(1939-08-06) A Salve for Bigotry
Details for A Salve for Bigotry
Summary: Rook shares his concerns about the potential conflict between muggle-born and pureblood wizards on his return to Hogwarts. Brandy's arrival, and later Noah's, leads to further talk of how to diffuse the problem.
Date: August 6th 1939
Location: The Leaky Cauldron

It's not a family outing, but Rook is still loitering in the presence of his Summerbee cousin. Dressed in absurdly yellow robes, the cheerful color is only partly fulfilled by their wearer. Rook appears uncharacteristically (to his cousin, anyway) serious, picking over the food spread before him. Nothing extravagant; a few loaves of freshly baked bread, french onion soup, and gillywater. Rook has taken only two bites, his green eyes staring off into space somewhat morosely, as he's wont to do when thoughts stifle his ability to pay any mind to what's going on about him. His elbow rests atop the wooden table's top, his chin perched in his open palm. "Do you really think they'll separate all of us, Honeybee?" Rook's voice is distracted, almost distant, brow knitting at the thoughts churning within his head.

Honora seems distracted, today, her mind elsewhere. Not that that's unusual for the potioneer, who often has projects brewing back home that require her to keep track of the time so nothing boils over or explodes. Rook's question draws her attention back for the moment, making her frown a little. "I don't know. It doesn't seem like a good idea… I mean, if you trust the muggleborn and half-bloods and such, there's no reason to separate the groups; and if you don't, I don't see how splitting them off from the purebloods and making it harder to keep an eye on them helps. They might be worried about fights breaking out among students if they don't keep the groups apart, though, tense as things have been."

The usually cheery, indomitable Brandy makes her way into the Cauldron, wearing a smile a bit less than her usual 200 watts. Her clothes are just as bright as ever - and the bells around her wrist tinkle just as cheerfully - but somehow it isn't reflected on her face as she makes her way to the bar. "Hey Reece," she greets the bartender. "Whiskey - with a bit of mellow?" she requests, "and perhaps a touch of happy?" "Sure thing, Brandy," she man replies, pouring the whiskey before reaching under the counter. A purple drop, and a yellow drop are added to her glass before it's offered over, a reassuring smile on the man's features. "You're a life-saver," she remarks, before taking a deep drink from the glass. Holding it out towards Reece again, he tops it off from the bottle of whiskey, before she turns to survey the room.

"Yes, but it's going to split up friends. How does that not create more tension?" Shaking his head slowly, Rook straightens a little, but he still doesn't eat any more of his food than was missing from it before. He does nothing else but slowly stir his soup as if always considering a bite he isn't going to take. "I'm not terribly comfortable with it. I mean, what are they preventing? It isn't as if things are separate outside of school." The sixteen year old pauses, frowning. "But what if they did try that outside of school?" Rook doesn't make an effort to conceal his conversation with his cousin, more absent-minded than that. It's a slow evening, the words carry.

Nora considers. "That sort of thing is up to the Ministry, not the headmaster of Hogwarts." She's trying to sound reassuring, but there's some doubt in her voice. "Still, it's kind of a mess," she admits. "I wouldn't be surprised if you see more places that refuse to serve muggleborn, or even places that won't do business with purebloods. But nothing on the scale of what it sounds like they might be doing with the school." A shrug. "What can we do, though? Just try to adapt to whatever happens."

The conversation nearby does catch Brandy's attention - and it does little to help improve her mood. Thankfully she has her drink to counteract that. She takes another sip of her drink as she listens to the two - both of whom she assumes are students. Seventh years, perhaps? She sympathizes with their concerns - she's lost a little sleep over the issue, herself, given her career.

"Yes, but don't these things always start somewhere? Experimentally? What if they decide things work well in Hogwarts, or at least they think it does? What then? What if the Ministry decides to try it at a larger scale? But surely they couldn't. Surely enough muggle-borns work for the Ministry that they could… I don't know, block it, yes?" Poor Nora. Once Rook starts speaking, he does so in a rush, worried words spilling in a torrent from his lips. A frustrated sigh escapes him, and Rook abandons his spoon to sink into his soup, raking fingers through his disheveled blond hair. "Things used to be a lot simpler. I miss that." 'A lot'. As in, Rook wasn't faced with such things so openly.

