April 16th, 2098

17:46:35 Huian ◙ Well, she had left Kaust to do…Kaust’s thing. Really she didn’t have much to say the woman other than thank you. There was not much else. What could you do? (She was sort of bummed. Huang was busy with his teammates and Xia was just busy, of course she would be a bit bummed. She might as well have came with Lizzy with her boring self.) Her fingers tapped the table, and she blinked. Lunch. Lunch was an odd affair here. And apparently, she was waiting for Mop, and not knowing why. She had sent a reply though, and now, in one of the roped off areas for dim sum, just waiting. (She got bored quickly, but she loved this food, so it came off as an even trade. Now to wait.) ◙

17:57:17 Porthman needed to talk to someone regarding Gloriana’s breakdown – and he really didn’t know what to do except ring up a girl friend. He wasn’t uncomfortable with his actions and he thought he did the best he could given the circumstances, but it seemed… somehow important to share something of the interaction—anything—with someone he could trust. Unfortunately, Huian was the first call to make on his list. Hippolytus wasn’t that into Mop’s social life; Izzy was of few words; Xia—he hadn’t apologized for laying out the nauseating individual in her employer’s shop. Mop quickly discovered that, while he had many acquaintances, he had few true friends. He always loathed this discovery whenever it reared its ugly head to remind him again and again, but didn’t let it ruin his day. Instead, he flopped next to his expectant friend when he arrived at the agreed upon destination as if he’d been there all along. “HEL-lo!”

18:12:08 Huian ◙ Huian looked up the moment Mop sat down next to her. Looked up and grinned widely, genuinely. Why? Well one, this is Mop, of people. He was a good guy, and secondly, she felt horrible that he had to deal with Huang. The punch had been nice though. “Mopsie.” By way of greeting, before sliding the platter of dim sum at him. He could help himself, while she tapped her nails on the table, eyeing him lightly. Was something up? Did he just want to spend time with her? She didn’t know…the only people that wanted to spend time with her to spend time with her were Xia, Kieran and Huang…nobody else really sought out her company, and while it was fine, it made her wonder if things were wrong. “How are you?” ◙

18:18:44 [Aeden] It felt like an age since he had even walked these still familiar streets. And really, it was no surprise it felt like that, because it had been an age. A year, maybe more, he wasn’t sure anymore. The days and weeks and months seemed to blend together. But now he was okay, now it was time to come back to the real world once more. The things of the past weren’t ever going to go away, but he thought he was able to move passed them now. He was ready. And that explained why, on this particular day, booted feet crunched down the path as he made his way – seemingly aimlessly – down the street. He had no real destination in mind at the moment. Ultimately he would make his way back to Hogwarts, to return to classes. But for the moment, he wanted to reacquaint himself with the streets, and the things they contained. He thought though as he walked, couldn’t help it. It had been so long since he’d seen anyone from the school, and he had to wonder if any of them were still there. He knew a lot had dropped out, had gone for one reason or another, and he had been one of them. But a familiar face wouldn’t go amiss really. Shaking those thoughts from his mind, he blinked as if coming back to himself, and found he had walked down Knockturn Alley. Another place he hadn’t been. With an approved growl in the back of his throat, he followed the scent of food, his stomach growling with the realisation he hadn’t eaten all day. It had been a long train journey after all, but now the scents seemed to drown him, and he made his way to the nearest place, grabbing something easy and tucking into it as he carried on his way down the street. A small part of him wondered if he’d bump into someone, but again he pushed thought to the side and concentrated on his food. He was as hungry as a wolf, all irony aside.

