Lys and Agatha

Shopping and a Meeting


She was definitely in the wrong place.

The first thing she did, after deciding this was look over her shoulder and scan the place for quick exits. There were none visible, except for the way she came. Her ride back wouldn’t be back for a good long while. That was alright though. She could just leave, head for one of those sit-down places or one of the stores that served fresh food, and fix up a lunch…

No She told herself stubbornly You’re here for a reason remember. Just have a look around. See if there’s anything might be worth the trouble. Deep breaths.


Don’t screw it up

Carefully she tread, looking up and down at the figurines. It always struck Lys as just plain weird, how people thought the rest of the world. Rags of cloth draped over awkwardly angled skeleton-like figures. . Expensive rags, but rags. Then there were purses that weren’t big enough to carry a single K’nut. Overlong socks already full of holes. She wasn’t sure she wanted to know what the under clothes looked like.

And of course the glass cabinets.

The number of them, the way they were polished, you’d think they were on sale. Maybe they were. But more likely they were just there to show off the tiny things inside. Some held jewelry and these she browsed with interest, picking out the obvious fakes. The others held makeup, and these she avoid whenever possible. The jewelry sellers had enough sense to look at her like an intruder. The makeup folk looked at her like she was The Great Test of their talents as “artists.” She had no wish to be choked with disgusting scents that settled onto your taste buds, or wind up looking like…well… she turned back to what passed for clothes here.

Still nothing that looked good for what she had in mind. One of the dummys (the ones on pedestals, not the sales people) seemed to be giving her an ugly look and she stopped by a mirror to see if she could figure out why.

Dark colored pants, large beige shirt, comfortable green jacket. Couldn’t see much wrong. She had even dug out an old pair of flats for the occasion. There were creases where the material would bend when walking, but she figured she deserved some credit for leaving the tennis shoes at home this time.

There was something she recognized at least. They were using it as a skirt. She fingered the price tag for a minute, glancing at it with an ideal look.

And burst out laughing.

They wanted how much?!

“Who ever would have thought it?” drawled an amused voice behind Lys. “Lys Scoresby in Selfridges. Now that is diverting darhling if you please.”

Agatha Swales looked Lys up and down as if she had just been dragged out of a gutter. She wrinkled her small nose and raise done elegant eyebrow. “Really my dear, it is of course always divine to catch up with old aquaintances you know, but do you think sweetie this is really your milieu. Their are many good markets in London I am told,” she said nastily.

Agatha was more beautiful and radiant than ever, but her marriage and her idle socilaite life had hardened the sofer edges which Hogwarts and Avery Berke had once given to her. Disappointment was in her heart and she was determined that none should ever know it.

Lys returned Agatha’s greeting with a nod “Swales.”

Honestly? She was glad. She’d already run into more than enough salespeople, glaring mannequins and the like. If she had to run into one of those Slytherins, she would have picked this one.

Agatha Swales. The one. The original. All others were Barbie dolled carbon copies.

There was something different. It was not the same Agatha Swales had engaged in verbal knockdown drag-out with the Head Boy and Girl over a matter of points. This newer Agatha Swales was a newer version. With a … a something… that was familiar.

” Won’t argue that” she said in answer to Swales’… attack? critcism? Whichever. ” But I figure, since I got the job, may as well look the part right?” She turned her head to either side, her eyes flicking this and that way to make sure no more of those make-up weilding witches were about, then leaned a bit in Swales’ direction, mindful of the distance two people like them were supposed to keep from each other, and muttered.

“People really pay this much for something like this? Cause I bought one of these, I saw made first-hand, and it cost me less less’n a handful of Sickles. And this–” she let out a short bark of laughter as she looked at the price again.

Agatha glanced hurriedly round as fox girl let out well a short rasping bark? Really there was no other word for it. Yes, a bark. Amusement was all very well, but she had her reputation to consider at all times.

“That’s Dior,” she said slowly, as if speaking to a mentally deficient four year old, “Christian Dior,” she reiterated as no look of comprehension replacd the blankness on Lys’s face.

Agatha shrugged her delicate shoulders. There was no point in lecturing to the impossible.

“And incidentally my dear, it’s Lady Willoughby to you as I would have presumed you knew,” she gave Lys a haughty glance. If she had to have the damn title, she may as well use it. Matthew’s parents had not been easy to dispose of after all.

Moving idly away, attracted by a magnificent white stole in the Chloe collection, she threw carelessly back, her musical voice carrying magically to whisper at Lys, “And what job would that be anyway Scoresby?”

