|Scene Title||Fishing for Slugs and Information|
|Synopsis||Julian Legume meets Eleanor in Diagon Alley.|
|Date||Aug 23, 1995|
|Watch For||Sarcasm! Sneaky information gathering on both sides! Slugs!|
|Logger||Mister Bean. I mean, Julian.|
The sun's only been up for a short while, but in the busy streets of one of the only magical shopping districts in the UK, there is already a little boy sitting on the step of a shop, playing the part of street urchin quite well. He has no receptacle for coins, but merely sits silently, watching the crowds pass. Julian Legume, who is better known by his nickname Bean, is waiting for someone. Or something.
Eleanor nearly skips her way down the cobbled road of Diagon Alley, carrying with her a wooden bucket and a gentle tune that springs forth softly from her pursed lips. For the most part the lilting melody is lost to the wind but a few idle ears perk up as she passes by, causing them to turn and ogle the source of the noise. Despite her beaten up appearance, the young woman was pretty genuinely happy and had set out with pointed hat to share it a bit with the students milling about before the term begins. These were dark times with rumors of You-Know-Who having returned. The world needed a little light.
Julian is one of those 'idle ears'. He hears the tune, and snickers at it, not because of the tune itself, but because of the sheer audacity of the sound. It's not a sound often heard on a busy London street, magical or no. He shifts in his position just slightly, still keeping quiet while he watches Eleanor walk past.
Eleanor's bounding steps take her a handful of meters past the young boy where she finds herself at a particularly obnoxious curve in the alley. The curved stone forms a stark inlet that would be perfect for her shinannigans, giving her maximum visibility for those that chose to dispel their own haze of worry and tunnel vision-like focus on the tasks of the day. Allowing a gentle grin to curl the edges of her lips, the auburn-haired woman plants her bucket on the ground in an unceremonious fashion, dotting the area around it with moisture that betrayed its contents. Reaching into her robe pocket, she produces a barely discernible squirming mass and tosses it with a gentle plop into the bucket. Soon after, she produces a stick from the other side and, with practiced efficiency, knots a thin string of filament about its end. It isn't too many heartbeats before she's sitting cross-legged at its side, holding the stick aloft with the filament sinking into the bucket as if she were fishing.
Julian is highly intrigued. He stands up slowly, making it appear as if he were stretching, then steps around a barrel and squats. The better to see her, or something. He tilts his head, continuing in silence for a long time, before his curiosity gets the better of him. "Miss, exactly what are you doing?" He leans forward, hoping to see just what's in the bucket, or bar that, to at least see why she's doing it, if he can possibly see.
The line jostles a bit as if being teased by a hungry fish within the bucket and Eleanor leans forward to peer into the murky depths. Julians question however causes her to tilt her head to the side to examine the young boy. After a heartbeat, she offers a tiny grin, just barely displaying the whites of teeth that are just slightly marred by a little overcrowding. "Fishing, of course!" Eleanor singsongs, returning her attention to the bucket. Suddenly, the line lurches and the young woman pulls hard on the rod which bends against the strain of something tugging from beneath the surface. With one final tug, the line pops up and jostles about soon revealing a tasty Jelly Slug wrapped about a barbless hook at the base of the filament. Carefully, Eleanor extracts the squirming creature and swallows it up with a mildly sickening slurp, leaving a slimey and sugary trail on her index and forefinger as the only evidence of its existence. "Lime! Want to try?" The rod is extended towards Julian.
Julian isn't sure about this, but he is willing to try anything once. And the fact that his 'family' is somewhere around here shopping means he'll probably have a lot of free time on his hands. He nods once, taking the fishing pole from the woman, and jiggles it a little, trying to entice whatever's in there to come out. However, just in case, his bearing is wary and his grip on the pole is fairly light.
