(1939-08-23) No Love Potions, I Promise
Details for No Love Potions, I Promise
Summary: Nora and Gus go on their first date together
Date: 1939-08-23
Location: Farin Braw Restaurant

It's not the fanciest place to eat, but it's not the worst place, either. It's got good food, good beer, and it's clean and comfortable. Gus opens the door for Nora, grinning down at her as he does so. For the first time in over 7 months, he is not wearing black or shades of grey. His robes are a deep blue, just a shade off of navy, though the mourning band is still around his left arm. He looks good. Happy. "After you," he says, gesturing her through the door. "I hear they've got a very good shepherd's pie," he tells her. "I think I might try that, tonight."

The Summerbee girl is still wearing gray, but not for mourning - she just almost never wears colorful outfits. At least it's a dress robe rather than the bulky potioneer's outfit she normally sticks to. At Augustin's prompting, Nora steps inside, looking around. She seems relieved that it's just a normal place - Gus could have easily taken her to somewhere expensive where she would have felt awkward and out-of-place, after all. "I've never been here," she admits. "Might take that recommendation too."

Gus presents her his arm, the better to escort her to a table. It's apparently a seat yourself sort of place. He chooses a table in the corner, with a nice view of the rest of the place. A waiter sees them and nods, acknowledging that they're there, though he's currently busy busing a table, just now. "You look nice, by the way," he tells her. "Dunno if I mentioned it." (He actually did already, when he first saw her.) "I'm a bit nervous," he admits.

Nora blushes, taking her seat after allowing herself to be escorted to the table. "You too. I feel a bit silly after that whole 'we're not going to date' thing, though." An irrational worry crosses her mind. "Er. This is a date, yeah? I mean." She shakes her head and laughs silently at herself. "No, sorry, that's a dumb question. I'm just nervous."

Gus laughs a bit while he pulls her seat out for her. "Yeah, well… maybe tonight we could talk about that," he gently suggests. "What do we both want from this? Or… is that too soon?" He seats himself and fidgets a bit. "It's a date," he promises. "I'm even hoping for…" his voice drops to a whisper and he blushes. "Maybe another kiss when I walk you home?" He glances up and grins at her.

Nora smiles back, face still reddened a bit. "I think that's likely, yes." She looks down at the table a moment, clearing her thoughts before looking back up to continue talking. "Um, the first part, though; that's a fair question. I feel like there was a misunderstanding somewhere, before, in this, so I guess we should make sure there isn't one now?" For a moment, she has a far-off look, sifting through memories for something. "At that cafe, when we met, you started conversation with something like, 'since we're just friends,' and I took that as, well, a gentle warning to give you space. After the last few days I'm thinking I got that wrong."

Gus grins at the prospect of another kiss. And he'll listen carefully to what she says. "Well… I thought you wanted to be just friends," he says. "I mean…" he shakes his head a bit. "Look, you know, I don't have a very good track record when it comes to courting girls. I… I've been hurt. Probably done a bit of hurting, if I'm honest. I leap feet first, I fall in love - or what I think is love - too quickly. I know that. But I don't want to keep, you know…" he gestures, his hand describing a vague circle. "I'm rambling, aren't I? I'm nervous. I just don't want to mess up, again, or scare you off, or…"

Nora ums, "Sure." She's not a huge fan of beer, but it seems like the thing to have, here. After Augustin answers the waiter and he wanders off, Nora reaches out and takes Gus's hand, resting it on the table. Probably to comfort him, but maybe just to stop the nervous gesturing. "It's okay. I get it. I've been sending kind of mixed messages, I think…" Her blush returns. "I'm afraid of doing what you're saying you do. I didn't do anything social back in school, so no dating or anything, and now that I'm out, well… how do I work out how much I like you, versus how much I'm just excited that someone like you is interested in me?"

Gus twines his fingers with hers, smiling at the sight of their hands together like that. He lifts his eyes to her face. "Maybe we both have," he says. "But now we know… I like you. You like me. It's new and exciting, and a bit scary for both of us." He takes a deep breath. "I… will just… tell you here and now. You get to set the pace. Seems like a gentleman should follow his girl's lead in that, at least." He turns a bit more red, but reaches his other hand out to start caressing her fingers, slowly, lightly. "But… are you my girl? Can I even say that, yet?"

