(1941-07-31) Stranger in a Strange Pub
Details for Stranger in a Strange Pub
Summary: A typical night at the Leaky Cauldron turns a bit odd.
Date: 31 July, 1941
Location: The Leaky Cauldron

Elly is at her usual ballet of wenchly bustling. Spinning and bobing and ducking around tables with a tray perfectly balanced in one hand. How she manages to not trip over the toddler that is trying to keep up with his mother is a subject researched at the Department of Mysteries. A lovely summer day has something light on the special's menu, "Here your Leaky Soup (Lemon Soup) loverly. And for ye, the Lavender Honey Chicken." She cheerily narrates as she places the meals before those that ordered. It seems that Squidge has taken charge of rolls delivery and with a big smile he goes onto his tip toes to put the basket of rolls onto the table as well and chimes. "Loverly!"

Seated at her own table, a pad of paper tapped with the twisting turn of her pen, Solstice has barely taken time to eat her soup - rather enjoying the scent all the same. The redhead looks a little green around the gills and with a leaning posture set against her table and her chin in her other hand, she watches the room blankly. That distant gaze snaps back a moment as she watches the food delivered to the table beside hers and the squeak from the little helper draws a latent smile across her lips. An audible sigh escapes her and she pushes herself back a little and stretches her arms forward before staring down at the few words scribbled on the pad. "Scuse me!" She calls out to Elly, "Can I get some ginger ale of the like?" There is a brighter smile though brows lift in a hopeful study of Elly before glancing quickly down to her tagalong, trilling her fingers in hello.

Lucinda enters the establishment in odd attire for the summer season. It seemed this dour girl dressed in shades of black and green despire the heat outside. Her iridescent waistcoat catches the dim light pleasantly with a slimy sort of signature appeal. She breezes into the Leaky and moves to take a seat situated out of the way, a large black book is in her left hand and she has a satchel hung off her right shoulder.

The door from Charing Cross opens to admit a thin, lanky man in hand-sewn robes and a pointed hat. Brushing an unruly flop of blond hair from his face, Norman looks around the pub with sunken eyes, mouth hanging partially open. His gaze falls upon Elly, and his eyes widen briefly before he casts then downward and slinks further inside, loitering near the walls before finally selecting a lonely table to sit down.

Effie enters the room from the Diagon Alley side, looking weary and limping a little. She sighs softly, leaning in the doorframe and looking about, perhaps for an empty table or seat. Yet there is a brief watchfulness to her expression that suggests she is casing the room, looking for danger before relaxing her guard. This she does by degrees, then starts for a table, only to stop as her target is occupied by Norman. She gives a soft, rueful chuckle.

Elly pops up, ears perked at the 'Scuse me!' bright as a summer's day her eyes sparkle and her smile is warm towards Solstice. "Feeling alright dearie? how bout a Pepper-Up potion and some ginger tea? I could have Jack fetch ye a Ginger Ale if your heart's set." Hospitality is serious business for Elly, so the offer comes with a tone that it is a completely alright option. Squidge's tip for his rolls is one of the rolls and he noms on it and then waves the drooled upon roll in his hand to return the wave to Solstice, "Dearie sick! Bad sick. Bad." Then ever so sweetly he offers up the chewed on roll. "Dewishush!" Elly of course places her hand over the roll and gently presses it back towards Squidge's mouth.

The ring of the bell at the London Side door Elly looking over her shoulder still beaming warmly. "Welcome an' good evening to ye. Specials tonight are Lavender Honey Chicken and a loverly Leaky Soup. First drink is free iffin ye buy a special. 'Ave a seat an' ol' Elly will be right wif ye." A hand is waved to encourage Effie to sit. "Cozy up loverlies, we're all family 'ere. There's only so much space, might as well share and meet somone new. Right?"

