(1939-08-28) Is This Another Date Then?
Details for Is This Another Date Then?
Summary: What started as just dropping into the chip shop turns into a second date for Katie and Xander.
Date: 28 August, 1939
Location: Hind's Fish and Chips and The Dog and Bone Pub

It's been a busy week so far at the chip shop, with only a little time away for a picnic with a friend for Katie. People seemed especially cross and impatient today, for some reason, and if she's honest she can't say that hasn't rubbed off a little bit. Her normally sunny disposition is tempered by a frown, and she wipes down one of the tables like she's trying to rub the finish off it. She looks up, her eyes finding her equally irritable brother, and signs to him At least the day's almost over. We can hope things are better tomorrow. Even grumpy, she can't lose that streak of optimism. The pair are the only two in the dining room, and so soon before closing it's unlikely anyone else will be coming in. Katie's parents have begun the cleaning ritual in the kitchen, leaving one fryer on just in case there's a last minute order.

Xander had meant to come by the shop earlier today. In fact, he'd meant to come by all week. But things at work have been crazy. Some recent vandalism in a graveyard had a number of ghosts righteously angry, and he and his fellow Spirit Agents have been at it non-stop to quell them. But, at last, things have slowed down enough that he's been able to leave the office before the chip shop closes. Just barely before, as he enters to find the Hinds getting things settled for the evening. His beaming smile at the sight of Katie fades a little at the frown on her face. "Katie? Everything alright?"

Jack gives Katie a look, rolling his eyes at her, signing back If not, I'll give someone a right thump and then His movement stops here, eyes shifting from his sister to the door, and at once his cranky face takes on a touch of wry amusement. He nods to indicate the door, and Katie turns, her frown deeper at the prospect of a last minute order and one more person to have to help. Even as Xander speaks, her face eases, not quite as sunny as usual, but a definite smile curving her lips. "Xander." There's a beat pause, and when he doesn't disappear like a mirage conjured up by wishful thinking she waves him further in. "It's just been a day," she says. "Were yeh wantin' somethin' t'eat?" Behind her now, Jack waits to catch Xander's eye, then gives him the short wave for hello.

Xander gives Katie a sympathetic smile, which he extends to Jack in a wave. "Hello, Jack." He over-enunciates a bit, having learned that the deaf can often read lips. But at least he doesn't shout at the lad. "Sorry it's been rough. I actually just came to see you. Not that it doesn't sound and smell delicious. But you look like you're closing up."

"It wouldn't be any trouble," Katie says, not entirely truthfully, but she'll make it herself if need be. "Or we could take a walk up the road a bit. There's a pub that's open later, an' they make a nice shepherd's pie." Jack has gone back to the sweeping, after a nod to acknowledge he's understood Xander's greeting, and there's a rattle of pans from the kitchen.

"You deserve a break," Xander insists. "How about I help you clean up here, then I take you to that pub?" His eyes dart toward the kitchen, suddenly very conscious of the fact that her parents must be right inside there. Gulp.

Katie's smile grows stronger, gratitude in her eyes. "Yeh've already had a day of work, I'll not make yeh…" She's interrupted by two sharp raps on the counter, and turns to look at Jack, who read Xander's lips. There's not much left, I can finish out here. You go, before Da comes out and starts grilling your man there. The protest from Katie comes without thinking, both signed and spoken aloud. "Jack, he's not…" Again, she cuts off abruptly, looking to Xander as a blush rises to her cheeks. It's not likely he knows what Jack said, but she does. She offers her version of an interpretation, "He said he'll finish up." Back to speaking and signing, half turned so Jack can see, "Isn't he just the best brother that ever lived?" There's a smirk flashed to Jack.

Xander gives Jack a grateful smile, pointing at him. "I owe you one." He beams his crooked smile at Katie. "I've really got to learn some more sign language. So, ready to go?" He offers up his arm, excited to go. He'd just intended to stop in and say hello. But this is turning into a second date!

Jack nods to Xander again, signing something quickly to him. Again, Katie interprets, "He says yes, you do." Although the short message was simple enough that Xander probably already got that idea. There's a softer smile for her brother, as Katie signs without speaking. I do too. Turning to Xander, she takes the offered arm. A glance back to Jack witnesses his smug smile, and she wrinkles her nose at him before exiting to the street with Xander and turning them in the right direction to start walking.

