April 10th, 2098

22:05:46 Meredith intended to wind his night down in the Leaky Cauldron after the exciting events behind him. He’d knock back a few pints, grab some pub food, and head back to his flat in time to tussle with Bobby and go to bed. Well, he was currently on pint number two and no closer to having a meal, but he was enjoying himself – or just enjoying the atmosphere – on the margins. It was unusual that he take such a seat; Mop typically enjoyed inviting himself to someone else’s table or sitting in the center of the noise. Today, he was tired and he’d already had his happy surprise of the day; he was content.

22:14:30 [Kaust] They came in like a wrecking ball, four rowdy German players just begging to get drunk and happy. Loud and joyous in their obnoxious behavior and totally lacking sense of manners they rushed to the bar, ordering over one another and generally just having a good time. They had probably pre-gamed in fact as a male or two slurred his order to the laughter of the others. Kaust on the other hand was much more subdued, entering after most of the people in the Leaky Cauldron had their attention on her associates. That was more than enough a distraction for her to quietly slip in and find some seat separate from them. She had no desire to deal with the noise and rowdy behavior tonight, fully intending to act as babysitter (maybe drunk babysitter) but at a reasonable distance. So focused was she on the bar during her sneak in that she’d literally bump into the back of Mop’s chair, with just another enough force to knock him into the table. “Ah! Verdammt!” She’d scowl, twisting around to whisper out a hasty“ Verzeihung bitte!” As she attempted to adjust his chair, her teeth clenched tight in irritation… She hadn’t recognized him just yet or his company, her only goal is to hide as people begin to realize just who is at the bar.

22:25:12 Meredith was just bringing a delicious stout to his lips when he was rocked forward and almost lost the pint. He managed to save most of it, but some had splashed onto his scarf (which he immediately loosed and draped over a shoulder) and would never be heard from again. There was a small cuss that fell from his mouth in the same moment, but whether it was truly English or another language was up for debate. It certainly wasn’t going to be repeated for clarity. His attention, then, went to placing his glass safely back onto the table and checking on the Ger—German. “Hu—auwlrait?” He asked, putting his hands out – tentatively – in such a way it might imply he was ready to handle a wounded tiger.

22:41:00 [Kaust] The chair was steady but there was a bit of fluid missing from the cup her victim had been drinking from. Another soft curse, incoherent and under her breath as she rolled her shoulders only for her to narrow that gaze upon the male she’d managed to knock off balance. “Oh… Herr Porthman…” She’d managed to bump into him again and like last time she couldn’t help but glance down toward his shoulders in wonder but she quickly shifted her gaze, setting it not upon his face but upon his drink. “Pardon.” She grunted, clicking her tongue on the back of her teeth with head tilted curiously. “Vhat was that? I vill get du another.” Granted, that meant flagging down a waitress and calling more attention to herself. With flared nostrils she turned from him and reached out a hand, catching the arm of an awe struck server. “V-vhat do du vant?”

22:50:46 [Meredith] “No!” He exclaimed too late to stop the abrasive woman from all but capturing a poor employee in a a veritable snare. “Aaauh…” Mop’s wide green eyes darted between Kaust and the server. “It’s a non-issue, look—“ the Welshman lifted his pint – mostly intact – for examination. “Everything is well. Please—“ his attention turned from Kaust to the server “would you get my friend a doppelbock. The one with the little goat on it. My tab.” Mop turned marginally back toward the German keeping the employee hostage. “Well?” His expression is cautiously friendly. It was all a façade, but he didn’t need anyone else knowing that he had to steel himself against the woman’s very presence. Like Izzy before him, Mop had to remember the facts: she wasn’t to be held accountable for what happened.

