Lumos

Ducking Stalkers & Meeting Heroes

London | February 13, 1986

It's a rather quiet day in Diagon Alley, just around lunch time. Jude has just finished up her lunch and is browsing through potions magazine on the latest trends and experiments. She is perched on a stool behind the counter, elbow resting on the counter itself as she reads. The young woman is dressed casually, in her usual black tights, a black a-line skirt, and a brightly colored blue sweater. Her dark hair has been pulled back and tied up in a messy knot on top of her head, a ribbon tied in that matches her sweater.

On a normal day, Taliesin is able to walk down the street without being recognized as H.R. Smyth.  He keeps his pictures our of the papers and rarely does public appearances.  Some social circles know who he is, but most of them keep his secret. Unfortunately, someone let it slip to a wealthy widower who spends too much time lost between the pages of the books he writes. He was only out to get himself a coffee she she spotted him.  Thankfully she didn't make too much of a scene, but she's been slowly stralking him throughout his errands creeping up behind him and quoting lines from his book.  Finally, Diagon Alley gets busy enough that he can lose her in a crowd and when he's sure she isn't looking, he slips into the closest shop and tries to find a corner to hide in. “Don't mind me, I'm just avoiding an unpleasant person.”  He says with a quick smile.  He's dressed in a grey wool coat that shows a vest and button down shirt underneath.

At the door opening Jude glances up, offering a bright smile to the man entering. At the comment though she lifts her eyebrows. “Oh? Well, come on in. I do have some potions to help,” she tells him with a grin. “What sort of problem are you having?” She closes the magazine she was looking at, turning her full attention to Taliesin.

Taliesin turns toward the shopkeeper and tilts his head at her.  “I am sure a good Polyjuice could fix am up, but it is actually a written law to alter the perfection of my chiseled jaw.”  he says lightly before looking the young lady over.  “It is only an admirer who does not understand that I am not interested in her fantasy.  She will tire if hunting me soon enough, so if you do not mind me loitering, I promise to buy what I need to restock my shelves.”

Jude laughs softly, looking rather amused. "Is it now?" she asks, inspecting him carefully, looking at the jaw he is discussing. "I suppose, but I do make a mean polyjuice potion." At his explanation she raises her eyebrows again. "An admirer? Thwarted ex girlfriend or something?" she asks curiously. "I do love some good gossip, especially if you're sheltering in my store." At his promise to restock though she brightens even a bit more.

"You suppose?" Tali says with a smirk and a laugh. "No she is not a jilted lover, but I have a feeling she would want to be one. I am an author, and she is a fan of my books. A really big fan if my books. As tempting as it would be to have a patron who would pay me to write all day long, I have a feeling that she would want creative influence over my work and that just will not do."

"I mean, it's a /fine/ chin," Jude tells him cheerfully, smirking. "I'm just not sure there needs to be a law for it." It does appear she is teasing, but it is a bit hard to tell. "Oh! You're an author? That is brilliant. What do you write? I do love reading." She does chuckle a bit as his explanation of his predicament.

"It is indeed. Now if only I had high cheekbones I might be pretty enough to be in front of a camera." Taliesin winks as he casually browses the shelves while they talk. "Oh I have a lot of books under my nom de plume, though I am not sure if they are your type of book. I write the Gustav Knight adventures. My next book should be out soon, once the butcher's finish editing it."

Jude just chuckles, shaking her head a bit, watching Taliesin as he browses the shop. When he finally gets around to mentioning the books he writes though she stops breathing for a moment, grabbing the counter to stop her knees from buckling. Pure panic has engulfed her features, though somewhere in that expression is a hint of pure excitement. "Holy tits," she finally squeals, her voice high-pitched now that she's able to breathe again. She does look a bit like she might start hyperventilating though. "Those. Are my. Favorite. Books," she manages to get out.

Taliesin stares at her as she reacts. For a second he believes she's going to faint. That might be better because then he could leave and avoid another fan. "Ehm, it appears as if they are your sort of book." He reaches forward to grab her arm to help steady her. Why don't you sit down and I can get out of your hair."

It takes her a moment but Jude finally collects herself. "I'm…sorry," she murmurs, her fair cheeks turning a very bright shade of red when he grabs her arm. "Oh god, I'm so embarrassed. Just…I really like your books. I never expected to meet the author! This must be how people feel when they meet a movie star or something." Her blush doesn't seem like it plans to fade anytime soon and she is desperately avoiding looking at Taliesin now.

"It happens, not often but it does happen." While it does inflate his ego a tick, he knows what's coming. "Well I am a very secretive man, and I do not do public appearances so it wasn't likely that you would. I assure you that meeting your idols is not all it's cracked up to be."

Jude just nods rather rapidly as he talks. "No? Have you met your idols?" she asks curiously. "And I never said you were my idol!" she adds on, trying to joke, still a bit out of sorts. "But I do like your books. I always wish characters from books were real. They're so much better than real people sometimes."

"A few of them. Enough to know that worshiping them from afar is better than ruining the illusion." Though it's true she didn't say idol, but the blush on her fdace makes him sigh. "They are good books for the most part. Some of it is dictated by my editors, because they want to keep the fans happy and buying what I write." Something she says makes him shake his head. "Are they? They are pure fabrication. Carefully crafted characters that manipulate you to love or hate them. In real life they would be just like you and I. Lost, flawed and in the end disappointing."

“Maybe. I suppose it would depend on who your idol is.” Jude lifts her eyebrows. “Really? Can editors do that? Shouldn’t it be what you want to write?” She lifts s hand to push some of the shorter pieces of hair that have escaped her bum off her face. “Yes, it’s so much simpler that way,” she replies to the comment about characters manipulating them. “Hey! Who says I’m flawed and disappointing!” She protests, laughing.

