Who: Stephen Cornfoot, Mandy Brocklehurst
Where: Their house
When: 5 May 2002, early evening
After spending the better part of the afternoon being questioned at the Ministry of Magic about their former neighbour, Stephen was more than a little bit pleased to return home with Mandy. Home was a good word, he decided tiredly. Being home with Mandy felt right. Some people might have reacted with surprise that they were moving in together so soon after starting to date, but their relationship stretched back a long time before the Blue Moon Ball, even if it hadn’t been romantic until then.
Stephen caught Mandy’s hand in his own once the front door was closed. “I don’t know about you, but I need a drink. Tea or wine, what do you think?”
“Wine, I think,” Mandy said, squeezing his hand and then going to collapse on their very comfortable new couch. “Days at the DMLE are fairly exhausting, I don’t know how you’ve survived so many of them. Good humor, I suppose.”
She cocked an eyebrow and gave him a teasing look. “Though you still probably shouldn’t have made that crack about how even Syl publicly threatened Orpington’s life on the journals.”
“Good humour, yes, and a healthy dose of wine on top of that.” He bent to kiss her cheek, enjoying her smile and the teasing humour in her eyes. “And you’ve helped quite a bit, I must admit.”
He straightened up, rolling his shoulders. If there was one thing to which he hadn’t grown accustomed in the past year it was how uncomfortable the chairs in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement could be. That was undoubtedly a good thing. “I couldn’t help it. It just slipped out. You don’t think anything’s seriously going to come of it, do you?”
Mandy grinned in a goofy manner that only he seemed to bring out in her. It was so nice to hear that she’d played some part in helping him get through this horrible last year. It made her feel special in a way that she never had before to be loved by this man.
“I don’t know,” she said, curling around a cushion. “Henry didn’t seem too amused by it. I hope for you sake that it comes to nothing though, because Sylvie will totally have your head.”
Stephen sighed, shaking his head. “I think it’s safe to say that he doesn’t find much amusing at the moment. Not that anyone can blame him,” he said quietly. “Everything that’s happened to Daisy is enough to chase off anyone’s sense of humour. Poor girl. Used like a pawn.”
He smiled crookedly. “I think I need to pour that wine before we get too melancholy. I might grab the takeaway menus too.”
Mandy nodded quickly. She was much happier focusing on wine and food than on all the terrible things that had been happening around the village. The fact that Daisy had been Imperiused on her watch was still eating away at her for all that Susan had assured her that she wasn’t to blame.
“I’d say curry, but it is always an adventure getting that through the Floo.”
“Yes, I must admit I’m leaning towards curry too. I say we risk it. And if we’re lucky Audrey might be manning the Floo.” Stephen held his hand up, crossing his fingers. “Back in a jiff.”
Humming a snatch of a Ministry of Adventures song, he wandered to the kitchen. Wine was easy to locate, as were the glasses — which probably said something about their priorities upon moving in — but the menus proved a little elusive. He located them finally, tucking them under his arm as he carried two full glasses back out to Mandy.
“There you go, my dearest, darlingest, Mandiest one.”
“Why, thank you, my darlingest, dearest, mis-Steviest one,” Mandy said, rolling her eyes. Yes, she knew they were dorks. Big ones. But she enjoyed being a dork with Stephen very, very much. Always had.
“Come here and share that menu,” she said, holding an arm out for him.
He chuckled, putting down the wine before he sank onto the couch beside. Stephen pressed a smacking kiss to her cheek and slipped the menu into her hand.
“I need samosas in my life,” he decided. “And maybe some tarka daal.”
“I need garlic naan, I think,” Mandy said with a yawn. Merlin, she was so tired these days. Between her upcoming exams, moving, and all the drama around town, it was a miracle she managed to stay on her feet half the time. “Otherwise, I’m not fussy. Get whatever you like.”
She pulled a face. “So long as it isn’t lamb.” The very thought turned her stomach.
When she yawned, Stephen was tempted to shift so they could snuggle up, but he knew that logically he would have to move in a minute to go and order the food. Muggles, he thought, had the right idea with telephones. No messing around with fire just to talk to someone.
“I might just order that chicken thing we had last time. I liked that.” Stretching to pick up his glass, he took a drink of wine. “Right, I’m going to order this. Then we can do some hardcore cuddling, how does that sound?”
“That’s how I prefer my snuggling,” Mandy laughed. “What’s the point if it isn’t hardcore, right?”
She took another long sip of her wine before setting it on the coffee table and stretched herself. She shifted the cushions about and summoned a blanket for them to cuddle up under. “And besides, snuggling is an excellent distraction from unpacking more boxes.”
She looked so cosy there that Stephen wanted nothing more than to rejoin her. Laughing, he yawned, stretching his arms over his head.
Stephen had to brace himself for the Floo conversation, reminding himself sharply that obviously the flames wouldn’t hurt him and that he just needed to grow up. A phobia of fire wasn’t in any way conducive to being a functioning adult wizard.
After ordering, he gratefully returned to the couch. “Should be about twenty minutes,” he informed Mandy, picking up his wine again. He kissed her softly. “However shall we fill the time?”
“Hmmm,” Mandy murmured, shifting herself into his lap so he could wrap her up in his arms properly. “Shall we conjugate Latin verbs?”
“That does sound thrilling,” Stephen said dryly. He smiled, though, simply drinking in her sweet face. “How would that go, do you think?” he murmured, inclining his head. “Ego basio. Tu basias.” He brushed his lips over hers. “Nos basiamus.”
“If I were your examiner,” Mandy smiled against his lips before kissing him again, “I would award you an O in this subject.”