Nice try. Ah, Rhyeline, I'd love to join you…if you don't mind my brother's company as well. This is Duncan. Duncan, Miss Rhyeline Diderot. We were supposed to meet for lunch, but…" Again, she gestures to the packed house.

Rhyeline blinks, rather surprised when Bailey introduces Duncan as her brother. With a touch of cautious curiosity, her dark gaze flickers from one to the other. Peeking back up at Bailey, little Rhyeline nods. "Of course. If- if you like, I- I hadn't intended to linger long…"

Duncan has something of a defeated look on his face when Bailey just gives him the normal hello. Upon introduction to Rhyeline, he narrows his eyes to her, "I believe we've met before. My memory isn't serving me as well as it should lately. Had a lot on my mind," and going to shut up now, as he clasps his hands in front of himself and looks between them, a small smile plastered upon his features. A fake one, to anyone who knows him, but he's trying to stay pleasant right now.

"Thank you, Rhyeline." Bailey turns to Duncan before sitting, extending her arms for a light hug. She's not the most physically affectionate woman these days — a departure from her younger self. But for her brother, she softens at least a bit. Sitting down beside Rhyeline, she arches an eyebrow at Duncan. "So you two know each other?"

Rhyeline ducks her head slightly when Duncan narrows his eyes at her. Her dark gaze flickers to her glass of mulled wine before she glances once more to Bailey. "Yes… We- we knew each other at… at Hogwarts…" She takes a small sip of mulled wine, studying Duncan from over the brim of the glass.

Duncan's eyes widen and he smiles, "Oh my goodness, I feel so terrible. Yes, she is the reason I had any grades at all to speak of." Nothing like a mistake while you're feeling down to make you feel worse. "I'm sorry, lot on my mind lately." And he stands there in front of the table where both women were now sitting. He puts his hands in his coat pockets, looking like he's peering around for something else to talk about other than thimself. Oh, look at that, a ceiling! No, this isn't working. The male just looks like he could jump out of his own skin and it would be a more comfortable fit.

Bailey lifts her brow in surprise. "You tutored my brother at Hogwarts? You should have said something." She peers at Duncan, worry creasing her brow. "Dunc…what's going on? You seem on edge."

"I didn't realise that- that he was your brother," murmurs Rhyeline before looking once more to Duncan. Though she does not know the quidditch player well, she can tell that something is wrong.

"Hm? Oh, don't worry about me," he lifts his hands to rub his face, and the signs of lacking sleep were actually subtly there. He'd done well to hide them however he could, but they still lingered, especially after he rubbed his eyes. "Nothing I can't handle, promise. I'll be fine." One hand disconnected from rubbing his eye to wave Bailey's question off, and he was terribly hiding that something was really bothering him. Probably to talk about later, or he didn't expect someone else to be here today sitting with them. Speaking of which, he finds the third seat to the table, face now red from all the attention he just gave himself and looks between the other two. "You didn't? I thought it was kinda obvious." He smiles at Rhye, pointing between himself and Bailey. "Of course, might be hard to tell, considering I'm the better looking one by such leaps and bounds."

Bailey smirks, shrugging. "True, he is. But don't tempt me to make you wrong." She gives her brother a teasing smirk. There is a lightness that comes about Bailey in the presence of Duncan, not often seen in public. "So…was that all it was? Tutoring? I'm curious now, about what kind of relationship you had." She glances from one to the other.

Rhyeline bites her lower lip, sensing that Duncan has something he needs to talk to his sister about, but won't in the presence of another. She sets her glass on the table. It's almost empty anyways. But at Bailey's question, the girl hesitates. "Oh… I… I'm afraid that- that I…" She glances at Duncan. "I never said much… Just… made corrections…"

Duncan looks at Bailey, deftly changing the tone of things, thank you sis! "Oh, nononono," he denies there being any other type of relationship than tutoring. "It was just tutoring." One of the few people he was unconciously nervous around, his own sister. Only for the fact he's just about following in her footsteps. "She was a fine tutor. And that was all." He reiterates the third time. Eyeing Bailey as he says it, then giving a kind look to Rhyeline.

Bailey looks between them, brow creased suspiciously. "You didn't say much…" She gives Duncan a playfully accusatory stare. "Tell me that you weren't just using her. Rhyeline, you got something out of this arrangement, didn't you? Please tell me you did."

Rhyeline blinks at the flood of Duncan's protests. The subtle implication that there had been something between them had flown right over her head. At Bailey's question, Rhyeline looks a bit lost. "I…" Hesitating, she bites her lower lip and glances to Duncan.

Duncan now looks a little flustered. "What? All I said was she was my tutor, that's it." He looks at Rhye. If there had been anything there, he would have told her afterward, right? There would have been contact after the fact. After graduation. Rhye biting her lower lip and Bailey accusingly looking at him, he chuckles a bit, reaching up to rub at the back of his head. "Is there something I'm missing? Something I can't see?"

Bailey shrugs, shaking her head. "I'm just wondering how this arrangement came about. Surely, Rhyeline didn't just pick up your assignments one day and start correcting them." She chuckles…and then ponders whether that could be exactly what happened.

"Oh… his- his Quidditch captain… he asked me to…" murmurs Rhyeline as she takes up her glass of mulled wine and warms her hands against its sides.

Duncan looks warily at Bailey until Rhyeline brings up the reason that she was asked to give him the extra tutelage. He gives Bailey a very smug look. As if he defeated her logic without having to lift a finger. Or Rhyeline defeated it, by using that important piece of information to deflate the possibility that Rhyeline or Duncan somehow initiated that themselves way back when.

"Ahhh," Bailey nods slowly. "Now I understand. You had to keep your grades up to keep playing." She sighs, giving Duncan an smile of endearment. "Well, thank you, Rhyeline. It paid off, and now my brother has a wonderful Quidditch career." There is a noticeable undertone of tension in her words.

