1995-11-29: Cold Alleys and Warm Friends


Siobhan_icon.gif Christian_icon.gif

Scene Title Cold Alleys and Warm Friends
Synopsis Christian runs into Siobhan…literally!
Location Knockturn Alley
Date November 29, 1995
Watch For A similar Allegiance
Logger Christian

Are you certain you want to go this way? Dangerous dealings are known to go on in this narrow, dingy alleyway. Just as you enter, there's a shop selling poisonous candles with an old wooden sign hanging above it that reads, 'Knockturn Alley'. Across the alley is another shop with a display of shrunken heads in the window. A couple of doors down is a large cage filled with huge black spiders crawling over each other. Just as with Diagon Alley there are a few street vendors to be found, but from the looks of them, it's questionable as to how close you want to get in order to see what they're selling.

Darkness falls early in England's November chill; the streetlamps are lit often by four or five in the afternoon. Today is no exception. Despite the lamps lining the streets - and the fact that it's not terribly long past the dinner hour - there's something of darkness that persists in clinging to Knockturn Alley, something that has less to do with the weather and more to do with the filthy, run-down nature of the whole area. Witches and wizards - most of them either shabbily dressed or cloaked in heavy black - muddle about, finishing up their day's business, whatever that may be. The one spot of light in the darkness comes from a young, petite woman - warm brown eyes set into a pretty face framed by bottle-blonde hair - in denims and a high-end charcoal pea-coat. Leaning against the doorway into one of the dirtier - but more respectable - looking shops, she shrinks her purchases and offers a cheery smile and a wave to the shop's keeper, laughing at a shared joke as she stuffs her hands into her pockets and braves the biting November wind the narrow alley doesn't seem to provide nearly enough protection against.

A dark figure emerges from an alley away. A dark colored scarf covers his face, and his jacket is buttoned up tight. He walks down Knockturn alley with his shoulders hunched against the cold. People seem to part before him, as he moves with purpose. The figure looks around constantly, looking at every alley, nook, and crany. He's paying so much attention to the alley that he doesn't see the pretty girl coming out of the shop and runs into her with a loud "Oof!"

Working with Jethro over the past couple of weeks hasn't really made any visible change in Siobhan's body - she was fit before and she's still fit now. In fact, she'd been beginning to think she'd been doing something wrong. When the spike of adrenaline following the collision results in her leaping backwards and into the more open and balanced hand-to-hand stance without conscious thought, however, even she has to admit to some change. Large brown eyes blink several times at the stranger, feeling a little awkward when there's no immediate attack. "Er, sorry about that," she offers, forcing herself to stand straighter. "You alright?"

Christian falls to the ground landing on his butt in a very unflattering way. He growls and looks up at with an angry look that disappears from his face. The man reaches up with a gloved hand and pulls down his scarf to reveal Christian's face. He looks up at her with a reddening face. "Miss Noble," he says with an awkward chuckle. "Good to see you." He stands with a grown. "I don't know if you remember me. Chris Faulkner."

The voice and the face are vaguely familiar, once the one is used and the removal of the scarf reveals the other. People look different in three dimensions, however, and so it's only with the offer of a name that the pieces click into Siobhan's head. "Oh, Chris, I'm so sorry." Moving closer, she offers him a hand up and a slightly sheepish smile. "That'll teach me to look both ways before crossing the street, hey?"

Christian laughs and dusts himself off. "No no, it was my fault," he shrugs. "I was trying to be perceptive here in Knockturn Alley, and it turns out that I need to watch where my feet were taking me." Chris glances around again, then gestures to Siobhan's purchases. "That looks like quiet a load. Need any help with those?"

Patting her pocket - the one with the shrunken purchases in it, not the empty one - Siobhan grins and shakes her head. "Thanks, but I've got 'em." There's a bit of a teasing lilt to that, but she nevertheless darts a quick glance around them. "Well there's your problem, mate. This is just exactly the wrong place to try and be perceptive." Rolling her eyes in the way that tends to make people forget she's a professor and see only teenage girl, she makes the bold move and links her arm through Christian's. "Now, the Leaky, that's the place to be perceptive at. Good drinks, good food and even good company." A nearby window darkens as a shade is drawn and a light is put out, but it earns only a glance from Siobhan. "In fact, I was just on the way there, myself. Care to join me?"

