May 1st, 2098

14:38:36 Noriko || Welcome true believers! Today our hero [the sensational Princess Sparklefists] was on a mission of grave import: with the daily practice hours tucked away behind her there wasnt anything to stand in her way, so now she demanded all the chocolate. Her course took her for the second time in so many weeks to the French chocolatier set up in the conclave; monsieur Clousteau. The cheerful singing of his chocolates sounded her only seconds before the sweet perfume of confection wafted over her, were our hero a railroad bum she mightve floated the entire way to his stall six inches over the ground! Rather Nori walked; stupid feet. The line was long and it was almost twenty minutes that passed her before she could speak to the perilous polly-pusher himself: she purchased a large box of twelve dozen assorted bonbons, filled with butterbeer or champagne or sweet creme; all of them singing in rounds We Are the World. It was thus that our hero took her mission to the streets of Diagon Alley: all dressed up in a [very] short white pleated skirt and [very] long dark blue topcoat, bearing in her arms a mighty tray of singing chocolates which she was quite intent on handing out. Each person she passed, she offered one, plus choice words: “It has a price, sir; go and kiss someone you think is fancy. Go!” ||

14:48:41 [Hippolytus] Even after he’d arrived on Diagon Alley, Hip wasn’t entirely sure why he’d come. He had a few spare hours that he didn’t have to dedicate to the increasingly depressing art of graveyard watching and when he could have filled said hours with a nice, quiet activity, some restless corner of his soul wanted to be surrounded by people… but… maybe people he didn’t feel obligated to talk to – strangers would do! So for reasons still murky to him, he stepped onto the busy street, looking at all of the festivities around him through a distinct film that made them seem otherworldly and sometimes garish. That, at least, was a completely familiar sensation – one that he often found himself observing when things were going a little too well to fit with what he knew to be true. He fidgeted his hands a little before a shoulder colliding with the back of his own reminded him that he was standing at a point of dense foot traffic and maybe he should move. He hurried on, passing the first several booths without even looking at them – as if he had business elsewhere. He would only finally be distracted when he noticed a flower booth had taken the place of the slightly illicit dragon petting zoo that had been there prior. He stopped to see some of the more exotic types of flora before moving on once more and nearly colliding with someone who was looking fretfully at a singing chocolate they seemed to have come into possession of by means mysterious to them. Just behind the perplexed wizard was a familiar face. Hip smiled a little and moved to one side to let the stranger pass. “Good afternoon, Miss Sakada.”

15:00:57 Noriko || Like all of the best plans not every soul she met knew what to think about her spontaneous act of pure goodness: our hero couldnt fret however. Everyone who took a chocolate from her she told her price and batted her eyelashes and looked puppy-eyed to make sure they wouldnt begin to dream about backing out of the sacred compact they’d entered into. Nori was only just wondering when she would see anybody that she knew when who should bump into her but Hippolytus Botts, heroauror extraordinaire! Our hero [the sensational Princess Sparklefists] had once saved him from noted evildoer Cyrus Valen, as the true believers surely recall. “Hippopolytussss!” she cried in greeting, then offered to him the tray of singing chocolates, now approximately a third of them depleted: “Would you like a chocolate? They sing and are delicious; Ive never seen such an efficient candy!”Who, whoooo could resist the singing chocolates? ||

15:10:35 [Hippolytus] Some beneficiaries of Noriko’s goodwill were fortunate enough to be part of a couple and could practice her payment appropriately, but others seemed to be fretting a little and constantly glancing back to see if they were truly being watched to act upon the agreement. Hip, glanced after the latest recipient, then back at the tray of melodious snacks that Noriko now offered him, seemingly without any strings attached. Still, he had to laugh a little and shake his head. “Thank you, but no thank you,” he said with a little nod. “I appreciate the music, but I’m not terribly fond of sweets.” He tilted his head, one brow twitching curiously. “What’s the occasion for handing them out?” he asked. He’d have expected some kind of fund raiser if she’d actually been asking for money for them. Now it just seemed like a promotion, but not one about which she’d been forthcoming. “Here with Port?” He glanced around to see, but didn’t particularly expect to see his partner out and about. Not after looking the way he had the night prior.