"Jack's a good kid," Xander muses as they make their way toward the Borough, feeling about a thousand feet tall with the lovely Katie on his arm. "It seems like you and he really look out for each other. You're pretty close, then?"

It's a good thing he only feels that, Katie is already considerably shorter than Xander! But she hardly even notices, smiling up at him when she should probably be paying more attention to where they're going. "He's alright, our Jack," she says lightly. "I sort of had t'watch out for him at first, an' when he got big enough, he looked after me right back. Some made fun of him at first, but not for long. I saw to that." She might be little, but don't mess with the people she loves.

Xander guides Katie around a post on the sidewalk that threatened to become an obstacle. "I imagine he's had it rough, even with his big sister looking out for him. Does he have a lot of friends now? He certainly doesn't seem to have much problem dealing with me, anyhow."

Katie shrugs her shoulders, her arm rubbing lightly against Xander's, "Not a lot, but th' ones he has are quality. People think they need t'act differently around him." She follows his guidance easily, not even noticing the avoidance, really. "Yeh did brilliant. He does read lips, I don't remember if I mentioned that, but sometimes it takes a bit t'get used t' th' way new people speak."

Xander smiles happily at the small praise. "I checked out some library books about deafness and sign language. I didn't know about the lip-reading until a few days ago. But one of the books suggested that I should enunciate clearly, so my lips form the right shapes. I just wanted to be prepared to meet your brother properly."

Finally, Katie looks at where they're going, but the attention only lasts a few steps before she looks back to Xander, pleased surprise on her face. "Did'yeh? There's some in our own family that never made that much effort." Impulsively, she gives his arm a light but very purposeful squeeze. Her dour mood of just a short while ago seems completely banished, just by virtue of a face she wanted to see.

"Really? Blimey, I can't imagine not doing everything to bring my family closer together. Family is so important, and not just for kids. I'm very close to my Mum and Dad. But I don't have to tell you how important that is. The Hinds are obviously quite a team." In response to the squeeze, Xander allows his arm to drop, seeking to slip his hand into hers for a more intimate touch.

When Xander's arm drops it's only natural for Katie's to follow suit, her hand ending up in his, warm and soft. "Only they're cousins, an' t'be fair we don't see them evermuch." There's a pause, silence for a few steps, a keen awareness of the hand holding hers. "What're yer parents like?" she finally asks.

Xander feels that same keen awareness, and is all too conscious of his thumb gently rubbing against the back of her hand. Was that right? Was it too much? The question about his parents comes as a welcome distraction from his anxiety. "Oh, they're grand. Dad works hard to provide for us. Well, for Mum. Not so much for me anymore. Mum's a bit of a worrier. Mostly on account of what happened to Eddie. It took her a long time to be happy again. But she's doing well now."

There's no pull away, no slap to the face for his cheekiness, so Xander must be doing something alright. She nods, understandingly, "I'd be gutted t'lose someone like that, I can't even imagine what yer mum must have felt. What does yer dad do?" Such an innocently asked question. If he wasn't a wizard and all.

"Oh, he's a sanitation worker." For once, a wizardly profession that doesn't require lies to discuss, at least not on the surface. "I used to be embarrassed about it, when I was a kid. But I appreciate it now. He does the work most of us don't want to so we can live clean and healthy."

Katie is quick to chime in her own thoughts on the matter. "Nothin' wrong with a bloke doin' a day's work. An' yer right, without them the town would be a right mess. An' smelly." Her nose wrinkles at the thought. "I admire a man tha's not afraid of a bit of hard work. We're gettin' soft, with all these modern conveniences." Her hand sweeps to indicate things like the cars and streetlamps. No, not that hand. That hand is still nestled safely in Xander's.

"That's probably true. Still, they're nice to have, automocars and such." Xander ponders what wizarding life would be like without the convenience of the Floo Network, or Dishwashing Charms. Thank goodness for innovation! "Not to mention the cinema. I think I'd wither away without it."

"We'd have not had a proper first date," Katie says with a grin. "And I'd like yeh not t'wither away, thank yeh very much. They are nice t'have, I'll grant yeh that." She leads them around a corner, passing up what looks like a perfectly nice pub in the process without so much as a glance at it. She's enjoying the walk and the company of Xander after her day, and had in mind a place just a bit farther away.

