April 17th, 2098

11:36:10 [Porthman] After an unsuccessful lunch with Huian, Mop was left to mull over what exactly had just happened with a critical eye. Did he just have a nervous breakdown? Is that what happened? Were those contagious? Why did he has Huian out only to spew verbal vomit all over her dim sum? Whatever it was, he felt better – or at least, ‘beyond it’ – today. He began his day with work (and paperwork) before heading to Diagon Alley with the intentions of actually enjoying Conclave for one day. His first stop was Liliputs for a basket of baked gifts he left on Kindlebird’s counter without staying around for conversation. Mop stopped at Gringotts thereafter, but had little in mind when he left the bank. He let his feet do the thinking and his eyes do the browsing. Though his goal of the day was ‘relaxation’ his ever-racing thoughts had set out to foil him at every turn. Thoughts like… maybe he ought to get something for Gloriana—things would make her feel better, right? What kind of gift says ‘I have no idea what’s going on, but feel better’? When he settled on ‘chocolates’, he thought he’d be free of his worry, but not so… and instead of enjoying Conclave, he ended up a transient being with no aim or grounding, floating down the Alley only barely aware of his surroundings.

11:44:13 Noriko || Where last we left our hero she was picking up the shambles of a day gone hopelessly sidelong; Noriko was all too talented in the art of failing at her simplest objectives. She trusted a lot to luck certainly which didnt always do her favors: these past days it was also fair to say other people were making her life difficult. Naturally our hero [the intrepid Princess Sparklefists] couldnt easily be brought down, she had begun to wonder if her energy was so noxious and frightening as some treated it. Right in the middle of her walking while brooding [and also laughing, because you should laugh whenever you can, even when there isnt anything else] she might as well have tripped over the very Meredith Porthman she had failed to find for the past two days! Now of course when she wasnt strictly looking for him she accidentally wound up shoulder-checking him while weaving through the crowd. Didnt dissuade our hero at all! "Sorry! Sorry sorry I didnt see you there. So many people!" Our hero had given more convincing excuses before; still she was short and seeing over the heads of the crowd presented her unique problems. Her voice did a heel/face from lightly flustered to brightly excited: "Oh! Oh! Its you! Hello! You are difficult to catch did you know that?" ||

11:48:01 Lilium wriggled her little island of a nose in a sea of freckles. She pushed her sunglasses down to unblock her eyes so she could really look at the quilt on the booth. It was Scottish, handmade. It was a perfect gift for her Mothers birthday, which was coming up in May. The little fox could be so indecisive though. She had come out to find a sorry gift for a large, grumpy friend (or person who doesn’t want her dead…at least didn’t). But now she was perusing the Conclave booths with a childish glint her eyes. Lilium was not a materialistic person, but she loved things. Nitknacks, trinkets. She was like a walking Ariel with less bubbles in her brain. Looking out she saw a familiar face. One that looked a shade of lost. Lilium slipped on her sunglasses. ”Ill be back.”, she told the vendor before moving through the crowd to reach Mop. She popped up into his view, but stopped as someone else began to talk to him. The little fox didn’t recognize this girl so she stopped and stood for a moment. Not wishing to catch his eye she turned quickly and began to return to that vendor. In case you all were unaware, the Fox was not a social creature. She returned to the vendor and began discussing pricing.

12:04:50 [Porthman] Noriko came swanning into his day in the very same way Mop was becoming accustomed to the merry Seeker doing—and all it came with was a brief moment of discomfort, a jolt, and a surprise. He grabbed his shoulder as if to nurse it in the halt after the crash. “Miss Sakada! I apologize—I…” Mop paused to process the claim Noriko spewed at him. “Wait.” He adopted quizzical wrinkles and find lines on his forehead. “What? Noooo— look, I’m here now, aye?” In a breeze, the wrinkles were gone and his expression became typical—light and humored. Meredith poured his attention into the person he was conversing with, saving Lilium from an eye otherwise keen. The rest of Diagon Alley may as well have been a sea and Noriko, for now, was the lighthouse. “Wait.” He repeated, suddenly sheepish. “You were looking for me?”

12:13:09 Noriko || "Looking for you? No, noooo no no of course I wasnt," Our hero gave a shifty-eyed look then confessed: "Yes maybe a little. Not today actually; today I was looking for something to wear to a gathering! Fortune shows favour in inscrutable ways, truly inscrutable! She is a fickle lover." Hands lifted and rested on the back of her head: our hero [the splendiferous Princess Sparklefists] felt certain that any moment now Mop would apparate away, suddenly called by his very important work. She was bracing for that moment. "Also for wrapping paper; I dont know how to wrap gifts but Miss Bubbles suggested I should wrap them up before I give them away and she's probably right. How hard can it be? Certainly no harder than reclaiming Kijushou Tower from the hopping death spiders!" Excitable Nori was excitable; she bounced in place as she began her narration of probably fictitious deeds of daring and valour. ||

12:26:23 Porthman smiled – and felt pretty good about it, too (a nice distraction from swimming around in thought). He followed along as best he could with Noriko’s energy. Despite his favorite façade, Mop couldn’t put a candle to the woman in front of him, so he was left to grin and be humored by her language. When she’s finished, he nods and then pries – something he probably should have done with Gloriana yesterday, he realizes far too late. “A gathering? With gifts? In wrapping paper?” Mop’s questions could be interpreted as rhetorical, but he’d be lying if he said he didn’t want to know the answers—not as though a lie had stopped him before. “Well, it sounds like you have a full day ahead of you.” He finally resigns with a heavy exhale. He didn’t stop there; the auror ventured out again a second later: “should I… let you go then..?”

