In Which Alastor Moody Goes Visiting...
February 28, 2005 9:36 PM
It had been a few years since he'd been to Nem's Nook. The last time, he'd come for a few bottles of the thirty year MacDougal distillate, but at that point, he'd had the need of a drink. Or ten.
He apparated straight from Hogsmeade -- He'd taken Verity for the day, to attempt to work with her himself... and he would be feeling it in the morning. He hadn't had that kind of a workout in years
. The sooner he vetted this Rupert Giles character, the better. He wasn't sure that he could keep up with Verity any longer; she was just so fast
and a gentleman of one hundred and eleven was just starting to slow down.
He walked down the road to the keep on the MacDougal estate, where his old friend Agnes "Nessa" MacDougal lived. When he reached the door, he raised his stick, and knocked.
"How many times have I told you that you dinna have to knock," she called.
Her voice had echoed loudly under the sonorus charm. The house elf Mixie opened the heavy door. She'd been with the MacDougal family as long as Nessa had and was treated more like a pet than a servant. The rumor was Mixie had been Nessa's nurse elf when she was a little girl in the Shaw home.
As Nessa made her way down the stairs, her grandson Fingal and his wife Tara were already greeting Alastor. Tara was asking if he required anything while Fingal shook his hand vigorously.
"It's good to see you again, as well Fingal. I see that the mis'ess is doing well." Moody nodded to Tara.
Nessa interrupted. "Tis a close night for travel, Alastor. What brings you here?"
Her Scottish accent was less than the family's unless she was angry.
"I should like to find out your opinion on a variety of things, Nessa. And knowing you, you will have opinions worth listening to," he told her.
Fingal held out an arm to assist her down the last step. She hit him in the calf with her cane.
"I dinna need yer help. Thanks for being a gentleman, though."
Tara giggled before putting a hand on her husband's arm. "Come. Let us see about Heather then retire for the night. Argyle sent us an owl from Hogwarts that I would like you to read. He's having girl problems."
Fingal made a face. "Problems wit' a girl? My son?"
"Girls. Plural. Apparently his growth spurt from the past summer was well-received."
"Beatin' them away wit' sticks, huh?" Nessa asked chuckling. "Of course he is. He's a MacDougal. Iffen they'd let him wear his kilt at school, they'd have a swooning problem."
"Nana," Fingal said.
"Och, Alastor knows me enough to know when I'm playing. Be off wit' ya then."
Moody chuckled, and followed his friend into the drawing room.
She made her way to a chair by the fire and took a seat before gesturing to the chair opposite her.
He sat. "So, any other developments aside from Argyle's new-found attractiveness to the fair sex?"
"My sources tell me that Augusta and I might get our dearest wish, that Morag and Neville have been friendly. Brody and his cousins are still liking running that pub. Branwyn had moved there above to be near her son. The little Greengrass girl is having difficulties. She looked very bad at the last meeting. An eye might need to be kept on her. You?"
"Well, Verity is doing quite well. I rather think that she is not one of Argyle's problem girls as she's currently got more important things to worry about... Which is part of what I wanted to talk to you about. I understand that you know a fellow named Rupert Giles."
"Aye," Nessa said suspiciously.
Two things clicked into place at once for her. What Rupert Giles was head of and that Verity was having issues that weren't boys.
"Morag is under his care currently."
Moody nodded. "I might have heard something along those lines," he said. "Let's just say that Verity -- like her mum before her -- is a late bloomer and certain other things were waiting for that to happen before making themselves known."
"And you're wanting to know if Giles can be trusted. Doesn't the fact that Morag is there tell you anything? He is not without flaws, but Rupert Giles is a decent chap, and has the gumption to stand firm against the Ministry iffen they get too hoity toity, as we know they tend to do. He is the watcher that has the longest slaying slayer. One of his is the witch that tried to end the world in California, but she's got some grit. She better knows how to stop herself from madness."
He nodded. "And what of the Malfoy boy?"
"Andromeda speaks of him all proud-like, as if he were he very own. He has his own slayer he's training, but I can tell you this, that girl who tried to end the world was not ready to jump back into the fray in California when they needed her to. She would have been less ready without the Malfoy boy, and I dont even think he knows how much he helped her by just listening and commiserating."
"Mmmm..." Moody grunted noncommittally. "Speaking of Andromeda, she sent me the oddest letter the other day. Mentioning about perhaps my working with Giles' Watchers' Council, which is another reason for my visit. I'd like to hear your opinion on that, as well."
Nessa gave him a knowing grin. "Well, why do you suspect she's trying to be so helpful? After all, it isn't as if she's my age. I do think putting you in the midst of a bunch of girls that could bench-press Rubeus Hagrid would be humorous, and it would definitely help give them some credibility back after the incident with the first Ministry liaison, though I think it might make the Ministry uncomfortable to have you there. Which, now that I've said it, that makes me think it an excellent notion."
Moody just laughed. "So you think it a good idea, then. I must admit that I don't mind the idea of keeping an eye on Verity's training, either."
"You'll want to speak to Willow. Try not to hold what she did against her. She's a sweet girl that just went too far in the dark, but don't forget what she done either. Iffen she starts to backslide, I want to know. I haven't actually met the other one. Her name is Buffy Summers. I was lettin' Giles get settled before I descended."
Moody nodded. "I believe that I can do that. No doubt that Augusta will want reports as well."
"I just hope that's not why Andromeda is sniffing about. I was beginning suspect she was going to allow herself to turn into Arabella Figg after Teddy goes to Hogwarts. Ted wouldn't want her to be so damned melancholy all the time. I'm no' sayin' she needs to marry again, but having appreciative male company canna be bad."
He chuckled. "Well, that tidbit of information hasn't come up in the modicum of research I've done. I don't see how that can be a bad thing, though. Ted was a good man, and I agree that he wouldn't want her sulking around forever."
"I just thank the goddess tha' I were too old to be interested after Hamish passed. And also, who else would put up wit' me?"
"Who indeed?" He raised his eyebrow. They had, over the years, occasionally been each other's escort to various functions. "I'm afraid that I'm in the same boat as well."
"Oh yer no' tha' bad. Ya know Augusta jokes sometimes tha' Bob died to escape her."
"Indeed. And having known Bob, it may just be true." He smirked.