23:09:41 [Kaust] With tense shoulders she slowly released her captive, staring at Mop with a bit of apprehension. He was getting her a drink? To deny the beverage would have been rude but… “Du are certain?” Slowly she released the server who seemed relieved and frantic. Either way if Mop was going to entertain her she wasn’t going to be rude about it and slowly she’d move to have a seat at the table, you know… to await the drink. Hunched over and awkward the older woman stared at the table unsure of what to say or proceed. Most of her actions at Hogwarts were foggy, she didn’t remember a lot of what she’d been unable to control doing but she knew she’d done it and she knew a select few knew she’d done it. It hurt to think about, for one, and Mum and Dad weren’t pleased either… whether at her failure to bring in the new age or not she couldn’t be sure. “S-so… how are du?”

23:21:41 Meredith couldn’t bring himself to say the words (even though his jaw slacked), but he affirmed his decision by a sharp nod and a free hand to point out the empty seat across from him. This was a mistake. This was surely a mistake—and it was one Porthman couldn’t even make a joke to himself about. When the woman finally sat down the server was on her way to complete her task, Kaust’s host indulged deeply in his remaining stout before he spoke up. “Well! Well. I’m… doing well, now.” He didn’t want the lull that was bound to come next—and fall it did. A second was all it took for Mop to jump back into conversation and ask in return – the polite thing to do: “you?” He was going to go further with the question, but saying ‘you look tired’ wasn’t actually a compliment in any world… and he’d already had his hand at insulting Kaust today. Kaust’s doppelbock came quickly and true to Mop’s request, a small white goat carved out of something-or-another rested on a string around the bottle’s muzzle. He took a pause for another sip from the pint in front of him. “I like those ones. It’s—augh—but you can keep the goat. It’s uh…” he persisted with a point from an upturned hand that might be considered rude in parts of the world. “It’s cute.”

23:33:40 Noriko || The Leaky Cauldron! Our hero [the mighty Princess Sparklefists] was new to London but the locals had pointed her here; a place to have questionable drinks and make bad decisions that you wont regret until tomorrow morning. Just the sort of place Nori liked to find herself at night. She didnt come in alone, she was flanked by two others, a boy and a girl: both of them Chasers from the team. It was important to have very good wingmen who couldn’t drink quite as much as you could. Our hero [the mighty Princess Sparklefists] burst through the door with a bounce in her step and flashing eyebrows: it wasnt like her to not demand the centre of attention focus squarly upon her. Her first appearance at this public house demanded finery, too; to that end our hero had selected her flirtiest reddest minidress and her leatherest high-heelediest boots. Her fists unfortunately did not actually sparkle; that would take a future upgrade. ||

23:45:36 [Kaust] It was hard to relax, granted she rarely did, in the tavern. It might have been due to the loud yowling of the four teammates or maybe to the fact she was sitting at the table of a male she’d tortured only a few years ago. She couldn’t bring herself to say sorry just yet, wasn’t sure how and it would never be enough. Either way she found the situation all too odd and had set to rubbing her legs in her nervousness. Hold it together… To lose control know wouldn’t spell well for her, it’d be another story for her therapist… not to mention perhaps embarrassing considering The Other that now tainted her blood. “Dat ist gud I… I’m not… that is the team—” She wasn’t sure what to say the entire incident had left her mentality all over the place and the dreams… gods the dreams—But there are more gasps in the tavern, made by a few of the patrons that are now looking at yet another team invasion, that being of the girl from earlier. “Oh dear.”

23:59:33 Meredith wanted so badly to reach out and touch his present company. Like a brush to her hand was all she’d need for things to change. She had a ragged quality to her – like an invisible force had been busy fraying her edges for far too long. Fortune or misfortune up for debate, a disturbance in the force (and the entire pub) drew Mop’s attention from his little table on the peripheral to the door and the trio that stomped right on through it. Their faces were immediately recognizable to him. He’d be surprised if they weren’t recognizable to many of the tavern’s patrons. Members of two famous Quidditch teams in one place—under normal circumstances, Mop would be going weak in the knees and seeing stars. His bewilderment and obvious stare in the newcomers’ direction is proof enough of that. He somehow manages to break himself away from stardom’s spell and rejoins the land of the living (and his former nemesis). “Oi, yoour bottle isn’t getting any better.” He reminded Kaust with a helpful tap from the table(just like an experimental rattle to a lion cage) – she looked like she needed an escape from worry. He lifted his pint in a hesitant show of solidarity. Mop tipped the stout back thereafter.

