(1939-08-27) Last Minute Robe Shopping
Details for Last Minute Robe Shopping
Summary: Several students come to Madam Malkin's for some last minute shopping, and meet a new transfer student.
Date: 27 August, 1939
Location: Madam Malkin's Robes, Diagon Alley

The panic of last-minute school shopping has taken full hold over Diagon Alley. Parents and students flock from shop to shop, hauling piles of purchases with them. New owls hoot, children cry, and parents shout. Madam Malkin's Robes has reached a relative lull in the chaos, now that most families have paused for lunch.

A young witch with long, wild curls stands on one of the three stools as a measuring tape flits from her nostrils to her shins. A formidable looking, elderly witch stands watching with pursed lips and a critical furrow of her brows.

The student standing next to her keeps glancing over, puzzled that he doesn't recognize her. But, his robes are ready and its time to go. A harassed-looking father ushers him off for a late lunch.

Terrance slwoly pushed into the robe shop, standing to the side as the boy and father make their way back into the streets of Diagon Alley. Taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly, he glanced around to cheeck if a group had gathered or if a measuring box would soon be ready. He glanced down at his current robe, contemplating if this was really neccessary, finding them ending near mid shin. Giving a sigh he nodded, it was needed.

His harassed servant in tow, hauling along a pile of books from Floursh and Blotts, a young man with the hair and bearing of a Malfoy enters, tugging his informal robes around him. He sighs at the crowd, "You know, it's never so crowded at Twilfit and Tattings. Why can't I just get my school robes there?" Abraxas raises his chin and quite literally looks down his nose, then strides towards the counter, pausing just a moment as he catches sight of the young witch being measured. "Too tall to be a first year, certainly." he says, to no one in particular.

Hephaesta thought she'd had all of her shopping done. But then her mother discovered that she hadn't purchased new dress robes. In spite of Phae's insistence than she wouldn't need them, Aphrodilia Mulciber is not to be denied when it comes to prettying her daughter up. So the famously gorgeous red-haired witch brought Hephaesta back to Madame Malkin's to see the error corrected. "Mother," Phae protests one last time as they wander the store, "I don't need a new dress. I still have last year's." Such dirty words as "last year's" bring a crinkle to Aphrodilia's nose, and she simply keeps looking through the fashions. Hephaesta falls silent as well, as her eyes fix upon a girl that she doesn't recognise. Surely, a girl of that age would be known to Phae. She's got a mind like a steel trap.

Zayn had been measured for this years robes earlier in the week and had paid for them with the promise to return to the fitted robs. Entering today during lunch was just what he planned to do, dressed in his rather nice and custom tailored black suit, he straightens it out before he heads towards the counter to see if his order is ready. His eyes move around the room slowly, though the first person he notices is Hephaesta. His brows furrowing slightly, but he does offer her a small nod in greeting. "Oh come now, getting a new dress can't possibly be that bad, Mulciber." he says warmly to her.

Samira keeps her chin slightly lifted and her gaze focused on a point above her head on the wall behind her. She doesn't look away, not when Terrance steps inside, nor when Hephaesta's eyes fix on her, and not even when Abraxas comments on her height. But, the moment Zayn steps into the shop and greets the other girl watching her, Samira blinks and glances at him in the mirror. Her eyes widen in surprise.

Terrance looked behind him as he moved to an open meassuring stand, begingin the process for this year's robes. He watched for a momenet as the Malfoy moved in behind him. He gave a lsight look of disgust at his attitude before directing his glance forward. He lifted his arms, looking at the gathering growing behind him through the mirror. As he did, his eyes fell upon the ravenclaw and her mother, digging through the dress robes. "Quite the turnout." he said softly under his breath.

Abraxas steps over to one of the fitting areas, and shrugs off his robe, simply moving past the crowd as if entitled to not wait. "Oh, young Mister Malfoy!" one of the seamwitches says, before setting off to fetch the robes that had already been ordered. When she returns and helps him into the first one, to do the final fitting, Abraxas asks, "Who's the young witch over there? I don't think I've seen her before."

Hephaesta is snapped out of her musing over Samira by a familiar voice. She tenses visibly, and turns her head to see Zayn there. She gives him an exasperated sigh, "Perhaps when you get fitted for a new dress, you can share your thoughts on it, Shafiq." There is an uncharacteristic snark in the Ravenclaw girl's tone. But her moment of boldness passes, and she ducks her head abashedly, eyes flickering now between Zayn and Samira.