15:23:14 Noriko || The occasion? Did a hero need an occasion simply to hero? Not Noriko! “I am spreading love is all, Hiphip. For every chocolate, I charge a price: a kiss, to someone you think is fancy; payable before the end of the day. A good friend, an old flame, a new crush; even an enemy you want to make amends with.” Our hero was veritably bouncing with excitement as she explained in full her masterful plan; this was obviously a thing she loved to do and possibly had been waiting days for the opportunity to present itself: “Noooo. I havent seen Mop in a couple days; its ok. I know he has important work. Mop’s a hero. Sometimes heroes have to sacrifice.” Nori ducked off so she could apprehend another passerby with her devious offer of chocolate in exchange for spreading kisses through the world: appropriately the foremost row of truffles now sang the familiar refrain, and the truth you know, love is all we need! Much hero! Wow! ||

15:35:14 Hippolytus looked at the little tray of singing chocolates, blinking. “Spreading love?” He tried not to sound as incredulous as he felt when she described her plan in all of its glorious detail. He shifted his perplexed gaze from the chocolate back to Noriko, brows lifted a little. “Oh… well… that’s very… Well, I wish you luck in that crusade.” And he rather wished that was all anyone needed to solve their problems, but the evidence for it was slim. Hip swallowed and felt a little stab of guilt – he’d been occupying a lot of Meredith’s time and effort lately. His partner had certainly signed up for it of his own accord, but still – Noriko probably didn’t have any idea. “Oh…yes. Quite the- quite the dashing gent, Port. Work has been busy, of course I was just hoping he got a break now and then…” You know, since Hip had kind of filled his house without proper arrangements made. Hip knew he was overstaying when he stopped to gather his thoughts a little. The pause was heavy with a subject he wasn’t entirely sure how to approach directly. “Say… Port… probably opens up to you a bit more than he does with me…and I don’t want to intrude on him at all but… he’s alright, isn’t he? Lately?” He laced his fingers, and tapped on his knuckles. “I’m just in charge of a project that we’re working on and I just don’t want to be running him ragged… or into places he’d rather not be run, you know.”

15:38:56 [Xia] Singing chocolates and bouncy voices and happiness were guaranteed to draw in Xia…and it didn't take much to pull her attention down to where Noriko and Hippolytus were, hovering on her broom, moving almost as though she were one with it. She drifted lower, and her eyebrows rose a little as she gazed down at Noriko and Hip. Her hair was fire-engine red today, and she was wearing comfy jeans and tennis shoes along with a long-sleeved t-shirt that had the Holyhead Harpies logo emblazoned across it. She twisted, hanging upside down as she dropped just low enough that her head was on the same level as Noriko's, her hair streaming toward the ground. She held to her broom easily, the maneuver one that she had done more than a few times. "Oooh. They sing." She chirped happily, not eavesdropping on the conversation at hand (or at least not seeming to). She unhooked her ankles from her broom and dropped them to the ground, then settled her broom against her shoulder.

15:46:25 Noriko || All of the remaining chocolates [there were about seven dozen now] broke into the chorus at once, we are the world! We are the children! If she hadnt been carrying the box Nori wouldve clapped in joy at this development; the butterbeer bonbons singing in soprano and the sweet creme truffles in melodic bass. “Mop? He seemed like he was doing just fine when we talked last time; we went to lunch with a friend of his. Izzypop. They came to watch me practice! It was very sweet,” the truth was that our hero was somewhat worried for Mop; it was how little stress he showed to her that was troubling. The things she knew he’d dealt with alone, not to even mention the ones she was suspicious of. “Oh! Blossompop!” she greeted Xia: “Have you met Hippololypolytus? He works with Mop! Hero squad!” Then given the perfect opportunity to fulfill one of her other secret plans our hero [the devious Princess Sparklefists] held out the box of singing bonbons to Xia. “Please take one, Blossompop! They sing and are delicious. Thats just efficient, if you ask me; I recommend the butterbeer bonbons. Those are the milky ones in the middle two rows.” ||

