Yes, I'm laying odds on tomorrow. So let's start tomorrow tonight.

Yes, I'm laying odds on tomorrow. So let's start tomorrow tonight.

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Yes, I'm laying odds on tomorrow. So let's start tomorrow tonight.

Post by Frank Longbottom on Mon Oct 31, 2016 6:26 pm

Frank wasn't sure, at first, what a letter from Keiran I'm-A-Headmaster-Now Hayes was doing on his desk. He would have asked how the owl had gotten in to leave it there, of course, but Mai had been over with Keiran's kids and had only just taken them back home. She had probably put it there on the way out. So he unrolled the parchment and read through it, his eyebrow lifting slowly towards his hairline.

Still. He did as he was expected to, and suggested a date, time and place for them to meet. Once Keiran and whoever he felt needed help agreed, Frank bundled himself up and made his way to a park on the edge of Reading, trusting that it would be far enough out of London that they wouldn't run into anyone they knew.

In what Frank would deem a completely unsurprising turn of events, Keiran was already standing there with his hands in his pockets, leaning back against a tree. He looked up at the sound of Frank's arrival, eyebrows lifted as if to ask whether or not the deal was still on. Frank hadn't actually decided, though, that the deal had ever been on. That wasn't how this worked.

"Hayes."

"..Frank."

The younger man would have laughed if he'd been sure that the woman in question wouldn't show up and catch him at it. The game only worked if nobody else knew the rules. Still, Keiran's choice of response was ideal, considering the alternative was practically an insult, even on a good day.

Either way, Frank lifted a bemused eyebrow, drawing a smirk from the Slytherin.

"Where is she?" He asked finally.

Keiran shrugged, glancing to the side. "She'll be here. Trust me, it's too important to her to just stand us up."

It took mere moments for Frank to feel the boredom set in, though Keiran looked perfectly dandy. As though the cold weren't beginning to set in as October neared, and as though he had nowhere to be, even though the school year was starting in just two weeks. When Keiran looked at him questioningly, Frank rolled his eyes.

"You aren't going to tell me anything? Just... at least tell me her name, so I know who I'm talking to."

"I doubt you'd know her," Keiran began vaguely, waving a hand. "She's not been around for a while. But her name is-"

There was a crack, the sound so obviously related to apparition, and - ah. There she was.

"Phaedra Rosier."

Frank watched as Keiran lifted an eyebrow, clearly pleased with his timing, before turning to look at the woman. Phaedra wasn't exactly a common name, but it took only a moment of looking at her for Frank to make the connection. A Rosier. Huh. Crossing his arms, Frank frowned deeply. Luke had had a thing for her at some point or other, he recalled, and any reminder of Luke was a negative one after what the other man had done.

After a moment, he cleared his expression and let it morph back into something more neutral, if not vaguely pleasant. He very rarely got past that sort of thing, besides, so he doubted his apparent apathy would be expected.

"Y'alright, then?" Keiran asked, tilting his chin down despite the lift of his eyebrows, passing her some sort of pointed look that Frank, bizarrely, couldn't decipher. That truth bothered Frank excessively, so his eyes flicked between the pair of them curiously. What was this, then?

"Are we going to have a chat about the weather, then, or shall we get on with business?"
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Re: Yes, I'm laying odds on tomorrow. So let's start tomorrow tonight.

Post by Phaedra Rosier on Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:09 am

Phaedra had taken Keiran’s advice to play the damsel in distress very, very seriously.

Of course, she knew what he’d meant by that didn’t necessarily extend to her appearance. But as used to navigating the pitfalls of polite society as she was, she was wise enough to know that acting the part would be ineffective if one didn’t also look it. Admittedly this particular part was unfamiliar to her (so she liked to think). She had never actively tried to appear weak or vulnerable. Feminine- yes, beautiful- of course, elegant- always, but frailty was something that had never entered the equation.

In the end, however, it hadn’t required much thought at all.

Since muggles were weaker, logic seemed to dictate that muggle clothes would appear altogether more vulnerable than robes. And, of course, there shouldn’t be any hint of danger nor too obvious a display of wealth or privilege. So a fitting outfit had been found- one more in the style of her girlier, wilier cousin Caterina than herself. A dainty white dress with a short, floaty skirt that swished around her legs as she moved, hair falling in loose golden curls around her shoulders, green eyes accentuated by sooty lashes and a Glamour- though that aspect of her appearance didn’t strictly require any enhancement. A small pearl dropping from each ear and an unobtrusive one dipping into her neckline. And the final touch- a soft white coat to keep out the cold, because nothing said helpless like not even knowing to cast a Warming Charm.

All in all far more delicate than she usually looked, or at all preferred to. Younger, softer, and… sweet.

Yes, definitely sweet. She surveyed herself in the mirror with a healthy dose of satisfaction, running her wand over the dress to iron out any missed creases, casting the usual charms on her heels to ensure they didn’t pinch or snap. They, too, were toned down, looking slightly less lethal and providing less drastic a height boost. As long as it didn’t rain (or snow- this was Britain, after all), Phaedra was confident that it would more than do the job. It would be a diversion if nothing else, and if Keiran was right and it did help then all the better.