Zayn looks over Hephaesta slowly, his hand coming up and rubbing his chin, "Well I don't know, I mean do you think I should stick with a green dress or do you think another color would work?" he says with a chuckle. But then he catches words of Abraxas, Hephaesta's looking and turns and looks at what he is talking about, his face goes somewhat straight for a moment, before a gentle smile tugs on his lips. "Peace be with you, Miss Samira." he says in Arabic bowing his head, politely in greeting.

"Wa 'alaikum assalam," answers Samira in Arabic, still looking surprised, but not shocked. The governess overseeing the fitting purses her lips tighter still when her charge is so uncouth as to speak in anything but English. Samira ignores her governess, but her dark gaze flits to Hephaesta. She continues in English. "It is good to see you, Zayn Arshad Shqfiq, first Son of Raful Arshad Shafiq." Her English is too pure, which means she is foreign. As if anyone had doubts.

The seamwitch smiles and tells Abraxas that he should go and introduce himself to the witch.

Abraxas rolls his eyes and gives a slightly irritated expression, more of a sound from within his throat, as if the response doesn't actually earn a response. "When I need etiquette advice from the hired help, I'll be sure to let you know." he snaps, and is rewarded for his troubles with a needle in the leg, "Watch where you're putting that!" he says, just as crossly. Shaking his head, he says, "Fine. Just finish up, so I don't have to shout through the mirrors like some sort of prisoner rattling his cup against the bars."

Terrance slowly was turned around so his shoulder, back and other measurements could be taken, the tape measure moving with rapid pace as the witch behind made adjustments. As he turned he watched the slight intorcductions here and thee, his mind trying to connect these faces with the names he had heard amongst the halls of school. Though, like many Samira was new, and that clean accent drew his attention all the more.

Hephaesta blinks in momentary confusion at Zayn's reply to her…until she realises he was teasing her, and she gives him another frustrated sigh. She glances to Aphrodilia, who has found another mother to chat with about the latest fashions for their daughters. Not to miss the opportunity to slip away, she moves as stealthily as her clockwork leg brace will allow with all of its clicking and whirring. In spite of herself, she approaches Zayn, in need of some excuse for wandering. "You know that girl?" she inquires softly, glancing toward Samira.

Zayn nods, "As it is good to see you, Samira Prince, first Daughter of Sorrelus Prince." he says nodding slowly, "I hope you are finding London to be comfortable." he says nodding slowly, "If you have time, I am sure Father would love to host you for dinner." he says with a nod, before turning and looking at Hephaseta, "Yeah, we have met last summer in Cairo at a Fundraiser we were invited too." he says running his hand through his hair slowly, nodding, looking back over at Samira, "Is Djinn doing well?" he asks.

Samira goes back to staring at the point on the wall behind her when Zayn invites her to have dinner with his family. She doesn't answer him except to say, "Djinn is well. Doesn't care for the climate, but he is learning."

It seems that going anywhere without the little tawny cat is pretty much impossible for Elspeth. The ears that seem a bit too large for the head give the feline an uncanny appearance of somehow just 'knowing'. The fifteen year old in question walks slowly along the aisles, the summer's growth spurt evident in the wrists that show beyond the pale blue summer robes. With her thick, red hair bound in a braid down her back, the Ravenclaw Prefect's progress towards the school robes slows as she passes some new autumn styles.

Abraxas's robes are altered to fit, and then he reaches up and pins the silver prefect's badge to the chest. Turning to look at himself in the mirror, he nods, then shoots his cuffs, "That will do." he says, the jab in the leg all but forgotten as he smooths the front of the robes, "That will do just fine." The robes are removed and put on a hangar, then given to the servant to carry. The Malfoy boy steps away from the fitting area to join the growing crowd around poor Samira, "Shafiq. Mulciber. Good day." He turns and gets a good look at Samira, then follows the advice he so disdained. "I am Abraxas Malfoy. Did I hear that you were a Prince? I know your family." Which is high praise coming from a Malfoy.

Hephaesta gives Zayn another exasperated sigh. She seems to have a stock of those ready for him. "Etiquette dictates that you should introduce us now," she informs him in a very matter-of-fact tone, "as you are the individual familiar with both parties."

