(1937-12-11) The Politician and the Budding Diplomat
Details for The Politician and the Budding Diplomat
Summary: Having gone down to the courtroom section of the Ministry of Magic, Rhyeline happens upon Cassius in the entry lobby where he then invites her to join him for lunch. The two linger upon matters regarding the unification movement, but just before she leaves, she asks about Ambassador Troy's hearing.
Date: Tuesday December 11, 1937
Location: Courtrooms, MoM

It is a fall morning. The weather is warm and overcast.

Courtrooms - Ministry Of Magic - London

The Wizengamot Courtrooms comprise ten identical rooms. Upon entering one of the courtrooms from the hallway a short aisle leads to a round space in the middle of the room. Exactly in the center of the room, resting upon a small dais, sits a plain wooden straight back chair. This chair has a remarkably short seat, no cushion, high arm rests, and all-in-all looks to be extremely uncomfortable. Approximately three feet of empty floor space separate this solitary chair from a short wooden wall behind which the chairs for the members of the Wizengamot witnessing and judging a case are arranged in steep tiers, circling the lone chair and looming over it. This circle is only broken by the narrow entry aisle on one side and the large, throne-like seat directly opposite the aisle and reserved for the wizard or witch chairing the inquisition.

Cassius stands in the entry lobby of the Wizengamot, deep in the dungeons of the Ministry building. He nods to another well-dressed gentleman, pointing to an open file in the man's hands. "If he hasn't got a Form 214-Sigma, he's violated Section 6. It could cause the entire case to be thrown out." The other man, suddenly looking quite worried, gives Cassius a firm nod and thanks before departing. Cassius steps over to the secretary's desk to receive a note, and exchange a subtle smile with the woman. "Thank you, Belinda."

Rhyeline is just on her way out, stepping into the lobby from one of the hallways leading deeper into the Ministry dungeons. In fact she passes the worried looking wizard as he hurries off away from Cassius. Hands clasped behind her back, the little witch pauses, watching the man. Though her manner seems perfectly calm and composed, she hesitates for several moments before at last drifting towards him. “Good morning, Mr. Malfoy,” she says softly in greeting. A small, pleasant smile touches her reserved features.

Cassius tucks the note away into an inner pocket of his jacket, and turns to smile warmly at Rhyeline. "Miss Diderot, what a lovely surprise. What brings you down to the dungeon? You must be here on behalf of Ambassador Troy, I would imagine."

“I was delivering a message on his behalf, yes,” murmurs Rhyeline with a small nod. Averting her gaze in subtle shyness, she hesitates before peeking back up at him. “I was wondering if I’d run into you here. I hope you are well?“ After all, it’s almost lunch time and he seems to be on his way out already.

Cassius dips his head appreciatively. "I'm quite well, thank you." A lie, but a common one. "I was just thinking about you the other day. Were the hairs on your neck standing up?" he jokes.

When he mentions he had been thinking of her just recently, Rhyeline’s shyness seems to deepen and she can’t keep her features from warming. “Truly? I can’t say I felt such a premonition, but then I never felt that I had any particular aptitude for divination.”

"Too true, which is why it is so important that our relationship with the Muggle world be addressed." The door to the lobby opens, and a young wizard enters with a leather bag marked with the logo of a wizarding restaurant. "Ah, excellent. Lunch is here. Would you care to join me, Miss Diderot? If you don't mind a working lunch, that is." He gestures toward the corridor leading to the various Wizengamot offices, including his own.

Rhyeline’s dark gaze lingers upon the bag of food a moment before peeking up at Cassisus. “Are you sure? I… I would be honored to join you for lunch, but I do not wish to impose.” Hands clasped behind her back still, she does not yet move to follow, wanting to make sure his invitation was sincere.

Cassius tilts his head in mock-admonishment. "My dear, I would hardly offer if I wasn't sure. Please, join me." He even offers his arm this time, beckoning with his other hand for the delivery man to follow.

A subtle blush warms her cheeks once more. Offering him a shy smile, she draws close and dipping into a respectful curtsy, she slips a hand under his arms and tucks it into the crook of his elbow. "In that case, I would love to join you for lunch, sir. You are most kind." Keeping close to his side, she murmurs, "What they say is true… about how one can see a man's true character not by how he treats his equals? You are truly most noble of character, sir."

