April 18th, 2098

13:10:28 [Porthman] When Meredith heard the news of the disruption on Diagon Alley and subsequent disappearance of a close friend, he was – to say the least – enraged. Or at least, anyone might expect him to be—but he’d shown nothing but cautiously guarded contempt during the initial call to arms had fizzled out and ended in an office meeting to share the facts and put out the manhunt. Before he left for the office, he’d asked Huian to stay and watch his live-in companions until he returned (but it would ultimately have been her decision to stay or go from there). Aleciester might be able to fend for himself, but Bobby was miserably useless alone for too long. After the meeting, an unusually business-minded Porthman invited his usual coworker along back to his place to work out their canvasing route. He had, additionally, sent out a call to the only other person he trusted well enough to follow along on some ridiculous scheme: Iwamura. It was, after all, his brain that had come up with the absolutely mental idea of speaking to Acromantulas in the Forbidden Forest before everything went from bad-to-nasty in their school days. His plan was to work as late into the night as possible, rest, and re-up their canvasing plan in the morning to get an early start—a plan he shared as much with Hippolytus and, if the third member of their trio had shown up, Iwamura.

13:18:17 Huian ◙ She had stayed to watch the dog and puffin. If anything, she had done so because Mop had asked her too, and he seemed…his calm was shattered. Furious but hiding it. And she was there to help. Of course, that meant she was alone in a house, with a dog, and had no idea what to do until the return. (She ended up cleaning and organizing. She’d even fit the espresso machine on the counter.) Of course, when Mop returned, she was…cautious, especially seeing Hip (Who was still a person she could not trust on principal just yet, even if she was friendly) and possibly Izzy. Of course, Izzy was greeted warmly, with a hug after she gave one to the irate Welshman. ◙

13:22:08 [Iwamura] To say Izuyo Iwamura had some… residual guilt about things he'd put in motion as a sixth-year student at Hogwarts was a bit of an understatement. One of the major raw and guilty points on his conscience was the case of one Gloriana Boulstridge. He hadn't ever particularly liked her, but they'd come to an accord of sorts when she agreed to be his double agent in a scheme both Machiavellian and brilliant. And while he didn't know all of the miserable details, Izzy knew well enough that she'd suffered for the cause, on his behalf. Hard to get past that. So, given her disappearance (and apparent criminal mischief), Izzy hadn't needed a lot of convincing to come onboard for Porthman's plan. He greeted Huian with his customary awkward smile and nod of, "Mulan." Which, it turns out, he didn't even need to be drunk to call her anymore. He wasn't a particularly huggy person though. Even Xia rarely saw that sort of affection. Everyone else seemed rather keen on hugging him, but that was a problem to solve another day, a day when there weren't distressed damsels to rescue. Gawd, Gloriana. Distressed damsel. That was hard to picture. And kidnapped by the old potions-master. Sure, Valen had always been a bit of a dick, but his understanding of What Happened put Valen's behavior more in the realm of absolute crazypants.

13:43:33 [Xia] Things were happening. Big things. Like Gloriana getting kidnapped by their old potions master, and Ophelia's shop getting hacked up in the spell flinging fight that had followed an encounter…at least as far as Xia knew. She had spent a good amount of time helping Ophelia piece together the ruins of her shop in the aftermath, had worked late into the night…and just when she was ready to go curl up somewhere and sleep, she'd received word from Izzy that more things were happening at Mop's house, related to the incident with Valen. So what did she do? Tag along, of course. When Huian hugged her, Xia grinned, albeit a smidge sleepily, and nodded to her. She didn't know if she was really of any use, but she HAD made "friends" with a diavolera she'd promptly named Steve, so maybe she could be more use than even she figured. Then again, they were basically on the hunt for Valen. Maybe not. She tilted her head to one side, her hair a shocking neon purple. She wasn't dressed brightly, though, having opted for a casual black dress with a bright purple waist belt, and a pair of black skater-style tennis shoes. Yep. She had to be tired if that was the brightest she was wearing today, though she seemed upbeat and peppy enough to counterbalance the sleepiness.

