"One Firewhiskey," Hestia said to the barman, who nodded, pulling out the alcohol and a mug.

"Put it on my tab," said another voice, deeper, as a figure approached and slid into the stool on her left side. A hand withdrew from the folds of his robes, placing several Knuts on the table.

"Very considerate of you, sir," she said calmly, keeping her gaze turned ahead, "but I am perfectly capable of paying for my own drink."

"Who said you weren't?" the man questioned. "I'm just being courteous, ma'am, is that a problem?"

"Depends what your intentions are behind your 'courteousness'."

"Not very trusting, are you?"

"We can't trust anyone in times like this, sir," Hestia responded simply, turning her head in his direction. "There is a war on, and not everyone is who they claim to be."

"I'm Rodolphus Lestrange," he offered, "and I promise you I am exactly what I claim to be. What is your name?"

She studied him for a moment before rejoining, "Hestia. It's Hestia Jones."

"Pleasure," said Rodolphus, extending his hand. She shook it, noting vaguely that his grip on hers was solid and firm, yet gentle.

"And what brings you here tonight?" she asked carefully.

"Life. Pressure. Overload of work." He sipped his own drink. "The reasons that any being ever goes to a bar. And yourself?"

"Same," she replied, sighing.

He nodded, before saying, "Can I buy you another drink?"

"I – " She glanced down into her mug. She hadn't noticed until now, but she had drained her Firewhiskey contents already. Hadn't she only just gotten it? "No, I probably shouldn't – "

"Why not?" Rodolphus asked, grinning. "Like you said, there's a war on. We might only have so much time to keep living our lives, ma'am. And I'll pay for it."

She hesitated, then smiled at him. "All right, I'll have another. But please, call me Hestia."


So he bought her another drink, continuing to lightly flatter and probe her with inquisitions. He had to admit that even with the alcohol in her system, she was still quite in control – she never revealed information to him in huge amounts, or said anything extremely crucial about what he wanted to know. But that didn't discourage him. He was going to draw the information he needed from her eventually. It was, after all, the assignment that the Dark Lord had given to him – to find out as much as he could about the Order from this woman – and Rodolphus had never failed one of his missions yet.

"So, ma'am – I mean, Hestia – " he gave her a dashing grin; she dimpled back at him, her pink cheeks glowing pleasantly under the dim lighting of the pub " – what is your job like? What do you do for a living?"