(1940-03-31) Old Flame
Details for Old Flame
Summary: Arla catches up with Mark while Galen sleeps at another table.
Date: March 31, 1940
Location: Leaky Cauldron, London

“You’re going to get yourself killed,” a strict, exasperated voice says out in the courtyard of the Leaky Cauldron. “Do you really hate the family that much?”

“Get off of me,” a gruff, rough voice returns. Galen scowls as he shoves his whole arm against the cleaner, neater looking young man and stalks past him, stepping into the taproom. Behind him, Mark catches his arm, keeping his voice low as they enter the pub. A couple words come out in his inaudible tone like ‘selfish,’ ‘no one,’ and ‘yourself.’ In response to this, the younger lad glares back at him as he pulls his arm out of Mark’s grip, continuing to walk away from him.

Clara frequents the Cauldron, and being a more and more common face around here it's easy for the witch to find this place a comfort when it's needed. As always, or will most of the time, her satchel is slung over her shoulder. Somewhat lost in thought the Prewett stops at seeing Galen once more, looking gruff and unhappy. But it's not him that gathers her attention it's the man he is with. Mark. Though concerned for the pair seem to be fighting there is a smile that she just can't contain.

"Everyone okay, sweetie?" She ventures while taking a few steps closer to Mark as Galen seems to storm off.

Irritated and frustrated with his brother, Galen is in no mood to have a nice conversation with anyone. As he stalks away, a single glance is shot towards Arla and a snort escapes the lad. Continuing on without comment, he slides into a booth where he lazily rests his head - on top of his arms - on the table.

As Mark hesitates in going after Galen - it’s like talking to a brick wall! - instead someone way more pleasant approaches. Lucky for Galen that all thought of persisting fades as Mark turns his attentions onto Arla. “Well, look at you,” he greets, forcing out a smile. He should just completely ignore his brother. Why can’t he? “You look wonderful, Clara.” In a proper, back straight sort of fashion he reaches out a hand for hers, in a gesture that clearly looks as though he’ll kiss the back of her hand. He dips his head in a slight nod. “That’s questionable, I suppose,” he answers with a glance towards Galen’s direction. “It’s nothing you need to worry about, I’m sure. How’re you?”

Eyes drift over to Galen as he sits and pouts. From their first meeting she got the feeling he was.. just this sort, brooding and difficult. The look to him doesn't last long as her attention moves to Mark, though the worry still lingers in her big silver eyes. "Oh, you're always too nice to me!" She says with a chuckle. "And you look great to sweetie! How has life been?" There would be no rejection of him kissing her hand. With his glance to his brother Clara looks that way and frowns herself. "Life is.. it's going, good. I've taken up roots here, no more traveling, just running a little shop." Which may be a surprise, seeing as she always spoke about seeing the world.

Despite his own frustration for Galen, Mark puts the thought of his brother to the side as he smiles pleasantly. “And why shouldn’t I be?” Mark returns, going ahead to bring her hand up and lower his head, formally brushing his lips against her knuckles. “It’s great to see you. I’ve been keeping busy, working my way up the ladder in the Ministry.” Which isn’t to say very high at the moment. “You have a shop.” There’s more than a little bit of surprise. “Congratulations. That’s a big investment. Where is it?” Mark shifts suddenly, suddenly looking stricken as he glances around the taproom. Letting out a soft breath, and looking back to her, he gestures around. “Oh, where are my manners? Please, Clara, allow me to treat you to tea.”

Over at the booth where Galen rests grumpily, a waiter has arrived, clearing his throat. “Um. Sir?” says the waiter, trying to get the lad’s attention. “Sir, can I get you something?” As the waiter looks around uncertainly, Galen grunts, flicking out a hand and muttering into his sleeve. The waiter blinks, shifting uneasily. “I’m sorry?”

“Gin,” Galen mutters out as he lifts his head a smidgen. Then he’s laying his head back on top of his arms as the waiter nods and moves off.

