(1937-09-27) Stuck
Details for Stuck
Summary: Josefa gets stuck on a malfunctioning lift with Cassius.
Date: 27 September, 1937
Location: Ministry of Magic

As a barrister for the Wizengamot, Cassius Malfoy is frequently in the dungeons of the Ministry, where court is held. The lifts are practically a second home to him, as he often must visit other departments to meet with officials, requisition documents, and other tasks requiring his legal expertise. Today, it's a trip directly to the Minister's offices to deliver a report on recent parliamentary debates. He doesn't mind playing "clerk" now and then. It gives him a chance to stretch his legs and keep his finger on the pulse of the other departments.

Buried in mountains of files, Josefa crams herself into the lift beside Malfoy. She nods politely to the pale haired man as she glances aside at him and greets pleasantly, "Malfoy."

Cassius arches an eyebrow at Josefa, taking a moment to give her an assessing look. "I beg your pardon. Have we met?" Not waiting for an answer, he gestures to the lift controls. "Floor?"

Josefa quirks a smile, "Not officially," she tells him, as easy as ever. "Josefa Loucks," she adds of her own name, juggling her file work to offer a hand. Her eyes flick to lift controls and she remembers why she's here. "Six, please, thank you."

Loucks, he ponders. Not a Pure-blood family. It's just the sort of mental calculation he does with every witch or wizard he meets. He presses the button for the sixth floor, then takes her hand by the fingers, lifting it slightly as he bows over it in gentlemanly fashion. "Charmed, Miss Loucks. You're in the Liaison Office?" He nods down to her paperwork, undoubtedly having seen a letterhead identifying her department.

Certainly not. Not even half of a blood. "Yes, yes I am. Just have to file the last round of forms for the start of term at Hogwarts. September is always the worst." She exhales and then smiles a bit in that charming way she has when he takes her hand, watching the doors shut beside him. "And you are…?"

Cassius puts an apologetic hand to his chest, "I'm terribly sorry, how rude of me. I assumed you knew me by reputation when you called me by name. Cassius Malfoy. I serve as a barrister in the Wizengamot."

Josefa smiles winsomely and reaches a hand to her head pointedly, lifting a heavy curl. "You're a rather distinctive family. Cassius Malfoy, it's lovely to make your acquaintance. Is Edwarlinda a close relation of yours?"

Cassius's face lights up at the name. "Very close, in fact. Edwarlinda is my sister. The Auror's Office is fortunate to have her. Are you acquainted, then?"

Josefa chuckles at the look on his face. "Ah, wonderful. She's delightful. I've seen her a few times at the Natrix; it's nice to see at least some of the aurors can cut loose now and again."

"The Natrix? Montague the Younger's club? So that's her new haunt." Cassius chuckles, "Though I'm sure she has plenty more. Indeed, Edwarlinda has never been too shy to enjoy herself." He shrugs, leaving it at that. "Ah, I believe we're approaching your fl-…" His lips snaps shut when the lift suddenly jerks. There is a grinding sound, and the car's movement comes to a complete stop. He slowly shuts his eyes in frustration. "Well…damn."

"Perhaps, or at least one of them. She's not there all the time, but frequently enough." Josefa lifts her chin towards the ceiling when the lift clunks to a stop. "I do believe you just jinxed us," she says in a rather teasing way, and then with a sigh, thunks down her mountain of paper work in one corner, judging she won't be carrying it off in the next few moments.

Cassius frowns, pressing the number six button a few times in some vain hope that the elevator simply forgot where it was going. "Isn't this grand," he says dryly. "Good to see that maintenance is earning that pay raise they just got approved." He shakes his head, breathing out his frustration, which allows him to instantly regain his composure. He turns toward Josefa with a cordial smile. "So, it seems we are roommates for a time. I suppose we should try to occupy ourselves. Tell me about yourself." This is how it starts. Get them talking, and their minds open right up.

"Lucky I showered today," says the young witch cheerfully, leaning her back against the lift wall with her butt just rested on the grab bar. "What would you like to know? There's not much to tell, honestly." Josefa Loucks is like an open book anyway, diving into her mind should prove terribly dull.

There is no such thing as a dull mind to a Legilimens. Every mind is a fascinating labyrinth of memories, impulses, and emotions. He leans against the wall opposite her. "Let's start with your origins, I suppose. Loucks isn't a name I recognize. Are there many wizards in your family?"