Of course, she knew this would all be unimportant if she wasn’t just as charming in behaviour as in appearance. So, she’d firmly decided there would be none of the brusqueness the younger Hayes had been so unexpectedly exposed to last time. No, Phaedra was determined to be every inch the winning, down-on-her-luck socialite.

After all, this mysterious friend couldn’t be anywhere near as trying as Keiran was, could he?

So, looking far too summery for the tail end of the season and emitting a glow that spoke of sunnier days than those Britain boasted, Phaedra turned on her heels and landed rather neatly in the park that was their meeting point. She wasn't even that late. Not fashionably so, anyway, though of course still late enough to ensure her presence was awaited.

She spotted the two men almost immediately, a short distance from her. Not for the first time, she wondered what exactly it was this friend did that required meeting in such an out of the way spot. Crossing over to them, she turned first to Keiran, who was shooting her a pointed look with his greeting that was entirely unnecessary, really. It was as if he had no faith in her ability to be charming, patient, and completely, utterly benign- oh, wait.

In any case, any other situation she would have simply matched his eyebrow raise and said as much. Instead-

“Terrific. Well, all things considered.”

She smiled winsomely, just in case her entirely altered demeanor wasn’t assurance enough, before transferring the full force of her wide, uncharacteristically earnest gaze to his companion. She was glad, almost, that he wasn’t expecting any menial small talk. Not that it called for such abruptness, but that was all water off a duck’s back today. At least he’d abandoned the earlier defensive stance (a good sign, she could only hope).

“Oh yes, of course. I can't tell you how glad I am you’ve agreed to this meeting. I’m not sure what I would have done otherwise. I’ve been at a total loss and your mysterious abilities have been very highly recommended by the charming Mr. Hayes.”

The words were punctuated by a worried frown, though she allowed a small quirk of her lips to match the quirk of her head in Keiran’s direction. But her eyes remained firmly on the other man, expression carefully schooled into one of open hopefulness. Upon closer inspection he looked rather familiar, though it wasn’t at all a memorable face.

Well, whatever connection she had to him she’d find out soon enough. He, apparently, wasn’t the epitome of social grace. But she was, and an introduction was definitely in order. So she held out her hand and smiled prettily.

“But it’s lovely to finally meet you, Mr…”
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Re: Yes, I'm laying odds on tomorrow. So let's start tomorrow tonight.

Post by Frank Longbottom on Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:41 am

Frank didn't like this anymore. And it had only just begun. She was polite enough, though curiously dressed for a walk about in a park during this time of year. But what he didn't like, actually, wasn't Phaedra. No.

It was Keiran bloody Hayes.

In fact, it was the way that Keiran's body language changed when the woman walked over, opened her mouth, and spoke. It was very strange. It was like... something had pleased him. She had done something right. But, worse than that, Keiran flinched. When she called him charming, he flinched. Not in an insulted sort of way. But like he was trying too hard not to seem surprised.

Frank's expression didn't change, really, from his unamused nature. But his words were cold when they escaped.

"Charming. Interesting." His eyes flicked over to Keiran. "I don't think I've heard someone call him that in... Well... Months."

The last four letters were drawn out pointedly, and Keiran's face fell to one of near betrayal. His jaw was tight, as if he were pressing his tongue against the back of his teeth. It was an obvious jab, and Keiran knew exactly what that meant, Frank was sure. Nothing - nothing - else could've explained Frank's assumption and the callousness that was directed at his work partner of sorts. He wasn't sure what Jack would have called them, but that was the closest term he could come up with.

But this woman? What in Merlin's name was this? Frank could not believe that Keiran was that sort of person. And yet, this girl - this blonde, of all things, was practically flirting with him, regardless of Millie. Everyone knew by now that Keiran had a type. And that behavior wasn't something Frank could condone, whether or not Keiran had asked for it. Just a few months, and he was already 'charming' his way into some other woman's life.

What a cad.

But Keiran didn't say anything. Frank assumed that Keiran felt he was too smart to try and deal with him. But who really knew when it came to Hayes anymore? Keiran just let Phaedra step forward to ask, though subtly, for his name.

Frank turned his gaze away from Keiran, his whole head lifting and falling a little as he moved, making it clear just how unamused he was when the movement stopped suddenly and he zeroed in on her. But his hand reached out regardless. "Frank Longbottom. Go ahead and leave the last name off, though. To be fair, it isn't a great one."

"Oh, I don't know," Keiran spoke finally, his voice falsely casual as he shifted his weight, "I find it rather... Charming."

Frank gave a brief, uninterested laugh. A 'hah,' if you will, reader. One that said everything Keiran needed to know. So when Frank drew his hand back to his side, he decided not to continue to test the waters. He could address things with Keiran later if they kept getting worse. Though 'worse,' arguably, was a relative term.