13:49:22 [Hippolytus] Hip’s week was just spiraled from irritating to downright horrible. Before he’d even seen hide or hair of his coworker and had BARELY finished seeing to Hayden Kaust’s admission to the hospital, he’d been pulled into the office and dressed down eight ways from Wednesday. No, no one was particularly pleased with him concerning that fiasco in the flower shop. Things had been put back in order, but a known criminal had not only used an unforgivable curse right under him nose, but had escaped AND had taken a woman hostage. It was not looking good on his resume (which he was pretty sure he’d need to be polishing if things didn’t start looking up promptly). So when Port DID get in contact with him, Hip was already inclined to expect the worst. He wasn’t sure if he was relieved that he wasn’t being (outright) held responsible for Gloriana Boulstridge’s kidnapping (or, shall we say, disappearance), or more concerned that Port didn’t seem satisfied with the Ministry’s actions to resolve it. Sure, he’d love to hunt the pair down and –frankly- arrest them BOTH, but it worried him that Mop was upset to the point of taking things into his own hands. MEANWHILE, back at work, Hip had taken on the task of getting Hayden Kaust relocated to be under protection from unaccounted for witches and wizards who apparently still wanted her dead. He couldn’t help but dread the next Quidditch season. Nevertheless, he knew JUST where to set her up and Port would get a note via Winifred abooout fifteen minutes before the pair was set to floo in, explaining the situation and that fact that Hip might owe him a lot of drinks. The little Auror would arrive with a pop, shaking dust from his robes and ruffling it out of his hair. “Drinks, blud?”

14:01:19 [Kaust] Surprise! Delivery of one flinching woman complete. Hayden, for all intents and purposes, hadn’t given much of an opinion then Hippo had proclaimed they were going somewhere else. Instead she had just quietly packed her bag (just one), grabbed broom and wand and bottle of whiskey and hustled along her teenage sphinx. She’s not sure if her arrival is planned but she doesn’t have much emotion left to even care. Instead, upon arrival, she’ll just look at Hippo as if his every word would lead her somewhere better. She hadn’t talked since the night before, Hipp had done most of it and she’ll clutch her bag to her chest with bandaged arms and fingertips, her gaze then upon the floor at their feet. Just point here where to stand, won’t even know she is there.

14:07:49 Porthman couldn’t have been more pleased to see Huian had stayed at his place until they returned—he didn’t know how long they’d be and he didn’t want Bobby to go without and it would have been a pain to get him into kennels on such short notice. Of course, this only made him realize that now that they were in the country, he’d need to find a way to charm the shit out of something to get the dog automated feedings, lest he simply tear into the couch and start eating that. As far as entertaining, Mop’s house didn’t have a whole lot of space – but he didn’t really know how many people would be ‘too many’. It was a number he approximated, but didn’t expect to exceed. Everyone who’d arrived to his little Scooby Party was greeted equally by Mop (and of course, no one escapes Bobby’s furious barks and nose), but the initial night should have gone relatively smoothly, even if it wasn’t the party Mop had hoped for. That is, of course, until the next day and those present received Hip’s arrival notice through the post without any actual time to prepare for the guest he said he was bringing along with him. Bobby was the first to greet them – he always made sure of that – with a series of shrill alarm barks. He calmed some when he recognized Hippolytus and Hip, at least, was struck from his greeting-sheet. Kaust, however, received more scrutiny and a dog who seemed to think she was made of hot coal. Bobby lurched forward and jumped back and ran around her in a circle until he noticed the largest distraction of all: the sphinx, who then received all of Bobby’s ire. Meredith reacted simultaneously in an effort to scoop the raving, writhing dog up into his arms and attempt to save him any in kind. The whole explosion of noise was accompanied by the Welshman’s hollers – but who-at, why-for, and what they were was up for debate.

14:11:56 Huian ◙ Huian was as about as tired at Xia looked. Not for the same reasons, but just as tired. What had happened, well, she had gotten the word, and understood, a bit, of the severity. Of course it was severe. A member of their old…allies…(Gloriana was not very fond of people, and very few people were fond of her, This was a fact.)had been kidnapped…an unforgivable…there was drunkenness and accosting of Kaust…it was all a huge mess. After the greetings, she had taken a seat at the table, tapping her nails on the counter, dressed in ridiculously comfortable clothes that were not hers, simply because…well, she’d been offered them if she was to stay. (We’re saying that, why Mop has women’s clothes is to be explored for another day.) As it was…she was sitting at the kitchen table, her hands on her arms, and watching everything with a faint bit of amusement, quiet and listening. (Up until the point where she passed out completely, with her latte untouched next to her.) ◙

