Who: Zacharias Smith, Idris Robards, and Sepphora Smith
Where: Smith Manor
When: 10 October 2001, morning
“I really wouldn’t write those comments, if I were you,” said Idris.
Zach started. “How can you tell what I’m writing,” he said, suspicious. Idris was sitting across the table from him.
“I can’t,” replied Idris. “But I know it’s not going to help your cause.” He reached over and plucked the journal out of Zacharias’s hands. He skimmed the page. Exactly as he thought. A tirade addressed to everybody, even those who hadn’t personally offended him. To be thorough, Idris supposed.
“I could tell you not to post it, but to be on the safe side…” Idris tore the page in question out, crumpled it up, threw it in the air and set fire to it. Ash landed on the table.
“You’ve desecrated my journal,” remarked Zacharias.
“To stop you desecrating your life,” Idris retorted. To be honest, he didn’t much care if his client went to Azkaban or not. Well, there was professional pride, of course, but Zacharias was a difficult character. The Wizengamot were not going to warm to him or feel sorry for him. It was a difficult job. It’d almost be amusing if he was innocent but convicted anyway. If he questioned Idris’s methods one more time…
Zacharias rolled his eyes. “I could go to Azkaban for this and all you can do to help is censor me.”
“If you can’t say anything nice, say nothing,” said Idris. “Now I’d normally never endorse something so trite but you are awaiting trial, so to you it’s sound advice.” He dropped Zacharias’s journal into his briefcase. “I’ll be keeping that to be on the safe side.”
He’d burn the whole damn thing, if he could.
“I don’t get why this is necessary. Aren’t they supposed to rule on the facts? I didn’t hit Stephen, OK? I wasn’t even there!”
“Oh, they’re supposed to,” nodded Idris, “doesn’t mean they will. Or that the facts will be clear-cut. Call this your insurance policy. Here, I want you to wear this.” He passed over a wristband.
“It’s for an anti-violence charity. You are anti-violence, aren’t you?”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“I wouldn’t be wearing it if you didn’t give it to me.”
Idris blinked. Did this kid want to go to Azkaban, or what? “Well if it soothes your soul I’ll donate 20 galleons to them and charge it to your account,” he said smoothly. “Now, is there anything else from your Australian sojourn that you’ve left out?”
“You’ve packed a lot into a short space of time.”
Zacharias scowled. “I was a different person then.”
“Better hope so.” Public drunkenness, flying under the influence, nightclub altercations, team bust-ups… the list seemed endless. Though, Idris had done his research and it seemed Smith was honest when he stated he’d done nothing of the sort since his return to Britain. The kid hadn’t been seen even having casual drinks by anyone. The previous bad behaviour could work in his favour, if Idris could weave a tale of a moral redemption hijacked by this unjust allegation.
“Could we wrap this up?” said Zacharias. “You charge by the minute and I think you’ve run out of obvious things to say.”
Throwing this was looking a little more tempting. Idris snapped his briefcase shut. “Just remember that your two favourite words right now are ‘no’ and ‘comment’.” He didn’t like Emelda’s questioning. Luckily Smith had been reticent for once. Trust a Vane to make life difficult for him. “Right, we’re—”
“Zach! What do you want for lunch? I can make your favourite, if you like,” came a female voice. Sepphora sauntered into the dining room but stopped dead at the sight of Idris. “Oh. I didn’t know you had company,” she added, her voice a tone more demure. She touched her hair. “Are you joining us for lunch?”
“Sepphora, this is Idris, my lawyer. Idris, this is Sepphora, my sister,” drawled Zacharias. “I’ll just have whatever you’re having,” he told Sepphora. “Idris is leaving.”
“Pleasure to meet you.” Idris had gotten to his feet and stuck out a hand. Sepphora shook it, somehow looking uncertain. “Likewise,” she answered, before dropping her hand. “Whatever I’m having. Right. Yes.” She turned on a heel and wandered off.
Zacharias gave a snort once Sepphora was out of earshot. “I love my sister but sometimes I wonder where her mind goes,” he said. “And yet my father has decided she’s the right person to inherit the family home.”
“What, this place?”
“No, some other large manor in the countryside. This is just our holiday home.”
Idris had to admit he walked into that. If what Zacharias said was true… well, he wasn’t going to bother with Marigold any longer.
“I’ll see myself out,” he said.
“I’m not paying if you get lost,” stated Zacharias. He got out of his chair and stomped off.
Idris followed the sound of Sepphora’s retreating footsteps.