15:54:42 Hippolytus involuntarily rose to his toes a bit as they ended up trying to converse over the top of the enthusiastic chorus of sweets. “Oh! Ah… Well that’s good. Just…” He swung his arm in a meager gung-ho gesture. “Just looking out for my team.” That was allt he further he got into his perhaps slightly invasive investigation before another participant literally dropped out of the sky to join them. Hip blinked and stepped back, unsure of just how much room the woman would need to drop into her landing from that precarious entrance. “Oh! Ah… Good afternoon. (It’s Hippolytus, actually). A- yes. I work with Meredith…” Who had a remarkable number of apparently close friends, honestly! He wasn’t entirely sure which ones would even remember him from one time to the next of running into one or a collection at Mop’s new (rather crowded) house.

15:58:46 [Xia] "Hiii! And I think I've met Hippolytus…" She glanced at him and smiled, studying him for a moment. "Briefly." She gave a sage nod and then looked to the chocolates that Noriko held out. "Oooh. Thank you!" She took one of the butterbeer bonbons that Noriko recommended, then shifted slightly so she wasn't in the middle of everyone. She nibbled on the chocolate for a moment and made a delighted sound, clearly enjoying the treat. "This is excellent." She said after a moment. "And I'm Xia, by the way. Xia Lavine. Or Lady Blossompop." She grinned at Noriko, pushed the shock of bright red hair out of her eyes, and settled down rather abruptly.

16:05:25 Noriko || Nori wouldve agreed with Hippolytus; sometimes it could be downright uncanny how frequently she would sweep a stranger off the street for a quick kiss only to find out it was a friend of Mop’s. Everybody knew Mop and Mop knew everybody! “Arent they wonderful? They are my new very favorite candy. Now, about the price, Blossompop!” Our hero smiled a conspiratorial smile at Xia; surely this was a plan she would be all onboard for: “I am spreading love to the world today: the cost of a bonbon is you have to kiss someone you think is fancy. Before the end of the day. By my count there will be an extra hundred kisses in England tonight!” HERO. Nori had actually bought twelve dozen of the singing bonbons; she had to guess conservatively though in case she decided to eat three and a half dozen of them all on her own. Usually she didnt, however eating all the chocolatewas a tempting reward for our hero: sometimes heroes like chocolate, too. ||

16:18:54 Hippolytus nodded. Xia perhaps had been present the night Evelyn Darby had all but broken into Meredith’s house with supposed manhunt instructions. Admittedly, his thoughts had been places other than introductions. “It’s good to see you again, Miss Lavi- … B-blossompop?” That was… was that a joke? Was she serious? He glanced to the side before turning his head to look at Noriko again. Idealistic, wasn’t she? (Or possibly delusional, but harmlessly and warmheartedly so). He chuckled a little in spite of feeling a little silly being part of this very strange conversation. “Well… it’s an ambitious goal. Er…well done!”

16:27:56 [Xia] "They are delicious. Favorite." She said merrily. When Noriko targeted her with her smile and mentioned the price, Xia's eyebrows rose, and then she laughed. She already knew who she would lay a kiss on (probably to their mutual embarrassment) later that day. "Aye, aye! I can do that." She laughed, shook her head, then glanced at Hip. "And yes. Blossompop. Ms. Noriko gave it to me as a title." She laughed and shook her head. "I wonder if there is anything fun going on today in the Conclave. I need something to dooo. I spent all morning flying." She frowned thoughtfully, already going off on a tangent and away from the conversation at hand. Her bad! "Hmmm. I should find Huian, too. She would probably like one of these bonbons. I haven't seen her in a few days…Kind of worried." She frowned, going suddenly still as she considered. Izzy had been absent and serious and such, too. What was all the seriousness about?!