The young woman is content with just watching for the moment, idly dividing her attention evenly between the boy himself, the rod and the rest of the milling crowds. Shuffling a little bit in her seated position, she tilts the pointed hat on her head to scratch an itch and peers back into the bucket. It isn't too long before the curious activity attracts a few other individuals, most of which have chosen just to view things from afar. Oddities always instilled suspicion but Eleanor didn't mind that much. "Excited for scho— oh, looks like you've got something!" She queries before the line begins to twitch with vigor.
The twitching line draws Bean's attention from scrutinizing his companion, and he yanks expertly on the pole, pulling whatever it is up. He thinks he's seen the before, but his ingrained paranoia reappears. He examines the little red thing closely, sniffs at it, and then slowly pulls it off the hook. "Thank you, ma'am." He pops the candy into his mouth quickly, then waits until he's swallowed it before replying to her half-formed question. "Actually, I am. I enjoyed last year, and I think this year will be even better. Although, I do wish I knew what happened to our Head." He frowns, and looks down at his fingers. "Mine was strawberry."
Eleanor smiles and nods her head gently before tilting her head to form a quizzical look at the young boy's later statement. "You're welcome. Strawberry is a tasty flavor," she states plainly, drawing out the statement in a wordless fashion as she averts her eyes for a moment. Her attention quickly returns, settling her blue eyes back on Julian's features. "Your Head? What're you talking about?"
"Nobody'll tell us what happened to our Head of House." He's a little, and the rest of the school might know, but Bean had his own struggles going on at the time. "His potions class was for sh-…" He looks up, and gives her his best 'little-boy grin' "I mean, we had some seriously odd things happen in our potions classes, but as a Head, he was great." He licks the last bits of the gooey candy off his fingertips. "If that bi-, I mean, if that substitute teacher takes over our house, I'm gonna do a runner." He doesn't like Professor Moldavia.
That was worrisome and Eleanor's brow furrows momentarily, leaving crease marks that quickly fade away. Youth was an attribute that she hadn't lost yet. She pointedly ignores the young boys slang-laden conjecture, focusing more on gleaning details from Julian rather than berating him for his lack of class. Even as an employee of the Ministry, her view of the world was heavily filtered and subject to internal spin.
"Oh, she can't be that bad," Eleanor assures him with that trademark lilting tone used by big sisters and caring mothers. "What was your potions professor's name?"
"The original one? Severus Snape. Our substitute was named Moldavia." He speaks the name exactly as he heard it. "And she was just …." She was okay as a teacher, but he doesn't trust her very much. "It really doesn't matter. I can't do anything about it. Can I ask you why you're fishing for Jelly Slugs out here?" It's an obvious redirection. "It'll get pretty warm soon, I think." He looks up to find the position of the sun.
Eleanor mouths a wordless 'ah' and nods, taking a moment to break eye contact to process new information. The potion master's name was familiar to her, being a graduate of Hogwarts and all that, which placed the boy's own school as the one she had attended a number of years back. In the end, she couldn't act on any information she gleaned, regardless if it made her skin crawl. She had responsibilities. All the weight of this notion seems to hunch Eleanor over a bit more in her cross-legged position but she still manages to keep her lips curled in a grin. Julian is offered a nonchalant shrug in response to his question.
"Why not? A galleon or two spent on sweets for others makes them happy and then me happy in turn. Besides," she reaches into her pocket to withdraw a blue hued slug that she happily plops into her mouth and stuffs into her cheek, leaving a gentle bulge as she speaks. "They always taste sweeter when you have to work for them." She too turns her head to peer up from under the brim of her hat, soon lowering her gaze to avoid burning more fireflies into her retinae than she really has to. "You may be right. Black isn't exactly the best choice in the summer now is it?"
As Eleanor comments on Julian wearing his school uniform, she'll only get a mild shrug for her trouble. He has his reasons, and he doesn't seem to be explaining. "I suppose that's a valid reason. He's Snake enough to take advantage of the situation. "Mind if I get another one?" He eyes the fishing pole again. "I don't get this particular type of candy much." As to things tasting sweeter with effort, Bean grins. "You might have a point, though." He gazes at the pole, then looks up at her face. "It is a bit fun, isn't it?"