12:36:00 Noriko "I didnt actually reclaim Kijushou Tower. I shouldnt take credit for that. I wasnt there at all, I was just a courier." Our hero admitted to her fabulist enhancements of the truth with no more than a conspiratorial wink; she had been a courier during the war it was true. Adjusting her coat about her shoulders, our hero [the blessed Princess Sparklefists] leaned forward right up close to Mop. "Housewarming gifts of course; I dont know how much of a gathering it really will be, I certainly wouldnt want to show up without a fitting gift and a pretty dress though. Dont even think about letting me go. If you disappear again I will track you down and," Noriko lifted a finger wondering how to finish that sentence when brilliance struck her: "and challenge you to a race around the world to defend my honour! Actually I would race around the world anyway; never done it before. Could be fun." ||

12:50:22 [Porthman] “I’m sure you were a fantastic courier.” Mop supported Noriko when she back-peddled on her bold claim. A courier was courier was still a helping hand, was it not? It was a very respectable position! When he finally heard her out one what she was shopping for, a colossal wave of ‘duh’ flooded over him. Perhaps Huian had told her about it after he’d left. If not then, she heard it (as he’d wanted her to) down the grapevine somehow. “House—“ he started, fumbled, and started again. “OH.” Mop’s palm met his forehead with a meaty smack. “Housewarming. Naturally. Yes! That!” For a moment it seemed as though Mop’s brain may have flown away from him today. “You don’t have to go to that if—I mean, you probably have so many other things to do…” The auror waved off the importance of his own party as if it were of little consequence.

13:00:16 Noriko || As the true believers may recall our hero had heard of the housewarming party from Mop himself and then later received a formal invitation through Huian! Couldnt blame Mop for forgetting any of their many brief encounters though; most of them probably werent memorable. "I was fantastic; it was complicated. Maybe I'll tell you that story someday." The war was like Fight Club to Nori; dont we all know the first rule of Fight Club? That more than any sort of delusion was where all her fabulous stories came from. Our hero stood up on her tiptoes and batted her lashes: "I dont have to go but I want to. Unless you dont want me to I mean. I dont want to crash; Ive been a crasher before and its not as glamorous as it sounds, just lonely mostly. Everyone looks at you with their eyes but wont talk to you." ||

13:12:30 Porthman absorbed himself in Noriko’s displays, turning his head a bit as she stood on her toes as if she might see something in his face that he wasn’t ready to reveal. It only lasted a second before he leveled his eyes back on her to give his smiles and pardons. “No, no, I don’t mean that.” Mop assured “I’d love for you to come around. It’s not likely to get very exciting, is all. Just a little gathering…” The auror trailed off and renewed his enthusiasm. Maybe he just hadn’t expected a famous Quidditch player to want to come to his barren party in an ancient house on the middle of a sheep pasture. Of course… no one but Gloriana knew what to expect out of the location and the buildings erected there. “I’d love if you’ll make it. I will! I wasn’t planning for fancy dress, is all! I can’t allow you to out-dress me! How’s that for a challenge?”

13:26:13 Noriko || "That is a fine challenge sir Mop, I accept! I havent been challenged to a dress-off since my opera duel at Tsuji na onibi; I won that decisively naturally, he never knew what hit him." Our hero [the scintillating Princess Sparklefists] expected very exciting; she was skilled at creating excitement from nothing and both Miss Bubbles and Mop would be there with her: how could it be anything other than exciting? Why with that much fabulous in one place the party was liable to spontaneously combust. Combust in flames of pure win. "Do you need anything; should I bring anything? Alcohol, the team, extra broomsticks for jousting matches?" Already she found herself drowning in excitement; our hero did enjoy party-time. ||

13:38:54 [Porthman] “WELL, good then, it’s agreed. I look forward to seeing you on the battlefield! Best dressed wins.” What the winner earned was up in the air, but the excitement of a playful challenge and a goal was certainly welcome in Meredith’s life at the moment. “Bring whatever you’d like.” He paused, then reiterated. “Anything.” He couldn’t really think of any one thing he wanted more than the actual gathering of people in his private abode. “Everything.” ‘Everything’ ought to more than cover whatever ideas Noriko had. “It is a party, aye?” Mop grinned and stretched his arms above his head to cradle the back of his head in his woven fingers (only to not-so-subtly crack his back). “I suppose I best get going on this challenge.”

13:51:49 Noriko || "On the field of battle I fear I can show no mercy!" Noriko did her best to put on fearsome warface; she simply wasnt fearsome. Our hero [the magically delicious Princess Sparklefists] had many talents and qualities, but among those had never been intimidation. Two words caught her ear and put a twinkle of pure mischief in her eyes: anything and everything. More plans were hatched in the swift workings of her brain that split second than our hero even thought possible, each of them an artistic work of pure brilliance. "Best get going. I'll see you soon then, Mop." Our hero tiptoed again and chastely kissed him right on the cheek; not at all like the first time, sweet and playful instead of assertive. Now: she still had to find tacky wrapping paper. ||

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