(1937-10-17) Charades
Details for Charades
Summary: Veruca and Cassius run into each other at Café Tasseo and talk about the movement. They are interrupted by a most unusual visitor.
Date: October 17, 1937
Location: Cafe Tasseo
Related: Unity

Although Café Tasseo is becoming notorious for tea and tea leaf readings, it is quickly becoming the place to be for brunch as well. While Veruca doesn't care much about the reputation, she has become quite fond of the atmosphere and the delicious scones served as part of the brunch menu. So it is that she can be found entering the establishment from Craeft Alley in mid-morning, taking a break from work, it would seem. She'll likely still be thinking about work, but at least it's something of a distraction. She pauses at the hostess station, waiting for one of the busy workers to come over and take care of her, eyes wandering lazily over the already crowded cafe. Since her work takes her into the muggle world often, she is wearing muggle clothing; a slim fitting navy blue dress, dark nylons, and a splash of red on her feet, accenting the color on her lips. Despite the chill outdoors, she wears no coat, preferring to be unencumbered when a warming charm will suit her just as well.

Cassius arrives at the door of the café precisely two minutes ahead of schedule. He's dressed a bit less starchily than usual. His suit is still crisp and slender, but today he favours a long, black duster-like jacket that trails to his knees, giving him a somewhat priestly appearance. When he lifts his eyes to the room, he is struck for a moment by the figure before him. Quite a lovely figure it is, too, and one he recognizes. "Miss Max? Well, this is a happy coincidence." He steps forward to come into her view.

The voice turns Veruca toward it's source even as Cassius steps forward, and a curious quirk of her brow evens into a pleasant smile. "Mr. Malfoy," she returns smoothly, inclining her head and extending her hand in greeting. Of course, she knows the pale haired wizard by sight, it would be a wonder if any of their community doesn't these days.

Cassius gives her a warm, close-lipped smile. He takes the offered hand, bowing and placing a chaste kiss upon her knuckle. "Are you waiting for a table? I happen to have one reserved, if you would care to join me."

While the gracious manners are to be expected from such a wizard, the invitation to join Cassius is a pleasant surprise for Veruca. "I am, and I would be delighted if it's no imposition." The joys of being a pure-blood of British society, impeccable manners all around.

Cassius offers her his arm to escort her to the table. "None at all. In fact, I insist." Once they have reached the table, he naturally pulls out her chair for her, seeing her settled before taking his own seat. "I'm told they've added a new tea. Some sort of chamomile-apple blend."

Veruca takes Cassius' arm lightly to be led farther into the cafe, sinking into the offered chair gracefully, eyes on her companion as he sits as well. "It seems they find a new tea to add weekly. Good insurance on return business," she remarks, always business minded. Her clutch purse is set to the side on the table, and as she comfortably crosses her legs, she makes an inquiry. "And the dinner at the Black's, did it go well? I regret that I was unable to be there." A rueful cast takes her smile, "Work always seems to come up."

Cassius nods, waving it off. "We understand. You were missed though. I, for one, am very interested to hear your thoughts on the Unity Movement. We're adopting a new brand, so to speak," he explains about the new name.

Veruca considers this new name a moment. "It sounds apt to ruffle a few less feathers," she says thoughtfully. "Of course, there are some that will be ruffled no matter what. There will always be people who hear what is in their heads rather than what someone with a different idea actually says, unfortunately."

Cassius tilts his head in admission. "All too true. But those people…the Segregationists," he is just full of new terminology today, "They will establish themselves firmly as the opposition. Some individuals already have. It is the people, as a whole, that we must sway to see the truth of our words. Repealment is important, but it implies that we are destroyers, tearing down an institution. Unity, though…that is the true goal, and one of building and realizing a better future."

The Malfoy's words bring a curve of Rue's lips again and she muses lightly, "The power of words. It is only too true, though, that the impression given by the words can be more powerful than their actual meaning."