Xander laughs, his face lighting up. "Well, thank you. I'd rather not wither away, myself. I'm enjoying being here. Ah…especially with you." He dips his head, grinning boyishly as he gets a little sappy. "I'm sorry I haven't been around this week. Every day I tried to come by the shop. But work has been an absolute nightmare."

That even makes Katie duck her head in a moment of unaccustomed shyness, and brings the awareness of their hands back to the front of her mind. Skin against skin, warm, comfortable. She can push that away a bit again, responding earnestly, "It's alright." And more lightly again, "I'm just glad yeh haven't gone off me or somethin'. What's been happenin' at work then that's keepin' yeh tied up?"

"Oh," Xander grimaces as he has to think quickly. "Well, there's been some vandalism at a local graveyard, and…well, some of the dead were disturbed. So…ah…we were called it to settle things. You know…examinations and such to make sure everything was in its proper place." It wasn't strictly a lie. Just a great deal of omission. But suddenly he was feeling the sting accompanying the need to deceive this girl he's become so fond of.

Katie's frown returns, but without the dark cloud that was overshadowing it earlier. "Now that's just not right. If yer ever gonna leave someone be, it ought to be after they've died so they c'n just rest in peace." She tsks softly, tongue clucking in her disapproval of such antics. "I hope th' ones that did it get caught an' get their comeuppance. Disgraceful." She looks up, catching sight of the pub sign still a bit up ahead. "Almost there," Katie notes, almost sounding disappointed that they're so near.

Xander sighs and nods his agreement. "It's awful. I don't know if they'll ever catch the vandals. But at least we got the dead settled and happy." He looks ahead at the pub sign, featuring a raggedy looking dog gnawing on an oversized… "Tibia," he mumbles aloud.

It doesn't occur to Katie to even think twice about Xander's use of the word happy in this situation. She can only imagine that if she'd been disturbed like that she'd be pretty happy too, to have things set right. The mumble draws a questioning look. "What's that?" she asks.

"Hm? Oh, the bone." Xander points to the pub sign as they draw near. "It's a tibia. A shin bone. At least it looks like one. Aaaand that's not really date talk, is it?" Bad Xander. Don't be creepy.

Katie tilts her head to get a better look at the sign, studying it for a moment. "We ought t'look it up, an' see if yer right." See? It's alright with her. "Is this another date then?" she asks, still looking up at the sign as they walk.

"Oh…well…I…hope so?" Xander smiles encouragingly. "See, I have this notion of going on quite a few dates with you. I know…presumptuous of me. But I find it's working out so far." He pauses at the door of the pub, opening it for her.

Red brows lift as Katie looks sideways to Xander. "I see. Yeh've got a notion, do yeh?" There's a bemused twinkle in her eyes, and she doesn't say anything more for a few moments, as they get inside and find a table to settle at. If it's not absolutely necessary, she doesn't let go of his hand until then, either, and it's a reluctant parting when it comes. Settling into her chair, she looks directly at Xander. "Yeh state yer intentions. I like that. It's my intent as well to say yes t' quite a few dates. It's nice t'have that straightened out right away."

Xander makes a mental note. She likes it when he's direct and open about his intentions. "That's brilliant. I mean, that you said yes. That you're saying yes. That you will say yes. Assuming I don't blather myself out of a third date." He shakes his head at himself. But still he wears a smile, in good spirits as usual. "Wow, this place looks pretty old. So does everyone in here, for that matter." They are easily the youngest people in the pub, which has a number of old-timers and middle-aged blue collar types crowded around the bar.

Katie leans forward, resting one elbow on the table and her chin on the heel of her hand. The more Xander goes on, the wider her smile gets, until she shakes her head. "Yeh won't, don't worry." She looks around as he mentions the generation gap between themselves and most others in the pub. "Would yeh rather go somewhere else? I do like it here, it's… warm. Cozy. But we couldn't go somewhere… younger?" She's not quite sure if that's the proper way to phrase it, but it makes sense to her when the word occurs to her.

"Oh, no. This is great. I like it, too. It fees like a…" Like a wizard pub, he nearly says. How easily his guard lets down around Katie. "Like we've stepped back in time. And yeah, it's cozy."

