April 26th, 2098

11:54:06 [Waldo] Work. It was like white noise shielding him from the world; veiling him and his shadow from society. The veil adjusted in the progression of client-customer discourse, becoming his mask, but just as quickly consumed him again when judging eyes were finally off him. It was why he enjoyed working in the peace and quiet; alone. Merlin forbid someone decide his proclivity towards solitude is weird, but it was the way he wanted things. The way he liked them. Surviving was simple and easy this way. In the rear of the wandshop, his knife cut the final line into the handle of a poplar wand – an ashen brown piece of wood and magic that, with a unicorn at its core, would one day be a powerful ally to someone. He imagined what kind of wizard he’d encounter; what kind of person he would meet that this wand would choose. Casting his goggle-esque spectacles to the cluttered desk before him, a flick of his hand snuffed candle light, and a flick of his wand drew open the curtains. Luckily Diagon Alley wasn’t particularly bright – ever – which saved his eyes from the painful adjustment period from dark to light. His stomach growled like an irate feline. He was hungry. The obvious solution was to close shop and go find food. He did so, locking up the store before he exited to the street and cut towards the Leaky Cauldron, a pint of butterbeer and a ham sandwich on his mind.

12:30:40 [Poppy] “Ah! Shit!“ Poppy yanked her hand back from her stitching and sucked a dewdrop of blood from her finger. She growled and threw the garment across her flat onto a vibrant turquoise sofa. Her hands lifted to rub at her face and she let go a long and discontented sigh. She hadn’t been able to keep focus on anything. The dress was a last-ditch effort at being productive, and even that had failed. What she needed was a distraction, some inspiration even — and maybe some food. Downstairs, Calliope was tending to as low but steady stream of customers. Business was booming with the Conclave, so much so that she’d had to hire another set of hands in Calliope. The girl had charm and charisma coming out of her ears. It was almost enough to make you sick. But boy did it rack up sales. Calliope finished up with a customer just in time to catch Poppy out of the corner of her eye, “Where you off to, Pop?“ Poppy rolled her eyes dramatically, “Getting some air for my three-sizes too small brain.“ Calliope smiled and began to idly fold scarves, and Poppy was out the door behind the last customer. The Leaky Cauldron was busy… busier than Poppy had seen it in a very long time. She was sure they were having to literally turn people away. Poppy practically had to plow through the throng of witches and wizards that occupied the place. If nothing else, it was certainly a great atmosphere for people-watching - if you could stand the moderate claustrophobia of the over-encumbered space.

15:49:36 [Poppy] More than once, she’d been jostled in the crowd on her way to the counter. It was a steep price to avoid Liliput’s just this once, and Poppy was certainly paying for it. “Ow!“ An unquestionably unbathed wizard stepped on her foot and she resisted the urge to shove him or shout. He passed on without an apology or even so much as a second glance. She’d get over it. At the counter, she didn’t bother with etiquette, blurting her order at the man as soon as he set eyes on her, “Turkey sandwich mayo, pickles, hold the tomato aaannnd aaa-uuhh pumpkin juice.“ His cheeks puffed with a sigh and he put her order in behind another sandwich just as Poppy placed several sickles on the counter top. She offered a tight-lipped smile to the frazzled witch next to her. They were all passengers on the same cramped little boat. Each and every one of them knew, generally, the other’s level of discomfort; most just chose not to acknowledge it. The wizard in front of her brushed against her shoulder as he passed and she was offered only a moment’s glance at him and his marvelous glasses. “No problem,“ instinctively poured from her lips, as she watched him walk away. As a student of fashion, Poppy couldn’t help but admire his ensemble. In fact, she was rather intrigued by it. She was altogether distracted by ideas that came flooding into the creative space of her mind until, “Miss!“ Poppy turned, “Hm? Oh. Right. Sorry. Thanks.“ She had to squeeze between a pair of wizards at the bar to grab her sandwich and drink. It was going to be just as impossible to find a seat, and lo and behold there were none. She sighed and exiled herself against one of the pillars in the back. Note to self: find a less crowded place to lunch at.