Cassius grins broadly, pleased at her response. "Words will always be more powerful than the mightiest spells and weapons, when wielded by the right tongues." At last, a server comes to take their orders.

Now being a guest at his table, Veruca will let Cassius order for them both, putting her faith in the man's good taste. The server does get a polite smile, typically with a touch of aloof frostiness. Not that Rue looks down on servers, for what is she but a server of another type, but just because… she's Rue.

Cassius has good taste in spades, but more than that, he has a preternatural ability to read people and suss out their desires. He places their order and presses a silver Sickle into the waiter's hand to encourage good service. With the server gone, he arches an eyebrow at her. "So, you and I haven't had the chance to talk about Unity. What is it that draws your interest to the movement?"

Despite sitting ramrod straight, Veruca looks comfortable enough and her reply is unhurried. "Having changed my career path fairly recently, I find my views on the matter have altered as well." She wasn't always such a forward thinker? Gasp! "But, my motives before were more prompted by my source of income. I was doing well as a consultant for some of the more well off families, representing their interests in their needs to handle finances between the muggle and wizarding worlds. Then it was to my benefit to have the two a bit more…. exclusive." She reaches for her purse absently, drawing it into her lap and unclasping it as she speaks. "Now, I feel that the combination of worlds would be more beneficial to my current employ, MacCurry Manufacturing." Her movement stops as she reaches into the bag, and she asks, politely, "Would it bother you if I smoked?"

Cassius gives a quick shake of his head regarding the smoke. "Not at all. So, your interest is purely financial? And what if your employment changed again? Would this cause you reassess your position on the cause?"

A slim silver case is withdrawn and popped open, and deft fingers slip one of the cylinders from it's resting place. Again, she gives her answer consideration before speaking. "At this point, I think not. One must be willing to change with the times. And, to be quite candid, it was never really an issue I considered very seriously previously because no one had come to the front to take up the mantle." A lighter of muggle design is also drawn from her purse and held a moment. "What I was doing then has little bearing on what might be possible in the future, should sides unite. Not the least of which could reasonably the prevention of a conflict that could hurt muggle and wizard alike." The lighter is offered to Cassius with a return of her smile. "Would you mind?" she asks, holding her cigarette up.

At her answers, Cassius gets a grin like the cat who just found the cream. "Splendid. I look forward to more of your input. Your business expertise will be invaluable in making certain that our transition plans do not overly disrupt either economy." He takes the lighter, examing it for a moment. "You must hand it to the Muggles. For a people without magic, they can create some truly wondrous things." He flicks the lighter, obviously familiar with its function, and holds it to the tip of her cigarette.

Holding the cigarette between two fingers with practiced ease, Veruca leans forward, bringing her other hand up to lightly rest on Cassius', steadying it, perhaps needlessly. The touch is soft but not timid, and she lets her fingers slide away as the tip burns brightly with her inhale. She is thoughtful enough to exhale the stream of smoke directed away from her companion, and he gets a smile with a touch more warmth along with a casual, "Ta." She doesn't reach for the lighter, unconcerned about him doing something so uncouth as pocketing it. "It truly is amazing, some of the things they contrive with their limited power."

Cassius smirks with amusement, and likely something else, at the lingering touch. For the time, he holds onto the lighter, simply turning it in his fingers. "They astound me, yes. But that technology of theirs is part of the reason we need Unity. This device," he holds the lighter up demonstratively, "was once merely two sticks rubbed together. Then flint and steel. From this, they went on to harness the power of charcoal, sulfur, black powder…and now look at how they wield fire. Guns and bombs that can kill by the hundreds." He sighs, giving her an apologetic smile as he offers the lighter back to her. "Forgive me for being dour. But I must often remind myself that for every wonder Muggles create, they also develop a dozen horrors. The very things that have made the current state of the world so precarious."

Dark blue eyes regard his hand as he turns the lighter, and Veruca draws on her cigarette again. "No forgiveness necessary," she comments, reaching across with palm held flat to accept the lighter back. "To some, the wonders and horrors are one in the same. And they have created some wonderfully horrible things. As have we," she adds, in all fairness.

