(1937-11-25) A Last Will and Testament
Details for A Last Will and Testament
Summary: Magnus summons Rhyeline to his office at the Ministry, late at night, to share with her his last will and testament. It names the girl as his sole inheritor should he vanish or die.
Date: Sunday, November 25, 1937
Location: International Cooperation - MoM

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

International Cooperation – Ministry of Magic - London

This floor of the Ministry of Magic houses only a few plush offices for the wizards and witches that serve as administrators and mediators in the Department of International Magical Cooperation. The rest of the floor is dedicated to many meeting rooms that run from small rooms meant for four to five people at most to one particularly large auditorium who's tiered seating area rivals the United Nations' General Assembly Hall in grandeur and size. Unknown to most a small kitchen is hidden behind the administrative offices and secret passageways run everywhere behind the meeting rooms allowing a staff of house-elves to unobtrusively provide catering for any of the meetings held in the department.

It's a fall night, several hours after sundown; normally Magnus doesn't stick around the Ministry this long, especially on weekends, but he's got a backlog of paperwork to take care of. A few hours before, he'd owled a note to his assistant asking her to swing by the International Department if she had time at some point during the evening.

The man is seated behind his desk with a stack of papers in front of him. He's writing out a message on a piece of ruled parchment, a quill in one hand and a glass of what looks to be brandy or something similar in the other. The office is fairly spacious and well-appointed, but it's clear that the ambassador spends relatively little time here; everything has the too-tidy look of a place that is scarcely put to, and despite the richness of the desk and chairs, there are no decorations save for a single bland painting on one of the walls.

At the Ministry. Rhyeline had breathed a sigh of relief when she received the Ambassador’s owl. The thought of the man still sends crickets leaping in her belly. Not having been able to sort out her feelings for him, she has done her best in recent days to avoid private encounters, preferring to send most confidential messages by way of her origami notes.

Stepping out of the lift, the little one nods politely to the one or two other IMC employees burning the late-night oil, plodding away at their desks. Hands clasped behind her back, she makes her way to the Ambassador’s door. A characteristically soft, unobtrusive knock announces her presence.

For his own part, Magnus seems to have been too busy to attempt another face-to-face with Rhyeline up until now; in fact, she'd have heard little from him save for what was strictly necessary under for their professional relationship to go on unhindered. At the sound of the knocking, the man reaches into his pocket for his wand and points it towards the door, which quickly swings open. He smiles at the small girl standing in the frame and indicates the chair across from him with a nod. "Good evening, Rhyeline. You can come in - close the door after yourself, please."

Rhyeline dips into a respectful curtsy as the door swings open. “Yes, sir. Good evening.” Slipping into his office, she closes it obediently behind her. While she carries nothing in her hands, at a moment’s notice she can pull her short, slender little wand from her cardigan’s pocket and set to taking notes should he require it. With the door closed, she slowly turns to look to him, a profound shyness in her young, dark gaze. “Magnus.”

Magnus has gone back to looking down at his papers as the girl steps into the room, though his brows arch up at the 'sir'. He slowly sets the quill down and looks up, though when she calls him by his given name his pale lips twist into a grin. "You remembered. Good girl." He leans back in his chair, simply observing her for a few seconds, before he exhales and tilts his head slightly to one side. "How did you like your flat, Miss Diderot?"

Rhyeline blinks at the praise. Something in how he said it brings subtle warmth to her soft, pale features. In the gentle evening light given off by the enchanted ministry lamps, the man may also notice an improvement to the girl’s complexion. Though her skin remains quite pale, it no longer seems to be the pallor of one lingering near the edge of death. Instead of ashen, it seems pure and untouched as fresh fallen snow. “It was…” she hesitates, trying to find words. Her gentle blush deepens at the thought of his extravagant generosity. “I couldn’t believe a home could be so beautiful and so warm and reassuring at once. But… it… it is… so much more than… than what I could accept." Rhyeline lowers her gaze as her cheeks glow with her profound shyness.

"I'm glad that you liked it," Magnus says, though his tone is even and measured - and perhaps mildly cautious, considering the girl's response. He taps a finger on the surface of his desk a moment, then sets the quill down and pushes his chair back. "Is that a refusal, then, madamoiselle?" Although the man's tone remains neutral, his smile has faded, and unlike when she'd entered, his attention has now centered wholly on the slim girl in front of him. He forces his lips to tick up at the corners of his mouth in the slightest of smiles and motions towards the other chair once again. "Please sit."

Rhyeline bites her lower lip as his smile fades. For a time, she simply gazes at him, taking in every last detail of his clear grey eyes. Obediently, she drifts to sit in the chair across from him at his desk. “N-not…” She pauses to gather her thoughts, trying to calm herself to keep from wavering in her speech. “Not a refusal. But… the rent… I don’t know if I will be able to afford it, sir. I’ve been trying not to ask my parents for any assistance.”

