1995-09-16: Good Grief!!

Participants:

Jack_icon.gif Aberforth_icon.gif Madeline_icon.gif Artemis_icon.gif

Scene Title Good Grief!!
Synopsis Jack is drowning his sorrows at the Hogshead. His Healer and his secretary find him there.
Location Hog's Head Tavern
Date Sep 16, 1995
Watch For Innuendo
Logger Jack

The Hog's Head…a shady place as there ever was. Those current students from Hogwarts who know of it tend to avoid coming here, in favour of the Three Broomsticks. Those graduated from Hogwarts and from other lands alike who know of it…well, they sometimes avoid it too. It's a nice little place if you wish to not be seen. At the same time it's…well, it's not as nice and shiny as the Three Broomsticks. And amongst it's clientele could be found Witches, Wizards, and creatures of other statues alike. Most of which are seedy characters. But that shouldn't be a detriment to coming to this pub! Oh no! For you can sit at the bar and mind your own business for all anyone else cares. And then there's the wonderfully charming (read grumpy) bartender, who, you guessed it, tends the bar as well as the rest of the establishment.
Today the bartender/owner, Aberforth, is in his usual spot behind the bar, cleaning a dirty glass with what appears to be an equally dirty cloth. This may not be an indication of the cleanliness of the rest of his glassware, but it might raise more than a few eyebrows from the 'outside' world.

Jack has found his own corner in the place, and is using the reputation of the Hog's Head to hide. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the indomitable Jack Noble is hiding. And he's drinking. Slowly, morosely, but he's drinking. He runs his fingers around the rim of the glass (which appears to be mostly clean), and gazes down into the amber liquid. "'Nuther one, please." He reaches into his pocket to pull out another coin to flip toward the bartender. He's not sure whether he's plus or minus on his tab, but at the moment does not exactly care.

This is definitely not the sort of place where Madeline is normally found. In fact, just coming down this way has the shy mouse of a woman looking rather nervous and uncertain about the whole thing. But it's really been a process of elimination, and as she's eliminated pretty much everywhere else she can think of, working tirelessly in her quietly stubborn way, she finds herself venturing towards the bar of ill repute tonight. The door edges ever so slowly open, and one blue eye peers in through the crack. When nothing bad happens thus far, Mads dares to open it a little wider, just enough so that she can slip inside the joint.

Aberforth merely gives a nod to Jack as he starts working on filling up yet another glass with something to drink. Taking it over to Jack, he plops it in front of the man, pockets the coin, and grabs the empty glass as well to take back to his tub of dirty dishes under the bar. As he finishes putting it in the tub, he glances up at the woman her cautiously enters the pub. Not his usual clientele, that's for sure. Usually the shy and timid types keep away from here, what with all the rapscallions who hang out here.

"Thanks." Jack's words are slurred, only slightly. He leans back in his seat, stretching his arms above his head. It's a normal pose for him, but the normal strength and energy in it is gone. He chuckles softly to himself about something, and closes his eyes briefly. When the door opens, he turns unconcernedly to see who enters.

Madeline goes a little flush in the cheeks as she finds herself attract unwanted attention - which, in her general view, is pretty much all attention ever. Still, she tries to be polite, giving the barkeep a little nod, before that light gaze sweeps the rest of the patrons. It doesn't have far to go before it alights on just the very patron she's come searching for. "Mr. Noble?" she says with some surprise, even if she did come looking. Ducking her head, she heads more quickly over to his side, not wanting to linger out in the open area before the door.

Aberforth merely nods the 'welcome' to the other man. Silent type, sometimes, this fellow can be. Mr. Noble, did she say? Well, this could be the man that the other woman was talking about the other day. He can't be sure, of course. He doesn't always keep track of names. As he goes back to cleaning the glass with the cloth from before, he watches the pair with a vague gaze, not paying too much attention.

"Miss Sagace? What're — what're you doing here? Is everything alright?" Jack realizes he did leave Myfawny on the filing cabinet, letting her know he was home. "Sit down. Want something to drink?" He gestures toward his glass, picking it up and drinking a sip or two before setting it back down. "Did you hear the news? No, I'm sure you haven't. Well, you might have done. Everybody and her aunt has heard before I did."