Rhyeline blinks at the tension in Bailey's tone. Knowing nothing of her off-duty guardwitch's past as a Quidditch player, the little one isn't quite sure what to make of the undertone in her words. "You're… you're welcome…" She glances from brother to sister.

Alaric enters the Leaky Cauldron with a serious expression that softens at the sight of the bar. Whatever worries he carries with him, slowly evaporate as he walks further in, offering a grin here and there to familiar faces.
But two familiar faces catch his attention. Blue-green eyes settle on both Bailey and Rhyeline. He approaches their table. "Ladies and gent," he offers in way of a general greeting. "Ms. Potter," eyes go from Bailey to Rhyeline, "Ms. Diderot?" He looks for confirmation there, before he turns to Duncan and offers a polite nod and a grin. "How are you all today?"

Duncan clears his throat. Awkward silence ensues. He looks from Bailey to Rhyeline. Eyes settling on Rhyeline for a minute, then he thinks how things might have been different if he'd become interested in Rhyeline. Course, was he at any point? His pondering makes it turn into some long-distance stare at the lady of smaller stature at their table.

The guardwitches standing not far away notice Duncan's stare. One of them folds her arms. Rhyeline peers curiously up at Alaric, not quite recognizing him. Nonetheless, she returns his polite nod. It is then that she notices Duncan watching her. The girl shifts a bit in her chair, turning a bit pink as she looks to Bailey.

Bailey looks up at the approach of Alaric, offering him her usual restrained smile. "Oh, hello. Healer Umbridge, it's been a while." She looks around at the other tables, which are still quite full. "Would you like to join us? There aren't many seats available." She glances back to Rhyeline and Duncan for approval, which is when she notices Duncan's stare, and delivers him a kick to his foot under the table.

"It has been, hasn't it?" Alaric offers to Bailey, glancing at both Duncan, Rhyeline and now including the guardwitches in his gaze. He follows Bailey's look around the pub and taking a deep breath, smiles. "It appears you're right, but I wouldn't want to impose," he notes. "And please, call me Alaric. We're not in St. Mungo's and I've always felt pubs and bars are the great equalizer, when it comes to names."

Duncan was lost in thought when Bailey kicks him, and his eyes go wide and he starts coughing, not even noticing that Alaric had arrived, much less had just about not recognized the probably most famous person at the table. Well, if you only follow politics, you might not recognize the Arrows Beater. Duncan stands up, jolting into the conversation again, "Yes, not many seats to join on, but you can eat us, quite right." He nods to the other man in a greeting, and sits back down, reaching down to wince and rub his ankle.

Rhyeline is about to take another sip of mulled wine when the word 'healer' makes her grow rather still. A subtle caution settles upon the girl as she looks over at Alaric. However, at Bailey's glance, Rhyeline gives a small nod of approval before sneaking a peek at Duncan, not quite sure what to make of him.

"Alright then," Bailey says, "Just Alaric. Call me Bailey. You seem to know Miss Diderot. This is my brother, Duncan Potter." Perhaps the name will trigger recognition, if Alaric is a sports fan. "Duncan, Alaric works in Artefact Accidents. We run into each other now and then when I visit Healer Rowle."

Duncan nods, offering Alaric his hand in a handshake of greeting. "Well, good to meet you," and hearing how Bailey runs into him on her way to Rowle, Duncan winces, still remembering why he plays at all.

Alaric tends to spent his time at two places. St. Mungo's and the pubs. So while not much of a sports fan, he's not that much a hermit that recognition eludes this time around. "I know of Miss Diderot," he offers, smiling in her direction, "But a pleasure to actually meet you," and then takes Duncan's hand. "Well met, Mr. Potter, I'm sorry I didn't recognize you earlier. I spend far too much time at St. Mungos, I'm sure my colleagues would say," he smirks at this. Joining the table. "And Bailey it is," eyes fall back on her, before he looks around. "Anyone cares for a drink? On me."

Bailey lifts a hand, shaking her head. "Tempting, but I'll pass. I don't actually have much time. I just came to meet with Duncan, and got a lucky surprise running into you and Rhyeline." She turns to her brother, brow lifted in worry. "Dunc…we'll talk soon, okay? Come by my place, or we can meet somewhere. We should catch up."

Duncan nods to Bailey, offering her a wave of goodbye, "Definately, I need to talk.. to you." About something important. But Duncan nods, and he looks at Rhye, but that's cut short as Alaric offers up a drink on him. Aha! "Sure, I'll take one, or twelve." A hand up to rub his temple.

"Next time then," Alaric says to Bailey, with a small nod and then grins at Duncan. "That's a good man," he waves over a waitress and gets ready to put some orders in. Firewhisky for himself at least. He glances at Rhyeline in case she wants anything.

"Oh… I-" Rhyeline hesitates, glancing down at the glass in her hand. With a cautious nod, she peeks back up at Alaric and murmurs, "Yes please… a- a mulled wine?" As Bailey prepares to head off, the little one offers her a soft smile. "It was good to see you."

Bailey rises, and moves over to hug Duncan. Giving Alaric a friendly nod, she then leans down to hug Rhyeline as well. "It was good to see you, too." She clings for a few extra seconds before finally letting go. "Take care," she says to everyone, and makes her way out of the tavern.

Duncan raises a finger to the waitress, "I'll have a bourbon. Double, no rocks, please." He looks at Rhyeline, eyenarrowing a bit softer now than he did earlier, "I didn't know you drank." Wine, bourbon, scotch, firewhiskey, it was all the same to him. Alcohol = drinker. A wave given to Bailey's back as she leaves.

"Catch you later, Bailey," Alaric offers to the departing woman, before nodding at both Duncan and Rhyeline. The order is in, and it doesn't take long for the waitress to come back with the drinks. "Looks like your sister left you two saddled with me," he notes, amused. "And you two look like you have some catching up to do on your own." He drains his firewhisky in one shot. "And I, have a niece that I need to meet with, and will yell at me if I'm too late. Sill, a pleasure to meet you both. Enjoy your drinks." He rises then.

