|Scene Title||Steel Toed Boots|
|Synopsis||After a harrowing day at court, many things are discussed.|
|Location||The Leaky Cauldron, London|
|Date||Mar 17, 1996|
|Watch For||Things that are definitely NOT discussed.|
Right in the middle of Sunday's afternoon - in the quiet lull between the lunch and dinner rushes - Siobhan Noble steps inside the Leaky and slumps into a table near the London-side windows. Once again dressed like the epitome of wealth and business, she nonetheless appears exhausted. Lifting one hand to flag down Tom on his way through, Siobhan looks up at her companion with one of those 'shoot me now' expressions and sighs. "When this war is over, remind me to take over the world and boot the entire Ministry on its arse."
Following with easy steps and a habitual hands in pockets sort of relaxed amble… is another epitome of wealth and business. “What form did they want in triplicate again? I lost track. It’s like dealing with human resources, but coupled with senility.” And yet, there’s no pained expression because Jake’s been dealing with it for years. Instead, he grins at the idea of booting the Ministry in the arse. “With steel-toed boots.” Is promised. She can expect them to arrive within three days time. Fashionable ones, too! “Just coffee for me. Black.” Is ordered, when Tom swings by their table.
"Best bring a whole pot, Tom. It's been a long day." And it's not even dinnertime yet! Leaning back in her chair, Siobhan can't quite suppress the tired snort of laughter elicited by her fiance's question. "I swear, Jake, I think they'd have me in triplicate if they could figure out how." Which means that after another long day in the interminable hearing, she's lost count of what all goes in triplicate. That's what her family pays their solicitors for. "We oughta get Mad-Eye elected Minister. He'd cut down on the bureaucratic bullshit, for sure."
“Which would mean six steel-toed boots up their arses, Siobhan. They would quickly change their minds after that.” Jake drawls in response, nearly copying her pose with the way he leans back in the chair. And like almost every dude on the planet, tipping it backwards a little. “Only reason Mad-Eye would cut down on red-tape is because it’d take him twice as long to read it and half as long to lose his temper. Once you get someone in there, they –change-.” He declares, in a faux-ominous voice, complete with air quotes. “If it makes you feel any better, it’s the same damn thing across the ocean. Just as I’m sure it is in every single blessed group of people who make decisions and don’t get paid enough to care.” What? Anybody would be cynical after dealing with the military for years. But speaking of paying people – when the pot of coffee and carafe of creamer and sugar are set down – the question is asked. “What do you think of the team we’ve put together so far. Should cut down on a bit of the crap you have to deal with to get things fixed, if it shakes out right.”
Siobhan rolls her eyes, grinning. "I should hope that with three of me working together, we'd be able to come up with something a bit more creative than 'boot up arse'. I think Sev'd have a heart attack, though." And that's just a little bit funny all on its own merit - Sio lives to give those kind of non-serious heart attacks. That carafe of coffee is attacked almost as soon as it's set on their table and once her mug is doctored to her satisfaction, Siobhan takes a long draw. "Circe, that's good." Caffeine will be the thing that lets her survive the next few years, that's for certain. "I don't doubt your experience, but I know politicians too." Her father has been a key member of the Wizengamot as long as she's been alive. One doesn't grow up in a household like that without learning a thing or two about the way the world works. "And I know old Moody. There isn't a damn thing they could throw at him that'd change that old bear." And despite the seemingly harsh words, there's real affection in her voice; she likes Moody. As for their 'team' … "There's no one I'd trust with field command more than Jethro and I suppose if Brennan would come down off her high horse once in a while she could be dead useful." Taking another drink from her mug, she muses for a long moment. "I even like my team of suits." But any team with O'Neill on it would have probably gotten on well with her. Siobhan enjoys dry humor. "But there are a couple of the kids I'd like to tap once they leave school. Tyler's Sight is strong enough I think he could learn to read objects and places too, and little Bean's got an eidetic memory and picks up new things faster than I've ever seen anyone learn anything. And the Aboriginal girl - Salmalin - she's a wildmage. Talks to critters." Some dead useful skills to have, for sure.
Jake just sighs into his coffee cup. “Creativity is over-rated when a good ass-kicking will suffice.” He realizes that sort of thing is thoroughly expected of him to say, so he tries not to disappoint. And yes, he sighed into the empty cup, waiting until she was done making cream and sugar with a bit of coffee before he pours himself something with no additives. “I’ll just go with politics is enough to make anyone go grey early – and leave it at that. I don’t intend to deal much with it anymore; I’ll leave that bit of fun to the rest of you. I just wanted to see how they’d react to you dragging along the wealthy American for display.” He admits, finding his amusement where he can. It’s a dark amusement, to be sure. “Not just an eidetic memory. Kid picked up on the best damn blind spot in the whole building with only one pass at the blueprints. Means his sense of spatial relationships is phenomenal.” To the rest he nods, ostensibly in agreement. “That’ll be up to you and Jethro alone by the time they graduate. I just wanted to be sure you had the best seed team possible to start with.” He explains, tapping his fingers against the cup before he dives on in to less friendly topics. Because he prefers to deflect! “How are you and the rest of the people we got from that house doing with your recovery? And don’t give me just the medical crap. I already read the files.”
