(1937-11-10) An Origami Note and Pinot Noir
Details for An Origami Note and Pinot Noir
Summary: Magnus invites his assistant, Rhyeline to dinner where the conversation lingers on matters concerning the Statute of Secrecy. Rhyeline receives instructions to get close to Mr. Malfoy. After dinner, the two wander through the Palace Garden.
Date: Saturday, November 10, 1937

Late in the evening, at around 8 o’clock, an owl arrives with a note penned in Rhyeline’s characteristic hand. The letter is folded, not as a normal letter is, in three parts and a wax seal, but rather it is an intricate folding like unto origami. The paper has been enchanted to open only at Magnus’ voiced command.

If the message were intercepted, whoever would try to open it would invariably tear it, which would set the paper ablaze, destroying its contents. This is something Rhye came up with herself while they were working under such delicate circumstances in Germany.

As it opens, blossoming like a flower, the parchment is without crease or fold. It reads,

“This afternoon I received an invitation by Mr. Gilbert Sulivan to attend a debate he is organizing between Mr. Cassius Malfoy and other supporters for the repeal of the Statute of Secrecy against those who wish to maintain it. Mr. Sullivan asked a Mr. Calderon to serve on the panel in favor of its maintenance. The debate is to be moderated by Mr. Kogrod of the Daily Prophet, and he will also write the questions that will be posed to the panelists.

I am in good health and hope to speak with you soon as to how I might be of service.”

There is no need for her to sign it.

A half an hour or so after Rhyeline's note arrives, a great horned owl drops off a reply for her. It lacks the girl's delicate method of preparation, though the dark-golden, carefully-written script on thick parchment folded over and bound with a crimson strip of ribbon does not lack for distinction.

"Meet me at the Winchester Arms at half past nine. If you are unable to attend, please owl a response. I look forward to seeing you.


As with Rhyeline's letter, there is no signature.

It is a fall evening. The weather is cool and clear.

The Winchester Arms is posh enough to match its surroundings in this important London neighborhood. The exterior is all dark wood and glass, and the large sign above the entryway bears no title save for the stylized likeness of two crossed golden rifles. Only the presence of a waist-high menu on the sidewalk (this does bear the building's title in large, eye-catching embossed letters) outside indicates that it is, indeed, a restaurant.

Inside, the decor is a mix of muted blues and browns with fleur-de-lis patterns appearing here and there. Magnus is seated at the back of the establishment at a private table behind an ornate screen; the Muggle Maitre'd has evidently been given an accurate description of Rhyeline, since he'll ask the girl if she's here to meet the ambassador upon her arrival.

There has never been anything regular about the hours they kept in Germany. Why should it be any different in England? Wearing a black coat for the relatively warm weather and a stylish red hat to protect her from the steady London, drizzle, Rhyeline slips unobtrusively into the posh, muggle restaurant. While the girl’s clothes are not quite as elegant as most might wear here, she carries herself with calm composure that keeps her from seeming out of place.

Upon being spoken to by the Maitre’d, the young witch nods and allows herself to be escorted into Magnus’ presence behind the ornate screen. “Good evening, Magnus,” she murmurs. A hand is placed on the table to steady herself as she nods in greeting.

"Guten Abend, Rhyeline," Magnus replies softly when the girl appears with the Maitre'd, who quickly departs with a slight bow. The German is accompanied with a sly smile, as if to question whether she's been keeping up her practice of the language. He gets up out of his seat almost immediately, though - he's dressed in a carefully tailored black dinner suit, very formal - and makes his way over to the young witch. His gaze moves up and down her thin form speculatively, and he reaches out to place his hands gently on her shoulders as if to steady her. "Madamoiselle, are you quite well? Tell me the truth, now." His lips curl down disapprovingly for a half-second, then he pulls her chair our for her. "Please, sit."

