(1940-06-16) Rekindling an Old Flame...Maybe
Details for Rekindling an Old Flame…Maybe
Summary: Perry drops by to see Bailey, old feelings are reignited, and there is finally discussion of their secret.
Date: 16 June, 1940
Location: Bailey's Flat
Related: Bittersweet Reunion

((OOC: Normally we frown upon family NPCs being played without the appropriate PC present. We will sometimes make exceptions if it is an important scene that is directly relevant to the PC, as was the case in this scene. If you have any question about whether a given scene would be an appropriate time to do this, please contact staff.))

After a long day of work, Bailey felt she was deserving of a warm meal. Her kitchen is alive with some chips frying in a pan along with a fillet of cod procured from the market some hours earlier. When the knock comes at the door, she carefully covers her pans before stepping away. She answers the door looking quite domestic, with a flower-print apron over a simple around-the-house dress.

And there is Perry Evans standing in front of the flat - holding a bag of take-away in his hands. He smiles as the door opens - and scent of Bailey's cooking wafts out. "I guess I should have come by a little bit earlier - I could have saved you the trouble." Holding out the bag towards her he adds, "I promise you I made none of that."

Bailey blinks several times in surprise. "Perry! Oh, um…come…come in!" She ushers him inside quickly, a bit flustered. "You brought food. Um…here." She accepts the bag, rushing it to her little table before rushing back into the kitchen. "Sorry," she calls out. "I can't leave this long, it's frying in oil."

"No, that's fine. I'm the one who dropped by unannounced," Perry answers, smiling in amusement. "I'd offer to help - but when it comes to frying in oil, there is a small chance I'll set the whole place on fire." He trails after Bailey, stopping just outside the kitchen to watch as she finishes up. "I suppose I could safely set the table, though. If you want."

Bailey glances over her shoulder at Perry, looking every bit the housewife. She smiles abashedly, pushing a stray hair behind her ear. "That would be fine, yes. You'll find dinnerware in the cupboard there."

"Great. Better than standing around like a useless clod, anyways." Perry goes to the indicated cupboard, pulling things down and bringing them to the table where Bailey had left the take-away. He sets a serviceable table - who needs more than a single fork and knife, anyways? More silverware just means more things to wash. There is one fancy touch, though - a chilling charm cast onto the tumblers for the bottle of brandy he pulls out of the bag - followed by some shepherd's pie, and a side of mushy peas.

It isn't long before Bailey appears with even more food: fish and chips, now split between the two of them. She quickly discard the apron with a mumbled apology, setting it upon a spare chair for now. As she sits down, her eyes fall upon the bottle of brandy. "Oh my word. I haven't seen that label since…" She glances up at Perry, a slow smile forming. "Since our little graduation party. I can't believe you remembered."

"How drunk was I that night," Perry counters, "that you'd think I'd forget?" He seats himself without waiting for the invitation, and gets the bottle of brandy open, pouring for the both of them. "The fish smells amazing," he adds. "I hope you don't me showing up and stealing part of it."

Bailey shrugs. "You brought shepherd's pie to make up for it. You're forgiven." She smiles, picking up her glass when he's done pouring. She lifts it toward him. "To old friends, and old friendships. May they never wither."

"Never," Perry agrees, lifting his glass to clink it against Bailey's, before taking a sip. "I'm just glad we finally ran into each other. How have we managed to miss each other for so long, is the better question. Wizarding London is not that large. The luck we have!"

Bailey sets the glass down, shrugging. "I don't think we run in the same circles anymore. When I'm not working, I'm really quite a homebody these days." Once upon a time, she would have gone mad sitting at home for more than an hour.

"The hell you say!" Perry remarks, letting out a laugh. "Well - I guess time changes all of us. I'm not at all that many parties these days, either. Ministry shindigs sometimes, naturally, but… That's hardly the same, is it?"

Bailey sighs and nods. "We grew up. Who would have thought it possible?" She smiles over at him, a little dreamy and a bit in awe that the past is coming back to the present.

"No - I refuse to admit it. I will deny it with every fiber of my being," Perry insists - an amused quirk at the corner of his lips. Despite the fact that - yes. Obviously it was true. "If I'd grown up, clearly I would have learned to cook by now."