16:02:51 [Ilkay] Crowds were NO problem for Ilkay. With a swivel of the shoulders and remembering that you could not only dodge side to side, but on the other axis entirely, he could proceed through thedelicious - smelling establishment to put his belly right up to the bar. During the time it had taken him to GET there, he hadn’t really put much thought into what he wanted, so he became THAT guy – the one who had the perfect vantage point for ordering, but who took his sweet time perusing the menu, fingers drumming his lips and his hazel eyes narrowed in thought. “This…ey.” He reached out to tug the sleeve of the bartender, thus monopolizing everyone else’s means of getting their orders in as well. “This fire wheeskee-ay?” The tender’s expression crumpled to exasperation. “Fire whiskey, bloake.” Ilkay blinked twice. “Bloake?” Shaking his head, he opted not to persue the question. Everyone waiting their turn would have to agree with that decision. “I’ll have this. And eggs.” He smiled and nodded…then just stayed there, pressed against the bar to await the delivery of his order.

16:58:56 [Waldo] Eager nods quickly capitalized on her attention and made it clear that she was Waldo’s focus. A sigh passed from his mouth spelling his relief and allowing him to relax in his seat. For whatever reason, he waited for her to sit down and get comfortable before he took another bite of his sandwich, but a sip of his beer was okay. In her presence his mouth has inexplicably dried. “S’my pleasure,” is all he sees fit to muster before finally going into his sandwich. They were both pleased now. She had a seat and he had a world absent the stinky man. Still, he wasn’t altogether surprised to find his company seeking some kind of conversation. Alright. Fine. “Yeah, really packed.” Was that good enough? Appearing disinterested would just make things awkward for her, and he couldn’t survive aimlessly answering her prying questions if she insisted on talking. Appearing too enthused could be taken as mocking, and he didn’t want to drive her away and give smelly an opportunity to swoop in to spite him. “The food’s good, though.”

17:12:40 [Poppy] Settled in, she was finally able to get a good look at him, not that she was gaping like an idiot or anything so embarrassing. She did, however, steal herself a few occasional glances to piece him together like a puzzle: a pair of eyes, a nose, mouth, chin, yes he was completely human. But where had his glasses gone? Oh but they were magnificent! They did so many wonders for his ensemble that he couldn’t possibly fathom. Really, he was practically teasing her. Her attention made its way back around to the polite chat and she shrugged, scrutinizing her sandwich. Bite stuffed into her cheek to avoid most of the unpleasantness that came with talking with food in your mouth, “Little dry, though. An’ this mayonnaise isn’t doing it any favors.“ Poppy’s striking blues met with a matching set across the table for the first time, and she smiled (mouth closed, obviously). Half of her sandwich was gone before she opened up again, opting to nullify their awkward silence for something more of interest to her, if not to him. “So, I was wondering. Um, where do you get your clothes… if you don’t mind my asking?“ Because that wasn’t a question right out of left field or anything. Though, to be fair, her Peter Pan Collar, powder blue and ivory A-line dress didn’t exactly have her blending into the crowd.

17:49:27 [Waldo] She was right. These sandwiches were terrible. He could have done better. In hindsight, he wished he had. It would have saved him a trip if he could have just (somehow) foreseen this and gone somewhere else; home to make himself his own food. It was only a disapparation-crack away. He smiled anyways, knowing that he was willfully continuing the lie when she’d given him an out. Another swallow of butterbeer assisted hisdry sandwich in traveling down his esophagus after his most recent bite. He was lucky to be still busy chewing and swallowing, giving him an opportunity to tilt his head down and hide his mouth behind his hand. So she liked his style? Along with his food he hid a reluctant smirk. He’d afforded his wardrobe a surprising amount of thought. To appear and blend in he had to be jointly mundane and stylish. He’d thought his choice in clothing was uniquely pedestrian considering wizarding society’s typical extravagance and…lace. So much more material went into the hats, gowns, and robes of witches, wizards, and warlocks. “I’ve stepped into one or two muggle stores,” he confessed, “they’re tasteful, but simple. Do you enjoy clothes?”