"That's … what I came to ask you," Madeline replies to his question of 'everything all right?', her tone quiet as she eyes Jack with equal measure of uncertainty and concern before she drops lightly onto the seat beside him. She toys nervously with the front of her robes, sparing just a brief, flickering and sidelong glance towards the barkeep, not wanting to risk doing something so forward as catching his eye. Back to Jack, her eyebrows arch slightly. "The … news? I- No. I don't believe so. What- What happened?"

After a moment, Aberforth walks toward the table with the new arrival. "Would the Miss care for anything?" He asks quite simply. "Or should I just get on preparing you something stronger?" He asks of Jack. He stands there gazing at them with his blue eyes, which is one of his few similarities to his brother.

"I dunno." Jack would address the man by name, but he's not sure what it is. "Ask her." He repeats his question. "You want something, Miss Sagace?" And he's not sure about something stronger now that Madeline is here. "She's gone. And… And I …" He's got regrets. Lots of them. "I hurt her." It's not clear to whom Jack refers. Not yet, anyway.

"Oh. I, uh. Just a…" Madeline stammers with some uncertainty as she glances towards the bar, not sure if this is the sort of place one should order a glass of water. "Butterbeer?" she tries, looking between Jack and Aberforth for a moment, before her attention gets drawn back to Jack again. "She-?" Mads cuts herself off from asking too many questions all at once, since he's clearly distraught. "I- I can't imagine you hurting anyone, Mr. Noble. Not … on purpose," she begins gently instead.

"Butterbeer it'll be. Coming right up." Aberforth ambles away to the bar to pour the drink. After a few moments he returns, placing the drink before Madeline with a curt nod before ambling back toward the bar. This conversation isn't his. He doesn't know who it involves. He doesn't care, if he's being honest. But, he's not talking, so he keeps to himself.

"But I did." Jack sighs, taking another long draught of his drink. "And she's dead. She's gone." So, there's no chance of apology. "Did you ever meet Rosie, Miss Sagace? Mum named her Siobhan, but I didn't ever call her that. She was only ever Rosie to me." He snorts softly. "Killed. At the school, the woman says. And while she was teaching there, too." Jack is rambling. "I wanted to find out more about it. Do you know anything?" He looks up hopefully, and includes the taciturn barkeep in his questing gaze.

"Thank you," Madeline replies politely, if shyly to the barkeep as he promptly delivers her drink, but she seems in no hurry to start imbibing, perhaps because her attention is mostly being saved for Jack right now. "Rosie…? Your- Your sister? I- Yes. I… ran into her. At your office. When you were, ah… indisposed." She finds herself rambling and cuts it short, realizing that part isn't wholly important right now. "I- I don't know anything, no, I'm sorry. I could- I could ask around, though, if you'd like?" she offers, not sure what else she has to give. With some faint hope, she also glances towards Aberforth, in case he has anything more useful to add.

Aberforth raises an eyebrow at the couple. "Killed? At the school? Huh…that'll have the headmaster rolling around in his office for some time, won't it?" He mumbles. While it might be a bit of a slight toward his brother, he doesn't seem happy. He shakes his head Jack's question and Madeline's inquisitive gaze. "I don't know a thing. Why don't you ask the Headmaster? I bet he'd know what happened. He's supposed to know all that goes on behind those walls, isn't he? Send him an owl or something." He doesn't mean to sound insensitive…he just tends to talk gruffly is all.

Jack nods, listening to both of them. "I sent a message to a friend. I don't know if he knows any more than either of you. Miss Sagace, that would be extremely helpful. Don't get into trouble, though. It's not going to help Rosie come back for you to get hurt in the process." He narrows his eyes at her for a long moment, then turns to face the wizened old man. "You have a point. I should go directly to the source. Huh…" He frowns, and mentally starts composing a letter. However, his mind is not completely up to the task, so he looks back down to his drink. "Yeah, I don't suppose he's best pleased with it." He shrugs. "Especially after that other stuff last year." With the other student dying as well.

"I won't," Madeline promises, of not getting into trouble. She's not exactly the trouble-making sort. "But if I can help, I-I'll do what I can." Her sympathy is quite clear as she watches Jack carefully, finally taking a small sip of her Butterbeer. "Perhaps someone at the Ministry might… have heard … something." She isn't even entirely sure what to ask about, but she tries not to fret about that. Lapsing into thoughtful silence for the moment, she simply gives an encouraging nod to the idea of writing to Dumbledore directly.

