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diana_citanul in ootp_united

Let's Do Lunch

What: Lunch and Order info
Where: A little muggle sandwich shop
Why: Follow-up for Sirius and Diana
Who: Sirius and Diana
Rating: PG

Diana's training in the US had been very stringent; and living for a full year amongst a muggle family was part of the deal. It was considered imperative to know how to survive amongst muggles, and to fit in. She had thought it rather silly at the time, for the US muggle and wizarding communities were fairly well integrated, but since immigrating to the United Kingdom she had found that year of training very useful. Summer meant a breezy skirt and tank top, and at this typical muggle age, women didn't mind if their bra straps showed, so she didn't bother about that. Flip-flops, sunglasses, and a scrunchie were all that was needed to fit in, not to mention demanding an iced espresso once at the front of the line in the sandwich shop. She showed up early, to get her food first. It had taken most of the morning to get her notes and transcripts of intelligence together; she sure hoped Sirius liked to read. It took several strong hiding enchantments to get everything to fit in the hidden space pocket of her purse.

Sirius never bothered much about his appearance. Among wizards, he laid low. Among Muggles, he looked just like any other overtired, slightly dumpy thirty-something. He strolled into the sandwich shop in ripped jeans and a t-shirt that inquired "Did you eat a bowl of stupid for breakfast?" in yellow lettering. He scanned the tables for Diana, still wondering exactly what he was doing here.

"I like your tshirt," came a voice from behind him, as Diana was using the convex mirror in the corner to see the front of it. She loved little muggle places, lots of ways to watch people from all angles with their security devices. "Though I eat men for breakfast, just FYI." She plopped down on the bench of one of the booths nearby.

"I'm glad you came. Had my doubts you wouldn't," she remarked conversationally, sucking the straw of her iced coffee.

Sirius slid into the booth across from her and toyed absently with the menu that was stuck off to one side in a decorative basket.

"No reason not to," he remarked.

"Glad you feel that way. I already ordered, so go ahead, if you want to, that is. Did I mention they have excellent pastrami?" She opened her purse, adjusting things so they'd be within easy reach. The place had a few other patrons, nobody inherently suspicious looking, but she had found a nice muting spell that would do well for the occassion.

"I'm not hungry," Sirius replied, putting the menu back.

"Very well then," Diana replied, expecting this. She pulled her wand out under the table, made the non-verbal spell, and then sat back again. "We're immune from other ears, now. Do you have questions first or should I just deliver the paperwork?"

"Let's see what you've got."

"I think you'll regret asking that," Diana said with an almost predatory grin, pulling out her hand and plopping a two inch stack of parchment down onto the table and sliding it over to him. "That's the conversation with Lucas from last night, the one about transporting Ben." She reached back into her purse and then pulled out an eight inch stack. "Here are the other conversations involving Ben that I have had with Lucas." Once more, the hand delved in and pulled out a six inch stack. "These are with the Death Eater who calls himself Marion. Yes, he. He's within the network that mentions Ben from time to time." A five inch stack materialized. "This is from the Death Eater Antal. The third of the network I've been developing. These are the conversations in which he has hinted and mentioned Ben. And this--" another 4 inch stack. "Is from the Death Eater Syrria, who is Antal's fiance, also part of the network and who has also talked about Ben. That's just subject matter related to him. I brought other stuff," she said, pushing the deluge of papers towards the poor man. Stacked on top of each other, they were over a foot high. "Of course, that is raw data." She plunked down a three inch stack. "There's my incomplete analysis. Of course, since I'm alone, I have to analyze my raw data but it would be better if someone else did that part."

Sirius went for the shorter stack first, just to get an idea of the information the larger stack held. He wasn't one to sift through things like this, but if it looked useful, the Order would no doubt want to see it...

His stomach gurgled at some point, loud enough to be heard. He ignored it.

Diana ignored it as well. Maybe after she sold him on her usefulness, she'd tell him to eat. Besides, her pastrami was coming and the glorious smell of that blissful sandwich would certainly be the best temptation. Sitting back, she let him look through her analysis. She had crunched it down to very specific incidents and statements. If Sirius wanted information on both Ben and how Death Eaters operated, well, this was a goldmine. In her own opinion, of course. Maybe she could've made it as an analyst in addition to an operations officer, but Diana much preferred collecting intel than to writing about it.

There was quite a lot of information, even in the comparatively short report. Sirius flicked through the pages, looking for something that might help the Order get to Ben before the Death Eaters moved him.

"How long did it take you to get all this?" he asked after a while.

"Some of the first conversations happened a month ago, but since I've finalized development of the nexus of Death Eaters, collection and active intelligence gathering has increased exponentially the past few weeks. I have deeply developed about ten unwitting assets, the ones who hang around Knockturn for the most part. They are mid-level, not the inner circle but not grunts. They're easy to crack and they want to recruit. About 80% of the data has been extracted from targets within the past two weeks," she explained.