Rhyeline closes her eyes, returning Bailey's hug tightly in those extra few seconds. The little one seems much warmed and reassured by the hug. However, her shyness seems to have deepened as well as she sneaks a cautious glance over at the two men. Rhyeline blinks a bit at Duncan's surprise. Nodding, she murmurs, "Sometimes… never much though…" Though a bit puzzled when Alaric announces his abrupt departure, little Rhyeline offers him a small nod. "Thank you…"

Well… this turned out a little different than he expected. "Um.. he gets his drink, cheerses to Alaric as he makes his own departure, and looks at Rhyeline. "Well… um… to good old times?" He lifts his glass up to her, offering the toast before he'd try to take the first sip.

Alaric flashes a grin as they have their drinks, raising his empty glass, and flagging a waitress to take it away, as well as dropping the money to cover their drinks. "Cheers, Miss Diderot, Potter," he tells them, before he steps away from the table. As he walks away, he grows a little pensive, continuing on his way out.

Rhyeline accepts her drink and warms her hands against its sides. With a small nod at Duncan's words, she lifts her glass before taking a sip. "It… it /is/ good to see you again… Duncan…" she murmurs in a rather soft tone.

Duncan looks at Rhyeline, her somewhat compliment making him smile a little and look to the side. A few moments later and he looks at Rhyeline, "Good to see you again, too." He says that quietly. Unlike he's spoken before. Maybe a way he spoke once or twice when they were alone back during school.

The Leaky Cauldron is starting to settle down. The lunch hour is coming to an end and most of the professional witches and wizards are heading back to the grind. But not Rhyeline. She lingers watching Duncan with hushed curiosity. "…you said you were a Quidditch player? Still?"

Duncan nods, and smiles before taking a little drink. "Yes, matter of fact I made it to the professional tour." He smiles bigger, lifting his glass just a little, "And I do owe some of that to you. Cheers." And he takes another sip.

The door leading to Diagon Alley flies open slamming aginst the wall with a bang. A bleary eye Brei storms in looking a bit rumpled and stalks for the bar. Settling down onto a stool she snaps an order for black coffee and winces holding her head in her hands. A muttered curse is spoken in Italian before the coffee arrives and she takes aslow sip frowning at the taste. "You make terrible coffee. At least the whiskey is good but my head is already pounding enough at the moment…A pity." She snarls and sips her coffee glaring daggers at anyone who gets to close to her black clad self.

"Mm… well… I'm glad that- that I could help," murmurs Rhyeline, offering Duncan a soft smile before hiding behind her glass of mulled wine for a long, slow sip. "I've never been much for flying…" she admits in a quiet tone. The Leaky Cauldron has calmed just enough that Rhyeline is able to notice Brei from across the room. Taking in her friend's foul mood, the little one bites her lower lip.

Cold precedes Kat into the Leaky Cauldron. Once she's inside she takes a moment to take her coat off, smooth down her skirts then take a glance around to see who's there tonight. She waves at Rhyeline but instead of coming over to say hi she smirks in a somewhat evil way seeing Brei at the bar. Using the noise of the Cauldron's usual crowd she comes up behind the little brunette and puts her hands over Brei's eyes. "Guess who, SomberPuss."

Shelley and Graham enter just a pace or two after Kat, and Shelley likewise pauses to remove a coat in the warmer air of the Cauldron. She takes a glance around, smirking in amusement and rolling her eyes as Sykes heads to the woman at the bar, and jerks her head towards the fire to draw Graham's attention that way - as if any of them would overlook the very obvious guardwitches looking after Rhyeline. The do make the little slip of a thing stand out a bit more than she would otherwise.

Brei tenses up when she feels someone approach and then a hand goes over her eyes and she scowls. "Katherine Sykes I suggest you move your hand. I do bite you know. Besides I spent the whole night up drinking after I got harassed by a vampire and woke up on the floor of the bar not an hour ago…I'm really not in the mood for games." She sets her coffee cup down and lets the warning hang in the air with a scowl on her face. Apparently there is an actual reason for her bad mood today.

Rhyeline winces with a faint squeak at the bitter cold of the draft Kat lets in. The little one returns the wave with a small nod. She holds her glass of mulled wine rather close. Noticing Graham, Rhyeline seems warmed by the sight of him, even if he is with Shelley who she still isn't too sure about. With a small nod, her dark gaze lingers on the pair before flitting to Brei and Kat.

Graham turns to the other easily as he too notices the guard witches, but it means he will look around a moment before finding Rhyeline and will give her a smile and a wave he look look back "So you had food last time, even though you didnt buy it so my turn right?" he says chuckling before he will look about "Want to find a place to sit?" he figures they will join a table near the other groupings which is the simplest.

Duncan shivvers just a little with with the brisk breeze that sweeps through, and he comes out of a big moment lost in thought, and looks around, giving nods of greeting to those paying any attention to the professional quidditch player, and he looks to Rhye across the table from him. "Never learned, or never liked it? I could take you up sometime if you never experienced it." He offers her a smile.

Katherine holds her hand over Brei's eyes just a little longer while she leans down closer to her ear to say, "Well, I don't know if I should take that as a threat or an offer." But she does drop the hand in the end before daintily sitting herself down on the stool next to Brei's, "Vampires, huh? THat sounds like it might be up our aisle." She motions to the other two Aurors that came in with her, "Have you reported it to the MLE yet?"

As a quick after thought she leans over to peer at Brei's neck, all business now. "YOu didn't get bitten, did you?"

"No, I- it just… to be on a broom… it made me nervous… I didn't like it so much…" murmurs Rhyeline to Duncan, looking apologetic. There are a few places open at Rhyeline and Duncan's table. Falling silent, the little one glances back over at Brei and Kat, and then to Graham and Shelley.