Aberforth snorts and shakes his head. "Why's it that the bartender has to come up with one of the better ideas?" Must be due to the fact that he's the Headmaster's brother or something. Not that they'd know that, of course. "With the rise of rumours there is bound to be the rise of activities that make people suspiciously aware of those rumours. Mark my words!" What rumours is he talking about? Who knows.

"Because you see things, 'tender." Jack replies easily. "You're a watcher." So, inevitably, even the dullest of watchers will pick something up from time to time. That's not to say the old man is dull. Madeline gets a nod. "Good, cuz you've been a big help to me, Miss Sagace." He nods pointedly Then, he notices what Abe said. "What rumors, sir?"

"Why wouldn't the bartender have good ideas?" Madeline can't help but wonder, generally of the view that everyone has better ideas than her ever. Going a bit pink at having spoken directly to the barkeep other than to order, she goes on to nod in agreement with Jack's assessment. "I have? I- I hardly see how, but I'm glad of it," she replies to Jack, her cheeks growing hotter yet. It's just as well she's distracted by the question put to Aberforth, turning to regard him again.

Aberforth snorts again. "I'm a bartender. I serve drinks. I make sure food orders get made." Not to mention he's the owner of this 'fine' establishment. "That's why I don't necessarily see or hear or have good ideas. It's you all that have more freedoms in the outside world that should be having the better ideas!" He says gruffly. "What rumours? Ruddy Merlin's Beard! Haven't you been out in the world enough to hear them?! I'm stuck in a bar all the time and I've still heard them!" He frowns. "But I'm not telling you all the way over there even if I were to tell you!"

"Yeah, but you know how much people talk when they get soused?" Jack gestures back to his drink. "Like me." Prime example. "If you listen, which you can't really help but listen, standing behind that bar and cleaning, or whatever it is you do…" Yes, Jack does pay attention, somewhat. "Then, you can't help but hear what goes on." He shrugs. "You have done a lot of things I'm either not good at, or hate with a passion. Little things, Miss Sagace. Little things."

Madeline looks between Aberforth and Jack as they argue about who should hear more about what, appearing to be quite a bit out of her element in this particular debate. "Er. If we came over there, would you?" she can't help but inquire, looking across to the gruffer of the two men. And then back to Jack, she offers a self-conscious smile, ducking her head while giving it a slight shake. "Oh. Well. All right. I'm just … glad to be of service, Mr. Noble."

Aberforth shakes his head. "Do you know how loudly people talk when they get drunk in this bar? Not as loudly as you, young man! Because when they get that way, they start fights and I kick them out." He says calmly. "I don't allow shenanigans in my pub." It's a simple enough statement. "Not of the blatant kind." He states thoughtfully, allowing those in secret to go about their business again. "And yes Miss…Sagace is it? Perhaps I would tell you, quietly, should you come to the bar. But not a second sooner."

"There is that." Jack muses. "Well, as to the rumors, I've not heard a damn thing. I've been out of country for a long stretch. So you probably do know more than me. I'm just now finding out about Rosie and she's been gone since … well, I'm not sure of the specifics." Hence why he wants to find out. He'll also remember the comment on coming up to the bar. Maybe. "Yeah, you do have a different … ambiance here." He snickers, then lifts his glass. "Cheers." He's not disparaging said 'ambiance', just noting it. "Roz doesn't either." Tolerate shenanigans.

"I don't … get out much," Madeline admits quietly, as to why she is so out of the loop on rumours. Looking just a bit sheepish, she gives a shrug of her shoulders, glancing down into her Butterbeer. She doesn't speak of the ambiance herself, but glances around, taking in her surroundings a little more carefully this time. Her expression remains neutral, thoughtful, rather than distasteful though. "Would you…? Should I…?" she offers to Jack, after a moment, realizing that someone will have to approach the bar if they're going to get anywhere.

"Left the country?" Aberforth eyes the man. Well, he's not one to judge. Surely people are coming and going from the country all the time, right? "Well, you'll have to come to me if you want to hear a ruddy thing, you will!" He says firmly. "'Cause I certainly am not coming to you, unless you need a drink."

Jack shrugs himself, then stands up, drink and all, and plops himself down at the bar. "Easier to talk to you anyway. Join me, Miss Sagace?" He pats the seat beside him. "Yes. I'm a free-lance cursebreaker, and I did some work for a friend in Romania. Miss Moldavia was the one to find me and inform me that my sister had died." He takes another sip of his drink, and settles more into the chair.