A motherly-looking waitress appears at their table holding an empty tray. "Get you sumfink, luvvies?"

It's a soft sigh, but it's still a sigh of relief that Xander likes the place. He hadn't sounded disappointed, but the reassurance is…. reassuring. "Almost makes yeh forget those modern conveniences, hm?" Her attention shifts to the waitress, smile bright. "A cider please?" she requests, never one to demand things of servers, being one herself.

"I'll have mead if you've got it. Ta." As the waitress moves on to take another order, Xander looks back to Katie. "Yeah. Honestly, I could probably even live without the movies, as long as I had books. Not that I want to. Besides…it's harder to sit close to a girl in the dark with a book." He chuckles experimentally, watching to see how his little joke goes over.

For a moment, while Xander placed his order, Katie's eyes wander over toward the comfortable looking sofas, and she wonders if they wouldn't be even more comfortable if she and Xander were cozied up on one. She looks away quickly, sternly reprimanding herself for letting her mind wander like that, glad that Xander is talking again. Talking is good, mind wandering is…. She blinks at his joke. A blush floods into her cheeks, but her hand comes up quickly to stifle a giggle at the similarity of their thoughts. She does not explain, but says, "That is a good point yeh've made."

Xander grins, but dips his head apologetically, assuming he was fully responsible for the blush. "Sorry. I don't mean anything lewd by it, I swear. I just…really like being close to you. And…ah…if you ever did want to sit close and read a book together…? I don't know if you like being read to." He finds himself starting to blather again, and quickly shuts himself up.

"No," Katie says quickly. Too quickly. "I never thought yeh did. Mean anything. I mean, other than…" Good heavens, is blathering contagious? The young redhead consciously stops herself, pauses, then starts again. "I think that sounds lovely."

"Really?" Xander clearly didn't expect her to find the thought appealing at all. "Brilliant! I mean…if we ever get the chance. Maybe…ah…next time the weather suits, we could picnic in the park? You choose something you'd like to be read."

Katie couldn't stop the broad smile that comes to her lips if she wanted to. "I'd like that." She pauses as their drinks are brought, offering another thanks to the waitress, only realizing when asked that they've neglected, again, to look at menus, so she requests a few minutes to make up her mind. There's a knowing look from the woman that Katie misses, as she makes it a point to take up a menu. See? Looking at it. And it gets put down immediately when the pair are alone again. Or as alone as it gets in a pub. "Only I think I'd like yeh t'pick th' book. Somethin' yeh 'specially like."

Xander abashedly takes up his own menu, and just as quickly sets it down again. The fiery-haired lady across the table from him is much more interesting. "Are you sure about that? I have some favourites, but…well, they're not exactly romances or anything. Are you very familiar with Poe?"

A thoughtful frown creases Katie's forehead before she shakes her head. "I don't think so, no." She hesitates, then decides to 'confess', "I like t'read, but I've not really done it a lot. With th' shop, an' our Jack, the violin, an' all, there just never seemed t'be th' time." It's a shortcoming she's never really thought about before, certainly didn't care about.

"Maaaybe I'll find something else, then. Poe is pretty dark." Xander watches her reaction closely. Maybe she likes dark things? She's been unfazed by his stated profession, after all. He can only hope. He bides his time looking over the menu again, remembering that they came for shepherd's pie as soon as he sees it.

"I'd like t'know what yeh like. Read me some of yer Poe, please?" It's a sincere request, coming earnestly. "An' then, I'll find somethin' t'read yeh." This comes with a decisive nod of her head, one quick bob. She's reminded of their need for something to eat, and picks her own menu back up as well.

There's hope! "Alright, but just remember that I gave you fair warning." Xander immediately begins a mental cataloging of his Poe collection, assessing what might get her interested in Poe without turning her off outright. "So, shepherd's pie? Or have you got an eye on something else?"

"Aye, yeh've warned me." Of course, if it's scary enough, it might just put her that little bit closer to him. Katie looks up from the menu and smiles, unable to resist the obvious. "Oh, I've got my eye on somethin'. But I think the shepherd's pie will do." Katie is outgoing and friendly, but not much on consciously flirting, and she makes herself blush with that. Warm shepherd's pie, another drink each, and a slow walk home. The chippy bird can't think of a better way to end what was a trying day.

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