(1939-08-29) Full of Surprises
Details for Full of Surprises
Summary: Some folks meet up at the Cauldron and surprises abound! Somehow it ends up with cake and decorations and lots of whiskey. Lots.
Date: 29 August 1939
Location: The Leaky Cauldron

The bulk of the lunch rush has quieted down allowing for The Squidge to be out and about with his mother. All cozy entwined up in his sling carrier that's criss crossed around Elly so he can rest with his head laying down on her bosom and his little legs dangling out the bottom of the secure X shaped baby 'holster'. The boy was born upstairs and rarely has been out of the pub so he noise doesn't bother him one bit and he's enjoying a bit of a nap as Elly bustles about cleaning up and greeting those coming in. "Welcome loverlies. Today's specials are Lavender Chicken and Soup of the Day is the Soup Soup, Soup. 'Ave a seat an ol' Elly will be righ wif ye." Her lilting cockney warm and welcoming as always.

It's a late start for some it would seem since the Lunch rush has ended but oh well just means more places to sit right? Graham enters from the London side of the pub and glances about finding only one person he knows immediately at least. He'll move over to the server "Good Day Elly dear." he says giving a smile though he looks to the napping child and will speak softer "How have you been?" he asks while trying to decide if he'll sit and have a meal.

There's a familiar grinding sound of the bricks that open for the entry to Diagon Alley, and a witch who was once a fairly familiar face about the place comes through, a bundled package in her arms. Annie has been spending the week getting back into the witchy groove after time in Scotland, making purchases in the Alley shops for her return to Hogwarts. She'd also had to convert some money, having dealt mostly in muggle cash for the past 18 months or so. She steps aside and pauses, as she usually does, adjusting her eyes for the different in light and scanning for any familiar faces.

There is more than a little shopping to do in preparation for a year at Hogwarts and Aris has been doing a lot of it by herself. It isn't because she can't get the assistance. Quite the opposite, in fact. She just likes to be independent and it gives her more opportunity to browse and maybe even pick up a few extra things that aren't necessarily on the required reading list. She bustles in as the exit to Diagon Alley opens, arms full of brown paper bundles bound with string.

Elly welcomes Graham with a lean in so she can give his cheek a kiss. When he looks down to the napping boy she pets the fine but ever thickening blond hair on her sons head. "We's fine loverly." Lifting a hand to pat on Grahams cheek she then gestures to the small table she's just cleaned off. "I'll bring ye a sip o cider an some chicken. Sit yerself." Then she looks up at the grinding. "Coor!" She coos in happy surprise and quickly dances through the light crowd and tables to come at Annie, arms wide and if allowed gives the librarian a big squnch! The baby is minded through the tight hug that leans from side to side as she squeezes. "There's a face for sore eyes!"

Graham smiles returning the cheek kiss easily "I'm glad to hear it, thanks Elly. If you need anything you let me know." yes he's overly helpful as per his usual. He will indeed move to sit at the offered table though turning back at the door opening and he smiles at the one who enters "Afternoon Miss Taylor, it's good to see you." he'll greet her though motioning quickly to the table he's just joined. "Would you care to join me?" he asks though also noticing the student who's entered and will offer a wave in greeting if spotted.

Annie more feels another behind her than anything else, and she turns, then adjusts to look slightly down toward the package laden youngster. "Getting ready for school?" she asks, just before Hurricane Elly spies her and she finds herself in an embrace. The redhead holds her own package aside, mindful of the baby, and returns the warm hug. "Elly, it's been such a long time. And look at this little man of yours." There aren't many questions she needs to ask, she kept up her subscription of the Prophet particularly to keep abreast of news in London. There was a mention of the man who went missing on a training run. "Such a handsome boy already." There's a kiss to Elly's cheek, and Annie turns to greet Graham. "Auror Cohen, lovely t'see you again. I'd welcome the company, if it's no intrusion."

Aris lifts her hand to return the wave after she's dumped the packages on a table with a little 'oof'. She pauses a moment, glancing sidelong at the reunion going on before becoming engrossed in the packages she has lined up. So tempting to open them but then how will she carry them? Exasperated, she heads towards the counter to see about some sort of food.

"Good to see you as well, and of course no intrusion. Food and drink is on me though." Graham says lightly he will turn to look at the student now as she also sits at a table "All set there Miss?" he asks lightly at her many parcels she has with her. "I'm Graham Cohen." he makes an introductions not being strangers and all of that good stuff.

