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Friends Both in Need, Indeed

April 16th, 2010 (01:40 am)

current location: Diagon and beyond
current mood: blah

I’m beginnin’ to get the itch for true spring, I am. While I don’t usually mind the cold and clammy air of winter all that much, it’s been kind of a tough one to get through what with nobody to keep my hands nor my heart warm. It’s starting to feel like there’s a chill settlin’ in to stay, and much as I don’t know what the hell I wanna do with my outside-work life right now, I know I don’t want that.

So when one of our pulverized potion ingredient suppliers comes up short a delivery wizard, and we need it fast at the Wheezes, I volunteer to make the walk down to the farthest end of Diagon. It’s kinda nice down there, really. Turns into somethin’ of a country lane down there, little brook off to the side babblin’ along through a little woods. Figure the air an’ the lack o’ four walls around me might just do me some good.

I head off ‘bout mid-afternoon, tryin’ to politely, if not energetical-like, return the smiles and waves of the people on the Alley I know, and walkin’ a bit faster to get on beyond ‘em quicker too.

I leave the lane about the time I run outta shops around me and figure I’ll wander the brook for a bit, maybe toss in a rock or two – or maybe even a knut for luck iffin I’ve got one with me. But it looks like someone’s beat me to it, this brook-walkin’ thing. And it’s a familiar someone, too. She looks like she’s deep in thought, and with that one, I know deep thought can be a coupla planets away.

“Luna?” I say, tryin not to be loud and speakin' from a few meters away so that I don’t startle her outta her thoughts too fast.

Both her hands are clasped at the front of ‘er large coat and I see the sun what’s coming in catch red and blue flashes on her hand. One hand slides up and a finger hooks over her chin for a mo, fore tappin and she looks up, like her finger’s the one what heard me and was bringin her to attention.

She looks for a second, then tilts ‘er head to the side and smiles. “Oh. Hello Fred or George.”

"Hello, Luna," I tell her. "And it's Fred, not George. No problem ya didn't know, but just so ya do now."

“Oh, alright. It makes it a little easier to talk, I think, so I can just say one name. You look rather introspective.”

"Do I? Introspective, eh? Well, can't say as many people have ever described me like that, but then you've never been like many other people," I tell her."And I should tell you I see that as a good thing."

Her smile widens. “You certainly are unlike others, yourself. Nobody else might have suggested I have a business. But if everybody were the same, there would be no progress, would there?”

"No, I don't s'pose there would." I look around her to see what she mighta been doin', if she was doin' anything at all."So...you workin' on anything down here, or ya just seein' what the brook tells ya? Rumour has it they're terrible babblers. Might be tough to understand it, though."

“Oh, I don’t know,” she sighs. “I was hoping it could help, but perhaps I’m grasping at nargles.”

"Hmm - yeah, nargles could be distracting at at times like these, I'll give ya that," I agree. "But, if I'm not imposin' or nothin', you said you were hopin' the brook would help. I'm just a lowly wizard 'stead of a brook, but is there anythin' I might be able to help ya with?"

She sighs again, but this time it’s a bit more disappointed and a mite testy. “Nargles aren’t real.”

"Real or not, they can still be distracting," I tell her. "Daydreams aren't real neither, but I know I've had some damned distracting daydreams. Anyway, back to this help thing. Anythin' I can do?" A sudden shiver goes through me. "Not too warm out here yet, is it? Sunshine or no."

“I suppose I don’t notice,” she says, looking down at the water, “living in Scotland as we do, but perhaps you’re right.”

"Yeah, perhaps ya don't, but I have to break it to ya, I am right." I look back toward the village and notice a few tiny new shops at the end and toward the back of the old buildings that hold the suppliers' place. Looks like one's got flowers, one's got - can't tell that one, and closest to us, one with what looks like a brand new sign that says 'Sereni-Tea'. "Hey Luna, you ever see those places before? Those little shops up there."

She tilts her head to one side and looks up. “Only the tea shop. They have a lovely selection. Do you fancy warming up over a pot?”

"Oh yeah," I tell her, beginnin' to feel my toes go numb as a stiff breeze blows down the brook. "I fancy that a whole lot. I won't be interruptin' ya from what you got goin' down here, right? Iffin we head on up there all soonish-like?"

“No, I suppose you would be more help than the brook, in any case, since you’re one too.”

I blink at her for a mo. "Am I now? And what would I be one of too?" Yeah, this oughtta be good.

Her eyes go all wide, lookin about twice as big, pale as they are. “Well, like me. Not stuck, anyhow, at least I don’t think. But perhaps you are and that’s why you’re here, too.”