Terrance smiled softly to the witch who assisted him, before stepping down to accept his robes. He placed them over his arm before glancing to the growing group around Samira. He gave a soft laugh as they all seemed so eager to meet the newcomer, but he thought there would plenty of time in the year to come to get an introduction. Instead he watched as the ravenclaw walked through the door and towards the robes, with the cute inquisitive looking cat. He slwoly moved after Elspeth, offering a kind "Hello. What an adorable cat." he said, his eyes falling to the cat with a smile.

A smile quirks on Samira's lips, dispelling her neutral mask. She glances at Hephaesta with amused approval in the mirror. The next time Hephaesta takes a step or shifts her weight, Samira glances to the strange mechanical whirrs coming from the girl's leg. Interest sparks in her dark eyes when she glimpses the clockwork leg. Just then, Abraxas approaches.

Samira lifts her gaze as Abraxas steps forward to introduce himself and declare he knows her family. She seems a bit nonplussed. "I am not as familiar with your families here. But, I am pleased to meet you, Abraxas Malfoy." SHe inclines her head slightly.

Zayn looks at Hephaesta, his look says something but just lets out a small sigh, he decides not to try and explain that different Etiquette for different cultures and that it wouldn't be proper for him to introduce them yet. Looking at Samira, "Miss Samira, Hephaesta Mulciber, Ravenclaw." he says gesturing to Hephaesta, Pointing at Terrance, "Terrance Green, Grffyindor." he says looking around, "Abraxas Malfoy, Slytherin." he says running his hand through his hair, glancing Elspeth, "Elspeth Rosen, Prefect Ravenclaw." he says with a small nod, "Samira Prince" he says looking at her, "From Cairo." he says with a nod.

Neko hops up on a hat stand, the better to garner more adulation from the obviously well mannered young man. "Hullo, Green," Elspeth replies, suprised to find her hazel eyes are almost level with his chin this year. At least she doesn't have crane her neck quite as much to look up to his eyes. Two heads swivel as she hears her name, and the cat stills, sitting to stare flatly at Abraxas with an occasional flick of the tail. Elspeth looks over to the girl who's name is being given to the room at large, and offers her a quiet smile along with the nod, but doesn't push into the group. Instead, she returns her attention to Terrance. "Have a good holiday, then?" While there's still a tiny brushing of accent, she seems to be getting a better hold of the grammar.

"Well, there you have it. Now we all know each other." Abraxas says, with a glance sideways at the others, "Welcome, I suppose. Though I'm sure that it will be a refreshing change to learn magic the proper way, instead of whatever they teach overseas. One never can tell about such things." His lips draw narrower, and he continues, "Congratulations on behind chosen Head Boy, by the way, Shafiq. Prof. Slughorn tapped me for Prefect this year." His smile is so obviously insincere it's almost patent, "I hope you'll show me the ropes, so to speak."

Samira does her best to follow Zayn's introductions. Who knows how much she'll actually remember later. The girl seems more amused than anything else at the slight on her homeland's magical education. She regards Abraxas with detached interest for a moment as he speaks to Zayn. Although the movement is subtle, Samira manages to catch the nod and quiet smile from Elspeth in the mirror. She cants her head slightly to the side before returning with a subtle nod.

It would seem that her seamwitch is finally satisfied with the robes and invites Samira to step down. She inform the governess that the robes will be ready in two days. Despite their business being completed, the governess doesn't usher Samira away just yet. But, she doesn't stop from hovering like a vulture over the gathering of students.

Hephaesta gives Zayn a respectful nod of thanks — perhaps slightly grudging. She turns to greet Samira, but there is Abraxas. Despite being a year above the Malfoy, Phae casts her eyes down, shying from interjecting into his conversation with the newcomer. But when his attention turns to Zayn, she peeks back up at Samira, offering a meek smile and a lopsided curtsey. "Hello, Samira Prince. So, you are coming to Hogwarts?"

Zayn of course nods politely at Abraxas, "Of course, I am sure you are excited to get on the Prefect's car." he says with a nod, "I will be explaining what I expect from all the Perfects this year." he says with a nod, "Many thanks and also congratulations on your Position, I am sure you will do our house Proud." he says with a smile. He says slowly looking at Samira out of the corner of his eye.