Sirius's brain took this information, filtered it, and delivered it as something he could actually understand. So Diana was reckless...but apparently not stupid. Was it possible to be intelligent and reckless?

"Dangerous stuff," was all he said.

"I think it's impossible to be anybody doing anything in this country right now and not have it be dangerous," she replied. "But, it's part of the job, I mean, before I started doing this for Voldemort it was crime syndicates in the Middle East or black wand dealers in France." It was just a professional hazard. "This is why I used to get combat pay. Besides, with Death Eaters, it's not as dangerous as it might be for a total outsider. My surname is Citanul. Funny story behind that. It's a politically ambivalent, but nonetheless pureblood family with lines in the United States as well as here. Kind of an anagram. Try spelling it backwards, it's a really funny story. Anyway, everyone knows how Death Eaters feel about purebloods."

Sirius made a noncommittal noise. He knew, all right. Regulus had known it so well that he'd gone and got himself killed in Glorious Service to the Dark Lord.

"My family hasn't been militant about purebloodism, but they do have more money than they know what to do with so I'm a nice recruitment target, and even if I'm not recruited they hope I'll talk Daddy into opening his Gringotts account to fund the whole affair. My parents really don't care about what Voldemort does or not," she said with obvious distaste. "My mother only complains that the war cuts off her ability to shop at Madame Malkins, if you can believe that. Of course she's the same woman who has informed me that my familial duty in life is to catch a pureblood husband and inflate my uterus with perfect little pureblood babies. I chose a different life, so in reality, my family relationships are a bit... strained. But the name is a ticket into the Death Eater's confidence."

"As long as you're not infamous, sure," Sirius remarked vaguely, turning over another page.

"Definitely not. You don't seem familiar with it. Like I said, pretty low key. Only pureblood genetics and eugenics psychos pay attention to things like that. Normal people don't have the time or interest to figure out every single pureblood line in history."

"It'd take ages. They're all interrelated and half of the marriages were incest." Sirius's tone dripped disgust.

"Exactly. Have you reversed my name yet? Citanul backward is Lunatic. Two centuries back, my family interbred so badly that everyone was mad. So they called them lunatics. When a decision was made to seek out different 'stock', they reversed it to Citanul to show that they were 'reformed.'"

"My family was fond of disowning people," Sirius said. It wasn't exactly a secret.

Diana gave him an understanding smile. "That happened to one of my second cousins, because she married a muggleborn. And to one of my aunts, because she decided to major in Muggle Studies once she finished school. I'm lucky it hasn't happened to me, but if my parents knew what I was doing-- well, it probably would. We have a very distant relationship. Mum sends me clothes that cost more than most people make in a year, and I write back telling her grandbabies will have to wait."

"Being disowned is kind of nice, actually. Not having anyone give a damn about what you do..."

"I always thought that would be the downside of it, too. Nobody gives a damn about what you do, or even what happens to you. I've moved around too much due to my job to have many personal relationships, at least my parents might care somewhat if I ended up dead. Maybe that's why I keep it alive. I know they love me, it's just a very conditional love, if that makes sense."

Another noncommittal noise. It made a lot of sense, and had been one of the things that had driven Sirius crazy about his family. You were the perfect son...as long as you did what Mum and Dad wanted and didn't even try to suggest that the world didn't work the way they thought it did.

He'd never really had a problem with loneliness, though, at least not immediately after leaving his family behind. There had been the Potters, and now he had Samantha. The time in between was a dark void that he tried his hardest not to think about.

"I'm probably talking too much," Diana said with a shrug. She rarely had an outlet or someone who could even relate in the slightest, not to mention the security issues with talking about such things. The litany had suddenly just happened. She would need to watch that.

"Not really," said Sirius, even though she was. "I just don't talk about my family."

"I never do, either. Which is why I think I am mouthing off now." She shrugged it off, determined not to bore him with such things again, and leaned back. He could take it from here on out, she had presented her information and her network and thought her skills spoke for themselves. It was out of her hands now.

It took Sirius a little while longer to come to the end of the stack. He nodded to himself here and there when something potentially useful presented itself, but the truth was that he wasn't the best person to be analyzing this sort of information. Kingsley was much more politically-minded and understood the inner workings of the Death Eaters on that front, and Moody was so paranoid that it had a tendency to come out the other side as useful. It was good information, though, and far more than the Order would have been able to amass themselves without some kind of lead.

"I think the Order would be interested in seeing this," he said at last, pushing the finished stack away.

"Take it all, I don't have the resources to do anything with it," Diana said. She hoped that he also meant that they'd also consider a recruitment. They were her bona fides, after all. Just to make sure he knew she would continue to be useful, she added, "Lucas will be in Knockturn again tonight. He is on the taskforce the Dark Lord has assigned for Ben. If you want to get anything in person, now is your chance."

Sirius looked at the paper, wondering what charm Diana had been using to fit it all in her purse. "Well, I couldn't go."

