(1940-02-20) Off to See the Wizard
Details for Off to See the Wizard
Summary: With the same idea of getting some distraction by film, Neal and Lucy bump into each other at the cinema.
Date: 20 February 1940
Location: Embassy Cinema

The night had set, and the air was cold and breezy that Friday evening. Neal had received permission for base leave and decided to take in one of the local films being shown, needing a bit of relaxation after constant training. His shoes clicked lightly as he made his way along the sidewalk, currently dressed in a sleek gray suit with a white shirt and black tie.

Lucy had come out tonight with every intention of going to the cinema to see one of the new films playing. It didn't matter which one, it was more the act of getting out and interacting with people again. She's been fairly reclusive since December, and although it's only been about eight weeks, it feels like she's been carrying a weight on her shoulders forever. Which she has, in a way. She's actually gotten to the theater, and finds herself stopped on the sidewalk outside, looking at the marquee, at the picture name in lights, without a single clue what it might be about. The cold evening wind plays around her legs and tugs at her hair, making her reconsider the validity of this venture. Perhaps it'll just be another night in after all.

As he nears the entrance to the ticket box, Neal spots a familiar face. "Lucy?" he asks, his Irish accent dancing on the cold air. As he takes a closer he realizes he is correct and steps closer to her, "It is you!" he exclaimed with a smile, moving to give her a friendly hug. He had been good friends with Geoffrey, and had always offered to be there for her after the crash. "Didn' tink I'd be seeing you here." he said, glancing back up to the marquee for a moment.

Hearing her name, of course Lucy turns to find the source. Her pinched features ease as she spies the familiar face and her wide smile comes to her lips without thought. "Neal," she says softly, as if having found an oasis in a desert of strangers. She steps into the hug easily, letting it linger for a moment before she steps back and looks at him with a smile. "Never thought I'd bump into you either, of all people, outside a cinema. Are you on leave then?" she asks.

Neal didn't rush her from the hug, but as she broke away he stepped to give her space. "Yea, 'ave the nigh off. Need it too." he said in response to the question before glancing over to the Marquee, "Tried to tink of sometin' to do, but couldn' so decided on a film." he said nudging over his shoulder, before back to her "Glad I did tough, wouldn' have run into you."

Lucy smiles at Neal, still looking like she's found something of a life saver in unfamiliar waters, "It's a fortunate thing, it is. I was just thinking about turning back around and going home to a kettle of tea and some stale biscuits." But having a friend around makes the dark evening a little bit brighter. "Would you mind if I sat with you, then? Since we've both had the same idea." The theater has brought The Wizard of Oz back for an encore performance, since it fared so well on it's first run. "I've not seen the film yet, but friends that have say it's wonderful."

"Bu' of course!" he said and moved to take her by the hand before moving forward to the ticket box. It had been so long since he had seen her, and knew she still had to be reeling from her loss. Having been so close, he still hurt from the loss of Geoffry as well so knew it could only be worse for her. "Two tickets for Wizard of Oz please." he said to the ticketmaster, before pulling out his notes and paying for the pair. "Well let's hope they were tellin' tha truth." he said with a wide grin down to her as he led the pair to the door and inside.

Lucy slips her fingers into the spaces between Neal's, taking comfort in the familiarity and security of the contact. There's no hesitation, he was a good enough friend of Geoffrey's to have earned her trust, and he's a link to the way things had been and will never be again. And, added to all that, he's a friend that she's laughed with and shared good times, even though none of her fixing him up ever did any good. The protest comes automatically, "Oh, Neal, I couldn't let you…" but he's already paying for their tickets and she cuts it off. There's no sense in arguing with a man most times, anyway, not directly. She takes his arm to go into the theater with him, and asks, "Should we get popcorn?"

Neal smiled softly over to her her as she welcomed his hand holding. Then, at the slight protest to the fact that he was purchasing both tickets he shook his head "Oh come now Lucy. We bot' know I couldn' let you buy your ticket." he said teasingly, At the question he began to shake his head before he caught that wonderful scent, "Oh, why nah." he said walking with her hand on his arm over to the counter. "So, how hav' you been? Been a long time since I seen you." he said looking to her as they stood in the short line.

Lucy grins, giving his arm a light squeeze, and speaks softly, like the voice of the devil on his shoulder. "What's a movie without popcorn, and… maybe even a fizzy drink?" Oh hell, if they're going to live, they might as well live large. His question brings only a slight tempering to her good humor, and she shrugs her shoulders lightly under her heavy coat. "Things are today as they were yesterday and will be tomorrow," she says lightly, but she chuckles and answers in a less cryptic fashion. "I've been well, all in all," she admits. "Some days are easy, some aren't. And how are things with you?" She tries not to let any of the worry in her heart into her voice, but he's in the same branch that her Geoffrey was, and it makes one pause, to be sure.

Neal grinned and nodded, and as they moved forward he ordered them a popcorn and a soda to share. He took the refreshments, glancing her slightly distressed face as he led her to the theater. A slight frown flowed over his grin, "I understan' dat all to well," he said, hands full which prevented him from patting her hand comfortingly. "As for us, we have been trainin' all day and nigh'," he said with a slight sigh, the training wearing him thin though undeniably building his skills as a pilot.

