|Synopsis||Bean finds out about a new home. Also, they discuss the muggle world, and some of the seedier parts thereof.|
|Location||Hogwarts' Great Hall|
|Date||May 23, 1995|
|Watch For||Strange ideas about the Muggle world.|
It's breakfast time in the Great Hall on a Tuesday morning. Pretty normal. There's eggs and kippers, and bangers and mash, and all the usual Hogwarts fare. The students are chattering easily, discussing the weather, quidditch, tests, homework, the usual rot. And, as usual, there is an influx of post owls winging their way toward their respective recipients, carrying letters and packages. One very official looking owl wings its way toward the Slytherin table and lands near Julian Legume. Another owl, perhaps looking somewhat familiar to the students, lands on the Ravenclaw table, waiting for her missive to be detached.
Bean frowns, as he's never really gotten any mail. He's gotten used to the method of delivery, but as he's only ever gotten a couple things here and there, he spends a couple minutes fumbling to get the letter from the waiting bird. He unrolls it, and blinks. "Bloody hell!" The students around him chuckle at the boy's exclamation. "What is it?" One of the smaller students near him starts to ask, but Bean holds up his hands. "Hold on. Lemme read it."
Jax has eggs on toast for his breakfast, and a large glass of orange juice. He's eating his breakfast while intermittently darting from the Hufflepuff table to the Ravenclaw table to pester a 4th-year boy — his cousin — for help with some Astronomy work, but the exclamation from Julian makes him peer over Slytherin-wards. Curious, he tucks his textbook under his arm and heads closer to investigate. "Get something interesting?" he asks Bean conversationally.
Gareth was enjoying his morning oatmeal and kippers, and the arrival of an owl seems to catch him a bit off guard. "It's not Monday," he says with a frown, taking the letter and offering the owl a bit of bacon. After the owl takes off again, Gareth's ever-present cat tries to hop onto the table, but he brushes her back to the bench. "Behave yourself, Loki, or I won't give you any more cream." His frown deepens as he reads the letter, and for some reason, he looks over to the Slytherin table, squinting behind his spectacles as he searches for someone.'
A rare, real smile crosses Bean's features, and he's searching the Slytherin table. "Tell you later, Holland." There's a reason he's not spreading his news like wildfire. He sets the parchment down, pulling his plate over it to obscure it from view, and starts eating again, seeming to be more relaxed. However, from time to time, he looks over at the Ravenclaw table. "Wait." He thinks for a moment, pulls the paper out and looks at the name again. He looks up at the table, down at the paper, and repeats the action a couple times, trying to connect a name with a face in his memory. It doesn't take long for the little snake. "Right, then." He is a little more nervous, but spears into his bangers with relish anyway. There is food to be eaten.
Gareth leans toward his cousin, who usually sits with him at meals. Except Gabriel isn't here yet this morning, but Gareth's attention is still on the Slytherin table, and whispers to another Ravenclaw, "Do you know which one is Julian Legume?" The other student looks over to the table, shrugs, then goes back to his meal. Gareth's eyes light then, and with a little grin, he suddenly calls rather loudly, "Oi, Julian!"
Jax's head tilts curiously at Julian's behavior. He looks over at the Ravenclaw table, eying the people seated at it. "Looking for someone?" His eyebrows raise as Gareth shouts, and he points to the Ravenclaw firstie. "Think someone's looking for you, anyway."
Along with the warm and living bodies in the castle, those without a tangible form turn up at breakfast. It's a usual occurrence, and one that the newest resident ghost has decided to take part in. Instead of swooping in through the wall, Perpetua pops up from under the Hufflepuff table. "Oh, hullo there," she pipes up in a cheery sounding voice to random students. This is just the most normal thing in the world, right?
"Looks like." Julian looks up. "You're Conw-" He breaks off and looks down at the paper. "You're Gareth, yeah?" He smiles one of his 'cute little kid: don't hex me' smiles, and shows him the parchment. "I suppose you got some similar news?" He is in very new territory here, and it's unnerving.