Long as I've known Luna, she's always had this uncanny way of cuttin' right to the chase and knowin' more than anybody can ever figure out how. "Hmm. Well, yeah I suppose you could say I am stuck, in a way. But I'm not sure it's in a way I can work myself out of right soon, or maybe even work myself out of by myself. Hard to tell, really."

“Perhaps a bit of company could help us both,” she muses, lookin up at the tea shop. “At least nudge us loose from the dried mud.”


Posted by: nm_fred (nm_fred)
Posted at: May 8th, 2010 08:49 am (UTC)
Other noir

I snort at that. "Well, let's hope at least that, since I've never been a big fan of dried mud. But yeah, I think some company might be nice."

She reaches her hand out and takes hold of mine, pulling as she walks toward the tea shop without another word.

We start to walk up the little slope to the tea shop, and in moments, we're inside the warmth of the tiny, but aromatic tea shop.

An old lady with bluish hair looks us over. “Hullo, Dearie, tea for you and your husband?”

“Oh, no, Colin’s at work. Fred is my friend,” Luna answers, the way she says friend soundin like she thinks it’s the greatest invention since sliced bread.

“Right this way, then,” the lady says, leadin us into a cozy small room, not lookin all puff and frill, like Puddifoot. “We’ve our weekly teas listed on that little scroll there. Just ring us when you’ve decided what you’d like.”

I wait for Luna to sit down in her cushy chair and sit down in mine, then I turn the little scroll on the table toward her so she can read it too. "Hmm. Looks like they might have Madam Puddifoot outdone with all the kinds of tea on there. White rhododendron tea? Whatever steeps your tea leaves, I s'pose."

“I like the Mint Meditation tea,” she says, pointing to it. “Lovely and light, and both warm and cool at the same time. It’s lovely with Starthistle honey.”

"Hmm - yeah, never been much of a mint tea fan, though. I suppose I'll try out some o' this Jasmine Green. The honey's all okay, though," I tell her.

“Alright, Jasmine Green is good, too,” she agrees and adds, “shall we have a snack?”

"Sure. I'm always up for a snack, myself. What's your pleasure? I've never been all too picky, so anything's good with me," I tell her, and it is.

“Well…it might be a little strange with green tea, but I like the cucumber tea sandwiches, and perhaps a small plate of the sweet wafers.”

"That sounds delightful, m'dear," I say kinda dramatic-like, finally gettin warmer and feelin a bit better to be out enjoyin' some friendly tea and chitchat.

She laughs out loud at this, not the giggle you’d expect from most witches, but a jubilant, mirthful guffaw.

Which, 'course, makes me guffaw myself. Nothin' like a good laugh to bring on a good laugh.

Once we finally settle down, I look around and remember we were supposed to ring when we were ready. "Would you be the ringer? Or am I?"

“Why don’t we both?” she asks, her eyes widening. “I can hold the handle and you can push the bell so that it sways to ring.”
I have to think on that a mo. "Yeah, alright then. I s'pose that works." And believe it or not, it does, we find out. The little blue-haired lady bustles right over when she hears us ringing.

“Well, have you decided on something dearies?” she asks, lookin mumly at first Luna and then me.

"Yeah, she'll have some Mint Meditation Tea with some Starwhistlin' honey, an' I'll have some Jasmine Green with same. Oh - and we want, er, cucumber sandwiches and some sweet biscuits to go along. I get all that right?" I ask Luna.

Luna laughs. “Starthistle honey,” she says. “Oh, I’m so sorry, dearie, we haven’t got starthistle honey. I’ve got some lovely orange blossom, and some clover, if you like.” “No, I think then I’ll just drink my milk tea without honey, thank you.”

"I'll have some orange blossom along with mine, I think," I tell the lady.

She thanks us and bustles off.

"Starthistle honey or nothin', eh? Must be good stuff," I tell Luna.

“Well, not with mint,” she answers. “Orange blossom is better with fruitier tea, I think. It’s a little sweet. Starthistle is very robust, I suppose one would say.”

"Ah, okay. S'pose I'm more of a tea and honey gourmand myself. You sound like you've got yours all worked out," I tell her. "I know when we were growin’ up Mum always told us to be glad for what we’ve got on the shelf, no matter what kind it is."

Posted by: nm_fred (nm_fred)
Posted at: May 8th, 2010 08:51 am (UTC)

Luna tilts her head and sorta looks off a bit. “I don’t really remember what my mum said. I know she liked honey, the kiss of a flower to a bee, and a gift of a bee to our table.”