Nora smiles shyly and nods, looking down Gus's hand - she has a hard time meeting his gaze when she's embarrassed, it seems. "For what it's worth, my doubts are intellectual things. Like, thinking maybe I'm being foolish for being so interested so suddenly, and maybe questioning how well I actually know you or you know me. Emotionally, well." Shyness makes her pause here and blush harder, for now, but it's clear enough she meant to say something positive.

"Well… let's get to know each other, then," Gus says. "Ask me… anything. Really!" He keeps his fingers on her hand, touching her lightly, tracing an outline of her fingers for as long as she'll let him. "I swear to answer truthfully. But then I get to ask you a question in return, and you have to be honest, too." He grins at her.

The beer and a couple of menus are set down on their table with the waiter quirking an eyebrow at the hand-holding and sending them both a knowing smile before he disappears. "I'll give you a minute to look it over."

Nora looks at the menu, but doesn't pull her hand away from Gus; it's not keeping her from being nervous, per se, but the contact reassures her. "Hm. Well… it's not a very personal question, I guess, but is there any part of magic you're really passionate about? Just, something you find fascinating, or like working with, or whatever?" She's able to look up at Augustin again, to watch his face while waiting for a reply.

Gus smiles and nods, and then laughs a bit. "Well, I like Apparating," he says. "But really… I like to make things. There's this little spell I learned, it's a very simple little carving spell. I've been using it more and more, instead of a knife. I'm getting better and better at it. More… precise." He shrugs a bit. "I like transfigurations, too. And conjuration. I think I would've liked to take my N.E.W.T.S. in those. I never really specialized in anything, though, like you with potions." He shrugs. "Once I tried to conjure some oil paint, and just got a nasty mess. I've made some good paper, though, but it tends to yellow - too much acid. I'm working on that." He raises her hand a bit and ducks his head to press a kiss to her knuckles. "What about you?" he asks. "Besides potions… is there any particular branch of magic you like a lot?"

Nora nods, seeming relieved. Easy question, and Gus's answer seems to have made her feel better as well. "Potions is my talent partly because I grew up around Father's potions shop back home, and I'm good at it. I actually really like magic in general - at least, the theory behind it. I'm just too clumsy with spells. Potions give me time to be methodical and careful, wandwork needs better reflexes and coordination and such." She adds, "I'm actually passable at transfigurations and apparition, despite that, but it took a lot of work." She pulls her hand back after Gus kisses it, settling into a more comfortable posture and holding off on the next question since she sees the waiter returning.

Gus gives up her hand when she pulls it back. To the waiter he says, "I'll have the cream of onion soup to start, and the shephard's pie." He looks to Nora to see what she wants.

Nora hadn't planned a meal before coming here and has been slightly too distracted to really read the menu, so she says, "I'll trust his taste; same for me." Once the waiter departs, she says, "I suppose I should ask another question. Hm…" The pause goes on a little too long, and she frowns. "I'm not good at this. I need a moment more to think. Do you have any questions in the meantime?"

Gus shakes his head and laughs. "No, no, it's your turn," he chuckles. "Aaaaaaaanything at all." He raises his eyebrows and gazes at her expectantly.

Nora aws. She blushes, looking down. "Okay. Um. Hypothetically, then. If it turns out we're perfect for each other, everything goes right, what're things like in a few months or whenever, when we're not both feeling quite as shy and stuff?"

Gus blinks. "Wellllllll…" he says. "I… suppose if things are really going that well, I might ask you to marry me," he says slowly, with a red blush on his cheeks. "That kind of… is the whole point of courting a girl, isn't it?" he asks. "I've not made it a secret that yes, I would like to have a wife, start a family. Maybe not immediately, you know, but… why wait too long?" He shrugs sort of helplessly at her. "Now I'll flip the question back to you. How do you see things going between us, if all goes well and we're not so shy?"