Cassius leads her deeper into the dungeon until they come to his surprisingly small office. Just a little chamber, possibly once a prison cell, now crammed with his desk, several file cabinets, a bureau, and a pair of chairs for visitors. After directing the delivery man to deposit the foot on his desk (and there is certainly more than Cassius could eat), he tips the man generously and sends him on his way. "I hope you are not suggesting that I see you as anything but an equal. Nevertheless, I do not subscribe to that philosophy, myself. How one treats others is a measure of civility, to be sure. But I feel that character is something much deeper, and not so easy to define. Please, sit. You are welcome to anything." He gestures to the three boxes of food, most of which are finger-foods, for easy consumption while working.

Rhyeline’s appetite is small, even for a girl so slight. Sitting across from him at his desk, she delicately selects little pieces of food from each of the three boxes and nibbles slowly. “I agree that truly measuring a person’s character is not a simple task. But I think that what one does when they think no one is looking, or at least, no one important is looking, tells a great deal. Someone who mistreats a waiter while showing great reverence to their supervisor shows a great deal about their self. And the kindness you have shown me is beyond mere civility.”

Cassius takes a seat behind his desk, already opening a case file to look over while they talk and eat. "Thank you. I won't disagree. But I also deal daily with expert liars and sycophants of all sorts, so I suppose I'm a bit jaded when it comes to judging someone based on outward behaviour. But I believe you are correct in that. If you can observe someone's treatment of others when they believe there will be no negative consequences, you can learn remarkable things about them."

“Indeed. When dealing with you, these liars and sycophants are trying to manipulate someone important. But in Germany, I was often overlooked and it the changes in behavior I noticed were quite telling. Unless of course I had been noticed and they were hoping to gain access to the Ambassador through me.” With his attention focused on the open file, the girl seems a bit more at ease. Resting back in her chair, her gaze drifts throughout his office with quiet curiosity.

Cassius swallows a bite of a wrap with some sort of chicken-like meat in it. "I wasn't always 'someone important.' I started out in the Wizengamot as a clerk. Believe me, I've seen all sides of it. You're not wrong, though. Lips were much looser around me when I was perceived as nobody of importance."

Rhyeline smiles softly as she peeks up at him. “Might not have been in a position of power or importance, but I don’t think that one bearing the name of Malfoy could ever be completely disregarded.”

Cassius chuckles, "Perhaps not. But you might be surprised at how many people enjoyed the opportunitiy to look down on a Malfoy and send me on pointless errands." He doesn't seem especially disturbed by it now.

Rhyeline blinks, not having considered how some might show contempt to such a respected and powerful family name. “Yes, I suppose you’re right. I was most fortunate to be selected by Ambassador Troy. Though he rarely paid much notice to me, he was most polite and never did things like that.”

Cassius nods, closing a file and setting into the "Done" pile. "Of course. An ambassador understands the need for civility better than most. Though, what possible reason would he have treat you ill? You are an intelligent and, from what I gather, loyal assistant."

“I take my work very seriously. But not all share your wise attitude regarding civility. I witnessed many dignitaries snapping at their underlings, taking their frustrations and anxieties out on those beneath them. Even when the Ambassador was at his most concerned regarding the situation in Germany, he was never unkind, nor did he lose a civil manner. It is a quality I appreciate.”

Cassius smiles approvingly, glancing up from his current file. "It sounds as if Mr. Troy and I could get along famously. I don't understand those that mistreat their underlings. It demonstrates a basic lack of understanding of the structure of power. No man can stand at the top without a strong foundation beneath him. I tend to think it's merely common sense. But then, I've also learned just how uncommon common sense is."

Rhyeline smiles and a soft impish laughter slips from her. “Yes. Yes. It is quite a misnomer. Sometimes things that seem so simple, so obvious, no one else seems to realize it, no? But then perhaps it is the simple, sensible truths that are the most difficult to share, because they replace equally simple but deeply held misconceptions. Blind attachments to other ways. You might say the need to adopt transparency in dealing with muggles, to do away with lies and deceit for good will never come of them, this is a very simple common sense truth. And yet others cling to complicated, less so sensible ways through mere fear of change.”

