|Scene Title||Safety and Chocolate|
|Synopsis||Immediately after escaping, the foursome meet up at Jack's office to plot the next course of action.|
|Location||Hogsmeade - Torchwood Offices|
|Date||Dec 03, 1994|
With a strong 'pop', Jack arrives in the middle of his office and unlocks the door. He whispers a spell to open the wards for a short period of time, much as he does for his daily office hours, and awaits the return of the other people. He steps upstairs quickly, running into the kitchen to put a pot of tea on.
Not too long after breaking away from the not-so-safe Safehouse, the tell-tale pop of apparition is heard outside the sleeping village of Hogsmeade. Better safe than sorry, Sirius has arrived outside the village to avoid waking anyone, or apparating around anyone out for a late night stroll. Transforming, he quietly races into the village and heads for Jack's office. Knowing the village as well as the castle, he finds his way to where Madam Puddifoot's is as well as the neighboring office. Padding up to the door, he scratches at it with his front paws.
One shouldn't be so careless apparating. Especially when you're fleeing the scene of a potential crime. But Tonks was again on the broom and speeding away when she Apparated and…she ends up crashing into a set of rubbish bins on the backside of the Hog's Head. And ramming head first into the wall. Fortunately it's only Aberforth who comes out to come yelling at the Auror, and she just shoots him a look, gives him a vague 'There's trouble, you didn't see me'. A wave of her wand rights the bins again, and the trash is returned. A quick morph is done to just barely hide her appearance and within moments, there's a waif-like girl behind the dog. Smelling like stale whisky, rotten cabbage, and with a banana peel on her head.
Out of breath and with just enough concentration to prevent herself from splinching, Holly apparates into the town and nearly crashes into a stacked pile of crates. Leaning on a damp brick wall, she works on calming herself down before she apparates again, this time closer to Jack's office.
She's never been so scared. Okay, maybe when she was ten years old and that uncle that no one likes dangled her upside-down over the swimming pool for ten minutes with a magical loop around her ankle, but this is hardly the same situation. Dementors. At the safehouse.
Catching up with Sirius, she puts a hand on the black-furred shoulder and just leans. She looks pale, but definitely has enough energy to give the unfamiliar girl a glare that's just barely suspicious.
Jack steps down from the upstairs apartment with a tray of tea stuff and sets it on the desk, then opens the door. He sees all of them there, recognizing two of them whom he lets in with a cursory glance. The third one, Tonks, of course, he gazes at for long moments. "You have a banana peel in your hair." He chuckles. "I'm assuming you're the shifty one, huh?" He makes a quiet allusion to her skills. "C'mon. Come in. Tea." Tea fixes everything, right? Well, at least for the British ones. Sorry Holly.
Padfoot looks up at Holly, and wags his tail at Tonks's arrival. Sure it doesn't look like his cousin, but why else would a waif like girl show up at this time of night right here? Another wag of the tail and he darts in through the open door. He doesn't shift back, despite being outed in this form. He waits for the door to be shut before he transforms.
The waif gives Jack an apologetic look, and she pulls the banana peel out of her hair. She waits for holly to follow Sirius before she enters. Withdrawing her wand she begins trying to tergeo herself as clean as she can. "Crashed into some bins," she mumbles. She too seems to be waiting for privacy and security before dropping the look. She frowns though, twisting her wand nervously. "Should've waited. Come in one at a time…uneven intervals." Moody-isms, yay!
Tea is good. Coffee would be better, but Holly will take what she can get. As she passes through the door, she looks back at the unfamiliar girl — she'll have to assume it's Tonks, or Jack wouldn't be letting her in. "Okay, that— " Even if they seem to be safe, Holly doesn't put her wand away yet, as if the Dementors will follow them here. "Could they act on their own? Do you think this was just them… acting like they would if the Ministry didn't have them under their thumb?"