Terrance gives a slight glance over as he heard his name in introduction, giving a light nod and smile to Samira. As he looked towards her he noticed the hovering governess, which brougth a soft laugh. Then his chocalate eyes were directed back to Elspeth, "Quite good, yes. Got the approval for my NEWTs and got a new broom for the year, so should be a fun year going in." he said with a friendly smile, "And you, anything eventful?"

"Just so." Abraxas says, offering another slight smile at the mention of Zayn's expectations. "Of course, I look forward to hearing your plan. No doubt it will be a capital year for Slytherin House, as always." He smiles more charmingly at Samira for a moment, and then turns back to Zayn and says, "I'm not so certain I will spend much time in the Prefect's Car. It is, after all, the first opportunity to catch up with old friends. And make new ones." Does Malfoy have any friends? Not that anyone would be aware of. "But for now, I should probably finish my shopping. I still have to get a few things for Arithmancy and Ancient Runes."

Samira seems in no rush to leave now that she has stepped down from her stool. She stands a few inches shorter than the petite Hephaestia. Despite her diminutive height, their is no trace of meekness as she regards the other students. She regards Hephaesta with an assured lift of her chin. "Yes. I have come to live in the United Kingdom and to study your magics."

As Abraxas prepares to leave, Samira glances to him but makes no attempt at a farewell. Instead, she simply observes him. Her dark gaze flits to Zayn.

"It's…just 'magic'," Hephaesta corrects Samira, offering an awkward, pinched smile. "Well, I hope you'll be sorted into Ravenclaw. I'm sure there is much we could learn from each other." Her eyes flicker to Abraxas again, though never looking him in the eye.

Zayn offers Abraxas a small nod, "It will be a good year." is all he says at first, before adding on, "I hope you find everything you need in the midst of all this." he says softly with another small nod. "I am sure every house is hopping to get Miss Samira." he says nodding, "She certainly would make a fine addition to any house." he continues.

"Try not to sound like such a Hufflepuff, Shafiq. We're all trying our best, et cetera, et cetera." Abraxas makes a rather airy motion with his hand. "Every house can hope, but only one can win. Not that sorting is a contest, but… We take only the best in Slytherin, and the hat knows it." He holds his hands out to the sides and offers a playful little bow, "And now, I take my leave. Good day to you all."

Samira pauses before simply nodding at Hephaesta's grammer correction. Abraxas draws her gaze and she offers another nod. "It was nice to meet you, Abraxas Malfoy."

Once the young wizard has gone, she looks once more to Hephaesta and Zayn. "Ravenclaw is the house that likes food, yes? Ah, and it likes hard work. Which was the house for pure bloods?" Samira glances to Zayn, hoping he will refresh her memory. "Not the Hufflepuff. That one- ah! The Hufflepuff was someone that valued being close to the kitchen."

Abraxas leaves, heading towards Central Diagon Alley [O].

Hephaesta blinks in surprise at Samira, and quickly shakes her head. "No, no. We Ravenclaws exemplify wit, learning, and wisdom. There is no…'food house'. It's true that the Hufflepuff Common Room is near the kitchens, but that hardly defines them. All houses accept pure-bloods. Though…Slytherin accepts only pure-bloods. Rather an error in judgement, if you ask me. They deny themselves the benefit of the contributions of some excellent witches and wizards."

Zayn smiles softly at Samira, "Hufflepuffs, value hard work and loyalty." he never thought his joke a year ago about Hufflepuffs valuing being close to the kitchen would come back to poke him, "Their dorm is close to the Kitchen." he says nodding, "Gryffindors value courage and determination." he says with a smile before looking at Hephaesta, "Ravencalws value wit and Wisdom." he says nodding, "Then Slytherins, value ambition and being cunning." he says with a nod, "And yes, the only all Pure-Blood house, is Slytherin." he says nodding. Not touching more on the subject of it all.

The door opens to admit another - the dark-skinned and garishly dressed Brandy. "Hey, did you finish up that-" she starts to ask, before noticing just how many are in the shop at the moment. "Oh," she cuts herself off, glancing around. "I guess I'd best wait my turn."

Samira nods appreciatively as Zayn refreshes her memory. "Ah yes… cunning." Regarding Hephaesta with growing interest, Samira says, "An astute observation." Tilting her head, she asks, "Are you a pureblood yourself?" The question is genuine, simply curious, bearing no trace of sarcasm or derision.