The look Siobhan gives Jake for his dismissal of creativity is shrewd. "You don't really believe that." Expected of him or not, she's not buying it. She nods along to the rest of it, agreeing fully on Bean's potential and general all-around amazing-ness. She takes another draw from her mug, reaching for the carafe to pour another when his blunt inquiry stops her dead. For half a moment she just stares at him like a shocked bystander watching the bull leave the china shop in tatters. Perhaps realizing that yes, he did just do what she thinks he did, it's the work of half an instant only for her to shut down completely. She pours the coffee calmly, her face a creepy sort of blank. "Fine, thank you," she replies, but her tone is frosty. This is neither the time, nor the place.
“No, but it’s more fun to consider after a day of dealing with creative ways to create more paperwork.” Jake agrees, thinking fondly of days when brute force really –was- about three quarters of his options to deal with nearly any scenario presented to him. And when she stops dead, he picks up the carafe himself to finish pouring for her then sets it down. He also returns the stare, drinking down his own caffeine at a much more sedate pace. “Uh-huh.” But neither the creepy blankness or the frosty tone force him to backpedal. He’ll just wait.
That 'uh-huh' - combined with the silence after it - is all there is. Siobhan sips at her new mug of coffee with much less gusto than the first mug merited. She lets the silence fall for a little while, enjoying the peace of it after the craziness of the day. When she does speak, it's with a return of a more amicable expression and even an anticipatory smile. "I'm quite looking forward to Italy. Our family's palazzo is in Venice and it's absolutely lovely in the early spring." Before it gets too hot and humid. "Have you been before? I know overseas holidays aren't as common in America, but it really is enjoyable."
Jake seems just fine with the silence, watching her over the rim of his cup while they ride it out. “I have a villa on the Amalfi Coast.” He points out, when she speaks again but with the change in topic. One he’s more than happy to indulge. “We can keep it, so there’s a second place for people in the family to vacation at. Or, we can put it on the market. Your choice.” By which he means that it’s one of the many properties he’s left to her as part of their contract. “But I am looking forward to it, yes. There’s plenty for everyone to do – together, or separate. Once people are getting tired of seeing each other constantly. If, indeed, that happens in your family.” Dry, he wonders sometimes about that. “I thought it would be interesting to take everyone on a tour of a winery that’s a little off the beaten path. There’s a few in Umbria that will close the place off to the public and have a private tasting and dining experience set up. And since your family is big on the family dinners, it might make a nice introduction to the holiday.”
One doesn't grow up a noblewoman in the House of the Serpent without learning at least a handful of methods for dealing with social situations of varying intensities. She laughs politely when he wonders if her family ever sickens of one another and then sips again from her mug. "A winery sounds fabulous, actually. Da, Jack and I usually try to visit at least one in each of the countries we visit, but Italian wine and dinner could probably convince even Mum to come along." Pausing to consider, Siobhan watches her companion closely before commenting. "That's a gorgeous stretch of beach and coastland. Might not be a terrible idea to hold on to." Especially in case of those rare occasions where the Noble clan has an interior meltdown. Another polite sip of coffee. "What vintages is this Umbria famous for?"
“It’s a good property. It was my parents before it was mine. So if you keep it, consider passing it down to Cole at some point.” Jake suggests, glancing out the London-side window a moment before answering the question asked. “The region is best known for its Orvietto wine. A white wine, made from grapes that have been affected by muffa nobile.” A grin appears at that, and this time he looks sheepish. But just a little. “I just realized that translates to ‘noble rot’ so maybe another region would be better. I wouldn’t want your mum thinking I picked that deliberately.”
Siobhan laughs, this time from more genuine amusement than politeness - though she has the decorum and good sense to keep it quiet. "Don't worry, Mum can't speak anything but Irish Gael and the Queen's English." And even that she doesn't speak very well. "And the rest of them will think it's too funny to spoil by telling her." So they should be pretty safe. Watching the clueless passers-by out the window, Sio sips at her rapidly-cooling coffee. "When is Cole coming here?" There's a glance to her companion, but it doesn't linger. "Will we need to enroll him in Hogwarts for the autumn?"