Nora reaches out to put a hand on Rook's shoulder. "Calm down, Rook. It… probably won't be great, but just like things usually don't work out to the best-case scenario, worst-case is pretty rare too. There'll be some stupid rules and things'll be rough, but they can't completely split everyone up without founding a whole extra school or outright kicking all the muggleborn out of Hogwarts, and I don't think either of those are on the table. You'll still be able to keep your friends somehow." She's too pessimistic to be good at reassuring, but she's trying.

"And there's the Board of Governors to contend with," Brandy raises her voice to add. "Twelves witches and wizards with the power to fire Flint if he oversteps his bounds and damages the school or threatens the wellbeing of its students." With a smile she adds, "And there's students like you to look after the wellbeing of those that might end up the victims of all this mess. Stand together with your friends. You'll get through this."

The inclusion of an unfamiliar voice startles Rook from his thoughts, blinking owlishly as he glances about himself in search of its owner. Eyes spy the older witch and Rook manages something of a pained smile for his cousin. "I suppose so, but I imagine it will be miserable all around. Siding with muggle-borns means being a…" Rook's voice trails off, and he wrinkles his nose. "A blood traitor. I see what bloody happens to those. People like Alphard Black happen. But there's nothing to be done about it. They can bloody chew rocks. I do hope the governors, you said? I hope they prevent this mess."

Nora gives the stranger a grateful smile. The Summerbee's not very good at cheering Rook up, especially when she's not convinced things will be okay, herself; it's good to have some backup. She withdraws her hand from Rook's shoulder, then, and goes back to eating her food quietly, lacking anything more to add. It makes for an awkward silence.

"I do, too," Brandy agrees wryly. "Though it's reassuring to me to know there's wizards like you willing to stand up for your classmates. I'm worried about my kids this year - the incoming Muggle-borns. It's going to be a rough transition, and I don't know how much I can do to really prepare them." Making her way closer, she adds, "Mind a little company? Brandy Sweetwater."

Where Nora withdraws, Rook is bolstered by Brandy's manner, even if Brandy is rather more serious than upbeat about their conversation. He brightens visibly and gestures towards the table at which they sit, only a short distance from the bar itself, and made to seat four. "I suppose, but of course I would. They're friends, after all, and isn't the definition of a friend 'support through hard times'?" Rook's food is rapidly growing cold, and he's long forgotten it in favor of drinking his gillywater to whet his throat. "They have the mud club, don't they? If they join it, they'll have something. I know a Seventh year who belongs to it that would help them. He's very angry about all of this, but he means well."

Nora has pretty much withdrawn from the conversation. Poking and occasionally nibbling at her food, lacking anything further to say on the topic. She's neither a student nor involved in the politics.

"Well - do me a favor, and make friend with the incoming Muggle-borns too, huh?" Brandy responds. "I know they're a lot younger than you - but they could do with a good role model." Brandy takes another sip of her whiskey before adding, "Your food's getting cold," in an amused tone.

Brandy's words pull a startled laugh out of Rook before he can stop it, and he winces. "I'm not really a good role model," he admits sheepishly with a half smile. "Ask Honeybee, here." Rook nudges his cousin with his elbow, jostling her absently, unawares that he's no doubt making it hard for her to not get food elsewhere than her plate. "I'm also going to be swamped under my studies, what with NEWTs and all. But, um, I suppose I could try." The smile slips, and Rook looks down at his food, puzzled. "Oh. Yes, yes, it does that. I'm Rook Lovegood, by the way, and this is my cousin, Honeybee."

Nora stops moving when Rook nudges her; she still loses a little food to the floor, but better than trying to eat at the same time. And then she's 'introduced'. She corrects him, introducing herself as, "Honora Summerbee. Or just 'Nora'. Not 'Honeybee'." Her voice is colder than she intended, but she's still annoyed at Rook for using that name in front of Alphard earlier. In a calmer tone, she adds, "I'm not a student anymore, so I can't promise much myself. Finished Potions and Herbology NEWTs this previous school year."

Brandy can't help but laugh at the interplay between the two cousins. "Aw, and Honeybee is such a sweet name, too - so cheerful!" She grins at the woman before adding, "But Nora it is. Congratuations on graduating. And a pleasure to meet you as well, Rook. What NEWTs are you attempting?"

"Nora isn't very cheerful," comes Rook's playful quip, sans any bite or venom in spite of Nora's chilly correction. "I'll be taking- let me see." There's a thoughtful pause, and Rook takes another drink of gillywater, still largely ignoring his food. Given his slim build, that may due to poor eating habits rather than genetics. "Charms, Arithmancy, Ancient Runes, and Transfiguration." It's remarkable how much that exuberance is dulled by the rattling off of classes, Rook's expression growing ever more glum with each pronouncement. "It's a lot, but I'm pretty good at most of them by accident. I have a muggle-born boy who promised to help me with Transfiguration. Hopefully he has the time, as he's a Seventh year."