I try to stifle the mental image of a little cartoon bee carrying a pressie with a big red bow on top ahead of him as he flies it to the Lovegood's breakfast table. " Yeah, I - I could see that, I suppose."

“Oh, can you?” She sounds right excited about that.

"Er - well, yeah, in my mind, sorta." As happy as that makes Luna, I really hate to let her down. "Well, pretty clearly now, actually."

“How fabulous,” she gushes. “Nobody ever did before, or I think even wanted to, you know, anything.”

I can't help but give a smile at her enthusiasm. "Yeah, well I s'pose it comes with the territory, ya know? When you're an inventor like you 'n me are, we gotta be able to see things in our heads that a lotta other people can't."

“Imagination,” she says with a knowing nod. “Inventions are the manifestations of our mind’s creations.”

"So very true, that!" I agree. "And for those of us what don't eat so well without the manifestations of our minds' creations bein' good ones, imagination's our only hope, eh?"

She pauses for a mo and then sighs. “Yes, I suppose it is.”

"What's all the sad sighin' for, love? It's hard to imagine it with you, but sounds like you got an imagination frustration, it does." She does have sort of a wistful, droopy look in her eyes.

“Yes, I do,” she says. “It’s stuck. The things it imagines can’t be done yet, at least by me. And it hasn’t dreamed of anything in quite a while.”

"Awww," I say, reachin' over an' pattin' her hand. "That happens to the lot of us, it does! Geordie an' me, we're just lucky because there's two of us: one of our imaginations sputters and spits for awhile, an' we got the other to take over for a bit till we're back in workin' order again. But I know it's gotta be tough on ya with only one of ya for backup. Anythin' I might be able to do to help ya on out?"

“Well, what do you do?” she asks. “When you’re stuck?”

"Hmm, well..." That's got me thinkin' it does. "Thing is, it's not always the same sorta things. Sometimes just sorta relaxin' and clearin' my mind works best. Sometimes watchin' an old movie. Sometimes just goin' out for a walk, like you were doin' before. That why you were doin' it?"

She nods. “Yes. I have been going for walks and watching people and doing anything that I can think of to be inspired, but nothing works.”

"Well - sometimes I go wanderin' arond to shops an' see what they got what's new and different and stuff. See if what inspired other people inspires me too. You're welcome to come back to the shop with me iffin ya like, or I'll walk ya around Diagon iffin ya s'pose that might help."

“No, I’ve done that, too.” She sighs again just as the lady comes back with our tea.

"Hmmm. Ya ever justy go down to your workshop - or wherever ya do your inventin' - and play?" I ask. "Just playin', not even hopin' to invent somethin', works a lot for me. Ya might try that."

“Well…no,” she says simply. “I’m very careful. My mother died inventing, you know.”

"Oh yeah, that's right..." I say quietly, but then I gotta perk 'er up and be encouragin', it seems. "But most of the time you can be careful and still have a good ol' time playin', 'least in our workshop. Wanna come play in ours for a while? We got it pretty well disaster-proofed, we do, me an' Geordie. And if not? Meh. What's a little bang or two?"

“Your workshop?” she asks, her wide eyes lookin even more wide. “Really? That does sound like fun.”

"Sure, why not? I'm sure Geordie wouldn't care," I tell her, grinnin' that she's lookin' perky, finally. "Hell, we might even learn somethin' new and different from you!"

Posted by: nm_fred (nm_fred)
Posted at: May 8th, 2010 08:53 am (UTC)

She looks up at the ceiling, sorta like in wonder, and just stares. Then, after a moment, she shakes herself our of it and says, “but what about your stuckedness?”

I think back a moment to what all we've talked about and I don't quite remember as we talked about that. Isn't really a grumble with me much as...other stuff. "My stuckedness?"

“Yes, you looked stuck when you came to the brook,” she reminds me.

"Ah yeah, well - reckon that sort o' stuckedness has a whole other source, darlin’," I tell her. "That's a person-to-person sorta stuckedness, not a person-to-invention sort."

“A person to person one?”

“'Yeah, I -" Not sure whether I oughtta start into the likes o' this with the likes o' Luna-moth. But what the hell? She's a right good listener and a good friend, and I don't s'pose she'll mind. "I kinda got into a person-to-person stuckedness after I broke up with my girlfriend Astrea last year. Didn't wanna see anybody at all at first - for months - only Geordie. But by now that's worn off a little and I kinda miss havin' somebody else to be close to. You know. Like a witch somebody. Though I dunno, not that either really. Just waitin' for life not to be blah."

