(1940-06-05) Bittersweet Reunion
Details for Bittersweet Reunion
Summary: Bailey sees a face from her past in the Three Broomsticks.
Date: 5 June, 1940
Location: Three Broomsticks, Hogsmeade Village

Seated at one of the tables is Madeline Evans, with her beloved Uncle Perry, the scuffing her toes at the ground as she considers her dinner options. "Well. I don't know - I don't really feel like roast tonight. But I guess I could get some soup - do you think they have any of that crispy bread with the crumbly crust? I always like that. It makes such a mess, and we don't even have to clean it up!"

"We'll have to ask them," Perry answers.

"And it's not too early for a berry tart - is it? With some clotted cream on top?"

Bailey is seated at the bar, partly hunched over a half-full cup of brandy. Her flaxen hair is pulled back into a ponytail, thought a few strands have squirmed loose and are tucked behind her ears. A merry looking wizard is standing beside her, regaling her with tales of his prowess at gopher-repelling charms, which is apparently why his tomato garden is the finest in all of Hogsmeade. Every now and then, she glances up and forces a smile…which only seems to encourage the gentleman further.

"Well, seeing as I haven't been into their kitchen…"

"Which is probably for the best!" Madeline interjects.

"-I don't really know what they have," Perry concludes. He rolls his eyes at his niece, who simply beams at him cheerfully. He turns to try to catch the eye of a server, only to have eyes pass over the bar, and then pan right back again. Is that… Bailey? When the woman glanced up he thought he saw… Oh dear.

"See, the trick is to aim the charm under the tomato plants. Not easy to do through the soil. But that's where Soil-Softening Charms come in…"

Bailey can finally stand no more. She lifts her head, wearing a strained smile. "Listen, Jack…"


"…Jacob, right. I'm…really not much of a gardener, and I only came in here to get a quiet drink. Thank you for…" Bailey's words trail off as a glance over her shoulder locks her eyes with a familiar face. Her jaw hangs open for a moment, staring.

It is Bailey. And now she's staring at him. So it's not like he could whisk Madeline off with a completely unsuspicious offer of buying her her entire dinner at the sweets shop. It would be grand to see Bailey again, if not for the fact that he had Maddie with him and- oh, was Maddie saying something?

"-so that's when Professor Pettigrew turned it into a warthog. I'd never even seen a warthog before! It was the neatest thing!"

"Sounds… like it," Perry answers hastily, drawing his eyes back to Madeline after giving Bailey the best smile he could muster through his surprise.

"But that wasn't even the half of it! Then she- hey, is that lady staring at you? Do you have something on your back or something?"

Bailey is frozen for a few moments. Jacob finally takes a hint when she is outright ignoring him in favor of some bloke across the pub, and he moves on in search of another single lady. Bailey manages a little smile, and waves meekly at Perry, uncertain what the protocol is for a situation like this.

"She's waving at you. Oh, hey, do you know her? She should join us!" Madeline says eagerly - she waves back eagerly at the unfamiliar woman, prompting Perry to do his best to stifle a groan. He can see this playing out in his mind already. Madeline is going to try to hook them up.

"She's - uh, yes. We went to school together. That's my friend Bailey."

"Ooo! School mates? That's great! Was she a Ravenclaw too?"

"Not a Ravenclaw, no." Perry turns to look back at Bailey again, giving her a questioning look.

"So what house is she?"

There's no way she can just turn away now. Bailey slides out of her stool and approaches the pair with another uncertain wave. "I was in Gryffindor," she chimes in. She dips her head abashedly — not at all like the brash girl Perry knew in his youth, who likely would have already laid a smooch on his lips. "Hi, Perry."

Perry, meanwhile, rises to his feet as well as Bailey approaches. Madeline stays in her seat. "Ooo! I'm a Gryffindor, too! It's the best house, isn't it?" the girl asks eagerly.

"This is Mads," Perry offers hastily - perhaps noticeably so - in the hopes that it would prevent the girl from giving her full name. "It's good to see you again, Bailey. It's a been a long time. How've you been?" He invites her to sit with a gesture of his hand.

"Mads?" Bailey arches an eyebrow. It's an unusual enough nickname to warrant notice. "It's nice to meet you, and yes, I'm partial to Gryffindor." She takes a deep breath, accepting the offered seat. "It's good to see you again, too, Perry. It's been…quite a ride."

"You can call me Copper, too! Or Mad Maggie. Or…" Madeline tries to think of other nicknames, and Perry uses this pause to jump in, and try to redirect the conversation.

"I hope you got my flowers?" he asks. He'd sent some when she was injured. "I considered dropping by but I wasn't sure- well." He shrugs his shoulders a bit awkwardly.

