1994-10-31: It Just Takes One

Participants:

Holly_icon.gif Tiana_icon.gif

Scene Title It Just Takes One
Synopsis Holly runs into yet another werewolf. Tiana is paranoid.
Location Trader Vic's, London
Date Oct 31, 1994
Watch For Paranoid Werewolf. Obliviating.
Logger Holly

Seated at a table in the far corner is a slender woman dressed in form-fitting clothing and sipping on a glass of clear liquid. Her black hair is down this time, falling in silky waves down her back and shoulders. The people around her seem incapable of not staring, their eyes drawn to the impossibly beautiful woman. Even as they stare, however, they give her space, never coming close unless it is necessary. They don't seem to be aware of their own reactions, though, merely commenting on her beauty or speculating as to just who she is or why she's here alone at a booth set for two. Twirled lazily between her fingers is a compact mirror, and her pale blue eyes seem distant, as if she's lost in thought.

—-

When she's not in the wizarding world and wearing her robes, Holly apparently likes to wear black. A black leather coat over a dark grey shirt, and black pants. Hey, it's close to Halloween, so it kind of works. In any case, she breezes into Trader Vic's, and is eventually seated - as luck would have it - near the woman that no one seems inclined to address, and yet everyone seems keen to observe.

Holly's no exception. She's reasonably pretty herself, but this woman seems exceptionally so. Placing her elbows on the table and propping her head up on the backs of her hands, she just looks. Observing, as others have observed Tiana this night.

And, eventually - hey, what the hell - she stands and sits in the empty seat across from the woman. "You look like you could use a little company."

—-

Tiana is not - as it would appear - oblivious. She notes the stares. At one point in her life, she would have revelled in them. Now they just seem…a chore that must be borne. It gives rather the impression that she understands the life of a captive beast - always gawked at but never approached. So it is, then, that when a strange woman chooses to sit right across from her, that for a moment Tiana is dumbfounded. Her first reaction is to go for a wand that isn't there and hasn't been for years. Her second is to subtly 'up' the glamour and scare the woman - presumably Muggle - off for good. It is, however, her third that she follows, and that is to offer the woman a drink. "You are more than welcome. I would suggest the raspberry vodka. It is quite pleasant to taste." Her accent is a rather heavy Slavic one, flavoring the words without mangling them beyond recognition.

—-

Well, it seems that her sudden decision to intrude isn't going to cost her her sanity! …Today. Holly's own words are accented - not British or Irish or anything in the United Kingdom, but American. "Sorry. Don't usually pick on people like this. You just looked lonely." And Holly can understand that. After all, she's kind of new to this country, her whole family is a bajillion miles away, and the only contact she has with them is through owl.

"Ah, yeah, that sounds good," she says, raising her hand for the waiter, and ordering raspberry vodka. She's not much of a drinker, but once in awhile is okay. Hopefully there's no laws against drinking and apparating. "I'm Holly. Haven't been in the country too long. And I'm not sure I really want to, you know, sit alone." Kinda looks like she has no friends. Which might be a fair assumption.

—-

And it's an assumption that crosses Tiana's mind, certainly. "Tiana," she returns in kind. "That is a feeling I can understand very well." Another sip of her drink has the dark-haired woman relaxing ever-so-slightly. Almost a taste of home. "I have not been here very long either." It's a soft admission, but one offered with a smile that seems…like someone trying to show an alien what 'friendly' looks like. It's a very, very good approximation, but it lacks the imperfection to make it genuine. "What brings you to the country?"

—-

When Holly's drink is brought to the table, she takes a sip. And is obviously not exactly used to Vodka. She makes a face, looks at it, then decides it's actually not that bad, or won't be after a couple more. "…Kinda an acquired tast, huh?" she asks, coughs, and takes another sip. The second reaction is similar to the first.

"Ah— Strong stuff. I'm here for legal reasons. I've got a client here I'm representing. Might be quite a long trial, so I moved in." Not saying where. To Muggles, Hogsmeade doesn't exactly exist, and there's no reason to believe that Tiana knows about the magical world. "Anyway, it's a good opportunity. Just means I can't ever donate blood again back home."

—-

Amused at the lawyer's reaction to the vodka, Tiana's smile quirks just a little on one side. It's a hairline imperfection that - to someone who knows her facial tics - would signal a real reason to smile. "Yes," she answers simply. "I grew up on it." And stronger, wizarding versions thereof. "A long way to go for a legal battle," she comments with polite interest. "What was your client accused of." The comment about blood throws her for all of nine seconds. It was not so long ago that she would have asked the woman if she was a vampire's mate, but years in the Muggle world lend her at least some insight into their odd and sometimes barbaric ways. She manages to chuckle for the appropriate length of time. "I have never donated, myself." Exchanging favors for money writes her off the list straight off.