Nora sticks her tongue out a moment. "Figured you'd cheat and steal the question again." Teasing. More seriously though, after considering the question, she replies, "I asked you partly because I've never had a boyfriend. I don't know how things go." Not looking at Gus for this last bit, blushing too much, she adds, "But if it turns out perfectly, yeah, I can see myself saying yes. That said, it's weird to try to wrap my head around the idea of being someone's wife or having kids. My self-esteem was pretty low through school, somewhere along the way I dropped thinking about those things as possible futures."

"Nora," Gus says softly. "You are… a beautiful, nice, special girl, with a cracking good talent for potions and good head on your shoulders. Alright? You deserve a chance at happiness just the same as the next girl." He smiles at her. "But we are rather getting ahead of ourselves, here." He takes a breath and thinks. "So… dogs or cats?" he asks.

Nora gives a shy smile and a shrug, "Yeah, but I'm glad I asked." She puts some thought into the next question, and settles on, "Cats, I think. I've avoided either because a shed hair landing in a brewing potion can do unexpected things. But I like cats better." She tilts her head at a thought. "I feel like I've said this, actually. Oh. When Rook was talking about animagus stuff, I think? Anyway, what about you?"

"Yes, you did say you'd like to be a cat," Gus says with a chuckle. "Me? I like dogs. They're just so… happy," he concludes. "But I like cats as well. They're good for a nice little snuggle, sometimes." He picks up his water and has a sip. "Your turn for a new question."

"Okay. Non-serious question. What's the funniest or most embarrassing mistake you've made, with magic? Everyone's fumbled something badly as a student, right?" Food arrives before Gus can respond, and Nora thanks the waiter quietly.

"Thanks," Gus echoes Nora to the waiter. He thinks about her question while he digs in. "Well," he says. "There was the time I accidentally made my eyebrows grow." He laughs a bit at the memory. "They were four feet long before the professor got them to stop. I hope you never have to know the very uniquely strange sensation of 4-foot eyebrows pulling down. It's funny how heavy hair is, when it's four feet long," he laughs. "I had to…" he's still laughing, "Hold them… hahahah… out of the way… hahahahahahahah! So I could see! Ahahahah!"

Nora grins, starting to eat her food. "I tried making a love potion once, pretty early on — you're not really supposed to, at Hogwarts, but I thought it was stupid not to learn such a common potion. Not to use, just to make sure I could make it. …Anyway, it boiled faster than I thought it would and I caught some of the fumes without realizing it. I was all… like, huggy and flirty and stuff for the rest of the day, and I didn't really figure out what had happened till that night when it was wearing off and I had some time to think."

Gus giggles - yes, giggles - at the love potion story. "Ah, that's not so bad. You were a Hufflepuff, after all, I'm sure people just thought you were being friendly." He grins at her. "This is good soup." He has a few bites, just appreciating the savory taste for a couple of minutes. "Alright, my turn. Let's see… What is… the scariest thing you've ever done? Or been through?" he tacks on.

Nora considers that. "It's hard to say. I've had a few scary moments, but on the other hand I don't usually take huge risks. I'd say the entirety of broomflying class, but in retrospect it wasn't that dangerous, I was just terrified at the time. I'd still rather apparate somewhere upside down and drunk than try to fly a broom again, though." Thinking, because that's not really enough of an answer, she adds, "That exploding button thing recently is probably up there; actually walking into the danger and trying to help, when someone had just died in front of me and more explosions were probably coming, instead of running away and letting others handle it."

Gus gives her a slight smile and nods a couple of times. "You were very brave," he tells her. "And thanks again, for the whole… fire-resistant protection. I do appreciate it." He's quiet for a bit. "For me… the worst moment of my life… well." He glances at his mourning band. "Was when my mother… I was there. I saw…" he shakes his head. "God, it was beyond awful. And poor Lizette saw everything." He sighs deeply and slowly pushes his spoon around his bowl before quietly setting it down. "Alright, your turn."

