(1941-07-11) Playing in the Park
Details for Playing in the Park
Summary: On a pleasant early evening in the park, a trio of youths meet by chance.
Date: 11 July, 1941
Location: Hengist Park, Hogsmeade Village

It's that time of day when the afternoon gives way to the evening. The sun still lingers in the sky, and the air is warm, but just starting to cool. Distant clouds warn of an impending storm, but it has not yet arrived.

Moira isn't about to miss the opportunity to get out and stretch her legs in the open air. It certainly beats more lessons at home with her mother. The skinny girl dashes around the park, running along with a black and white Border Collie that barks excitedly, waiting for her to throw a stick for fetching. She flings it through the air, and the dog takes off like a shot to try to catch it before it lands.

Ah, summer. Perfect time for Laurean to write his essays outdoors. The young man looks for a good spot, a quiet place to take notes of everyone's actions. An empty bench, how convenient. With a notebook and pencil on hand, Laurean proceeds to sit down.

As he starts writing, the young Maestro begins to mutter his own notes: "Summer… afternoon… sunny… public park…"

Moira giggles gleefully as the collie brings the stick back. Such a simple pleasure. Throw, fetch, run, throw again. But both human and dog are having the time of their lives. Moira isn't paying much attention when she tosses the stick again. This time the stick bounces against a bench with a loud CLACK, and lands at the feet of the young man seated there. The collie rushes up, but stops short of the stranger, tilting its head curiously at him. Soon the redheaded girl is on the dog's heels, rushing up and smiling brightly at Laurean. "Hello," she says in a thick Scottish brogue. "Sorry about that. I did nae watch where I was throwin'."

Laurean keeps his sober expression, but with a hint of curiosity. "Oh, nevermind. I was just… taking a few notes. Nothing too interesting so far. But it helps me to relax." The young man stands up to make a proper introduction. "My name is Maestro. Laureano Maestro, but everyone calls me Laurean. Pleased to meet you, young lady. And who is this canine friend of yours?" Laurean uses his right hand to indicate that he's referring to the dog.

Moira points to the dog. "That's Pepper. At least that's what I call her. I dinnae ken her real name. I just see her in the park a lot." She tilts her head curiously up at the older boy. "Doesn't 'Maestro' mean you make music?"

Laurean shows an almost imperceptible smile before answering the girl's question: "Well, in fact, my mother is the one who makes music. She's Lori Maestro, the singer. Have you ever heard of her? My mother taught me to appreciate music, and now is one of my passions. It is the language of souls. Do you like music, miss…?"

Lissie is walking through the park, hop-skipping along, but backwards, as if this is really the only proper way to get about. Every now and again she turns her head to look where she's going, though the grass on the back of her shabby Muggle skirt shows she hasn't been too successful. She sees the dog first, and her face brightens. And then, only after, does she see the two other children, and she looks down shyly.

Moira pinches up her lips in a dramatic display of deep thinking. "I haven't heard of her. Sorry." The girl is rather young, so perhaps it isn't so surprising. "But I do like music. Do you know the Skye Boat Song? That's one of my favourites. My Ma sings it to me. But she's not famous. Well…she's famous here. But maybe not anywhere else." Her eyes are drawn by curly hair even redder than her own. A girl her own age! She waves to Lissie in an almost frantic greeting.

Laurean also notices the second girl and all of sudden his face shows an expression of great surprise. "Wait a minute… you're Lissie Keir, right? The young lady that confronted Walburga Black! Let me check my notes… yes, here it is! October 10th, 1940. A unique situation that helped me to write one of my essays! I'm Laureano Maestro, from Ravenclaw. Very pleased to meet you!

"Ermmm…." Lissie stumbles and falls, though she turns the fall into a passable roll. "Hullo, and aye, was me I s'pose, though am verra glad I dinnae lose points. Lissie Kier, Hufflepuff. Glad tae meet you. An' you too," she adds to Moira. "Did you say Skye Boat Song? I'm from Skye, y'see…" She flushes, then looks at the dog. "You're a bonny thing, ain't you? Fair an' bonny, wee…. lass? Lad?"

