(1939-02-02) Tea with Familial Floutists
Details for Tea with Familial Floutists
Summary: Kahren and Cassiel return home from a trip to Hogsmeade, and talk of many things ensues.
Date: 02 February, 1939
Location: Charing Cross, to Cassiel's Townhouse

If there's a true centre to London, it's Charing Cross and, specifically, Trafalgar Square. Trafalgar Square is a large public space and one of the major tourist attractions in the city. The square's centerpiece is Nelson's Column, a tall stone column surrounded by large bronze lion statues and flanked by two huge fountains. Across the fountains from the column is the National Gallery, and other buildings nearby are Canada House, St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, and the Admiralty Arch, which serves as an entrance to the The Mall, the red road which leads to Buckingham Palace. Venturing further from the square, the headquarters of the London Police can be found in this area, and, to magical eyes, The Leaky Cauldron is settled between a book shop and a music store. Not far from here, the Thames comes up from the South and makes a sharp turn to the East.

The bus comes to a sudden, jarring halt, as the unsecured beds roll about - Kahren's crashing into her Uncle's as she lets out a little laugh. "Really. I never get tired of this thing." She climbs to her feet, moving towards the door, and skipping down, glancing back for Cassiel to join her. "A shame more of the cousins couldn't make it down from the castle," she complains.

"Indeed," comes Cassiel's reply after her, the smile wide on his face as he once again is able to grace Terra Firma with his feet. He gathers the Muggle Jacket he wears over his robes tightly around him, "At least it's warmer here… but still. I would have liked to see a few more of them… but I think next time I'll have to warn them a little sooner."

"Try to arrange a specific place and time?" Kahren suggests. "Though you should have /seen/ the way Leoric was looking at that Lucretia Black. Ahhh - young love," she laughs, nudging her Uncle playfully.

"I've dated a Black. Once upon a time. I would think it should be something more akin to terror," Cassiel offers back, chuckling, "Though I'm sorry I missed that." He looks back to the bus as it rushes off. "Where did you find him? I may have been looking in the wrong places."

"In the sweets shop," Kahren offers simply, also glancing at the departing bus. It's such a /fun/ thing, that bus. "I bought him and a few of his friends some malts and hot cocoas. We were talking about school pranks."

"Ah! I should have known. And I wish I could have been there. Alas." Cassiel says with a smile, "It was nice hitting the Hogshead again though. It's been ages since I had their house wine." Leave it to Cassiel to bring the conversation to booze. Finally, he offers an arm to Kahren, just walking for now. "Met your friend again last night. Actually sat down and had a drink with him, to boot."

"My friend?" Kahren repeats as she takes his arm. "Mister Wilson?" she hazards. She smiles at her uncle, giving his arm a fond squeeze. "/Thank/ you. He seems so lonely."

"Indeed. Kyle," he refers to the man by his first name, even, "and Miss Prewett were trying to have a drink, and others seemed to be making an issue of it, so I decided that since my own reputation is dented enough that association wouldn't wound it any deeper. And so I joined them. Even encouraged him to try to regain his position within the Ministry."

"Do you think he'd be allowed?" Kahren asks, sounding hopeful. "I mean - there's no real, /logical/ reason why he /shouldn't/ be allowed, but…" She looks thoughtful, before she gives her Uncle another fond smile. "That was so good of you."

Cassiel nods, thinking on it, "He's done nothing wrong. I couldn't just… act on instinct based on prejudices steeped in personal fear." A quiet pause as he continues walking, "I see no reason why he couldn't. Sure, most would cry against it… but he's registered. He's kept to the letter of the law as far as I can see, and he's made a public point of keeping the citizenry out of danger when the curse takes him." When you work in the ministry, one can do checks. Cassiel had. "There's no logical reason he should not. Sadly, I doubt he'll take the suggestion. He's as poorly trained as we are on how to view his condition, I think."

"Yes," Kahren agrees in a sad voice. "I mean - even when we went into Sweet Temptations, many of the patrons got uncomfortable, and the idiot serving girl behind the counter even started reaching for her wand. I told her to stop being silly and get us two cocoas, and started very visibly counting out money… but Mister Wilson wouldn't even try. He left the shop instead."

"The rags don't help," Cassiel says, although without unkindness. "It's impossible that everyone in the city knows he is what he is. That's asinine. But he does promote the fact that he's an outsider, just by his presentation."

"But without a proper job, how can he afford proper clothes?" Kahren asks. "If, perhaps, you or some friends had clothes you no longer wanted…?" she suggests a bit hopefully. "I don't know if he'd accept the charity. But if he presented himself a little better, well. Maybe he'd see the reactions of people around him change, and he'd be more willing to try to return to the Ministry?"