"I won't argue, if you want to pay," Shelley responds. "After all - this is the time I /overbought/ the take-out." Mmmhmmm. We're sticking with that story.
She nods her head before adding, "If you want to sit with your darling little sis, and she'll have us…" Mischief twinkles in her eyes before she adds, "I'll /try/ not to get us thrown out."

Brei smirks. "I would prefer the second option provided I get the choice." She sips her coffee and raises a brow at the woman who is peering at her neck. "No. No bites, just a bit of mind control that he couldn't make me forget…I threatened to set him on fire and then after that things started to calm down a bit. And why should I report it? I wasn't hurt or bit as you can see…" She can't help but go very still as Katherine leans in so close to her. She shivers a bit at the proximity and tries to hide her reaction by scowling and sipping her coffee.

Graham looks over to the bar and cannot help but hear the words spoken vampires, an eyebrow raises sparking a memory. "I would mention it indeed, if one is being harassed." he says raising a brow he looks back to Shelley and will chuckle as she mentions over buying take out the offical story anyways. "That would be excellent, yes i'm a regular here i'll starve or something." he adds about getting thrown out while he moves through the tables. "Hello sister. How are you this cold winters afternoon?" he will say warmly "Mind if we join" he will ask looking between the two though he nods in greeting "Graham Cohen." he introduces himself after a moment offering a hand.

Duncan says, "Ahh, very well," and he nods at her. "Then nevermind, I'll not make you uncomfortable." He finishes his drink, and sets the empty glass on the table after looking into it. "You know, it was great to see you again, Rhye. Maybe sometime we can have a proper meeting, and it not be so.." he looks around, "Abrupt and unexpected." Another smile as he stands up, preparing to take his leave.

Katherine settles back into her chair, either not noticing or ignoring Brei's little shiver. With a satisfied nod she says, "Good. No bites… Well, good, no bites from vampires. And as Auror Cohen said being harassed by a vampire isn't a small thing and should really be reported." MOtioning back at the table where Shelley and Graham have taken their place she asks, "Want to join us?" Rhyeline's table, what? Kat seems to have forgotten about that part…

Rhyeline blinks, watching Brei and Kat for a moment before her attention returns to the young man at her table. "I'd like that… please… be well, Duncan…" murmurs Rhyeline with a small nod. Her brother steals her attention easily. Despite her shyness, surrounded by so many, Rhyeline can't help but smile up at him. "Hello, brother…" And to Shelley, a softer, "Hello again…"

Shelley, too, glances towards Brei and Katherine - but Sykes can handle that mess, whatever it is. She follows Graham to Rhyeline's table, her lips quirking in amusement as Duncan rises to leave, seemingly at their approach. "Don't let us chase you away," she remarks. "Miss Diderot - what /were/ you telling him about me?" she teases.

Katherine yells out across the Cauldron, "She was probably telling him about /me/ and he got scared!"

The young man watches as the other gets up to leave ignoring his introduction. Graham will watch closely as the other speaks to his sister this is a different matter all together mind you. He looks back to her as she speaks though and his face softens immediately. He will pull a pair of chairs out sitting on one lightly himself. "It's good to see you out, though a good book I understand is hard to set down." he smiles though looking back as Shelley speaks he will chuckle slightly.

"I can handle myself just fine Sykes. I don't need to bother the aurors with this." Brei's tone is firm and she looks over to the table spotting Rhyeline Graham and Shelley. She smiles faintly at Rhyeline and nods in that directions before she looks back to Katherine and sighs softly. "Very well but only id Rhyeline doesn't mind. Ithink she was there first." The dark haired witch grabs her coffee and slides off her stool heading that way.

Rhyeline blinks at the gentle teasing. She parts her lips to speak, but can't quite seem to figure out what to say. With an uncertain glance at Graham, she hesitates a moment more before murmuring, "I think that- that he just needed to leave…"

Katherine slides off her stool and saunters back to Rhyeline's table. Since Brei put down guidelines that limit her willingness to join the table she asks, "Hi neighbor! Nice to see you out and about! Mind if we both join the table?" In her best chipper voice. Which really isn't all that different from her regular voice.

Shelley slips into the seat Graham pulled out for her, looking at Rhyeline for a moment, then back to the other auror. "I'm a bit disappointed. I must not be trying hard enough," she remarks.

Brei scowls and sighs heavily. "Must you be so..cheerful Sykes? You are inviting life to crash down around your ears and take you with it…when you don't have far to fall falling hurts alot less." She looks to Rhyeline and smiles faintly. "Would you mind suffering our company then Rhyeline?" She waits for an answer holding her cup of coffee and taking a slow sip while she waits.

Graham catches the look from his adopted sister and nods he'll reach over and pat her shoulder before giving it a gentle squeeze. "That's okay, perhaps he didnt hear me. Would you like to share a basket of chips?" he will say giving a small shrug he will relax now though he will leave it to her on if she minds others joining know that large groups don't do well for her. He looks back to Shelley an eyebrow raised. "Maybe next time your infamy will surely have grown."

Rhyeline peeks up at Graham appreciatively at the gentle squeeze to her shoulder. At Kat's approach, the girl looks up at her, but waits as Brei follows. At the of the pain of falling, the little one bites her lower lip. "Not at all…" she murmurs so softly, it might be rather hard to hear her. Looking from Brei to Kat, she adds, "If… if you can find an extra chair… please, join us." And with that, she hides behind her glass of mulled wine, taking a slow sip.

Katherine's normal half smile turns into a grin and she divebombs Rhye with a hug that's almost over as soon as it begins. Then she spins off to get a chair for Brei, putting it behind the shorter women before suddenly becoming the prim and proper lady again by daintily taking her own seat, running a hand behind her legs to smooth her skirts as she sits, "Grand! Who's drinking what?"

Shelley raises her eyebrows as Katherine doesn't reign in any of her enthusiasm for Rhyeline's sake, and shakes her head slightly. "Maybe I'm /not/ Miss Diderot's biggest concern at this table," she remarks dryly.