"I can assure you, darling, that I can handle whatever the problem is. But I don't take jobs lightly. I assume Keiran would have mentioned that. So how about you explain to me what you need, and I'll let you know if I find it worth my time."

Sure, he saw the disapproval on Keiran's face. But it wasn't as if Keiran hadn't just seen Frank's, so what did it matter?
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Re: Yes, I'm laying odds on tomorrow. So let's start tomorrow tonight.

Post by Phaedra Rosier on Thu Nov 03, 2016 5:45 am

[Godmod warning? Possibly?]

Longbottom.

An unfortunate name. One she definitely recognised. She distinctly recalled that Luke Avery used to hang around with one Frank Longbottom in school, presumably the very same man she now faced.

A Longbottom. She was asking- and likely accepting- help from a Longbottom.

Though the plan had been for her performance to hoodwink Frank into offering assistance, Phaedra couldn’t help but feel like she’d been tricked herself. It was a purposeful omission on Keiran’s part, she was sure. At the very least, a gross oversight.

Surely this must change things. She couldn’t honestly be expected to throw in her lot with a blood traitor, could she?

Hadn’t she done that already, though?

Incredibly, that wasn’t even the main issue. No, the main issue was the undercurrent of animosity jolting between the two men that only a fool could miss. And Phaedra was no fool.

Keiran was annoyed, that much was clear. Someone more insecure might have picked up on his repetition of her own words and concluded rather fairly that they were both simply mocking her, a shared joke between buddies at the expense of a clueless stranger. But insecurity was foreign to this particular female, and observance was not. The pointed reference to the months passed (since his divorce, of course- what else?), and the icy tone, coupled with Keiran’s silence told her- not everything she needed to know, but enough. Keiran wasn’t annoyed at her (miraculously, perhaps, but how could he be? Her performance was exemplary), but at his friend. And his friend-

Phaedra did not like Frank Longbottom.

Not that she liked any Longbottom, by default, but this particular one had managed to turn her opinion in a way few strangers did. It might have been the way he was so obviously not one to play the game of social niceties that she navigated so well. It might have been the way he had no qualms about being snide so publicly to a friend (briefly, she did wonder that despite the differences in social status, catty, unfriendly friendships seemed to be a common thread tying all classes together). Valid reasons, both.

But no, it was in fact the way he addressed her like she was no more than the image she was putting on so perfectly- a clueless, helpless, desperate socialite. Not that he had any way of knowing otherwise, of course. But it infuriated her. And more than anything, it was the way he phrased his question like a challenge, as if she had something to prove to him.

She should have expected nothing less from a friend of Keiran’s after the near interrogation she had been subjected to in their last meeting. But this was not the last meeting. And Keiran might not exactly be charming (it was more than just a stretch, for sure), but his friend was definitely, most certainly not at all. Not nearly enough to justify her continued good behavior.

There was only a split second to make her decision. She studied both men carefully, all the while maintaining a pleasant expression.

After a beat, she simply smiled.

“Well, Frank, perhaps you just haven’t been asking the right people. Charm largely feeds on the company it's given. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Her tone was light, the delivery airy, the small laugh a foil for the words themselves. Friendly, almost. She continued in this way even as she felt a distinct urge to kick them both in the shins, or something equally ridiculous. It surprised her, how satisfying the thought was.

"It's rather a long story, I'm afraid. Perhaps we should sit while I try to explain it to you. There's a table just there that will do nicely-"

She didn't wait for either of their responses, turning and leading them to the wooden slab that was a muggle excuse for a picnic table. The benches would be damp, of course, because this was Britain and it was September, but nothing an Exaresco wouldn't fix. At least it would buy her enough time to ensure she didn't let the mask drop no matter how tempting the prospect was.

And it was so, so tempting.


Last edited by Phaedra Rosier on Mon Nov 07, 2016 12:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Yes, I'm laying odds on tomorrow. So let's start tomorrow tonight.

Post by Keiran Hayes on Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:31 am

Keiran desperately wished that they had planned this better than they apparently had. Perhaps he wouldn't have wanted to legitimately snort at her continued assurance that Keiran could be charming when he wanted to be. That, he felt certain, was a jab at him that Frank wouldn't understand, but he knew well enough that it was one he had earned.

He stayed quiet again, though. Until they moved to sit down, that is. He made a point of walking past her before sitting on the other side, muttering to her as he passed. "Too smooth."

She could interpret that as she wished to, but Keiran chose to believe that she would understand what he meant. Frank was more observant than she seemed to give him credit for, and that in itself was daunting. Keiran didn't have even half the stakes in the scheme that she did, yet she didn't seem to be playing it right.

Frank followed behind them, sitting down directly across from Phaedra. He didn't wait for her, though, as if he could sense Keiran's anxiety about the whole thing.

"Alright, mate. What's the problem?"

"It's about her uncle," Keiran confided, leaning forward. "Once her-" he paused, glancing her way not entirely for dramatic effect, "her father passed, her uncle refused Phaedra access to her home and her inheritance. All of it, gone. We want your help."