18:11:37 [Poppy] No surprise there. Their generation seemed to have a knack for wearing semi-modern muggle clothing, compared to the antiquated robes their parents and grandparents had… except, of course, that Poppy had muggle parents - it tended to help with the transition, at least where fashion was concerned. She swallowed down the latest bite of her lunch with a swig of delicious pumpkin juice. Her top lip curled over her bottom lip to remove any stray remnants of juice and her bottom followed suit clearing the top before she spoke again. “I am, actually. Iiieee have my own little shop just down the way across from Gringotts. You know, next to Liliput’s? Kind of a designer,“ she tried to play it down some. She was proud of her work, sure, but she never felt need to inflate her ego. It was tacky.

18:27:55 [Waldo] He studied her face for a second and looked back down at his plate when the memory of her little pink shop came to mind. “Pinkerton’s Pastels and Prints,” he answered, confident he’d gotten the name of the store right. “I pass the store all the time.” He decidedly left out why, keen to remain aloof and as withholding of information. Perhaps he didn’t have to be; it could be nice to let his guard down some and just have a conversation. His social skills could use some dusting off. He can’t avoid people; it was impractical. What’s more, he had a clothing designer admiring his sense of style? His clothes weren’t something he usually took pride in, but he could appreciate the sensation – the urge to crack a smirk.

18:39:56 [Poppy] Her jaw quite literally locked mid-chew at the unmistakably confident recollection of her store. While, admittedly, a little eerie that he cherry-picked the name of her store out of the dozens upon dozens upon dozens of stores that littered Diagon Alley (not to mention Knockturn Alley, if he was that kind of wizard), she found herself rather impressed and even flattered that he’d managed to remember it. Then again, it was a pink building in the middle of a dreary-looking alley in the gloomy gray of London. She pushed all of that aside to offer him a rueful smile and a splash of pink that colored her cheeks. “Aaannd now I’m a jerk because I don’t have special ‘awesome’ skills that tell me what you do.“ She felt a little like a dope, actually, and definitely undeserving ofall the attention. The ball had thoroughly been swatted into his court.

19:03:30 [Waldo] The woman couldn’t have known that he used his memory so reliably. Similarly, she couldn’t have known what he did because he hadn’t mentioned it. She was beginning to notice her disadvantages, which meant more questions for him. He knew how to do the ‘mysterious’ thing. “No, i-its not your fault, I never mentioned it.” Wiping his mouth with a napkin, he tried to recover with some socially positive actions; with some politeness. He reached over the table and put his hand where the woman could shake it. “Waldo. I’m a wandmaker.” Waldo didn’t imagine there were too many wandmakers with his name in the world, let alone on Diagon Alley. Maybe he was wrong, but he doubted it. More importantly, there was only one Waldo Ollivander, and his last name came with more than a little renown. He didn't really like that part of his legacy.

19:13:45 [Thais] ‘Collect Ilkay’ had been Thais’ job since they’d arrived in this god forsaken land of eternal clouds and misery to attend Magic-Con. Then, ‘collect Ilkay’ was often Thais’ job whether it was explicitly given or not. He knew the little Turk couldn’t have been far – he’d be in one of these shops or rubber-necking at a stand. The out-of-place Brazilian petered on until the road came to an end and he was faced with the Leaky Cauldron’s fabled façade. He’d already checked everywhere else and though it was entirely possible – plausible – that the scrappy kid had inadvertently evaded his search like the sun and moon, Thais was feeling lucky. He was also feeling pretty thirsty after his grueling search. With two feet in the door and a few paces to separate him from the outside, he cleared his throat and spoke up. “EsCU-sce me, ladies and gentlemen,” Thais’ voice bellowed without the use of magic. “Hafve we seen a kid” he raised his hand to gesture a height “pipsqueak – short” and went back to using it to talk again. “Terrible accent” the list of definitive features grew “terrible English.” Thais scanned the tavern’s patrons until: “AH—nevermind.” His quarry spotted at the bar, he clapped his hands together, giddy as a boy on Christmas morning. “I see! Th-ANK you, everybody!” He ‘apologized’ for disturbing the peace and swanned over to the bar only to crash against it hard as a wave on a breakwater.