Jack shakes his head, setting about to play host. It's an automatic reaction. Being reared in a noble household, all the children got the training, and Jack adapted naturally to it. "I don't think so, Holly." He purses his lips, considering what he knows about Dementors. "I mean, they have their spaces and what not, but they usually follow someone's lead. I don't know why." He glances up to the stairs, where his personal library is. "There isn't much published about them." He gestures to the chairs, and steps quickly into the back room to get the fourth chair from behind that desk. "If they're out and about, somebody sent them." That's the going knowledge.
"I hope no one got seriously hurt back there," Sirius says as he shifts back. "Possibly Tonks, but I say running was more important. I don't think we can stay here for too long. We should split up and get to hiding." He glances over to Holly, looking concerned as he shakes his head, "They were on Voldemort's side in the first war, but the Ministry now has charge of them for Azkaban." Not a good alliance in his view. "Either they're taking orders from the Ministry, or someone else is controlling them. What Jack said, they follow orders." He's quiet for a few moments then asks as Jack brings out chairs, "Are you alright? Take a seat for a few moments. You look as if you're going to be ill. Tonks? Have you anymore chocolate on you?"
Shaking her head a bit, Tonks' form reverts. Exhausted from fighting off the dementors, and doing her best to ignore their depressing presence, her morphing abilities need a serious break. Yay for the bland default state. She reaches for one of the teacups, she almost asks for something with kick, but alcohol is a depressant. "Jack, chocolate please. I used my last frog to get rid of Edwin." It seems to happen just as Sirius is asking her for it. She gives him a wane smile. "We can all use some chocolate." She finds somewhere to sit, but not too much in case she's still icky from Aberforth's trash. She tries to fill Holly in a bit better, "Dementors follow whoever can guarantee them the most 'food'. Right now it's the Ministry thanks to how they run Azkaban." She runs a hand through her hair, "And there were a good number of them. Even Edwin seemed surprised…" She frowns and looks to Jack. "They sent Obliviators to save us, Jack. /Obliviators/."
Holly's eyes squeeze shut, and she presses the hand that isn't holding her wand into one of them. "Okay, we can't jump to any conclusions here," she says quietly. The wheels are turning in her head, which helps her to calm down… And the chocolate will definitely help that. "Even — even if we're all thinking it. Proof should be easy to get, though. The Dementors listen to the higher-ups in the Ministry. They have for years. Now we just have to ensure that they definitely couldn't have been acting on their own — are there any identifying marks on Dementors that would designate them as being from Azkaban?" Stupid question to ask at a time like this.
At least she takes Sirius' suggestion and sits down, taking a deep breath as she does so. "And we can guess that they were after Sirius. Maybe me."
Chocolate. Where is his brain tonight? Jack has chocolate. Some of Honeyduke's best. In fact, Holly was there when he bought it. "Hold on, I've got some." He pops up to the flat again, grabbing the huge bar and a knife. When he returns, he cleans the edge of the desk with his wand and cuts four good-sized chunks from the bar. "There. I'm sorry. I totally forgot about the chocolate. By myself I do okay remembering…" He was more worried about the others and them arriving safely. That, and he's bone-tired. "Yeah. I thought O'Conner was still with the brain-wipers." He frowns. "Why them? Why not Aurors or hitwizards or cursebreakers or …" Any number of people who would've been willing to help get rid of the dark creatures. "You know…" He thinks out loud as he takes a small bite of his chocolate. "She's a damned hypocrite." He wonders if there's any way they can use that. "Dementors are darker and creepier and more dangerous than werewolves or vampires, or even the two combined." At least they weren't lethifolds. He shudders at the thought. "I don't know of any marks, Holly." It's an intriguing thought. "You know who might know, though?" He gives an oddly cheeky grin. "My dear Uncle Ichabod seemed taken with the things. He's probably had more time to study them than anyone else." Considering his 'little problem' and all.