"On which part? The home or the money?" Frank asked, serious now. "And how far are you willing to go, lass?"

"Are you asking because you think it'll make you more money? It isn't like you need it."

Frank gave a derisive laugh at that. "True. But, still. If you were the one asking, Hayes, I'd demand double."

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Re: Yes, I'm laying odds on tomorrow. So let's start tomorrow tonight.

Post by Phaedra Rosier on Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:05 pm

Too smooth? Too smooth? How could there even be such a thing? Was it that she was being too nice or too polished?

Keiran’s little warning baffled her, and as a result annoyed her more than he probably intended. She wanted to snap back that perhaps he ought to make his mind up. Really, he should have considered who it was he was dealing with when he gave her that advice in the first place. Smooth was second nature.

It did occur to her, however, that that level of charm was probably lost on these two, the implication being that she’d have to tone it down if she wanted Frank to bite. Though truthfully, she hadn't thought a casual, offhand descriptor could be such a problem. It was just polite. But she certainly didn’t intend to let all her hard work go to waste, and definitely not because of one silly little word.

Phaedra didn’t even know where to begin with how she was feeling about the whole thing and the two men. They were both being juvenile, though Frank seemed to have a special talent for it. Whatever his problem with Keiran was. Because she didn’t understand, either, what on earth was going on between them, and why they were both so riled up.

But this time, she didn’t care at all about their bickering. In fact, she was rather of the mind that she was the one who needed to be paid for her time, if this was what she had to put up with. So she just focused on looking as small and worried as possible while Keiran explained the situation to Frank. She should have been annoyed that he was revealing her problem so easily, and she was, but she was also strangely grateful that she didn’t have to say it herself. Once was enough.

It did puzzle her that he'd made the request shared rather than presenting it as exclusively her problem. But something told her it wouldn't be wise to dwell on that at all. What difference did it make, anyway?

She didn’t smile this time. Keiran wanted subtle. So she was as direct as possible, only letting a measure of uncertainty seep into her words, which wasn’t even entirely fake.

“Fortunately, I’m the one asking. And I can assure you that payment won’t be an issue, if you’re successful. But I’m afraid my home might be beyond even your expertise. The money, however, is being kept in a high security vault at Gringotts with the usual enchantments and protections, and more gold than I’d wager you’ve seen in your entire life, Mr. Longbottom. Though I must confess I don’t see how it’d be possible to access it, short of my uncle himself walking in there to retract his earlier instructions.”

The next words were completely genuine. She leaned forward just a fraction, her brow creased in understated concern, voice soft, eyes hopeful, fixed on Frank.

“If I knew it would work, I’d go to the ends of the earth. But I was hoping you could provide a shortcut.”

And that wasn't even smooth. It was just the truth.
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Re: Yes, I'm laying odds on tomorrow. So let's start tomorrow tonight.

Post by Frank Longbottom on Sat Nov 12, 2016 6:27 am

"More?" Frank asked eagerly, looking exactly as he felt: like she had no idea who she was talking to. "I certainly hope so. I'd love to see how that's possible."

"You live like a pauper, Frank. What could you possibly want that money for?"

Keiran wasn't wrong to ask, Frank supposed. It was part of his whole 'deal,' as one might say, so although Keiran knew better, he didn't understand the reasoning behind it. And Frank certainly wasn't going to try and explain himself to a man like Hayes. So he looked down for a second, surprisingly sober as he ran his tongue across the front of his upper teeth. When he looked up again, it was with a tilted head and a reluctant expression.

"How about you let me worry about that."

It wasn't a question. It was a request, and that tone so rarely came out of Frank Longbottom's mouth that Keiran couldn't push the issue. Frank looked away again, turning to Phaedra that time. Her claims were almost definitely problematic, but her desperation was of course quite evident. And desperation meant good things were on the way for men like Frank.

"Will you do it?" Keiran asked finally.

Frank narrowed his eyes at Phaedra, taking a second to consider it. Out of the corner of his eye, Frank saw Keiran tense, his gaze darting between the two of them. It was time to put them out of their misery, it seemed.

"I'll do it. But I'm going to start with the house bit. I think you'll find that my... skills," he twisted his wrist, waving a hand around, "extend beyond your imaginings."

Frank glanced at Keiran, an eyebrow lifting. It only took a moment for Hayes to catch on, and Frank had to admit he was surprised. At least he didn't have to spell it out this time.

"Oh, bollocks," Keiran grumbled, rolling his eyes. "Go ahead, then."

Grinning rather madly, Frank leaned forward on his elbow, his chin settling in his palm as he squinted at Keiran, focusing on little things here and there. Keiran blinked slowly, clearly annoyed but not bothering to fight it. His lips thinned into a line, though, and Frank focused in on that for a moment before sitting up and assuming the same posture that Keiran had.

Frank's lips flattened, though the corners tilted down a bit, and one eyebrow twitched upwards. And then he lifted a hand and gestured towards Keiran, who sighed heavily before doing as he knew he was expected to.