19:18:29 [Ilkay] “Size yemin ederim … Ben zburat într-un cuib de dragon…” Ilkay was well into the portion of the show that required a LOT of hand motions for anyone around him to understand the details of the exploits he was describing. And that was going with the assumption they could follow the unholy matrimony of Turkish and Romanian to begin with. He embellished his story today with a sudden spreading motion of both arms and a “Shooomp!” sound effect. Hazel eyes wide and mouth imitating the awe-struck reaction he expected to his tale, he leaned back a little and huffed out a single breath that smelled a lot like fire whiskey. “Okay! Was reelee good.” He pinched his thumb and first finger together, spreading the other three with a percussive gesture. “So hakano baro, yeah… aleee … I loose a finger doing it. Oh…” He seemed to have noticed that as he was gesturing that all ten, perfectly healthy fingers were in evidence. “I get it fixed…by ah…” And just then, Thais made his appearance, pulling all attention towards him for a moment. About halfway through his description of Ilkay - particularly when he got to the part about broken English – most of those who had been doing their best to follow the acrobat’s story, turned back towards him, not a few actually pointing. “Ah! By my friend here. Gafe me thees new finger!” He wiggled the middle finger of his right hand and turned his grin expectantly to Thais. “You remember?”

19:29:58 [Poppy] “Mm.“ Her eyebrows disappeared behind her bangs and she fumbled to wipe her hands free of any crumbs or, God forbid, mayo with the napkin in her lap. Poppy’s long slender fingers reached out to capture his hand in greeting. Her grip was firm, but not overly tight and her shake was abrupt; there was no lingering or yanking his arm out of the socket. There was strength in her personality, and it presented itself well enough in her handshake alone. “ Waldo, the wandmaker,“ she repeated, wistfully and wearing a smile. There really was something about the Wizarding world and alliteration that made her a little giddy - hence the name of her shop. “Now that is a profession,“ she admitted, after some lingering thoughts on the subject. Really, it required a sort of artistry and almost metaphysical connection that Poppy herself could never really wrap her head around. Her clothing store suddenly paled in comparison. Any sudden blow to her recently-inflated sense of self worth thanks to a little self-deprecation was smoothly avoided with distraction. It didn’t occur to her that some of the crowd had cleared until the shouting drew her attention elsewhere. Her eyes steered toward the door, following the loud patron to the bar. Curiosity held her for a minute before the disruptive one was reunited with the one whose head had caught some mild interest from Poppy just a short while ago. A little bell of impropriety rang in her head and she snapped her attention back to Waldo with displaced brown waves shifting around her face against the momentum. “Sorry. I have the attention span of a gold fish today.“ Which, was only half-true, since she’d run into Waldo, it seemed.

19:53:04 [Waldo] There it is again. That understood but still inexplicable feeling of pride; to understand he was being praised. Waldo didn’t know what to do with it, but maybe he could tell her his last name? Maybe her hanging jaw might boost his ego more; maybe she’d ask about his wands. His expression snapped into a weak smile, hopefully thanking her so his words didn’t have to. He began work on his butterbeer, shifting his attention away while her’s was stolen by louder parties. When they both returned to their conversation, he shook his head and reassured her it was fine. Really, the more distracted she was, the less likely she was to be too bothered when he suddenly left. He was looking for an exit by now, aiming to complete his pint of butterbeer and leave before they got too deep into talking. He was ready to be back in the shop, surrounded by his precious creations. They were much more satisfying company.