The kiss makes her smile grow more. It's just like old times. Clara nods slowly and shrugs a bit as well. "It's in North Verdic Alley, a little import shop. I rather like it, and a place to keep roots and just.. be. Five years of seeing the world, I've seen a lot." And following Mark's look her eyes once more befall Galen with a lifted brow. Plainly seeing that there is some family strife afoot for a second the offer for tea is considered, but at last she agrees to it.

"What about yourself? The ministry! What are you doing there?" If he were to sit, she would follow. "You were always wanting to work there, if I remember right?" Her satchel would also be put down, again, if they were to sit. "Is.. is your brother okay at all?"

“Well,” Mark says politely, “if it’s what you want, I’m happy for you.” In regards to the shop. A very tiny, but fond smile shows against his lips as he nods. He slides out a hand in gesture as he moves towards a table. “It isn’t a very high job at the moment, just errands and the like, but someday I will work for the law enforcement. Hit wizard,” he adds, nodding. His hands on the back of a chair, he pulls it out, gesturing down as he offers it to her. He is, as always, proper. The question about his brother causes him to glance over. “That’s certainly debatable. He could do something with his life if he just tries harder.” He pauses for a moment, exhaling slowly. “You’ve met then?”

Galen continues to hang out at the booth, not moving. He could quite possibly be dozing off.

She would sit in the chair, put her satchel down and listen. Yes, he was always proper, and maybe that is why they had a history. Mark always had respect! "Thank you." That is said to the holding out of the chair and his mention of being happy for her. A brow lifts when he mentions being a hit wizard. "Really? A hit wizard? Did you want to push to be an Auror after that?" With a touch of curiously the woman leans forward a little. "Dangerous work, that. I know a few Auror's." Seeing Galen there is a sigh. "Don't be too hard on him sweetie, I think he's a bit hurt." And that's when attention turns back to Mark. "Galen and I ran into each other, and he told me about your brother.." A hand would come out to grip his, in a comforting way. "I'm sorry, really I am."

The gin arrives at Galen’s booth and after a curious look from the waiter, leaves it on the table and moves off. It remains untouched - perhaps Gale really is asleep.

After sliding the chair closer to the table once Arla sits, Mark takes a seat himself. “I just want to help bring in criminals,” he answers, his lips curving pleasantly. Slowly he nods his head, agreeing silently with the danger. But his smile fades with talk of Galen, exhaling a heavier breath and lowering his head briefly. His fingers curl lightly when her hand grips his, and he reaches out his other hand to pat hers. Mark, at least, appears to be doing better than Galen. He’s much more productive, at any rate. “It’s appreciated,” he says in response to her condolences. He inhales and releases it slowly. “We are all upset by it. We’re just not going to let our lives fall apart.”

The waiter arrives and Mark cuts off to order, though he then looks to Arla questionably. “Earl Grey? And how about one of the rolls?” Once it is all taken care of, presumably with Arla’s input, Mark’s eyes briefly wanders over to the table where his brother sleeps, sighing with impatience. He shakes his head slowly. “It’s in part why I’m so adamant about becoming a hit wizard. If I can’t find who killed Brandt, at least I can be sure not to let others get away with such a horrible crime.”

She would squeeze his hand one more time, again in that comforting sort of way and give a sympathetic smile with a nod. Her hand would then return to her side, resting on the arm of the chair while listening. Clara would nod, agreeing to the order for earl grey and some rolls. Once the waiter is gone Mark would be addressed softly, with a glance over to Galen.

"It's a noble idea, that. I hope you find the person that did it." And hearing the impatient sound from him eyes turn back his way. "Listen, Mark, I think you're brother is.. hurt. It's not easy seeing people go on and do things in their lives when they can't, and then to lose someone too.. I have a friend, in much the same situation, lacking our abilities. It's a hard pill to swallow."