Bailey chuckles, shaking her head. "I barely know how to cook if it's not a campfire. Fortunately, fish and chips isn't too hard. Though…I'd rather you not cook with oil, given your recent track record." She gives him a teasing smirk.

"Trust me!" Perry says, putting his hands up defensively. "I don't intend to! You don't think I could afford a second cottage, do you, if I burned down the first?" He shakes his head. "The Ministry doesn't pay me that well." He smiles at Bailey before adding, "This is really good, by the way."

"Thank you. So is the shepherd's pie you slaved over." Bailey can't seem to help teasing him. It feels natural. "So…is this a 'happened to be in the area' visit?"

"Oh, yes. Definitely. Happened to be in the area now, walking past with a bag of take out, and brandy, and thought 'my, is that Bailey's place? What a coincidence!' That's precisely how it happened. It's a good thing I knew the address, now, or I just would have kept walking, and I would have had to eat all that shepherd's pie on my own." Perry weaves the little tale with effortless good humor. "Plus, I would have missed out on the chips."

Bailey chuckles softly, shaking her head at him. "Now you're teasing me. Well…I'm glad you dropped by. It's really good seeing you again. I…don't keep a lot of company. So it's nice to see a familiar face around."

"Then I'll make a point of stopping in more often," Perry agrees. "…if you don't mind. It's either that, or eating in the Three Broomsticks. They see me there a lot, since I moved out of London this year."

Bailey nibbles at her lip, searching for the courage to make the offer. "Well…you're welcome here any time." There it is. A hard door to close now that she's opened it. "Though, maybe send an owl ahead next time so we can plan supper a little better."

Perry laughs, and flashes Bailey another smile. "Might not be a bad idea. I'll send Avi by," he agrees. He considers her lip-nibbling uncertainty as he takes another bite of the fish. Though he had to admit feeling rather nervous about this whole situation itself - and the disastrous ways it could go wrong - it was still strange to think Bailey acting in any way that could be misconstrued as… timid. "I hope the guardwitching's been treating you alright?" he remarks - rather than give voice to his thoughts. "You must come by some interesting stories that way."

"Mmmm…yes, far too many. Sadly, many of which I can't discuss due to client confidentiality." Bailey gives a little shrug. "To be honest, it's something I fell into. Not really something I very much wanted to do. Hence my hope that this assistant coach position works out."

"I thought that might be the case," Perry agrees. The best stories are always confidential. "But as long as you've been happy - I'd probably be just as entertained making up the stories myself." More seriously he adds, "I've got my fingers crossed for you." He gets a thoughtful look on his features, as he holds a bit of fish in his fingers. "Felix Felicis… probably not welcome at interviews, is it?"

Bailey's eyes shift away briefly when he mentions being happy. But she is quick to move forward, arching an eyebrow. "Felix…what? What is that?"

"Luck potion. Everything goes right if you have it - or so I've heard. Though I've also heard it's dastardly tricky to brew - otherwise the stuff would be every. …I think it has expensive ingredients, too…" Perry gets a look of concentration, before shrugging it off. "I was joking, anyways. You'll do fine. You're Bailey Potter, after all."

Bailey looks down to her lap, then peeks up at him, eyes shining with appreciation. "Thank you, Perry. You were always my number one fan." She hesitantly reaches a hand over the table toward his.

Perry reaches across the table to take Bailey's hand, and give it a confident squeeze as he adds, "Besides, I'm already working out a plan to find out who the competition is - and poison them. Nothing serious, of course. Maybe something that loosens tongue a little…" he suggests with deadpan delivery.

Bailey lights up in a genuine laugh. Now there's a sound from the past. "No poisoning. Not even a little. I want to earn this on my own." Her thumb rubs affectionately over his knuckle. "But it's sweet of you to offer."

"Bailey! You're taking all the fun out of this!" Perry protests, though he smiles as he gives her hand a squeeze. "But - fine. If that's the way you want to play it - I'll have to find someone else to test my tongue-loosening potions out on."

"Oh heavens, that reminds me of the time someone slipped Veritaserum into Professor Slughorn's tea." Bailey starts to giggle. "Do you remember? He told everyone how Professor Flint kept falling asleep during faculty meetings, and someone would always have to wake him up with a Rejuvenation Charm?" Her giggles take over, leading to an unintentional snort like a pig, which only makes the laughter worse.