19:55:55 [Thais] “You’ve been making friends, Ilkay? Good job.” Thais applauded as one might encourage a child. While Ilkay struggled with words, the newcomer eyed all the poor bastards around the bar that were forced to listen to the kid drivel on and on about nothing anyone could really understand. Thais made a face to show his sympathy to the innocent bystanders but immediately returned to a caring, attentive friend when Ilkay’s attention turned to him. “Wow! Yes, I see! You should try that all the time. To everyone.” He clapped his smaller friend on the shoulder. “How many have you had, kid-do? Get cut off yet?” As if Thais did not trust the ‘boy’ to answer honestly (or remember the truth), he looked to those around him – and the bartender in particular.

20:07:23 [Poppy] The way he shrank back from the conversation - not that he’d been particularly articulate about everything that crossed his mind - alerted more chimes in Poppy’s head. With their sandwiches finished and Poppy without much more than a gulp of pumpkin juice left, she knew the shift into departure was surely at hand. So, what does a smart girl do? She kissed the lip of her cup for that last swill of pumpkin juice, wiped her mouth, and folded her napkin over her plate. “Well, I think I’ve probably monopolized enough of your lunch.“ She gifted him with a coy, but pleasant, smile and an accompanying shrug. “It was lovely to meet you, Waldo. And uh, my dress thanks you for saving its life,“ she joked, and made to remove all physical traces of her existence from his table.

20:18:12 Ilkay swiveled on his barstool to lean both elbows back on the counter, flashing that lopsided grin that came so naturally to his face, but which could be taken by a stranger to be an arrogant smirk. “Ey, pral, I just entertain varekai .. Can’t help I’ yeah!” Few at the bar could argue with that – even if he’d been completely incomprehensible, he’d at least been HIGHLY amusing. That was probably largely a reason he’d had one too many pints of “here try this, kid.” When Thais cast his glance around, a few patrons looked away just in time to avoid looking guilty of keeping Ilkay well above the legal limit of blood alcohol content for flying. Meanwhile, Ilkay tried to discern the correct answer on his own. He only had one empty glass in front of him, so after doing what seemed like some very serious calculations, he looked to Thais with a completely guileless expression and held up one (appropriate) finger.

20:23:20 [Waldo] When she rose to leave it all began too soon. It happened faster than he’d anticipated; he was certain he would initiate the end of their conversation. Or, perhaos he had with his body language. Had the unnamed woman managed to steal a glimpse into his psyche and recognize the signs of a man trying to cut an exit? He refused to believe he was that transparent. “Wait,” he interrupted anxiously, lifting a hand to protest her departure, “I never got your name.” Did he want to see her again? He didn’t feel good about making that kind of long term decision. Even if their paths crossed again the chances of him trying to avoid her were higher than him trying to use the name she gave. It didn’t matter. He’d asked, and now he wanted it. What purpose they served after would be dealt with then.[fin.]

20:31:53 Thais looked to the one finger and the one matching mug with nothing but skepticism. “I’m sure.” He told the inebriated acrobat. Then, it struck Thais… maybe he ought to take the kid back before he had to carry him back. Now that the tone of the interaction had been set from jovial to somewhat negligent on the part of the bartender and patrons, Thais was feeling prickly. There was only oneperson (or maybe five) who could treat their runaway to copious amounts of alcohol and laugh about it! “I think we will go now, Ilkay. Yes? Yes. Now, before you cannot find your feet.” Thais looked to the bartender to settle any debt the boy owed while an overly-protective arm swooped around Ilkay’s back so his hand could claim his shoulder.