The offered roll is taken into consideration before Solstice shies away from it even as Elly aids her in declining, "My thanks, but no…it is your treat," she points out to the little one before lifting her attention back to Elly, "That sounds fine, I am easily swayed at this point. Stomach is not on the same team at the moment, anything to ease it would be appreciated," she admits. Giving Elly a warmer smile despite herself her pale green eyes flicker towards the three new faces in succession. No recognition has her thanking Elly again and looks then to Squidge, "If you are free, we can make some paper animals…" not like her pad is doing anything productive at the moment. Her attention slips to the new faces again and then her hand rubs at the skin on her neck covered by a beautiful pastel silk scarf.

Lucinda seems content to attempt and occupy her own table, not especially suited to making new friends it would seem. She has a passive resting scowl on her pretty features and seems content to patiently wait for service. Lucinda takes a seat and sets her black book open on the table, the edges of the pages were painted a sickly green that leaks into the center of every page like a vein of poison. .. not everyone may be close enough to see the pages of her book. She takes a quill and ink set from her satchel as if she meant to do some writing.

Norman sits upright, rather stiffly in fact. His head jerks this way and that as he glances from Elly to Lucinda, then to a passed-out wizard, then to Elly and Solstice, and finally to Effie. Is that woman looking at him? He catches himself staring back at Effie. He looks around…no, there's no one else around him. "Um…I…is this your table?" he mumbles, barely audible over the chatter of the pub.

Elly scoops her son up to help him onto the seat next to Solstice after he gives her a pleading eyes. "Sahfinxies!" That seems to be his first request for an animal to make out of paper. Nice and simple, right? It's just a sphinx. No problem! Without her son on her apron strings Elly seems to be unleashed and she is quick to bustle to get some tea going. But that's only after she pulls a potion bottle out from her apron pocket and sets it on the table for Solstice. "Wot can ol' Elly get for ye dearie?" Is asked of Lucinda, she's behind the bar, but it does little to remove any attentiveness towards Lucinda. As for Effie and Norman, the wench lets them sort out who's sitting wear before she'll get their orders.

Effie nods to Elly, her eyes twinkling a brief moment. "Thanks. It's appreciated." Under the exhaustion, the sense of humor is still there. She eases herself down into a chair at Norman's table, a little stiff, her right leg a little stiffer. "My table? No, no, not at all. Just one I often choose; it has good views. She looks over at Solstice at the table by them, meeting her eyes for a moment, and she smiles tiredly. Then she gazes across the room, eyes once again watchful. Her glance rests for a moment on Lucinda and her book, perhaps briefly catching the flash of poison green. Then she turns to look back at Norman. "I hope you don't mind company."

Giving Elly a nod, Solstice looks to her companion now and hesitates in reaching for the bottle at the moment. Brows loft at the request, "Well that is definitely a proper choice for my invitation, trying to make me look bad," she says faintly and then reaches out to tear a piece of paper off and begins to fold and bend the pieces, hesitating once or twice before undoing one or two. "Really you want to start with a lion body," she intones and is obviously struggling with the excessive request. "What else are Sphinxes made of? Lions and what else," she pauses and presses her finger to a fold, a faint sheen of sweat on her brow. "I seem to have forgotten," she prompts him, giving the paper and then Squidge a quizzical look.

Lucinda glances up with a faint polite smile on her face as she is addressed by Elly, "Just a cup of tea, please." She gives the room a fleeting once over with her eyes and the fun being had with paper animals earns a passing impassive frown before she looked down again at her book.

Norman tucks his hands into his chest when Effie sits down, sitting up even straighter. "I…n-no. I mean yes…company is…is fine." Catching himself staring again, he looks away from her to let his eyes roam around. Perhaps remembering manners, he removes his pointed hat, placing it on the corner of the table where its wide brim takes up quite a bit of space. As his eyes wander, they fix upon a discarded newspaper at a nearby table, the front page announcing: Zoanthropy Cure Tests Yield Promising Results. Underneath the headline is a photograph of Healer Virgil Goshawk giving his statement to the reporter. Norman's eyes go wide yet again, and he mumbles under his breath, "…s'moving…", before tearing himself away from the moving photograph.

