Who: Florinda & MG McGonagall What: Florrie has a favour to ask When: 28 April, evening Where: Florrie's flat in London Warnings: None
"So what are the restrictions of training diet right now?" Florrie asked her brother as he settled on her sofa. "Is it no sugar, no carbs, or are we carb-loading?" She set the tea to steep and prepared to get the biscuits to accompany it prepared on Merc's answer. He had to keep to a strict training diet and she knew the Montrose mediwizards trusted her to feed Merc according to it. It was an honour she worked hard to prove she deserved.
The slightly longing look Merc gave the biscuit cupboard as he plopped onto Florrie's sofa was probably answer enough. "Well just one can hardly be called loading..."
The European Cup qualifiers were starting soon and the war had put a damper on the BIL teams qualifying, let alone going too deep into the competition, in the last few iterations. The Magpies had earned a berth this year with their domestic success but it was a long tournament with plenty more to play. Every BIL team who'd made it this far was taking this as an opportunity to get UK quid back to pre-war prestige. And the Magpies coach had really gone intense with preparation: strict diets, fitness regimes, keeping them all in line off the pitch, and not above a good zap if she saw a cigarette anywhere near the training ground. That last one especially hurt.
Florrie would have hexed Merc for smoking if she could have got away with it. He needed to stop.
"No jammy dodgers for you," Florrie told Merc mournfully as she rattled round the kitchenette of the flat putting the tea tray together. "It'll be an old school digestive, or none if you'd rather save your carbs. I've got some dark chocolate, though--not biscuits, just chocolate--and that might be in the training regime."
“I'll skip a depressing digestive and go for the chocolate,” he sighed, a little forlorn at it all. “You should see how much boiled chicken the kitchens are making us, it feels like the bland has invaded my life. Give me something interesting, tell me there's been something since scandalous dances going on.”
Florrie added a handsome South American chocolate bar to the tray. "It doesn't have to be bland, Merc. They can grill it and put some spices on it and it'll be just as nice." And there was the opening to ask. She swallowed her reservations and brought him the tea tray. "Actually," she said, cheerfully but carefully, "there's a thing I could use your help with coming up, for me and a couple of friends. It'll involve some fancy flying and you're the best flyer I know, so--" she trailed off.
Merc was about to comment that he was pretty sure the blandness was a choice on the part of his coach, but Florrie’s careful approach to her next answer and ‘fancy flying’ had him sit up a little and raise an amused eyebrow at her. “Well this sounds like mischief meets flying more than anything. I thought I was the McGonagall with that claim to fame, should I be worried?” He gestured her for to come back and join him on the couch. “Anyway, you’ve said the magic words, unless you’ve scheduled this bit of fun in the middle of a match, I think you know that you’ve got me on board. What’s the thing I’m helping with?”
"Merc, you need to know going in that things--there are things I've promised not to talk about, without other people being involved. Can't talk about. But I think--look, someone very important to me, to us, has approved what I'm doing, and I think she approves this as well. Which is the reason why I'm asking you," Florrie started in, holding up her hand lest Merc want to interrupt.
"You know I went into the field because I could do the most good there. And I found--I found other ways to help. Beyond what I do for St Mungo's. I have friends, some of whom are--have been taking a more direct hand in the war than others. People who agree with what Da was doing and are willing to help protect people when murdering cowards come calling. And sometimes they get hurt, and I help patch them up. I've not been in any danger, no more than in my work for Mungo's," she hastened to reassure Merc, "but it's the right thing to do and I'm not sorry I'm doing it. And now I've been asked to help with another thing, and I need your help."
She drew in another breath and started in on the last bit. "Apparently there are some awful things out there. Bad magic. And, reading between the lines of what I've been told, You-Know-Who's friends have been trying to get hold of them. So good people are trying to destroy them. And they want to gather some dragonfire from the dragons in the Hebrides and they came to me to get access. They've got hold of something from Mysteries to gather it, but they'll need some fancy flying to do it, and you're the best to judge and help with that. I'm not--I know it's risky, but you're the only person I know with both the skills and the access, and while I know our friends will want to do for themselves, we're the best hope for the dragons not getting hurt. Do you think--do you think you could see your way to helping?"
Of all the responses he'd been expecting...Merc shook the slightly stunned look off his face. "Florrie...I was willing to help you when I had close to no information and I thought it was for a lark. Now you've told me it's for you and your friends and it has a significant purpose. Do you really need to ask what my answer is?"
There were other parts he could unpack later, from the mystery approving woman to just how deep she was in all this and what a miracle it was she'd come through this war still in one piece.
He took a deep breath and let his head fall back against the back of her couch, looking up at the ceiling in thought. "Alright, access to Herbrideans isn't going to be the issue. But Merlin, your friends are lucky you weren't going to let them figure out how catch dragonfire on their own. I'm sure many a You-Know-Who supporter would've ended as ashes for trying the same, there's a reason why the Herbrides have managed to survive this long almost untouched."
Florrie had sagged with relief a little; she'd been worried about how Merc would take it. "I know, and my friends are reckless idiots, but some of them know how to fly a fast broom. They think it's enough and I know it's not. Can we set a date and time--sooner rather than leter--and you can get your hands around what they need and how we can do it safely, whether it's fly it ourselves or work with people who can?"
“I'll bring a few extra brooms in case. Sounds like something your friends won't want to involve too many outside their circle in on. I'll figure out a time that works and give you a heads up. But Florrie…” here he gave her a sideways glance and a nudge with his knee. “We are going to come back to your extracurricular activities another time, you know.”