Nora eats in silence for a while, thinking of the next question; it also just seems respectful to give that last reply a moment before following it with something more trivial. Eventually, "Hm. Practical question, I guess, 'cause I've been wondering this. When it gets out that we're a couple," and though she'd had a serious expression, she allows herself a small smile at that, "Any relatives or rivals or anything of yours that I need to worry about, or at least know about beforehand? That is," and her tone's a little more playful as she finishes, "What am I getting myself into?"

"Rivals?" Gus asks. "Not that I know of. I mean… Alphard Black is a right git, but I don't think he cares enough about me to go out of his way to raise a fuss over anything I do. Especially since you're pureblood," he allows. "My family is a bit of a stickler for that sort of thing, even though I don't really care much. I'm more interested in a girl's character than her pedigree… but the fact that you have both is a plus, where my family is concerned."

Nora grins, "To Alphard's credit… After meeting you a couple times recently and starting to feel like I had a crush on you, I was beating myself up over it a bit, thinking, 'Am I just going to let myself fall for anyone that flirts with me?' Then the next one to flirt was that guy, and I could confidently tell myself, 'nope; no, I must actually like Gus.' I'll grant that 'you're better than Alphard Black' is a pretty minimal compliment, but it was a start."

Gus tips his head back and has a good, long laugh. "Wow," he finally says, a bit breathless with mirth. "That is one to tell the grandchildren. 'Well, little ones, I knew your mother liked me when she told me I was better than Alphard Bloody Black!'" He laughs again, quite amused at the thought. "Alright, my turn…"

"What's your favorite three things to eat?" he finally asks.

Nora seems to be relaxing some. At least, while she still seems shy and keeps blushing at random things, she's not quite as tense as earlier. "Hm. That's a good question. I think a proper full meal with at least three kinds of food is up there, though. That covers all kinds of foods but we'll count that as one… something with mashed potatoes, beef, and something else, maybe." More thought follows, "Apples are probably among my favorite things for stuff that's ready to eat without preparation. Fruit and such. And…" She hesitates. "Almost said 'sweets', but while I like the novelty of a lot of the things you can buy around Diagon Alley and such, I don't especially favor any of them, I just like to try them sometimes. I guess… chocolate that isn't in animated frog form. That's probably the best." She looks at Gus, then, expecting him to answer the question as well.

"Oh, you like chocolate?" Gus asks, actually sounding relieved. "Great! Because… well. I got you some." He pulls out a little box from his robe pocket, the kind that holds maybe six chocolates in it. "To share." He blushes a little. "After dinner, if you like. They're from France, you know," he says. "My father swears by them." He smiles. "Actually, I love chocolate, myself, it's one of my favorite things to eat. Also… bangers and mash, and chips fresh from the fryer." He gestures at her, indicating that it's her turn to ask a question.

Nora blushes again at the offered chocolates, and resumes eating her meal while she thinks of a question. Her mind must wander a bit, because sometime in the middle of that her expression is more 'daydreaming' than 'thinking really hard'. Nevertheless, eventually she looks up at Augustin and asks, "Three wishes. No tricky loophole wording to get more wishes, and no big world-changing stuff like world peace or omnipotence or something. What would you pick?"

Gus tucks away the majority of his meal while he thinks about how to answer Nora's question. "Three wishes," he muses quietly to himself. "I guess bringing someone back from the dead is out," he murmurs. "Well, I suppose I would wish for perfect health and immortality — until I was ready to go." He shrugs. "There's just so many interesting things to see and do and learn, and I feel like we don't get enough time, you know?" He'll have some of his beer, now. "And the ability to understand, speak, read and write every language - wouldn't that be useful? Go anywhere and not worry about being misunderstood." Finally, he finishes his meal, and leans back sort of thoughtfully. "And the third… I suppose I'd wish to become an amazing artist." He tilts his head to one side. "You?"

Nora nods, "I'll second the perfect health… who wouldn't wish that? And then, I think… being able to learn and become great at every kind of magic. Not to know it all right away, just to be good at learning, because learning's most of the fun. And… hm." The last one takes more thought, but she settles on, "Maybe to go back and do Hogwarts over again, without being so shy."