"Brilliant use of the frog by the way. Couldn't have done better back in the day myself." Sirius reaches over and claps a hand to Tonks's shoulder, giving her a faint smile. Easy to notice by Tonks, his hand is trembling. That was too close for him, and if he never sees a Dementor again, it will still be too damn soon. The grin slides off his face, "I don't think they were there to 'save' us. The lead Obliviator.. I couldn't make out much of what he was saying.." Retracting his hand from Tonks's shoulder, he settles into a chair near Holly's, "That's a bit of stating the obvious, I think." A grateful look is given to Jack as he takes the offered chocolate, "No worries mate. That was enough to rattle the sharpest nerves." Biting off a healthy sized chunk of the chocolate, he chews it thoughtfully. Slowly, savoring, and letting it get all melty before swallowing any. "No.. I don't think they do. If they have any identifying marks, it's under their robes. They may have some varying differences, but I doubt if there'll be anything significant enough to identify them."
"They don't, not that anyone's been able to tell. You only see what's under the hood when…" You know what? Tonks is going to snag that piece of chocolate and begin chowing down on it now. Not even Sirius' praise can help her. Problem with being trained to deal with things like that is you tend to compartmentalize things until after the danger's gone. And then you unfold into a mess. "He wasn't happy," she states to Sirius. "Whatever he was there to do, he wasn't happy." She then frowns a bit to Holly. She's quiet. She regards Sirius for a long time before she speaks. "We can't prove a damn thing. Not right now. Not while she's in charge. Even /if/ she didn't send them herself, she's been wanting this trial ended and out of the way since even before it started. She'd be all for it. If she even allows acknowledgment of Dementors at all. We'd be lucky if this isn't spun into a successful escape attempt and the Dementors set upon us. AGain." Just like when Sirius escaped Azkaban.
Holly stands, pushing herself out of the chair so she can take the offered chocolate. For awhile, she just looks at it, eyes narrowed, clearly angry - so much so that her pale complexion has almost turned red. The trial was supposed to fix things. Make the people in this country not so sheeped along with whatever the Ministry says. Show them that the people in charge aren't always right. Biting her lip - hard - Holly just lets whatever tirade she's considering die, and takes a bite of her chocolate.
Time to get back into the game. "We need to go somewhere and wait this out. See how the Ministry is going to handle it," she says. "I'm open to suggestions beyond that."
Jack runs his hand through his hair, offering his own suggestion. "You know, you are making people think. A lot of people are really thinking about what's going on. It may not look like it, but I think there's a swelling of understanding." He lowers his hand back to his lap, munching on the chocolate, letting it do its work. "We could…" He frowns for a moment. "Man, I wish Rosie were here to talk to." She's so much better at the intrigue than he is. "If we could get people to think more about this. Maybe talk to one of the reporters at the Prophet? Who did that story on you, Holly? The first one?" Wheels are turning. "The one that wasn't so biased." He rolls his eyes.
Sirius crams in the remainder of his chocolate when Tonks cracks open that door of conversation. He's still pale, now that the danger has passed, and adrenaline is wearing off. "We can hide at my home in London," he starts thickly around the chocolate in his mouth, "We /might/ be looked for there, but then again perhaps not. It'll be difficult for outsiders to get in. My father and grandfather put so many spells on that place. Although, it might be more comfortable to camp out in a forest and hide. I don't think it's a good idea to hide here for /too/ long and compromise you further, Jack." Frowning some, he falls quiet as Jack speaks. "Go public with how we were ambushed.. more or less.. you mean? Could be doable. Not sure if it would hurt or help."
"People are thinking, yeah," she says absently, breaking off little pieces of the chocolate to eat. It's fairly hard to do with her wand in her hand, but Holly's still refusing to put it into her pocket. "Question is, how do we prevent the Ministry from crushing that? Telling them it's all— It's all nothing, that Sirius is the bad guy, that I'm some crackpot American?
"Rita Skeeter did the article. Interesting woman. I never know what side she's on, though." Setting the remaining chocolate in the palm of her hand, she mutters an incantation and breaks it into tiny bits. A couple fall to the floor - sorry, Jack. "She likes a good story, though." Could help.