With his hands upon her delicate shoulders, the young witch cants her head slightly to the side. A soft smile touches her lips as she observes his gaunt features for a moment. Keeping her hand upon the table’s surface, she takes a seat with care. Folding her hands in her lap, she murmurs at last, “Ich bin gut, danke.” As ever, her accent is flawless and gentle on the ears. Lifting her gaze once more to the man, she tilts her head slightly to the other side. “And you? Does the evening find you well?” Before now, their conversations have rarely consisted of pleasantries such as these.

That smile from the young woman is observed by Magnus briefly, and his eyes register some degree of curiosity in response. As she takes her seat, he pushes in her chair for her carefully, then smiles coyly. As he moves around her to take his own, one hand trails up her shoulder and past the hollow of her neck so lightly that it's barely a brush, and then goes to his side as the tall, thin man pushes his chair back out and lowers himself into it slowly. "Quite well, thank you. And thank you for informing me of the proposed debate. I've made Mr. Sullivan's acquaintance on several other occasions; what do you think of the man?"

Hidden from sight, the girl’s hands tighten in her lap as the hand brushes against the sensitive flesh of her neck. While the gamine keeps from flinching, it is a moment before she answers, “I have read a number of his books. An excellent writer with a gift for well thought rhetoric. As for his views on the issue at hand, it is too early for any observation.” As a waitress approaches, the young witch falls silent and allows Magnus to make the orders, as has been the prevailing custom.

"I trust you'll inform me when you've gained a rounded enough impression to formulate a proper opinion, then." Magnus smiles at her, though his attention soon goes to the approaching waitress. Though there's a jacketed menu on the side of the table, it looks as if he hasn't even bothered to look at it. "The truffled foie gras to start, with a bottle of chablis; for dinner, we'll have the beef bourguignon with a burgundy, thank you. That will be—-" Suddenly the man pauses, and reaches up to touch his chin pensively. His eyes briefly flick across the table to his companion. "Scratch the chablis. A bottle of whatever the lady would like."

As the man begins to make the orders to the waitress, Rhyeline’s dark gaze settles thoughtfully upon the bare tablecloth before herself. His request for an opinion was answered with a nod and a murmured, “Of course.” No doubt the girl will be seeking out the scholar a second time. When the order is paused abruptly, and Rhyeline is asked what she might care to drink, she looks up with a bemused expression upon her pale features. With the waitress watching her expectantly, the girl hesitates a moment, dark gaze flickering back and forth from her to the ambassador. “I-“ she pauses. “A pinot noir?”

"A bottle of the Cote-du-Nuits Pinot Noir, then, if you have it in stock," Magnus offers to the waitress, who has paused and shot a questioning glance between the witch and wizard. She smiles, then disappears around the edge of the screen, and the ambassador turns back to Rhye. "Do you know much about Mr. Malfoy?" He asks the question in a way that indicates he's not seeking any new information - considering how recently she's awoken from her magically-imposed sleep.

A subtle smile of appreciation touches Rhyeline’s lips as he requests no less than a Cote-du-Nuits pinot noir. “Mr. Malfoy? I know he is a vocal opponent of the Statute of Secrecy. As I mentioned, he will serve as a panelist for the debate. I believe he has a reputation for being a cunning and skilled speaker, at least in his work as a barrister. I am also familiar with his family and their status in society. However I have not had the opportunity to listen or observe him directly.”

"You're quite correct. I'm sure you'll appreciate his oratory skills once you meet him in person." Magnus leans back a bit in his chair, then glances to the side as the waitress returns with their appetizer. She sets the truffled foie gras down between them, along with the bottle of Pinot Noir, and pours two glasses, then leaves. Once she's gone, Magnus clears his throat and wraps a set of long fingers around his wine glass; a silver ring on one of them clinks noisily as he does. "Do you feel well enough to engage in the sorts of research I had you doing in Germany, Rhyeline?"

Rhyeline’s gaze lingers curiously upon the truffled foie gras. While she may be familiar with wine, it seems that such cuisine is not something she is used to. At the question, the girl peeks up at Magnus and gives a small nod. “Yes, s- Magnus.” Taking up her glass of wine, she adds, “Affairs such as these will have far reaching effects… diplomacy and international affairs do not only exist across the waters.” Lowering her gaze, she takes a small, thoughtful sip.