Cassius nods in agreement. "We have. But the one thing I can say in our favor is that we have taken responsibility for ours, and there is much greater international cooperation between wizarding nations. The Statute of Secrecy itself is evidence of that. That is where Muggles lack. They constantly vie for power over one another in an endless, meaningless conflict. We have mastered coexistence, and it is time we shared that skill with them."

Veruca holds the lighter a moment, dropping her eyes to regard it. She tilts her hand over her bag, letting the little device slide from her fingers to disappear inside, before shutting the purse with a click of it's latch. While her smile has faded again into her more comfortable and typical neutral press of her lips, there is a measure of good humor in her words as she looks up. "I certainly cannot argue when you have a valid point, Mr. Malfoy." The slightest pause, and her tone has changed to something more contemplative as she poses the question, "But do you think they would learn the skill? They have a history of being inclined toward war at the slightest chance."

"Granted, and while I am all in favour of diplomacy, I suspect there is a significant chance that it will fail." Cassius keeps his voice low, not especially wishing to share this conversation with the other patrons of the cafe. "So we must have contingencies prepared to deal with the likely threat of violence. I do believe that, in time, the Muggles may evolve and rise above their more savage inclinations. But until then, we must take the lead and show them a better way."

Regarding Cassius through a light haze of cigarette smoke, Veruca's eyes linger on the wizard's face as he speaks. Mention of 'contingencies' is noted, but she is disinclined to pursue that line of inquiry, instead nodding with a bare movement. "It would be nice if that time were short, indeed. And if we could encourage enough change to alter the course of events they are now following. Avoiding their war would be beneficial to all."

Cassius shifts heavily in his seat, as if shouldering the weight of the world's troubles. "Again, all too true. It is a goal. I just hope that we can influence Britain quickly enough to then influence the world. We dare not overreach ourselves, but time is of the essence."

This brings the curious light back to Veruca's eyes, and she asks, "And have you a next step planned already? A follow-up to the rally? Which was, if I may add, entirely successful in terms of bringing the matter attention. Good or bad, it is talked about quite regularly now." She does keep her ears open when she's out and about, one never knows when one might overhear something… beneficial.

Cassius grins. Finally, someone that gets it. "Yes, that was precisely the intention. Get tongues moving, and let the opposition flush themselves out and play their hand. As for a next step, we are taking it now. Now it is time to spread information. The Unity newsletter is being developed. We already have some pamphlets that were handed out at the rally. There will be smaller events as well. Right now is the time to galvanize our base, and grow from there."

Mid-morning sees a rather full house at Café Tasseo, with Veruca and Cassius sharing a table and conversation. A rare smile surfaces on the witch's face at the Malfoy's words. "You sound very well planned. Quite commendable. And if I am able to offer any help with your efforts, please do feel free to ask." The cigarette smoldering in her fingers gets one last drag, and then she crushes it out in an ashtray that had been unobtrusively slipped onto the table by one of the servers.

There's a loud BANG followed by a generous amount of cursing before the door swings open and Damien steps inside, rubbing his nose. Despite just having walked into a door, the violaceously-suited man doesn't look all that upset. He hums lightly to himself as he waddles his way over to a table very near Cassius and Veruca's, where he orders up some ridiculous cocktail.

Cassius nods a quick thanks to the server that brings their tea, dropping another sickle onto the man's tray. "What I want most from you," beat to leave it open to the imagination for a moment, "Is your advice on an economic plan. You have experience with intermingling the wizard and Muggle economies. Now we need to do it on a large scale. But in many ways, your job will be the hardest, as economic repercussions are likely to be the first aspect of Unity with worldwide effects." The entrance of the reporter doesn't go unnoticed, and in fact earns a look of interest from Cassius.