Mark releases another sigh, lowering his head briefly in acknowledgement to Arla. “I’m sure he felt, feels, I barely know what’s going on in his head, but put out when Brandt went off to Hogwarts.” He draws his own hands in to clasp them together, resting on the table just in front of him. “He made quite a big deal about missing out. They would have been laying their tricks around school constantly had we both of them there.” He speaks with a slight tone of exasperation at the tricks. “Brandt left early because he was bored of school. I don’t know exactly what he got himself into, but he shouldn’t have been doing it. If Galen follows in the same footsteps…” Mark blows out a breath, lifting a hand to run a hand over the side of his face. “Well, he’s far more reckless and thinks less than Brandt ever did.”

Clara listens as she sits across from him at the table. A hand moves to fiddle with the ends of her hair as she listens, but realizing that's what she is doing, she stops and brings her hand back down. She leans forward slightly and frowns a touch, going to grip is arm in a comforting way, if allowed. "Oh, sweetie, I know you're worried. Have you told him that? Been honest and true about your fears? Maybe he needs to hear that, maybe it will help him get his life together, you're family doesn't need any more pain after all. It's such a shame for what's happened thus far."

Mark is almost a hundred percent sure that Galen is asleep at the table. Even still, he keeps his voice down, careful as to not let it carry. The last he thing he needed is for Galen to hear. His gaze slides over to him while Arla speaks. Anger and worry both burns inwardly, emotion showing on his face as he releases a sigh. Shifting his free hand to lay over her hand that grips his arm, acknowledging the gesture as he smiles appreciatively. “In a manner of speaking,” he lets out on a sigh, leaning closer. “He left his family two years ago and hides from us so we rarely know where he’s at. It was like losing both of them, really. Talking to him? It always ends up in a yelling match.” He scrubs a hand over his face, running his fingers through his hair. “I think he needs to figure it out on his own.” His tone shifts into one tightly constraining annoyance. “Keeping him safe in the mean time?” He lets out a sigh and makes an idle gesture.

Her hand remains on his arm, to continue to offer comfort to Mark. Her touch is soft, and warm, it always has been. It's a very caring sort of touch. Nodding and listening to what he has to say Clara passes a glance towards Galen, her big silver eyes fixing on the younger brother with a touch of sadness. Leaning forward too she sighs a touch. "Being a.. squib, is never easy. I wonder if he felt so alone, and Brandt was the only he felt close to." All the witch can do is guess and offer a sympathetic smile. "You're probably right, he does need time on his own, to figure it all out. He wasn't as lucky as you after all." She knows a little about being on the short end of that stick, given her past too. "I hope it works out, for all of you. I remember when I was brought home with my father, into a place of love and family.." There is a sigh, her hand, after a squeeze of his arm would move back to her lap at last and eyes would with as much sadness in her tone, befall the squib anew. Still her tone is quiet. "It's something I never realized had such greatness, and wish it upon you and yours. And hope you all can work it out, it's worth it."

On a sad sigh, Mark nods his head and stays silent as he gives it some thought. His eyes rest on Arla, watching her as she speaks, and giving way to more thoughts. As she shifts to move her hand, Mark twists his so that he might grasp her hand briefly, to give it a squeeze of his own. A small, but fond smile flickers out. “Thank you. You were… are… always so…” He hesitates briefly to think of a word. “Unselfish.” He shakes his head as he thinks of a better word. “Caring and thoughtful.” A smile and a chuckle escape him and he lets out a soft sigh. Before he can say anything more, the tea arrives and is set down in front of either of them. Mark begins to add cream to his, stirring it. With a brief glance towards Galen, he says, “Things will get better.” He could have been convincing himself of that.

There is no decline when Mark goes to take her hand, it's like old times, when they were together in school. She smiles kindly to him, even blushes a touch and gives a wave of her free hand, as if saying he is saying to many nice things. "I'm just me, and call it as I see it. Or try." There is a chuckle then. "Plus, you and your family do deserve that, it's no lie. I just wish you had such happiness as you did in school, I guess times were easier then, for many of us."

Their tea arrives then and Clara nods in thanks to the server. Her tea is left black, no cream or sugar added, she has never been a fan of sweets even added to drink. A spoon is taken to stir it though, to help it cool or maybe even just an idle gesture while she too thinks this all over. With a glance to the sleeping brother she sighs herself. "In time, I would think. Healing takes time, that's what I come to find. And everyone heals at different speeds."