14:18:33 [Iwamura] Izzy took a seat at the kitchen table and put a palm to his face. Explosion of dognoise and… so Kaust still had that thoroughly illegal terror, did she? And Lesley Cassaday was probably still teaching, despite providing her all that aid in securing and caring for the damn thing. And Izzy was complicit for not telling anyone what he knew about the laws broken. Meh. Whatever. No part of Britain was his jurisdiction, except - technically - Conclave grounds. "Soooo, plan? What do we know? What do we not know? When do we need to know it?" Additionally, fuck all of this shit. Fuck it all right in the ear. "I assume you've got something to go on, Meredith, or I don't think you'd be rounding up a posse yet." Well, maybe it wasn't a posse. It was really more… a bunch of dudes. God, aside from Hip and Kaust, it could've been a scene from his school days. And even Kaust would've been there during the school days, he just would've been planning how to undermine her authority. This was some advanced fuckery here and Izzy was feeling a touch impatient.

14:23:07 [Xia] The purple haired lady flopped into a seat beside Izzy, her head tilted to one side as she looked around the room and tuned out the barking dog. Kaust and Hip's arrival was met with a rise of the eyebrows, but she didn't say anything for the moment. Instead she sat comfortably, arms folded on the table as she waited for everyone to be brought up to speed. What was going to happen now? This felt almost like their school days, which made her wonder if that was good or bad…especially since Mop and Izzy were both aurors. Shouldn't the auror department handle it? Probably, but then again, what was the fun in that? And Xia always did enjoy a good adventure. "I second all of his questions." She said, glancing at Izzy and giving a nod.

14:33:34 [Hippolytus] No drinks? There should be drinks. Hip had needed a drink for oooh – three and a half days now? He yanked his gloves off a finger at a time and slapped them into one palm before piling his outer cloak with them and banishing the lot for the time being. He was visibly miffed, but had been doing his best not to take it out on those not directly responsible. Getting bawled out had simply irreparably tinted the remainder of his day. He gave a half turn to Hayden, finding her looking very shook – but she’d never really bounced all the way back since her break down. He wasn’t even miles from asking her about the fact that she seemed to have a sphinx. “Alright, alright.” He slipped the dog a treat from his sleeve, pretending nothing was amiss, then waved his charge further into the room. “No where much more remote than this – what did I say?” He shot Port a look that was that difficult blend of apology and gratitude that left very little to be done if the recipient was displeased with the situation. Tipping his chin up a little, he scanned the room – He only recognized Huian. A fine crease formed at one corner of his lips. “er…” A lifted a hand to waft a little wave. “Hippolytus Botts.” This wasn’t at all awkward.

14:40:18 Kaust hadn’t been thinking, the sphinx had been or was supposed to have been a secret but she was all out of subtle finesse. When the dog comes barreling forward Hayden went tense, but she didn’t react much outside of watching it very carefully. Sometimes dogs liked her, sometimes they didn’t, it was a hit or a miss (that’s why she had a cat creature) but poor Zner would be backing up and grumbling in irritation. It’s not a fan of dogs. No matter though, the situation is taken care of and as they walk further into the room Hayden decided to maybe look for couch and walla! There it is! She’ll settle on it and curl her legs up to her chest while Zner climbed up on it beside her and lounged there—my couch now~. Either way she’ll just watch the group.

15:08:41 Porthman had to hurry off with his offended dog to shove the thing up the stairs and into the bedroom. Bobby had a way of portraying all of the emotions Mop went through, stripped of any human dignity or façade. When Meredith came back from his affair, he looked visibly distressed—distressed enough that when Izzy asked his question, he received a green-eyed dagger of a stare in response. The auror composed most of himself a second later with a swift smooth-over addressed to his frazzled hair. “Well,” there was a touch of strain in his voice before he continued. “I’d like Hip to take our…” the Welshman paused in internal struggle while he glanced to the woman and the highly illegal animal in his home “…guest to the floo. She can stay there.” Mop plucked his friend’s ‘arrival notice’ off the floor from where he’d dropped it and changed his attention to flip between Izzy and Hip – primarily – before drawing toward the girls. “Then, until someone can make ‘accio twatticakes’ work for us, he’s going to tell us everything he remembers on Gloriana, everything he remembers on Twatticakes, and we are going to pick out a bloody place to start.” With the office already covering the usual suspects, they could branch out from there. That was about where Meredith’s filter expired and he began to say things that he might – later – regret to have said without any kind of tact. “So if you’re done being sassy, we can get to work throwing ideas. I asked you to come out because you’re the fucking smartest person I know” if not a little daft “if it’s too-bloody-much, then leave—but I think you owe us” Gloriana “at least one-shit-given, here.”