00:18:17 Noriko || "Iwakuma, Aoyagi. Fan out and look fabulous. No, nevermind that; you two always look fabulous. I have unfinished business to attend." Her target in sight, our hero [the mighty Princess Sparklefists] leaped into action and promptly sidled her way over to one Hayden Kaust and other Pretty Scruffy Boything that she hadnt gotten the name of. That was certainly part of her mission! She dragged a stool right up into their koolaid and hopped up onto it, crossing her legs. "Do you mind if I join you?" It wasnt asking for permission of course; it was asking for forgiveness. Our hero [the mighty Princess Sparklefists] knew much better than to ask permission for something she intended to do anyway. She wiggled her nose looking between the two of them. This looked like sad times. Nori [also known as Miss Twinkletoes] added that to her mission list: make this not be sad times. "Can I buy your next round?" ||

00:26:12 [Kaust] With a nervous breath she squared her shoulders and went toward her drink. She shouldn’t be rude and the little goat was rather cute. While Nori was planning her invasion Hayden was attending to the bottle, cracking it open carefully so that she could take a swig of the odd tasting fluid. With a shiver she swallowed and set the bottle back down, holding it between her hands and staring at the now there seeker of the opposing team. It was becoming a tad crowded, what with people being drawn to the tavern due to the two teams claiming it as their spot for the night and she couldn’t help but clutch the bottle a bit tighter as a sickening sense of paranoia crept up the back of her neck. Focus, focus—“Absolutely!” She’ll croak, taking her bottle and another long swig, “I vould love more.” Maybe if she had something else to drink she could ease the rapid pound of her heart. Tonight was a bad night for her to be restless and with a deep breath she’ll take the goat bottle’s liquor straight to the head.

00:37:51 [Meredith] It was clear Mop was in trouble as soon as he noticed Noriko’s eyes on them and her course set. He did a great job at not looking as frantic as he felt when he glanced back to Kaust. It was hard for him to accept her as tired and weary. Danger was still breeding in there – just because he couldn’t see it didn’t mean it wasn’t there. “Auwgh—“ All at once, Noriko had invited herself over (he could have almost forgotten all about her while trying to unpack and undress Kaust) and plopped herself down and Mop found himself aghast for it. He was quick to hide behind the scarce remnants of his pint (which was more ‘glass caked in foam’ than actual pint). Mop made a series of noises, trying to speak up, but none of them made any real sense until, finally: “ohno, no, it’s—no, I can—“ The babbling Welshman looked to the empty glass in his hand, the wolf at his doorstep (the turn-heel dragon), and then, finally, the seeker that joined the party (the magical girl). In any self-respecting RPG, this meeting would be important; something to never forget. Mop all but slammed the glass back down on the table with something important to say to their newcomer… “Hi.”

00:52:09 Noriko || Aw so sweet. "Hi." Our hero [the mighty Princess Sparklefists] batted her eyelashes at the clearly very shy and withdrawn Mop. Then she slapped down a small handful of silver coins onto the countertop and called out, "Something with enough alcohol to intoxicate a horntail, please! Oh and another bottle of whatever the scary one is drinking. Oh and something pink with a girly umbrella for the cute one." That necessity out of the way our hero leaned forward and set her elbows on the counter, rested her chin in her perfectly manicured hands. A good manicure was essential for catching the Snitch; everybody knew that. "Im Nori. Nori Sakada. I already met Frau Grumpypants, but Im missing a name even so!" ||

01:06:06 [Kaust] There done—Oh there’s another. With a grunt she took to the second bottle, moving a bit slower to crack it open now that she had a system full of one already. Mustn’t drink too much, that would be pretty bad and she wanted to be able to get home without stumbling into an alleyway trashcan. Still, she does have to wonder how many drinks Mop has had… what with all the stuttering and such. “Frau Grumpypants…” How rude! She had a name and it certainly wasn’t that, granted it was one of the tamest nicknames she’s ever had. “Suppose dat ain’t to bad.” For a moment she studied her bottle but a thought occurred to her, one she just had to expression. “Herr Porthman… I see du are still into das games.” Maybe that was why he stuttered so much, “She ist just a normal person.” She grumbled, taking a swig. They were all normal ultimately, she didn’t see what the deal was.