A crooked smile creeps over Magnus's lips and he reaches down for one of the small pieces of toasted bread that the foie gras has been arranged on, lifts it, and takes a careful nip. "If I didn't know any better, madamoiselle, I'd say you were telling me to be careful." His pale grey eyes settle on the young woman's face for an instant and he winks one shut at her quickly before taking a sip of his wine. "I'd like you to put yourself in Mr. Malfoy's good graces. I'm sure it will be a simple matter for a girl as charming as yourself." He takes another small bite - as always, he's a delicate eater.

Watching him take up an appetizer, Rhyeline imitates him and takes equally delicate nibbles, sampling the rich, buttery delicacy with quiet curiosity. As he suggests she might be telling him to be careful, her dark gaze merely flickers up to his features and she makes no remark. Instead she merely listens as he instructs her to not only seek out Mr. Malfoy, but to enter into his good graces. A blink, a sign of subtle hesitation. “What do you mean?”

"Miss Diderot," Magnus says slowly, enunciating the girl's name with deliberate care. He takes another slow sip of his wine. "You've always been a good listener, and you have a certain way of picking up useful tidbits others would miss. Aside from that, you have a solid knowledge of international affairs - which is bound to interest a man in Cassius Malfoy's position." One corner of his lips curls up almost imperceptibly. "And you're also very beautiful, in your own delicate way." He taps his finger on the glass - clink, clink, clink - and then leans forward. "But you must understand two things: first, I simply want you to befriend the man, nothing else. He interests me and I'd like to know more about him without becoming directly involved. Second - I am asking you a favor. This has nothing to do with our working relationship. You needn't feel any pressure to accept."

“I will do what I can,” says Rhyeline rather softly. Having been told that she is beautiful, the girl blinked and a subtle pink hue warmed her pale cheeks. “Though he may know my father, he will also know that I, like him, am a half-blood. But my mother is pure-blood. Perhaps he will forgive.”

Magnus shakes his head slowly at Rhye's concern. "From what I know - to his credit - Mr. Malfoy is not known to be a strong supporter of blood purity. He seems more concerned with the fact that a witch or wizard has magic at all than with their lineage." The ambassador's expression grows more serious when she casts her eyes down, and he's just in the process of reaching across the table to her when the waitress reappears. Startled, the ambassador sits back and waits until the entree - tender beef braised in wine and served in a shallow bowl of broth with pasta - is laid out before them. The bottle of burgundy is opened as well, and two new glasses are poured (in addition to the ones they already have).

As he reaches out, Rhyeline’s gaze immediately lifts and fixes upon his hand with guarded caution. However they are interrupted before he can touch her cheek. The scent and sight of the main course is greeted by a quiet smile of pleasure. Placing her napkin in her lap, the girl takes up her knife and fork without hesitation. Placing a small bit of the tender beef past her lips, she closes her eyes for just a moment, savoring the taste.

The ambassador is content to turn his attentions to the newly arrived main course even as Rhyeline is doing likewise. He doesn't seem particularly interested in actually eating very much of it, though - he only takes a very occasional bite, spending the rest of his time playing with the food in a decidedly feline manner. The man seems to be much more likely to finish a bottle of wine than even half of his meal. "Anyhow, thank you. Why don't you tell me how you're doing now that you've settled down in London? You're enjoying the company of Miss Taylor, I hope?"

While the food at St. Mungo’s isn’t necessarily bad, four months of it will definitely leave someone craving something more substantial. Of course the man has never observed her eating, let alone presented with a meal such as this. Perhaps she has a particular passion for exquisite food. However after consuming barely half of what she was given, she sets her fork down. It seems the gamine’s appetite is quite small. Resting back in her chair, she lifts her first glass of wine once more and takes a moderate sip. The question draws her gaze. “Yes. She and her newly hand-fasted husband have been more than kind to me. However I am certain to be imposition, however willingly accepted. Hopefully Healer Greengrass will allow me to live alone sooner than later.”