15:21:27 [Iwamura] "I'm never done being sassy," Izzy replied without a lick of humor. "It's a flaw that I've seen no cause to alter. I'll yield the floor to Mr. Botts here, but I'll also mention that former Professor Cyrus Valen is a registered animagus with a known shape, a missing limb, and a fetish for Cornish pixies." Izzy wrinkled his nose, looked to Xia, winced. The fucking pixie. He leaned back in his chair, so as to look up to the ceiling, let out a low sigh. "Hey, I'm sorry, Mop. I'm here to help. Wouldn't have come here at all if I didn't have every intention of seeing Miss Boulstridge back safe." And then safely prosecuted for, ah, criminal mischief. Although Izzy wasn't intimately familiar with how prosecution worked in the UK, or how criminal what she'd done was… magical destruction of property was actually not super uncommon, in his experience. Perils of wizarding society.

15:36:26 [Xia] Hip introduced himself, and Xia wiggled her fingers in greeting. "Xia Lavine." Yes that Xia. Part of the misfit crew that had been involved at Anhuala and mentioned in the records of the war. It felt a little weird to remember that her family was technically famous, if not to the same degree as a famous Quidditch star. She fought not to snort when Izzy made his comment about never done being sassy. Now wasn't that the truth? A truth she was more than okay with, but still a truth. She fought the urge to laugh and instead focused her attention on the group around her and what they needed to know about Valen, and her nose scrunched when Izzy mentioned pixies. "Pixies. Ugh." She said in solidarity. That had not been particularly fun. Her attention moved from Mop, super serious, to Izzy, then back to Mop. "Why did Valen attack anyway?"

16:01:48 [Darby] The door swung open just before Xia publicized the question that plagued her. And, of course, Darby was immediate to answer her, “His past transgressions would suggest he’s got quite the little grudge against Miss Boulstridge. After all, her mother’s death was the reason he saw the walls of Azkaban from the inside.“ She adjusted her hair and clothes accordingly; flying had taken a toll on her impeccable style. “Good morning, dears. Meredith…“ she approached him and looked him over carefully, “How are you, dear?“ He was a great deal more unkempt than he’d been just yesterday. The others were strangers to her, but she’d learn their names soon enough. “Mr. Iwamura, Botts… Frauline Kaust! What a pleasant surprise,“ which was only a mild overstatement. She turned to the other girls and smiled, removing the leather glove from her right hand. “Evelyn Darby, pleased to meet you.“ She shook the hand of one, and then the other if permitted (and hopefully learned their names in the process). “So, what do we plan to do about this Valen character?“ She leaned against the nearest piece of unoccupied furniture — seemingly oblivious to the very illegal Sphinx seated in one of the armchairs.

16:12:26 Hippolytus was a little reluctant to leave, even to get Hayden settled in just now. Meredith was visibly distressed – something he rarely let slip, to his credit. And Hip’s impression of how he was handling this wasn’t improving. The Auror pressed his lips together tightly between his teeth and slid his arms into a knot over his chest, eyes on the floor for a moment as he tried to collect thoughts and opinions here. Kaust seemed to still be getting her thoughts together as well, so he lifted his head to face Meredith’s concern with a slight frown. “Look, Port, I-…” He sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose as he stopped himself and decided to try for a softer approach. “You know the investigation is running. They aren’t just going to take their time when someone is casting unforgivable curses in broad daylight. I know she’s your friend… but… I think that’s why they haven’t come to you to take part.” He cast an uncertain glance around to the others gathered there, then sighed again. The next bit couldn’t be softened much other than in tone. “If Cyrus Valen intended further harm to her, then it’s done now.” No thanks to him and his inability to stop the man’s escape. “I just think it would be a better id-…” He cut himself off with a snap when the door blew open. And hopefully considering the kind of week the poor man had had, Evelyn Darby would forgive him impulsively drawing his wand on her. He did lower it and close his eyes briefly when he realized who it was. As the blustery woman swung through her introductions, his response was a small, teethy “Mum.” He’d given up reminding her that he’d worked for her directly for four years EVERY time she seemed to forget. He shot Mop a sort of desperate ‘not my fault!’ look when it seemed that their boss was… taking over the supposed act of vigilantism… He had another one of those moments – those moments when he realized objectively how utterly bizarre their world was. Strange.