Lucy reaches to take the popcorn, so his hands aren't full. "Let's not speak of that tonight then, and put it far behind us. Tonight it's just us and the wonderful Wizard, and whoever else comes our way, aye?" Her voice takes a lighter tone, forcing the realities of what might come tomorrow back away from the quiet that is tonight. She lets him lead the way into the theater proper, and pick their seats from what's left open.

"Aye!" Neal said in agreement, letting the popcorn go as she took it from him. As they entered the theater he looked around for the open seats. Finding a pair together near the top of the seats he pointed them out and led her along. "I wonder wha' kind of hocus pocus tis wizard is going to do.." Neal said in a soft whisper to Lucy as they sat, not being in on her special little secret.

Special little secret, indeed. The speculation on the Wizard makes Lucy smile in the dim theater lighting, a sad fondness for what she's left behind for love, but no regret for having done it. She settles into the seat next to Neal, shrugging out of her coat to leave it bunched behind her, then offers the popcorn to him. "Whatever the wizard does, it'll be a grand adventure, don't you think?"

"Tha it will." Neal said in gleeful acknowledgement as he took a few bits of popcorn, tossing one into his mouth. "It 'as been so long since I ga' to see a film." he said with a wide smile, looking over to her and offering the fizzy drink.

Lucy accepts the cup gratefully, fingers brushing comfortably against Neal's as the lights go down in the theater for the newsreel to start. It's an accounting of a recent battle, thankfully not the battle that Lucy would have dreaded (that would have been terrible propaganda, anyway) and she watches in rapt fascination as the newsreel accounts the soldiers out on the front, all brave men fighting for King and Country. Without thinking, her hand seeks out Neal's to give it a light squeeze, as much for his comfort as her own. And then the movie is starting, all black and white and Kansas, with nasty neighbors on bicycles trying to take innocent dogs, and farmhands and fortune tellers.

Neal offered a genuine smile to Lucy as she took the cup before his eyes darted towards the screen as the news reel started up. His attention seemed to shift, and he seemed to be fully engrossed as the news of the battle flew before him. His heart and breath seemed to stop for a moment or two as he listened for his brothers in arms. It was not until those soft hand of Lucy met his that he snapped back to where he was, returning the soft squeeze with one of his own as he hitched on a semi-forced smile to glance to her. But then as the film begins, his attention shifts again as the story picks up.

It takes a few minutes for Lucy to come to the realization that her hand is still resting warmly in Neal's and she slips it free in order to continue sharing their treats while the movie plays. She's seen Muggle films before, but there's still a magic all their own to the young witch. Her eyes don't leave the screen, yet they continuously move, taking in all the details provided by the magic of Hollywood. When Dorothy sings about somewhere happy over the rainbow it draws a soft, wistful sigh from Lucy. When the twister comes, it's a gasp, one hand covering her lips as the house is swept up, and then the nasty woman on the bicycle is there as well and…

When the mean woman turns into a witch on a broom, Lucy's face blanks for a moment. She's torn over thinking how that reminds her of her mother, and outrage at witches being depicted so. Clearly that's a hag, not just any old witch. I mean, really.

Neal smiled softly as he felt the hand slip from his own. The film was defiantly an entertaining piece of work, ranging from happy and bright to dark and serious. It was as the witch took to the broomstick that Neal smiled the widest though. He had always found the idea of witches and warlocks quite interesting, though firmly believed such things were tales to scare young children.

He popped a few pieces of popcorn into his mouth and sipped their soda before offering her the treats as well. As he did the characters began to join together, causing the audience to laugh are their overly goofy characters.

Oh, the tales Lucy could tell Neal. It only takes her a few seconds to give in to Hollywood again, and accept their version of a 'witch'. Until, of course, she shows up again in glorious technicolour. With green skin. "Oh Merlin's beard," she mutters softly to herself, then silently scolding herself for having said that out loud. Her ventures back into the wizarding world are having an effect on the carefully cultivated Muggle facade she's learned so well. At least she's placated somewhat when Glinda makes her appearance. A bit froofy in the fashion sense, but Lucy has seen witches that dress similarly, at least she's a normal looking witch.

When it's offered she takes a handful of the popcorn and holds the drink to let Neal have his hands free for the next few minutes. Munchkins sing, Toto prances, and the road is followed to more songs. Scarecrow. Tin woodsman. And it's the Cowardly Lion that makes Lucy laugh the most.

Neal relaxes his free hands into his lap as she takes their goodies as that small group of four make their way down the golden road, completely missing the bit about Merlin and his beard (silly muggles and their lack of attention). He laughed and gasped in the right moments with the crowd. The best gasp of all though was when the flying monkeys took to the skies to chase the group. The group made their escape and continued along until they reached the Emerald City. This caused the largest grin yet to cross the Irishman's lips, connecting the Emerald City to the Emerald Isle.