Rhyeline squeaks, startled by Kat's divebomb of a hug. One of her guards react swiftly, drawing her wand. There is a flash around the little one, and when Katherine bounces back from the girl, it might not be entirely a result of her own volition. In the aftermath, the guardwitches percieve that Katherine had meant no harm. However, it would seem that the pair is quite on edge following the official statement of the Unity Party's stance on Grindelwald. Beware of sudden movements around their charge.
Clinging tight to the glass of mulled wine in her hands, Rhyeline looks rather bewildered as she looks from her guards, to Kat, to Graham, and around again.

Brei sighs agian at Katherine's antics but she does seem a bit surprised when the woman goes to get her a chair. She settles down into the seat and eyes Kat suspicously. "The way your acting makes me think you want something. I'm just trying to figure out what it is…" She sips her coffee and looks to Rhyeline. "How have you been Rhyeline? Still practicing your Spanish? I started learning German a while back myself…its slow but I think I'm getting it now."

The young man will raise a brow as Kat hugs Rhyeline only imagining what she's thinking about this, but he will give her an encourgingly smile hoping that he will be able to help her keep calm through all the people joining her table. "Did you end up finishing that book you'd been reading when you fell asleep?" he'll ask Rhyeline though the flash and reaction from the guards gets his wand removed quickly from his sleeve "That's a bit much hm? She's an auror." Graham is all about saftey when there is a danger of course. The question about what to drink is only know addressed putting his wand away. "Cider, with a whiskey shot added. Basket of chips, but i'm buying." he looks over to Shelley "Bad influence on me this one is." though he is teasing as he grins still.

The guardwitches' spell did not go unnoticed. Once Kat is in her own seat and has offered drinks for the table she sticks her tongue out at the two bodyguards. Under her breath, just for the ears of those at the table she murmurs, "A bit slow on the draw, aren't they." Then she answers Brei's comment, "Perish the thought. I'm just being my normal, bubbly, ebullient self. And why hasn't anyone told me what they want to drink? Are you all refusing my offer to pay for a round? And Rhye, if you ever want to learn Russian, I'm your girl."

"You know me, Sykes. Firewhiskey, as ever." It's always either that or regular ol' whiskey.
"Isn't 'bad influence' part of my job description?" Shelley asks. "Or have I been writing that bit in myself all these years?" she quips towards Graham.

Rhyeline smiles and nods to Brei. The offer of Russian lessons also seems to tempt her. But, for the most part, the little one just seems to be getting a bit overwhelmed. She lingers longer and longer behind her glass of mulled wine as she watches the four others sitting at her table.

Brei smiles faintly back at Rhyeline watching her with concern as she seems to withdraw. Falling silent as well the dark haired witch sips her coffee quietly observing the others at thier table nearby the fireplace.

The door opens and Nicolas drifts inside coming in from Diagon Alley. In one hand the neatly dressed young man holds a small package and the other grips a leash to which a hyper dog with white brown and black fur is attatched. The animal walks beside him happily and lets out a soft yip as he makes his way to a table. He sets the package down on the table and pets the dogs fur gently. "Will you be good for me Moira? I want some mulled wine and then I'll take you home okay?" His tone is gentle and the dog lets out a soft bark of agreement before he turns and orders a glass of mulled wine for him and a bowl of water for the dog who sits at his feet watching the people around them carefully.

"I must have missed the bad influence part of the job. Maybe they gave me a different contract." Graham says to Shelley though he will give a smirk to Kat perhaps remembering a past duel they had in school. He does turn back towards his adopted sister leaning over to her and whispering something low to her he is smiling warmly hoping he'll have the proper calming effect to help out.

Another guest comes in just a moment behind Nicolas. Ariadne pulls back the hood of her cloak and brushes the cold out of the folds of her dress, reaching up then to unclasp the cloak and hang it on the rack. There's an envelope in an inner pocket of the cloak that she slides out along with a brightly-colored tatted lace coin purse, and she hangs onto these as she peers around the pub for places to sit. Not so awfully many.

Katherine gets the attention of a serving wench and puts in her order, ignoring the fact that Graham said he was paying. He can order his own chips thought. "Can I please have a fire whiskey for my friend Shelley, another mulled wine for my dear neighbor, a cider with a shot of whiskey for Mr. Cohen, a Sidecar for me, and…" Here she stops for a moment, looks at Brei, then down at her coffee cup, then back at Brei and finally at the waitress and finishes in a slightly disappointed tone, a bit too theatrical to be real, "And a fresh coffee for Sapphire Eyes here."

"You should have a better look at the contract, Cohen," Shelley remarks. Yes, she still sticks to Cohen when other aurors are around. "You got the 'bad influence' clause on yours, don't you, Sykes?" she asks the other woman.

Rhyeline lowers her gaze, becoming more and more of a mouse in the presence of such intense personalities. She peeks over at Graham's gentle whisper and offers a small, appreciative nod. But the tension only continues to grow when she hears the bark of pup that is far too excited. She bites her lower lip. Even though she recognizes Nicolas, it doesn't seem to calm the little one.

Brei is about to comment on the nick name as she scowls heavily at Katherine. But then the yip has her looking in the direction of the dog sitting near the newcomers feet. She sighs and rubs her nose the smell of dog fur drifting over to her senses. "I think I should…" A soft sneeze is heard as she covers her mouth only to sneeze again. She glares at the offending animal and rises to her feet coffee forgotten on the table. "And that's why" Sneeze. "I've never." Another sneeze. "Liked dogs.." She quickly heads for the nearest exits which just happens to be Diagon Alley.

Nicolas sips his newly arrived drink spotting Rhyeline sitting with the group rather quickly. He smiles nervously in her direction and blushes heavily as the witch gets up to leave and sneezes all the way to the door. He seems to be having a debate as to whether or not he should leave and looks to the dog sadly who nuzzles his hand and whines softly sensing her masters distress.