16:33:01 [Porthman] The whole reason Meredith had purchased a house in the middle of nowhere was so he didn’t get unexpected visitors. When the large double doors breeze open, Mop’s response is the same as Hip’s: a twitchy wand-draw and a quick pang of regret. The autonomic action was followed by a worry, betrayal, and concern all in one ball of anxiety that knotted his stomach. He didn’t bother searching around for everyone else’s reactions. Meredith kept his eyes trained on the woman so crassly invading his home without knocking. Anyone else would get an earful and – depending on the severity – a bout of curses. As Darby drew nearer, he made sure not flinch away as he wanted. “Mum.” He obediently repeated after Hippolytus. “Respectfully,” Meredith stepped up to her question with something he hoped to derail her with. “Isn’t that something you should be discussing at the office?” Of course, he couldn’t stop there—he had to continue; ‘had to’. “Instead of… breezing on into my home?” There had to be another reason for her visit, his suspicions screamed—for what reason would she invade his home without so much as a knock? It wasn’t particularly professional and Meredith was already in a spikier and spikier mood as his triggers stacked up.

16:42:58 [Iwamura] The doors breezed open, and Porthman and Botts got understandably defensive. Izzy inspected his fingernails for a moment, not going for his wand. It just seemed… wildly unlikely… that anyone was attacking them here. And, sure enough, it turned out to be none other than Evelyn Darby. "Ms. Darby, I certainly don't know what you're talking about. It has been made abundantly clear that this is not my jurisdiction, so I certainly haven't been party to any plans violating that stricture." Shaking hands wasn't really a thing Izzy did. He didn't pay Evelyn much mind either way. This was Porthman's endeavor, and Porthman didn't seem all that happy by her sudden and unannounced presence, so Izzy considered him a good model for the moment. "You know what's missing right now? Tea. A good round of Lady Grey, so we can, ah, recall the glory days. When Professor Valen was just psychotic and borderline incompetent, and not a violent fugitive on top of that." Okay, he was probably laying the the sarcasm out a little thick, but this was - as we already mentioned - some advanced goddamn fuckery, and his patience was limited. Evelyn Darby made the fuckery substantially more advanced with her presence, and Izzy was suddenly keenly interested in her professional conduct…

16:55:28 [Darby] Understanding was her middle name! In fact, she was so understanding, that Evelyn didn’t even glance at the raised wands. They were all on a short fuse, this group most of all, she surmised. “Yes, I’m sorry, dear. Quite rude, I know,“ she apologized, only half-sincere. It was rude, but she couldn’t very well forget about Meredith’s connection to the kidnapped. Izzy made his sentiments regarding his friends’ meeting known. “Yes, thank you, Mr. Iwamura. I’m sure you’re here purely for emotional support.“ There was only the slightest hint of sarcasm, as she’d been well-aware of his social ineptitudes since they’d been introduced. But she wasn’t so sure he was there for any reason but. She continued to assume he was going to aid his friend, nevertheless. “Thing is, dear, I’m very much aware of your relationship to Miss Boulstridge, and I know there’s nothing I can do to stop you from pursuing this case. There’s no threat in my repertoire to keep you from searching her, as I’m sure your friends have already valiantly attempted to dissuade you from.“ There was a pause, one she had a feeling was unlikely to be interrupted, as she reached into the holster under her trench coat to produce her wand and conjure a cup of tea (which was now missing from her home in Notting Hill - laws of transfiguration and all that). With very little effort, it was warmed to a consumable temperature. She took a sip. “Mmf. That’s awful. I really must get a better brand. Where was I…“ she glanced into the rafters for a spare moment, “Oh, yes. I’ve come here, despite your apparent [she gestured at him] uneasiness, to help you - and the courageous group you’ve assembled here - rescue Miss Boulstridge,“ she explained at-length. “Yes, I believe tea is in order,“ she conceded, at Izzy’s suggestion.

17:16:11 [Hippolytus] Ms. Darby proceeded to orchestrate from the stomp of the doorway, Hip’s whole person and face went very still except for an inordinate number of blinks per minute. His eyes slooowly descended to the tea cup the woman now held, then slooowly raised back to her face. At the same ponderous speed, his wandeless hand raised to the side of his head. Something… really… hurt right in his temple. Right there – like a hot pulsing. His stare never left his boss. That was his boss. He could not have a retelling of the Hipposenna. Not now. Not when he was already in trouble – these are all thinks that should have occurred to him instead of what erupted next. “Wwwhhhat..please? With all due- WHY are you HERE!? You HAVE an investigation going… AT OUR PLACE OF WORK! Which is NOT goddamn here in the middle of NOWHERE (sorry Port) , Wales. And you’re setting this man on the scent of a criminal who has kidnapped his friend because you can’t be ARSED to stop him!? I am trying to prevent this!” He swirled a hand around to indicate ‘this’. “WHO is taking CRAZY PILLS!? ME or YOU!?…………mum.” He could feel his eye twitching and his wand bearing hand was basically white as he clutched the implement uselessly. The other hand had found its way into his tousled mop of hair, gripping it back out of his face. It was only when he realized he was heaving in deep breaths that he realized he had, indeed, flown clear off the broomstick.

