April 11th, 2098

16:08:55 Porthman liked to combine the muggle and the magic in his life and he enjoyed the little place he’d carved out for himself after all. His morning ritual was a testament to that: wake up, shower, breakfast, dog, ring mum (who was actually rather pleased to hear her son had become some fancy magic detective, though she had hoped that he’d become a surgeon)—all very mundane. Today, that morning ritual was done with the night prior fresh in his mind and an event he decided – hesitantly – to look back fondly upon. Work and what came after—that was not so mundane, yet it had become a grind he was all too familiar with. Fortunately, he could never say work was boring. Today’s surprise wasn’t actually work related (a slow day in the office – little to do and a lot of impending early cut-outs) brought to his attention as a mess of paper thrown in his direction. He was confused for all of a split second before his eyes glanced over the material being presented – at which time, instead of shame or guilt, Porthman began to grin wildly and make jokes about it. This was a personality trait some could not appreciate as much as others, that much was clear as the responses came in.

16:56:07 [Gloriana] She was just back in town from her little educational trip around the world, and who was she going to see? One Meredith Porthman (Merry, for short). Ridiculous and insane though he was, Merry was (very literally) Gloriana’s only best friend in the whole of the universe. She shuffled through crowds down Diagon alley, cursing this Conclave business as someone shoved passed her. “Oy!“ They either didn’t hear her, or didn’t care. She cursed under her breath and pushed forward toward the Ministry. It wasn’t long until she ran into another body along the way. She nearly bowled the woman over; though, this time it was Gloriana’s fault, and not the other way around. “Sorry, dea—“ she began, but as she glanced into the face of her victim, she turned sour. That face, she hadn’t seen in something like five years. Her eyebrows drew together, and she shoved the woman off her, “Oy, watch where you’re going.“ Glori was quick to judge, not knowing the truth about Kaust’s place at Hogwarts the year before her graduation. Either way, it probably wasn’t a brilliant plan to act caustically toward someone with Kaust’s history.

18:02:32 [Gloriana] Frau Grumpypants. The stupid name lingered in the air. It might have been comical, were it not for extenuating circumstances. Gloriana’s anger stewed quietly and her face grew a new shade of red in the process of keeping her rage under control. It quieted some (not completely) at the sight of carefully-hidden tears that any other passerby might have otherwise missed. She wasn’t at all satisfied with the idea that she didn’t “remember” what happened, but Glori wasn’t about to bully her on the streets. No, she caught herself (thanks to the interloper, perhaps?) before things got out of hand. Her gaze shifted from the stranger and back to Kaust. “Don’t bother,“ was her final reply, and she chose to leave her there in the street without any semblance of closure or… whatever it was she was going for. The only problem with that, was it left Gloriana in the same position. So, the woman responsible for Archie’s death (maybe not by her hand), and the deaths of so many others, was wandering London — Diagon Alley, to be precise — freely and without consequence. Glori’s sense of justice was not the least bit satisfied. She still harbored so much anger toward Kaust and her “kind”. Too much to hold in. She gave up taking the long way to the Ministry (why had she opted for that path in the first place?) and apparated directly into the atrium of Ministry Headquarters. She blustered around the fountain and into the lifts, headed straight for the second floor and Merry’s cubicle. Glori was on the verge of tears, for the first time in 5 years, she was absolutely miserable. (Drama queen, anyone?)

18:28:34 [Gloriana] Merry’s cubicle was empty when she arrived. Gone to lunch, she thought… and was sure of it. Instead of leaving right away, she sat in his chair with her legs curled to her chest and let herself cry — not loud or obvious in any way. There was no guarantee when he’d be back, and she wasn’t about to wait there like a pathetic fool until he did. No, she left a note in his cubicle and abandoned her efforts for the day. Admittedly, she felt better after leaving Mnistry Headquarters. Maybe she’d see what St. Mungos was up to these days — traveling had made her routine relatively mundane… maybe it had changed her for the better!

18:40:50 [Porthman] Poor Gloriana—Mop was usually a pretty good shoulder to cry on, but today, as she stormed into the Auror’s office and straight to the place that was carved out for him alone, she’d be disappointed. Met by nothing more than an empty seat, a clean workspace, and nothing else but a little plant in a white cup with two leaves wide leaves pointing in opposite directions – as if it couldn’t agree where the light was. When Gloriana took his seat as hers for a short time, the little plant turned in her direction and its two leaves flapped and pursed together as if forming a giant, toothless mouth. It began to sing in a somber baritone. “Worry not, o traveler, for your heart will be mended soon~” its leaves shook and shivered, but it returned to its task shortly: “the man you came here looking for~ has gone to lunch on the moon~!” With Gloriana already a page ahead, the helpful little desk assistant couldn’t possibly offer her much consolation. The thing that couldoffer her some kind of support waltzed in not a moment after she’d left his desk, stuffing his face full of gyro-on-the-go.