—-

Might as well polish off the glass, huh? Only she can't quite do it, and ends up setting the tiniest bit of the drink back down on the table. Already, she's feeling pleasantly fuzzy, and she's of a well enough mind to know that she'd best not order anything else right now. "Yeah, strong stuff," she repeats under her breath, and declines a second helping when the waiter offers it.

"He's accused of murder," she says. That much she can say, though no names are given, no indication that he's accused of killing thirteen Muggles and a wizard who still happens to be alive. "It's going to be a hard case. I took it because it's a challenge. And I believe he's innocent."

She eyes that glass for another moment, then finishes the little bit left in the bottom. Anyway. "I did once or twice. Not a big deal, really. Still, kinda sucks that it's something I can't do anymore. Don't tell me what I can't do, you know? Hey, can I have another?" She flags down the waiter again. "And maybe — " She looks at the menu. "A salad. Just a salad."

—-

Watching the lawyer, Tiana can smell the alcohol, can see her pupils dilating and the blood rushing towards her dermal capillaries. "Perhaps you should slow down a little. This is a potent beverage." It's a kind warning, but a soft one. Friendly advice, but from one adult to another. "A murder trial? How…intriguing." When the waiter arrives, she offers him a smile that has him - for some reason or other - taking a step back. "I will have the filet mignon. Rare, please."

—-

She won't have enough to get herself drunk. That's what she's telling herself, anyway. Even so, it was good, and pleasantly warm, so when the second glass arrives, she takes a small sip. Slow down, right. It does occur to her that, very recently, she ran into someone else who ordered a steak that was slightly undercooked, and he just happened to be a werewolf. Still, what are the odds?

"This is actually pretty good," Holly notes again, indicating the drink. "Really usually don't drink, but I figure just this once…" And little does she know that the edition of the Prophet that just came out names Umbridge as the new Interim Minister of Magic. Holly has every reason to need a few vodkas.

She notices things. She has to, as a lawyer. Little tiny details that other people might miss. "Hey, that guy doesn't seem to like you much," she offers.

—-

"It has been one of my favorite drinks since I was very young." Conversational, but vague. Tiana is in her element, here. "A little indulgence can be useful during a stressful job." Lord knows she's put away enough bottles to last anyone a lifetime. Holly's alarmingly astute observation - maybe drunkeness activates the portion of the subconscious mind that usually reacts to her presence - causes her to grimace, but it's that approximation of a grimace, so perfect that it's eerie. "I am growing used to the reaction. It seems that my method of dress is a little…more than this modest country can handle." With the outfit she's currently wearing, that statement rings rather true. Still, it doesn't seem like she's trying to change - or even offering. It is as it is.

—-

"You've never been to California," Holly offers with a lopsided smile, raising her glass and muttering 'cheers' as she takes another sip. Last glass, really. Holly can't really talk. She's wearing leather, too. The coat is, anyway, the rest is mostly just dark colours, with her long hair falling about her shoulders. "I mean, everyone's got their style."

When the salad arrives, she sets the vodka aside. Good to get some food in her, at least. There's not a whole lot else to talk about with the woman, so for awhile, she just digs in. Finally, "So, what do you do? You asked about me already."

—-

"No, I have not had the pleasure." California…the name of one of their states, perhaps? Honestly, Tiana can't remember. Watching the woman drink, Tiana barely sips from her own glass. One mind has to be clear, after all. The eating, however, causes a slight cringe. From experience, she knows that gulping down food after two-and-a-half glasses of vodka is not the best of plans; at least if one plans on keeping that food. "Legal secretary." The lie comes so easily to her now that it doesn't occur to her until after it's been said that this is someone who may actually be able to call her bluff. Damn! Maybe she's too tipsy to really push. Or remember at all.

—-

Holly is a little tipsy, yes. However, she's not drunk, and when Tiana proclaims herself to be a legal secretary, she's… just a little dubious. "Really," she says, with a fork full of lettuce poised above her plate. Her head tilts a little, and she recalls the earlier conversation. Wouldn't have the other woman said something when Holly herself said she was a lawyer?

For some reason, that causes her to remember something.

Reaching into the pocket of her coat, she pulls out a letter. The owl had arrived earlier, leaving the parchment note with her on her way to London. The Ministry seal is impossible to read, but those who are familiar with it would recognise it, and at the very least, the letter is printed on parchment, and the writing is hand-penned. "Scuse me for a sec," Holly says, beginning to read it.