17:31:14 Porthman wanted to find relief when Iwamura put his jabs in, but there was no relief to be found yet. “Tea.” He agreed as he drew in and exhaled a deep breath. The chance at calm was stolen from him the second his supervisor started speaking again. Her words were nails on a chalkboard. Meredith began to wonder if he hadn’t just had a breakdown that afternoon with Huian and all of this was a terrible dream or he’d wake in a terrible fugue. There was no way this was real. He opened his mouth several times to speak, but found nothing to say. Fortunately, Botts – outspoken, truth-having Botts – DID have something to dish out. It was a reaction that was genuine and passionate enough to reassure Meredith that he was not, in fact, dreaming and there was something terribly wrong with this situation. When Hippolytus was done, Mop finally relaxed – like it was he who had been shouting and driving a hard point into their mutual superior. Contented, he exhaled once more, dropped his squared shoulders and allowed his expression to wax humored. He glanced around the room to encourage the others it was safe to do the same.

17:41:41 [Iwamura] Well, that was something! Izzy hadn't ever met Botts before today, but he couldn't deny a certain… admiration at how he responded. Because this really was kind of a screwjob. It smelled off. Wrong. "I won't claim to be an expert in protocol for the Ministry, by any means, but it does seem rather odd for a senior official to suggest… and take party to… vigilantism. Certainly, I know that's enough to have one dismissed from their post without commendation in Kijushou." Izzy remained rather calm. This? This was quickly turning into a thing right up his wheelhouse - plying his knowledge to be persnickety and taciturn. He didn't know Darby's motives. Hell, short of Mop, Izzy was pretty sure he didn't know what was motivating anyone in this room. But he absolutely knew that this wasn't the place to be discussing a rescue, that Mop probably shouldn't be on any detail assigned to investigate the kidnapping of his old friends, and that Darby's presence was extraordinarily strange. "Anyway, if you don't mind, Meredith? I'm going to brew everyone some tea." Unless Mop objected, Izzy stood and made to do just that. Better use of his time, without a doubt. Ha! Better use of everyone's time, because tea would be the end result, and tea was, in fact, awesome.

17:57:38 [Darby] She watched as Hippolytus exploded into a frenzy of confusion and accusation. It wasn’t until he was nearly through shouting at her that she stood from her leaning post and gently laid her tea on the table. Izzy was the next to pipe up. “Yes, well… you all seem very keyed up. And rightly so, I imagine. I believe you were all schoolmates, with the exception of Harold, here.“ She nodded in Hip’s direction, and crossed the room. “I imagine my showing up puts everyone on edge as well. I can assure you I mean no harm, Mr. Porthman. I was simply stopping by to check on your state. But… it seems I’ve overstepped my bounds.“ It was a little disappointing to have your, purely, concerned presence dashed simply because of your profession — but certainly not enough to shake her demeanor. “Mr. Porthman, I don’t expect you to heed my warning when I ask you not to go looking for Ms. Boulstridge on your own. What I do ask is that you try not to step on any toes if you do. And Botts, I expect you’ll keep an eye on him… after the scolding you received yesterday from the Head of the Department. As for the rest of you…“ she glanced from Izzy to the girls with a pleasant smile, “I’m sure I’ll be seeing you again soon.“ Evelyn sent her tea cup home and went about pulling on her gloves. She paused just next to Hippolytus and casually began speaking in hushed tones, “Do have yourself a cup of tea, Harold, and relax.“ That was all the talking-to he would ever really receive from Ms. Darby before she bade them a good morning, and left them to their own devices.

18:08:44 Hippolytus ’s breathing never quite returned to normal and he stood there like a soldier, all stiff and near quivering. When he drew in a deep breath, his eyes opened a little more before lidding once again. His exhale was audible and he gave a substantial twitch when Ms. Darby misnamed him again, but instead of permitting himself to react further, he immediately drew in another breath and folded his hands just at the tip of his nose, fingertips touching his browbone. Like this, with his eyes closed, he listened, only appearing any stiffer when she mentioned the dressing down he’d been subject to. Likewise, her advice to him was met with only silent containment. The moment the door slammed, his wand was out, whipped up a clean sheet of paper, shredded it into thousands of flakes, lit those flakes on fire, then doused them before they hit the ground. The flourish of sheathing his wand eradicated the mess from existence entirely.