Elly gives Aris' hair a little bit of a stroke like any Aunty would and smiles down at her. "Like Christmas innit!?" She giggles and gestures to the parcels. "Go on an' open'm. Elly will 'elp ye get'm sorted away after. Now, 'ow bout some Milk an' some chicken sweet'eart?" Then she peeks over to Annie once she's all settled with Graham, "Annie, wot for ye today? Anyfing, just name it an' I'll 'ave it for ye toot sweet!"

Annie does another quick scan of the room as she steps over to where Graham is sitting, putting her single package down. Graham's offer gets a good natured, "Nonsense, I couldn't let you do that. You work hard for it." She settles, first answering Elly, "Whatever's on special, I know already that it's all good. And maybe a whiskey. I believe I'm done with my shopping today, so what could it hurt?" As long as it's only one. Blue eyes then drift to the youngster as she moves to the counter, trying to place her age. It's been a long time since she's been around students, but if this girl is a Second year, Annie'll eat her hat. Well, if she had a hat. Possibly more of a Firstie, to judge by the packages alone.

Aris blinks owlishly, head turning from Graham to Elly as she introduces herself. "I'm Aris Sh—" She pauses, clearing her throat and shaking her head with a sheepish look on her face. "I'm Aris Malfoy. It's nice to meet you." The offer of a meal sets her stomach rumbling and she nods eagerly, "Yes, please."

Graham he will look to Annie and shake his head at her comment but its in good humor. "It's that reason that I enjoy buying friends food, well and I consider it proper manners anyways." The young man says about paying for the food though he turns back as the student speaks and smiles friendly "It's good to meet you Miss Malfoy, would you be Mr Cyril's daughter then?" he's heard a little bit about this from his sister and or just being attentive.

Annie smiles at the young Malfoy, not surprised since she does bear the common traits that run through that family. Rather than tossing another question at the girl, she waits to hear the answer to Graham's question. She only vaguely remembers hearing of Cyril Malfoy, but knows well that her good friend Rhyeline is intending to marry Cassius.

"That's right," Aris answers Graham's question, nodding her head. "Do you know him? I've been living with him for a few months now but I haven't met too many of his friends."

Elly gives Graham's shoulder a pat, "Annie's 'ome. It's a celebration, keep your money loverly." It's an Elly bustle-by as she's on her way to the kitchen to fill the orders for the trio. That and Squidge is starting to squirm and might need a nappy change.

The auror will look from Annie and back to Elly the later getting a grin as she pats his shoulder he notices the child waking and grins "If you need help with the little one for a bit let me know." Graham turns back to the student "For my part I do, i'm more acquainted with his brother Cassius and even more so with the woman he's engaged to Rhyeline who is my sister." yes it is a bit of a complicated way to answer the question.

Annie shoots a grateful look to Elly. It is, in every way, being home again, and the Cauldron has been the location of some of the best celebrations of her life. "Ta, Ells. And I'm willing to help as well, should you need," she calls after the bustling barmaid. Granted, she's got little experience with babies, but how hard could it be? Women have been doing it since the beginning of time. Her attention returns to the conversation between Aris and Graham, for the most part, but she still doesn't interject herself into their interaction.

"Oh? Well, that is a coincidence." Aris peers at Graham for a moment, as though trying to see a resemblance to Rhyeline. She shrugs her shoulders slightly and then looks back over her shoulder at the bundled up packages on the table. "Do you get along well with my uncle?"

The young man turns back to his table "How is everything? Getting settled?" he ponders a moment though he's met the other quite few times "May I call you Annie by the way?" he asks "You can call me Graham if you'd prefer it's all together easier." Graham speaks lightly either way she decides. He looks to the student though as she speaks nodding "Yes indeed." he figures her gaze a moment "I should probably explain Rhyeline, and I aren't brother and sister by blood but by choice." this is the most simple way of putting it. The last question gets a thoughtful look from the auror. "I believe I do well enough at least."

For a moment, Annie lets her attention wander, her eyes settling on a table near the stone fireplace, her thoughts a million miles away. She's almost surprised to realize she's being addressed, and she pulls herself back immediately. "Oh yes, please do call me Annie. I've never been much of one for formalities, at any rate, and I'll have enough of them soon enough when school starts." Her smile is easy and warm, no trace that her mind had ever been anywhere else. "I've settled quite nicely at Rhyeline's, I think, but I'm starting to feel already that I'm imposing." She waits for another exchange between Auror and youngster, before she asks the girl, "Are you a Hogwarts student then?"