Katherine chuckles, "I do believe I have that clause in my contract too. Along with the 'trouble-maker' clause. Did you miss that one too, Graham?" Brei's quick retreat distracts her for a moment and she waves at the brunette, "One of these days you're going to have to stick around for more than 10 minutes, Blue Eyes. And by the way, nice job finding out my name!" Before she returns her attention to the table, now a little more subdued as she starts catching on to Rhyeline's discomfort.

Rather than trying to shoulder her way into the press at the bar itself, Ariadne lifts her head and peers about the room. When Brei stands up, it attracts her attention to the table she was sitting at, where — "Kat Sykes, is that you?" She wends her way through the crowd, giving Brei a friendly nod as she passes the woman. "I don't suppose I could join you there? You've at least one seat free."

"Surely not. It would take some very selective reading to miss both," Shelley remarks before adding, "Two guards, and three Aurors - I do believe Miss Diderot may be one of the safest witches in Europe at this moment."
As Ariadne approaches, Shelley turns to study the woman, frowning in thought. She did seem rather painfully familiar. She works at placing her - must be someone from school.

Rhyeline watches Brei head off in silence. Setting down her nearly empty glass of mulled wine, she murmurs faintly, "Forgive me, I- I should… should also be going…" It might be easy to miss her words, but her intention to leave becomes clear as she begins to rise. One of her hands lingers upon the table's surface as she steadies herself.

Graham looks back as the door opens once more to see who's arrived they each get a nod of his head in greeting. He will look back to his table a moment "Is it better pay for the bad influence contact?" he will ask the two other Aurors after a moment giving a chuckle "I think they took one look at me and realized that I could be passed up on that one. He will look over to his adopted sister nodding "If you must but hopefully see you soon. Do you need help home?" he will ask concerned a moment but looking to the new arrivals "Hello, figure we can make space."

Katherine looks genuinely disappointed that Rhyeline is leaving so soon but she has taken notice of her discomfort so only says, "Its a shame that you have to leave so soon, Rhyeline. We need to make some time for a quiet 'get to know your neighbor better' lunch at some point." Then her attention is grabbed by her name being called out. Twisting around she looks at the new arrival and after a moment the face clicks to a name in her brain and she smiles a half smile, "Ariadne Lestrange. It has been a while, hasn't it? Regretfully it looks like Miss Diderot needs to leave so now we have more than one open spot at our table. Unless someone has an objection I would welcome you to the table."

Just a bit abashed — as Rhyeline seems to be leaving just as she arrives — Ariadne smiles her thanks to Graham and settles herself down. "I do appreciate it," she murmurs. "Thank you. Perhaps we'll meet again sometime?" she adds to Rhyeline, looking actually quite concerned for the young woman's anxiety. But she doesn't press; she sits instead, settling herself and nodding to Katherine. "That's right. It's been far too long, but I'm spending some more time in London proper these days. Maybe we'll have occasion to run into each other more often."

Rhyeline offers Graham a subtle smile and shakes her head. "No… thank you, brother. I just… I have a small errand…" Glancing from him to the others, she adds, "It was good to see you all…" She pauses, looking to Kat, and adds, "I'd like that. And- and please… forgive my guards… they are- are very cautious… especially… since… well… yes." The girl's voice fades at last and her cheeks grow rather pink. Her gaze flits to Ariadne before she clasps her hands behind her back and scurries off like the timid little mouse she seems.

"Goodnight Miss Diderot," Shelley remarks as the woman scampers off, then turns her attention to the newcomer. Ariadne Lestrange…? She looks thoughtful for a moment, then snaps her fingers. "Ravenclaw," she declares. "I remember now."

Graham nods to her words "Okay, well still i'll see you soon. Little mouse." he will look back trying to place the name, but it's when they say Ravenclaw he is able to vaguely remember someone a few years ahead of him in school. "It's not a problem. We were just ordering drinks and settling in." it seems that here is the place to be after all.

Ariadne tilts her head at Shelley, a wrinkle forming between her eyes as she looks at the redhead as if trying to pick out the familiar parts of her face. "That's right," she says slowly. "The Ravenclaw Lestrange with the rowdy brother." There's a brief quirk at the corner of her mouth. "You look familiar, I know, but I'm ashamed to say I can't quite place it." She looks between the others then: "Of course, we did all go to school together, so at the very least we've all probably seen each other in the halls. Just… rather a while ago."

Katherine looks after Rhye as she walks out with her guards and seems honestly disappointed that she's leaving. But, on the plus side, she doesn't have to hold back. Pushing a chair out with her foot she offers it to Ariadne then makes introductions, "Shelley Prewett, Auror. Graham Cohen, Auror. Ariadne Lestrange. And I really don't know what she's doing now. So how about you sit down, tell us how life has been treating you and tell me what you're drinking."

"Sykes is buying tonight," Shelley offers helpfully, in the wake of the introduction Katherine offered. Did she just volunteer the woman to foot the entire bill? It seemed so.
Shelley slumps back comfortably in her sit, drinking at her fire whiskey, and propping one ankle up on her knee under the table.

"It's okay, I've been told that my nose was so buried in books at school I missed half the time I was there." Graham will say though he'll smile "It's good to meet you properly either way Miss Lestrange." he will look to Shelley as she offers the other to pay the bill "Except the chips are on me of course." he offers for any of those who might want some.

"This round, at least, maybe," Ariadne muses. "But I'll catch the next. I'll need it, I'm sure, after this." She waggles the envelope in the air before setting it down along with her purse on the table. "I did spend a lot of time in greenhouses for a few years, but I… got tired of the countryside, frankly, so I've come to London to set up shop. Potions and magical plants; any sort of plant-based ingredients, really. Still getting set up, but it promises to be quite nice. And here I am surrounded by the M.L.E. — I must be the safest witch in London. To drink… oh, they must have a good brandy here."