Nora nods to Brandy — well, to congratulations, not so much to the previous part — and listens to Rook. Or, half-listens, as it looks like she's allowing her mind to wander. Some passing thought actually causes her to blush lightly, but it doesn't seem to relate to anything that's being said at the moment. Awkwardly she resumes eating, stopping a moment to say, "I think you'll do fine in NEWTs. …Just glad, for your tutor's sake, that you're not doing Potions anymore." Teasing, a bit.

"Four NEWTs?" Brandy asks, her eyebrows going up. "That's insanity. I only took two, myself, and that was more than enough for me." She finishes her whiskey, then holds up her glass to earn the attention of a server, for a refill. "I take it you used to help him with potions?" she asks in an amused tone. "Was it really that bad?"

"My parents don't think I take my studies seriously enough, and that I need to have a future in mind." Cue wistful sigh. "Sleep is overrated, right? I'm very good at three of them, but I doubt it'll be pleasant. Maybe I'll get by. I'll have help with Transfiguration, at least." The flush that creeps into Rook's face provokes to offer Nora an embarrassed, discomfited frown. "She tried a few times. I never killed anyone, mind you, so it wasn't that bad!"

Nora smirks. "You could actually argue that he's a Potions genius. I think he might have invented a few new explosives in class." She's exaggerating. Some. "I helped him out a little my last couple years, yeah," she explains to Brandy. "…Speaking of potions, I should probably be going soon. I have something brewing at home that'll be ready shortly."

"Four NEWTs - and you don't take your studies seriously enough?" Brandy asks. "What do they expect - an Auror? A Healer?" she shakes her head, before turning her attention to Nora. "I never had much of a head for potions, myself. Then again - I never tried very hard. Good for you, though. Go make sure nothing explodes back home, huh?"

The pink that tinges Rook's cheeks is rapidly becoming more of a flaming scarlet. "Not all of us can be brilliant at potions. It's not that I'm bad at them," Rook attempts to explain, flustered. "I could tell you all the proper ingredients, the times, how many times to stir, what direction, all of that. It's just that I don't, for some reason, ever manage to bring them together properly." Rook rubs gently at his face, clearing his throat. "Well, I suppose it depends on what you mean by serious. I've always done well at charms, arithmancy, and ancient runes. I just didn't need to study all that much. I suppose I could become a Curse-breaker." Pleasantly oblivious, this one.

Nora stands. "Well, this one won't explode, but it'll smell awful if it burns and that's bad enough." That said, she offers a brief wave to the two then walks out, heading back toward Diagon.

Brandy lets out a quiet laugh. "Either you need a knock in the nogging, or your parents do. Or both. That's plenty good. I barely tried in school at all - and I've got a job at the Ministry now."

"Good night, Honeybee!" Rook calls after his cousin, forgetting her distaste for the childhood nickname yet again. "Oh, no. I'm afraid being struck on the head doesn't do me any good. It happens all the time, and it hasn't really changed anything," Rook continues matter-of-factly with a pleasant, easy smile. "Headaches, I suppose. But those aren't really great for studying. I've another cousin in the Ministry, in the experimental charms department. I think my mother would like it if I were more like him, but I don't think that's really possible. You work at the Ministry? What do you do there?"

"Muggle Liason," Brandy explains. "I work with the families of first year Muggle-borns, mostly. Tell them about the magical world, explain Hogwarts, take them shopping on Diagon… Make sure they're adjusting well to their new reality, and maintain the Statute of Secrecy. This summer's been a tough one," she admits wryly. "It's hard to prepare them for the sort of prejudice they're going to face - while still convincing them that going to Hogwarts is a good choice for their child."

"It can't last forever, right? The prejudice, that is. They'll come to their senses and see how silly it all is to be that upset over it. It's not as if anyone chose who they were born to. It just sort of happens." Rook, vaguely remembering that there's bread when his stomach begins to growl, reaches out and takes a small loaf to break off a piece between the pair of his hands. "That must be difficult. The muggle world doesn't seem very pleasant right now, either. Something exploded at King's Cross, I don't really know why, and they're all horribly suspicious about it. It reminded me of what happened in the Alley the day after."