Aris nods her head, "Yes. Or, rather, I will be soon. I had been hoping to get as much a head start on my reading as I can but there is only so far I can go." She sighs, looking at her paper packages again and out the window towards the street. "I need to go home soon, though. I'm meant to be back before late afternoon."

Elly overhears that Aris needs to get going as she delivers Annie and Graham's orders. "Be back in a flash." She promises the girl and goes disappearing into the kitchen for a matter of moments before she's returning with a milk crate and within the crate is a little to-go cauldron complete with a fake crack in it that will vanish and re-appear in the Leaky Cauldron kitchen sink when it becomes empty. "Ere ye are loverly. Best to yer Da." Is a fond farewell to the girl as she packs the parcels into the milk crate. So the girls arms won't be over loaded with the parcels and the to-go food. "Put some in there for yer Da as well." Elly knows that man lives off of cigarettes and booze, so she does what she can. "Now ye be careful, ay? Promise ol' Elly ye'll keep clear of yer Da's business, ay?"

The auror will nod to her "Annie it is than." he says lightly agreeing with her on not need to rest on formal greetings they've met enough times to be beyond all of that. Graham hears her words though and chuckles "I'm sure she doesn't see it that way. I half expected to see you on Wednesday when I was there but perhaps you were out." he comments before turning back to the student "Well be careful like Elly says." he smiles friendly.

Annie feels just a little bit of pleasure that she was fairly accurate judging Aris' age, and she nods to the girl with a warm smile. "I'll be assisting in the library this year, and I hope to see you. If you ever need help, just find Madame Taylor." Well, doesn't that sound strange to the young librarian's ears. Blue eyes flit to Graham. "She hadn't mentioned you'd been over. I was out preparing, and reacquainting myself with the city. There's so much I've missed."

Aris cannot help but blink at the mention of her father's business. Nevertheless, she smiles gratefully and takes the crate in her skinny arms. It may be heavy but she does everything she can not to show that it is anything more than a minor burden to bear. "I will be. It's been wonderful to meet all of you." She gives her best smile and turns, heading out the door and into the street with her crate of books and food.

Graham shakes his head laughing "I'll have to have a chat with my beloved sister it seems." He says but its full of humor and no anger at all. He will look back to the student "Likewise have a good year, if I don't see you before the return." The auror looks back to his table and Annie "She invited me over for a spot of cake for um my birthday." he hasn't really spoken much to the fact that he'd gotten another year older this week.

Elly pretends she didn't overhear what was just spoken at the Graham and Annie table and after she's done cleaning up a table she hums innocently and tries to hide a plotting expression as she bustles herself back into the kitchen.

Annie watches the little fair haired girl take her leave, her attention and smile returning to Graham. "Granted, Rhyeline and I only cross paths long enough for a hug some days, when… work keeps her busy." Does Graham know that Rhyeline doesn't usually spend the night in her flat? Best to just not go near there, it's not hers to meddle in. Her brows arch at Graham's words, a laugh coming. "A birthday? Happy birthday, Graham! That explains the piece she left for me on the counter."

"I imagine so, she is often kept rather busy and with Unity work and with Berylwood." Graham speaks simply he does indeed know about Rhyelines arrangement rather well infact. He will smile at her words though "Thanks Annie, and i'm glad you got to try it. She made the cake herself. It was excellent." he comments truthfully.

"I suppose I'll have to mark it down now, so that I'm ahead of the game for next year," Annie says, in a light tease. "If you and Rhyeline have gotten so close, it's a fair bet you and I will end up knowing each other better." It occurs to Annie rather suddenly that she's completely neglected the whiskey she ordered, and she reaches for the glass. Sitting back in her chair she knocks back a good half of the liquid in one go, pausing for a moment to close her eyes against the familiar burn down her throat. "And how are things at the Ministry this week? Quieter, I should hope?"

"Oh fair enough, but when is your's then? So we're fair?" Graham will ask though he the next words get a more proper smile from the auror. "Well I hope so, always good to have new friends or make even better friends of those you have." he will sip his cider the last question is tougher "So far it's been quiet. I could really use it to stay that way for a little far too much has happened "The auror's office has been running at full tilt since the terror attacks."

