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otherville in ootp_united

WHO: Kingsley and Diana
WHAT: Snooping Looking for information
WHERE: Knockturn Alley
WHEN: Very soon after this
RATING: Not sure. PG or PG-13, depending

Kingsley was not snooping. Snooping implied hiding oneself, ducking in shadows, listening in on otherwise private conversations, and generally going about unseen. Which was exactly what he was doing, but he was one of the Good Guys, so it didn't count as snooping. No, this was gathering information. Yeah.

Currently, he was flying under the radar in Knockturn Alley, hidden by a rather good Disillusionment charm. Thus far, no one had taken any notice of him, not even to turn their head at the sudden sensation of someone walking by when there wasn't anyone there. Kingsley was good at Disillusionment.

He tucked himself into a tiny side alley between two dilapidated buildings as a group of indistinguishable creatures in black cloaks went by. Whatever they were, they weren't human. Knockturn Alley was getting more dangerous every day; a microcosm of the outside world.

He was just about to move back into the main alley when loud voices approached, sounding quite drunk. Kingsley pressed himself against the wall of one of the buildings, keeping to the shadows of the side alley despite the charm already concealing him from view. Drunken wizards could be dangerous...


Despite the glamor and the pop culture prestige, spying was rarely if ever glamorous or fun. Take this instance... It was purely surveillance, which was the most boring kind of intelligence-gathering and spying because it was passive, the observation of a person of interest. It was missions like these that sometimes the lines between passive surveillance and the active form of intelligence-gathering-- that is, reconnaissance, blurred.

So, she told herself to be prepared to slip from passive to active, because, seeing the kinds of people-- or, non-human entities that haunted Knockturn Alley, this was a situation that could easily be compromised.

Besides, saying to oneself that one was on a 'recce' was a lot more fun than 'surveillance.' Everyone knew what surveillance was...

Walking around in a Disillusioned charm, she still stuck to the shadows. Who knew what senses some of the more esoteric creatures possessed that wafted through this eerie alley?

But, Knockturn Alley had its drunkards like any other place, apparently, because here they came, and quite loudly too. Grimacing, she slinked into the shadows near the wall. Alcohol had its uses, but she was sure that drunken Death Eaters were even meaner than sober ones.

Then, suddenly she bounced off of a big, human, invisible something, landing on her bum. Hard. It was only through years of training that she did not cry out aloud, not wanting to be heard, but instead whipped out her want from her 'holster.' Diana always prided herself on having her wand so handy and in such a safe place. Most put theirs in their back pockets. It was incidents like this that got their buttocks blown off. Elementary wand safety, nobody bothered about it anymore...

Luckily, the drunk wizards were moving on. She let her eyes unfocus, knowing it was easier to detect movement from the peripheral vision; she certainly wouldn't see someone else disillusioned by looking directly at them. Though she didn't bother to hide herself anymore, it would be obvious to the person she bumped into that she was there, whether her wand was seemingly floating in midair or not.

"Halt," she said in a low, crisp voice, that snapped with a military precision. "Who goes there?"
Kingsley staggered a little when he was bumped into, but kept perfectly silent. It wouldn't do him any good to go shouting or otherwise giving himself away. After all, whoever had bumped into him merely knew that there was someone hiding here. Who was hidden as yet remained a mystery.

And then, suddenly, he found himself looking at the business end of a wand wielded by a young woman. She was small, with blonde-ish hair and a piercing look in her eye. Kingsley raised an eyebrow, remaining Disillusioned. He could easily slip away in silence, undetected, and forget that this had happened...
Diana glared, as much as one could glare when they were trying to look from their peripheral vision. Of course her request was met with silence. It usually was.

"Aren't we in a conundrum," she said softly. "I can't see you right now, but I will be able to detect you if you move. Movement could mean running away or it could be an attack. If you move, I will hex you six ways from Sunday. So I suggest you declare yourself."

She wasn't kidding, either. The split second it would take to maybe, perhaps, if she was lucky, detect the movement of someone under the disillusionment charm could mean life or death, and she wouldn't hesitate to defend herself.

It was a methodology and a guessing game that sometimes meant a lot of corpses were left behind, but the fact of the matter was, she was still alive, which proved her point well enough.
She did have a point. Even very good Disillusionment charms only went so far. True invisibility was nearly impossible to achieve by even the strongest of magics, and Disillusionment was certainly weak by comparison.

Kingsley made a split-second decision of his own and drew his wand, making sure that he was mostly in shadow before showing himself.