—-

"Yes," Tiana nods, idly tapping her fingers while waiting for her entree to arrive. "I take the night shift for the extra pay." Not that she seems to need it, if her attire is anything to judge by. Ah! Finally! As her steak arrives, she nods her thanks to the waiter and wastes no time in spreading her napkin over her lap and cutting the meat into small, ladylike bites. Sometimes it kills her to eat this slowly, but she does have an image to maintain, after all. The parchment isn't spied right away, Tiana rather focussed on the meal at hand. When she does look up, however, she does a doubletake. She's familiar with that seal alright. How do these people keep finding her? It's truly maddening! Using a concerted effort, she slows her pulse and respiration, then returns to her steak, more determined than ever to end this impromptu meeting quickly.

—-

No one's looking for Tiana. The letter contains a warning - for Holly. And the longer she reads it, the more her face pales, and she swears quietly, seeming for all the world to have forgotten about the rest of her meal and Tiana both.

The new Minister of Magic is Delores Umbridge.

Holly goes for her purse. To Tiana, it might look like she's going for a wand or something, though Holly draws out her wallet, instead, reaching in and pulling out enough money to cover her half of the meal. She sets this on the table, then looks at the letter again. She hadn't read it incorrectly… and now she has to get to Sirius before something happens.

—-

Tiana is not about to let this woman out of her sight yet. As Holly tosses down money for her meal, Tia pulls a small wad from her cleavage and drops it on the table's surface as well. It's enough to cover her own meal and Holly's - someone gets a nice tip tonight. Standing, she moves to stand beside of the other woman, bending over as if to kiss her cheek in a friendly goodbye. Instead, however, her hand closes over the woman's upper arm in a restrained grip. She doesn't feel the need to hurt her - yet - but a small show of force may just go a long way to keeping Things from Escalating. "Try not to look too frightened, Holly. It will only worry them. Come along, please." There's no threat to her voice. Hopefully the woman is tipsy enough - or smart enough - to come peacefully.

—-

No, she needs to go. This was not supposed to happen, and it puts everything she's worked for at risk. She needs to get back to her house before some Ministry goon torches the place and everything in it. "I have to leave," she says back, under her voice. Still, she stands, giving Tiana a suspicious eying. Thankfully, with her wand in another pocket of her jacket, Holly isn't undefended. Grabbing her purse, she allows the other woman to guide her out of the retaurant.

God, is this what happened to her father when he was murdered? Come along, Mister Maplewood. Try not to look to frightened, it will only worry them.

The note is still in her hand as she's led away from the table. "What do you want?"

—-

"Not much," Tiana assures her quietly. Nothing further is said until after they've exited the restaurant. Just as she did the last time this happened - really, despite their great steak, maybe it's time to stop dining at Vic's - Tia leads the strange woman down the street a little ways. Unlike last time, she pulls them both into a nearby alleyway. "Do not bother with your wand, please. I would rather not make a mess." Her voice remains quite amicable, pleasant even. "I would like to know - if you would be so kind - why a 'Muggle' lawyer has a letter from the Ministry of Magic."

—-

Holly's actually scared. She's hiding it well, though, even if the set of her jaw and the slightly higher heart rate is pretty much a dead givaway that she's not exactly calm. Plus, the fuzzy feeling in her head from the vodka is keeping her from latching onto any thought that she could possibly use.

And now she's going to end up dying like her father did. Fitting, really. "Are you insane??" Holly asks, dark eyes trying to meet those of Tiana's. There's a hitch in her voice as if she might just be about to lose her cool. Then? She laughs, which is probably inappropriate, considering the situation. "I never said I was a Muggle," Holly says, going with the assumption that if the word Muggle is being thrown about, Tiana must know about witches and wizards and magic. "This is a letter about my case."

—-

"Well…that is a point that could be argued." Her relative sanity, that is. Something about the air around the woman has her hackles up, which is really odd, because in the restaurant they were fine. As discreetly as she can, Tiana inhales through her nose, sniffing the woman; subtly. Blue eyes widen in an almost comical sort of astonishment. "Your case would not happen to involve a…Remus Lupin, would it?"

—-

Holly leans up against the wall, one shoulder to it, looking over her shoulder as she's… sniffed. The raw steak, the lost look in her eyes, and now this. Tiana is a werewolf, too, she's sure of it now. Or, at least, a little more sure than she was before - which is to say, she wasn't sure at all before.

"Ah," she mutters to herself. No wonder the woman's so up in arms.

"He's giving testimony. Here, you can read the letter." She's not so sure that this is supposed to be getting out before the release in the paper, however, proving that she's on the level is so much more important than keeping Ministry secrets right now. In fact, cleaning her closet is more important than keeping Ministry secrets right now. "I'm representing Sirius Black. You can see why I might have been in a bit of a hurry, I think?"


You don't know me, just know that I am causing an extreme breach of ettiquette to do this. I believe justice is better served if you know before and can prepare. The Under-secretary is ousting the current minister. This could be really bad for your client. Be careful, and know that despite what it looks like, some of us in the ministry want to see justice done, not a metaphorical witch hunt.