16:35:46 Noriko || “Miss Bubbles. Youre right. I havent seen her around recently either; maybe she needs rescuing.” The thought of heroic rescue made Noriko’s face light up with childlike abandon; always very hard to say how much of her bouncy cheer was genuine and how much a very good show, but nobody could possibly have faked this much excitement right? Suddenly she was pressed with an urge of heroic heroicness: she handed the box of bonbons to Xia [didnt ask permission]: “Please hold this?” Hippolytus was far too uncomfortable right now; there was only one way to make sure he stopped being uncomfortable! Also Nori had eaten many of her singing chocolates which meant she owed a price too. Our hero [the indefatigable Princess Sparklefists] veritably launched herself into Hip, so as to steal a playful kiss from him. “I think you are very fancy, Hipoppolopolis.” There! Now he couldnt possibly be uncomfortable. Our hero looked quite pleased with herself. ||

16:46:39 [Hippolytus] “As…a title. Makes sense.” Which was to say that made no sense whatsoever, but what on earth did in their world? Though at length, Hip simply suspected that they were so companionable and had code names left over from their school days. He’d share in the warmth of that connection, but really, the only thing he’d brought with him out of Hogwarts was debt and a handful of acquaintances who still referred to him as Hippopotamus Botts. He offered a wan smile as the women bantered, his face an unflinching mask from that mildly perplexed expression when Huian Li was brought up. Nope. No idea about any of that… though it WAS odd that she was out of commission for a few days – it was likely that was something unrelated to the gentle tampering…or at least he hoped so and that WASN’T that Valen had caught up to her before he had had the chance to intercept. He suddenly felt like maybe dallying here too long wasn’t a good idea and he should get back to Meredith’s place to check on the status of things there. “Hm? Oh,” When Noriko spike to him, he’d just barely heard and so looked down at himself to be reminded of what he was wearing that was so fancy… just… a black and white checkered robe coat over a gray and yellow suit. The usual. “Well, thankmmf!” The stolen kiss was indeed a surprise and one that inspired a shocked expression and much tie-smoothing shortly thereafter. “Ah – oh. … Oh. Ah. Well. Thank you. Eh heh heh…” That’s good, Botts, just laugh like a nervous idiot.

17:18:43 [Xia] There was a sage nod as Noriko mentioned that Huian might need rescuing. "Yes! She might! We should check on her before too long has passed." She looked to Hip for a moment, eyebrows rising at his discomfort. She was about to say something when Noriko simply handed her the box of chocolates. She oofed, but didn't complain as she took hold of it. She peered between Noriko and Hip as the former promptly kissed the latter…and then she laughed a bit at the look on Hip's face, grinning and hiding her mouth with one hand, the box of chocolates balanced precariously in her other arm.

17:26:07 Noriko || Our hero was literally beaming as she took back her box of chocolates: ok, so Hiphoppopotamus was still uncomfortable, maybe he just didnt like fun. She didnt know him that well. Nevertheless our hero delivered her customary post-kiss analysis: “You taste like, good dreams and painful memories; walking with a reliable old hound youve known since you were only six. Are you a Hufflypuff, Hippelican?” Nori gave nicknames to everybody she met almost as though her life depended on it; Hippolytus had the misfortune of a normal name she couldnt actually ever quite recall so her estimation of what to call him changed minute by minute. Therefor he became whatever variation of Hip sounded clever when Nori’s mouth opened to let out the word-sounds. “Are you sure you dont want a chocolate? I feel bad talking at you this much and you not getting one; would you like something salty better than something sweet?” ||

17:36:40 [Hippolytus] Well, he’d been doing his best not to look as awkward as he felt, but when the woman launched into a full, detailed analysis of her impressions of him post-kiss, he was left without even a fake expression to hide the utterly bewildered one that now took over his features. He stopped his hands mid tie smooth and blinked twice, trying to get his head around what he supposedly tasted like. He was 95% positive that half of what she said wasn’t even a flavor. “With-with… a… reliable…?” He couldn’t begin to break down that assessment for hidden meanings, but regardless, she seemed to arrive at a conclusion that was eerily accurate for the path she’d taken to get there. “Er… (Hippolytus) and… yes. Yes, I was sorted into Hufflepuff. Eh… heh…. Badger all the way.” He made meager little claws with his fingers, but his heart wasn’t really in it. “Hhhow would you- oh… I- well… if you’ve salty ones, I wouldn’t mind taking one off your hands.” How on earth was he supposed to proceed in this interaction? She was a little mental!

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