“I never supposed you and George to be people who waited for life,” she tells me. “It always seemed to me that you went after it, even if it was trying to run away from you. But I know that being hurt very much by somebody that you love can make you feel like a person you’ve never been before. And also if you are the person who hurts the one you love, that must feel wretched.”

I think on that a mo, but it's not long till I realize she's right. "Suppose I got a little bit o' both o’ those tangled into the mix, I did. Hurt her without even knowin' it, true. And the whole thing did, er, does make me feel like a person I've never been before. Kinda feels loads like I lost the old Fred, iffin ya know what I mean. Can't find him nowheres."

“Isn’t it interesting how when you try to find something, you never can? It seems like it’s the only thing you can’t find, and you find things that you haven’t seen for years! So maybe you need to look for something else. I’m sure that you will come back. You’ve been yourself for so long, you must be instinct.”

"Yeah, wouldn't ya think?" I ask her, seeing as it makes perfect sense. "Not much else I can do about that, really."

“And perhaps that’s the answer for me, too,” she says, lookin into her teacup. “It’s so much simpler to say than to do, isn’t it?”

"That it is, Luna-moth. That it is," I say, taking another swig o' loverly green tea. Gotta say this honey stuff is pretty damned good. "Feels like I been tryin' to just look for somethin' else, or try not to try and find myself. But it doesn't seem to be helpin' much, that's true. Wonder how much longer it's gonna take? Or maybe that's part o' what I shouldn't be wonderin' too."

“Probably. I’m sure all this expectation is just making us worry and stress.”

"I'm sure you're probably right," I agree. "Just that it's hard to force yourself to forget about somethin', because you end up thinkin' about what you're tryin' to forget about, and that's the point. Kinda self-defeatin', really."

“Yes, not to mention that this is my livelihood and this is your life. So very much depends on it.”

"That doesn't help matters much, no. And I really hate to be relyin' on Geordie to have to do all the heavy liftin' at the shop - you know, figuratively and all that - while I'm figurin' out what the devil's wrong with me." I shake my head at both myself and the predicament.

“Nothing’s wrong with you,” she says, putting her hand on my arm. “Of course there isn’t.”

"Thanks, Luna," I tell her, all sincere-like. "I just kinda wish I could fast-forward to the part where I felt like me again. You know, skip all the tryin' to pretend nothin's wrong, and forget about the fact that I'm waitin' and waitin' and not thinkin' about how bloody long it's takin' to get back to normal. Or what's normal for me, anyway."

“Well, if I can help,” she offers, “please let me know.”

Posted by: nm_fred (nm_fred)
Posted at: May 8th, 2010 08:57 am (UTC)
hither 2

"Yeah, sure. And we do, just...s'pose I've talked to him 'bout a hundred times already on it, and - poor bloke, there's only so much he can do. I just don't feel like weighin' him down with it day after day after day when I'm already weighin' him down with me not bein' able to contribute so much to the business and invent new prototypes and the like either." I stop talkin' for a minute, wonderin' iffin I oughtta bring this up, but what the hell. "Kinda went through the same sorta thing for a bit after findin' out me an' Angie weren't gonna make it, too, so it's not the first time, Second time makes me wonder if it's somethin' about me, not just the world and life conspirin'. Ya know?”

“Well…you know, I think you take companionship so much deeper than other people. You have always, always had somebody. Not many other people have. You have always known what forever with somebody is like that when you care about somebody, and they leave you, you feel forever going and turning into never.” She takes a sip of her tea and looks up at the ceiling. “Or I suppose. I don’t know what always, always having somebody is like. My mother died and my father lied, and even though now I have Colin, there was a time that I hadn’t before. I only know what ‘from here on’ is like, and it is wonderful.”

"Hmm," I ponder. "Reckon I never thought of it like that. But I s'pose ya could be right. Instead of expectin' myself to be feelin' the same as I used to feel, mebbe I oughtta be takin' a think about how I feel now, and decide to go 'from here on' like that instead of worryin' about gettin' back to me bein' the same ol'."

Her smile sorta brightens. “Yes. I think that’s a very good way to look at it. Things always change, and if we’re so worried about what we lost, we may never see the things we have. Daddy always said, It’s easier to fly the broom looking ahead.

I feel my brow wrinkle a bit in thought at that. "Can't hardly argue with that now, can I? Alright then. Well, I can give that a try, I can. No harm in it. I'll start givin' it a shot to look ahead rather than lookin' at my behind, which really isn't all that interestin' from this perspective, anyhoo."

She laughs at that, loudly and quite gaily. "No, probably not from yours. But maybe somebody else will look ahead and see your behind and like it."