Annie waves a hand, grinning at Graham's question of her birthday. "You'd not remember it, so I'll tell when it's closer. It's about as fair as me missing yours." The second half of the whiskey is tipped back without hesitation, and the glass rattles lightly as it's returned to the table. By this time, someone has brought out the chicken, and Annie tucks into it, becoming aware of the hour growing later, and still much to accomplish. "I'll hope for you that it does then. Too much excitement is never a good thing." Says the girl who actually pretty much knows that too well.

"I'll hold you to that Annie." The auror says teasing in return about her birthday, he will take another drink and bite to eat while he listens finishing the food before he speaks again. Graham sighs slightly though his smile is a tad rueful now "Im with you there, there is pretty much such a thing as seeing too much in a short amount of time, even for an auror I assure." he takes another drink of cider here. "Enough of that though, how excited are you to be going back to Hogwarts?" his smile returns.

"I have to admit, I'm very excited," the young librarian says between bites of her own. "It'll be so much different, being there as part of staff and not as a student." Annie pauses, considering. "I hope that I've been away for long enough that I can separate the two. I still sometimes feel every bit that foolish girl I once was." Large life events do a lot to change a person, and losing her parents, leaving London, living in Scotland were all large.

Graham listens to her speak and does understand. "I do know what you mean, when I visited the school for a case. It was weird to be back at first as an auror and not someone there to learn from the processors. I mean trying to speak like you would a friend to Professor Dumbledore, or what do you call him? Professor? Albus? Felt like he'd still expel me if I called him Albus." he chuckles.

Annie's smile shows a touch of relief at being understood, and it makes her fears just a little bit smaller. It's always nice to know that you aren't the first or only one who's felt like that. "I suppose it'll take me a while to get used to the routine. At least I'll be able to come home, and not have to stay in the dorms like when we were students. It'll be fairly… normal." If Hogwarts can be called anything close to normal. And she's not even getting into the whole potential of what could happen with her being muggle-born. At least, surely, it's not as much a worry as it could be for some of the students.

A dark redheaded man in an tweed Irish cap with a press pass pinned onto the side of it quietly keeps to himself as he passes from the Diagon Alley courtyard towards the London side door. Before he steps out he flips up his collar to further hide his red hair. This past year has seen no end of suspicious looks from muggles as he traverses to his home. The S-Plan and all of the anti-Irish sentiments it has brewed has turned the shy Irishman into a down right recluse! Tim Moody nods to the barkeep as he exits the building as quietly as he came in.

"I'm sure you'll get used to it, in no time and it'll feel good helping out the students with finding books and all sorts of questions." Graham smiles trying to reassure the other though he does laugh "Can you imagine having to stay in dorms?" he is picturing it and it's quite funny to him at least. "Normal as the school ever is I agree you'll do fine Annie." he does turn as the door opens habit from not wanting to be caught with his back turned though he doesn't know the one who walks through.

"It is what I love to do," Annie agrees, "And it'll be good to be back in a library among the books." There's a soft shudder as she notes, "It'll be bad enough having to be around Pringle. I can't imagine going through staying there again." She spears another piece of chicken, and it's halfway to her mouth as Graham turns to see who's walking through. And there it freezes. Even with a hat, even turning his collar up, Annie would know that form. Her hand drops to the table, chicken uneaten as her eyes follow Tim Moody's progress, and her other hand unconsciously moves to touch the pendant that rests against her breastbone. Already pale skin goes a shade lighter, there's a visible tremble that rattles the fork lightly against her plate before she releases it. And then he's gone out into muggle London, and Annie has lived through the moment. Although she can't seem to stop staring at the door.

Graham will turn back to the table though he freezes momentarily at the look on the others face. His arms cross one over another which seems an odd thing, but his wand is in his sleeve and so this is his easiest way of sneakily having it close "Annie, are you alright? What is it?" he knows its something to do with the figure but doesn't know why the man who walked through could cause that reaction only a danger defense being triggered.

When Graham speaks it draws Annie's attention back, and she looks at him. For a moment, her face is blank, before she lets out a breath she didn't know she had been holding, shakes her head as if to clear it, and smiles rather wanly at Graham across the table. "Nothing," she says softly, pausing to take another deep breath, then forcing her smile to widen. "Goose walked over my grave." In this time between lunch and supper, there are few patrons at the bar, but still enough to keep Elly busy even as Annie looks around, suddenly deeply desiring a refill on her whiskey.