Squidge roars and does claw hand with one and brandishing drooly chewed on roll in the other. "Lion!" The he taps his pale blonde curls with the roll. "Squidgey Head." Then he points to his mother. "Bewbies!" Is what he calls out next and even in the din of the pub his father snarfing the soup he was taste testing in the kitchen can be heard and Elly with eyes wide leans over enough to give A LOOK (tm) at her husband through the service window. "No more Myths for Bedtime stories ye!" She then looks apologetically back to Solstice and anyone else gawking at her son's vocabulary. "Wot can I say, like father like son." Another glare is given to the man in the kitchen as she puts together another tea set. A tea tray in each hand she lifts them high and "dances" her way through the pub to put one tray on Lucinda's table and then the other is delivered to Solstice. Her son's hair is ruffled after her hands are free, "Cheeky Begger. Should of known better than to name ye for your Dada." But she's not mad, Elly is very rarely mad and hardly even put out!

All that handled and the pair at the next table having seemingly settled their seating arrangement she side steps once and beams to the pair, "Wot can I get ye looooverrrrlllliieeeees?" It's like someone turned on Elly's Slow-Mo as her eyes narrow a bit as she lays them on Norman who's since removed his hat since she first laid eyes on him. There is something highly familiar about him and she's going to place it any moment!

Effie's gaze flicks back to Norman, and she regards him for a long, long moment. "Here, let me put your hat on a chair; it'll make more room for food." She leans closer to him to reach for the hat, whispering softly, "Who are you that you have to ask about the pictures?" Yet her expression is more of compassionate concern than suspicion. Then she sits back at Elly's arrival, wincing a little. "Mead please. And the Leaky Soup and venison with cranberries. Oh, and bread. Your bread's fabulous, and I'm famished." She smiles softly.

Norman blinks at Effie, silent as she moves his hat for him. "I didn't…" he starts, but then Elly is there: a momentarily welcome distraction. He looks up at Elly, again pushing a stubborn curtain of blond hair from his eyes. "I…the…the special. The special would be perfect."

Solstice's eyes bug out slightly as she stares at Squidge, not quite disturbed or embarrassed, just surprised at his rather blatant outburst, "Unexpected, but correct, I think we can skip a few of those things. The Sphinx is made shortly into a lion, "Besides, I much like your lion impression and I need you to roar for it once it begins to move," Solstice retorts, giving Elly a half grin, "Just fine," she says with a wave of her hand. It seems the distraction is easing whatever is ailing the young woman. "Are you ready?" she asks of him, pulling her want free, she taps the popped up paper lion, its limbs folded and ready to move. "Locomotor," she intones and as the paper crinkles it uprights itself and moves its head about. It takes a moment before it begins to walk around the table itself. Solstice leans down and closer to watch the paper lion as it struts across the table towards Squidge.

Lucinda is writing with a black raven feather quill and she looks up occasionally to watch the foot traffic in the Cauldron. When Effie raves about the bread Lucinda wrinkles her nose faintly but her eyes are affixed on her book as she wrote something… possibly in reference to bread. She continues to scritch away at the page and when her tea arrives she casually changes the quill to her right hand- and continues to write. She seems to prefer to drink tea with her left.

Effie places Norman's hat on the chair, and she sets her own hat on top of it. Without the shade of her hat, her face looks overly pale. She leans back in her chair, as if she is relaxing. "Put his on my tab, please," she adds to Elly, then half-closes her eyes.

"That's…kind of you. But…" Norman pinches his lips, frowning to himself. Then he lowers his eyes to his hands and nods, murmuring, "Thank you. That's very kind." The scarecrow of a man fidgets in his seat, longer fingers picking idly at the threads holding one of the large, golden stars in place on his robe.