18:18:27 [Porthman] “Well,” Meredith clasped his hands together after all was said and done. Their supervisor had seen her way out, Hippolytus took out his residual rage, and Izzy had put the kettle on (perhaps with Xia to assist to escape feeling the awkward tension of what had just happened). Suddenly, Kaust being in his home and his dog being confined to the upstairs didn’t seem so bad. “I feel much better, don’t you?” The auror, practically giddy, surveyed the room for reactions. What he found seemed kind of desolate—like a half-hearted war had just been fought. Desolate… and a gentle Huian, passed out at his table. It was a surprise she’d slept through the whole ordeal and the subject of some measure of jealousy. “Tea—oh, please,” Meredith pointed a waggedy finger toward the kitchen window and the bottle of firewhisky sitting on the windowsill as he retrieved a blanket to drape over Huian’s shoulders. “Help yourself to that if you feel the burning need.”

18:26:05 [Iwamura] Izzy set the kettle to boil and shook his head silently. Darby changed her tune quickly enough - either this had been some attempt at entrapment, or she was miffed at being called on unprofessional behavior, and either way, Izzy couldn't claim to be sad to see her go. He also, at Mop's direction, pulled the bottle of liquor off the windowsill and - along with steaming water and cups - brought it out to the kitchen table. "That's your boss, hm? I'm very sorry, Mop, and I officially recant all the complaining I do about mine. For a week. I can't promise not to start complaining again once Mitsuda's back on active duty. Still…" He proceeded to pour out cups for everyone, 'cause he was all polite and shit, a real fuckin' civilized individual here! "Mitsuda hasn't ever trespassed in my place of residence and interrupted my private conversations, at least. Firewhisky for anyone..?" He made to spike anyone's tea who requested it, all too eagerly.

18:33:38 Hippolytus ’s shoulders sloped again and he lifted his head before turning around…rather…slowly. Everyone was more or less busying themselves. “I…apologize…for that,” he said, swallowing the rest of that rage with a little more ease. Head lowered again, he spun the handle of his wand in its holster with one hand and the other pushed his hair back from his face momentarily before ruffling it back into “order”. Well at this point, he did not know how the hell the situation was laid out. Did Darby’s bosses know about this? Did THEY want Meredith running off after Valen? And all that aside, was Meredith just going to take that as a ‘go ahead’. Because now any caution Hip tried to encourage his coworker to would be defeated by the fact that they had the Office’s blessing. He lifted a few fingers to request the blessing that was tea AND firewhiskey.

18:47:40 [Porthman] “Just tea, just tea.” Meredith chimed—he didn’t need any encouragement from an alcoholic beverage today… and it seemed too early to be drinking… around people… that he didn’t want to be drinking around without cause. He swooped in to claim his cuppa soon after Izzy poured it and backed away. He felt as though the wind had left his sails – he was calm, relaxed—or, if he thought about it, in shock. He lifted his tea to his lips to test the proverbial (and literal) waters while he entertained the idea. That could explain his sudden lack of motivation and the uncanny sense of relaxation he felt. “I think…” Meredith put his cuppa back down. “I need to nap.” He told, as it came as a sudden surprise. “Do I?”

18:57:08 [Iwamura] Notably, Izzy didn't dose his own tea, and by request, didn't dose Mop's either. He had no particularly impressive degree of alcohol tolerance, and it was always a fuck of a thing trying to plan when he was drunk. He didn't even remember what'd happened in Milan, the last time he'd gotten hammered, and Mulan and Xia reminded him of that constantly. "You could probably stand to sleep, Mop. Clear your head a bit." Izzy took a long draft of tea, eyeing the host with a pensive expression. "I'm not your mother. I won't order you to your room. Looks to me like you're all off your balance, though." Yeah, all off his balance. Anyone with an eye could see it. Hip was, too, unless Hip's default state of balanced was im-. Izzy didn't know him well enough to guess at it. "Whatever you decide, if you need my help, you have it. Open offer. If there's already an investigation underway, though, it may be best to let that play out. I've seen rescue attempts end… badly. Especially when they're compromised by an emotionally attached party."