"I hope you're right about that - because it is silly," Brandy agrees, looking away from Rook to smile gratefully at a server for refilling her glass. She takes another sip. "And no - it isn't. One of my Muggle-borns was at King's Cross when that happened - he was lucky someone recognized him as a wizard and made sure he was sent to St. Mungo's. And I heard Susan talking about one of her Muggle families - they took in some young, German Jewish children. They're keeping magic a secret from them, which can't be easy on the family. The world's gotten so complicated lately - but sometimes I wonder if it was complicated before, and I was just too childish to notice?"

"Really?" Rook's brows raise. "I was there. Broke my arm, and the muggles took me, kept me up all night questioning me. I have no idea what an Irish Republican Army is, but they thought I was a member. I'm not even Irish," he remarks with no small alarm, pulling the bread into smaller pieces before popping one of them between his lips. Rook is polite enough to chew closed-mouthed and swallows before continuing on with a gesture. "They took them in?" Rook blinks. "Why would they need to do that? I suppose a lot of muggles are very poor."

"They thought you were IRA?" Brandy asks incredulously, before letting out another laugh. "I wonder why they thought that?" She shakes her head in disbelief - before attempting to explain the Jewish children. "Well. The same sort of discrimination the Muggle-born are facing? That's what the Jewish are facing in Germany - only worse. There were riots almost a year back - people went around smashing up Jewish stores, and beating Jewish people up. Some of them died. Their synagogues - they're, uhhh, sort of Jewish cultural centers - they were burned to the ground. Since then - their businesses have been seized, along with their gold and silver. So many Jewish families have been sending their children here - to protect them, and Muggle families have been taking in the children."

"Oh." The information takes Rook by surprise, no doubt a privilege of his background. "I didn't know the muggles were doing the same thing to each other. That's unfortunate," he says slowly, chewing even slower still at the bread. "I took a scarf from the suitcase that exploded. It was green, and abandoned, and I didn't think anything of it. It was a very unpleasant experience. The IRA, are they the ones who are attacking Jewish people for- wait, why are they doing that? They're muggles, aren't they?"

"It's the Germans who are attacking the Jews - the IRA are Irish," Brandy explains. "They want the British out of all of Ireland. So they're attacking London, to make their point. Not saying it's right - just saying that's what it is. "What's happening to the Jews is a completely separate issue. There are people who just… don't like the Jews. They think they're sneaky and thieving, a drain on society, that they steal job that could belong to 'better' people. All that sort of nonsense." She smiles sadly, adding, "There's too much hate in the world. I wish it were another way."

Noah, dressed in threadbare black robes, walks into the Leaky Cauldron, with an orange tabby cat following along behind him, and a toad in his hands—Rook's toad. He looks around the place, spots Rook, and carefully moves up behind him while he's distracted, before placing the toad gently on his head, and grinning.

"Right, of course. Germany, Ireland." But the conflict puts Rook off what meager appetite he has, setting the bread he's been tearing at aside, now little more than crumbs from nervous fingers. "That's quite awful. I didn't know the muggles were persecuting each other that way. I had heard some things, overheard them really, but didn't think it was widespread. Just a spat or two. Nothing terribly serious, but I suppose-" The toad's light weight is noted, but Noah's presence is one he remains ignorant to. "Hello, Archimedes! You've learned to fly!" Reaching up, Rook pulls the brightly colored oriental fire-bellied toad from his blond hair. "In any case, I suppose I could help. At Hogwarts, I mean. It's stupid, frankly."

As the toad is set on the boy's head, and Rook remarks on its flying, Brandy can't help but cover her mouth while she snickers. Yeah… the toad flew. Surely. "It is pretty awful, I agree. But we, as people of conscience, have to do what we can to combat it. I'm sure you can help at school. Don't stand idle and silent while others are persecuted, just because you think yourself safe."

Noah was not expecting that response, and it causes him to laugh pretty loudly before throwing his arms around Rook in a backwards hug. "No. I found him outside." He pulls back, out of a sudden shyness brought on by the public place, and notes brandy with a smile and a nod. "Brandy. Good to see you." The smile is genuine, even if it has a trace of embarassment with it.

Lovegood doesn't think anything of the hug, only grinning in response until he's released. Some of the somber mood is dispelled by Noah's appearance, and Rook sets the toad upon the table top. "He escapes a lot. Sees the world, a real explorer." Pat, pat on the toad's head with a few fingers. But, the smile inevitably falters when Rook returns to the subject matter. "I suppose not. As a Pureblood, I'd be safe enough if I didn't do anything, but it wouldn't be anymore pleasant knowing that my friends are getting the back end of things. So it's a losing situation anyway, might as well try to improve things. Alphard Black already dislikes me, it isn't as if I'm popular with Slytherin." Tilting his head, Rook motions to the spot next to him, now vacated by Nora. "You want to join us, Noah? We were talking about what might happen at Hogwarts."