Hephaesta nods her head in simple affirmation. "I am. Most of my family is, as well." She tilts her head pensively as thought percolate. "Shafiq said he met you in Cairo. Are you from Egypt? But your name is Prince."

Deprived of her original objet-de-stare, Neko's attention shifts to the student she doesn't recognize. Golden eyes follow the new girl while Elspeth answers the questions put to her. "Nothing much to be talking about," she replies to Terrance. "That is being good that you have the NEWTs that you wish to be having." So, the grammar slips as she speaks in longer sentences, but she doesn't seem concerned. "I do need new school robes, though. I have been outgrowing everything I own. It is being hard to keep up." Her eyes have found some of their humorous sparkle over the summer, which she shares with the Gryffinor before she gives him a little nod to excuse herself and find what she needs.

Samira arches a brow with an approving smile when Hephaesta confirms her pureblood heritage. However, the smile fades as the girl starts to inquire about her family. "Yes. I was born in Cairo, but my father is originally from the United Kingdom." This conversation will continue inevitably towards the topic of her mother, which Samira would like to avoid.

Stepping back she offers Hephaesta and Zayn a nod. "It was good to meet you, Hephaesta Mulciber, and it was good to see you once more, Zayn Arshad Shafiq. I'm afraid I must be going."

Zayn simply nods at Samira, as she thanks him. His hand moving up and running through his hair as he moved now to pay for his robes and accepts the them packaged in brown paper. Looking at Samira as she goes to leave, he offers a polite nod, "It was a pleasure Samira Prince." he says softly.

"School shopping rush, huh?" Brandy remarks. Most of the people do seem to be kids. As some seem to be on their way out, Brandy steps out of the way of the door, to make sure folks and get where the need to be. As her eyes lock onto Zayn - recognizing him from earlier - she smiles at the boy, and offers a nod of her head in greeting.

Hephaesta had opened her mouth to ask another question, but shuts it abruptly when Samira announces her intent to leave. "Oh…yes, of course. Well, I suppose we'll see you again on Monday. I'll look for you on the train?" Because, of course Samira wants to answer endless questions about Egypt.

A small smile returns to Samira's lips as she regards Hephaesta. The governess radiates irritation as her ward continues to delay their departure. "I am certain you will find me, if you search." And with no further farewells, the exotic little witch turns and heads for the door.

Zayn watches Samira leave with a small frown but runs his hand through his hair slowly, offering Brandy a nod in greeting. "Miss Sweetwater." he says warmly with a smile, before looking back at Hephaesta, "Have you enjoyed your summer?" he asks her slowly with a nod.

"Mister Shafiq," Brandy answers in turn. the other students are unfamiliar to her, and simply earn a nod in greeting.

"Oh, Miss Sweetwater, didn't see you come in! We finished your custom order - why don't you take a look at it while I'm helping out this young Miss…" A wrapped package is handed off to Brandy, who starts to open it up. Inside are deep green robes, with bright purple trim, and a swirling pattern embroidered in wine red around the bottom. There a blue tassel hanging off the top of the hood.

There are few other than Brandy would ever dream of wearing such a thing, but there it is. "Oh, this is perfect!" she exclaims cheerfully. "Don't you think?" she asks the room at large.

Hephaesta lifts her brow, a bit surprised at Zayn's question. Are they managing to have a civil conversation? Does she want to? "My summer…has been very busy. I've been apprenticing at Macnair Manufacturing again." Of course her attention is drawn to the boisterous Brandy and her boldly coloured robes. Her eyes widen, momentarily stunned by the loud garment.

Golden feline eyes follow Samira as she leaves the store, then Neko remains seated where she is, even after Elspeth moves on to the school robes section to pick out a new set to her size. She pauses again at the selection of fall robes, and the pulls out a forest green one trimmed with dark gold colored embroidery. At the cheerful exclamation she looks up again, and blinks once, her mouth quirking up at one corner.

Zayn nods and runs his hand through his hair, "I interned at Harpy Radios all summer." he says nodding slowly, "It has been an interesting summer." he says slowly with a smile, looking at Brandy he looks at the outfit slowly, "It's err.. interesting." he says nodding.