20:33:27 [Poppy] Poppy nearly tripped over her own feet at his desperate - and maybe she was embellishing her importance with that very strong word - plea for another moment of her time. Name. “Oh!“ The question may as well have socked her right in the nose for as hard as she took it. She’d forgotten to give him her name. Now, either Poppy was the one playing the mysterious card… or he was probably going to go ahead and assume the truth, which was that she was just too daft and too impolite to have remembered to give it. Another of her nervous smiles and a flush of cheek to follow, “Penelope. But most people call me Poppy.“ She shrugged, lingering for longer than what was probably considered appropriate, and then she was awkwardly turning around to leave (and discard her flatware on the bar).

20:40:54 [Ilkay] The bartender, shrugged and shook his head – Ilkay had, after all, paid for the drink he’d ordered for himself and all others had been happily supplied by those trying to see just how slurry and animated the performer would get before sliding under the bar. All around, the other patrons still pretended complete innocence. When Thais claimed him from the stool, Ilkay slid to his feet for probably the first time in hours and only then seemed to realize just how much he’d had to drink. He paused and swallowed a few times in a row while keeping his eyes fixed on one point. Then, thinking the worst of the dizziness was over, grinned again and swept a hand out in farewell to the VERY generous crowd at the bar. “Ey, you come see us tomorrow, yeah? HaKANo baro! Uh…uh…” He waved a hand in the general direction of their magically pitched circus tents. “Uhhh… there are these…” He gestured in a way that he thought would be easy to interpret as “posters”, but, words failing him, he only managed to whip his handup and down a few times and left it at that. “Ey…pral… my feet… RIGHT there.” He pointed and looked down, but in doing so, lost his balance, pitched forward… and threw up on Poppy’s shoes.

21:14:59 Thais really was trying to hurry his well-sloshed friend out of the bar and away from people quickly… but ‘quick’ is only as quick as the slowest member of the party. In this case, slow was crawling… and ended in a toss all over a poor woman’s shoes. Thais immediately unhanded Ilkay in retaliation, letting him fall as he might when he was suddenly left to manage his own weight. His ‘friend’ took a step back from the drunk thereafter to look between the victim and the scene with shock and disdain.

21:27:03 [Poppy] She was in the midst of a very cool exit. Leaving before the conversation got stale and leaving first was a huge deal - mostly because Poppy was exactly the opposite of smooth. She was almost home free when… “Aaaa-oooohhh.“ She gaped at the projection of horror onto her feet. There was something like a half-minute’s pause before she lurched once, twice, and held a hand to her mouth. Don‘t throw up, don‘t throw up, don‘t throw up. Poppy raised a finger poised to gesture for silence… or maybe to simply go undisturbed by any would-be fuss. She needed a moment to calm her stomach from what was sure to be a disaster of epic proportions the likes of which the Leaky Cauldron had never seen. The smell alone was already enough to send customers out of the bar, or at least the general vicinity. This. Was not. Happening.

21:32:05 Ilkay coughed and choked and ultimately met the floor of the Leaky Cauldron after a very jelly-like flop out of Thais’s grasp. It wasn’t until he was on the floor that he seemed to even realize that he’d just ruined someone’s adorable and well-described gray flats. He mumbled something that definitely wasn’t a language, but was possibly an apology, then threw up again with alcoholic comprehensiveness. That having settled the turbulence in his stomach, seemed to have left him at least stable enough to get back to his knees as he rubbed the back of one wrist over his mouth with a miserable sound. Meanwhile the bartender, wincing, but FAR from shocked, had moved around the counter, wand out and read to whisk away the mess. Well… Poppy was probably going to have to handle her own shoes and unfortunately, Thias was probably going to have to handle the mess that was Ilkay. The young Turk, meanwhile, was still swaying, unable to escape the dizziness even with his eyes squeezed shut. Well…a person had to learn the fire whiskey lesson sooner or later at the Leaky Cauldron. Tonight had been Ilkay’s.. .and by proxy, Poppy’s.

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