The pub lights go dim and from the kitchen comes a bit of light as Elly returns from the kitchen. In one hand she has a cake that looks like an opened book with 'Welcome Home Annie' written on the pages. In the other hand is a circular layer cake that is shaped and iced to look like a pint mug of apple cider, the cake even tastes like apple cider! stuck inside of the 'mug' is firework candles of faux fire they are also mixed in with something or another that acts as frothy foam that bubbles up and rolls down the sides of the cake. They are both a bit hurried as she used all the domestic magic at her disposal to get the cakes cooked and cooled as quickly as she could. With a gesture she gets those in the pub singing, "~For they are jolly good fellows, for they are jolly good fellows, for they are jolly good feEEelllooooows. Which nobody can deny!~ Happy Birthday Graham and Welcome Home Annie!" Is cheered before the cakes are carefully slid before their intended consumer.

Stepping into the Cauldron from Diagon Alley just as the cakes arrive, Brandy pauses to watch the cakes go streaming by. "Do I have great timing or what?" she exclaims cheerfully before joining into the song and practically skipping after Elly.

"I do love an excuse for a party!" she adds happily. "Hey, Elly, do you still have those…" she makes a vague hand gesture, one hand pulling away from the other in a sharp gesture. "Woulda sworn I left some here last time!"

Elly points to a cabinet behind the bar with a smile as she places some cake knives down on the table and some fresh silverware and plates as well.

"Ah, I hate when that happens." The young man's arms uncross but he shivers knowing the feeling well himself. Graham gives a smile though he turns immediately when the lights lower and he turns back towards the kitchen as the singing begins he cannot help but have pink cheeks a bit though he smiles. He will turn towards Annie as her cake is set down and clap for her "Welcome Back." he turns to Elly beaming "Your too much, lovely Elly, but thank you made my day." he turns as he spotted someone entering "Heya Sweetwater."

Annie still hasn't come back up to her normal shade of pale as the lights go down, and a worried frown pulls down on her lips for a moment, before Elly steps in with the cakes. Her face eases at once, the reason twofold. First for the wonderful thoughtfulness of the gesture, and second at Elly's timing. If she had been just two minutes earlier… well, that just doesn't bear thinking about. Her smile takes more genuine strength as she half stands, moving to hug Elly and place a kiss on her cheek. "Thank you, Ells, this is lovely." She looks to Graham, "And happy birthday." As Graham greets the newest arrival Annie peers at her for a moment, the name triggering a memory. "Brandy Sweetwater?" she asks. The girls were in different houses, a couple years apart, but Annie tends to remember kindnesses.

"Great!" Brandy answers Elly's gesture, and then calls out brightly, "That's me!" to Annie. "Hey Cohen." All this while, moving towards the indicated cupboard. She pulls out a pair of brightly colored, cylindrical objects, one of which she tosses casually to Elly.

"Let's make this thing official," she asserts. Pulling on some tissue at the end of the cylinder there's a pop, and a flash. Streamers fly out of the tube - more than had any business being in a device so small - and attach themselves in draping loops to the ceiling of the cauldron. As they do, little glittering bits of light sparkle and fall down towards the Leaky Cauldron's customers, disappearing harmlessly. "So much better."

Graham will watch to see what Brandy is doing arching a brow though as the decorations go off further into the scene he cant help but laugh and shake his head taking a drink of the cider before he has to try a bite of the cake mmmming at the taste "Wow like cider cake." he chuckles enjoying the taste obviously though. It is way more than he'd expected and he was indeed taken off guard by the sneaky Elly in this case.

At this moment, Annie is probably way more pleased at having correctly played 'identify the Sweetwater' than she ought to be, but the little victory was needed. The decorations bring a gleam of wonder to her eyes, and she thinks again that she'll never stop being surprised by the wonderful things that come with this world. Truthfully thought, it's all a little overwhelming, and she stands quickly, making an apology, "I need to freshen up. Will someone please cut my cake and see it gets shared around? But save a piece for me!" It all comes out lightly, and she doesn't wait for an answer before she scoots off to the little witch's room.

"Hrm," Brandy remarks as she looks from Annie, who's hurrying off, to the popper in her hand. "Too much?" she asks.