Gareth's eyes bulge comically, and like Julian earlier, he looks from the letter in his hands to Julian several times. "Bean?" he mutters in disbelief. He manages to regain something of his composure, nodding slowly. "I did," he calls, then stands and makes his way to the Slytherin table. "Is this serious? My dad says we're…." He cuts himself off, casting a quick glance at all the other students around. "That is to say…What does yours say?"
Jax just observes. Quiet. Inquisitive. His gaze flicks from Julian to Gareth to the rest of the room — and then he does a double-take when he sees Perpetua at the Hufflepuff table. He rubs at his eyes with his knuckles and looks over at the 'puffs again.
Perpetua ignores the usual spooked behavior of some students as she fully rises up through the toast rack. She wriggles her fingers at Jackson when he looks her way. Curious as to what Hufflepuffs are doing in a knot there by the Slytherin table, she drifts over that way, without the trepidation she would have had in life over visiting the snake's den.
Julian holds out the parchment, to let the boy read it himself. "It's not exactly public knowledge, mate." He looks over to Jackson. "Gonna spend the summer with Gareth and his family." It's really longer than that, but it's what he chooses to say. "Thanks for the hospitality." He's still a bit nervous about this.
Gareth squints a little, scanning Julian's letter. "Is that all yours says? Because mine says…." Again, he stops himself, perhaps only now realizing he's surrounded by Slytherins. Well, and a Hufflepuff, which isn't quite as intimidating. "Might be a bit crowded though, as Gabriel's staying part of the summer as well. That's my cousin, Gabriel Baker." He peers back toward his own table, but his cousin has still not materialized yet. "I've never had a brother before."
"Brother?" Jax blinks and looks from Gareth to Julian, but not for long. Perpetua's arrival distracts him, and he looks up with a little bit of awe, offering the Hufflepuff ghost a shy smile. "Perpetua? I didn't know you were here."
Perpetua beams at Jackson, "Hullo. Just got here." She reaches out a transparent hand to ruffle Julian's hair. Of course her hand goes straight through, but she could resist reaching out. He's just so darn cute! "Going places for the summer is always fun," she says, butting in on the conversation.
Well, the cat's out of the bag. "Yeah, it's what it says." Bean grins. "I've never had a brother either." When Perpetua reaches for him, he instinctively leans out of her reach. "I'm a bit… touchy about stuff like that." That's more for Gareth's information than for the ghost's. She ought to remember, maybe. "It's a consequence of…" He frowns. "Did they tell you why I'm your brother now?"
Gareth jumps just a bit when he notices the phantom student so near. "Oh, hello," he says, forcing a polite grin to hide any discomfort. "My family often rents a cottage for the summer, but this year, it seems we're staying in the city. I think there's concern about that village and all the…er, you know, former people." Realizing he's probably offended Perpetua without meaning to, he quickly looks to Julian again. "No, Dad just said you didn't have any family just now, and that I'm to consider you my brother from now on. Would you rather have the top bunk or the bottom?"
That's an important question. It's one that really bears consideration, especially with Bean's life so far. "Bottom, probably." It'd be easier to get out of the room should he need to. "I … grew up …" He isn't sure how to put this. He is tempted to have someone cast a silencing bubble around them. He glances around, inhales, and slowly exhales, deciding to trust this boy — his brother — with the information. "I was raised on the street."
"I'm glad you're back," Jax tells Perpetua, his smile widening a touch. He doesn't say anything to Julian's revelation, but his brow creases just a little, his gaze flicking back to the Slytherin boy.
There's a squeal and her hands clasp in front of her, "You got.. did you get adopted!?" She's utterly unphased by Julian pulling away. What's he going to do to her? She looks as if she'd give Julian a hug if she could. "Congratulations you two!" Another beam is made down at Jackson, "Dunno if I could consider it being 'back', but thanks."