"A journalist that I idolized in school. I learned that he did very little of his own investgaive writing and instead took credit for others work. It was a shame really, and he still "writes" for the daily prophet." Taliesin makes quotes in the air when he speaks obviously still bitter over what this other guy did.
"It's still a job, someone is signing the checks so… I do have to obey my pencil pushing overlords. I wanted to kill Arnaud, but in was told that they did some market research and it would anger a large part of my fan base, so I had to change it." He also just gave her a spoiler without realizing it. "Humans are flawed crratues, it is what makes us so beautiful. We are broken, damaged and mad, but yet we still shine. I could write Gustav as he should be, battling his demons and addictions. Instead I get to sweep them under the rug for a fresh lovescene."

“Oh no. That sounds terrible. I guess that does ruin it a bit. Most of my potions idols are dead so that makes it easier,” Jude explains. She scratches at the side of her face idly as she listens but stops, dropping her hand. “No! Not Arnaud! Though it would be better than Gustav of course. I l—adore him.” Her hazel eyes go a bit wide as she looks at Tali. As he dives into the details she furrows her brow though. “But then it does make it too much like real life. You can’t escape because then you’re just facing the same issues you have in real life. Plus, he’s so romantic,” she says a bit dreamily.

"Potion idols are probably better behaved than literary ones." Taliesin observes before he sees her face. "You adore a lie. No one is that romantic, it would be too exhausting to be that romantic. It's exhausting writing that level of romance." Tali shrugs and shoves his hands in his pocket. "Yes but the feelings you get in reality are genuine. What is more thrilling? Reading about Gustav's kiss, or feeling one if your own? Real sex far out weighs anything that you would find on paper."

“You would be surprised. It can be a rather wild group. Especially the experimental potions people.” Jude is finally calming down a bit though. As he talks she leans on the counter, listening. “No? Are you sure. I’m sure someone must be.” As he talks about kissing and sex though she looks away just shrugging. “I guess?” It’s clear she has no idea though.

Well i have heard that those people are a little insane. "Tali says before he laughs. "If they are they are trying to sell something. Huge romantic gestures are are usually a distraction, as if the person is trying to prove to others the violence of their affections." When she says she guesses he looks confused. "How poor have your lovers been to give that answer."

“Just a little. But it’s a good insane,” Jude says brightly. “Hm. I’ve never had someone make a grand romantic gesture so I can’t know. It seems nice though to have someone do something for you.” At his last comment she blushes again, looking back at the counter. “Oh. Um. Yeah, they must have been,” she murmurs by way of an answer.

Taliesin shakes his head and a light goes off in his mind. Of course making assumptions about people is terrible and for now he decides to not vocalize them. However he has a feeling that she hasn't had many boyfriends, or at least really terrible ones. "I suppose insanity is good in small doses. Most of the people in my profression are mad themselves so I have very little room to talk." He looks out the window before he quickly darts behind a shelf. "Damn, she's still out there!"

Jude seems perfectly happy to let the conversation move away from that particular topic. She giggles a bit as she watches Taliesin dart behind a shelf. "And you're not mad, then?" she asks with a small smirk, glancing out the window herself. "How did she even figure out who you were?" she asks curiously.

"Mad about what?" He questions as he watches the old cougar stalk through the streets. She's looking in all of the shop windows she passes and Tali slowly walks behind her a counter and without asking ducks behind it. "She is crafty. She bought herself a position at my publishing company which course gave her the information she needed. If she was less selfish, I am sure she would make it public knowledge just to control me."

"Insane, I meant," Jude tells him with a grin. As he explains about the woman she starts to laugh again. "Geez, and I thought /I/ was a fan. I feel quite sane now." She pauses a moment, still looking out the window. "Here, wait a moment." She heads out from behind the counter, hurrying to the door of her shop and popping her head out. "Ma'am! Ma'am!" she calls, waving her hands. "I saw him!" she shouts. "You're looking for H.R. Smyth, right? He went down Knockturn! He visits a shop there a lot! I bet you'll find him there!" Jude has her sweetest smile on, eyes big and innocent.

"Mad enough to be an author, but not mad enough to be thrown in an asylum." Tali says proudly. He remains behind the counter as she dashes out the door to go play hero. The woman lights up when she hears Jude and even squeals like a teenager. "Thank you! He's such a naught boy, running away from me like that. I'll have to give him a proper spanking when I get him home!" With that, she darts off the Knockturn Alley. "Is it safe?"

Jude does her absolute best to keep a straight face, nodding at the woman and waving her off before turning back inside the shop and shutting the door behind her. "It's safe," she tells him with a grin. "Just don't go down Knockturn anytime soon, I'd say." She heads back towards the counter, finally a very normal smile at her lips. She's realxed. "I'm Jude by the way, not sure I introduced myself, did I?"

"You're a life saver." Taliesin says as he pops up from behind the counter. "I rarely go down there anyway, unless I need inspiration of course." Once she reaches the counter he smirks. "Well Jude, it has been an absolute blast, but I should leave before she returns." Reaching forward with his hand he cups her cheek and lays a kiss right on her lips. He doesn't linger long before he pulls away gives her a cheeky grin and a wave. "I'll be back to restock my potions." With one quick look down the street he slips off into the crowd and disappears.

"Of course," Jude replies with a little grin. She is about to say something else when all of a sudden his lips are on hers and really it is a miracle she can still stand. One of her hands grips the counter and she doesn't even notice the other hand that is sneakily lifted to just briefly brush his hair. It has a mind of its own apparently. When he pulls away and makes his exit she's just left kind of staring at him, unable to get any real words out before he's out the door.

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