And here is the moment we've all been waiting for! "None, that I know of. My father's a salesman for an encyclopedia company, mom's from Spain, so I guess if there is they'd be back there. I grew up in Belfast. Only just moved here recently to be closer to work."

Cassius may be a Malfoy, but he's also very diplomatic. If her Muggle-born heritage disgusts him, as it would most of his family, he gives no indication. In fact, he smiles quite pleasantly. "What a remarkable experience it must be, to step from one world into another. Is that why you joined the Muggle Liason Office? Your expertise in the Muggle world? I'm given to understand a good number of Muggle-born witches and wizards find a place there."

Josefa returns his smile easily enough. "It was like a fairy tale, honestly. All children grow up believing in magic. How wonderful to find out it's true? Of course, both of my parents are devoted Catholics, so they weren't as thrilled, but they've adapted." Her dark eyes flick up to his face and she squints briefly at him. "Well, I suppose that's one reason. I guess in some ways I took the easy road. Mostly I did it because I love children, and I had a fantastic Liaison myself. I wanted to do that for others."

"Touching," he muses. "So you will undoubtedly want children of your own one day. Is there a fortunate gentleman in your future?" A bold question, but he asks in a playful tone. Of course, it is also to guide her thoughts and memories to that very subject. He'd like to know just who this gentleman may or may not be.

Josefa blushes and looks down, a bit embarrassed at the question, even if he was teasing. "Oh. Well." Throat clearing. There's a lot of mixed feelings in there, a fair few men, none of them stands out as somebody she particularly desires to make babies with though. "Nobody, no. I, er, seem to not be very good at that."

Cassius searches through those memories, faces flashing by: a scruffy ginger, a dashing man of Mediterranean persuasion, among others. He makes a mental note to try to determine their identities when he has free time. "Tsk. You don't give yourself enough credit, I'm sure. Ah, but forgive me. I am prying into personal matters. I apologize if I've made you uncomfortable."
<Questions> Xavier has just created a character! Welcome to Witchcraft and Wizardry!

Josefa's lips press together, forcing the dimples on her cheeks out. "I suspect you may be wrong," she says with a sigh. The discomfort isn't for the subject matter, it's an acute belief that she's running out of time to make a match, many of the Muggle girls from her home already fitting themselves into white dresses, while she's never even had a boyfriend. "Oh, no, it's alright. What about you, Mr. Malfoy? Is there a special lady in your life?" To turn it back away from her.

Cassius's semi-amused smile never shifts, never falters. "I fear not. As I like to say, work has become my mistress. But I'm sure you understand the feeling. No doubt your tireless efforts in the Liaison Office have played a part in your romantic difficulties?" And he flips it around right back to her, like the beginning of a tennis match.

"Work is a cruel mistress," counters Josefa. "And aside from the large amounts of travel I do, I'm not terribly busy most of the year. Once students are settled in at Hogwarts, there's not a whole lot to do." Which is why she spends most nights at the Natrix dancing and drinking. "You know, being a Malfoy I would have assumed you'd already have a match made for you with a witch of your equal."

Cassius chuckles to himself. She enjoys this game, I see. "The blessing or curse of having many older siblings. Not that the family hasn't made efforts to that end. They simply have not presented any witch to my liking. I have never been one to settle, I fear. I shall marry when I am confident that I found the ideal mate for me."

Josefa does indeed, it would seem, or perhaps she just doesn't like talking about herself all the time. "That seems a wise decision. You wouldn't want to spend the rest of your life with someone insufferable."

Cassius chuckles aloud this time. "Indeed, not. I suppose that we shall both have to bide our time and hope that fate takes a hand." He glances to the lift's control panel, listening for a moment. Still no sounds of a rescue taking place. Surely someone must have noticed by now that the car is stuck.

Josefa smiles wanly. "Indeed, fate. I love leaving my life in the fickle hands of destiny. It makes me feel quite cozy." Noticing him looking at the control panel, she comments, "It could be worse. At least the lights are still o—oh." Words trail off as the lights flicker and then die.

Cassius sighs audibly as they are cast into darkness. It seems that whatever malfunction has interfered with the locomotion spells on the car has also affected the light charms. "Gremlins, I'll wager." He casually draws his wand, and with an utterance of "Lumos," the tip illuminates, casting a white glow throughout the car. "Well, this is a fine pickle. At least the company is pleasant."

Josefa gives a ghostly smile in the wand light. "Gremlins, absolutely," she agrees, and smiles wider at his complement (whether it was sincere or not). "So… if you're on the Wizengamot, does that mean you took not magical specialty?"