"What's your name, then?" He asked reluctantly, undoubtedly wishing he hadn't been made the subject of this game.

"Keiran Hayes," Frank returned, his voice dropping and a blatant level of pride shining through. "I teach Transfiguration at Hogwarts, though I've been made Headmaster now."

"Been there long enough," Keiran muttered, pulling one of Hayes' signature smirks from Frank. The Slytherin himself bristled.

"About bloody time, I'd say." Turning to Phaedra, he grinned devilishly - which was an adjective Frank didn't doubt Keiran avoided, but one that he himself knew to be quite accurate. Probably purposeful, if subconscious, too.

"You've made your point," Keiran grumbled, uncomfortable with the thought that he was so easy to match, but also that he came off as such a jerk, apparently.

"Have I?" Frank asked, refusing to drop the act. "I think it's safe to say, Ms. Rosier-"

Keiran visibly tensed and Frank's lips twitched upwards at the sides, an eyebrow following suit as well.

"-that I may be able to help with your problem. Add some polyjuice potion and a bit of time to study your uncle, and it would be simple to form a plan."

"When," Keiran cut in, "do you intend to make this plan?"

Frank finally let it go, relaxing into his own, far more casual posture. "Damned if I know, mate. I have a couple people that could be coerced into helping, but we'll need time. And a safe place to discuss quite literally breaking the law."

Tilting his head to either side, Keiran shrugged. "I wouldn't worry about the last part." At that, he turned towards Phaedra, an almost-smirk rising to the surface despite how heated their argument had been the last time it was referenced. Frank didn't even want to know what that look was about.

Instead, he just nodded, his lower lip pushing forward slightly in an impressed sort of expression as he did so. His gaze settled on Phaedra just as Keiran's had, though only slightly less amused. "Then, as long as you're ready for it, darling, we'll get to work."
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Re: Yes, I'm laying odds on tomorrow. So let's start tomorrow tonight.

Post by Phaedra Rosier on Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:21 am

Phaedra didn’t say anything while Frank studied her, nor did she hesitate to meet his gaze. Attention had never been a cause of discomfort for her and this was no exception. Part of it must have been that she suspected it was too late to influence his decision, for he seemed the type of man whose impressions were quickly made, and so there wasn't much more to do than keep quiet and hope for the best.

He was also the type to overestimate his own abilities, apparently, because he’d taken her comment about her home being out of reach as a challenge rather than the warning it was. Of course she wanted the scheme to succeed, and some part of her did want to give Longbottom a challenge, or at least test just what he was capable of. Perhaps it would have been easier to go with the wards, given they were at least accessible. But she doubted he had the knowledge or patience to deal with them. More than that, she dreaded having to go there again herself. The confession she’d made to Keiran hadn’t been a lie. She was scared, and the thought of revisiting the manor unsettled her in a way not much did.

Frank and Keiran’s interaction was sufficient distraction from this train of thought, and she watched, initially with confusion, then with a mix of surprise and bemusement playing out on her features. Amused as she was by Frank’s imitation and Keiran’s evident discomfort with it, she didn’t make a show of humour beyond a raised eyebrow and lips rolled inwards to prevent them curving.

She followed Frank's movements with a discerning gaze before transferring her attention to his appearance, analysing his face and clothes. It only reaffirmed her initial impression that he didn’t look remarkable, but entirely nondescript- which it suddenly struck her was undoubtedly an advantage in his line of work.

Then he turned to her and it was stranger than she could have expected. Keiran had never grinned at her the way Frank did in imitation of the older man, yet the gesture was entirely him. Phaedra found that she wanted to see it on Keiran- purely to confirm the accuracy of Frank’s impression, though somehow she felt certain he’d captured it perfectly.

In any case, humour from the Irishman seemed unlikely at that moment, as on edge as he seemed to be. But even when he finally relaxed and sent her the barest hint of a smirk, Phaedra didn’t let her gaze linger at all, instead turning to Frank just as he made to address her. Once he had, she couldn’t stop her eyes from flicking back to Keiran’s uncertainly. She wasn’t really sure why they did. Truthfully, she wasn’t all too comfortable relying on a perfect stranger, no matter how trustworthy he was professed to be. Taking Keiran’s word for it required a leap of faith she didn’t have much practice with. Still, she couldn’t see that she had any choice at this point, and there wasn’t much he could do about it, anyway.

At least hesitation was one thing she wouldn’t have to fake.

Grudgingly, she had to admit Longbottom had a knack for whatever it was he’d just done. More than that, he had a talent, which demanded some sort of respect, if nothing else. She didn’t have to trust him. She just had to trust that he was good at what he did, and the last couple minutes had been proof enough of that.

After a few seconds, she nodded.