Bailey furrows her brow until she realizes what flowers he means. She nods, a soft smile forming. "Yes. I got the flowers. I…wondered if you were going to visit." She turns her brandy glass, fidgeting. "Sorry, that sounded like trying to make you feel guilty. Not my intention. It was just very nice hearing from you, even if only in floral form."

"I should have," Perry answers. "It would have been nice to see you." Hastily he tacks on, "It is nice to see you."

Madeline is looking between the two adults, her gaze flicking from one to the other - until she abruptly blurts out, "Were you dating at Hogwarts? You were sweethearts!" she crows.

Bailey blinks at Madeline, surprised. She can't help an amused smile, glancing to Perry before answers. "Ah…no. We weren't sweethearts at Hogwarts." It's technically true, and leaves it to Perry to fill in any gaps he feels need to be clarified.

"You weren't?" Madeline says in disappointment.

"No, we weren't," Perry agrees, not sure what else to say. "We were just going to order some some food. You wanted the stew, right Mads?" he asks his niece, who nods in agreement.

"And a berry tart with clotted cream!"

"Oh, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt your meal. Please enjoy yourselves." Bailey starts to rise, ready to clear out and leave them to their dinner.

Madeline - never one to let a potential Aunt escape - jumps to her feet to catch Bailey's hand. "You could order some stew, too! Unless you ate already. Did you eat already? You could have some berry tart, then! There's always room for a little berry tart. I'd invite you over for dinner at Uncle Perry's cottage, only he burned it all, you see, and we're still airing it out."

Bailey pauses, halfway out of her seat. How can one resist such a spirited girl? She glances over at Perry questioningly. "You burned…your cottage? What…what does she mean? Are you alright?"

"The food. She means I burned the food - horribly. But we're fine." Perry looks at Madeline, then rolls his eyes. She just grins and shrugs her shoulders.

"He's not anywhere near as good a cook as my mum. He needs someone to cook for him."

Perry finally lets out a groan. That was about as subtle as a dragon - within arm's reach. "Maddie…"

Bailey can't half-stand any longer, and plops back down in her seat, still unsure if she's invited. She chuckles, her eyes lighting up a little. "I seem to recall a few questionable meals," she teases Perry.

"I don't have many chances to practice. I don't bother to do too much cooking - just for myself," Perry answers, finally managing to catch the eye of the server. He orders some roasted chicken with veggies for himself, before Madeline rattles off her order for stew with reeeeeally crunch crusty bread. The server promises to try to find something to suit.

"It's on me," he adds towards Bailey. "If you want to get anything."

"Berry tart with clotted cream," Madeline whispers loudly towards Bailey. Then says to the server, "And one for me too, please."

Bailey smiles gratefully to Perry. She chuckles and says to the server, "Sounds like I'm having a berry tart with clotted cream. I'll have a small bowl of stew with bread as well, thank you." When the server is away, she looks back to her two dining companions. "So…Perry is your uncle, you said?"

"Yup!" Madeline answers cheerfully as the server moves off with the order. "He and my da' are brothers." Though Perry had certainly never mentioned any other wizards or witches in his family. "He takes me out sometimes for Hogsmeade weekends - though he won't need to next year!" Which is obviously a thought Madeline relishes. "Unless I want to sleep over, I suppose."

"We may just have to do that, sometimes," Perry agrees. "She's a good kid - even if she is a Gryffindor."

"We've got you outnumbered, you know!"

Bailey chuckles, "We used to tease each other about that in school, too. He never did accept defeat and admit that Gryffindors are better." She gives him a teasing smirk, a glimmer of the old Bailey shining through. "So, I take it you don't live in Hogsmeade, Maddie?"

Madeline shakes her head. "My parents have a farm in Buckinghamshire," Madeline explains. "My da' bought it after the Great War. I've always lived there. It's real nice - we even have horses."

"Maddie loves animals," Perry remarks, as he watches Bailey. It's an odd position he finds himself in - dreading Bailey connecting the dots, but at the same time hoping she likes Madeline. She has to figure it out eventually - doesn't she? "And I'm not the one who won't admit the truth," he adds.

Bailey smiles warmly to the girl. "I love animals, too. Especially dogs. Are you a dog person? We always had dogs when I was growing up. I had to learn to train them myself."

"My dog Sally stays with Uncle Perry for the school year, now! So I can visit her. You should come by and meet her! She's a Springer Spaniel. I've been training her, too! And my raven, Mischief." Madeline is practically boiling over with excitement - happy to meet another dog-loving witch. "How come you and Uncle Perry haven't talked in so long?" she asks curiously. "It has been a long time, hasn't it? Seems like it." She looks between the pair.

