(1937-11-07) Corridors of the Mind
Details for Corridors of the Mind
Summary: Magnus summons Frank to Watershed for an update on his situation… as well as for some very unorthodox practice and interrogation.
Date: November 7, 1937
Location: Watershed
Related: Can't Keep A Good Man Down

Watershed London

It is a fall night. The weather is warm and fair.

Designed by famed architect Edwin Lutyens, this home is a newer addition to the Mayfair neighborhood. The estate is surrounded by a tall, circular iron-wrought fence. The arched gate bears an embossed title: 'WATERSHED'. Just inside the gate, past a scant few feet of grassy lawn, is a huge circular pool that takes up almost the entirety of the property. The pool is quite deep, and its rocky bottom can only be seen because of soft lights under the surface of the water. Lily-pads float here and there, flowering in the warmer months. Rising out of the center of the body of water is a stone tower, its color a pale grey that is almost (but not quite) white. It looms three stories above the surface of the pool. At its top is a glass dome with a small spire pointing accusingly up at the sky. A raised walkway connects the tower to the gate and allows entry to the structure through a set of heavy brass doors.
Inside, the decor is modern and the atmosphere surprisingly airy for a stone building. The bottom story contains a dining room, kitchen, and sitting area (as well as a small smoking parlor); the second a library with bookcases lining the circular walls; the third a bedroom and study with an open view of the sky, thanks to the glass dome. While the downstairs areas have been arranged for the entertainment of guests, the upper floors are normally kept locked, and those with any magical prowess will likely notice that the place is buzzing with security charms.

It's been roughly a week since the last time Magnus sent Frank from his presence; after the ordeal of re-subduing the translator, he decided he wanted more than just a day to recover his patience with the man, so he sent him off with instructions to return in a week. For autumn, it's a very warm night with only a few lazy clouds obscuring some of the stars. Also unusual - Magnus is not inside this evening. He's standing outside of the doorway into the tower, a pipe held firmly between his teeth as he peers down into the softly lighted water of the pond. Obviously he's expecting someone.

And here is the invited visitor, coming up the drive. Whatever future mental scarring he might have acquired, a week prior, it's left no physical traces on him. Same thin and harried man, rotated back into the same cheap gray suit he was wearing the first time Magnus cursed him. After being permitted through the gate, he makes his way up towards the ambassador. His posture is calmly expectant; his expression, placidly accepting.

The sound of the opening gate alerts Magnus to the presence of the company he's been waiting for; the ambassador looks up, and when he locates Frank, gives the man a genial smile. "Mr. Weasley." Whatever aggravation he'd had for his 'employee' last week has obviously dissipated. He walks over to the entrance to the tower and throws the door open, motioning for the other man to step inside while he expels a few puffs of thick white smoke into the night air. "Beautiful evening, isn't it, Mr. Weasley? Tell me how your week has transpired."

"Yes, sir," says Frank, on automatic. His posture, hands clasped loosely behind his back, gaze hazy but direct, is faintly reminiscent of a schoolboy answering a teacher's questions. "It has transpired as usual, sir. As I don't speak Spanish, I've been on duty translating French and German reactions to the events in Spain." He's referencing a string of Fascist victories along Spain's northern seaboard. "Per instructions, I managed to mistranslate an editorial to suggest German aggression towards England. One of my dogs destroyed two of my books. I had dinner with Miss Cooper."

Magnus follows the translator inside, then swings the heavy door shut and takes another few puffs on the pipe. "Do you smoke, Mr. Weasley? Oh, nevermind - you do now, either way. This way, please." He listens with halfhearted interest to Frank's report while he paces towards the smoking parlor in his slippers and robe (it seems to be his lounging-about attire of preference), then moves inside and beckons for the other man to follow. "Very good, very good. Here, have this." He picks out a large, intimidating-looking cigar from a small humidor, clips the end off, and hands it to his companion. Suddenly, as Frank finishes speaking, his pale eyes narrow. "Wait — what? Genevieve Cooper?"

Frank does, of course, smoke (it's good for your lungs, according to doctors!), though cigars have never been his thing. Thus, he dutifully holds it, but rather awkwardly and with little sign of interest. "Yes, sir." The translator's expression is open, guileless. "She asked about the novel you told me to say you were writing, and a few other things."

A scowl curls the corners of Magnus's lips down. He walks over to a nearby chair and pushes the footstool back a few feet, then sits on it. Having done that, he motions towards the chair. "Sit." While the translator is busy seating himself and elaborating upon his lunch with Cooper, Magnus withdraws his wand and points it at the end of the cigar the man is holding. "Incendio. Don't inhale it, Mr. Weasley. Just puff on it." The end flares into orange-red life, and Magnus sits up a bit straighter on the stool, crossing one leg over the other. "Did she, now? I want you to try and recall that conversation. Picture it as clearly as you can."

Commanded to sit, Frank immediately does so. Again, the schoolboy posture is in place: straight backed, feet together, gaze steadily fixed on Magnus. The cigar is puffed, dutifully; he doesn't seem to enjoy it, (and coughs, once, on the first puff), but he does it all the same. "Yes, sir." The furrows of the man's brow deepen in concentration. "I'm imagining it."

The ambassador leans forward, elbows on his knees, so that he's a bit closer to Frank. He looks mildly disdainful at the translator's somewhat obvious dissatisfaction with the cigar, but says nothing. "Good. Don't look away." His gaze centers on that of his counterpart, and he raises his wand slightly. "Don't respond to out loud. What did you tell Miss Cooper about the novel? /Legilimens/." His pale eyes widen a bit as he speaks the incantation.