"There is no need to hex me," he said in an undertone that, hopefully, couldn't be heard outside the alley. "I suspect that we are here on similar purposes, seeing that we have both chosen to keep well hidden until now."
"True enough," Diana replied, gazing at the man with unabashed, calculating curiosity. "Though, for clarity, I am here spying on naughty Death Eaters in order to gain information and sabotage their organization until its swiped from the face of the Earth." There was no use hiding it. Besides, if he was Death Eater himself, spying on other Death Eaters for the Dark Lord, his reaction to that statement would be important. "How about you?"

He certainly was tall. Especially from this place on the ground. She found herself to have to crane her neck in order to keep looking at him.
"The information I'm seeking is my concern alone," Kingsley replied. His mind was working, almost idly, on a way to extract himself from the situation without any sort of fight breaking out.
"Gee, how transparent of you," Diana said sarcastically. "If you're not willing to negotiate, then I suppose I really will have to hex you six ways from Sunday. I can't have someone going out there with knowledge of my being here, now can I? Considering that you gave your argument for me to NOT hex you by being that we are here for the same purpose, if you're not willing to substantiate that... then you have defeated your own argument. I'm giving you one last chance to be upfront. Otherwise we'll have to do it the old-fashioned way. Don't worry, if you truly are my enemy and you confess it, you'll get your chance to destroy me in combat shortly thereafter."
Dear Merlin, not one of those. You came across them once and a while, the type whose response to everything was a sort of focuses, militant paranoia. Mad-Eye was like that, only rather more fanatically than this girl seemed to be...

Kingsley sighed inwardly, but kept his face impassive. "I, too, oppose the Death Eaters. Forgive me for not seeming trusting."
"You're forgiven. I'm not exactly trusting either. I mean, when you go it alone like I do, there's not exactly a secret handshake or anything that helps me identify those who share my beliefs." She stood, replacing her wand. There was the possibility that he was lying. Only further interaction would reveal that.

"I'm Diana," she said plainly. "And while I understand the need for secrecy, if we truly are on the same side, sometimes security must be risked a bit for cooperation. It's truly as important to identify one's allies including one's enemies. You are...?

She felt her excitement growing. What if-- what if, he was really telling the truth, and he was one of the members of the Order of the Phoenix? After all of this work she was beginning to wonder if the organization existed at all...
Diana, Diana...the name rang no bells. This rather forward girl wasn't someone Kingsley knew or had heard of. That was a double-edged sword; her absence from his mental list of potential threats meant that he had no idea how much of a threat she might be. On the other hand, she could be telling the truth.

Kingsley lowered his wand, but didn't put it away just yet. Experience had taught him that trust needed to be earned, and earned slowly and thoroughly.

"I suppose you would take it as suspicious or a potential threat if I said that I choose to remain nameless for the time being?" he inquired, raising an eyebrow.
"I would suppose that you're trying to cover your ass until you can fully vet me," she replied back scathingly. "But you forget that it's a two way street, I'm vetting you too, don't forget. You have to give a little to get a little. If I'm the only one giving, that's not a very good way to start off a working relationship, hmm? Besides, I gave you my first name, not my surname. I didn't ask you for your date of birth or your wand maker or anything particularly identifying. Besides, there's a rather utilitarian reason for asking your name. If you don't have something I can call you by, I shall have to resort to referring to you as Big Surly Man. And I doubt you'd enjoy being called Big Surly Man over and over again," she said with a smirk.
The problem was, of course, that there were plenty of people in the world called Diana, and not very many at all called Kingsley. But Knockturn Alley was fairly deserted, the drunken wizards having long since gone on their way, and he did still have a hold of his wand. He was a member of the Order, after all. He knew how to be careful.

"You may call me Kingsley," he said, as if granting permission rather than introducing himself. His grip on his wand tightened unconsciously.
"Oh, what a delightful name," Diana said charmingly, and she wasn't being facetious, either. "Well, Kingsley, we've met on very unusual circumstances, but it's still a pleasure. At least there are still some people in the world who will stand up to this nonsense." She gestured about her to Knockturn Alley with a sad sigh. His subtle tightening around the wand wasn't unnoticed.

Diana sighed. "Got any veritaserum on you? I mean, let's just get it over with. Then you'll know I'm telling the truth. And if you're willing to take it yourself after I do, then I'll know you're telling the truth. And then we'll both sleep better at night. I'm afraid I don't have any myself. Not only are the ingredients hard to find, but potions was not my strong suit in school." Pyrotechnics, yes. She found it incredibly easy to blow up the lab many times, but correctly brewing a potion wasn't something that every happened.
"We shall have to settle for standard, non-magical trust for the time being," was Kingsley's reply, though he, too, saw the merit of Veritaserum in such a situation.

September 2008

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