She’d heard of the Willoughby name. It was on her list, along the Calvers, the Whycherleys, the Talmorras, the Danulietes, Watanabes, Gates, and Stones and every other Pure-blooded wizarding family since the history of time that she was supposed to memorize before the big deal.

She moved again to stand near where Swales stood, again keeping her distance. She watched “Her Ladyship” gap at an item, then looked at the item in question; the same slow steady look she and her dad gave to most things. Calculating, estimating the value, the worth, the significance of the piece. It’s place in history. And why it looked like someone’d skinned a giant snowshoe hare, or maybe a couple of the smaller ones.

” Well, if it’s ta be ‘Lady Willoughby’, I guess it’s to be ‘Lady Whycherley’ fer me than. That or ‘ Mrs. Shuler.’ ”

There was a way she said those three names. Just the pronounciation, seemed to tarnish any value to them. They weren’t names taken in honour, they were names forced on a person. Like fancy titles for dirty jobs.

“That’s my job then. I’m to be doing what people like you and Don–Talmorra were born ta do.”


“It was only right.” She said, quieter.

It was surely not possible. She must have misheard, she must be mistaken. Ah but no, what was she thinking, Agatha Willoughby was never mistaken. Yet a Whycherley? Agatha mentally scanned down a list of pure blood heirs of her aquaintance whom could possibly stoop so low. And she came up with a blank. Most frustarting darhling. Most. Agatha hated to be at a disadvantage. Surely if there was any gossip she would have heard? Indeed, surely such a scandal would have been hers to spread?

Icily she smiled at fox face, her fingers brushing the beautiful stole. It was divine. She simply must have it.

“Lady Whycherley?” she queried, still not looking at fox face. It was really too much to expect her to continue this conversation with such a tramp, yet her curiosity was piqued. “And whom is the lucky gentleman may one enquire?”

It was really too much. Fox face must be lying. The alternative was unbearable. What now the worth of her sacrifice if such a one as this was to join her ranks? For goodness sake was she going to have to dispose of Matthew too and attempt to hook a minor Eurpoean Royal? La, it was insufferable.

” There’s no one lucky in it.” She said, turning and trotting to an aisle full of shoes, in particular a pair advertized as stillettos. These were something she’d wondered about. She picked up one from a pair, turned them over and over, knocking on the soles, pressing the straps between her fingers.

“Unless you mean the Old Man himself. I’m taking over his son’s job really.” She tapped the shoe heel on the edge of her palm. Huh. Weaponry. That would explain it. Covert weaponry. They were made so a gal could whip’em off her foot and chuck at an attacker as quickly as she could. Made sense. Magic couldn’t stop everything. But a knock to certain aprts with a sharp object…

She was not making any sense. Agatha gritted her teeth. She would not rise to this provocation. Old man and son? Was she having some weird and torrid inbred family affair? Who knew? Who cared? It all sounded sleazy and somehow disreputable. Best to avoid.

“Well good luck in all that…” Agatha said clearly meaning the precise opposite. “And I think you will find they go on your feet,” she smirked as Lys appeared to be attempting to attach a pair of Prada stilettos to her hands in a glove like manner. Mudbloods. Honestly.

Agatha picked up the stole and started to move idly between stands, towards the checkout. She waved a hand in farewell.

” I know where they go, Swales” Lys said. ” Just don’t know why you’d waste cash on a knockoff. Look you can even see where the stitch’s coming out. ” She set the shoes back. It was tempting, very tempting, to let the pureblood walk out of the store and out of her life. But then again, who was left for her. “Damn.” she murmured and turned to address her retreating back. ” ‘Ey hold up a moment will ya. There’s something I need to ask you.”

Agatha paused. What did the tiresome reature want now? She did not think she wished to converse with someone who could not work out that the stitching was deliberately misaligned. The imperfections of perfection. Ah that was fashion darhling.

“Yes?” she drawled.

Quick steps carried her over to where Swales stood,. “Look, you wanna know what I’m doing here, I’ll tell you the short version. There was a pureblood kid I knew. We messed up and since the son’s dead, the dad wants me ta make up for it by taking over the family business.

Thing of it is, that means dressing a part I don’t know how to play.” Here then was the critical point. Her mind jumped across the words she needed faster than they had when she’d say yes. “An’ I don’t see’s any one else whose got the sense a fashion needed ta make someone like me look good for the job. So I’m askin’, where do I start?”

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