“I’d rather not waste any time. There is, however, the small issue of my uncle’s whereabouts, which I’ve been unable to ascertain. You’ll have to track him down before you can do any studying. He spent most of my teenage years abroad, though he returned four years ago and must have stayed long enough to set up the wards and secure the vaults. I suspect he may have left the country again, but if you’re going to look for him, it might help to know…”

She trailed off, searching in her coat pockets for something to spare. Luckily, a stray hairpin saved her earrings this time and she set it on the table, watching as it stretched and flattened into a small square of paper at the tip of her wand. Words slowly appeared on it, the neat cursive spelling out Eirion’s name, age, a brief physical description and a list of other relevant details for Longbottom’s benefit. She didn’t look at either of them as she set her wand down, pushing the paper across the table to Frank after a few moments' hesitation.

“As for the wards…”

Much as she hated to return to that topic, and reluctant as she was to encourage Longbottom’s foray into her old home, she knew she had to cooperate on some level if she wanted him to have a chance of success. Not that she believed he would with this particular issue, but perhaps he would surprise her. Or- more likely- perhaps it would be better to let him see for himself.

Either way, there was nothing else for it.

“You won't be able to find the manor alone. The original wards make it Unplottable for those with... less than pure blood. You'll need me to accompany you, or another pureblood familiar with the location to escort you to the perimeter. I'm not sure how long you'll need to prepare, but whenever you're ready, I suppose."

She took care with the wording so as not to offend- purely out of politeness, rather than any sense of guilt- but her tone wasn't apologetic. He'd offered, after all. And she couldn't be sympathetic when she knew that her grandmother- and her great-grandfather, too- would be turning in her grave at what she'd just suggested. A Longbottom on Rosier land? It was inconceivable.

And yet she was doing it. How peculiar.

"Well if that's all, gentlemen..." She stood up and stepped away from the table, pulling her coat tighter around her. Her posture, ever impeccable, didn't change, but something about her seemed have to perked up in the time that had passed. She shrugged her hair back over her shoulders, the smile she sent them slightly less forced than usual- slightly, but perceptible.

"It was a pleasure meeting you, Mr. Longbottom. And Keiran- you will keep me updated, won't you? I'll be expecting an owl once we can get started."
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Re: Yes, I'm laying odds on tomorrow. So let's start tomorrow tonight.

Post by Barnaby Fontaine on Sat Nov 19, 2016 8:16 am

It's aces, I feel, so shut up and deal.

Barnaby pulled a headphone from his ear, cutting off half of the sensory overload that he had provided himself with by turning the music up much too loud. In London, though, it wasn't enough to just have the music on; it had to be blasting. He had taken to listening to the sort of music that his grandad might have loved, back in the day, had he listened to much English music. Sure, it was a modern piece from an American television show, but it had that feeling, walking Barnaby gently down memory lane.

Well, perhaps "gently" was a questionable way of putting it. Particularly given how heavy the instrumental backing of the song seemed to weigh on him as it played over the honking and speeding of the cars, not to mention the bustling people, animals and machines around him.

But he did, indeed, take one headphone out when he heard someone scream. Or he thought he had, anyway.

Frowning, Barnaby looked about, stopping and earning himself an angry curse and a shove from the man that had been walking behind him. Barnaby wasn't exactly intimidating, so he figured it was impossible to avoid such things when a bigger, frightening man was the other party involved.

But when he did look around, Barnaby didn't see anything out of the ordinary. Perhaps he had imagined it. But what a strange thing for his mind to conjure up - particularly given how little he watched television as of late. Books, on the other hand...

The headphone was nearly back up to his ear when he heard it again. That time, the people around him slowed down as well, and Barnaby's attempted step forward was halted. And then people were running, literally knocking him into the round, red post drop for the Royal Mail, and Barnaby could only stare as the sidewalk cleared. When he turned around, he saw a furious redhead, waving a -- stick?

"Frank, you dimwit!"

Barnaby followed her line of sight to a man who looked somewhere around Barnaby's own age, who also had a stick of some variety in hand, but who was most definitely bleeding. The redhead approached him, jerking Frank's hand away from his face and pointing the stick at him. In an instant, the blood was gone and his nose looked normal again. Barnaby's mouth fell open.

"What the-?"

Both strangers turned suddenly, catching his voice before he could cut himself off. He felt rather like a child that had just been caught out nicking sweets before dinner, and simply stood there with one arm gripping the post drop, massively frightened eyes, and a jaw trying to reach the pavement.

"Oh, Merlin," the redhead said with a frown. "They'll be here soon. To obliviate him."

Barnaby didn't know what she meant, but he knew it was about him, and all that did was make him even more frightened.

The bloke, though. Frank. He squinted at Barnaby for a moment.

"Do I know you?" Frank asked, taking a step forward.

Barnaby shook his head fervently. "I'm pretty sure I would remember you," he said finally, unable to properly close his mouth.

"Oh, I doubt it, mate."

"Don't tease him, Frank."

Barnaby wanted to run. Badly. But she had just taken away Frank's injury, somehow, and Barnaby was clearly either dreaming or someone had slipped something in his drink while at lunch.

"AH!" Frank exclaimed, making the redhead and Barnaby, both, jump. "I know. You're working at the museum. Oh, Merlin, what's it called...?"

"I'm not working there," Barnaby corrected uselessly.