Gareth stares at Julian in complete incomprehension for a long moment. He knows what the other boy has just said is somehow Very Important, but the gravity eludes him. Finally, he admits defeat: "I don't understand. Which street were you raised on? Was it an unpleasant street? We live at Marylebone Road, but not at the touristy end, so it's not bad at all. In fact, it's rather nice, because we have a small garden in the back, and the parlor is quite sunny in the afternoons."
"The street is different than a street," Jax says quietly to Gareth. That article is important! "I think when you say it like that it means like — being homeless." He looks to Julian a little uncertainly for confirmation.
"Tottenham Court Road, most of the time, though for a while, I slept under the seats at Picadilly. Well, until Andrew kicked me out." Bean rolls his eyes. He's not sure how to explain this clearly. "Me Mum and Da … lost me, or somethin'. I'm not sure where they are, if they're even…" He shrugs. He's long since dealt with the fact that he's extremely different from others.
"You poor thing!" Perpetua cries out and attempts to hug on Julian. Forgetting that she's a ghost… until she passes right through him. "Merlin's beard! I keep doing that!" Straightening back up, floating a few inches above the floor. She looks a bit pouty about this.
Gareth blinks several times, trying to process this new information. For someone bright enough to be placed in Ravenclaw House, and who's spent his first year at Hogwarts trying very hard to outshine the records set by Hermione Granger during her first year, he can be amazingly naive at times. Finally, he says in disbelief, "They lost you? And you had no home after that?" He bites back further outbursts, his prominent ears turning crimson. "Sorry, I didn't mean. But you have a home now, and you can have whichever bunk you like. I don't mind climbing up to the top. Do you collect Frog cards?"
Egbert hangs out at the entrance for a while, waiting for a decent opening before walking in on his sister - until he gives up on finding one, and walks forward anyway. "Well, at least you didn't hurt him," he offers, leaning against the back of a nearby chair and waiting for the inevitable retort. "Er, who's Andrew?" he adds, glancing toward Bean for a moment.
The corners of Jax's lips twitch into a very small smile at Perpetua's attempt to hug Bean. "Well, he's here now, so, I mean — things must've gotten better at least. And he's getting adopted. Though —" His nose wrinkles. "That seems a bit sad, really. I mean, I bet your real parents would be thrilled to know you're alive and well — couldn't someone find them?" (re)
"Bloody hell, Torrington!" It's pretty obvious which Torrington he's talking to. "Don't do that!" His attention is drawn back to his new brother. "I have a few. I wasn't sure what the…" They didn't seem to have a real value, beyond trading with friends, but he kept them anyway.
"Like I can hurt anyone, Brat," Perpetua says to Egbert. "The whole point of being a ghost is not being able to touch anything, and being here, but not." If she were alive and breathing, this would be where she either pinches at Egbert or pushing playfully at his face. But she can't, so she puts out her tongue at him. "FINE. You don't have to get your panties in a wad. You're too uptight for a firstie," she says, chiding Julian.
"Have you tried writing to them?" Gareth asks. "Owls always seem to find people, no matter where they are, unless they really don't want to be found. And I'm sure your parents would want you to find them. How long have they been missing?" He pretends not to notice the interplay between live brother and not-live sister, but his eyes keep darting between them. He continues to address Julian however. "I collect them, so if you ever want to trade, just let me know. My myngi sends me Frogs every week, so I've got loads of cards."
Egbert sighs. "I could live to a hundred and fifty," he muses, "and still be 'brat'." At least he has enough sense to keep his voice down, slumping into a chair as he tries to get up to speed on the rest of the conversation at hand. One part homelessness and two parts Frog cards, a mix that only children could come up with…
"I bet they'd be right happy if you let them know you're here and fine." Jax rocks back on his heels, and nibbles at his toast, now cold. "And I'm sure between owls an' other magic you could get them a letter."