Brandy looks puzzled as she's called by name, studying the boy in curiousity - until Rook uses the boy's name. "Noah?" she asks in surprise. "Little Noah Yorke? You're huge!" she exclaims with a laugh, rising to her feet to greet him with a hug. "Good to see you too - how've you been? Still making the world a better place?" she asks, before resuming her seat. She snickers before adding, "I remember Little Alphard Black, too. What a little preener. He was too big for his britches from day one - hasn't changed, has he?"

Noah sighs, and sits down. "Yeah, ugly business. It's going to be difficult for everyone. Even the pure blood bullies. Think of all the time they have to spend keeping us muggle-born in our place. It'll take hours out of their day." He jokes, but the smile fades right away. This is sorta serious, after all, and it affects him. He smiles at Brandy. "One day. It'll take more than just me to make the world a better place. I imagine we'll be split up, like Flitwick said. Seperate muggle-born classes." He looks to Brandy. "Seperate drinking fountains too, I bet." That reference might go over Rook's head, but Noah knows exactly what he's referencing, and it's likely Brandy does too. "I'm gonna have to spend all my free time defending muggle-borns in the hallways I expect. It's alright. Good practice, anyway. Better than duelling club—it has real world applications.

"Why would there be separate drinking fountains?" Whoosh, it goes sailing over the Sixth year's head. "Hardly the most important thing. I suppose it'll be nightmarish. You know the only thing they hate more than a muggle-born is a blood traitor." This is said with a little resignation, and Rook, dressed in his sunshine yellow robes, slumps a little upon the table. He folds his arms across the table top and rests his chin on them. "But I'm not sure that we can just go around using magic on other students. Best to let them start, really. They'll be the ones in trouble, not us."

"Ireland, Germany - now you want me to explain America to him?" Brandy asks in a dryly amused tone. "How much Muggle bigotry to expect him to absorb in one day?" Gesturing for the server Brandy adds, "Let me buy something for you, Noah, because I'm going to need to you look after little Sampson for me. That kid's… going to have a tough time of things."

Noah shrugs. "That's the idea. If they start, I finish. I'll be organizing escorts I think. With the Mud Club and Duelling club. Hatred is a disease that spreads faster than wildfire." He gestures for the barkeep, and orders a butterbeer. No food, apparently, and only the one glass at that. At Brandy's offer, he nods slowly. "Sampson. I'll keep an eye on him for you." And then, with a very resigned tone to his voice, he says "This is not the first time prejudice has affected entire segments of the population. It has happened, is happening, and will happen throughout time. Some times have it worse than others. And if you're unlucky enough to be the kind of person that everyone hates for no good reason…Well, gotta deal with it somehow. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if this leads to an all-out war. In the wizarding world, I mean. The muggle world too though. You can sort of smell it in the air. The tension, the hatred. It's like I've overstayed my welcome."

"I don't know, Noah. We don't really do wizard wars, it's unheard of. Not to say that it couldn't happen, but it sounds as if muggles are even worse." His chin is still resting atop his forearms, and Rook looks blatantly discouraged. "Though it makes sense, given the inquisition," he murmurs, chewing his lower lip. "But I'd rather not have that sort of thing at Hogwarts. If they're attending separate classes, you might not have to escort everybody. It might make the Purebloods ease up a little, I'm not quite sure. I don't really have any answers, I just don't know that return fire is the proper way to go about it."

"Thank you, Noah. This kid's… as raw as they come. Very cockney, very defensive, and pretty closed minded. I'm worried about him," Brandy explains in a sad tone. "I don't see how they can do seperate classes without doubling the staff," or combining the grades, though Brandy doesn't mention that. "But I suppose we have to wait until September to see what Flint has in mind, and hope the Board of Governors is keeping him under control."

Noah scoffs at that. "Human nature. And wizards are human. Humans go to war. Humanity's history is one of conflict. And yes, even wizards. Or else there wouldn't be Aurors and Duelling clubs and the like." He pauses, in thought. "That said, wizards are surprisingly progressive in certain respects…" Though, he leaves it up in the air what he means. As far as Sampson is concerned, Noah just shrugs. "I'll talk to him. I'm surprisingly charming when I put my mind to it." He grins at Rook. "Anyway, whatever happens happens. The point I'm making is that if things go sour I wanna be prepared."