Of course this thought is dismissed as soon as it occurs to her. Too much? There's no such thing! It's perfect! It's grand! Inviting herself to the table, she grabs a plate and helps herself to a sliver of each cake. "These are gorgeous, Elly! Out did yourself again."

Graham he will more properly share the cake after he's had a bite from his own piece of course. He looks to Annie and a friendly smile now "I'm sure i'll see you again soonly." he says before watching Brandy move over to the table. "That was quite an extra touch there." he says still in a good mood from the unexpectedness of the whole thing.

Elly gives a little wave and a blush herself. "Just a quick job really it's nuffing. Bits and bobs frown togefah." She giggles and helps as requested slice up the cake and get it plated and passed around, a Dodderidge rule is that the recipient gets their whole named reserved so a good lower half of one half of the cake for Annie gets slid off onto a plate with a fork on it place at Annie's place setting. Then the whole handle that has Graham written down the outer length of it is removed and given over for Graham with another kiss to his cheek and a squeezing hug.

"The lady's too damn modest. How much praise you think we gotta heap on 'er before she'll crack?" Brandy asks with cheerful mischief, grinning at Graham, then looking to Elly. "Managing such lovely cakes, with the whole Cauldron to tend to, and a tyke at your hip, with nary a lock of hair out of place! The confidence and grace," and here Brandy puts one hand on her heart, while flinging the other arm wide in an overly exaggerated and melodramatic way, "that can only mean Elly Dodderige! Oh how we mere lowly beasts can only dream-" She'll keep going until someone cuts her off.

No, really.

He looks to the cake with his name on it happily though he turns and will return the hug and kiss back to Elly after they are given. Graham shakes his head "Brandy's right you're far to modest this was so much thanks Elly. Unstoppable force of positivity you are." he cannot thank her enough this has brightened things when he wasn't think they could be for a least for a while.

Elly stops Brandy with a small slice of cake mooshed into her mouth area before she continues to cut and serve. "Yer welcome loverly." She beams at Graham.

"Mmmf!" Brandy exclaims with a faceful of cake - eating what was shoved in her face, then wiping the lower half of her face with a kerchief - it's a shockingly bright orange. "Meant every word of it," she says to Elly as she settles back down to eat her piece of cake. "Oh, and happy birthday. Did I say that yet? I forget. Worth repeating, though. Happy birthday!"

Graham looks surprised at the silencing tactic imployed by the server a moment, but he will laugh outloud for once sort of unlike him to do so but this is funny. "Well that works to be sure." He says to Elly though looking back to Brandy as she recovers after the cake. "Thank you Miss Sweetwater." he beams looking to take a bite from the cake in front of him.

"Nary a problem," Brandy answers Graham cheerfully. "I need a little something to wash this down!" she announces suddenly, promptly looking at Elly and adding, "I got it!"

She bounces off - the bells around her wrist jangling as she heads to the bar. "Whiskey, Mick!" Sweetwater, of course. Why would she drink any other brand?"

It's really only a few minutes that Annie needs to pull it back together, and a splash of water on her face. Her hairline shows a touch of dampness, but she looks chipper as always on her return. The one thing that might give away that's she's still not entirely up to snuff is her immediate notice of Brandy bounding to the bar, and her veer to add in, "Make that two, please?" Whiskey and cake, just what she needs!

The auror nods to Brandy "Of course." He will have a bit more cake while he's waiting for the other two to return. His focus shifted to Elly a moment "You sure there isn't more I can do to help you out?" he asks knowing he's offered and she's well taken care of but after all that's happened he has to wonder himself. Graham takes the last drink left from his cider for now he'll get a refill later perhaps. He does notice Annie coming back though she pauses at the bar.

"Two it is!" Brandy agrees cheerfully. She soon back with two glasses of whiskey, one of which she offers to Annie. "Sweetwater whiskey," she informs the other woman. "From my da's distillery. Some of the best whiskey on the market," not that she's biased or anything. "Give it a sip!" She settles in with her own glass, taking a happy sip before eating some more cake.

Elly kisses the top of Graham's head and shakes her own head. "Just enjoy yerself loverly. I've got to pop up and check on the Squidge and get dinner shift goin. All ye stay an 'ave fun my dear loverlies." Elly also leans down to give Annie another squnch then comes Brandy and several other regulars also get some Elly love on her way to tend to said youngling. Kisses are blown just as she disappears into the kitchen.