Julian frowns. He's not so sure. It's something to think about, but the possibility, the idea, is too new. Too raw to put much hope in. He keeps his face a mask, and nods. "I'll look into it." He looks down at the letter. "It might be better anyway. There was an aeroplane…" He remembers that much. The big silver bird, and spending a long time in it.
"That's right," Perpetua says to Egbert. "You're younger, so there. Get used to it." Perpetua then stops tormenting her brother and looks at Julian, head tilted slightly. "Take your time, owl them when you feel ready? It's not something you should rush into. I can't know what you've been through, but I'm pretty sure it hasn't been easy."
Gareth looks puzzled again, squinting a little. "What's an aeroplane? Is it like an auto-go-beel? Or a doubledecker? We rode on one once, and it was just amazing! The things Muggles come up with to get around not using magic. Did you know they have devices that write for them? They're called con-pewters, which also do math problems and play games. I've never seen one, but I'd love to someday. And they play chess with pieces that don't move, which I'm still not sure how that works." The longer he talks, the more comfortable he seems to be with Julian, though perhaps the shock hasn't really hit him yet.
"What confuses me," Egbert offers to Gareth - likewise leaving his sister alone for the time being - "is, one time I heard these two Muggles in the park talking about fairy chess. I mean, how would Muggles know about fairies? I was gonna ask 'em but then we had to go catch the boat before it left."
Jax looks at Julian thoughtfully for a long moment, but then just shakes his head and addresses the other questions instead. "An airplane is a big machine that flies. Like a car or a boat only for the air instead of the road or the water," he explains. "An' Muggles have plenty of stories about stuff like magic an' fairies an' dragons and all, just only most of them don't know that stuff's /real/. So they use magic terms even if they don't know magic."
For really intelligent people, these wizards and witches don't know much about the Muggle world. "Aeroplanes. They're like big metal birds that carry people all over the place." Bean nods at Jackson's explanation. "Yeah." He laughs. "They've got some crazy ideas about magic, too." He's heard a lot of them, especially from people at less than their fullest wits. "Anyway…" The frog cards get another comment. "It might be fun to see what you've got." At least a way for small boys to get to know one another.
Half the conversation goes over Perpetua's head. Heck, she didn't even know what rabies was when Amber was talking about it. She thought it was a funny made up name. She turns back to Egbert and frowns, "What were you doing near muggles in a park? Mum'll have kittens!" Ooh now they're back to talking about weird muggle stuff. Huh. She's convinced they're making all of this stuff up.
Gareth shakes his head slowly, letting out a low whistle of awe. "Amazing. Big metal birds that carry around boatloads of people? So that's how they get around without brooms or the Floo Network. I'll have to write to dad about that. He'll probably put it in a story or something. And I know he'll want to ask you loads of questions, Bea—…I mean, Julian. He's fascinated by Muggles, he is."
"Bean's good enough." Julian shrugs. "It's what I was called until I came here, as far as I know. My parents must've called me Julian, but…" He's not sure, and his size and last name gave the other street kids enough reason to call him by that name. "I don't mind." He gives a tentative smile.
Egbert turns back to Perpetua, leaning an arm over the side of his chair. "Mum was with me! Remember that one weekend I went home to meet her folks but you'd caught the lurgy— anyhow, we couldn't go through Lancaster 'cause there was a storm, had to haul all the way down to Liverpool, and they had a park right by the docks."
Jax looks a bit baffled at Perpetua's questioning. "Muggles aren't — dangerous or nothing. An' it's kind of hard to go through the world without ever being near any, isn't it?" He sounds rather confused. "Loads of my friends are Muggles. From before I came here."
Gareth's grin is genuine. "Okay, Bean then. And you can call me Gareth, or…well, I guess that's the only thing anyone calls me. To my face, at least. I'm going to write to my folks and let them know we're getting along so well. Oh, I should write to Myngi too, since I suppose now you're her grandson. She'll start sending you Chocolate Frogs as well, so you'll have your collection built up in no time." He glances at Jax, biting his lip for a moment, then says, "Well, they're not dangerous, per se, but you do have to be careful around them. Some of them can be downright suspicious, and you don't want them asking a lot of questions."