18:50:10 [Gloriana] It was the second time she’d walked right into someone today, though this face was much friendlier than the last. By now, she’d gotten all the tears out of her system, leaving only a thin red ring around her eyes as evidence and a partially-red nose. It was better that way. She slugged him right in the stomach for not being there. “You git, I come all the way back from Guatemala, and you’re not here,“ she growled, only half-serious. The remnants of her breakdown had faded almost completely now, and replaced with a — rarer, still — smile. “How are you, anyway, you old bag. I… well I wouldn’t say I missed you, but it was a little weird not having you around to bug me.“ He’d know what she meant, and she finally reached around to hug him. Talk about Kaust could wait a minute, mm?

19:09:41 Porthman gave a short ‘oof’, but seemed otherwise unfazed by Gloriana bowling right into him. He’d stopped when he saw her and watched the whole thing happen as if he couldn’t really believe she was just going to walk into him. Wrong he was. Strike one. It did give him the perfect opportunity to wrap one arm around his obviously distraught friend and rock side to side in a greeting that would have been girlish if there was more squealing or passion behind it. “Waawl wauht’t’fuck yoouwlgodda Guatemala foour?” The Welshman garbled around a mouthful of food as he completed his teetering and released his captive. “I’ve been right here!” Fortunately, Mop had no food in his mouth for that go and all Gloriana would have to deal with is some lengthy vowel sounds and muted consonants. “Cool. Everything’s cool here—you look bloody ragged!” He spat out, tactless – but affectionate. “What’s got you all…” Instead of a word, Mop put out a full-body flail and an extreme edge to a frown to intimate some kind of ‘blah’ before he finished… and happily took another bite of his lunch.

19:18:47 [Gloriana] “You look up-ended yourself, Merry,“ she teased, using her own, personal nickname for him. She didn’t grace his last question with an answer at all, but rounded back to the first effortlessly. “You’re a right idiot. You know I’ve been abroad, studying the potion-brewing practices of other cultures, I told you before I left.“ Admittedly, that was six months ago, and Glori wasn’t all-too-sure of Merry’s short-term memory. “Anyway, I cut my trip short because of the stupid fair… and stuff,“ which was her way of saying it was too lonely for her liking. London was agreeable to her on various levels, and it was no secret that Merry was her only close friend in town. “Anyway, how’s things? Auror office treatin’ you well and all that?“ Ah, the art of small talk was not lost on our dear Glori… but might’ve been on Ye Olde Tactless Mopsy.

19:51:48 [Porthman] “You know I’ve been abroad, studying the potion-brewing—” Mop adopted a girlish tone and the best Gloriana-accent he could muster. “Of course I remember. Do you honestly think I’d just up and forget where in the world Gloriana Boulstridge is? Glad to have you back home.” He continued, but tried to urge the party back to his desk so he could – at very least – LOOK busy and avoid the scrutiny of coworkers and superiors. “Aye—well enough. Nothing wicked, but there’s never a dull moment, either. I mean—paperwork. Paperwork is always dull. I take that back.” When they arrived at his place, the littlest Auror plopped unceremoniously into his seat and took another bite off the top of his gyro. “Shou whaddr yoo doon lauhter?” He is, very fortunately, rid of his mouthful for his second bit: “I’m finished here soon. It’s dragging.”

20:08:00 [Gloriana] She rolled her eyes at Merry‘s mockery, “Shat up, ya twat.“ Her accent lilted heavy just this once to give her extra attitude, if mostly feigned. She followed him back into the cubicle and leaned back against the desk, arms crossed. “I dunno, probably nothing. I’m good and unemployed for a bit. Probably end up back at St. Mungo’s sooner or later,“ she rattled off, glancing at his work space. “Oy, where’d you get that stupid plant, anyway. Bout scared me right out of my knickers,“ she nodded at the singing thing. It was very Mop-like… to have anything so ridiculous, much less on your work desk. She saw a copy of the Prophet and scooted it over. “Impressive,“ she muttered, sarcastically, and smirked in Merry’s direction. That was, she thought it impressive until she saw who it was that smooched him. “Mop,“ whatever she was going to say couldn’t be good if she was using his preferred nickname, “Who’s that?“ Her finger landed on the girl kissing him, and then her attention drew across to Kaust. Mop… Mop had been hanging around with Kaust? Glori swallowed down a lump in her throat. At the same time, a chill ran down her spine like a cold, bony finger. It radiated through her body and she felt tiny bubbles of betrayal rise from the pit of her stomach.