Perry looks rather at a loss for words, and looks aside at Bailey before attempting an answer. "We just grew apart, I suppose. But maybe we shouldn't have."

Bailey bites her lip, glancing to Perry. How to even answer that? "Perhaps not…but there were…. Well, sometimes adults have to…." She shakes her head, unsatisfied with anything coming out of her mouth. "Simply put, I was young and foolish and as a result, as your uncle said, we grew apart."

"But now you can be friends again!" Madeline encourages the pair hopefully, watching them both as she tries to figure out what they're not saying. Because obviously, there's something they don't want to tell her.

"We could," Perry agrees. "I wouldn't mind that at all." Even if it would complicate his life considerably.

Bailey pinches her lips, holding back the emotions that desperately want to emerge again. "I don't think we ever really stopped being friends." We just had to stop being in love. "But…yes, of course we…we should stay in contact." Her eyes fix on Perry, thoughts of possibilities and missed opportunities racing around her brain. "There's…um…so much catching up to do."

And Bailey doesn't know the half of it. "That there is," Perry agrees, unasked questions burning in his throat. Maybe it wasn't too late to offer Madeline that 'all you can eat at the sweets shop' supper if she'll leave them to eat on their own.

"Like wha-" Madeline starts, only to catch a look from her Uncle, "…is exactly what I'm not supposed to ask, I think. Ummm… Uhh… Do you have a dog still?"

Bailey gives Perry a grateful smile for his interjection. There is plenty of history that she'd rather not reveal to a child. "A dog? No, sadly I don't right now. The flat where I live just isn't suitable. Dogs need room to run around outdoors. But sometimes I've taken in a dog temporarily to train it. For friends and such."

"Oh. Gosh, that's sad. I don't know what I'd do without all my animals. But maybe you could give me some pointers on how to train Sally better?" Madeline asks. "Though she's a pretty good dog, already." It's just about then that the food is set in front of her, and Madeline lets out a happy sound. "Oh, it smells good!" She feels the bread with her fingers then adds, they even have the crispy crust!" she declares before tearing off a chunk and dipping it eagerly into her stew. She's hungry!

Perry doesn't attack his food quite so eagerly, as he cuts off a small piece of his chicken. "You know - I've been wondering. I lost track of you a few years back. What have you been up to, Bailey?"

"Maddie, I'd be more than happy to give you some pointers. You've obviously got the first step down pat: Love your animals." Bailey gives the girl a proud, maternal smile. But she is drawn out of it by Perry's question. "Oh…some odd jobs here and there. It was hard finding work after the accident. But eventually I got into security. I'm a guardwitch these days."

"A guardwitch? Is that like… a nightwatchman at a museum or something?" Madeline asks curiously. "What accident? Gosh - were you chased by angry dragons? Did an experimental potion explode? Were you trying to teach a bear the Charleston?"

Perry is too busy studying that smile of Bailey's to add any comment of his own.

Bailey gets a little giggle at Maddie's series of questions. "Well, no. Actually, I was a Quidditch player. I used to play for Puddlemere United. But I got hurt very badly during a game and it ended my Quidditch career." No need for gory details, but the basic truth seemed suitable for young ears. "So now I protect people. Though, actually…I may have an opportunity to back to Quidditch, as a coach."

"…oh," Madeline answers. That's not nearly as interesting. And, well, she probably shouldn't say what she thinks about Quidditch, because the woman probably really likes it. "Umm - that would be nice, wouldn't it? If you could coach. For the same team, or a different time?"

Perry lets out a snort of amusement. "She's being polite. Maddie is not a Quidditch fan."

Bailey tilts her head. "No? I'm sorry to hear that. Maybe you just haven't found a team that really excites you. You might be surprised how often that's the case. But no, I wouldn't be coaching for Puddlemere. If the position opens up like it's rumored to, I could be an assistant coach for the Appleby Arrows."

"I hope it works out for you, Bailey. It'd be great if you could get back into the sport," Perry says with encouraging warmth.

Madeline, meanwhile, shrugs her shoulders. "I don't like Seekers," the girl explains. "It makes the rest of the game seem pretty unimportant. The team that catches the Snitch always wins. Almost always. But I go cheer for the games, sometimes, because some of my friends play."

Bailey smirks knowingly at Madeline and her typically Muggle-born viewpoint. "The dynamic between the Seeker and the rest of the game is more complex and subtle than you might realize. It's true that the winning team usually catches the Snitch, but there's a lot of strategy involved in determining when to catch it. It takes an excellent team to coordinate well with their Seeker to make sure it's caught at the appropriate time. Those points also matter for tournament ranking, but that's another conversation." Bailey peers curiously at the girl, hoping to see some spark of interest in the sport.