19:03:13 Hippolytus graciously took his spiked tea and sipped it as if that were honey in it. As he took reserved swallows, he eyed Meredith for a moment. His week might have been bad, but Port was dealing with a loss to boot. Hip leaved over to grab a blanket from the back of the couch and, with one hand, lifted and deposited it on Mop’s head and shoulders like a shroud before giving his shoulder a companionable swat. All this in silence before returning to sipping his tea. He didn’t think Mop’s plan was a good idea, but with the complications that now the head office had presented, he knew he would watch the younger Auror’s back regardless. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but he hadn’t been trained with the idea he’d be operating in ideal situations.

19:10:29 Porthman was getting sick of feeling as though he had to apologize for everything. He wasn’t that kind of person—when did that start being the thing he worried about? With a blanket deposited on his head, a smack, and Izzy’s critical thoughts made audible, Meredith agreed with a nod of his head and turned to the coiling stairs. “Make yourselves at home. It’s not much.” He bid before heading up the stairs. “Don’t leave Wayne there if you go.” He was gone, then – through the veritable trap door into the loft.

19:15:20 [Iwamura] Izzy raised his eyebrow at Hip as Mop proceeded to excuse himself from the scene. He wasn't without sympathy, but Izzy wasn't especially good at expressing that sort of thing. Really, outside of being sardonic or analyzing, Izzy wasn't good at expressing much of anything. "I don't think I'd feel especially right staying much longer. Were you planning to hang about, Hippolytus?" No familiarity here. So no shortened names! Not much formality, either, though. He always felt odd trying to strike the right level of formality in English. It was much, much easier to do that in other languages. "If not, I'll see to it Huian gets home… else, I think I'd rather not wake her." He finished off his tea and waited for a response. So… Operation Secret Rescue? Not much coming of that just now.

19:23:11 Hippolytus pressed his lips together as he watched Meredith take his leave, then slowly looked back to Iwamura with a little ironic smile. “I’m here on two orders of business, actually.” One of which he was pretty sure would necessitate him packing a bag and staying here a few nights. “So I’ll stick around. Er…s-sorry again for all-“ He waved a hand towards the door and fought for words for a few moments. “She is a strange and infuriating woman and I am not so sure I shouldn’t be considering employment in another country at this point.” A joke of course… he hoped. He lightly held his teacup with both hands, propping it between his fingers as he stared at the bottom. “Anyway. I’m a little worried about Meredith besides.” His glance strayed to the snoozing Huian. “I’m sure he wouldn’t mind her staying. And I figure it does more good than harm to have you lot around him now anyway.” That crease formed beside the corner of his lips again and he shrugged a shoulder. “I hope.”

19:30:41 [Iwamura] "The way I see it, there isn't anybody in charge of an Auror division that isn't some brand of crazy or another. Might've been so once, but the last fifty years? They changed things. You won't find better in another country, just different. And for the record," Izzy gathered up the kettle and his own cup and returned them to the kitchen. He didn't often use magic for mundane tasks, there was a joy to working with his hands, even for such simple things as cleaning up. "You have nothing to apologize for. Darby was well out of line. Anyway, I do need to check in with my superiors. I'm around, if you need anything." It went for Hip just as much as for Mop, as it turned out. Stranger, sure, but he seemed trustworthy, and more importantly, he might prove a stabilizing (ha) influence on an obviously unstable Mop. Three days into the Conclave, and already a high-profile kidnapping affecting his circle of dudes. Izzy was honestly most surprised it had taken this long.

19:38:37 Hippolytus found it just as well that he was excused from this bout of unbridled rage in someone’s eyes. He wouldn’t stand there and argue it – it was best forgotten so that everyone could carry on. His ironic smile returned when Iwamura assured him of what he supposed he might have guessed, given time to consider it. Tip toe alley would be tip toe alley, populated with all the same people, no matter where it was. “I suppose you’re right,” he conceded affably, taking another sip. It was probably all mental, but the dollop of whiskey was already taking the edge off. “Thank you,” he concluded after a moment. “It’s good to meet you, though I wish it were under better circumstances. Er… I’m sorry about your friend.” Or who he’d simply assumed was a common friend to all of Mop’s school mates. Resolved to stay on hand, Hip would likely dither for a while before resigning himself to tidying some of the moving mess and claiming an unclaimed chair in which to stay up and fret.

19:39:51 Iwamura totally left and went to do that thing he said. With his superiors. Like a super sexy badass. Wooo exit posts.

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