18:19:34 Noriko || Day had come again and our hero [the intrepid Princess Sparklefists] was out and about once more. Her plans the day before had been rudely interrupted by so many interruptions she couldnt even remember them all: first there was the Demon Hellwench [who turned out to be all the dramatic but not really so bad] then there was the unwelcome attention from Huang then the attack on Liliput's by someone she didnt know; fortunately our hero had been there to save the day and stand as backup to the auror on duty. Noriko always called a day when she got to face down an evildoer and make them into an evildont-er a good day. The problem was that she hadnt managed to finish her sneaky plan; our hero needed a gift and all the distractions had kept her from expertly procuring it! Now with the Conclave in swing and hundreds of extra vendors in the Alley she had to navigate crowds and do glorious battle against dragons just to find a simple trinket! If it got any more treacherous for our hero… ||

18:27:02 [Porthman] “First—sorry I punched your friend—cousin? Cousin. He uh…” Mop couldn’t – and wouldn’t – come up with a good excuse for why he slammed the mother fucker in the face and furthermore, didn’t want to. “He’s… I hope his nose is broken.” That was the only thing he could say about that before he tried to move on. “BUT… aye, I’m… it’s going well.” Meredith nodded as he got comfortable. “Look,” He had to cut to the chase—had to. He needed to get it off his chest and the method of ‘talk to the wall’ wasn’t really doing it this time. “Have you seen Gloriana lately?” Mop got down to the bone with a serious expression and a hard glance, changing the tone of the conversation.

18:38:37 Huian ◙ “Don’t be sorry. You’re not the first, and you won’t be the last. I’ve punched him.” Simple breezy. Breezy about the entire thing, hand waving it away. But something was wrong…and now they cut to the chase. That’s what was wrong. Gloriana. “I saw her a few days back, she…blew up at me when I said something.” Very badly. Huian still wasn’t sure what the misunderstanding was, because she thought it was because of the breakdown. “I think it was the tea all over her notes, you remember?” Another hand wave. “What’s wrong, Mopsie?” What had him all up in arms and fidgety? ◙

19:02:00 [Porthman] “Oh…” He mumbled out to his lunch date when she couldn’t produce anything more than he already knew. “No, it’s…” Mop was about to say ‘nothing’, but he remembered the reason he came here in the first place—even if he didn’t want to get into thoughts and feelings and emotions, he felt he had to. “She had some kind of… attack?” He asked, as if he didn’t really believe it or he’d heard it by word of mouth. “Today. I just can’t read her. I guess—I guess no one can, if I can’t, aye? Balls.” Meredith gave a breathy resignation from his point and tried to stop the absent drumming he had begun under the table. “Let’s just get lunch.” His hands hit the table, trying to relinquish any idea of why he actually came here. It was stupid and a terrible idea to start talking about it.

19:09:50 Huian ◙ Her brow furrowed and she frowned lightly, before her expression smoothed out, before she patted his wrist lightly after he spoke. He didn’t understand something, and he’d…asked her for…what? Her nose scrunched and she tugged on his sleeve. “Just talk. Just talk, and if you feel worse, then don’t talk anymore. Unless you really don’t want to, in which case, you don’t have to. I’m not going to pry. You want some dim sum? Look, see, this is some legit stuff. I wish I could make food this good.” And that was that. He could talk, or he could not talk. She was there for his company and done is done. “I think you need a housewarming present. What do you want?” ◙

19:20:34 Noriko || "Kyaaa!" Our hero [the mighty Princess Sparklefists] wasnt a person of great mass and today the laws of physics reminded her of that like the jerks they are; Kaust slammed into her back and she yelped like a kicked puppy and went sprawling in a heap to the ground. Difference in size and momentum plus that Nori hadnt seen her coming meant some hurt. Also it sent her bag sprawling out into the crowd and with it her hard-won purchases of the day; no need to dwell on what they actually were only important was that with a cry of dismay our hero dove after their receptacle, shouldering legs and knees out of her way. No, no she wouldnt let them trample on all her heroic labour! Never! The inestimable Princess Sparklefists would defend the contents of that bag to her dying breath; they were of the utmost importance. "Sumimasen. Sorry. Im sorry; didnt see you." Constant stream of apologies to the people she jostled with until she reclaimed the prize triumphantly. Now who was it that smashed into her like that? Our hero didnt have a nemesis [yet], was this the nemesis she knew would someday come for her? A hero cant ever sleep soundly; there are too many evildoers ever lying in wait for her to let down her guard. ||