"You just made that up," Perpetua says in a slightly huffy manner at Egbert. He didn't, but she does have to give him a hard time. "No, they aren't dangerous. They can just be kind of funny, that's all." She shrugs a bit. The family's home is a bit isolated, and she tends.. err.. tended to obey mum when she put her foot down about wandering too far away.
"Well, you lot have a tendency to do things to make yourselves appear … different enough to notice." Bean's got a good memory, and he's seen a couple faces here and there that he'd seen out in the world. He remembers the way they dressed. "But bein' raised with it, I guess it'd be hard to know otherwise." There's still a small hint of the wonder he experienced coming to Hogwarts. "Myngi?" He's unsure who that might be. He's got a guess, but it wouldn't do to assume something that important.
Egbert shakes his head, his attention turning back to Bean now. "Hey, that goes both ways— I've seen Muggles do some pretty strange things, too. Blue hair and handcuffs stuck through their ear's just the start of it." Earrings are sort of like handcuffs, they're both round and metal, right? "But yeah, there's enough wizards around that most of them just keep their own company most of the time."
"I like blue hair. I'm gonna colour mine purple once school is out," Jax announces cheerfully. "I don't know 'bout no ear-handcuffs, though." He looks puzzled at that.
Gareth cocks his head curiously for a moment, then seems to understand the question. "Oh! Myngi is what I call my grandmother. She's Welsh, you see, and sometimes I forget the whole world doesn't speak Welsh as well as English. I only know it because Dad taught it to me, right alongside English, from the beginning. But don't worry, because we all speak English at home, since Mother doesn't know very much Welsh. Anyway, you'll like Myngi. She's very kindly and always sends loads of presents for Christmas and Easter, but she never leaves Anglesey anymore, so you won't actually meet her unless we go there on holiday. But she loves to write, so don't be surprised if you start getting owls from her." He'd probably continue chattering on and on, were it not that others are also speaking, and he nods seriously to Egbert's declaration. "I once saw a Muggle wearing nothing but a corset and weird stockings that looked like a net. He was drawing quite a lot of attention to himself, too."
Julian takes a moment to wonder idly if it was someone he knew, and then he's snickering quietly. After a few minutes, though, he nods. "That sounds…" He's still nervous. He will be until he gets used to the whole family thing. "I think it'll work out brill." He sticks his hand out for a handshake. For Bean, that's like…a big hug and a sloppy kiss.
Perpetua sort of.. drifts downward and into the flagstones of the floor. There's no reason to continue to hang around and pester the wee ones!
Egbert shoots Gareth a funny look. It's not the first time he's done so, nor will it be the last. "One time I saw a whole bunch of people who were dressed up kind of like that, but Mum dragged us both along before I saw what they were doing. Lined up for something or other."
"Corsets are neat, too," Jackson muses, seeming more fascinated than amused by Gareth's description of the outfit. "Real pretty, sometimes. Maybe I'll get one of those, too, some day."
Gareth grins brightly, taking Julian's hand in a firm, warm grip and giving it a vigorous shaking. "Welcome to the family, mate. I know we're going to have loads of fun together. But do you know what it means, foster-brother? I've never heard that term before. Is it a special sort of brotherhood?" Then he looks curiously at Egbert. "Lined up for what, do you suppose? What do funny-dressed Muggles do together? The corset this Muggle was wearing looked very uncomfortable. All tight and leather, I don't know how he managed to breathe in that thing. And the heels on his shoes must have been seven or eight inches high. I'd topple over in an instant."