Gus smiles gently at her. "Come on," he says. "Finish up, and we can go for a nice walk. Get your mind off of regrets in the past. Trust me, Honeybee," he says, using the nickname for the first time, testing it out. "It leads nowhere good." The way he says it, it sounds like he really knows what he's talking about. "We can nibble on the chocolates as we go?" he suggests.

Nora finishes her food in silence, though since she'd been eating for a while it's not that much time before she's done. She doesn't reply to the nickname, but, smiling a little and looking away when Gus says it, she seems at last as much flattered as embarrassed. "Alright," she says, finally, quietly.

Gus will do the gentlemanly thing and pull her chair out for her, then escort her out on his arm after settling the bill. It's a refreshing evening, warm and breezy, with clear skies and stars that shine through even London's night air. He cracks open the box of chocolates and offers it to her, first. "Thank you for… going out with me," he says. "I've had a nice time."

Nora takes a chocolate. "I'd be nervous with most anyone else offering me chocolate. Such a common thing to sneak love potions in." Just an idle comment, though; no worry behind it. With a shy smile, she replies to Gus's comment, "Me too. I've had… 'fun' sounds too trivial, but something like that." She looks around. "…Are we walking to anywhere, by the way? Or just taking me home?"

Gus blinks a couple of times when she mentions love potions, and slowly pulls the box back, frowning. "It had never occurred to me," he says slowly. For a few moments he looks like he's debating something. Then, "I… I'm glad you trust me," he says. "That's important." He picks up a chocolate, too, and pops it whole into his mouth. He shrugs at her question. "A slow walk home," he says. "Unless you want to pull me into a dark alley and have your way with me," he jokes - it's just a bit too dark out to tell if he's blushing, but his teeth flash white with his grin.

Nora shrugs and admits, "I trust you, mostly. You're still a stranger in some ways but I've known you at least distantly for a while. And I see you take care of your little sister, and you risked your life — in a stupid way, but the intent was good — with those exploding pins a while ago. You're a great person by every measure I know to judge you by. Besides," Here, she grins, "It'd be silly to use potions on me, you know? I'd get you back somehow later."

Gus laughs a little. "Ouch. It was pretty stupid of me, wasn't it?" He offers her the box again - there are still four left! "You would at that, wouldn't you?" he agrees. "Note to self, never try to out-potion the potioneer." He pretends like he's writing a note in the air. "Do you think you'd like to do this again, some time? A date, I mean? And… if so, what would you like? Dinner again? Or something different?"

Nora takes another chocolate, nibbling on it a bit before eating the whole thing. "I'd like to spend time with you again. It was hard to focus on eating, though, so maybe not food next time. I don't know. What else do people do on dates?" She blushes and pauses a moment. "Er. There are some possible answers to that that aren't what I was getting at. You know what I mean."

There's that second where Nora blushes and pauses that gives Gus just enough time to think of a witty response, inhale, and open his mouth, just before she cuts in. He laughs instead. "Honestly, Nora… I think I tend to go overboard with dates." He thinks for a second. "We could take a walk on the Thames?" he suggests. "Or see a play? Or there's this new kind of Muggle music called jazz, we could dress up and go have a listen. Um…" he seems to rack his brain for ideas. "You have any suggestions?"

Nora hms, "Walks are nice, plays are nice. Not sure about muggle music; kinda spoil the date if it turned out one of us didn't like it, wouldn't it?" She smiles. "We'll think of something. It can't be that hard to come up with an excuse to spend time with you."

They talk more about possible dates for the future, and even settle on a specific date. And then they're standing in front of Nora's apartment. Gus turns toward her, shoving the now-empty box of chocolates into his pocket. He looks a little nervous. "Well," he says, and grins, and then he'll try to kiss her.

Nora freezes up for a moment, suddenly nervous, but returns the kiss after. And afterward, though she's not confident enough to go further than a simple kiss on the lips, Honora looks sort of dazed and happy. "'Night, Gus."

"Good night," Gus says, his voice sounding strange - low and husky, and filled with some new emotion. He'll clear his throat, squeeze her hands, and step back.

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