"Well, whatever it's called. But I was there the other day and I saw you working there. You're the curator bloke, yeah?"

Barnaby frowned. "Well, not for that museum, but yeah kind of."

The redhead nudged Frank but he ignored her. "So, you do the security stuff? Or not really?"

"Um," Barnaby flummoxed, looking between the two of them. "Well, I understand it but I'm not in charge of it. I don't see what-"

"I'll take it!" Frank declared, grinning like a madman. Barnaby wasn't sure that the other man wasn't one, really.

"Frank, what are you on about?" the woman let out finally, waving her arms to either side.

"It's nothing, Mai. But you'd best leave now if you don't want to get in trouble at work."

"Why?" Mai questioned nervously, glancing towards Barnaby again.

Frank shrugged, then turned towards the Frenchman. "If I said magic was real-"

"Oh my god."

The redhead rolled her eyes, turned, and -- bleeding disappeared.

Barnaby nearly fell on his arse at that. Thank goodness for the post drop. He muttered a prayer in French, finding himself oddly drawn to such an action after something like that. No, this was definitely a dream. It was fine. He'd wake up. Barnaby closed his eyes tightly, pinched himself, but didn't jerk and sit up in bed. No, he jerked because a hand had reached out to shake his shoulder.

Frank's hand. Brilliant.

"Seriously, mate. I don't mean to overwhelm you, but it's a bit of a quick decision you've got to make here. Do you want to know about magic, and help a friend of mine get her inheritance back, or do you want your memory wiped? I won't force you, obviously, but you have to decide-"

Barnaby heard a strange sort of cracking noise down the street.

"-right now."

Barnaby blinked, frowned, and then said the damnedest thing.

"I want to know."

--

Keiran heard a very similar sound a few moments later, and as he walked into the hall to see which of them had arrived, he saw the most green human being he'd ever laid eyes on. And then that green man actually was sick on the tiled floor of his entryway.

"Frank, what the fu-?"

"Calm down. I'll fix it."

Frank swept his wand through the air, ridding Keiran's floor of the vomit even as the green man slid down the wall and onto the floor, looking like he was tempted to do it again.

"What's this, then?" Keiran demanded.

"This is-.. Actually. Hold on." Frank turned to Greenie. "What's your name?"

The man looked afraid to open his mouth, but he managed to blurt out his name before he covered his face again with his hands.

"This is Barnaby," Frank went on, as if he'd known all along. "And he's going to help us."

"He's a Muggle."

Barnaby looked up sharply, taking it as an insult despite obviously not understanding it. Perhaps, Keiran mused, the man thought it was an Irish thing. Barnaby clearly had some strange accent beneath his London one, but Keiran couldn't place it.

"Yeah."

Frank didn't make any sort of face, really. Just a sort of casual affirmative. Keiran's eyebrows pulled together.

"Alright.."

And from there, Keiran had to figure out where to put the guy, and how to calm him down. It took a very, very large amount of convincing, but they got Barnaby to the couch while Keiran went down the hall to set the spare room up for him. Whoever this guy really was, Keiran doubted he'd be able to handle all of their vocabulary, nonetheless actual magic. He was about to let out a heavy sigh when he heard Frank let out an expletive and another cleaning charm. The unruly neatfreak within him gave Keiran a positively terrified shudder and - unbelievably - he was looking forward to Phaedra arriving. At least it would be a change of pace.

So he went to find a potion to calm Barnaby's stomach, only to find that the man refused to take it. What in Merlin's name had he gotten himself into?
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Re: Yes, I'm laying odds on tomorrow. So let's start tomorrow tonight.

Post by Phaedra Rosier on Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:47 am

In a far less muggle corner of the city, the morning had started off surprisingly sunny for an equally surprisingly good-tempered witch.

Phaedra had woken up to the pale yellow fingers of watery English sunlight poking through the curtains, reaching across the small desk and spilling onto the wooden slats, and just that one peep of brightness had been enough to bolster her entire mood. Despite the lumpy mattress and the cold water, both of which she'd finally grown accustomed to ending and beginning the day with, respectively, and despite the rather unbelievable task that lay ahead. All that was set aside for simple enjoyment, because it had been a while since she'd witnessed even the promise of warmth- not since she'd swapped the sultry Italian summer for the very grey, dreary London streets.

Not that she'd even meant to come back to the capital, but that was a whole other basket of worries.

But this sunny, promising morning, Phaedra was awaiting a letter. One the thought of which only served to improve her mood as she was rather impressed, yet again, by her own resourcefulness and tactical thinking. If she was fortunate enough, at least one part of her troubles would have a good chance of being solved without having to resort to law-breaking and conspiring.

When the blasted owl- now tentatively the blasted owl, Hemera- finally clattered through that same window, a much less welcome visitor than the morning sunshine, these hopes would be doused in the very cold light of reality, a far more fickle friend than even British sunbeams.