"Yes, I'm hoping this is all just hypothetical, really. I have good friends on both sides, and I'd like to keep it that way. Still, I think the idea of separating everyone is silly, and I'm not really shy about what I think of things." Turning his head, Rook casts a glance towards Noah, flashing him a smile in earnest. "Being prepared is good, though. I uh- told Miss Sweetwater that I could help. With the new muggle-born students, I mean. Hopefully I'll have time with my NEWTs. But yes, I think you must be right about humanity. I can't think of any other explanation, it's all crazy."

"Mudclub and dueling club for all," Brandy murmurs quietly, her smile turning sad for a moment. Maybe she needs a little more cheer in her whiskey…? She looks down at her glass before drinking from it again.

Noah puts a hand on Brandy's arm. "Hey, look at the bright side. We're wizards. We can make potions of happiness whenever we want." He smirks a little at that. "Sorry. I sort of get sarcastic sometimes, but I do genuinely care about this stuff. I'm a Gryffindor, after all." He grins. "I'll do everything I can to defend those in need of defending." He sighs. "In the muggle world too. For what that's worth."

"You have NEWTs," Rook tells Noah rather pointedly, still lazily slumped over, chin resting on his arms. "Save the world after graduation, would you? Or else you'll never have time to study. Or to help me, for that matter, and I need help with Transfiguration. I hope you don't intend to sleep much." It's hard to keep Rook down for very long, as he's already slipping back into ease, smiling again. Maybe it's the obnoxiously colored, yet well tailored robes that flatter him.

Brandy is not usually one to need reminding of the 'bright side.' Brandy's usually the one to throw a party at the slightest provocation. That even a crack is showing in her almost unalterably cheerful demeanor… "It is a pretty great being a wizard," she agrees. "We're lucky."

Noah nods. "Fortunately I'm good at potions. I'll be making invigoration draughts." He grins. "Not gonna sleep much during the school year." He looks over to Brandy, with an empathetic smile. "We'll get through this, one way or another, and find happiness where we can. And one day, later, it'll be over and everyone will come to their senses. Or at least enough that that crazy ones start sounding crazy again."

"You know, you have to buy the ingredients for that. If you try to nick them from the Potions professor, he might hang you by your toes," Rook tells Noah with a sense of dubiousness, eyeing him askance. Shaking his head, Rook reorients, tilting his chin to look directly at Brandy. "Lucky? As you say, it doesn't seem lucky. It seems like there's a great deal of homework. Speaking of which, Noah should help me look over my bloody Transfiguration book before September, or I'm going to be behind. I don't really want to worry about saving the world until I manage to graduate. My parents'll flay me otherwise."

"I know," Brandy agrees, putting a better smile into place. "We all pull together - and we all get through together. Though Rook's right - don't go making Slughorn angry. You'll regret that in a hurry."

Noah smirks at Rook. "I'll find a way to afford them. Maybe I'll have people pay me for tutoring in the form of potion ingredients." He grins. But the smile fades soon after. "The attacks…you know, at Diagon Alley…" He takes a big sip of butterbeer. "If that isn't a declaration of intent, I don't know what is. This is going to get worst before it gets better. I've said that before, but it bears repeating." He looks over to Rook, with an inscrutable expression. But probably not a particularly positive one.

"I can't imagine not wanting to sleep. Sleep is better than being awake. No, no, right after waking up from a good dream, fully refreshed, warm under a bunch of quilts? That's the best feeling. You just can't get that from a potion." The food before Rook, the bread and the french onion soup, is by now rather cold. Noah's presence, for some reason, stirs Rook to straightening, eyeing his food, and again chewing his lip. "Hey, are you hungry? Not this stuff, mind you, it's cold as Alphard Black's heart." Beat. "I'm not saying not to be prepared, but you know, avoid antagonizing people. This'll be over before you know it and everyone will recall years from now how silly it all was. That we ever worried over it in the first place."

At the mention of the attacks, Brandy looks down at her glass, and then knocks back its contents. She beckons the server over, murmuring quietly, "Could you have Reece fix me up another. I appreciate it." She flashes a brief smile, before looking back to Rook. "So. Not an official member of the 'Alphard Black fan club' I take it."