Since Madeline had already been ready to act as messenger between table and bar, she's quite willing (and a bit relieved) to join Jack when he heads up himself, certain she'd have screwed things up somehow or gotten herself into trouble. Picking up her Butterbeer, she carefully pushes her chair back in upon standing, and then heads for a free stool next to Jack, just listening for the moment.

Aberforth leans in and eyes the young pair. "I've heard rumours of Death Eaters, I have." He says quietly, so no one else can hear him. "I've heard rumours that they're becoming more and more active. After over a decade of laying low, pretending like they were as normal as the rest've us, they've started making moves. I'm surprised neither've you have heard. Though I suppose the Ministry'd keep it under wraps if it were true. It's not something they want to have the people hear, now is it?" He shakes his head with disdain.

Jack and Madeline are sitting at the bar, actually talking in low tones to the bartender. "Well, I've heard that much. I could probably give you a couple possible names. I was just wondering if there'd been anything more recent…" Something that might help him know why. If that's possible. He grabs his nearly empty glass of whiskey, and takes another long draught. "Alright, give me another." He shrugs, reaching into the robe to get another galleon. "Miss Sagace works on the tenth floor part time. So, she probably hears more than she can say." It's an old joke, but he makes it again.

Madeline carefully settles onto her stool, setting her hardly-touched Butterbeer in front of her. As Jack brings up her position with the Ministry, true to her job title, she doesn't really say much of anything, simply gives her shoulders a self-conscious shrug. "And you think they might have something to do with what happened to her?" she can't help but ask the obvious question, careful to keep her voice down - which isn't too hard, considering she doesn't tend to speak very loudly under the best of circumstances.

Aberforth tilts his head. "Tenth Floor? You'll forgive me if I don't catch the reference." He says firmly, swiftly getting a bottle and pouring Jack some more to drink, picking up the coin. "I don't know what happened to her. Like I said. Just…there's lots of suspicious rumours and you don't know what to trust no more!" He says with a nod, returning the bottle to some unseen place.

"Department of Mysteries." Jack clears the confusion up for Abeforth. "So, she's all sneaky like." He grins, and takes another long swig of his drink. He nods, and inhales sharply. "I'm gonna find out." He sounds determined. "I don't know. I don't suppose someone killed my little sister for her smart mouth." Which trait said sister did have.

The next figure to grace the door of this 'fine' establishment would be a figure that would on other occasions, never grace the threshold. Still the pale looking young man does manage to make it a few steps in before he is reaching to pluck out his wand. A short wave of his wand as smoke is moved from his visage-and well area.

"My stars and garters.." Artemis, mutters. A glance over his shoulder as he gathers his robes about him and makes for the bar-to where something was spied. "How people do not die in here is a complete and utter mystery to me. Mungo preserve us…"he adds, before looking to the Barman. Artemis Took, purses his lips into a thin line as eyes narrow for a second. "Something Clean?" No, he doesn't care if he has Aberforth's immediate attention yet, or not.

Madeline gives a sheepish smile as Jack explains and calls her sneaky. "I'm- I'm not all that sneaky, really," she assures Aberforth, whatever he might think from what he's seen so far. Apparently she has trouble telling when someone is teasing at times. "You will find out. And… And if there's anything I can do to help, you just let me know, all right?" she goes on, lowering her voice a bit more, not quite so much to hide it from the barkeep, but to direct it more personally to Jack. She glances over as the newcomer enters, before turning back to Jack and Aberforth. "Speaking of- of being sneaky, I … should probably be getting to that job." She takes another small sip from her Butterbeer before beginning to fish out a coin purse to cover the cost.

"Department of Mysteries, are you? Well, never had time for mysteries myself!" Replies Aberforth to the revelation. "Smart mouths'll get you no where in this world! Trust me! But it should never get you killed!" He nods firmly. With a glance to Artemis he says, "If you don't like it in here, you can get out! If you're not planning on getting out, you can keep quiet on your opinions of the place and pay for anything you order, and that's all I ask, beside no shenanigans." He says firmly. Yes, he's gruff and to the point. It may offend some, but he prefers a direct approach. "You'll have to be more specific than that, won't you? I'm not a mind reader!" He nods to Madeline. "Work is always calling, isn't it?" Of course, for him it is. He's the barman.