In fact, Magnus never /has/ seen her eating - and by all accounts he seems quite interested. Though he's not rude about it, his pale eyes flit up to watch the girl regularly, and he smiles when he sees that she seems to be enjoying the meal. When she ceases, he puts down his own fork and frowns mildly. "Did your meal agree with you, Miss Diderot?" He raises a hand to rub his fingers idly along his jaw, and nods at her response. "Good. This Greengrass - he's treating you well, so far?" Though it's hidden under his pleasant tone, there's something dangerous about the way he asks the question. "I would like to meet him, if you don't mind."

Rhyeline gazes at him in silence for a moment before giving a small, mild nod. “Yes, he has been quite kind. Were it not for his unfailing optimism, I doubt I would be here now. Four months able to only just barely keep a patient from the edge of death-” she pauses, lowering her gaze to take a small sip of wine. “He will forever have my admiration and gratitude.” Another small sip and she adds with a smile, “And the food is wonderful. I’m just not used to eating so much yet.”

After slowly nodding, Magnus offers the witch a cool smile. "Then I'm pleased on both counts. And do let Mr. Greengrass know that I'd enjoy making his acquaintance, if he's not too busy." The ambassador pushes the sparsely picked-at bowl of food away and picks up the white cloth napkin to dab at his face, then straightens in his seat and removes his wallet. A handsome sum of Muggle money - obviously far more than is needed - is placed on his side of the table half-under a side plate, and then he rises and extends a hand to her. "Could I convince you to join me for a short walk over to the Palace Gardens, Rhyeline?"

Rhyeline observes the British pounds placed on the table with interest. While for most wizards, the amount would have been an accident due to ignorance, but she knows that in this case, Magnus is deliberately generous. Placing her hand into his, she nods and murmurs, “Yes, of course.” Her fingertips touch the table’s surface, and she rises with great care. There is a brief pause as she stands with her eyes closed. The dizziness passes quickly and with that soft, enigmatic smile of hers, she lifts her gaze once more.

In the moment that Rhye's eyes close and she seems to waver in place, Magnus's own eyes widen slightly. He steps closer to her, his arm going around her waist to steady her (and hold her up in case she falls down) - though when it passes and the young woman's gaze lifts, he immediately steps back and withdraws his arm. "Perhaps it would be better if I simply accompanied you back to your friend's flat, madamoiselle." Though he's smiling at her mildly, his gaze is rather stern.

Rhyeline’s brows furrow ever so slightly. “Sir, I assure you I am alright. The dizziness. It is only when I stand suddenly. I am well enough to walk with you.” The girl’s eyes are steady and unflinching as she meets his. At her sides, her hands have balled into tiny fists.

Magnus glowers for several seconds, and then offers a wry smile to his dinner companion. "Very well." He reaches back down for her hand and scoops it up - it could hardly be called gentle, though he's obviously being careful not to hurt her - and steps back to her side. "We shall walk. As your employer, I'm ordering you to address me as Magnus. Any further infractions will result in your temporary dismissal from my service." His smile has turned into a smirk, and he motions casually towards the front of the restaurant. "After you, Miss Diderot." He'll follow her out (whether or not she keeps his hand), only pausing at the door for a moment to retrieve his frock coat.

Upon being ordered with such severity to address him as Magnus, a subtle flush appears in her pale features and at last her gaze wavers. To the smirk, she nods with a subtle meekness. “Forgive me.” At the door, she slips into her coat and hat once more. Unless her hand is retaken, she would slip both of hers into her pockets and follow at a slow, relaxed pace. Stepping out into the cool, fair night, the girl lifts her dark gaze to the starlit sky. In the gentle haze of the streetlamps and starts, her eyes seem to shine.

Perhaps more than any show of defiance or anger might have, the girl's quiet request for forgiveness catches Magnus off guard. He blinks at her, hardly looking at her again until they're outside and he's pulled his coat on. Though Rhye may be watching the sky, the gaunt man a couple of paces off to her side seems to be primarily concerned with watching /her/ in an almost-wary manner. Eventually he turns to look ahead so that he can guide them towards the long lane that bisects the Gardens. "You needn't take me so seriously," he says, looking sidelong at her again and then grinning. "Is this the first time you've seen the night sky since you were admitted?"