Katherine orders a brandy for Ariadne as the rest of the table's drinks arrive, including the coffee and the mulled wine for the departed Rhyeline and Brei. "Ariadne used to help me pretty often with my potions work at school. I admit, not one of my strongest subjects."

"Just about," Shelley agrees with Ariadne's statement on safety. "Though - depending on how much we end up drinking…" She smirks in amusement, offering a shrug of her shoulders. "Potions was never bad for me." It was charms. She was still lousy at charms, really.

The young Auror listens about grinning "Well welcome back to London, hopefully yes you'll be in good and safe keeping company." Graham looks back to Kat and Shelley nodding "I thought my potions would have been forgotten, but I've been able to use them lately. A couple times which was a good test. I'm not sure what class I struggled the most with."

"Trouble Making?" Shelley quips.

"I've always been pretty terrible at Defense, so we swapped a little. I… managed to pass, barely, and evidently you did fantastically on your Potions NEWT." Shelley's comment brings a grin to Ariadne's face and she shakes her head: "/Hopefully/ your aim will be off if you get too far gone. Though depending on what you're casting, that could be even worse. I was wondering if Aurors really used potions all that often. The papers always suggest it's a lot more, you know. Knocking down doors and apprehending miscreants and wild broom chases through the night sky; very romantic. Though the world of the Prophet and the actual reality might not be one to one."

Katherine waggles one hand in the air while the other holds her drink to her lips. Once she puts the glass back down on the table she says, "Well, there is some of that but there's paperwork, lots and lots of paperwork." The way Kat mentions paperwork come out sounding like other people would talk about a stay in Azkhaban, shiver included. "And I agree. Cohen's worst class /was/ Trouble Making."

Graham isn't prepared for Shelley's answer and so quite unlike himself he snorts at it and laughs a little looking between the two Aurors a moment rolling his eyes "Well yeah you got me on that one prefect and bookish me." he will look to the new witch he's met "Not sure I've used a potion on the job but had a chance to make a few outside of it recently, Kat's got it right it's half and half some adventure and thrill ride and some siting at a desk filling out reports." he will take a drink of his spiked cider before setting it back down.

"Bloody reports," Shelley mutters under her breath. "I loathe the paperwork. I'd rather be dashing about on some ruddy hair brained adventure." There something restless about the way she shifts in her seat now. Graham and Kat know why, doubtlessly.

"…I have to admit, the apothecary business has relatively little paperwork. I don't have to fill out a form every time I mix up a brew." Ariadne's eyes crinkle as she takes her brandy, sitting as primly as she might in someone's study. She actually looks a bit shifty as she breathes in the scent, as if she's getting away with something terribly naughty. She does take a sip before she goes on: "I'd be pleased to be of help, of course, if you need anything made. Though I suppose anything's a welcome escape from reports. So you're the un-troublesome one?" This to Graham. "I always let everyone else get in trouble for me when I was at school. They had the fun of doing; I mostly had the fun of. Well. Watching."

Katherine arches an eyebrow, "Well, if you had the chance to watch then they were not doing it right. A trouble maker that gets caught is no real trouble maker at all." Of course, Kat got caught her share of times. But if one goes by percentages, which she does, she didn't get caught nearly as much as she should have…

The Auror looks to his side where Shelley sits and nods "I like a bit of both, so i'm not always winding up in St Mungo's though it seems i'm still known for doing so." Graham looks between the other Aurors he does know about Shelley's current status he gives a reassuring smile to her before he turns back listening to Ariadne and Kat nodding though he speaks to the former first "Yes, that'd be me I've always been more bookish." he shrugs not minding it though he shakes his head at Kat "You studied dueling extra hard though." he takes another sip from his drink.

"Are you sure dueling even counts as studying?" Shelley quips, gesturing with her glass, though careful not to spill. She drink again from it.

"It's a skill. Is it on the practical for the DADA NEWT? I never took it." Ari settles in, sneaking a chip and still managing to seem prim while nibbling it. Years with a book on her head. "I don't think it really has to be silent in front of a book to be studying, though that was always a bit more my style." She peers at Graham thoughtfully: "/Were/ you in Ravenclaw? I feel like I'm recognizing you from somewhere."

Katherine grins at Graham and nods, "Well, I learn better through action. What can I say." And then she sticks her tongue out at Shelley, "It is. You need to learn the spells and train the muscles to react properly and then work on being able to do it all faster than the other person in front of you." To Ariadne she smiles and nods, "exactly. What she said."

"Well during dueling club it's kind of like studying, while trying not to be hexed." Graham says to Shelley with a grin thrown her way now. He listens to the potion maker closely nodding "Some of it is on the practical yes." he answers only quiet a short moment before nodding "I was a Ravenclaw, yes and likewise with yourself." he will say glad it wasn't only him who was trying to bring up the memories from school.

"I'm surrounded by eagles. It's no wonder," Shelley remarks, letting out an exaggerated sigh. "Where are the other Gryffindors when you need them, I ask you?"

Ariadne nods quickly, taking another sip from her snifter. "That's one thing I always had trouble with. Like chess. Ravenclaws are all supposed to be excellent at chess, brainy people are supposed to love it. I hated it. You always have to be five steps ahead, which to me means you have to practically read the other person's mind. So in a duel, you have to have a good idea of what you should cast, how, and in what order. It's probably not 'explode explode explode' all the time." She looks to Shelley then, and at her question begins to speak before hesitating. "No, I was going to say they're all having a pint at the Cauldron, that's my usual answer, but that's /us/."

Katherine flicks a few drops of water from the condensation on her glass at Shelley, "Oy! I am most definitely not an Eagle. Snake and proud!"

After teasing Shelley Kat nods to Adriane, "Dueling is a lot like playing chess at a move a second. And you're right, its not all explode explode explode. That's usually the make of someone with very little dueling experience."

"Oh, you're still here?" Shelley responds.