"Interesting," Brandy repeats. She pulls off the robe she was wearing, and put the new one on top instead, moving to stand in front of a mirror. "Just how I like things. Now - with a yellow vest…" she muses while she studies herself." Yes. She intends to add more color to this ensembled.

Hephaesta blinks in surprise; an expression that works well in response to both Zayn and Brandy. But it is the former she addresses. "What did you do there?" She cautiously feels out the territory, curious if she and the "cruel, horrible" Zayn might actually have something in common.

Zayn rubs his chin slowly, "Learned a good deal about the business aspect of it." he says slowly, "A little bit about the factory side of things and the creation of the wireless and wizard wireless technology." he says nodding, "Really those things are truly amazing." he says nodding.

Noalan has never been one for robe shopping, but a year's growth means this old, comfortable robes are getting to the point where even he doesn't like how they look. So, grumpily, he enters the clothing store and heads immediately towards the uniform rack. He pauses for a moment on the way, spotting a familiar cat, "Hey Neko. Standing guard?"

"You've got an interest in the wireless, and not just the arts?" Brandy asks Zayn curiously, turning away from admiring her new robe to smile at the boy and his companion. "It's wonderful, isn't it? Especially the music programs."

"They're alright," Phae concedes grudgingly. "I'm more interested in their application for remote control. It could solve a lot of issues with long-distance automechanical travel."

At the entrance of Lan, Neko's tail swishes once behind her as part of the motion that brings her back to all four paws. Standing primly for a moment, with her tail in the air, she gives a little meow before leaping down to the floor and walking over to rub at the Slytherin's ankles. Looking up at the sound of the voice, Elspeth is still holding the robe in front of her as she smiles a greeting. "Hullo, Lan," she says quietly, not even glancing towards the other Slytherin that she knows is in the store.

Zayn tilts his head at Brandy for a moment, trying to grab what she is asking before it clicks, "Oh! I like the Wireless, but it is not my focus. My father simply owns Harpy Radios Inc." he says offering Brandy a smile, "The business I am planning to open is similar but not really the same." he says nodding slowly, looking at Hephaesta for a moment, "Well…" he says with a shrug, "I don't know much about that, but I am sure the guys who work on designing them would. If you would like, maybe I could give you the chance to meet them?" he says trying to smooth things out again.

"Oh, he owns it? A quality product. I have a Harpy in my home, of course. Listen to it most evenings." Not recently, though. Brandy hasn't been spending much time at home, lately.

Her attention shifts to Hephaesta as she asks, "Their application for… what? What are you trying to do with them?"

Noalan reaches out to give the cat a pat before she drops out of easy reach. He's already looking up for the cat's owner before she speaks. "Hey, you out shopping for the latest in Hogwarts black too? How's the haute couture looking this year? What shade of black is in this year?" He asks, mostly filtering out the nerd talk from near by.

Hephaesta's hazel-green eyes tighten suspiciously at Zayn. But the way her lips pinch and pout up betrays her temptation. "Before school starts?" She presses the matter. "If I could take notes and bring them to Hogwarts, I could get started right away." She looks over to Brandy, perking up. "I want to test the ability to give remote commands to an automaton. Watch." She lifts up a forearm and calls toward the door. "Gizmo, to me!"

The metallic owl that had been perched on a shelf near the front door — assumed by passers-by to be an odd sculpture — suddenly springs to life, clicking and cooing. It spreads its wings and launches into the air, flying over the heads of patrons and coming to a landing on Hephaesta's arm. Phae smiles proudly, but it fades quickly at the admonishment of her mother. "Hephaesta Aphrodilia Mulciber! What have I told you about that thing flying indoors?"

Phae sighs, dipping her head. "It's not a thing, Mother. It's Gizmo…and I'm sorry. I just wanted to…to show them."

"I am thinking I heard that moonless night black is being /the/ shade for the season," Elspeth replies, putting the gown back on the rack and picking up the school robes she's purchased. "But, I think that noir tragedy is probably being more your shade." Her eyes sparkle to him with the humor that's returned over the summer at home, eyes which round as the spot the sudden movement of the owl. "Gizmo!" she recognizes the creature, but hadn't even noticed it as it sat still.