At the pause, a trace of amusement flickers through Veruca's eyes, her pleasant demeanor otherwise unchanged. The bang does draw her attention away from her companion momentarily, dark eyes noting the new arrival, before returning to Cassius. The amusement may still be there, as she makes an inquiry. "And is this an offer of a position?" Her turn to pause a moment. "Or a request for consultancy?"

Damien sips gratefully on his cocktail as it arrives and turns to look over his shoulder where he spies Cassius looking at him. Damien gives one of those really big waves that indicates that something's not quite right in that head of his. There's a moment of consideration before Damien stands up and moves over to sit at their table, not saying a word.

Cassius chuckles at Veruca. "A businesswitch to the last. The offer can be either. I can pay you for consultation. But if the cause is something you believe in, we are looking for volunteers. As you might imagine, our efforts may lead to great change in the future bureaucracy, which would mean opportunities for those that demonstrated their value during the transition." When Damien arrives, Cassius takes it entirely in stride, as if he was expecting the man. "Mr. Huddleston, isn't it? I'm so glad you could join us." He passes an amused glance to Veruca.

Once more the witch's smile surfaces. "Then I suggest a trial basis, assess the suitability, and things will unfold as we go. I will have to have a conversation with Mr. MacCurry, see if he has any objections in the matter, of course." She doesn't remark on whether that would influence her decisions or not. And a third joins the party. Veruca's brows raise a measure at their new companion, but she voices no protest, or even looks inclined to.

Damien nods to the blonde man and responds in an absolute caricature of a posh accent, saying, "Yeees. Quite so. And you're that talky man with all the ideas and such, yes?" He looks over to Veruca and dips his head, "Enchante." It's a horribly phony French accent.

Cassius suppresses his primal urge to throttle this imbecile, instead giving him a charming smile. "Cassius Malfoy. It's true, I've been known to have an idea or two. What brings you to Tasseo? Reviewing the new teas?"

One brow remains arched as Veruca regards Damien, and then 'that talky man' in turn. Damien's greeting to her garners a nod and a murmured, "Sir." While Cassius' inner feelings are hidden, it doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to wonder if, perhaps, he's one of the most diplomatic wizards ever created. She feels no need to interject anything at the moment, letting the conversation volley between the two men for a moment or two.

Damien beams at the man and says, "Oooo, that's quite a lovely thought, but I'm afraid it's been done to death." He glugs voraceously at his beverage and says, "So, you're the one who wants to open the doors between Muggle and Wizard world? A rather noble prospect, if you ask me."

Cassius maintains his fake-but-convincing smile. "I'm glad that you think so. I was beginning to wonder if the press was entirely against us." He stares curiously at the man. A critic that feeling critiquing food is overdone. Come again?

Lifting her cup of tea to take a sip, Veruca studies each wizard in turn, letting her eyes linger perhaps a bit longer on Cassius. The gleam in her gaze can't exactly be called calculating but it is speculative as she observes the exchange.

Damien frowns a bit at Cassius, having realized that the man is being less than genuine and says, "I know you think me a dullard, Mister Malfoy, but you should remember what a blessing it is to have a man of the press at your side. Especially one with no traceable financial ties to your cause and dedicated readers." His tone is fairly dark, so he keeps it quiet, as to not let anyone else in on the breaking of his charade. After a moment that dull look returns to his face.

Cassius's smiles turns to a frown at Damien's words, and his clicks his tongue a tut-tut manner. "I resent the accusation, Mr. Huddleston. Why would I think you a dullard? I've only just met you."

Well, even though she's been quiet, Veruca is still sitting right there, and she doesn't miss the sudden change in demeanor that comes over Damien, nor his words. It's actually quite a remarkable transformation there and back again. This would be one of those times that it has served Rue well to hold her tongue and listen to others.

Damien peers intently at Cassius, though only his eyes are noticeably different from the rest of his jovial expression. "I know what the rest of the Pure-Blood society thinks of my family name. It has served me well in the past to put up the facade of ignorance in supposed higher company. Everyone ignores the pillock in the purple suit. But I'll have you know that my great grandfather was Arius Malfoy, and I shan't have you faffing about with the family name by messing this vote up."

