Who: Idris Robards, Taliesyn Robards
Where: Tali’s flat of books
When: 21 July 2001, daytime
“This place is a fucking fire hazard. No wonder you don’t live here. If you were here when a fire started you’d die from the smoke in two minutes.”
“Yeah, well, it’s—” very true, so Tali let his sentence trail off. “Hey! What are you doing?”
Idris had stalked over to the bedroom. Books started flying out the door. “Making room for actual furniture, what do you think?” A few more appeared. “Oh! There is a bed underneath. Well blow me down.”
“Could you be more careful with these?” said Tali, peering in anxiously. “No-one’s going to buy a book with a dented corner.”
“You should be on that show about people who hoard,” said Idris seriously, wrinkling his nose. “Do they pay for interviews? I’m going to floo them to come over and gawk.”
“I thought you wanted this place cleaned up.”
“I do, I do, Merlin help me, I do,” exhaled Idris. The smell was making his head dizzy. “Fuck, this is deplorable.”
“I am not getting rid of all these books,” Tali replied, defensive. “Some of them, maybe. But we can get bookshelves in. They just need a tidy up, that’s all.”
“It needs a total clear-out, that’s what it needs. No way am I shelling out for bookshelves to make your habit respectable while you write out inventory and try to sell each book by owl order.”
“I still don’t see why you have to live here since all you’re going to do is complain.”
Idris rolled his eyes. “It’s perfectly logical. I thought Ravenclaws understood that. Though with Matilda as one of your cohort maybe not. The facts are thus: Cary cannot live by himself, I do not want to police him, you couldn’t police him if you tried, and Mum and Dad only want one of us at the cottage. Work it out.”
“Why does Cary need policing?”
Idris pinched his nose. “Because you can’t let a 200,000 galleon asset have free rein while his kidnappers are still on the loose. Because I intend to pursue them and get every last knut back and I don’t need him becoming one of their bargaining chips again.”
Tali raised an eyebrow. “You really think he’s going to go back there, after what he’s been through?”
“He’s a Gryffindor,” whispered Idris, and the conspiratorial tone made Tali chuckle. He bit his lip to put an end to the amusement.
“I would not be surprised if he goes back to Iceland and a week later we get an owl saying he’s fallen into a volcano.”
“Poor Cary,” voiced Tali.
“For his own good,” declared Idris.
“Why don’t Mum and Dad stay here and we all stay in the cottage? Surely both of us can deter Cary from doing anything rash.”
“I am not living next to the Vanes. Crazy can waft along with the breeze, you know,” Idris said glibly.
“Yeah, but I like Lucinda. As a person. And Romilda’s got boobs, did you know?”
“What a compelling reason,” drawled Idris. “She could be the finest physical specimen and it’d still not be worth it.” He quirked a lip. “Though it would amuse me to see you try. Yeah, go for it. I need all the free entertainment I can get.”
Tali harrumphed. “I think I will not,” he answered. “How are we going to get two beds in here?”
“I am not sharing a room with you. I’m sleeping here. You go sleep in the lounge.”
“But what about my privacy? And this is my flat!”
“Wrong, this is technically Dad’s flat, I’m sure he will support my arrangement, and if you want privacy so badly put up a screen.”
“What about Watson?”
“Watson’s staying at the cottage.”
“But he’s my dog!”
“Again, Tali, there seems to be something about possession that you don’t understand. First case you don’t have the money, second case you don’t have the responsibility. Your corgi’s overweight.”
“No, he’s not,” insisted Tali.
“Yes, he is. And even if he weren’t he should still stay where he is. Cary’ll look after him. It’ll give him something to do.”
“You can’t stop me from bringing him here.”
Idris sighed. “I’ll lock you out and you can share the hallway together if that’s what you wish.”
“You’re an enormous jerk, you know that?”
“And you’re a stubborn prat. You disagree with all of my ideas simply because I voiced them. Well, there’s no helping some people.” Idris came to the doorway and hustled Tali out of the bedroom, through the lounge and toward the entrance. “Take this,” he pressed a bag of galleons into Tali’s hand, and opened the door. “Go and buy yourself a bed and whatever else you think may be necessary for living. See you at dinner.”
One minute Tali had been inside and the next he was not. He tried the door and his usual password did not work. “Idris, you bastard, let me in!”
“Why? You’ve got shopping to do. Get going before the shops close.”
“Oh, don’t huff, you’ll strain a pectoral.”
“I’ll break the door down!”
“Great. Don’t forget to put a new one on your shopping list.”
Tali banged his forehead against the door. It, predictably, remained unmoved. He cursed Idris internally and counted his money. 200 galleons. What could he buy with that? One one-thousandths of a Cary, he calculated.
Not even enough for a finger.