Brandy's eyes widen with surprise and delight. "Oh, that /is/ remarkable!" She comes closer to inspect the owl, a thoughtful expression on her features. "You made this creature?" she asks - thinking of Sampson, and his fascination with the animated birds in the cage. This was far more sophisticated. "And you'll be bringing it to school with you?"

Zayn looks at Hephaesta then at Gizmo, does he understand any of that at all or anything she is even talking about? Nope. "Sure, maybe sometime this weekend, I will have to take you by the legal department first." he says tapping his chin slowly, "Just have to sign a non-disclosure is all." he says shrugging, "Just saying you are not going to go sell secrets over to the nice folks at Banshee." he says with a chuckle, "But yeah, I am sure the guys who work on new designs and such, will be able to help or the guys who make the broadcasting equipment." he says nodding, looking at Brandy he smiles. "Well we do take great pride in our products and always want to ensure our customers are happy with them and that they are a quality investment that they can feel comfortable purchasing." he says nodding.

"Really? I've always though Licorice Black brought out the Celtic in my completion and is generally the best in making me look several days dead." Lan shoots her a smirk, "Have you been shopping long?" Only when Elspeth's attention shifts from him, does he turn to look. "Isn't that your unofficial house mascot?"

Aphrodilia sighs with exasperation at Hephaesta — clearly that's where Phae picked up that particular talent — and goes back to her conversation with her friend.

Hephaesta, meanwhile, displays Gizmo for Brandy to see, giving a smile to Elspeth, happy to know her little friend is remembered. "Yes, I made him. Well…with some help from the arteficers at Macnair. He's charmed so that I can use certain voice commands to trigger certain behaviours. And yes, he comes to Hogwarts with me. He's my owl. I…don't get along with animals." Her cheeks colour a bit at the admission. Zayn's confirmation of his offer gets a hopeful smile from Hephaesta. An actual, honest to good smile at Zayn Shafiq.

"That's marvelous," Brandy says warmly. "There's a new student this year - Sampson Smith - who was simply entranced by some wind-up birds in a gilded cage that would move and chirp. If you had the time, I know he would be most eager to learn what you know on the subject of making automatons."

With a nod and a smile for Zayn she adds, "And the company does a fine job of it."

Elspeth shakes her head. "I am afraid they are being all sold out of Licorice Black this year," she tells Lan regretfully. "I am mostly finished. I am just needing to go pick up books at Flourish and Blotts, and I am being finished for this year…" another regretful smile to him with a sigh. "I really must be heading there, as I am sure there are going to be long lines waiting. I will be seeing you soon, yes?" Neko gives one more twine around Noalan's ankles, then leads the way out as Elspeth waves to Hephaesta. She looks back over her shoulder at the Eibon Slytherin as she goes, but manages to look around in time to not run into the door.

Zayn offers Hephaesta a smile and nods, "Well I will send you an owl." he says with a nod. Looking at Brandy he says, "Well I am glad you enjoy your Harpy." he says warmly before looking around, "I however need to finish up a few things. It was wonderful seeing all of you." he says warmly as he goes to leave with a smile.

Noalan shrugs, "That's a shame. Ghoul is so becoming." He glances towards the door, then back to the cloths. "I'll come with you. As much as I love clothing, I'll put it on hold. Better no to travel alone this year. There's been some incidents here in the past couple of days." He says, turning to follow her out.

Hephaesta nods to Zayn, surprising even herself at how she's softening to him. "Thank you, Shafiq. Have a lovely day." As the Slytherin boy departs, she turns to Brandy, nodding eagerly. "Hopefully your student will be a Ravenclaw. He sounds as if he has the curiosity to be one. But I'm sure I'll see him at the Sorting Ceremony. Sampson Smith," she repeats the name, committing it to memory. "Who shall I say asked me to speak with him?"

"Brandy Sweetwater," she responds offering her hand. "Muggle Liason Office," which is her polite way of warning Hephaesta that the boy in question is a Muggle-born. "I'll tell him to look for you, if you don't mind, Miss…?"

"Mulciber. Hephaesta Mulciber." Phae shakes Brandy's hand, unfazed by the mention of Mugglish things, except perhaps a brow lifted in interest. "And I don't mind at all. If he is interested in mechanization, it sounds as if we might have something in common."

"Wonderful," Brandy responds warmly. "I've been worried the transition would be a challenge for him - hopefully this will give him something else to be excited about." She turns her attention to the owl again, adding, "That really is impressive," in a quiet voice. "What else can it do?"