Cassiel thinks on it a moment, before nodding, "I certainly can offer something. But likely would not be the best person to make the offer. I do think it's a part of the reaction although the Ministry would know… having someone walk in my establishment looking unwashed and feral… it could certainly be off putting to me."

Kahren nods in agreement. "I'm glad you do see it, though. He is a /good/ man, though he doubts it himself." She lets out a quiet sigh. "I wonder what /did/ happen to make him think that way. I mean - he's never hurt anyone, has he?"

Cassiel shakes his head, eventually leading Kahren through the Cauldron and out into the mail area of Diagon Alley, "Nothing in the records I have access to suggested it. Sure, there are always going to be circumstances where someone with the curse might be an easy scapegoat suspect, but that's going to be part for the course. However… there is something to be said for the fact that the way one sees themselves will inform how others see him."

"So we must educate him before we can educate the /rest/ of wizarding society," Kahren agrees brightly. No, she doesn't set lofty goals for herself. Not at all.

"You assume he wishes to be educated," Cassiel notes, the frown deepening, "He seems… wrapped up in his own pain, which usually means he won't actively WANT someone to just fix him. You'll need to be… patience."

"Will stubborn work in a pinch?" Kahren counters. "Though… I think you may be right about that. I think he blames himself for /something/. But I don't know what."

"Kyle is not your uncle, Kiddo," Cassiel offers with a grin, "whom you can simply browbeat and bat your eyes at to get him to see reason." The arm she holds becomes an elbow that pokes playfully into her side, "You have a point, though. And that may be the way in to convincing him of the rest."

Kahren nods in agreement, her expression thoughtful. "I hope we can help him," she muses quietly. "He needs it. And he could be a valuable member of our society if he would allow himself - and if society would let him."

To this, Cassiel nods again, "Or perhaps we can learn a little more about his kind… those with the curse. Fear is often the result of a lack of understanding."

"Well - I may not have done very well in Defense Against the Dark Arts, but I did do well in Care of Magical Creatures." /And/ she in Creature Induced Injuries now - where werewolf related injuries would be sent. "I /like/ to think I have a fair understanding of it."

"But like you've taken great pains in pointing out," Cassiel notes, grinning back at her, "he's not a beast. He's one of us, with a curse. And what do we really know? We don't know how to arrest, cure, or even control the curse. We don't know how or why it spreads. We don't really know how it changes the psyche of the infected."
He looks off in the distance for a long moment, "Is he the same Kyle that was infected? Is the wolf that takes over another being entirely, or is it an alteration of whom he is? Can a wolf in full form actually be aware of its surroundings?"
A smile, "There is far too much that we don't know."

"You think it changes him?" Kahren asks in surprise - she hadn't even considered it! "More than simply… the trauma of it? The affects of how he is treated?" She frowns in thought, not sure what to think of that. "But you would expect him to act more… aggressive, then. Wouldn't you? Werewolves during the full moon are quite aggressive to people."

"Wolves, however, are typically solitary creatures," Cassiel offers as an answer, his gaze forward through all of it, "unless in a familial pack, and while they make horrible pets, they are actually quite docile unless attacked. And skittish, even. The aggressiveness I assume is more a part of the werewolf's predatory instincts during the change, than the wolf itself."

"Well. Werewolves and wolves aren't the same at all," Kahren agrees. "Wolves are afraid of people, after all. But not werewolves." Not afraid in the least.

Cassiel says, "But they are, physically at least, of the same family. And so one wonders how much of each carries over to the infected wizard." A shrug, "Thus getting back to my worry that he won't take the charity, or will flee from it altogether."

"He might," Kahren agrees. "And that could just as easily be part of who /he/ is. Perhaps he was always too proud to accept help? We don't know how he was /before/ all this…"

"Perhaps." Cassiel assents, chuckling, and then shivering a bit in the cold. "Perhaps he was. Only those with whom he associated before the change would know… a pity they seem to have abandoned him."
He looks down, "I'll tell you a secret. The only reason I've even given him the time of day is I realized… what if Alaric had been bitten in that attack, or scratched, or whatever? What if he had survived, and been cursed? Would I have dismissed him as easily as I did your friend when I first heard of him? I can't imagine myself simply walking away from him."

"Or Katryna, or Freddie," Kahren agrees firmly. "Who in their right mind could push sweet little Freddie away?" She gives Cassiel's arm a squeeze, adding, "The same thought occurred to me. Though I'd wondered - if I'd ever been injured, would my family turn away from me?" She smiles up at Cassiel adding, "And I was fairly certainly they would never. We're lucky, I suppose. To have a family like that."