"Foster-brother." It sounds as good as blood-brother to Julian, and he nods. "It means that your family's taking care of me. That way, if my parents do show up, and want me back…" Fat chance of that happening, but it could. "Then, I can go with them. But I need someone to take care of me." Or so sayeth the British Ministry of Magic. "Was it outside a big, kind of dark building?" He has a pretty good idea, having sneaked into one once, but he's not sure they really want to know about nightclubs quite yet. "S'like a tavern, kinda." It's a stretch, but he's trying. "Yeah, I think we will, too." This to the 'having fun' part.
Egbert pauses, thinking back, then shakes his head. "No, I don't think so… might've been dark inside, but on the outside, it was all lit up. I couldn't see the name of the place, I was looking at it from way off on the right side."
"A tavern you gotta dress up to go into?" Jax tilts his head curiously at Julian. "An' on Halloween funny-dressed Muggle kids go around to all their neighbors and get candy! That's pretty great."
Gareth's eyes brighten as he turns toward Jax. "Are you serious? Muggles give out candy to funny-dressed children at Halloween? Why hasn't anyone ever told us this? We could all go 'round in our everyday robes and collect loads of sweets that way! Or would we have to dress up in corsets, like the Muggles outside that tavern?"
"Gawd, no." Julian holds his hands up to his face. "Corsets are usually … women's wear." He shakes his head. "If you see a … 'tavern' like that, you don't want to go into it. Trust me." He snorts, and fiddles with the parchment in his hand. "They probably wouldn't let you anyroad. You have to be old enough, and have the little muggle card to prove it.
Egbert shakes his head. "Yeah, you could collect loads of Muggle sweets, but they're probably not as good, right? Except maybe for Every Flavor Beans when you get one of the nasty ones. Anyway, you'd have to miss all the Halloween stuff here to do it, too."
Gareth turns back to Julian with a grin, though his expression is also a bit confused. "But you managed to get in, didn't you? How else would you know it was a tavern? What were the Muggles doing in there? I mean, why would men wear clothes that usually only women wear? That doesn't make any sense at all."
"No, no, you can wear anything. Costumes. Like dress up as a pirate or a princess or — well, whatever you like. People even dress up like witches an' wizards — only they don't actually know what witches wear so they don't end up looking much like us at all." Jax shrugs. "And there's plenty of real delicious Muggle sweets. It's not like Muggle stuff is worse. Just not magic." His brow creases a little at Gareth's question, thoughtful. "— Maybe they like those clothes?" he suggests. "I like skirts jus' fine. Kinda silly to say what clothes people can and can't wear, anyhow."
The little Slytherin isn't sure how far he wants to get into this conversation. "I sneaked in. Narrowly avoided a thrashing when they saw me leavin', though." As for the other stuff, he shrugs. "It was pretty dark inside. At least the one I went to." It's a good enough reason to change the subject. "Halloween is brill. People have so much candy, and they drop it everywhere." As well as apples, and pumpkin tarts and… He gives a small smile. "Should I write your parents…" He pauses. "I mean…" The nervousness is back, and it bothers him.
Egbert arches a brow at the story, imagining himself in the same situation, only without the avoiding part. Maybe overbearing parents aren't all bad, after all. "Oh yeah, pretty much everyone agrees on that one. Heard this one Muggle complain about it once, but she was pretty mental anyhow."
"Complain about what?" Jax is having a hard time following the different conversation threads. His brow furrows in mild confusion.
Gareth nods quickly to Bean, grinning again. "Certainly! I'll write down their address for you. I think they're going to write to you in the next few days anyway." He scans his own letter, then nods again. "Dad wanted to make sure you heard from the Ministry first, so you wouldn't think he was some barking mad lunatic, claiming to be your father, all of a sudden. I know if some stranger wrote that to me, I'd laugh it off. But if you got a letter from the Ministry, it must all be official and whatnot." Then to Jackson and Egbert, he says, "Skirts are really just half-robes, so I don't see the problem. My Uncle Owen wears skirts all the time, mostly really long ones. He says they keep his knees warm." Of course, Unlce Owen lives in a little cottage in the middle of nowhere with Uncle Glen, but there's no reason to bring that up.
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