I have to laugh at that thought too. "Ya reckon so? So mebbe that's part o' the problem too. What with all the lookin' back I've been doin' I haven't been lookin' ahead enough to to catch the fair behinds of the witches what are lookin' ahead themselves - or lettin' the ones who might be followin' me catch up. Prongs. Confusin' as it is, this is beginnin' to sound like a plan."

She thinks again. "I don't think you should look for that. People might not like it.
I grin at her. "Aw, darlin', trick to that is that ya don't let the witches know you're lookin'. At least till you know 'em a bit and you're sure the moment's right
that they'll be flattered you were."

"I think it's alright to look," she says all pensive. "But just not seek it out. I couldn't really say."

"Not seek it, eh?" I ask, smirkin' a bit. "Funny, that. Angie always said it was alright if I looked, as long as I didn't touch. She never said nothin' about seekin'."

"Oh, I don't mind if Colin touches," she says with a dreamy sorta smile.

I hafta try and cover the sorta snigger that sneaks outta me at that. "Yeah, I'd imagine not. Husbandly prerogative, and all that. Don't suppose he minds it much neither - and, erm, neither did Angie, when we were together. She just meant about me lookin' at and not touchin' other witches - and that was all fine by me, long as I had her. Just need to find me another I get on with like I did her or Astrea. Though I know ya don't usually find anybody when you're lookin' too hard."

"No. Not that I've known, at least. But I don't know much about other people."

"Yeah well, s'pose it's the same for everybody, or at least, for most," I say. "Reckon that's pretty much what I gotta do then, is get myself involved in somethin' so I'm not thinkin' on stuff too hard - and then do like you said, be where I am and start from here lookin' forward."

Posted by: nm_fred (nm_fred)
Posted at: May 8th, 2010 08:59 am (UTC)

"Yes. Of course you've plenty to keep you busy with all your inventions and your business, and there's plenty of ways you can be around a lot of people, especially with your Hogsmeade business. And if you ever want a bit of company that's different, I will be happy to be it."

I chuckle a bit. Luna's always got the most amazing ways to put things. "I will be happy for you to be it, too, Luna - and I appreciate it. Honest."

She beams at that. "Honestly? Oh, I'm glad."

"Me too," I tell her. "And since we're bein' honest, I'm really glad we came here and talked. It's felt good."

"Yes, it did for me, too." She smiles. "Thank you for being my friend."

"Thanks for bein' my friend too, darlin'," I tell her, reachin' over and squeezin' her hand a mo. "Hope I helped you talkin' 'bout inspiration half as much as you helped me talkin' about findin' myself."

"I don't really know if you did," she answers, squeezin my hand back. "But it did help just to talk. I feel a little less frustrated."

"Good - well, that's all good. So we both came out ahead, anyway." I pause and look into my empty tea cup. "So either we both give good advice, or...that was damn good tea!"

She giggles and adds, "I think it was both."

"Could be you're right. So, iffin you're all done with your tea there? S'posin' I oughtta be gettin' back to the shop soon-ish. Geordie'll be wonderin' if I fell in the creek for sure."

"Oh. Yes, and I'd better go back to the office, I suppose."

I reach inside my robes and rummage around to find a sickle or two tip for the tea, settin' it on the table. "I've gotta head over to one of our suppliers across the road or I'd be glad to walk ya back. Unless ya'd wanna come with me? Didn't wanna hold ya up iffin ya couldn't afford the time or nothin'."

"No, that's fine, but thank you. I have been out so much anyways."

"Alrighty then, mebbe next time." I hold out my hand to help her to her feet and then wait as she walks ahead toward the door.

When we get out of the building, she reaches out and hugs her arms around me.
And I'm more than happy to return the hug. "Thanks again, darlin’," I tell her once we've pulled apart. "You've been more 'n a bit helpful, and certainly delightful company for tea. We must do this again some time - and give m'best to your talented husband, eh?"

"Yes! I certainly will. And please say hello to George for me."

"That I'll do! Oh - an' don't forget you're invited to come play in our inventin' room if ever ya wanna. Don't stay stumped too long, eh?" I give 'er a smile at that, seein' as I'm likely more stumped than she is.

She smiles. "Thank you. I will certainly keep that in my mind. And I hope that you find yourself soon."

"I hope so too, but I appreciate the sentiment," I tell her. "Have a safe trip back, Luna-moth, and we'll see ya soon!"

She waves to me and starts toward an apparition spot, looks like.

I hold my hand up in farewell, then take a few steps the opposite way to cross the road. By the time I look back, she's gone. So I turn again and continue on, headin' for the supplier's place, and hopefully for a better place for myself soon as well.

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