"We can't hide anywhere that anyone would know where we are. And eventually, we're going to have to go back and finish your trial. Maybe we could go somewhere else in Europe. Or Romania. I hear there's interesting people there." Namely, vampires. Bad idea, though some of them hate the Ministry as much as anyone else, Holly's sure.
Jack frowns. "I'm not sure. I can talk to Da, but I'm not sure exactly what needs done. He might have some good ideas." Jack is the hands-on, problems-you-can-see kind of guy. He munches on his chocolate. "Well, maybe talk to O'Conner? He didn't obliviate anyone, did he? There's got to be a reason for that. Maybe he…" Maybe he developed a conscience?
"Skeeter's on the side with the worst things to say," Sirius says as he tries to stay put in his seat. The urge to pace is growing strong, even as he's still shakey. "Next stop, my place then. We can lay low for a brief period there. I've been at odds with my family so long, it's a bit like reverse psychology. I'm also not keen on leaving the country." He glances at the others in the room, tapping a foot to the floor. "Not that I noticed.. I don't think we're going to come to any terms tonight. Not that I'm saying we stop discussion." He's just having a hard time thinking at the moment, or at least organizing his own thoughts. His mind is moving in so many directions.
"I'll have to go back to work. I think I'm the most screwed. Out of all of us, I'm the only one," outside of Brandon, "That actually /works/ in the Ministry." Tonks finally pipes up. She seems to be doing a little bit better, having drank her tea, and eaten her chocolate and given both enough time to work through her system. She gives a wry smile to Sirius, "Don't worry, as long as the toad herself doesn't question me, I won't lose my temper." Because, really, she only /loses/ her temper when she realizes that everything she's saying is being used against her, regardless of what it is. "Skeeter's not entirely reliable, because she reports things that are guaranteed readers. She airs dirty laundry. But, I wouldn't count her out yet." Tonks taps her chin, "But let's wait to see what the prophet tomorrow says about what happened before we decide what we're doing about that angle."
Right about now, Holly's trying to weigh the potential good that this trial will do against the bad that it's already done. "We gotta consider all our options," she says, both disagreeing with Sirius and agreeing with Tonks. "Skeeter's easy to appeal to. If you tell her what she wants to hear." A good spin — Holly's good at that. But runaway criminals are a whole lot of fun, too! It's like a coin toss, and Rita's moods are on each side of the coin.
A silent nod indicates that she'll go along with Sirius for now. Holly's pretty sure she's not going to be sleeping, though. Hell, she can still see the Dementors when she closes her eyes. "It wasn't supposed to go this way," she says, almost out of nowhere. Sitting down again, she leans forward. "I don't understand why no one can call her on this. There's got to be more people in the Ministry than just you who knows she's out of her mind," Holly states, looking up at Tonks. "Maybe you can see what support we do have, just so we have some numbers."
"I've lost my coinage, for the most part there." Jack looks sheepish as he admits this. "At least until this blows over. But I will say," he smiles at Sirius, "it was coin well-spent." He moves to sit in his seat, pushing back on two legs. Only then does he pour himself a cup of tea, putting the requisite sugar in it. "No, you're right, Holly. It wasn't supposed to be like this. But that only means we need to work harder to make sure it doesn't stay this way." Jack has younger siblings who have to live in this world. It's his responsibility, as he sees it.
Sirius frowns and looks almost regretful as he drags both hands through his hair, "I'm sorry to drag the lot of you down with me. Although you have my gratitude, I'll find a way to repay it." Like Holly, he probably won't be sleeping either, but that's something he's adjusted to over the years. "Sometimes things turn out very little as they're supposed to," he says, sounding very much like a bitter and far older person. "Tonks, do what you have to do to keep yourself safe. If you and Jack want to run with us, the more the merrier. I'll also understand if you want to take a stand."