Elly, the Surpreme Witch of Domesticity, pulls out her want to give it a tight spiral and point toward the loose threads being plucked at with a matronly coo of, "Let me help ye wif that." Once it's all sinched she does give him further curious look. "Wot can I get ye then dearie?" She does that little duck down one does when trying to get the other person to look up at them when they are speaking to them. She is of course interupted by a loud childish, "RAAAAARRRRR!" As Squidge is giving Solstice is best lion impression.

Grinning, Solstice sets her wand aside and reaches for the potion. "Whatever shall we name him? He needs something fierce," she prompts. The potion is undone and tipped back, drinking of it without hesitation before setting it aside. Her stomach gurgles in response before she pulls her ginger tea closer, taking in a long whiff upon leaning her face over its steam. She glances towards the strutting paper lion as it prowls now along the table, coming to the pen and pad that Solstice had left. It wobbles its front legs on the curved surface and crinkles as it lands on its papery face. She smiles and glances to Squidge. "Are you going to be a magizoologist when you grow up? Work with all sorts of animals?"

Norman furrows his brow at the wand. It seems to take him a moment to realise what Elly is doing. He jumps a bit in surprise when the loose thread tightens itself. His momentary imbalance leaves him vulnerable to Elly's charming ways as she grabs his attention. He follows her gaze to the toddler giving the lion impression…and his jaw drops open. A paper lion, moving on its own. He looks back to Elly, pale-faced. "Th-the special," he repeats himself. "Or anything…anything is fine."

"I helped myself to your table. Least I can do," answers Effie with a smile. Yet now there is a hint of the guarded watchfulness in her eyes as well. She sighs, then looks up to Elly. "Would you also happen to have a cushion? I wouldna mind putting this leg up a bit." A glance over to the child and Solstice, and she laughs again. "For a while I thought I might want to be a magizoologist."

"Jack!" Is of course the name picked by Squidge. The toddler picks up the animated paper lion and thrusts it towards Solstice, "RARR! Lion Jack eatcho 'ed'did'didcine!" He's not yet quite mastered the word medicine and he lunges the lion at the pepper-up potion bottle and then he makes licky noises in a pantomime of the lion stealing the medicine. Then he lunges for Solstice again and then he's leaning over towards the table next to them to rarr at Norman and then purr at Effie. His little red lips purse and he can't exactly whistle but he makes a Wooo-wooo cat calling noise. That get his mother's attention Squidgey Jack Dodderidge June-yah! Get yer lil rump into the kitchn. Off wif ye! Shoo!" She points to the kitchen and lion in one hand and bread roll in the other the little boy goes pitter pattering off towards the kitchen with an impish cackle. "Sorry. He's goin to be a cheeky beggar just like his Dada that's wot." She takes a breath and then beams a smile toward Norman. "Aye love, wot special? The Chicken, or the Soup? It's Lemon Soup or Lavender Honey Chicken…" She tilts her head and there's something about her gaze on Norman, like a scientist setting up a rat maze. "Course I fink I can read ye like a book. The Chicken, right?"

A quirk of her mouth draws the side of her mouth upwards and she makes a sound at his expression. Solstice nods her head, "So he did, whatever am I going to do," she muses, watching him lunge at her a second time she shies away a little and pretends to cower before he is ordered away. Watching him go, the redhead glances to Effie, "Is that so?" she intones, "Funny how we never do what we think we are going to do," she laughs faintly, the potion working its way to calm her upset stomach rather swiftly. Stirring her tea, she adds some sugar and glances to Norman briefly, brows furrowing before she scrawls something on her paper with renewed interest. Tapping her pen once, she lifts her tea and sips it slowly, still considering the table that Elly is helping currently. She finally returns to Effie and says, "What is that you do do?"

Norman nods and chuckles to Elly, smiling to cover his nerves. "You read me, alright. The chicken is exactly what I wanted. Lavender chicken." His eyes are involuntarily drawn back to Solstice's table and the paper lion, eyeing the little "creature" warily.