"We're not the black sheep branch of the Umbridge line for nothing, kiddo," Cassiel offers with yet another chuckle. "Erase all the petty political scrabbling of the line, and you get us. Where we're proud of even and every member, no matter. And we stick together."

"The rest of them are clearly missing out," Kahren responds firmly, resting her head against her Uncle's arm. "And they don't even know it."

"But of course, because they are better than us." There's more than a hint of jest in his tone there, as Cassiel never loses his smile. "But, I must be honest, Kahren… I'm getting a bit cold. I think I may need to get myself to the warmth of home and hearth soon."

"Do I need to come inside and fix you up a bit of warm tea?" Kahren asks, letting out a quiet laugh. "Or wrap you up in a warm blanket? Come on." She tugs his arm lightly, to lead him towards his home.

"Tea, what do you take me for, British?" Cassiel responds with a laugh, allowing himself to be led.

Cassiel's Townhouse —- Diagon Alley

To call this place well-lived-in would be to make a gross understatement. Indeed, while the property itself is well-furnished and reflects the comfortable nature of its owner, it also manages to reflect a bit of his eccentricity as well.
Upon first walking in, there's the small, hall-like foyer, little more than a strip of entry way big enough for perhaps two and a half people to walk side-by-side, and half of that taken by a staircase that leads to the upstairs. The wall nearest the door has a coat-rack, hooks for three different canes on the immediate wall, and what appears to be half a bowl embedded in the wall above them. After that the walls are covered with pictures, moving and stationary, of his massive family. Cousins, nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters all grace it.
Doorways interspersed lead to a water closet, door best left closed, and to the main living area. The kitchen is well-stocked, with all the standard amenities, although there's no table to be found. Instead, where a dining room might be, is a large wooden desk, covered in mountains of paperwork, file folders, scrolls, quills, and the occasional toy.
Toys. That seems to be the focus of the living room. The walls are almost entirely filled with shelving, aside from the windows looking out. The shelves do boast a decent number of books, but the vast majority of the remaining space is taken up with Muggle toys. Wooden cars, broken wind-up toys, a view-finder with a couple circular discs next to it, rubber ducks, dolls, you name it. There seems to be a pattern to their organization.
In the center of that room is a large, Oriental-style woven rug over the hardwood, and on that can be found a simple loveseat bordered by two smaller reclining chairs. These all face toward the large, nearly man-sized fireplace.

As they step inside, Kahren takes her uncles hat and coat off of him, after he puts away his cane, hanging each up before hanging her own. "Go sit and warm up by the fire. I'll heat up the tea," she offers. "And we can add a bit of brandy to it - if you absolutely /insist/," she adds teasingly.

Chuckling at her insistence on taking care of him, but not complaining about it in the slightest, Cassiel does as he's told, moving to the loveseat almost immediately after The claim of chill wasn't false. Even with certain enchantments, nothing did quite so well as a good fire. And so he does so, although to the second part, "Actually, not tonight. I was far too aggressive drinking last night… I need to be a bit more… cautious tonight. Straight, black, if you will, dear."

"Alright," Kahren agrees, going to the kitchen to heat some water and find the tea bags. She seems to have no more trouble finding her way around Cassiel's kitchen than Alaric's - after all, Kahren is always happiest when she's looking after others. She starts to hum cheerfully to herself as she moves around in the kitchen.

It's likely no small thing, but considering their upbringing, there's likely enough similarity in how the kitchens are organized, it wouldn't be hard to find things anyhow. As she does so, he simply focuses on the fire for a bit… reveling in its warmth.

"I wish I had my flute on me," Kahren muses as she twirls into the room - carrying a tray with two cups of tea. "I'd like to play. I never have enough time for it." And who can blame her? Looking after Alaric and her father, adopting Kyle, and having to keep up with her education as a healer?
She sets down the tray, pouring Cassiel's cup first, then her own. There's a few biscuits on the tray as well, that she found in a tin.

Cassiel accepts the tea with clear gratitude, taking a moment to take a sip with pleasure before actually responding. "You should take the time, kiddo. I know it's cliche, but things like that are rather important. To keeping you sane, if nothing else."

"I'd practice right now if I could," Kahren responds. She looks around for a moment, looking for something that doesn't look terribly important. "I wonder if I could transfigure something into a passable flute…"

There is a bit of a pause as he considers… there are of course a few plastic flute-things… but those would never be good, "Would wood do?" He puts out a wand, and with a quick accio, a couple of long fire-starter sticks fly close. Thick, strong, and mostly straight.
"Would one of these do?"