Noah smiles. "Well. I could eat." He admits. "And uh. I dunno. I'm willing to give up restful sleep if it means the world ends up better for it. I'll be an Auror, if I do this right." He looks to Brandy, suddenly realizing how heavy she's hitting the whiskey. "You going to be okay getting home?" He asks, with the concern in his voice being kept to a minimum. "I could use the air if you want me to walk with you. Or apparate, as the case may be."

"Black is pleasant until he opens his mouth. Given his inability to keep it shut? Not especially, no. I don't think he ought to be considering himself for Auror, but that isn't up to me. I'm sure he has some sort of positive thing about him besides his hair, but I don't really want to find out what it is," Rook remarks with uncharacteristic distaste, wrinkling his nose. Before the server moves away, Rook is catching her sleeve with a plaintive smile. "Sorry, sorry. I need a little more food." The server glances at his uneaten meal, puzzled. "Oh, for him. Not me. Beef stew and an almond-ginger-peace treacle tart, with tea." 'Him' being Noah, who Rook gestures enthusiastically at, and runs the risk of accidentally striking Noah in the face. As to Brandy's whiskey? He's largely oblivious until Noah brings closer attention to it, and Rook stares at her, head cocked like a curious bird.

"Oh, no worries, floo'll see me home safe 'n sound - so long as I don't slur my words," Brandy responds cheerfully. "This is a family past-time, besides. My da' runs a distillery - Sweetwater Whiskeys, naturally. I'll be fine. Sounds like he's grown up to be a real charmer. Glad I didn't have to go to school with him for long - but, of course, we had our own Alphard Blacks."

Noah hasn't much experience with the floo network. It shows on his face. He hadn't even considered that a possibility until she brought it up to remind him that it exists. "…As for Alphard though…It'll be amusing when I make Auror. He'll hate me for it, I'm sure." He takes another sip of his butterbeer, and shrugs a little. "I'll be dealing with him a lot next year, I imagine." He takes a breath. "It's alright. I'll learn the bat-bogey hex. Or you know. Use the hair-growth charm on him while he sleeps or something." He grins. "Anyway, whatever happens happens. Just, stay safe. Both of you."

"My father buys Sweetwater. I've had some, it burns an awful lot. He doesn't seem to mind it, though. I prefer mead, but I don't really drink much. Turned sixteen only a couple of months ago, and my mother gets cross about it. I don't suppose you make mead?" Never mind that mead is not a whiskey. Around this time, the server returns with both Brandy's whiskey and the ordered food. A heavy bowl of hearty beef stew is set before Noah, as well as a smaller plate with a sizable slice of treacle tart, and a cup of steaming tea. There's already honey and lemon at the table. A sickle is handed over in payment for the food, the cold and hot, and the drink Nora has since left empty, plus tip. "Don't bloody hex a Black. Are you trying to ruin yourself before you really get started? Wait and see what happens. Worry about it next year. Focus on the now, or I'm never passing Transfiguration."

"I've made mead before. I do a little homebrewing sometimes - it's interesting. I have a batch of melomel aging at home right now - plum," Brandy explains, taking her whiskey from the server with a smile. Dosed with Reece's special tinctures, it's just what she needs. She takes a small sip. "Happy for your father's business - my da' works hard to make a quality product."

Noah laughs at Rook. "I was kidding, mostly. I do wanna learn that hex anyway just for fun. It'd be very distracting against a dark wizard, later. Can you imagine? He'd never expect it, it's so juvenile." He starts eating before the stew even has a chance to cool off. "That or you know. A punch to the face. Wizards never see that coming." He grins as he takes another bite. He's eating rather quickly. Must have been pretty hungry

"If you make any more mead, I might like to try it. I was tempted to get some tonight, but there didn't seem to be any reason to. Honeybee gets strange about it, and she's already a little uncomfortable when she's out in public. No reason to make it worse." Rook deliberately pays little heed to the way Noah wolfs down some of his food. "Speaking of Honeybee, you should really meet her some time, Noah. She's brilliant about potions, even tried to help me a few times when she was still at Hogwarts. She might be able to help you if you need it. She took NEWTs in Potions."

"Melomel is mead. Sort of. Mead is honey wine. Melomel is honey wine with fruit added," Brandy explains. "So it's plum mead - basically. But it won't be ready for months yet." She sips her whiskey again, before adding thoughtfully, "Nora - she was a Hufflepuff, wasn't she? Should have remembered hear earlier."

Noah nods. "I'll ask her for help, sure. If she knows more than I do, I could use the help." He grins, and then takes another huge bite of stew before wiping his face with a napkin. "Sounds like a party, in a few months, huh?" He grins.