"That's my point exa—" Jack is stopped midsentence by the appearance of — none other than his Healer. "Arty! Come and sit and have a pint." Or three, or like Jack, several more than that. "Have you heard about Rosie, then?" He's asking everyone. He wants to know if he really is the last to know. In a horrible stage-whisper, Jack leans over to the man. "Don't insult the barman. He's telling me stuff." Which hasn't been a lot, but it's been some.

"You're not?" Artemis, counters with a faint look before there's a press of fingers to his jaw. "Odd, I would think that would be a type of magic a bartender would exceed at. Think you could be the most popular Tavern in town." a shake of his head before he is raising one finger. "Gin, or perhaps something strong?" At least he is not asking for sugar water, but actual drink. A glance over towards Madeline and a nod is passed. However it seems as soon as his attention can be spared from the fleeing Ministry member, they are locked to the rather drunk looking individual..Or shall we say saucy-not entirely in the barrel. "Jack, I was looking for you.." silent for a moment as eyes pass to Aberforth and then back to the Noble. "I have…erm. My condolences my dear friend." a faint pause as if to apologize to the barman, yet he never voices it.

Madeline offers a nod in return to Artemis, grateful, really, that Jack seems to know him, and she's not leaving him to drink and wallow alone. "Yes, it is," she replies to Aberforth with a small smile, nodding to him as well. "I'll, uh, I'll see you soon?" she asks of Jack, hesitantly reaching out to set a supportive hand upon his shoulder as she slips off her stool. "And it was … nice to meet you," she extends to Aberforth, and Artemis as well, even if she didn't have too much chance to really meet him. With that, she readies to head from the place.

Aberforth bows his head to Madeline. "Oh yes, because a mind reading bartender is in high demand it is. On top of the list, a long with a friendly dementor! People don't wanna have their minds read. Especially not while drink." He nods firmly, going to fix the man a drink. Soon he places the whiskey in front of Artemis. "And I've not been telling you a thing you don't already know!" He says firmly to Jack. "You just think I'm telling you stuff."

Jack puts his own hand on top of Mads' hand as she steadies herself. "Thank you, Madeline." He smiles as brightly as his drunken mindset will allow. "I'll catch you around, yeah? Owl me if you need somethin'. Or just leave a note on the desk. I'm in and out…" He's not doing much solid work, and won't for a while. This has really thrown him for a loop. He releases her hand, and watches her prepare to leave. "Mind-reading!" Jack chortles. "That's brill, Art." He shakes his head and takes another sip. When the cup is back in its place on the bar, he continues. "Thanks, my friend. I appreciate it. Though I think I'm the last dammed person to know on the planet." He rolls his eyes.

Artemis picks up the drink and sniffs it, before taking a sip. A flash of colour almost shows in his pale skin. Almost. A look back to Aberforth as he places the glass down. "Whisky, you read my mind. See- there is a place for it." sarcasm does not become the healer. Still he's lookinng to Jack, as he continues on talking. "How much has he had?" Artemis asks of Aberforth, before taking another sip.
A faint frown to Jack's revelation, but still Artemis presses on. "I was notified to find you, but I didn't know where you had gone. I sent owls..but." and there's a shrug. "My apologies for not coming to find you sooner…"

Aberforth shakes his head at Artemis. "You said 'something stronger' and I figured this whiskey would be stronger than gin. Common sense." He says simply. "But if you prefer 'mind reading' than I'll leaving you to it!" He says simply. In response to the question, however, he says, "Oh, he's had a couple. Nothing he can't handle I'm sure. And under the current situation, I probably don't blame him either!"

Jack nods, and takes another long sip. "You're my Healer, Artemis Took, not my bloody mum." Though, that might be a bad turn of phrase, considering the man is on good terms with Jack's mum. "I mean… You wouldn't tell her, would you?" And he's handling it less well as the night goes on, if the plaintive look he gives his friend and Healer is any clue. "It'd still be funny. And think of all the info you'd have to pass on then!" If Abeforth read minds, that is.

"I'm your bloody friend Jack Noble, not just your Healer." snapped back, before he is taking a drink. Artemis is then looking over Aberforth, before he is sighing. "I agree. I am however worried about him getting home…and his liver…Other parts I might have to fix." Drunk wizards don't entirely make the best choices. "I won't." said back finally. No, he won't embarrass you to your mother. Nor will he tattle.

Aberforth shakes his head at Jack. "I'm not concerned about funny!" And nothing up to this point has suggested that. He's a serious guy! Almost…too serious. "Reading minds shouldn't be taken lightly! Besides, I don't have the patience." That, at least, is true. "Don't worry. I don't let anything happen to people while they're in my bar!"