"Wooden flutes can be lovely," Kahren responds, selecting a stick that feels relatively dense. She pulls out her wand, tapping the wood twice with the wand, and giving a swish as she intones, "Tibiae Verto." She smiles in delight as a rather passable looking flute appears in her hand. "Well. This might play alright," she remarks, excitedly putting away her wand to run up and down a scale. She looks pleased with the result.

Cassiel watches her for a moment, smiling, and taking the other sticks to set them aside. Once that is done, he takes a sip from his cup again, watching, "One of my few regrets is that I never learned and instrument. But… since I have a tin ear for all but listening to music, it's likely for the best."

Kahren smiles at her uncle, encouraging him with, "You do realize it's never too late to learn?" She sets down the flute long enough to sip her own tea, and nibble at a cookie. One more sip of tea, and then she's playing, a cheerful tune that dances up and down the musical scale, and encourages one to twirl and twist and smile.

"Ah, yes… but at the same time, there is never time, right?" A play on his own suggestion before, so it's clear he knows he's being a hypocrite. After that, it's silence, and tea, as he listens to her play for a while.

Kahren runs through a few songs - none of them melancholy, but not all of them as playful and fast paced as the first. Some calming, sweet and gentle as a spring day with a gentle breeze. Some burble like a brook in the woods. But Kahren has never been one for sad songs. In between pieces, she stops for a nibble, and a sip.

Cassiel leans back in the couch, abstaining from the biscuits mostly because… well… he has tea. And listens. He smiles lightly, letting her simply enjoy the act, if nothing else because she's getting the time to do so. He does offer some light applause, however, when she breaks.

She gives her uncle an amused look at the applause. "Don't be silly. It's hardly performance quality," she protests. "But it is fun. And, of course, relaxing. I should transfigure myself a little wooden flute for everywhere I go - one for the hospital, for Alaric's place… I'd hide one in the Cauldron, but playing in front of /everyone/ there, well…"

Cassiel grins, and soft laughter escapes him, "Hey… performance or not, it's polite to complement the entertainer." And then a raised brow, "Why not? I'm sure the owner would appreciate the attention it would bring. Those sort of things can bring others in off the street, and staying longer to buy more drink."

"Oh, I don't think I could play in front of so many," Kahren protests, looking embarrassed at the very thought. "I'm not a good enough flautist, for one. And I just haven't the nerve."

The look Cassiel gives her is almost incredulous. "You'll befriend a werewolf. You'll drag your uncle out of the hellhole of drunkenness. But consider having fun with a bunch of inebriated friends at a a bar…. and suddenly you draw a line." A hand goes out to poke her in the arm, playfully.

Is that a little bit of color on her cheeks? "That's… completely different! I'm helping Alaric and Mister Wilson, and that's just… one person, you know? Me and just one person, not a whole /room/ full of people watching me!"

"Not the way I see it." Cassiel responds, sipping again on his tea, finishing it, and reaching to refill it. He tips her a bit of a wink. Each is a performance in itself. You stood outside with Kyle, when everyone else was avoiding him. You help your uncle when he's there in that bar." A smile, "How do you know how it'll be, until you try?"

"It's just… /different/," Kahren insists. "It is. I mean, even when I'm with Mister Wilson, and everyone is looking at us, it isn't really /me/, is it?"

The cup now refilled, Cassiel sips as he looks back at Kahren, "Only you can answer that, I guess." He smiles, and waves it off, "I'll not pressure you beyond that."

Kahren rolls her eyes, letting out a quiet sigh. "It just isn't for me," she concludes simply. "Though I'm happy to play here. Or, well, anywhere for family, really. As long as there aren't too many strangers about."

Cassiel nods, "And you're always welcome to, of course." And then there's a yawn, and the older man chuckles, "At least when I'm awake, which I fear may not be much longer." A grin, "These old bones… they just can't keep me aloft as long as they used to."

"Oh, don't be silly. You have a few decades yet before you're proper old," Kahren responds. Still, she sets aside the flute, rising to her feet, and moving towards her uncle to give him a kiss on the cheek. "Go up to bed, and I'll tidy up in the kitchen and let myself out. And I'll tell mother and father you said hello, of course. As usual."

Cassiel takes the kiss with a smile, even angling the cheek for the expected gesture as she offers it. "Thank you, and please do. And tell your father that he still owes me another game. He'll know what I mean." He then stands, stretching, arms to the base of his back at he pops both spine and sternum. "Oh… I expect to make it to a ripe old two hundred or so. But it's still fun to pretend,"
And with that, he chucks Kahren lightly under the chin, before doing pretty much exactly as she suggests. It's been a late few nights.

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