In the light of the wand, held now at waist level, the shadows on Cassius' face cast a sinister picture, especially as he raises an eyebrow to her question. "In school, you mean? Oh, I certainly didn't neglect my magical studies. But you might be pleased to know that I received an Outstanding NEWT in Muggle Studies."

Josefa tilts her head curiously. Yes, the strong planes of his face are rather strange with the light coming in that direction, but she's not a little girl to be afraid of the dark. "Now that is something I hadn't expected," she admits. "Most purebloods care little for Muggles."

Cassius tut-tuts. "You do us a disservice. Many of us care a great deal for Muggles. It is hardly the Muggles' fault that they were born without magic. As wizards, it is our duty to use our powers responsibly, and look after this world we share with them. They are in need of guidance, not scorn."

Josefa bursts out laughing, even though it's rude. "Oh," she says as she gasps. "You're one of those."

Cassius chuckles, obviously amused. "I am, and proud of it. Are we to pretend that Muggles are as powerful as we? We are given mighty gifts, and it is our duty to use them for the betterment of this entire world."

Josefa watches him carefully for a moment and says, "Muggles are wonderfully resourceful. In some ways, I think they're more capable than we are. Magic makes our lives easier, to be certain, but it doesn't make us superior. I dare say we're lazy, even. Look at how much paper work we do… without struggle, we've become fat bureaucrats with nothing better to do than argue with each other about blood supremacy and who's going to charm the tea kettle to boil."

Cassius lifts a finger, "That's exactly it, though. You've hit the nail on the head. We've grown fat in our own complacency. But it isn't because we possess magic. It is because we bind our own hands and try to pretend that the rest of the world doesn't exist. And where has that left the world? On the brink of one devastating war, while still recovering from another. But be careful, Miss Loucks. If you start thinking of magic as something easy, then you have forgotten your years at Hogwarts. I would hope that somebody working in the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes would have a greater appreciation for the difficulty of wielding such powers, and the consequences of treating them lightly."

"I never said magic was easy," counters Josefa, "I said it makes our lives either. When was the last time you took out a match and lit a burner, Mr. Malfoy? It's just things they have to do, worry about…" The young witch sighs. "Well, I don't want to debate it with you. I don't enjoy that. But I can assure you my parents are perfectly capable, I've never felt like they needed me to interfere in their lives or do things for them simply because I could wave my wand and make it happen. They raised me to rely on myself though, and I can't imagine they'd welcome a nursemaid who thought she knew better. The Lord knows I wouldn't."

"You misunderstand me, madam," Cassius insists. "I don't wish to make every decision for the Muggles. But clearly, they have demonstrated that they cannot be responsible custodians of the Earth. It is our own fault, really. The Statute of Secrecy has chained us down, and we've been happy to be bound. I just want what is best for everyone, and with the way things are going, we will all burn in the coming firestorm if wizardkind doesn't take action."

Josefa presses her lips together and you can tell she wants to find a flaw in his logic, but finally she sighs, "I think you're right. They've found some rather ugly ways to kill each other, and not even a Wizard is immune to bullets.. or bombs in their living room."

Cassius sighs sadly, not seeming especially happy at being validated. "You know, I'll be holding a rally soon, addressing some of these issues. I'd like to extend to you an invitation. After I speak, there will be ample opportunity for attendees to debate these issues. Because, truly, the debate must happen. These times are too dire to leave our fates to chance." He chuckles, "Ah…fate again. Perhaps we shouldn't be hoping for it to guide us, after all."

Josefa considers him for a long moment and nods her head, offering without commitment, "I will consider attending. As I've said, I'm not overly fond of politics." Or Wizard Supremecy. "You know, I've never been a fan of fate. She seems more sadistic than anything."

Cassius chuckles, "Aye, perhaps…but sometimes Dame Fortuna is cruel in order to be kind." Suddenly the lights flicker on, and the car jerks as it resumes its normal operation. "Ah…and there you have it. With our conversation reaching a climax and denouement, she releases us from our predicament."

"I do believe, Mr. Malfoy, you missed your calling in the theatre." Josefa leans down to pick up her stack of files with a resigned sigh as the lift glides smoothly to the sixth floor and the doors open. "It was a pleasure to be stranded with you, at any rate. Perhaps I will see you around."

Cassius gives Josefa a charming smile and a half-bow. "I'm sure that you will, Miss Loucks. Perhaps I'll pay a visit to the Natrix club while you're there. Do take care."

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