"Busy tonight?" She asked with a raised eyebrow. "Send somebody else, then."

"That, and I'm not exactly an unknown face." That, too, was no secret.

"Are you a wizard or not?" She demanded to know. "Changing one's appearance should be old hat by now."

It should, but Sirius had rarely had reason to. And if things got out of hand, it was all too easy to have your cover blown...

Diana didn't say anything, but she gave him The Look. The Look was that expression that all too clearly said: 'Something really important is going down and you're letting something like this get in the way?'

Sirius rolled his eyes. Looks didn't work on him. Samantha, now, she had a Look. Her Look could burn holes through iron. Next to that, nothing phased him.

Diana held her gaze. Rolling eyes, now wasn't that juvenile.

"Seriously, how badly do you want to get this done?" she persisted.

"Not badly enough to walk straight into the lion's den," Sirius replied, gathering the papers up.

"Who's the lion?" Diana asked with narrowed eyes. "I'm getting the suspicion that it's not the Death Eaters."

"They're bad enough. Do you realize how dangerous a bunch of drunks are when they've got wands and a big, fat grudge against the world?"

"Are you talking from experience?" Diana shot back.

Sirius narrowed his eyes. "What business is that of yours?"

"Translation: yes, Diana I am," Diana paraphrased. "No wonder you look so haggard. You're trying to get sober." She looked up just as her pastrami was set down. "You should eat," she dictated, pushing the sandwich in his direction.

Sirius pushed it back. He had half a mind to stand up and walk out. "I am sober."

"You are now, but it's a daily battle. Fighting a war AND trying to kick a habit? You should get a medal." She wasn't kidding, either.

Sirius gave her a dirty look. His struggle to stay on the wagon was none of her business.

Diana shrugged it off. "So, in reality, you don't want the temptation. Send someone else, then."

"I could talk to a couple people," Sirius consented.

That was better. "Okay," Diana said, sitting back and taking a bite of her sandwich, dramatizing the act of eating and the expression of enjoying it. "Mmmmm this is goooooddddd." She waved the sandwich in front of his face. "Are you suuurrreee you don't want some?"

Sirius raised his eyebrows, looking genuinely disgusted. "I told you, I'm not hungry."

"Your stomach told me otherwise. And even if you're not, no offense, you could put on a few pounds. Sometimes that means eating when you don't want to. Just saying," she remarked, taking another bite.

"My eating habits are also none of your business."

Diana wasn't put off. "Aren't you glad I didn't decide it was none of my business that you were getting attacked by Dementors last night? Sorry, Sirius, sometimes you will be a target of my genuine, human compassion."

"I don't need looking after," Sirius remarked coldly.

"That's not what I said. If you did, I would be shoving this down your throat instead of talking about it. Food is needed to stay healthy. I have a genuine interest in seeing you healthy. Sorry that's such a hardship to bear, someone actually caring about your health," she said, and this time it was her turn to roll her eyes.

Sirius already had someone who cared about his well-being, and her caring stemmed from a much more desirable motive. He got to his feet with the sheaf of papers.

"You have about twelve hours to decide if someone goes tonight," Diana reminded him. "I don't have a desire to wait here for those twelve hours, so hold your horses long enough for me to write down my flat address so you can send an owl if need be." She flicked her wand and ink scrawled over one of the papers. "There." He could go back to sulking and not eating and being offended whenever someone expressed concern.

Sirius glanced at the address and nodded. "All right."

"Have fun, stay safe, all that jazz," Diana said, deciding to stay long enough to finish her sandwich. She wondered if all of the Order members would be as standoff-ish and prickly as Sirius and Kingsley had been, or maybe it was just her. But Diana had no interest in changing; she didn't pussyfoot around. She wasn't here to make friends; that had never been a strong suit. She was here to get things done.

Sirius didn't know what the Order would make of Diana if they did wind up meeting her. He had a sneaking suspicion that she and Samantha would butt heads, but he could be wrong.

Diana finished the last bite of her sandwich, surprised to still see him standing there. "You can use the Expanding Charm and be able to fit most of that in your pocket," she informed, thinking that was why he was hesitating.

"It doesn't matter much. I'm Apparating home."

She shrugged, then, and slurped up the rest of her coffee, tossing the ice-filled cup into the waste container, already mentally preparing for tonight. Her job was her life.

Sirius couldn't help rolling his eyes again as he left the sandwich shop. He almost hoped the Order would be grateful for Diana's information without wanting to meet the person who'd gathered it. He couldn't imagine someone that businesslike in the Order...

Then again, maybe that was what they needed to truly pull together. Moody could bellow all he wanted about constant vigilance and the Death Eaters being sneaky bastards, but that didn't accomplish anything.

He managed to make it out with all the papers. That was a feat in and of itself. She bussed the table and then left for her flat, still stuck in mental preparation.



September 2008

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