It's not there. Madeline just shrugs her shoulders. "You sound like Colton. He's our Seeker," Madeline explains. "He's graduating this year. He's good at finding all sorts of stuff - like secret magic doors in the castle dungeons."

Bailey chuckles, leaning back in her chair. "You should listen to Colton. Have you ever tried playing the game?"

Madeline shrugs her shoulders again. "A few skirmishes with my friends. The bludgers are kinda neat, and the goals part is fine…" It's just that silly snitch! "It's alright, though. Just not my favorite thing. I'd rather be working with Mischief, or learning a new potion, or somthing."

Bailey shrugs, trying not to look too disappointed. "Fair enough, then." She gives Perry a teasing look that says: What have you been teaching this child? Despite sitting with someone who clearly doesn't understand Quidditch, she is in good spirits, and conversation through dinner is pleasant, even if it avoids certain sensitive topics. When their meal is done at last, Bailey offers Perry a warm smile, feeling almost as comfortable as she did half a lifetime ago with him.

"Mads, why don't you see if the sweets shop is still open and pick me up some fizzing whizbees?" Perry asks, handing over a few coins. "Should be enough there…" It's a deliberate overpayment, of course, so the girl can pick herself up something as well. "I'll meet you back home in a few. It should be aired out by now."

"Okay!" Madeline agrees brightly. "It's nice meeting you!" she adds to Bailey as she bounces to her feet, and dashes off.

"I swear - she never slows down," Perry mutters quietly.

Bailey sighs wistfully. "I remember those days. Now it seems like I never have enough energy." Alone at last, she regards Perry curiously, admiring how the years have given his face character, not detracted from his handsome features. "It really was very nice running into you, Perry."

"And you," Perry agrees - still unsure what to tell the other woman about Madeline. Had she guessed? Did she want to know? "We made a lot of mistakes back then. I wish things had turned out… a little differently."

Bailey swallows hard, nodding, trying to keep the emotions in check. She's so…muted compared to how she once was. Little sparks of the wild child shine through hear and there. But this is an older, possibly wiser woman. "Perry…I'm sorry for hurting you. I don't think I ever said it. I was young and stupid, and I had no idea what I wanted."

"I always manage, Bailey. You know me," Perry answers, flashing her a smile that reflects some of his boyish cockiness. "It wasn't right for you at the time, and you know I'd never want to put anyone in a position… that'd make them unhappy." Would they have been unhappy, though?

Bailey lowers her gaze. "My happiness shouldn't have been the only consideration." She looks up at him. "Nor just mine and yours." There was another. "I'm not saying we made the wrong decision. I was a stupid girl then. Not fit for-…" She wipes at her eyes as her emotions threaten to get the better of her. "Just tell me she's happy." Does she know? Could she be talking about…?

"She is. She's amazing, Bailey," Perry answers quietly. "She's gonna be a great witch. She has… no notion her parents aren't her parents, of course. If you wanted to get to know her… I mean, if you don't want to, it's fine. It's up to you."

Bailey sits in absolute silence, starting at Perry for what feels like much longer than it really is. She struggles internally, fighting with a dozen conflicting emotions. At last she croaks, "Let me think about it. This is…it's more than I was prepared to face today. I just…I want what is best for her. No matter what.?

Perry nods his head in agreement, while he keeps his own emotions in check. It's impossible not to wish he could turn back the clock - and still have the future he'd wanted all those years back. "Of course. And trust me, I wouldn't do a thing I didn't think was good for her. I think… it'd be nice if she knew her real mother. Even if she never knows the truth. You think about it all you need."

Bailey nods, breathing deeply to keep her composure. "That's the part I'm not sure if I could stand. Knowing her, without her actually knowing who I am." She moves to stand, but waits for Perry so she can give him a proper farewell.

"It's… hard sometimes," Perry admits. He rises to his feet with Bailey, and steps towards her to give the woman a hug - squeezing her tight. "It was good seeing you. Let's stay in touch this time, huh? I'll go watch your first game when you get that coaching gig."

Bailey leans into the hug, clinging to him with more familiarity than is really appropriate. But it feels too good to be back in his arms, even after so many years. "You'd better," she says with a smile, nestling her cheek to his shoulder. Reluctantly, she must part from him. But she takes out a little notepad — not unlike what a hit wizard might use — and jots down an address. "Just to make sure the owl can reach me. Or…if you decide to drop by." She shrugs meekly. "I wouldn't mind. Always happy to put on a kettle." She leans in for one more quick hug before bidding him a silent farewell.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License