Cassius chuckles softly. "I do not speak for the rest of pure-blood society. I only try to speak for any witches or wizards that have felt the oppressive chains of the Statute of Secrecy on their wrists. As far as an alleged vote is concerned, none has yet been called for. But I suppose you have some ideas about how I am 'messing' things up?" He looks right into those eyes, taking note of the contrast with the rest of his expression…but also quietly looking deeper, diving beyond the eyes into the recesses of the man's mind.

Needless to say, Veruca remains fascinated by the interaction of her companions, although it shows little on her face. Her eyes slide between them as if she's watching a tennis volley.

Damien leans forward and says, "Well, firstly, you'll never win anyone over by being arrogant. You must bring yourself down to the people's level. Second, you need to get out there in a public debate. You're a smart kid with a good head on your shoulders. Go cut some twit down in front of a crowd."

Cassius arches an eyebrow at the man, looking rather more amused than anything. "I appreciate your candor, but this advice is hardly news to me. As for winning the people over, I'm rather more concerned about your view that I must bring myself 'down' to their level. Am I to consider myself above them? Is that not the height of arrogance? It is a common fallacy to consider a man who speaks eloquently and comes from a wealthy family to believe himself superior to those less fortunate or verbose. That is something I shall always have to contend with. But trust me when I say that I am not in this fight alone, and the people will have their champions." He takes a sip of his tea to wet his lips. "As for a debate, thus far the only man to challenge me has been that boorish attention seeker. Sullivan, I believe? Rushing to face him suggests desperation. Let him stew for a while and have his wireless interviews. I find the talking points very interesting."

Damien smirks at the man and says, "Fair enough. I shan't argue the point anymore." He stands up from the table and straightens out his purple, velvet coat, dipping his head to the two of them. He looks to Cassius and says, "Though you don't seem to be open to advice, I shall assist you in any means possible." He then turns to Veruca and says, "I do apologize for interrupting your conversation and I hope you have a lovely evening."

Veruca finally lets her eyes settle for more than a few seconds, regarding Damien. "Thank you," she says with a nod. "It's been a pleasure." Sarcasm? Not really. It's certainly been interesting.

Cassius waits for the man to leave before letting out a somewhat exasperated sigh. "While I once found the irony amusing, I admit that I'm getting weary of people who insist they know better than me telling me I'm arrogant."

"You handled the situation well, Mr. Malfoy," Veruca observes, perhaps a hint of admiration in her tone? Maybe a bit. "And again, a sure way to tell you are having an effect is by how many people complain that you're doing it all wrong." She offers him a sympathetic smile.

Cassius laughs softly. "Now that may be the highest praise I've received." He lifts his teacup to her in the fashion of a toast. "Now then, back to business. You said something about a trial period while we assess the suitability of our arrangement? I am open to this, assuming you are willing to volunteer your time at first. If you find that you cannot continue to do so, and I find I cannot go on without your consultation, then we can negotiate a contract for your employ. Is this agreeable to you?"

"Oh yes, on a volunteer basis, Mr. Malfoy," Veruca assures lightly. "I find it agreeable, indeed." Her hand is offered to the wizard again, to seal the deal, with a smile.

Cassius smiles, a truly genuine smile. "Splendid. I look forward to our future together." He takes the offered hand, first clasping it to seal their contract, then sliding his grip to her fingers to lift it for another kiss.

"I have no doubt we shall find it a mutually satisfying arrangement." Veruca's eyes slip to the wall clock, and she frowns lightly. "I'm afraid, though, that I must regretfully abandon your charming company. All play and no work makes Veruca a very bad assistant," she jokes lightly, reaching for her purse. "It was delightful to run into you, Mr. Malfoy."

Cassius rises to pull her chair out for her and give her proper cheek-kisses goodbye. Grinning devilishly, he bids her adieu, saying "I look forward to playing with you again, Miss Max."

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