Outwardly, Frank is silent and motionless, save for the occasional listless draw on the cigar. Inwardly, those, the man draws forth a memory of the conversation. Though visually clear as a bell, there's a faint sense of 'fuzz' - probably a result of the calm and hazy sensations created by the Imperius Curse.

The busy Cafe Tasseo, a stressed looking Cooper sharing the same tale. And Frank's voice, clearly audible despite his (in-the-now) mouth unmoving: "I don't rightly know, Fraulein. A thriller, perhaps? He's just sent me to hunt down various bits of information for him. Names, locations, whens and hows… You know the sort of thing."

The sensation of being in the other man's memory is very strange. Despite his late willingness to engage in Dark Magic, Magnus has never attempted this spell before - so he's mildly shocked when it works with such clarity regardless of the interference from the Curse. Afterwards, he sits up and shakes his head, mildly amazed - but only for a second, which is about how long it takes for the actual conversation he just heard to sink in. "Idiot!" He snatches a book from the nearby table and hurls it at the translator. Thankfully for Frank his aim isn't terribly successful (it was intended to be a headshot), and the book bounces off of the other wizard's leg more or less harmlessly. "A /thriller/? Do I look like some halfwit novelist?" Seething, he raises his wand again. "You said she asked about other things. What things? Picture her words. Legilimens."

"No, sir." Frank's tone is not… meek, exactly, but it's somewhat cowed, in a mild-mannered way. He winces as the book strikes, leg automatically twitching, but makes no complaint or movement otherwise. "It was the best I could think of quickly, sir. You didn't tell me what to say about the book, other than that I was helping you research." This isn't accusatory: it's just a plain statement of fact. Dutifully, he closes his eyes again and summon forth the memory. Same location, same people, naturally:

"Wait a minute. So Mr. Troy is paying you handsomely to help him with a book that you know nothing about? What a deal! I wish most work was set up in such a fashion. Do you really have no clue Herr Weasley? You can't deduce your own conclusions from the assignments he's given you?"
""Well. It does seem eccentric. But he is rich… I could make a few guesses, but I'm not sure if he'd want me to be sharing them, Fraulein. He isn't the first author who's asked me odd favors… Though I admit he pays much more than the standard rate."
"That confidential, hmm? I guess I'll just have to find out from him later on then. Based on the work you're doing for him, is it a surprising increase? Or his is pay just because of what you're doing for him?"
"Oh, you know him as well? Well, I suppose the Ministry is a small place, really. Um. It's much more than I would dare to charge. Quite a bit… But I've never worked for him. Maybe this is normal."
"Hmm, yes. I've run into him a couple of times on my way out in the elevator and what not. And as you know, I'm in the IMC office on occasion so I've met the man. Sure. That sounds like a lot of money…It could be normal. You don't think…he's going to ask you for a much bigger favor later on do you?"
"He seems like a nice enough fellow. I suppose he might, but - I'm plenty capable of saying no, if it comes to that, aren't I?"

Legilimency is fairly quick, so even though the memory seems to take up the space of two or three minutes, in reality only a few seconds pass. Magnus reels a bit from this latest stream of information; he was having far more difficulty keeping track of things this time. He sits silently for nearly a minute, his wand lowering to his side, and then shakes his head and looks back up at Frank with slightly less anger than before. "I suppose you did the best you could, Herr Weasley." His other hand goes up to scratch at his chin. "If you meet with Miss Cooper again, you can continue with the story that I'm writing a simple novel. Maintain your insistence that I haven't told you anything about its nature."

While Magnus is silent, Frank is likewise: he sits and puffs uncomfortably on the cigar. It completely fails to occur to the man to mention that his conversation with Cooper had extended slightly further, nor that she had become obviously distressed by something. After all, the instructions were quite clear, and the Auror's friendly interrogation had stopped at that precise point. "Yes sir," he says, nodding docile agreement to the instructions. He repeats after Magnus: "You haven't told me anything about its nature."

Magnus frowns when Frank repeats his phrase. Eventually he rises and walks over to where the thrown book is laying messily on the floor and picks it up, then moves across the room and grabs a square wooden box. After moving back towards the translator he dumps the box unceremoniously into his lap and motions for the man to get up. "Smoke those. You need to learn to appreciate a good cigar, Mr. Weasley." After a moments' thought, he adds: "And for Merlin's sake, don't tell anyone you don't like them. Now, off with you. Try to avoid Genevieve Cooper and anyone else that you know is affiliated with law enforcement from now on unless doing so would call more attention to yourself."

"Yes, sir." Frank, obediently, takes the box as he rises from his seat, although he cannot be said to look enthusiastic about it. How he longs for a simple pack of cheap-ass Players! "Avoid Fraulein Cooper," yes, it's not an affectionate term of conversational familiarity, that is literally how his Teutonaphile brain labels her after a single German-themed meal, "and anyone else affiliated with law enforcement. Unless it would call attention. Understood." The dreaded box of cigars tucked under one arm, he waits patiently to be dismissed.

The ambassador looks Frank up and down for another few moments, then walks over to the doorway, reaching down to pick up his pipe again as he goes. "You're free to go. Oh, and Mr. Weasley- inform me immediately if you have any other chats with Genevieve Cooper, or if you so much as spot her."

"Yes, sir." Again, the docile nod. And with that, and a respectful dip of his hat, Frank goes. Sad little puffs of cigar smoke linger in his wake.

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