Tonks gives Sirius a smile, "I"ll see what the waters are like first before I make a decision. At the moment, I don't have to do anything. Considering other things," Ahem, the Order, "I need to weigh my options a little more before I make a decision. If I can, I'll try to stay," she nods to Holly about seeing who's actually in support of things, though it'll be hard as many don't want to earn Umbridge's ire, "But if I'm pushed…" She shrugs here.
It's like they've hit rock bottom, but that means it can only get better, right? Holly finishes her chocolate, the little broken pieces now so small in her hand that all that's left are slowly melting crumbs. These are disposed of - gracefully - on her robe. "I don't think we should stay here too much longer," she says. "They know we were with Jack, so this might be one of the first places they look. Sirius, you're sure your house is safe?"
"Like I say, I can head out of country for a while…" Jack shrugs. "Or, if nothing else, Mum can cover for me." He chuckles at the thought. "We can figure something out. Don't worry about me." He takes a sip of his tea, slurping slightly to deal with the heat. He glances around, and then, something strikes him. "Damn. I've got to send an owl to Madeline. She needs to stay away for a few days." He frowns, and then reconsiders. "Naw, I'll send Junior." Untraceable.
"It depends on your definition of the word 'safe'," is Sirius's matter of fact reply to Holly. "We'll be safe on the inside from what's threatening us on the out. Jack will find quite a few things of interest there." His family didn't associate with dark wizards for nothing. "There will probably be search parties of hit wizards out at this time. How long should we stay here before moving on? They can only search so many places at once, and I'm sure the scene we left is still a bit on the chaotic side."
"The moment they get who was there," Tonks says, "they'll go look at contacts and residences. We're on limited time." Which means they should probably split up and make it so there wasn't such a big gathering at the office. AS for Grimmauld? "Tell me what Aunt Wally comes up with for her, will you?" She indicates Holly before she sets about attempting to clean her mess a bit more, apparently preparing to leave.
"Aunt Wally?" Holly asks, which is the only thing she can think of amid all the other stuff. She's never been 'on the run' before, and if she didn't have this cold, prickly feeling on her neck that if she went back with Sirius, they'd both be thrown into Azkaban, she'd definitely attempt to sort things out. This'll all probably catch up with her in slightly more detail at some point in the near future, at which time, she'll have a breakdown, transfigure herself into a newt, and go live the rest of her days in a production of Monty Python's Holy Grail.
"Just be careful, everyone. We— You're sending a message with your Patronus?" Holly asks Jack. Then she looks at Tonks. You didn't teach her that!
"Yeah." Jack looks to Tonks sheepishly. Whoops. He casts the thing, and watches it bound away. "It'll take a while." He leans back, message sent. "I'd be interested in what?" He was listening, really! He promises! "Is there something I can help with?" He offers this automatically, though it's pretty clear he's exhausted. Don't mind the man about to fall asleep.
Sirius gives a wry chuckle at Tonks, "Hideous old woman. Surprised meanness didn't keep her alive. I'll take Holly with me then.. We can meet up at my place in due time then. Jack? #12, Grimmauld Place in London. I promise you won't be disappointed in the nasty things lurking in the corners of my humble abode." It's not hidden by Fidelius, but it may still be a devil to find. "We can work on that with you Miss Maplewood. It's tricky, but dead useful once you get the hang of it." Not really wanting to get up to his feet, but it's necessary if they're to get a move on. He gets up, then asks, "Jack? Have you parchment and a quill I can use? I want to send out a letter, then we should split up for now."
Tonks just blinks. "Requires the corporeal form, so I didn't think about it," she says in her defense. "It takes a bit of unlearning afterwards to learn how to do that." And considering the Patronus is advanced magic as it is… She stretches here and focuses on adopting the waif look again. It's easier this time. "I'm going straight home. It'll look less on me if I'm there when they come calling." She doesn't look forward to this though. She walks over to give Sirius a hug. "Please keep me in touch." Jack and Holly'll get a nod before she'll slip outside. A charm's cast so that the door's obscured so she can do this. Once away, she apparates out of the small village.