Jack holds up his hands. "Alright. Alright. Not funny." He shrugs. "This'll probably be my last, I think. I've been drinkin' too much the past few days…" Or weeks, or whatever. He drains the glass, and then pushes it away. "So, other than this, what do you know about what's goin' on, friend?" There's a slight emphasis on the last word. He's sorry he's being such an arse. It's a kind of apology. Man-hugs may be given later. "That makes sense, though. It'd be bloody awful to sift through some of the crap people think to get to stuff that might be important." The old man has a point.

There's a look over to Jack and he's raising a brow before a look to Aberforth and he is mouth 'Water' out as far as the next drink if ordered should be. "Probably, or will be Jack?" See, one can take Artemis out of the ward, but the worrying one cannot take from him. Another sip of his whisky and he is coughing. "I kow a few things. Mainly there's a lot of talk about the recentish attack on Beauxbatons…And we've been trying to see if we can't find." And he's sighing again. "We should talk about the other in private, Jack." and there he is back to staring into his drink. "How was, Rome? Romania?"

Aberforth gazes at the men. Whether he notices the word that Artemis tries to mouth to him or not, he doesn't indicate. "If the two of you need a room to talk in…" He indicates the stairs. "There are private room upstairs. Rooms three, seven, and nine are available." Didn't realize there could be so many rooms up there, did you? "I'll even let you use it for free considering the subject matter."

Jack gives an eyebrow waggle, but it's a shade of his normal teasing. "Ooh, a private room with you, Art. Wanna play Healer?" It's completely lame, and intended to be such. "It's up to you, Took. We can do that, or we can — well, I can — stumble over to Torchwood and we can talk there. Your call." He pushes the glass away. "I could use some water, but no more of the potables for me tonight." He's gonna have a hell of a headache in the morning as is. "Romania. I'll tell you more about it when or if we get somewhere other than here." He grins widely, returning somewhat to his earlier teasing.

Artemis stares flatly to the drunk Noble before he is looking back to Aberforth. "We'll see when he is on his feet. But, I do thank you for the use." Someone will be getting a good tip here, be rest assured of that. Wait? Do they even tip in Britain? Still Artemis is finishing his whisky in one fell swoop, before he is reaching for Jack's arm as he moves from the stool. "Of course. We've both been busy. I have much to share myself, but." Well this is mostly Jack's time. "Right. Well then. Shall we, Jack?"

Aberforth nods his head. "You may want to use a charm of some sort to keep him stable on his feet. Maybe so you can control his walking functions or something." He says simply.

"Awww, I can walk… See!" Jack stands up, and starts to move, or attempt to… Fail. He grasps a hold of Artemis with a drunken smile. "Guess not. Sorry, old boy." He rolls his eyes, and steadies himself a little more, leaning more on Artemis. "Alright. Lay on." He chuckles at his own joke. "Thanks, sir." Since no one really knows the bartender's name.

Artemis frowns as he is quick to grab a hold of Jack, lest he hits the ground and knocks his fool head out. There's a grunt as he looks over to Aberforth. "I think I can handle him. I've done it before." Well doesn't that just sound horrid, given Noble's request to play Healer. "Aye, lad. Hold up." He'll be taking the man uptairs-he doubts they could last to Torchwood.

Aberforth nods a little. "If you need anything, let me know. A potion to help with anything. Or food. Or a jug of water." He may be a grumpy old man at times, but moments of kindness and generosity do shine through every now and then, showing him not only to be a true Gryffindor, but a true Dumbledore as well.


Two old hags are sitting in the Hogshead come a bright September morning.

"Oh, Molla, you shoulda seen it. That poor boy. He was so distraught!"

Molla gazes over at her old friend. "What?" She leans in closer. "What poor boy?"

"That Noble boy. He was pawing at his healer and making a pass at him!"

"Really? Isn't he always hittin' on the girls?"

"No, this was that tall bloke." Nevermind that most human guys are 'tall' to Mela. "That Healer guy."

"His friend? The one with the funny mum?"

"Yeah. She's a Veela?"

"No. A Banshee, if you can believe it."

"Old Took's boy?"

"Yeah, that's the one. So, they ended up goin' upstairs."

"Seriously? I'm not really surprised. That boy is trouble."


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