|Scene Title||Stand Against the Dark|
|Synopsis||Jack finds Alistaire at the Leaky and they talk briefly about what they see.|
|Date||Sep 2, 1994|
|Watch For||slight interest in little sister, firm handshakes|
It is very dary and shabby inside this tiny pub, the air full of the smell of pipe smoke. A few old women sit in a shadowy corner, drinking tiny glasses of sherry. A little man in a top hat is talking to the old bartender, who is quite bald and looks like a toothless walnut. A low buzz of chatter fills the room continuously, sometimes augmented by the sounds of laughter or a scraping chair as somebody rises. Down past the end of the bar, a door leads into the small back storeroom. In the opposite direction, a small parlor branches off from the common room, and from there a handsome wooden staircase leads upwards to a hallway of rooms for rent, each bearing a brass number.
Seated in one of the dustier booths in the Leaky Cauldron is a familiar Auror. His coat's hanging from a hook on the wooden partition to the next booth, and a cup of tea is steaming away on the table in front of him. He's sitting with his back to the brick wall, feet up on the booth's bench, a book in his lap. Alistaire seems riveted to whatever he's reading, until he openly scoffs at the text. "That's not possible, even for us, whoever wrote this was an idiot." But he still keeps reading.
Jack walks into the Leaky tired and stressed. He's a bit dusty, and his hair is wild. But he finds a seat to sit down in, waving Tom over with a gesture. Tom comes and whispers something to him, and Jack nods, gets up, and moves to another table nearer Alistare. He gives the old man his food and drink order, and leans back in his chair, tipping it on to two feet. "What's impossible?"
"This witch claims she's solved the mystery of Katmandu," Alistaire says with a derisive snort, putting the book down and sampling his tea. "Tom, some chips please," he then asks the barman while the latter is nearby taking care of Jack's order. Meanwhile, he proffers the other half of the booth to Siobhan's brother with a lazy gesture. "And her proof is just a bunch of malarkey. And how're you doing, mate?"
Jack snorts. "Haven't they been claiming that since shortly after Merlin?" He moves to sit across from Alistaire with a grin. "Tired. Blasted, bloody tired. Had a small job that I thought I could just do of a morning and get done." He rolls his eyes, and snorts again, a self-deprecating smile on his face. "Of course, it's always the little things. The ones you think you can just do without much thought — those are the ones that end up biting you in the arse. What about you?" He turns in the booth seat, getting comfortable talking with the other man.
"No arse left to bite off," Alistaire replies with a shrug, his trainers looking a bit worse for wear from whatever he was doing earlier. "The Brig tried to have my guts for garters because I suggested maybe we might want to keep an eye on certain families now that the shadows are gathering." His voice is pitched low, and he watches around them to ensure no one's listening in. "Certain individuals who seem to have come away from last time around very well off indeed, very influential where they shouldn't be."
Jack understands, and agrees. "Yeah, I've noticed a bit of that, m'self." Jack's words are equally low. "If we don't watch them, the shadows'll overwhelm us, and then, where will we be?" He pauses as Tom brings their food and drink over, and then continues after the old man leaves. "I was at the cup. Bloody scary. Not that I couldn't handle myself, but I had a lady with me, and …" He frowns, looking down, then takes a long drink of the drink in front of him. Setting it back down, "I've been hearing bits and pieces for a long time, and that just capped it off for me. And when I happened to wave my arms around in front of another Auror, he said I shouldn't do that; that it looked suspicious." He rolls his eyes. "Think everything looked suspicious to him. One end of the spectrum or another for those guys. No offense to present company intended." He grins a half-grin at Alistaire.
Alistaire smirks lopsidedly over at the other man. "That's the thing, really. There are those of us who believe all hell's about to break loose again. Then there are the ones who're following Fudge's head-in-the-sand routine. They're worse than Muggles… don't want to see what's right in front of their ruddy faces." He shakes his head sadly. "It's going to get people killed again." There's a soft sorrow to that statement, a hooded look to his eyes, but he doesn't elaborate. "And I'll be damned if I'm gonna let it happen, even if I'm the only bloody Auror willing to make a stand against Voldemort." And a hush comes across the nearby portion of the Cauldron, even if no one other than Jack heard him say the name. "I don't have anything to lose."
"And I have too much." Jack says, openly, amazed and pleased at the frankness he's hearing from the man. It's like water in a dry place. "Exactly. Right now, most of the Ministry prefer Fudge's method. I think there's only a few here and there who see things as they really are. Then, you've got the damn fools stuck in the middle." As there always are in any bureaucracy. The intensity in his voice matches Alistaire's, though, for a completely different reason, probably. He takes a bite of the sandwich in front of him. "What do we do about it?"
"We do what it takes to get the job done," Alistaire says calmly and with no hesitation. "Regardless of 'official sanction'. But," he says, holding up one long and skinny finger to make a point, "we do /not/ become the enemy. It's a very thin line to cross, and sometimes, you might wonder if you've gone too far. But we're not here to let the darkness roll over the wizarding world, much less the Muggle world, without trying to fight it."
"Damn right." Jack's lips are in a thin line, and he impulsively holds out a hand for the other man to shake. "Stand against the darkness until there's no more left." A quick nod, and he smiles, tightly. "And yeah, if you're not careful to keep on the thin line, you go over and are no better than they." He sighs.
Alistaire doesn't go in for the poncy hand-shakes. He goes for the more manly grip, the clasp of warriors about to go to their doom and all that. "Here's one thing to watch out for… the Unforgiveables. If those are authorized for use, then that's over the line. But I think if you keep a half-step behind Moody, you'll probably be okay. Let him take the blast for you, keep those good looks," he says in a much lighter tone, grinning impishly.
Jack snorts, and grips the man back. "Yeah, I've run into Moody. Though, I heard rumors he's not working Auror this year." He pulls his hand back, and gives a mock pose. "Why thank you, Mister Phoenix." Gratefully, Jack accepts the infusion of humor into the conversation. "So, other than getting your arse bitten off by the Brigadier, had anything interesting happen lately?" He isn't fishing, just trying to make pleasant conversation while he eats his roast beef sandwich. Really.
"He's up at Hogwarts this year," Alistaire says with a shrug. "My niece owled me and asked me if he was safe to take classes from," he says with a smirk. "About as safe as a rabid dog, but I told her to pay attention to what he has to teach, because he knows what's what. Can't think of many witches or wizards better'n him to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts… except for me, of course," he adds, his brown eyes twinkling. "How's your sister doing?" he asks with masked indifference.
Jack's eyebrows lift. "Really." That's an interesting piece of information. The 'rabid dog' comment gets a chuckle. "Yeah. He does know his stuff. Maybe Dumbledore's got his priorites in the right place." That would not surprise Jack one iota. "Rosie? She's doing well, far as I know. I haven't been home in a couple days. Been on assignment, so I didn't hear if Mum and Da got the customary owl letting them know that she'd settled in well. She's probably right as rain, though. You know Rosie. Lands on her feet. Like a kneazle." He grins with pride.
"She's a wonder, that's for sure," Alistaire acknowledges, but he says nothing else, not wanting to show much interest in his friend. Then his gaze goes faraway again, and he falls silent, lost in his own dark thoughts.
Ali was busy, and Jack had to run, hence the brevity. Certainly more Ali / Jack RP to come!