“I could watch the stars from my room. But they are much more beautiful without the glare of the glass,” she murmurs as she continues to gaze up at the stars. Looking sidelong to him in return, she watches him for a few steps before saying rather softly, “It was a beautiful room. But I am glad to be out. To be walking. To be useful once more.”

"Of course. They are very lovely." Though he's speaking of the stars, Magnus is still looking at the girl as he says this - in fact, he seems to be deliberately probing her gaze with his. Eventually he steps slightly closer and extends his hand to her again, though rather than taking hers he simply holds his a few inches a way, palm-up, to give her the option of accepting or not. "I understand. I hope you understand my concern for you. Whether or not you intended to, Rhyeline, you've indebted me to you tremendously."

Rhyeline slows to a stop and gazes up at him with a silent, steady regard, considering him as his hand remains extended. Though she does not yet take his hand, it doesn’t seem that she has refused it either. She has merely not yet made her choice. As she gazes at him unblinkingly, her dark, enigmatic gaze shining in the lamplight, she says softly, “You aren’t. I stepped forward to protect your work. The negotiations. To prevent the oncoming storm.”

Magnus stops along with the girl, his face temporarily wreathed in darkness - he's turned away from the same street lamp which is bathing Rhye in soft light. Oddly, his grey eyes seem to remain just as bright as before. His hand stays extended, palm up, with his fingers slightly open - expectant. "Rhyeline," he says, his voice suddenly preternaturally calm. The usual diplomatic affability has fled in an instant. "That storm will wash over this country, sweeping everything asunder. It is already almost too late."

“Not almost. It is. That is why we turn our focus now to the Statute of Secrecy.” A pause as her gaze lingers upon his offered hand. Lifting her gaze to his eyes she murmurs, “In the two years I served you, never once did you offer me your hand like this.” As she watches him, her gaze is searching. Perhaps though the girl sees many things, she does not understand as much as she would like in this case.

"You misunderstand me. I know there is no longer any hope of preserving the status quo - but it is also nearly too late to deal with the Statute before doing so becomes an exercise in futility." The tall wizard looks down at the girl, his eyes locked on hers, his lips drawn out in a thin line. "You impressed me professionally when we met. And you have proven extremely useful, as an assistant, where many others would not." He leans down, very close to her now, though he's careful not to touch her. "But I never knew that you were so loyal to the cause - and loyal to me. I need you." Though he maintains his calm gaze, his chest is rising and falling more rapidly, now. "Take my hand, Rhyeline."

In silence she stands, her dark eyes transfixed as she stares up into his pale grey gaze. As her delicate hand is placed in his, he will feel how cold it has grown in such a short time. It rests there as she continues to simply watch him, unwavering, yet guarded.

As she takes his hand, Magnus wraps his fingers around hers; despite how gaunt he is, he's quite warm, his palm radiating heat into hers. He stands still, allowing the moment to stretch out in the cool autumn air. Then, slowly, he bends down to kiss her forehead gently, chastely. "You're so cold, Rhyeline. Let me take you home."

Lowering her gaze, she accepts the chaste kiss pressed to her forehead. A nod is given in reply and for a time she walks along next to him in silence. “And soon,” she murmurs at last, “I will speak more with Mr. Sullivan, and of course I will try to meet Mr. Malfoy. Is there anything else?”

"For now, that will be sufficient," Magnus says, his tone warmer than usual - though something in his voice is as expectant as his outstretched hand was earlier, saying 'there will be more'. Still, his lips curl up in an easy smile, and after walking alongside the young woman for a short while he pauses, unlinks his hand from hers, and removes his thicker coat so that he can drape it over her shoulders. His hand soon finds hers once again, and the conversation turns towards lighter subjects as they make their way through the heart of London and towards the girl's erst

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