19:23:32 [Porthman] “I already feel worse.” Meredith admitted with a wry grin and a renewed slap on the tabletop. “So let’s just get dim sum. Anything with duck?” He started to reach and search for any kind of little paper menu. “Duck is aaaamazing.” The auror drawled on and did his best to leave the awkward talk about Gloriana behind him. “Have lunch, peruse the stands, have some fun–“ Mop paused, no matter where he was on checking on a dim-sum menu and renewed his questioning. “Know what Izzy or Xia are doing today?” Maybe it was a healthy change to see him as obviously anxious as he was – much like Gloriana earlier in the day, all he wanted was someone to bait him a couple times into speaking his mind. He’d – naturally – never admit to it.

19:30:35 Huian ◙ Yes. Duck was good. That was ordered, and she smelt it being cooked, before tapping her fingers on the table, the chrome finish of her nails shining, just staring at him with that half smile on her face. That slight half smile. One that wasn’t often seen, but clearly figuring something out. “Not today. What’s bothering you.” She hated to pry. Prying led to things that were bad. Bad saying things that couldn’t be taken back, but…”You…you don’t seem like you’re able to have fun this moment. Did that meltdown include you? Was something said that hurt you, or…” Poking. Poking lightly…trying to poke her way around without pressing the wrong button, her tone mild, sweet. She did want to help him. He just looked like he was expecting somebody to curse him out of nowhere. ◙

20:00:18 Porthman cracked a chuckle despite himself, but he ultimately returned to Huian. “No, it’s nothing.” He kept trying to insist upon his neutrality. It didn’t work, in the end, and he had to confess: “I’m just worried for her.” He was obviously uncomfortable by the way he kept tossing his eyes around anywhere but directly on Huian. “He—I dunno—started fucking… crying or something… today. Fuck, no, I can’t talk about this. Let’s just get food. Can we do this later? Much later? When I have enough alcohol in me to become pliable? I promise – we’ll do this then.” It was likely very frustrating for poor Huian – called out here just to talk over lunch about this very thing he was staving off. “SO. What about you? How’s uh… Krum doing?” A swift, less-than-smooth change of topics was all he needed.

20:15:13 Huian ◙ It was a bit frustrating. A little frustrating, because he sort of spilled a bit…he was worried, about Glori, and he couldn’t talk about it. Her fingers drummed on the table, and she shook her head. Huian didn’t have…she had the patience for this, but most of the time, she wasn’t used to it. The sizzling duck was set in front of them, another platter of dim sum, and she gave him a moment as she sipped her bubble tea, popping a dumpling in her mouth and eyeing him lightly. He was floundering. Like a fish on shore. “Kieran’s fine. He’s holing himself up in Bulgaria fixing up an old family house, and desperately hoping he doesn’t get dragged to the World Cup. You’re not going to be able to remember this if you’re drunk. You came to talk to me about something, and…Meredith…please. Just…just…please?” ◙

20:45:59 [Porthman] Huian had a fair point, and it was unfair to continue to waylay the reason for calling her here. He hesitated a moment longer, exhaled some, and leaned in over the table to speak in a conspirator’s tone. “I think…” Mop begins, stalls, but restarts: “I think she’s crazy. She’s… I dunno. She saw something she wasn’t supposed to see” he pulled his hair back, removing both hands from the table to lean back into his chair “and now it’s just weird. You know? No? Aye?” Mop hated the idea of a silence falling between them – like Gloriana had been raised upon a craig. “I changed my mind, I don’t want to talk about it. So;” He really didn’t speak so freely to anyone – why was he doing it with Huian? “Let’s… just… lunch. We’ll get lunch. Sorry. I’m sorry.”