(Anonymous)


Scanning the letter right then - thank Circe for superior vision - Tiana curses under her breath in Slavic and throws a punch into the brick wall beside of Holly. It's enough to crack a brick and send dust flying. Tiana's knuckles are split and bleeding, but she doesn't seem to notice. "That woman," she begins viciously, "is a menace to society. She should be put down." Turning to Holly again, there is true apology in Tiana's blue eyes. "She cannot know I exist. You must understand. It is nothing…personal."

—-

Straightening as her heart rate and level of adrenaline both return to normal, Holly thanks whatever gods are out there that Tiana really meant no harm. And thus? No hard feelings. "You're not registered," she says matter of factly, the realisation downing. "Don't worry. I'm not here to tattle on people. Especially people that would be crushed under this woman's heel. Trust me, I haven't had an easy time with her, either, and I think things are about to get a whole lot harder." There's a pause, then, "I'm going to take out my wand, and I'm going to heal your hand. You're bleeding." This said, she reaches into her pocket, drawing out the eucalyptus wand.

—-

As the wand is drawn, a calculating light shines into Tiana's eyes. Too bad it's so dark. It could have been a rather timely warning. Holding out her injured hand, she holds very still and waits for the Opportune Moment.

—-

What a night. Gently taking Tiana's hand, Holly recalls the spell necessary for healing, and quietly recites it. It's not long before the bleeding has stopped, and the split skin has knitted back together. "There. Don't go punching walls, okay?" She should have tucked the wand back in her pocket. Instead, it's the letter she checks to make sure it's safely away.

—-

Hullo Opportune Moment, so glad you could make it. With a swift and decisive motion, Tiana snatches the eucalyptus wand from its owner and turns it on the lawyer. "I am sorry," she whispers. "I have no choice." And with that, there's a Stunning Spell, an Obliviate - shoddy job, but it's a really weird wand - and Ennervate to top it all off. Slipping the wand back into Holly's pocket, Tiana kneels beside her and helps to sit her up. "Are you alright?" she asks solicitously. "I tried to tell you to slow down, madame. It is hard drink to master, vodka."

—-

"H—hey!"

That's all the words Holly has time to get out. She's never actually been Obliviated before, but one might equate it to a sudden rush of thoughts simply running out her ear and vanishing forever. And they try, but they end up stored away elsewhere, leaving her with the distinct impression that she's just forgotten something important.

But when she finally stops her mental flailing and finds that she's face-down on the ground, she pushes herself to her elbows.

Vodka. Yeah, she remembers that. Holly sits up, slowly, blinking back a headache, and rubbing her forehead where it contacted the ground. There's a scrape; nothing serious. "I… uh." How many did she have? She can only recall one, then nothing. When she looks at Tiana, she gets a distinct sensation of unease.

"Yeah, M'fine. I just have to get home."

—-

"An excellent suggestion." Helping the woman slowly to her feet, Tiana smiles and stands close, just in case. "Can you stand on your own?" It's a simple enough question - but a valid one at this point. "Come, let me call you a cab. You seemed in such a great hurry to be off. Perhaps your business can wait until morning?" As courteous as she is, Tiana can still sense that unease and curses herself thrice over. Never would she have done such a shoddy job before. She's just so unused to magic after all this time!

—-

A cab? No, Holly has another way home. But she can't remember why it was so important to get home now.

Something is wrong. She hasn't lived this long to realise all the warning signs when she senses them. She does get to her feet, though, leaning on Tiana for support for just a moment until her head stops spinning. How much did she have to drink?

Just one. Just one?

Had to have been more than that. Instead of one big hole in her memory, there are many smaller ones. Tiana is familiar, albeit not enough for Holly to recall a name. Wasn't she in a restaurant? Raspberry vodka and a salad. There was —

"No, I can walk." Whatever she had to do, it was extremely important that she get it done immediately. That much she's certain about. That said, she starts off down the alleyway.

—-

"All right, if you are sure…" Nevertheless, Tiana trails the witch, silent and slinky as the shadows. She stays far enough back not to be noticeable or a threat, but near enough that she can be of assistance - should the need arise. Just because she screwed holes in the woman's memory doesn't mean she should leave her to the wolves…alright, bad choice of words, but still!

—-

Holly isn't very familiar with London. In fact, her indeavor through the alleyway takes her farther and farther away from familiar territory, to a point where she's not sure where she is. At all. That's exactly what she wants, though, because the farther she is away from the population, the less likely she'll be seen.

She doesn't hear Tiana trailing her. Maybe if she was a little sharper, she would have been watching out for that. It doesn't matter, though; Holly rounds a corner, and - hopefully before Tiana can catch up - there's a sharp crack, like a whip, and Holly apparates away. Gone.

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