Well, flying monkeys aren't something that Lucy learned about in school, but they sure look like they'd fit quite nicely into any wizarding zoo. When they finally reach the Emerald City, Lucy can't resist leaning to whisper to Neal, "It's beautiful." She's been mindful not to chatter away during the film, but there's so much she could talk about and exclaim over, comparing observations with Neal. As she's been shushed in a theater before, she's learned her lesson. Then it's on to beauty treatments, fresh stuffing, a bit of a polish, before they quartet are to get their audience with the Wizard. Lucy is on pins and needles to see the depiction of this, wondering if the muggle film makers got it at all correct. But so far, no, there's just a giant talking head. It seems like an easy enough spell to accomplish, though. She frowns lightly as the group are set to another task before this so called Wonderful Wizard will help them.

Neal leans in to return a "Aye, it is. Would love a city of Emerald." he said with a grin to her before looking back to the screen. As the group meets the wizard, Neal gives a stifled laugh. The idea of a wizard being only a giant head is a bit ridiculous to him, but then as the group was tasked with another mission he quieted down. Of course they needed to kill the ugly witch, which was easily done with a simple bucket of water. The crowd cheered the victory as the group headed back to the Wizard's palace.

Even Lucy manages to smooth her ruffled feathers and cheer when the evil witch melts. As the movie's heroes return to see the wizard once again, Lucy goes to take a sip of the soda and the straw gives a brief slurp. They're out of popcorn as well, but they made it last admirably through the feature. Then there's the big reveal of the man behind the curtain, and the promise of returning to Kansas in a hot air balloon. The giving of awards to the travelers, and then Dorothy getting left behind in Oz. "Oh no," Lucy can't help but whisper sadly.

Neal pats Lucy's hand lightly as this time he catches her soft exclamation. And, it appears that the consultation paid off as Dorthy was gifted her red slippers which she tapped to get home, bringing the film to a happy tie up. "See Lucy, always en's well." he said looking to her with a smile as the crowd cheered adn the lights came back on. "So, what did you tink?" he asked gesturing with his head to the screen.

Lucy squints for a second as the lights come on, her face easing as her eyes quickly adjust. "It was lovely," she says, looking to Neal. "I especially liked when it went into colour. It seemed so bright and lively. What did you think?" she counters at him with a grin. That's not even half of what she actually thought, but she can't discuss things like the inaccurate portrayal of witches with Neal. She couldn't even with Geoffrey, having protected him from the knowledge. Perhaps that will be able to change if the plans do go through to go public to the muggle world, but it's not happened yet.

Neal offered a light nod in agreement, "Oh I do agree." he said as he stood, offering her a hand up. "I must say t'ough, I t'aught the magic would 'have been a bit more showy. An' wat witch can be killed with water?" he asked with a laugh, showing his lack of faith in such silly hocus pocus. "Bu' still good all an all."

Lucy takes the offered hand and gains her feet, looking up at her taller companion with a gleam in her eyes. She can't help it as she smirks at his comment and says, "None that I know." The young witch goes on as she turns to gather up her coat, "I thought the music was very nice. Songs you'll find yourself humming next week, quite catchy."

"Oh, I hope I an't humming dat tune next week or the boys will never stay quiet." he said with a light laugh, watching as she moved to gather her goods before leading her from the theater with the others. "Already messed wit' because of my accent, last t'ing I need is to be singing about a yellow brick road…they would be calling me a leprechaun!" he exclaimed with another laugh, this one a bit booming as they exited the cinema.

There's a light clicking of Lucy's tongue showing her disapproval of such things, but her words are light. "They're just green with envy because you sound more interesting than they do." Yes, she threw in green on purpose. "You're far too tall to be a leprechaun anyway." She would know, she studied them in fifth year at Hogwarts. As they move through the lobby, Lucy looks around for a clock.

Neal cannot help but give another booming laugh at the obvious play on color, and then a notion to his height disqualifying him from such things. "Well, I am glad that I don't need to worry about it." he finished, offering her a playful grin. then spotting her looking around, his eyes trailed her spotting the clock on the wall that showed that it was now 9:30. "Well, at least we got what we paid for, eh?" he asked, knowing some films were rather short.

Lucy nods, "The time seemed to just fly past." Before they get to the doors she stops to slip into her coat, asking Neal, "Did you have plans for after? I'd welcome the company for a nice cuppa at home, if you'd like." The place she shared with Geoffrey isn't too far from the cinema, just a quick tube ride. "Of course, if there are still things you've planned, you know you're welcome to come by any time to visit." He's a link to happier times, when they would have a nice supper together, sometimes with one of Lucy's single girlfriends in the mix as well.

Neal cannot help but frown at the offer to join her after the movie as well, but a second glance at the clock told him he had to shake his head to the offer. "Sadly, I need to get back to the base. I only had limited leave." Then a wide smile rises back up, "But, I will come and visit soon, I promise!" he said confidently, knowing all too well that a promise like that helped men like him strive to make it home. "It was so nice to see you again." he said, leaning to give her a hug and a kiss to her cheek.

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