"Do you think me likely to forget?" Perry asks, joining in the laughter, and smiling across at Bailey. Even the snort is endearing. "It's almost a shame students will be spared such tales, these days. They won't even know what they're missing out on."

Bailey puts her hand to her chest, trying to settle herself enough to speak. "Ooohhhh…do you know if anyone ever found out who slipped him the serum?" She eyes Perry with mock suspicion. "Was this some Ravenclaw plot to learn precious secrets from our Potions Master?"

"On some matters, my dear, I am sworn to secrecy - even from you," Perry remarks with mock solemnity - before breaking into another smile. "Though I will say there are more Ravenclaw plots out there than even the Slytherin suspect."

Bailey smirks. "Oh, please. It isn't the Slytherin you have to worry about. It is we Gryffindors. Don't think that we're not on to you. We know a sneaky git when we see one."

"I've never quite known what to make of Gryffindors - despite my best efforts," Perry responds. "But - they do seem to know how to have a good time, at the very least. For the most part, anyways. Not really one of Ravenclaw's defining features, on the other hand. We can be such sticks in the mud."

Bailey nibbles at her lip, looking up at Perry through her lashes with a hint of once-upon-a-time mischief. "Well, some Gryffindors konw how to have a good time. You just met the right one to pull you out of the mud."

"That I did," Perry agrees. "And I'm glad I did." He smiles at her - then grows more serious as he adds, "You know - I'm sure we've both changed a lot since we were kids… But I have every intention of finding out if this works - if we work. If we can make each other happy. I've thought of you so often over the years… I've missed you."

Bailey takes a deep, slow breath to steady the sudden beating of her heart. "You don't know how many times I wanted to look you up. I was sure you'd be married by now." Her eyes drop to the table for a moment. "Perry…I…I don't know. Maybe it's finally our time. But you know we would always have something hanging over us. I don't know if I'm ready to…." Her words start to crack as emotions bubble toward the surface.

"Maybe it is," Perry agrees - a bit hopefully. He listens attentively as she continues to speak, and as emotion seems to get the better of her, moves his chair to sit beside her, rather than across from her. "I suppose we always will," Perry agrees quietly. "But… as much as it's possible, I'd like for that to be a separate… issue. I would hate for our chances to be forced or ruined by it." Again.

Bailey holds onto his hand like a lifeline. "But it's not a separate issue. Perry…we brought a life into this world. There is a little girl with our blood in her veins, and that's not something I can ignore. Whenever I look at you, I think about her."

"I know," Perry agrees quietly, squeezing Bailey's hand tightly. "But she is safe, and happy, and loved. I promise you that. And if you want the chance to get to know her, I will make certain that you have it."

Bailey's motions battle behind her eyes. How badly she wants to know her daughter, but the thought of causing her distress is more than she can bear. But one thought in particular has been tearing her apart inside. "Madeline," she says, lifting her gaze to Perry, her eyes glistening with gathering tears. "It's her…isn't it?"

Of course she'd guessed. He'd thought she'd probably had. Perry nods, his own emotions starting to rise up in his eyes. "Yes," he confirms quietly. "But she doesn't know. She knows none of it, Bailey."

Bailey's breath shudders as she fights back the urge to sob. "She…she doesn't know she's adopted?" Her fingers tighten in Perry's hand. Don't let me go, or I'll fall…

Perry shakes his head, and shows no intention of letting go. "She doesn't," he confirms. "She believes my brother is her father. We thought it would be best for her. They couldn't have a child, Bailey, and they wanted one so badly… And it let me stay in her life. She's made them happy… and they've made her happy. She's an amazing girl, and she's going to be an incredible witch."

Bailey can't stop the first sob from breaking through. But despite the tears, a smile forms on her pained face. "She seemed so happy. She obviously adores you, too. Perry…I don't know if I could bear to know her and be unable to tell her who I am. If I could turn back time…" She sniffles, shaking her head.