Eleanor waves dismissively in the direction of the bucket, offering up her unspoken permission to have at it. That was the point really. If she ate all those sweets herself she'd get chubby and suffer the ire of her mentor. "Give it welly," she encourages, capping the suggestion of with a slightly wider smile that parts her lips subtly. She also idly wipes the sugary goo from the last morsel off on to the sleeve of her robe, soon regretting the lapse and the glistening, sweet evidence. "How much longer until the terms starts?"
Julian looks over at her incredulously. "September first, as usual." Didn't they all go to Hogwarts? That place hasn't changed much in the millennium it's been around, at least that's Bean's impression. "So, about a week." He glances up at the sky again, as though it will tell him the date, instead of just the time. "Did you go to Hogwarts, then?" He dips the pole into the liquid, and wiggles it around. It takes a little longer, but he pulls a blue one out, and sets the pole beside the bucket. He holds the slug in his hand, wondering what 'blue' would taste like in the wizarding world. Eventually, he puts it into his mouth, then frowns a bit. Weeeird. "Are all the colors the same flavors?" He speaks with the slug still in his mouth, though it's been pushed back to the side. "This tastes like … cherry or something." He's so confused.
Eleanor beams at Julian as if he's a new puppy dog, fixing him with an ever-widening smile. Quickly though, her expression falters and slips away to be replaced with something much more dejected as her eyes wander away from his person and search out the sky. She nods in response to his first question.
"Yep," the young woman responds curtly, coupling the statement with a bobbing nod that unsettles her pointed witch hat forcing her to set it back in place on her head. "Gryffindor," she appends having righted her headwear. Turning to the slug and watching as it's devoured, her tongue runs across her teeth. She was trying not to indulge in the package that was hiding in the depths of her robe's pocket. "They change all the time it seems. Can you imagine how boring Muggle candies must be?"
Julian doesn't have to imagine about Muggle candy. He lived on it sometimes. "Oh, I don't know, I can't imagine they're all useless." He's found it's best to hide his heritage, and does so now. "Ahh, a Gryff." He doesn't seem to pigeonhole too quickly, but it does change things a little. "My friend has some relatives in Gryffindor. And I met a couple of nice kids …" He shrugs. "So, do you spend all your days fishing from buckets? Or do you sweep cobwebs while riding in them, too?" He grins at her to soften the sarcasm, but make no mistake that it's there.
Eleanor squeezes her eyes together sticks out her blue-stained tongue at the curly haired Slytherin in an expression unbefitting of her age. Sometimes you had to let loose. Her face relaxes eventually and her head tilts to the side, not unlike an inquisitve owl. "Are we complaining about my bucket carrying nature?" The young woman's tone is obviously teasing in its nature, cleanly tempering any acid that may have been laced in the young boy's words.
Julian snorts, then cleans the blue off his hands. "Not a bit, Miss. Just wondering about how you fill your days now that you're not in the hallowed halls of—" He appears to be starting to wind up and really chat when another young voice calls out, "Oi, Bean! There you are, you git. Mum's been worried sick. Whassat on your vest? Myagi's coming over and you know…" Bean grins and stands. "Thank you for the slugs Miss. I have to get going." He glances over at his brother. "Well, then, let's go. You know how mum is when she gets upset."
Eleanor's eyes flicker over to the new voice and takes the moment of distracting to readjust a bit, shifting her weight from one part of her bottom to the other. "Stay out of trouble," is the advice she offers before turning her attention to another pair of curious passerbyers who soon get the rod to use of their own accord. Eleanor eventually caves as well, deftly sneaking another one of the sweet treats into her waiting maw as everyone's attention is drawn to the bucket.
Julian's brother laughs, and grins at the girl. "Yeah, right." Bean gives his brother a playful shove, and shakes his head. "You too, miss." He heads back toward the main part of the Alley and his awaiting family.