Who: Andrei Capper, anyone and everyone
Where: Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley
When: 25 May 2001, all day
It was a beautiful Spring day in Hogsmeade and the town was pretty as a picture that was not quite as pretty as a picture of Helga’s Hill would be. Andrei and his merry band dispersed at the train station, the more Quidditch-mad heading to the pitch and the rest into town.
Andrei heard a few snickers from the Hogsmeade faithful as he sat down, but it didn’t bother him. With any luck Diagon would cream them and everyone would be all square. Well, both other teams would have a victory each and Helga’s none, but more square than if Hogsmeade had two and the others none. So squarish.
Geometry was never Andrei’s strong point, which was put all energies into Quidditch. He got out quill and parchment. There would definitely be a stack of notes at next practice.
Tamara was still in a bad mood before the game Gideon had been late picking up his daughter of course, halfway through her brunch with Heidi. And how embarrassing was it to try to catch up with a friend when your nine month old was busy being fussy and needed a nappy change and your husband was supposed to be there a half hour ago. After handing off the baby and nappy bag with a warning not to let Herman and Heath do anything stupid with Adelaide (unnecessary, because as stupid as Gideon had been lately she could trust him fully with his little princess), she had done her best to enjoy the rest of the meal but had then told Heidi she needed to blow off a bit of steam to get in a good mood again and she’d meet her at the game.
So that’s why she was walking around her old hometown just calming down when she spotted Andrei. “Hey you!” she called, jogging over to where he was.
Andrei did not have any casual Helga’s gear and even he thought wearing the team kit was a bit much, so he settled for charming a small Helga’s crest onto his jacket. It was a bit crooked, but whatever. Tailoring wasn’t a Hogwarts class.
“Hey, Tamara.” He looked her up and down. “Did you know your baby appears to be missing?”
“Fancy that” Tamara replied, “I must’ve put her down somewhere and forgot her. There goes that mother of the year award I was hoping for.”
It felt good to not have her hands full of baby and nappy bags for a change, really. She was almost starting to feel 19 again.
“They’d never give it to a 19-year-old, even if you were insanely good,” said Andrei. “They’d think it’ll give other 19-year-olds ideas.”
“D’you want to get snacks?”
“I’m a horrible influence on the kids,” Tamara agreed, “Make all the wrong life choices and you too can marry a rock star.” The irony wasn’t lost on her, and deep down she knew she’d really lucked out along the way, though it still didn’t keep her from resenting her lost youth just a bit.
“That would be great. I had brunch with Heidi just a bit ago, but Adelaide was fussy and Gid was late picking her up and I didn’t eat as much as I should have.”
“You had brunch and you didn’t invite me? That’s terrible,” said Andrei. “It must be only right you didn’t get to eat as much.”
They walked up the main street. “Honeydukes, then?”
“Sometimes you’ve got to have a little girl time,” Tamara replied, “I mean, if you’re really into girly gossip we’ll invite you next time, but Heidi and I have not caught up in quite a while.”
“Honeydukes sounds great,” she added, just as her stomach let out a loud rumble.
Andrei arched an eyebrow. “How do you know I’m not into girly gossip? I mean, just because I’m a guy…” he cracked up. “Oh, forget it. I don’t want to attend any girly tea parties.”
He pushed open the door of Honeydukes. “Unless, of course, it’s really good gossip. Got any of that?”
“I just assumed. Next time we wear princess dresses and get manicures I’ll invite you,” Tamara said with a giggle.
“My husband is an idiot sometimes, but that’s not really news, is it?” Though maybe it was to him. Gideon wasn’t as large as Myron and Kirley and Andrei might not know the saga of him gambling away their house.
Andrei shrugged. “I assume all wives say that about their husbands. I’d be surprised if mine didn’t. Hypothetical wife, of course,” he added hastily.
Tamara couldn’t resist teasing Andrei about his slip of the tongue. “Hiding someone from all of us, are you? And there you were asking who was single like you were trying to find a date.”
Terence was really a city boy at heart. He loved Gwen, and so he had to love Helga’s along with that, but sometimes he wanted to be far, far away from any sods of grass and fresh, clean air. He was his birthday and he was not going to spend it up in Scotland along with Andrei’s merry band of country ragamuffins. He was going to spend it at Diagon Alley, in the middle of a smoky club with dim, atmospheric lighting and champagne on tap.
His fun was abruptly stopped by an insistent tapping on his shoulder by the club doorman. What was the problem? People not on the guest list were milling around the door, and could he sort it out? Terence rolled his eyes. What was the point of a doorman if they let everybody in? He sauntered to the entrance, ready to chuck all the intruders out.
Lo and behold, some of the last people he expected. He saw Sylvie first and pinched his nose.
“Miss Fawcett. What are you doing here?”
“I’m here to party, obviously,” Sylvie said rolling her eyes. As if there was any other reason to crash a party. Diagon had won, the celebration had wandered down to London, and upon hearing that Terence Higgs was throwing a birthday party, per some of the Diagon Alley team Quidditch players, it had seemed like a good place to get some booze. Now was she invited? No, but why would a little thing like that stop Sylvie Fawcett. Cleavage usually worked well enough on most bouncers, and when it didn’t, experimental charms did.
“Happy Birthday and shite, by the way,” she offered, “Where’s the good stuff?”
God, how annoying was it to have acquaintances. Acquaintances who soon thought they ought to have all the privileges of friends. Terence resolved to never talk to anybody anymore. He has his group of friends and it needed no enlargement. “How do you know it’s my birthday?”
Sylvie thought she ought to have privileges simply because she was awesome, even if no one else saw it that way.
“Some of those blokes on the Diagon team,” she said, “Said it was your birthday and you had a rockin’ party and I would have a real good time. Is that satisfactory?”
Terence swore under his breath. It sounded like “bet it was Mr Fuckhead”, but that was probably not the friend’s real name.
Alright, alright. It was his birthday, Orpington was gone and he could do whatever the hell he liked to his own land — come to think of it, he didn’t need it to be a Quidditch pitch anymore — and so he could afford to be gracious. Literally he could afford it.
“And how many other people did you suppose they invited?”
Higgs apparently didn’t know her very well. Like she was supposed to pay attention to details like that.
“Don’t know, don’t care, but I’m sure it wasn’t just me. Since Mr Fuckhead’s your friend, why don’t you ask him?”
Mr Fuckhead was also unlikely to know. He probably couldn’t count past ten. “Fine, fine,” answered Terence. He could, of course, chuck everyone out at will, but he much preferred the nicer solution. Besides, he’d have to see Sylvie — and by the looks of the constant filter of people through the door, a lot of other Helga’s residents again — and he wanted them onside once he worked out his master plan for more houses in the town.
“Well, why don’t you grab a drink and go entertain your new Diagon friends?” he suggested. He could enjoy having Sylvie “around”, but that didn’t mean he’d have to personally speak to her any longer.
“That’s exactly what I came here to do,” Sylvie replied flippantly. “But thanks. By the way, I’d give you a birthday present, but I don’t think your girlfriend would appreciate it, so you’re out of luck. It’s the thought that counts though, right?”
And with that she disappeared into the crowd. Booze and some Quidditch players were calling her name.