Christian pulls back his jacket and flashes the Ministry badge real quick to Siobhan. "It's not about the people I run into," He says with a grin that has very little mirth. "It's about who wants to run into me. Everyone wants to brag about taking down the invincible super cop." He chuckles again, then raises his eyebrow as she links their arms. The shade is drawn, and Chris glances sideways. Its not hard to notice that despite his attitude, Chris is acting like he's in enemy territory. "You know, a field trip to the Leaky sounds like just what the Doctor ordered. Please lead the way." He grins lop-sidedly.

Most of the people of Siobhan's acquaintance on this side of Diagon would much prefer to stay away from anything to do with the Ministry - especially the MLE. "Does that mean I get bragging rights for knocking you on your arse?" she teases, turning and strolling along the better-lit path back towards Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron. Where Chris might seem as if he's in enemy territory, Siobhan is very much at ease. Several people they pass get smiles of recognition and a few get short but warm calls of greeting. If the general reception is anything to go by, it would seem Sio is not only a familiar part of this Alley, but a welcome one as well. "Or does it only count if I meant to do it?"

"What do you mean?" Christian says with a mock look of surprise. "You didn't do that on purpose? I though you couldn't wait to have a shot at putting me on my arse. Don't tell me you are going soft on me now." Chris begins to relax as they move out of Knockturn Alley. "I suppose you get to brag as long as Thalia never finds out." He coughs slightly, pulling the scarf up over his nose.

Siobhan snickers. "Have you met Jethro, yet?" She seems to realize her mistake and clarifies. "Special Agent Gardener, here as a liason from the USMMC. Cranky, grey hair, blue eyes, strongest Yank accent you've ever heard." There's a touch of fondness for the, ah, unique Auror. "His favorite hobby is knocking me on my arse, so maybe it's my mind taking it out on hapless bystanders without me even knowing!" Not that Chris really counts as a hapless bystander, but it's the joke of the thing. "Thalia de Riviat?" There's a little bit of fangirl in that question, Siobhan bouncing just a little in her walk. "I've got her autograph somewhere, but I don't ever really see her around or anything. So, that's an easy deal."

"Thalia and I have a very close relationship," Chris chuckles, with a slight shrug. "Though ever since things to a violent turn recently…" Christian grows silent, then shakes his head. "No, I cannot say I have had the pleasure of meeting this Mr. Jethro. Not yet anyway. He sounds like quite the character. He maybe able to help me on some of my cases. Never know how the mind of a Yank will pick apart a problem. Sometimes it is quite refreshing."

Now this is the gossip Siobhan used to practically live on top of. "Really? You and Thalia, huh?" She can't resist a bit of a playful grin at that. The mention of violence wipes it clean off her face. "Yeah, I hadn't expected such a big move as the last attack on Diagon." It was definitely better organized than the one from the summer before her last year at school. Turning a corner, she steers them into the brighter lamplight of Diagon proper. And though Chris seemed to relax more the further they stray from Knockturn, Siobhan is the opposite. There's a tension that grows in her short, thin frame. She walks slower, holds her head higher - her back is straight and her shoulders pulled back. Even dressed in jeans and a pea-coat, she presents the image of the young nobility. Even her expressive face becomes more controlled, less easily read. "Special Agent Gardener is an excellent example of a USM Marine." Even if she doesn't like their government very much right now, she can respect the threat they pose. "I don't suppose anything else has come to light about the Diagon Alley attacks? I asked around the old crowd - " read: the Order " - but the whole thing's been locked up tight. Did a kid really go missing?"

"Nothing," Christian says with a sigh. "The old crowd may have turned up something new recently, but no one tells me anything. The Ministry is on high alert, but when isn't it these days. Those of us at the bottom of the heap just have to wait for orders to filter down to us from the top. Until then, I need to content myself with other pursuits." He grins when he says the last word, shaking his head.

Nodding her head to a passerby in a much more restrained and elegant gesture than she'd used with those in Knockturn, Siobhan takes a moment to consider what he's saying. "They don't have a way to tell who rats where and so they've locked everything down entirely." It's not a novel concept for governments in times of crisis, but it also doesn't tend to actually do anything beneficial. A hesitant expression crosses her face for a moment, only to be smothered and sent on its way. Foolish girl. "Hmm, and what vices have you picked up to keep yourself busy, Mister Faulkner?" The tease is meant to distract him from her drop of guard, but also to distract herself as well. There are some things it's really better to remain ignorant of - for sanity's sake.