The ambassador smiles somewhat more naturally when Rhyeline sits down as requested; he waits for her to settle in, then merely shakes his head and lifts the glass on the table to take a sip. "Oh. Would you care something to drink? Water? Brandy?" He moves his chair back to its original position and casually moves the papers he was working on to one side of his desk, then leans forward. "The rent isn't a concern. The flat has already been leased in your name for a year, and the rent and expenses have been taken care of."

Rhyeline nods to his offer, but does not voice which. It will be for him to choose what she means. Upon hearing that the flat is already hers, paid in full for an entire year, the little one is left speechless. With a widened gaze, she stares up at Magnus, lips parted. “Sir…” she dips her head, forgetting for a moment the man’s instructions as she reverts to a more instinctive form of address. And she keeps her head bowed, hands clasped tightly in her lap and cheeks as pink and warm as possible. “Thank you.” And that is all that she can find to say. But that simple phrase of acceptance holds so much. The girl seems to understand that were she a mere fleeting interest, a passing fancy, he would not have paid so far into the future.

When the girl doesn't specify what she'd like, Magnus merely smiles and reaches down to open up one of the drawers of his desk. He pulls out a decanter of brandy and an extra glass, fills the latter, and puts the former back into the drawer. The glass is slid forward towards his assistant - this is almost certainly breaking Ministry protocol in several ways even if it is after-hours, but he doesn't look especially concerned. "There's no need to thank me, Rhyeline." He hasn't closed the drawer yet; he reaches back down and retrieves a plain manilla packet from inside before sliding it shut. The packet is also laid out on the desk in front of the waifish girl; the ambassador watches her, his gaze suddenly quite intense, though he can't see her eyes at the moment. "Open it."

Rhyeline peeks up at the glass of brandy as the gaunt man slides it towards her. The little one bites her lower lip, but doesn’t hesitate enough for her to have been expecting water. Or perhaps she is simply easily accepting of the Ambassador’s choice. Regardless, she brings it to her lips and takes a small sip before the manila packet is presented to her. Setting down the brandy, she lifts her gaze to the man’s intense stare and hesitates. But only for a moment. Looking to the packet once more, she obediently opens it with great care.

Inside the packet is a set of carefully drawn up legal papers which it won't take Rhyeline long to recognize: it's a last will and testament. It also makes it very clear that everything in Magnus's possession will transfer to Rhyeline in the case of his death or disappearance, listing various sums and properties he's accumulated over his career. He's /clearly/ been making more than a diplomat's salary, given the sorts of numbers and material possessions that are so carefully itemized on the parchment. He waits a few seconds, taking another drink or two of his brandy in the meanwhile, and then grins. "A precaution, Miss Diderot. Given the events that occurred in Germany recently, I'd rather make sure that things are squared away, just in case."

Rhyeline reads it. And again. As a competent assistant to a busy ambassador, the girl is much accustomed to the technical language of legal documents, but she keeps blinking, as if what she sees simply does not make sense. At last she lifts her gaze to the man. In her dazed state, her mask of composure has vanished entirely, leaving her sitting before him as the lost, young girl that she is. “Magnus…” she murmurs faintly.

"Yes, Rhyeline?" The ambassador's grin remains; he seems pleased by her response. Magnus doesn't reply at first, but simply drinks in her gaze, occasionally lifting his glass to his lips to drain a portion of the brandy within. Before she can formulate a proper response, he holds up a hand in a preemptive gesture. "I've told you that I care deeply for you. Perhaps you didn't believe me, but there's no one else I'd rather leave things to, were another attempt on my life successful. My parents are quite well-off already. And anyway, who else could properly carry on my work?"

Rhyeline shifts forward in her chair. It is the closest that the little one has ever come to moving to embrace someone other than her dear friend Annie. But she can’t seem to rise. Resting back in the chair, she gazes up at him, utterly lost, before she at last murmurs faintly, “Carry on your work… Magnus… I’m too young. They won’t… won’t appoint me your successor. I would… merely serve your replacement. Magnus I… I’m not… not worthy… not worthy of such a gift…” The little one seems almost scared- scared to accept.

Listening to her protests with a patient - but unaffected - expression, Magnus eventually shifts in his chair. He drains the last of his brandy away and then puts the empty glass down. "The Ministry? No, perhaps not. But that's irrelevant. You are capable of carrying on the spirit of my work, Rhyeline. And you are the /only/ one who's worthy of it. I trust you implicitly." After watching her face, and noting the apprehension there, his features soften and he stretches a hand out to her. "You need not accept. But consider it." Of course, if he puts it into effect, it will be willed to her regardless - but, at least on the surface, he seems to be giving her the option.

Rhyeline’s dark gaze lingers upon his outstretched hand and finds her hand moving of its own accord into his. Biting her lower lip, she watches her hand in his for a moment before peeking up into his eyes. “I have always done my best to serve you with everything I have, with everything I am. I have trusted in you, in how you have undertaken the work of Ambassador. I… I will strive to be worthy of this gift… should… should the need arise.”

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