A pleasant smile curves at Mark’s lips, lowering his head in a nod as he set the spoon down on the saucer. Lifting the cup, lightly blowing on it, he takes a slight sip before lowering it. Not completely, but just so that his face isn’t hidden behind it. “Of course,” he says on a chuckle as he reminisces. “We can only think back now and remember how easy it was in school.” He shakes his head. “I’m almost positive I didn’t think it was easy at the time.” The laugh that follows fades off quickly, leaving him in thought. “I don’t think I’ve properly told you how much I appreciated your friendship. I know I can be kind of… unmindful at times. I’m sorry about that.”

At the other table Galen stirs, a low groan escaping him. As he shifts, his hand sweeping out, the back of it hits the cup on the table and it clatters over, spilling the entire gin. “Shit,” escapes Gale’s mouth as he immediately starts, sliding along the booth seat away from where the drink drips over the table. His hands on either side of him, he shakes them in irritation.

Mark’s attention automatically shifts over towards the table. He shifts in his seat, considering. Out of reflex his wand is drawn, only thinking about helping out his brother, but as he’s sliding back his chair and dipping his head to Arla, excusing himself with a, “A moment,” he ceases that. What can he do? Mark ends up sitting again, letting out a sigh. As he returns his wand a pocket inside his jacket, he gives Arla a chastened look. “That would have been a mistake,” is said by way of explanation. Magic used to help Galen would have only provoked him into turning antagonistic. While Galen mutters a few curse words at his table, furiously wiping at his pants, Mark raises his voice to say, “Let me give you some money, Gale. You can-“

Galen’s instant retort is a snap as he barely spares a glance for Mark. “I don’t need it.” One of the workers that has come over to clean up the mess stops short, giving Galen a tentative look and a weak smile, but when Galen moves swiftly to exit the Leaky Cauldron, the waitress instantly begins to clean. Mark glances to Arla helplessly. “Sorry.”

A kind smile is given to Mark. "You are very focused, and dedicated to what you want, to capture your dream. I cannot fault you for that." And she doesn't. There is a sip of her tea and the cup is then put down, it's not piping hot anymore, and nearing the right temperature. Galen then seems to wake, spill his drink and that's when her old flame stands and looks up with wand out. Though Clara doesn't move, instead she watches this and catches her breath waiting to see what will happen. A breath that is released when Galen leaves and there is a look to Mark again. "No, it's fine sweetie."

With Galen’s departure, Mark forces it out of his mind. There isn’t anything he can do. He focuses his attention back on Arla, silence falling as he tries to remember where they were in the conversation before the interruption. As he drags his seat in with one hand, he reaches out for his cup. He lifts it only an inch, letting out a short breath, and says apologetically, “I’ve completely lost track of where we were.” A slight irritation is forced downward, giving Arla a pleasant smile. After a sip from his tea, he says, “I’m glad I was able to sit down with you again, Clara.” His gaze lifts, glancing to the courtyard exit before returning it onto her. “I’m going to need to get back to things.”

Clara watches this as she sips from her tea, when Mark sits again a knowing smile is given, for she figured that was the route he would take. "Go, look after your brother, even if it is from afar." Her cup is put down, it's done anyway. She moves to stand from her chair and walk over towards him, offering a hug in farewell. "Again, I'm sorry to hear about it all, and I hope everything works out. And that one day, you get to be an auror.

There is still much of his own tea that’s left, so Mark drinks from the cup, trying to finish off as much as he can. He rises with her, and he hesitates just a fraction before he’s certain that a hug is what she’s after, opening his arms to receive it. He returns it fondly, a quick squeeze and a pat on her back. “Thank you,” he says quietly. He offers out a smile to her as he draws back, intending to give one little pat to her shoulder as he pulls his hand back. “And I hope everything continues to go well for you, always. Good luck with your store.”

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