There's a gratefulness in her eyes as Annie takes the offered whiskey with her customary, "Ta." Being far past a sipping mood, Annie polishes off a good half of it before twisting to return Elly's hug. "Thank you again, Elly, for the brilliant surprise." Her eyes barely even had a chance to water from the drink she took, so she finishes it off.

Brandy just laughs as Annie downs the drink. "That's the spirit! But now I need to catch up." She takes a large swig of the drink, for taking another bite of the cake. "Ain't seen you around in a bit! So, where you been? Umm… Amy? Allie? No… hm."

"Annie," is supplied helpfully, with the addition of "Taylor. Ravenclaw, '36." Her smile is definitely easier on her lips, the two whiskeys she's now had warming her delightfully. "I was up in Edinburgh for a bit, year and a half or so, with my uncle. He was sick." Say something enough and you can even convince yourself that it's true. "How have you been?"

"Right! That's right. I knew that," Brandy answers easily. "Oh I've been- you know," she gestures with her fork. Was that a crack in her famous smile? No, surely that was only imagined. "Busy. School year coming up, and all these Muggle-born kids to get ready for their first year of Hogwarts. Busy time for me."

Having been keeping up on the news even while she was away, Annie is putting together some pieces of what she's read, and she's not going to press Brandy on news of recent events. You can't always believe everything you read, she knows well enough. Like all the stories decrying the Banshee. She perks as Brandy goes on. "You're a liaison? I remember my liaison, Missus Tuttle. She was such a wonderful help. I had pondered that career myself, to help others like I was, but… library," she finishes with a small shrug of her shoulders. "Not too much longer before school starts again, though."

Graham has sat listening about him to the other two catch up. The young man eats more of the cake he was made enjoying it though lost in thought for a bit while he waits. He finds a place to jump back in not wishing to be rude for much longer than he has "Annie, is going to be assistant Librarian up at the school. Isnt that excellent?" he advises Brandy of what he thinks is rather excellent news.

"Well - it's hard to argue with libraries," Brandy answers with a laugh. "That's brillian!" she adds cheerfully, before winking at Annie in an exagerated way. "It's your job to look after my kids, now. I'm worried about Sampson the most - Sampson Smith. His-" she cuts herself off before continue, almost without pause as she edits her thoughts, "father didn't send him to school as he oughtta, so before I got my hands on him this summer, he was completely illiterate. If you could keep tutoring…" she suggests. "And even without that, he's as Muggley and defensive as they come. I'm worried he's going to start the fights with the purebloods."

"Ta," Annie says with a smile, "I'm dead chuffed about it." It's clear that she's concentrating on the information Brandy is imparting, wanting to implant it in her head before the whiskey fogs her entirely. "Sampson Smith," she repeats, committing it to memory. "I'll make sure to seek him out and try to carry on your good work with him." The little redhead looks over toward the bar, catching the eye of one of the other staff, holding a hand up with three fingers extended to signal a round of drinks to their table. From some the gesture would come off as arrogant or demanding, from Annie, with the earnest expression she wears, it's a humble request.

The auror didnt expect the response from Brandy but he's met the child in question and quite agrees with her asssesment that he may need some extra help. It is too easy to get lost in the shuffle at the school especially he can imagine everything being new all at once. "That is kind of you Annie, thanks i'm sure it'll help more than you can imagine." Graham watches the signal to the bar for the drinks.

"Great," Brandy says cheerfully. "I've dropped his name to some of the older students, as well, so they'll be looking after him and trying to keep him out of trouble. I know I've asked a Ravenclaw and a Gryffindor… Not sure if I found a Huff yet," she responds in a thoughtful tone. "None of my other kids, this summer, are having quite as much trouble adjusting." And Brandy still needs to figure out what she's going to do with Quincy if she can't keep Books Unbound open and its taxes paid…

She finishes the rest of her whiskey.

Just in time for the new drinks to come floating over to the table with the help of a bar wench's wand. Annie waits for them to land, two whiskeys and a fresh cider for Graham, before reaching for one whiskey glass. She holds it up to toast, "Here's to a new school year and helping kids that need it." It doesn't take her two swigs this time. Like magic the whiskey disappears in one. She clunks the glass back to the table, and looks around. "Who's ready for another?"

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