The owl dumped the missive rather unceremoniously into her owner's coffee and flapped across to her perch, claws painfully catching on a lock of blonde hair on her way to the feeding tray in a move Phaedra considered a little too routine to be accidental.

She brushed her hair behind an ear, unfolded the embossed parchment, and read:

Niece,

How pleasant to hear from you, after all these years. Provence is beautiful in the summer and I daresay France is much more pleasant than England, in these uncertain times. High society is quite booming, though these days I find I much prefer the peace and quiet of the manor, where only the old house-elf may bother me. A foul creature, but remarkably industrious. I do not see the need to uphold my dear husband’s family tradition quite yet.

In answer to your request, I hold no ties to the old Rosier Estate in Buckinghamshire, though as you know both I and your great-grandfather spent our childhood there. Gerardus left it to Evan and I was given the French manor, where I reside. You may very well come here if you so wish as there are no enchantments to my knowledge that will keep a Rosier off Rosier land- save for those who choose to sully their name or blood. I daresay these are new wards that Eirion has established. Heirless and wifeless, I cannot say what he hopes to achieve.

It is a bad business with your family, ever since Gerardus’ eldest grandson and that horrid scandal he brought upon our heads. As I remain in France for my few final years, I regret I am unable to return to England and address my nephew on your behalf. I can only offer you these words of advice: Marry pure and marry well. An heir will tie you to the fortune you seek.

My very best,
Druella Malvolia Black

The last paragraph more than confused her, because as far as she knew, Eirion had never been particularly scandalous. Or at all, really. All her uncles had toed society’s very narrow line a little too faithfully her whole life. She couldn’t recall any ‘horrid scandals’, not in her time.

And the suggestion Druella had so helpfully provided was laughable. In fact, Phaedra did allow herself a scornful little chuckle as she read over the lines again. Marriage, really. Nothing about her current situation made marriage to her an appealing prospect for any British purebloods, and she wasn’t ready to give up her little venture, which was what marrying any of the eligible Italian gentlemen would require. She was almost a little too old to be playing the coy debutante, besides.

And actually, she didn’t much fancy the prospect. If she were honest with herself- which was proving a challenge, admittedly- she did relish the little freedom absolute destitution had afforded her. Not enough for it to outweigh the perks of not being an outcast, but independence was something she'd grown surprisingly fond of.

Still, something niggled at the back of her mind. It wasn't anything to do with those two qualms, but whatever it was escaped her. Had Druella spoken some sort of sense that she wasn't picking up on?

No, she decided. Her great aunt was going senile. At her age, it was to be expected. It certainly explained why she preferred staying alone in France with only a house-elf for company over coming back and helping h-

Of course.

House-elves.


A few hours later, once she'd picked up the copies she'd managed to track down of a horde of previous bank statements but failed to find any evidence at all of her father's will, Phaedra checked the time and deemed it late enough in the afternoon to head to Keiran's without having to twiddle her thumbs and make stilted conversation until the others arrived.

She didn't know who would be joining them, of course, but she'd already decided she wouldn't be continuing the charade she'd had to pull with Frank. Not clothing-wise, at least. Because despite the fragile sunlight and cloudless skies the tail-end of September was still remarkably chilly, and so Caterina's wardrobe had been categorically confined to the bottom of her suitcase until the next possibility of Mediterranean warmth. Today, her usual get-up would have to do, if not her usual behaviour.

She wasn't actually devoting much thought to such petty concerns because she was far too excited about the discovery she believed she'd made. Though her initial plan had been struck down, the realisation Druella's letter had triggered was almost enough to make up for it. It was a change from frustrating helplessness, at any rate.

Since the wards had finally been lifted for her, she apparated neatly from Diagon Alley into the familiar foyer, expecting the sharp crack to herald her arrival and elicit some sort of greeting. But the hall remained empty, faint murmurings of conversation floating down from the living room. So, Phaedra simply showed herself in, following the wave of voices. The light clicking of heels across the tiles would be indication enough, anyway, if the louder noise hadn't been enough.

They definitely weren't loud enough to muffle the conversation as she got closer- there seemed to be some kind of disagreement going on about a potion and a floor, but because Phaedra was far too mannered to ever even hint at eavesdropping (though evidently not enough to wait to be invited into the room in the first place) she strolled in with a cheery greeting on her lips.

“Good afternoon.”

That was where it ended.

It took her a second to assess the scene in front of her. Not that it was much of a scene, except that apart from Frank and Keiran there was a stranger on the couch who was very clearly in the throes of some dreadful illness. She hadn’t seen a person that green since the Green Itch had come around- and that was something she didn’t want to remember, thank you very much.

In any case, this sickly stranger looked as though he was about to empty the contents of his stomach right onto Keiran’s floor.

Actually, the faintest hint of acridity in the air suggested that had already happened.

She crinkled her nose, eyebrows quickly following. Her eyes eventually settled on Keiran (with Longbottom and Sickly the only other options, where else could they go?) and it was to him that the deceptively calm comment was directed. A question, really. But definitely not a joke.

“I'm almost afraid to ask what you have in that bottle."
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