"That sounds fantastic. If you don't mind sharing, that is, but I'd also happily pay for it." Beat. "Nora. Yes, she was Hufflepuff, was never too keen on it. Don't quite understand it myself, but she was pretty upset she wasn't Ravenclaw and never got over it. Don't know why, Hufflepuff is the best House there is." There's a nudge of Rook's elbow into Noah's ribs. "I'm sure we'll get a whole bunch of new 'Puffs this year. It'll be easier to look after the muggle-born in my own House, but honestly, nobody really gets picked on in our common room."

"Hufflepuff /is/ the best house," Brandy agrees. "Sorry, Gryffindor. And I /might/ be able to spare a glass. Still - won't know for a while, yet, how good this batch even is."

Noah considers. "You know, there's a spell to deferment things, turn wine back into grape juice and the like. If it goes badly, you can try again? Or uh…Maybe there's a way to ferment things with magic. I know you can do a simple enough transfiguration to change water into wine…I wonder…If you perfect that spell, if you can do it with magic better than the long way." He shrugs. "I bet it makes it taste better if you put a lot of work into it though."

"That sounds suspiciously like potions brewing to me, I'll pass." Emptying the remainder of his gillywater, Rook nudges the bread bits about on their plate. "I suppose I ought to make something of the rest of the month before we have to trudge back to Hogwarts. Even if it weren't all 'I'm better than you', it's still… four NEWTs." The groan that issues from Rook is not feigned, and his shoulders slump. "Might as well enjoy the rest of the summer before it's over. Where's a good place to take someone for a date, you think?"

"It has some similarities with brewing potions," Brandy muses thoughtfully. "But it's a little more forgiving. Not sure if you can just deferment and referment it, though. I'd imagine you'd lose a lot of the subtleties in flavors that way. The volitile aromatics." She takes another sip of her whiskey while considering Rook's question. "There are some really beautiful places in Muggle London. Some parks, the zoo, some amazing museums."

Noah considers. "The Moon." He jokes, with a smile, finishing up his stew and starting in on the tart. "The thing about dates…It's more about the person than about the scenery. Well. Mostly. That is, it's hard to get to know someone with a lot of noise around and people watching." He pulls apart a bit of the tart and pops it into his mouth. "My dad used to have a still." He offers, but he doesn't have much else to say about that apparently, because he just shrugs a bit.

"I've been to one of the muggle museums in London. It was interesting, but I mostly people watched. It's why I still take the train to Hogsmeade instead of apparating. I like King's Cross station. You know, when someone isn't trying to blow it up," Rook mutters. "The zoo would be noisy. A park, maybe." The Sixth year utters a low, thoughtful hum. "Well, I suppose I could figure something out, really. Especially if you think the person is more important than the place. When is good for you, Noah?" Continuing blithely on, Rook flags down the server, orders more gillywater. "You know, they do have mead here," he remarks absently.

"Could always opt for just a picturesque patch of woods - and half a hike and a picnic," Brandy suggests. Finishing off her whiskey - her third of the evenings he pushes herself to her feet. "I should get home. I've still got work, tomorrow. I hope I see you boys around, soon."

Noah looks over. "Who, me?" He grins. "Any time is good." He looks over to Brandy. "I'm sure you will. I'll look forward to seeing you too." He moves forward, and actually hugs her. "Send an owl if you like. I'll be around. I'll keep you up to date on Sampson too, when school starts." He smiles. "Things'll work out. Because we'll make sure they do."

"I've already finished my school shopping, got fitted for new robes, everything. So if you need a chaperone or anything, it gets me away from home. My mother harps on me about school a lot." Rook's voice, easy-going and warm towards the reference of his mother, doesn't suggest anything more than mild exasperation over that. "It was very nice meeting you, Miss Sweetwater. And thank you for talking to me about everything, helps me to get a better idea of things." New gillywater in hand, Rook moves as if to lift it for a toast, and it slips from his fingers. It tips over, spreading gillywater over the table, and his lap. "Ah. Well. Next time, Miss Sweetwater."

Brand returns the hug - only /slightly/ unsteady on her feet. "Thanks, Noah. And I mean that, really." She smiles at him when she's released, then nods at Rook. "It's good to have a global perspective. Muggle studies should be a mandatory class at Hogwarts. We should /all/ understand the rest of the world - they outnumber us. Have a good evening." With that said, she makes her way over to the floo, to make her way home. Thankfully, it doesn't /sound/ like she slurred her words once she got there…

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