“In that case, I will make sure it’s set up.” Speaking more of Cole, though, just has Jake looking down into the cup of sludge he’s been drinking. “He’s in Britain already; a hotel in London.” Is admitted, gaze distant when he looks out the London side windows there. “I’m trying to give him time to adjust.” Which means he’s giving himself time, of course. Plans are so easy to make, until they become reality. “And he’ll be coming with me to Italy. A more neutral ground for that first meeting. If you’d like to meet him first, in a more private setting… there’s still time.” He explains, before nodding. “Yes, he’ll need to be enrolled for the Autumn. I’m curious to hear which House he’s sorted into.”
Siobhan considers the angles and possibilities, watching Jake shift his gaze from his coffee to the London scene outside their window. Something in his demeanor touches Siobhan and she reaches out a hand to lay on top of one of his, offering a softly confident smile. "It'll be okay, Jake. I promise." She laughs a little then, shaking her head in amusement. "I'd like that, I think." The private meeting ahead of time. "It might make it easier to adjust to our particular brand of craziness if he's already comfortable with one of us - or at least familiar." Hopeless Gryffindor her American fiance might be, but she is starting to find that she likes him anyway - protective instincts already kicking in.
“Dare I ask what’s in store for us?” Jake hasn’t even met the whole family all at once; and despite the reassuring rest of her hand on top of his, something about the ‘particular brand of craziness’ makes him think he might want to take a whole case of whiskey with him. Just in case. He meets her smile though, and nods gratefully. “In any case I agree. I’ll take you to see him whenever is convenient. He’ll probably appreciate the break from homework.” Cause the private tutor Jake hired is ruthless. –Ruthless-!
Something about the wariness with which Jake asks about her family makes Siobhan laugh. "It's not like there's any murder or maiming or naked dances in the moonlight - not the right time of year for those," she teases. There really aren't any naked moonlight dances. Everyone involved would die of embarrassment. "How would this weekend be? We could take him to dinner and the cinema, if he'd like." She phrases it kind of like a question. Some kids don't like movie theatres after all.
Jake grunts when he’s laughed at – a real caveman thing to do, obviously. “That’s a shame. The guys back home will be disappointed to hear there’s no naked moonlight dances.” He can even pull a sad hangdog puppyface expression when he has to. And not even roll his eyes afterward! “This weekend is good. And if it’s an action movie, he’ll probably like you more than he does me. I make him watch comedies.”
There's a wicked twist to Siobhan's normally sweet grin. "Hey now, I didn't say there were no naked moonlight dances. Just none involving my family." For which the 'boys back home' ought to be incredibly grateful, since most of the Noble family is made up of boy-bits. "I'm a Bond fan, so if it's got huge explosions, I'm so in." It's really hard to keep a straight face when presented with Hangdog Puppyface. "How's Friday evening work?"
"Well then, he will likely be putty in your hands." Jake decides, almost drawling it. "Friday's good." He'll even endure a Bond movie for it. "I won't even nitpick what we wind up watching." Thus suggesting why he never picks one of the action movies himself. "Anything else you need to endure in London today?"
Perhaps tapping into that 'sixth sense' she has about people, Siobhan watches Jake closely. Sounds like it might be time for a compromise. "There's this new large-screen cinema that's opened in London. They can only play certain films that have been re-done special and I think the big one right now is that Braveheart movie from last year." More explosions, less modern combat. "I dunno if that'd be action enough for him, but half-naked men in blue body paint's more than enough action for me." She pretends to fan herself, trying to lighten the mood back to their earlier camaraderie. "No, I refuse to do anything else useful today except go home and take a nap." Because court sucks, yo.
Jake is probably quite willing to go with anything. He's thinking about Cole here - his own preferences he's had plenty of time to indulge. So to speak. "Braveheart. I don't think he's seen that one. Just don't point out that it's a lot of half-naked men in blue body paint that you're enjoying and I'm sure he'll be fine." smirk. He picks up the wad of napkins on the table and uses them to fan her as well. "We'll be sure to get you a really cold drink." is quipped, chuckling. "A nap. Wow, what -are- those mythical things. Do they really exist?"
Siobhan laughs easily when he plays along, tossing back the very last of her coffee and dropping a couple Sickles down on the table as she stands. "You don't say anything about the half-naked Scots and I won't say anything about the sex scene with Princess Isabella." Offering him her hand, she winks. "We'll share that cold drink, hmm?"
Jake pastes on an obviously false face that is -far too cheerful- at the mention of the sex scene with Isabella. "That's a deal I can work with." is agreed, standing up and taking the offered hand so they can present the happily engaged couple picture for people as they wander out.
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