Elly nods with a warm smile. "Coming right up." She goes to into the kitchen while Jack handles delivering of the orders to Norman and Effie. Squidge on his shoulders as he does. Junior has Elly's coloring, but the features and the way the boy smiles and that impish twinkle in his eye is all inherited from the ne'er-do-well that sired him. "Them's real nice robes there. Get them at Malkins and Tattings?" Jack asks, having a spot of fun.

Effie laughs at the boy's purring and his cat-call. "Oh, I don't mind cheeky like that from him. He's too cute." Then she turns her head towards Solstice, though at an angle where she can observe Norman as well."I'm an Auror. I love the creatures, but I liked interacting with them too much, and it interfered with…. simple observation. But honestly, the more I learned in my classes, the more being an Auror spoke to me. Though, you know, they don't warn you, in Hogwarts, about the paperwork." She laughs gently, then shifts, as if somewhat uncomfortable, and reaches to her side. From a holster she pulls her wand, and places it casually on the table. "Poking me," she says glibly, then looks up at Jack, nodding. "His hat's rather dapper, too," she adds.

Noting Norman's attention, she says nothing at first but watches instead. Solstice offers him a smile, "Were you wanting an animal too?" she muses and narrows her eyes to give him a long look, not without that friendly tick in her smile that draws the edge of her mouth up. She taps her pen against the table and glances then to Effie as she pulls free her wand. "Early inclinations always change," she agrees though notes the back up that has come to tame Norman. She begins to tear off another piece of paper and fold it carefully, little by little till the large tail, curved and hooked can be made out. The squirrel sits unmoving in her hand before she extends it towards Norman. "For you," she says.

Lucinda has been fixated on her tea and her writing it would seem, the casual glances at others which she is exerted earlier have grown few and far between. After a long pause she attempts to look up and find Elly..(whenever she returns from the kitchen) if she spots her she will give a little wave before she called, "Would you perhaps have some citrus fruit? I'm on a strict diet."

"Malkins and…?" Norman blinks at Jack, his lips tightening in query. His attention darts between the man and the two ladies. Auror…another wand…more paper animals…. So much to take in! Norman rises suddenly. "I need the loo." He winces at the words, "I mean…well, yeah. I need…excuse me." Leaving his hat behind, he steps around Jack and weaves through the tables for what he must assume is the facilities. He'll be in for a surprise when he steps outside into a brick-enclosed courtyard. But he isn't there for long, as the brick wall opens up for a wizard coming in from Diagon Alley, allowing Norman to slip through to the other side. Oh, dear.

He could be going to the loo. Or he could be trying to escape. Whichever it is, Effie nods crisply and rises. "I could maybe use the loo as well. Could freshen up, too." She looks at Jack for a moment, then grabs her hat and follows after the man. Seeing him go out the back seems to pique her attention, not to mention suspicion, and she taps upon the wall to open it up once more.

Solstice understands possibly all too well but starts to rise and thinks better of leaving her tea. She leans forward as Effie tails the twitchy male. Sip. SIP. SLUUUUUURP. She downs a good half of it, making a face as a heavy portion of ginger is caught with that last one before she folds her pad down, tucks it away into her satchel and soon enough can be heard stepping out into the courtyard. "Oh this is not good…" she says audibly as Effie opens the the wall. "Need help?"

"I wouldn't mind a hand," answers Effie, nodding. "Too many places he can get to. Poor thing. He looked like a scared rabbit. And he might end up places he oughtn't to go." She shrugs her shoulders. "Might as well see if we can retrieve him. Acting…. very strangely…."

"So you noticed that too," Solstice lets out a long breath and waits for the opening to slide away and will follow with Effie, hoping to find Norman just on the other side. She steps through and they are likely greeted with naught bu the casual alley traffic. "If he gets lost in here…what a mess." she pauses, "Solstice Merrythought," she offers to her newfound companion.

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