01:13:02 [Meredith] ‘Something pink with a girly umbrella for the cute one.’ It didn’t take a master of deduction to go through the process of elimination and figure that one out. Mop had a somewhat sheepish response. He was becoming overwhelmed all over again—with Kaust an arm’s length away (albeit pacified) and Noriko boxing him in, the only way out of this situation with grace was to roll with the punches. “Miss Sakada—yes! It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Mop put an effort into straightening up and batting off Kaust’s astute observation with a teasing sneer. “I’m cute.” He declared. “I mean, Meredith. Porthman.” Uncertain as to why he’d introduce himself with his full name, he corrected: “Mop, though. Call me Mop.” This was surreal – in a world of magic and dragons, the company that currently graced his presence was the most surreal thing he’d felt in a while. Surreal – and maybe a touch insane.

01:24:38 Noriko || Meredith. Porthman. He wasnt just cute he was Welsh! That was like cute with an umbrella on top; speaking of umbrellas, where was that girly pink drink she ordered for him? "Mop! Moooooop!" Our hero [the mighty Princess Sparklefists] almost died of glee when she heard the name; her expression was one of such overwhelming joy it looked like she might explode. Fortunately for all people who dont enjoy being covered in exploded girls, our hero had the presence of mind to not explode instead. "So how is it you two know each other? You know I used to watch Frau Grumpypants play when I was a little girl. She was my hero." Nori was positively beaming: if light couldve possibly burst out of her head like a magical princess [Sparklefists] it would have been doing so right then. "I was so devastated when you stopped playing you know."Why I went on a mystical quest to find you and rescue you; unfortunately the Kaiser had other plans and I had to give up the chase for the good of the universe." ||

01:33:01 [Kaust] The gang roared at the bar, throwing down cash and preparing departure, calling out her name in the mock-tone of intoxicated lovers. “Great…” Hastily she began to chug her second bottle, trying to numb her embarrassment at the younger players. That and trying not to make some sort of sound at the fact that Mop introduced himself as cute. Soon there is another empty bottle to add to the first and with a weary gaze she waved the other German’s to move along. She could catch up, surely. “I vas, eh?” She found it all somewhat ironic the thought of being a hero. If anything she was the definite opposite of hero material now. The only thing she seemed good at was her current occupation. It was nice and safe and free from bad people… she could do this without some sort of relapse, she could enjoy life without flinching at shadows and drown out the nightmares with booze. The therapist had said this was safer but lately she hadn’t felt all that safe… “I uh… I…” She didn’t remember any of what happened between the time she quit Quiddich the last time and the years later when she worked at Hogwarts. That entire chapter of her life was still missing and she didn’t enjoy being reminded of it. “I suppose I just… n-needed a break. Ngh… I… am back now.” Twitch.

01:39:49 [Meredith] His first impression of Noriko, once the blinders of fame came off, was that she was absolutely mental. So mental, it was brilliant, in fact. The more she spoke and the more he absorbed her body language, the wider his grin became. He may have been too obviously enthusiastic when he glanced back to Kaust (keeping tabs—he assigned her a Danger Zone! meter he’d like to keep his eye on) when she tried to recount her tale. Mop didn’t notice when his drink was delivered—he was too absorbed in his enthusiasm’s sudden depletion when he notices Kaust struggling with her reply. In that moment, Mop surmised that they were nowhere near the Danger Zone and when he noticed the glass of alcohol he was absent-mindedly twirling between his hands, he eagerly drank it up (a large change from the stout he was enjoying earlier).

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