20:20:37 Porthman pushed a large bite of food into his mouth to finish it off while Gloriana was speaking. He did everyone the favor of finishing what he had in his mouth before speaking. “Tch—Worcester?” The wizard patted the little plant (which bounced and practically purred with affection). “He’s been with me since Hogwarts days. He finally earned enough EXP to level up.” Mop’s eyes turned to the Prophet on his desk when Gloriana’s attention did—and he didn’t have to be a prophet to know he was going to have some explaining to do when she really saw the faces in the picture. Porthman immediately ripped the thing off his desk and shoved it into a drawer with an apologetic smile. “Auwa-h… that there is a tale!” He announced. “One that I think we should wait to recount—-becaouseyoou’reoobvhiouslyvery eemooutiounawlritenow and wedouhn’tneedauhny shouhtin’intheooffice, aye?” He intentionally blurred and hurried his words, stood up, and grabbed his keys from the same drawer he’d shoved the paper into. "Solet'sgo." Mop asked, on an exhale.

20:46:13 [Gloriana] He was practically shoving her out of the cubicle before she had much time to react. “Merry!“ He guided her right out of the Auror Offices and into a lift, where she finally wrenched free of him. “Okay! Okay! Sweet, baby, Merlin! I’m in the damn lift, you can cut it out now,“ she muttered angrily at him. “But you may as well tell me why you’re hanging around with her,“ and she didn’t mean the one planting the kiss on him. He had some explaining to do, and he may as well do it now, while they had the lift to themselves.

21:01:27 [Porthman] “It was a fluke thing.” He said, on a more serious note while he tapped the side of the lift anxiously. His bright, green eyes turned to Gloriana. His façade stripped, Mop recalled: “she’s in town with her team for the Cup. Iwamura—oh, Izzy’s about! Have you seen him?—and I ran into her in Diagon Alley yesterday. I polished out the night at the pub and lo, who comes stumbling in but—her.” His pause was barely there. “She had this crazy, frazzled look. I thought she was going to attack the bloody staff—so I distracted her.” Then, Mop moved onto something anyone could tell, but the way he said it implied pity and fear. “She’s not well. I mean… really. She looked… hollow? Old. Broken. Like a fuckin… caged tiger.” THAT was all he had to say on that before he promptly changed subjects. “Xia’s been back. Iwamura mentioned it when I saw him—works at a wand shop over that way. Sounds to me like we should have a reunion! Party at my place?” Mop’s ‘place’, Gloriana might be able to recall, was a rather pathetic one-bed flat in a building riddled with urban decay, housing a hyper-active terrier and walls that smelled like cigarettes.

21:14:18 [Gloriana] He threw information at her at a pace that made her head spin; not unlike her floppy friend to speed through information and right into “let’s have a party.” She’d learned, a long time ago, how to navigate through his fast-talking strategy. “Wait, Izzy’s in town?“ Well… just because she knew how, didn’t mean she couldn’t get caught up in a bit of the surprise he’d thrust into her hands. “And I know about Xia. She’s been here a while. My question is, where the hell have you been? Really? Like, a whole year ago she moved back,“ she exclaimed as they stepped out of the lift and into the Atrium. She gestured her hands to brush off the topic, “Not important. Kaust. What… she’s just wanderin’ around London… getting pissed at the Cauldron and… moping?“ Gloriana was thoroughly confused.

21:25:05 [Porthman] “Well lah-de-fucking-dah. Look at you! Knowing all the things.” Mop said sarcastically. “Just checking, hell, can’t just give you the run-down when y’get back. Just have to add that bloody backsass.” Mop directed them out of the lift when the doors opened (as if Gloriana needed help). “And I dunno. She’s… yeah, I suppose that’s what she’s doing. I don’t trust it, but… she’s a free woman.” He didn’t dare voice the words ‘everyone has a second chance’ to Gloriana. Normally he had a hard time swallowing the idea in regards to Kaust, so he grimaced instead. “But yeah, Izzy’s about. We should all get together soon. Hey,” Mop reached out to tag the woman on her shoulder – gently. “I should be off. Wash up, get dressed, take Bobby for a run.”

21:33:31 [Gloriana] “ Shattup, Mopsy, or I’ll do it for you, and you won’t be able to talk for a week,“ she replied, with that loveable backsass he spoke of. And then he returned to Kaust, which brought back her incredulity, full force. “Yea, what’s that about anyway? So, she kills all those people and she’s irreprehensible for it because some cunt with a complex couldn’t just die off naturally? Which… can I just say, is happening all-too-often in the wizarding community. I’m this close to creating a potion to pour on dead bodies to keep them that way. If you die, you should stay dead. Especially if you’re evil,“ she said in a wordy rampage that couldn’t be stopped. They stood next to a fireplace and Merry tapped her shoulder, “Hm? Oh, right. Cheerio and all that. We’ll gather up the old crew and… have a survivor’s party or something altogether crass. Cheers.“ She stood in the fireplace, “Diagon Alley.“ Flu powder distributed, and she disappeared.

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