Who: Fleur Delacour, Geoffery Avis, a receptionist
Where: Geoffery Avis' office, Diagon Alley
Summary: Fleur sees her solicitor about the progress of her lawsuit.
Fleur took the Knight Bus to Diagon Alley. It was one of the annoying things about having a small child: One couldn't just apparate everywhere. Still, the bus made decent time, and in short order Fleur found herself in front of Geoffery Avis' office. Shifting Alastor on her hip, she went in.
The receptionist, a rather severe-looking young witch with short, dark hair and a pair of lenses floating an inch or so in front of her eyes, made a quick movement with her mouth that might have been a smile. "You must be Fleur Delacour," she said. "Go on in; Mr. Avis is waiting."
The curly-headed, pudgy wizard bent over a stack of papers looked a bit younger than Fleur had expected. "Mr. Avis?" she said.
He looked up, and his breath caught. His pupils contracted as if in the presence of a sudden light, and he swallowed repeatedly. He was hidden from the waist down behind his desk, but his face told Fleur that he had reason to be grateful for that fact. Well, it was nice to see that she still had it, after last night. She had never had two men trying to get rid of her before.
Avis recovered quickly, however, and after a few seconds was able to get to his feet and greet her with a semblance of detachment. "Miss Delacour," he said, offering his hand. "It's good to meet you in person." Extending a tentative hand towards Alastor, he continued, "And this is the little boy who's caused all the trouble, eh?"
Alastor promptly let out a scream. Fleur laughed. "'E does not trust anybody, zis one," she said. Addressing herself to the baby, she went on. "But zis is Mr. Avis, our solicitor, 'oo is going to get your Papa's 'ouse for you. 'E is all right." After a bit more in this cajoling vein, accompanied by liberal bouncing, Alastor's screams turned to sniffling and then stopped altogether.
"Yes, well, um," said Avis. "Have a seat, Miss Delacour."
She did, and Avis resumed his.
"I'm glad you could make it on such short notice," Avis went on. "Things are moving faster than I could have anticipated. Miss Moody, Mr. and Mrs. Moody-Renfield, and Mr. and Mrs. Chant apparently received an offer for the house and its contents from a certain Kishuf and Brothers, ltd. In fact, they had all but closed the deal –"
"But zey cannot do zat!" Fleur burst out.
Avis pursed his lips. "No, they can't," he said. "Although I had to get an injunction from the Ministry to stop them. By the way, shortly afterwards, I received an owl for you from Kishuf and Brothers."
He handed a slim, expensive looking letter to Fleur. She gave it a disdainful glance. "I am not interested in selling Alastor's 'ouse," she said.
Avis made a small shrug. "I advise you to look at it, at any rate," he said. "But the upshot of all this is that the Moodys are no longer dragging their feet, hoping to wear you out of money and patience. In fact, all the indications are that they're now pulling strings at the Ministry to speed things up. They want to be able to sell the house now, while this company is still interested, and they're betting they'll be able to win.
"The preliminary hearing has been set for the sixth. You said you've spoken to your witnesses? They're all on board?"
"Yes," said Fleur.
"Well, with the date moved up, you'll have to make sure of them," said Avis. "But, to be honest, it won't be them that determines the court's decision. The Moodys will have witnesses, too. Under normal circumstances, a quick Wise Child charm would sort it out, but as Mr. Moody is . . ."
"Dead," supplied Fleur. It was strange how, in this businesslike environment, she could say it without emotion.
"Right," agreed Avis. "That makes it impossible. In the end, it'll be your word." He took a breath. "It will probably come down to a trial by ordeal."
Fleur lifted her head proudly. "Let it," she said.
Avis was unable to repress a small shudder. "You're a better man than I am, Miss Delacour," he said. "Was there anything else you wanted to discuss?"
"No," said Fleur. "Zat's it?"
"I think so," said Avis. "Speak to your witnesses, and let them know that I'll want to speak with them before the hearing – by Floo, if I can't see them in person – and we'll be in touch."