Hephaesta lowers her arm to a nearby countertop and commands, "Perch." Gizmo steps off onto the counter. "He can carry post, like a normal owl. Well…sort of. We're still working on a way for him to home in on a post drop like an owl does. But he's got a Extended compartment in his belly, so he can carry larger packages without leaving them exposed to the elements."

"Really?" Brandy remarks, watching the owl perch, then reaching out a finger to poke the creation curiously - testing to see if it would react. "What if Muggles see a mechanical bird flying about, though?"

"There is that," Phae concedes. "I have to ask a Professor to use a Disillusionment Charm on him when I need to actually use him for post. But I'm hoping to get a more permanent charm put on him this year."

"Almost got to wonder if there'd be a way to change the Muggle repelling charm - so the Muggle's simply don't look at him," Brandy suggests in a thoughtful tone. "That would be a pretty neat touch, if you ask me."

Hephaesta taps her chin thoughtfully. "It would probably only work up close. But that might be all that's required. At a distance, he looks a lot like a normal owl, as long as nobody is using any kind of telescopic device."

"I wonder if you're right about that," Brandy asks in a thoughtful tone. "Not many of them have telescopes or… the other one, bi-somethings. What're the odds that one would happen to look through one of those devices and see him? And even if they did - only one Muggle would see it, and none of the others would believe him."

"Binoculars," Hephaesta says confidently. "You're probably right. Still, it's going to take a lot of permission from the Ministry before I can use him properly. But my family is used to that sort of thing. Also, Macnair Manufacturing would like to purchase the designs if we ever get Gizmo working just the way he should. Though…I don't know if I want to see him mass-produced." The way she looks at the clockwork owl, her affection for the macine is obvious.

"It would take something from the charm, wouldn't it?" Brandy agrees. "But - you'd always have the original, and that's really something." She studies the owl. "I wonder what else you could tea- err, charm it to do? There must be other useful tasks."

Hephaesta shrugs and smiles. "Conceivably, anything an owl could do. He's got full mobility, and I've performed tons of flight tests. It's just a matter of getting him to associate the right commands with the right actions."

"Yeah, but when do we use our owls for anything other than delivering messages?" Brandy asks.

Where is one thought that occurs to her - but that's a slippery road to travel. Mechanical owls as self-defense? Too easily abused. "Could teach them to fetch things," she offers instead.

"Certainly," Phae nods. "Though, getting him to fetch the right thing could be tricky. He can navigate around objects well enough. But he doesn't really have proper eyesight. It's more of a Proximity Detection Charm. I haven't yet figured out how to make real mechanical eyes."

"Oh," Brandy responds, looking puzzled. "Well. If it was specific things you needed frequently you could 'tag' them. 'Bring me items number one.' But that's of much less usefulness."

"That's true," Phae muses. "But it's still worth experimenting with. My grandfather always says that most great discoveries and inventions are serendipitous."

"They can be," Brandy agrees. "Like the time my mum accidentally spilled some allspice berries into the batch of cider my da' was fermenting. Came out amazing. We made it that way from then on."

Hephaesta tilts her head, considering that for a moment. "Yes, I suppose culinary invention isn't so different from the technological, in that respect. That does sound lovely."

Speaking of lovely, a beautiful, middle-aged witch with stunning red hair appears at Phae's side. "Hephaesta, dear. I've found some styles for you to try on." She smiles to Brandy, nodding in greeting. "Please forgive my daughter if she's been talking your ear off about her inventions. She can be quite passionate about her work. But now it's time to be fitted for a dress, Phae."

"I'm afraid I was the one talking her ear off," Brandy responds with a polite nod for the mother. "Well, Miss Mulciber, it was a pleasure and I'll be sure to pass your name on to Sampson. Perhaps I'll see you on 9 and 3/4." She offers her hand again, then moves to retrieve the robe she'd come in wearing. She might as well pay for her new robe, and check in on the shop. She may even see Sampson there.

Hephaesta gives Brandy an apologetic smile on behalf of her mother, who is clearly embarrassing the teenaged girl to DEATH. She shakes Brandy's hand again, "I hope so, Ms. Sweetwater." No sooner have they parted ways, than Aphrodilia has spirited her daughter off to a changing room to doll her up.

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