"I played a bit of chess, preferred reading though to that." Graham takes another drink "Yes quite true, the right spell for the right moment. If your too showy or exaggerating your wand to look cool, it'll give your opponent a small window's chance to strike first." He will look at Kat nodding as he knew her house before looking to Shelley and chuckles "No wonder eh?" he says finding her response to be funny it would seem.

Ariadne grins all the more broadly, swirling her brandy in the snifter. "You and all my family. I was the black sheep; the weird one. And yet," she adds, plucking up the envelope she carried in and slitting it open, "this, the golden boy, is the one — I don't even have to pull out the crystal ball — who's asking me for money again."

"I never played much chess," Shelley remarks, her glass of whiskey nearly gone already. "I was pretty much exactly where my family expecting me to be," she adds. "Both of my sisters were Gryffindor's, as well."

Katherine shakes her head sadly at Shelley, "You know, I'd never made that connection. We can't be friends anymore. Friends with a Gryffindor, as if…" Then she can't hold up the facade anymore and busts out laughing, "Those were the day. When Houses mattered. Glad they're gone. So Ariadne, Is your brother getting in trouble?"

Jocunda finds herself with nothing better to do than go out and drink - Her shoulder still a little tender from her last time on a broom. Of course, there's no marks of any kind of injury on her, just a slight favoring of her left arm, as she makes her way into the Cauldron, looking around. Spying family and friends, she offers a wave, and gestures to the bar-staff to send her whiskey there. IF anything, she finds the gasps and amazed looks at her appearance a little tiresome today. But she's been tired an awful lot, lately. Ever since her final meeting as part of Unity.

"Ooh, let's just /see/." Ariadne pulls out the letter and unfolds it with some ceremony, her eyes running over the closely-penned lines. "…found himself in France, I see. Paris. Having just a splendid time, I should definitely join him… mmm…" She continues through the letter, until at last: "Ah, yes. He'd be ever so pleased if I'd send him. Goodness. A hundred Galleons; really? For an investment. A sure thing. Gracious, how could I say no?"

Graham watches the other as she reaches for the envelope and explains what is inside. "It's alright to be different." he says with a shrug though it's a bummer about a family member struggling so and asking for money. "Well hopefully they'll get back on their feet soon." he will turn to Shelley "Eh your not missing much with that game, I think you'd be bored after a little bit." he looks to Kat and nods "It definitely made seeing things clearer when houses were the only competition."

"How could I possibly sit at the same table as a /snake/?" Shelley agrees with amusement. "And how would the rest of the house ever let me live it down? I mean, eagles are one thing…" She grins at Katherine, before someone else entering catches her eyes. "Ah, the other Sykes," she remarks, raising her hand, and waving it once at Jocunda.

"He'd be on his feet quickly if he slowed down to make something of himself. Instead of…" Ariadne hesitates, bringing the page a bit closer to her face. Her expression shifts, her cheeks going a bit pale, and she quickly starts folding up the letter. "Ah. Well. I've just remembered, I have… some paperwork to finish for the lease to my new shop. Always something else, isn't there? So sorry to rush out; I do look forward to seeing you all again." She tucks the letter into its envelope and drops a few coins on the table, adding: "For the drinks. Or for the next round, if you prefer. Good evening."

"The other Sykes?? Which one? Xavier? Ria? Kaiden? Garrett? Uncle Arlo??" The smirk makes it clear Kat knows exactly which 'other' Sykes Shelley is talking about and is intentionally given her friend a hard time.

Oh, yes, smooth move Ariadne. Like a table full of Aurors wouldn't catch the sudden shift in attitude. Reaching a gentle hand out to put it on Ariadne's forearm Kat says, "Hey. If you need to leave that's fine but if your brother is in real trouble and we can help, let me know, alright?"

Graham turns back as another arrives giving a nod in greeting before he looks back to the table the words of the other about her brother get a nod "Well there is still time, it was good to see you again and meet you properly Miss Lestrange." he says giving a friendly smile as she begins to leave though he will speak to Shelley "We will make sure to wipe your presence here from the official record."

"Oh, good. I could never live with the same, otherwise," Shelley answers Graham, her attention turning towards Ariadne at her sudden exit, and studying her with curiosity. She takes another drink of her whiskey, and finds her glass completely empty now. That's a shame.

She looks quite sincerely regretful, even reaching down to grasp Shelley's hand warmly. "I do appreciate it," she says, "but really, this… this isn't that, it's. A bit of family news. That's all. But I really must go. Good night, all." And with that the Lestrange woman is hustling for the door, not even bothering to put her cloak on as she steps into the wintry night.

Jocunda takes her whiskey midway to the the table, and downs it with her left hand. A frown, and a mild wince. She waves with her right hand at family and friends, and makes an apologetic nod. She should deal with this first.

Graham will drink a bit more of his cider "Well naturally, i'm sure the news would have gotten involved "Shelley Prewett consorts with snakes." he shakes his head at the faux news story which pops up in is head first thing

"And my sisters would have to live with the shame the rest of their days," Shelley responds with a hint of melodrama creeping into her voice. She pauses, then adds, "…actually. That could be worth it. Hrm."

The Auror chuckles slightly though shakes his head "Something tells me they might be able to live through it just got to make sure you win the house cup and such." Graham says to Shelley who's sitting beside him. "How many siblings do you have?" he will ask realizing he'd never done so before.

"Just the two sisters - much older than me," Shelley remarks. "They were both away at Hogwarts back… just about as far as I can remember. So we were never particularly close. Of course, they're still family…" And she'd do most anything for them that they needed.

Graham smiles over to her "Family is important, that's for sure. I am an only child well except Rhyeline of course." he will say finishing off his cider he'll order a refill for both of the drinks they had. "From all I've seen so far your family is very good and they care about you, which is important. My parents worry about me and I think they are glad hey don't have to hear everything which goes on."

"They're good," Shelley agrees quietly. "Don't always appreciate it there, in the moment, but they were there for me. Can't really argue with that, I suppose."

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