ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE – CHAPTER TWO
Phillip forced himself to pull a quick breath, trying in vain not to snap. "What? You mean you don't know me? Apparently, everyone else does! Ask him!" His wild gesticulating drew a few glances. "He seems to know who I am."
Hagrid had to fight the urge to find a rock to crawl beneath or would that be a large boulder? He hummed to himself as he mused and neatly forgot where he was and what he was supposed to be doing.
Severus could have sworn that he heard the gnashing of teeth as he looked into the stranger's eyes. The delicate cough and the nudge that he gave Hagrid were really in the giant's best interest to his point of view. The stranger did not seem in the mood to wait.
"Oh! Pardon. Look 'ere. I thought you was Professor Snape and that's a fact. Why, you look jus' like him." The huge man was grinning like a monkey and shaking his head.
"So, you're Professor Snape? Am I correct?" Phillip was starting to calm down. He'd just gotten at least a bit of a grasp on the situation and everything would now fall neatly into place. Yes, nice and neat and squared away and he'd just be on his way, thank you.
"Sir, I know who I am! Who is Hades blazes are you?" The steam coiling from Snape's ears hissed almost audibly. "The audacity. Did I not politely ask who you are less than two minutes hence? Let me clear the situation up a bit for you. That", his head cocked back and his eyes narrowed, " is Mr. Rubeus Hagrid. I am Professor Severus Snape. I now will ask you once more before resorting to brutish physicality! Who are you?"
"Huh, tha's a good one, that is Professor." The behemoth that was Hagrid was enjoying himself immensely. "Don't go gettin' yourself all smudgy before dinner."
Phillip was taken aback at his counterpart's shortness. "Not that it's any business of yours but my name is Phillip Farrow, Dr. Phillip Farrow, that is." He wasn't about to let the other man get the edge on him, not a chance. Where had this somewhat irksome fellow found his ridiculous outfit? Hah, and the barkeep had laughed at him?
"Your identity is most assuredly my business Dr. Farrow. Now that we have finally managed to draw the information from you, would you mind telling me what you happen to be doing here?" Again, he cocked a brow and tried to wait with what he hoped was an air of polite nonchalance.
They appeared to be at a bit of a stand off and as Severus waited for Dr. Farrow's answer he realized that they were being watched by more than one set of curious eyes.
"Dr. Farrow, Sir, since you seem reluctant to grace us with your answer at present, perhaps we should step inside and continue this conversation privately." Severus spoke while clinging to his patience by a minute but frayed thread, the strands of which continued to unravel with the passing seconds, and at quite an alarming rate.
While he was more than a bit uncomfortable going anywhere with this stern gentleman, Phillip resigned himself to stepping back into the Leaky Cauldron. Taking into consideration what had just happened to him, he braved a second glance around the common room. All of the oddities that had attacked his addled brain at first entry came glaringly back into focus. How could he ever have started to feel a measure of comfort in this odd place? Well, he'd started to feel comfortable before Hagrid had knocked the sense out of him, at any rate. So wrapped up was Phillip in his musings that he failed to notice the worried glance that Severus shot the barkeep, nor did he notice when Hagrid neatly stepped around and between himself and the bar, effectively shielding Phillip from view.
In this fashion, they made their way to a remote table and seated themselves. Without being asked, Hagrid quickly, and with surprising grace, made his way back to the bar and ordered himself a large stein of ale as well as a bottle of brandy for his companions. Bless them, they looked to need it, the dear men. He hummed merrily as he plunked his purchases onto the dark, corner table and settled in to gaze in unabashed fascination at Professor Snape and Dr. Farrow.
Severus didn't know where to begin and felt the now familiar tug of his composure slipping away. As he took a moment to collect his wits, he used the silence to study his new acquaintance. Truly, the resemblance was nigh on frightening. Dear God, he looked like this? Did he really look so severe all the time? Did he look worse? At least he did not seem to be alone in his discomfiture. Dr. Farrow's gaunt face was pale and tight, his lips clamped into a thin grimace. Severus felt his belly tighten as he looked into twin obsidian pits that held no warmth.
Phillip, tired of feeling interrogated and more than anything just wanting to get the comforting burn of the brandy in his belly, decided that for the sake of sanity, honestly was the best policy. As much fun as it would be to antagonize the dour Professor Snape, he really knew nothing of the man and aside from being a bit abrupt in manner, he had done nothing to Phillip to warrant open aggression and evasion of the truth.
"Professor, do forgive my behavior. Really, there is nothing sinister about my presence. Today, I have been roaming the streets aimlessly, thinking about my miserable existence and walking to clear my head. It was raining and as I was wet, tired and parched, I entered this odd establishment hoping to find a dry place to rest my feet and enjoy a drink. Imagine my chagrin when I was accosted first by the barkeep and again by this gorilla of a man." His glance towards Hagrid spoke volumes. "You are a man, aren't you? Rubeus, was it?" He belatedly realized how rude he'd been and gave Hagrid a slight smile.
"Righ' you are, Dr. Farrow, Sir. Call me Hagrid though. It's just Hagrid, plain and simple. No one has called be Rubeus since me Da, so don't you be startin' now.
"Well, isn't this cozy?" the three men thought as one.