20:56:47 Huian ◙ Patience. She had it. Her nose scrunched again, but she shrugged offhandedly, pulling off her shrug and draping it across her lap and stretching, tattoos shifting across her back, before leaning forward, combat boots tapping on the ground, before drinking more of her tea, and then something dawned on her face. Understanding, slightly, what this may be about, before shaking her head at him, tucking hair behind her ears, eyes closing. “Let me guess then, if you don’t want to talk. She saw something…probably from the war. A scar, since we all have them and we don’t like showing them. She was…upset you didn’t let her…help or tell her or something, right?” Did it matter? Did it really? Her nails drummed on the table. “You don’t have to be sorry. Nobody ever talks to me just to talk with me.” It was just a fact of life, as she shrugged and pushed it away. “So you can pretend to be interested in what I have to say, or not, and I’ll enjoy hearing with whatever topic you come up with, because…I don’t know. You’re my friend.” ◙

20:59:37 Noriko || Oh, did Mop know Gloriana? Mop really did seem to know everybody; well she supposed they probably went to school together. Welshes and Englishes and Scottishes and Irishes all had to be in one school; it seemed cruel actually when she thought hard about it. "Well I dont know that there is a situation that would; I was just saying. Its a general warning. I love people and I love people being around me; but I was an only child and I didnt ever get used to sharing my bath time with anybody. Well maybe Mop, I could get used to I mean what?" Our hero [the splendiferous Princess Sparklefists] recovered from her slip of the tongue quickly and whisked Kaust along never stopping talking long enough for what she said to make a difference: "I think Mop is somewhere and if he's somewhere it means we can find him; I trust these things to luck usually dont you? It doesnt usually fail me for long. I guess I just have a magnetism to me; I cant help running into people I want to see!" Nori liked almost everyone unconditionally so running into people she wanted to see maybe not so much luck and coincidence as just very forgiving standards. ||

21:25:06 [Porthman] “Oh stop.” Mop demanded—- he’d lost whatever appetite he had—and it really wasn’t actually that great to begin with, but he was willing to fake for the sake of argument. “I rang you up because I want to talk to you. I can’t—I can’t talk to anyone else.” He began and reached across the table to make some kind of physical contact with Huian – like it would make things better. “So please—it’s just…” he didn’t know what to say… so that’s what he said. “I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what’s wrong. I just know something is. I just didn’t know if you knew anything—I know she wasn’t the easiest to get along with… but I just figured that you might know something since you… kept with her the other day. Maybe I was wrong. Fuck. Sorry.” Meredith found that he couldn’t stop apologizing even if he didn’t know what he was apologizing for. Was he having a breakdown by association? No—no; Gloriana’s unusual behavior just had him stressed out.

21:38:46 Huian ◙ She laughed softly, letting his hand touch hers, or her arm…something. She didn’t mind, didn’t care. He was her friend…she didn’t mind why he was talking to her. She just liked being talked to, and her hand landed on his, thumb rubbing the skin once or twice, voice lowering. “The big secret. We never know what to say or what’s wrong with other people, we’re not in their heads, we can only get as close to rationalizing as we can get. Now, stop apologizing to me. You never have to, and I don’t expect it.” She grinned, and kissed two fingers, before touching Mop’s cheek in a friendly gesture. He should cheer up. “If you ever feel like you know what you want to say, you can always find me…Now, you look like you should be at home and working this out for yourself first.” A side glance…she spotted Noriko. “Before the hero gets here.” ◙

21:56:58 Porthman probably should have killed for more friends like Huian. They’d never been very close in school; they’d shared similar friends and shared a house, but they hadn’t truly been close. His eyes followed Huian’s when she glanced cautiously out the window pane. It seemed cruel to leave now… but Huian was giving him a good out… and she was right – he should go; he should take some time to himself. Mop offered a smile to Huian’s affection, but in a moment, with a familiar sound, Meredith was gone with smoke and mirrors.

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