"I wish we could, too," Perry agrees, trying gently to pull her into his arms, a few tears starting to sneak out of his eyes. "But this is the present we have to deal with." His heart aches in his chest - will Bailey refuse him again, for fear of getting to know Madeline? "You could be part of both of our lives… But… Bailey, you know it would be almost impossible to be in my life, and not in hers. We could avoid it for a time, I'm sure, but…"

Bailey leans into Perry, resting her head on his shoulder. Her eyes drift shut. How natural it feels. How safe she is in his arms. But still… "That's what I'm saying," she says softly. "I don't know if I can do it." She swallows, wetting her throat to ask the question so desperately trying to escape her. "Do you think she will ever be ready for the truth?"

"I… don't know," Perry admits quietly. "I'm not sure what it would do to her to find out her father is not her father - and her uncle is not her uncle. And I… I gave my brother my word that he and his wife get to make the decisions for their daughter." He presses his own eyes shut. "She's not ours Bailey. We both gave that up." His arms around her hold her close - not wanting to let her go again.

Bailey nods weakly, draping an arm across him. "I know…I know. I would never try to interfere without their permission. Maybe…should I speak to them first? If they don't want me in Madeline's life…." She can't finish the thought aloud, but she knows she must face the possibility.

"I spoke to them," Perry admits quietly. "Let them know that I saw you. That Madeline met you. They have some trepidation - naturally. And of course you can meet them yourself, if you like. They're as worried as I am, that the truth might harm her. But they won't keep you out of her life, or mine."

Bailey's fingers curl into the fabric of Perry's shirt. "If she's half as smart as you are, and half as perceptive as I am, she'll sort it out for herself. She'll at least realise that something is amiss. What happens then?"

"She… might," Perry agrees. At least, with Bailey in the picture, the chances of that happening increase quite a bit. Bailey hasn't had years around the girl, getting used to the strangeness of the whole situation. "If it happens… we'll find a way to deal with it. Somehow. And hopefully Madeline will forgive us all the deception."

Bailey lifts her head to look Perry in the eye. "Could you please stop being so wonderful? This would be much easier if you had turned into some bitter old man." She is suddenly conscious of the mere inches between their faces, but cannot bring herself to pull away.

"I think I have some years left before I could possibly qualify for bitter old man - than you very much," Perry counters, offering Bailey a smile - filled with emotion, and worry. "I just don't want to let you go. Not again. Not without trying. Not without finding out… if we can work. Can't we give it go?" he quietly pleads, one hand going from holding her to him - to gently touching her cheek instead.

Bailey leans her cheek into that touch. "You know I could never deny you anything. I…I want you to stay here with me." Her eyes drop for a moment. "But…we're not kids any more. I can't rush into things. That's how bad things happen." With great reluctance, she straightens up in her chair. "I don't know if we have a chance, Perry. Maybe it will happen. I want you in my life. But I need time. I have to sort through all of this when I've got my head firmly attached."

Perry keeps his hand loosely around her back as she pulls away, maintaining the contact as long as he can without forcing it, then nods in understanding. "It's a lot to sort through," he agrees. "And all of this could go so very wrong… or so very right. But I think, if we force it, we'll ruin it for sure." He watches Bailey with longing before asking softly, "Can I steal a kiss before I go?"

Oh, what a question. Her first impulse is to yell, YES! Old desires and a new appreciation for the man he has become push her toward him. But her impulses have so often seen her burned and battered. She considers for a moment, then leans in and places an affectionate kiss on his cheek.

It was less than he'd hoped for - but it was something, at least, and he accepts it with a grateful smile. Perry rises, then reaches for her hand so he can lift it gently to his lips. "I'll wait for your owl, then," he concludes - with just a hint of a question to his tone. That is what she wanted - wasn't it?

Bailey catches her lip in her teeth. "Don't stay away. I…I still want you to come for dinner. Just…give me a few days to think things over?"

Well - that was a bit of a relief. She can't hide forever, then. "I'll send you an owl, then," Perry concludes. "Thank you for the fish and chips - it was delicious."

Bailey doesn't rise. She doesn't trust herself not to run right back into his arms if she does. But she smiles, nodding. "And thank you for the pie…and the company. It was wonderful. Take care, Perry."

"You too," Perry agrees, before turning to show himself out - and leaving Bailey with the rest of a bottle of brandy.

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