Christian caught it, if only for a second. "Nothing new, my dear," Christian chuckles. "I don't believe you've seen me at work in the Ministry. I am simply a holy terror to those who work under me. Also I enjoy a good cup of coffee and scotch when I am not working." Chris cocks a wiry grin. "Did you believe that I was going to say something reprehensible, Miss Noble?"

"Coffee, really?" Siobhan seems not only surprised, but amused. "And here I thought the Ministry still ran on tea. Bloody Yanks." Sure, she grumbles, but - as a coffee-drinker herself - doesn't really have any malice behind the complaint. "Nothing bad, really. I did think it'd be more interesting than terrorizing the tea-witch, though." Ducking into the warmth and light of the alley leading back into the Leaky, she lets her arm slide out of Christian's and shoulders the door open. "Hey, Tom. Got a free table tonight?" A little of Siobhan's restraint seems to melt around the old 'tender, who greets her with real excitement before directing them back to a table near the fire. Only when settled with her coat over the back of her chair - an order for a mug of mulled wine for herself given to Tom - does she once again approach the conversation. "How closely do you work with the Auror department, Chris?"

Christian pulls out Siobhan's chair for her, and pushes it in when she sits. He takes the seat opposite her, and orders a warm glass of cider. He puts his leather jacket over the back of the chair, and leans back. "It really depends on the Auror," He says with a sigh. "Some Aurors work closely with us, while others have a tendency to completely ignore our department." He begins to spin his wand in his hand lazily.

Watching the lazy twirl of the wand, Siobhan wars within herself. It's folly to torment herself, she knows, but that doesn't mean her need for news - perhaps for reassurance - is any less for that knowledge. "I suppose that makes sense," she agrees, bracing her forearms against the edge of the table. "What about Ali - Auror Phoenix?" she catches herself quickly, the inquiry ending with her head lowered to stare at the grain of wood on the table. "Do you - that is." Siobhan is mildly appalled at the fact that her voice cracks a little and clears her throat before trying again. "Does he do much work with your office?"

Christian stops twirling his wand and gets a concerned look on his face. "I haven't seen Phoenix in quite some time actually," He says after a moment. "I am unaware of any of his cases or habits, but I know he works hard. I've had much on my own plate recently. I apologize." He genuinely looks sorry that he's unable to give her any more info. His drink arrives, and he pulls off his gloves to warm his fingers on the mug.

Wrapping her own chilled hands around the steaming mug offered her, Siobhan has a small smile and soft-spoken thanks for the serving girl, taking a fortifying drink of the steaming liquid before she even allows herself to consider Chrisitan's answer. "He always works hard," she admits, her voice a strange mix of pride and bitterness. She lifts one hand from the mug and waves it in a small motion meant to be dismissive. "No need to apologize. Not like it's your job to babysit him or anything." But the joke falls flat, even to her own ears. "It was a careless thing for me to ask of you, I'm sorry." Time to move on, then. "What else is new in the bowels of the Ministry, hmm?"

Christian slips his drink and lets the cider warm him. "Who said it wasn't my job to babysit people at the Ministry?" He says with a slight grin. "You see, I'm the real power there. I happened it know where everyone is because I can keep tabs on them. I'm that special." He laughs abit. "Nothing new really. The Politicians plot, the DMLE is overworked, and the DOM remain locked deep underground working with…something. I just wish someone would invent a charm to reduce the amount of paperwork I have on a weekly basis."

Chuckling a little at his ploy to cheer her, Siobhan takes another judicious sip of her drink. It doesn't quite work, but she appreciates the effort all the same. "If there were a charm like that, half of Britain would be unemployed." It's another attempt at light humor, but it rings true enough. The Ministry is probably the single largest employment entity in the entire country. "I - " She is cut off by the appearance of a wispy, silver hedgehog that rolls through the wall by the fireplace and scrambles up into her lap. With a look of startled recognition, Siobhan holds the thing up to her ear long enough for the message to get passed, her face turning a rather interesting shade of pink as it pinches closed in annoyance and anger. When the hedgehog dissolves into a cloud of silver smoke, Siobhan reaches down to lift her mug and drain the last half in one long go. "Sorry about that, but it looks like I've got to make a detour home before I make it back to the school. Please excuse me." A few coins are fished from her pocket - a good bit more than is needed - and dropped on the table next to her mug before she shoulders into her coat and taps out her small willow wand. The crack of Apparition startles a few of the quieter patrons, but strangely enough, Tom doesn't seem surprised in the least.

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