Moira lights up with delight. "Och, I've always wanted to visit Skye! You're so lucky, Lissie." She smiles down at the dog as she sits up to greet Lissie. "That's Pepper. She's a lass. I think. She seems like it to me." Moira shrugs.

Laurean proceeds to answer the first girl's question: "Oh, I'm afraid I don't know that particular song. I'm more familiar with contemporary Muggle composers, such as Porter, Goodman or Miller."

"But it is a Muggle song!" cries Lissie, laughing softly. "Old Maggie taught it tae my mum when my eldest brother was a wee babe, and Mum sung it tae me as a lullabye. 'Tis my faether's favorite, such as it were, anyhow." She looks at the dog. "Aye lassie, be ye a braw, bonny thing?" She croons it, then laughs. "Richt noo, it's hard. Many o' the crofters are off tae the war, an some be still on the Dole…."

Moira shrugs at Laurean. "I dinnae ken any of them. What are you writing about?" Her ten-year-old mind flits from one subject to the next like a hummingbird. She nods eagerly at Lissie's description of the situation on Skye. Is she even listening?

"Oh, these are my notes." Laurean seems to be interested in the girl's curiosity. A potential Ravenclaw maybe? Only the Sorting Hat knows, but the understanding of human behavior helps a lot. "I always carry a notebook and a pencil to write down things about social interactions I see through the day. A group of people talking, kids playing… that kind of stuff."

"An' what did you write about me?" asks Lissie. "Or what did I inspire you tae write?" She reaches her hand out to the dog. "It's so odd being able tae talk about… Muggles an' magic an' all."

Moira plops down to her knees and wraps her arms around Pepper. "Who's a good girl? You are!" She glances up to the other two humans, her brow pinched in a skeptical expression. "Why are you writing all that?" Her freckled face suddenly pales (or it would, if she could get any paler). "It is for school? They make you do work in summer?" The horror!

Laurean directs his attention to Lissie. "Ah, that day was pretty interesting indeed. A direct confrontation! What a marvelous opportunity to study a purist's reaction! And not just any purist, nothing less than Walburga Black! They all have that primitive instinct of hate, and that's fascinating and worrying at the same time. But you were so brave, your attitude was so inspiring! A fierce Muggle-born showing her teeth, remarkable!" While speaking about the incident, Laurean showed an unusual expression of thrill. Clearly, a mix of his analytical and passionate facets.

"She were a naff numpty and a wee nochtie tae boot," growls Lissie, dredging up some of the worst things her father has said. "Noo tha' I'd have my mouth washed oot fer sayin' it, but who's tae care here? I dinnae mean nothing nae t' defend my honour. And maybe that of all Muggle-borns. T'werena fair." Then she shakes herself. "Weel, theer's a wee bit o' writin'…"

Moira gasps excitedly at Lissie. "Yer Muggle-born? What's it like living with Muggles? Do they really have tae rub wood together tae make fire? Do they have pets? Is it true that Muggles get bigger if ye dunk 'em in seawater? Do they speak English?" She pauses the rapid-fire questions to take a breath. Where is this girl getting her information about Muggles?

Laurean realizes that time has passed very fast and proceeds to say goodbye to the girls. "Well, young ladies, I must leave now, as I have some matters to attend in another place. It has been a great pleasure to meet you." The young Maestro starts walking quietly and then, he's gone.

"Och, aye, though they spoke Gaelic just as much," answers Lissie. She gives a little wave to Laurean, then giggles softly as he leaves. "Thank you!" she calls to him, then looks at Moira. "Thanks for letting me talk tae you an' your dog."

That's the only answer Moira gets? Ah, well. She's probably forgotten her other questions already. "Och, she's nae my dog. She just plays in the park with me." She gives Pepper a hug, and the dog licks her face in return. The first few droplets of rain begin to fall from the sky. The storm has grown near. "I'd better go, too. Da will scold me if I'm out in the rain." Just like that, she's running toward the path, hollering over her shoulder. "Nice tae meet you, Lissie!"

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