Cassius grins broadly, now distracted from his work. "Ah, now you are flattering me," he teases. "But you are so right. I believe it all comes back to fear. Fear of change causes a man to cling to the familiar, even when the familiar is what causes him pain and struggle."

Another soft laugh escapes the girl as he teasingly accuses her of flattering him. However at his mention of clinging to the familiar despite the pain, Rhyeline seems to grow more solemn and at last she nods. “This is true. I am glad though that there are those among us that are not afraid to speak out and act in order to make their hands pull back from the flame that burns…”

"So you said that you haven't given the forum much thought. But surely their words must have had some impact on you. Have you no new opinions on the issue of repealment? Have I finally convinced you of my point of view?" Cassius gives her a wry smirk.

Rhyeline hesitates, biting her lower lip as she continues to smile up at him. “They brought up many good points. But… of course there are going to be serious draw backs to any change that takes place in society. The main question is whether or not the cons will outweigh the pros and that… well, that is more a matter of opinion in the end.”

Cassius's eyes dance at her, utterly amused. "You should be a politician." Hopefully that's a compliment, coming from a politician. "What is your opinion, Miss Diderot?"

Rhyeline’s smile remains despite how her shyness seems to deepen at what is meant as a compliment. “I’d rather be a diplomat. Though, I don’t suppose that is very different than a politician. It merely concerns international politics over national. I see you aren’t going to let me get away without giving you my own opinion though. I think… I think that if it were up to me? Truly? I think that there must be a middle ground. A place where we can stand without the lies, where we can intervene directly and put a stop to these silly wars, but without stirring up the violence and destruction that such a sudden, drastic change would cause. Whether a feasible middle ground exists however, I have not yet decided. I need to give the matter more thought. If it isn’t, then… well I would probably say that I would be most likely to side with your views. I think that the long-lasting good that would come of reuniting all of humanity, muggles and magical folk, it far outweighs the temporary bad.”

Cassius nods as he listens, carefully absorbing every word. "If I may say so without offending, you seem to have fallen for a bit of the opposition's rhetoric. The assumption that unity would be a sudden and drastic chance is the hyperbole my detractors use to discredit me. I have never claimed that we would sweep in, and in fact I have stated the opposite. My plan involves a gradual and careful approach, starting with the Muggle leaders, and working with them to educate the Muggles about us to avoid just that sort of shock and reactionary violence."

Rhyeline smiles and nods, not the least bit offended. Once she receives this new understanding, she easily adapts her own stance. “In that case, I think it is safe to say that we are in agreement. You seem to have already sought the middle ground between bringing about unity and avoiding the violence of sudden change.”

Cassius nods, furrowing his brow in an outward show of displeasure. "So true. Many would like to see us conquer the Muggles outright. Again, sense does not prevail. The opposition is right about one thing. The Muggles possess weapons of incredible power, and outnumber us a thousand to one. No matter how mighty our magic, conquest would be devastating to both sides. Besides, it isn't what I want. I want to guide the Muggles, teach them, help them to realize their true destiny. What that is, I do not know. But neither do I believe that it has been realized yet."

Rhyeline nods. “Indeed. I hope that your moderation and wisdom will prevail, sir.” Bowing her head to him, she murmurs, “Thank you so much for inviting me to join you for lunch. I should really be getting back to work though. And I’m sure you have a great deal that you need to concentrate on.” With great care, she rises from her chair. Looking to him once more, she murmurs with a soft, shy smile, “It was both an honor and a pleasure. I… well, to be honest, I was hoping I might see you when I came down here this morning.”

Cassius rises when Rhyeline does, ever observant of gentlemanly ritual. He steps around the desk, tucking one hand behind his back and offering the other to her. "It pleases me to know that. I couldn't be more delighted at your visit."

Rhyeline lowers her gaze and blushes, not quite used to such treatment. But she knows to place her delicate hand in his. Her hand is rather cold to the touch. “I… well… until Ambassador Troy’s hearing, I might see more of you for a time.” At the mention of the trial, she pauses. Biting her lower lip, she peeks over at Cassius hesitantly. When she speaks it is rather halting and timid. “Forgive me. I… I know it probably isn’t very appropriate of me to ask but… I’ve been… rather worried. Do… do you know anything… about the Ambassador’s hearing? I feel… responsible you see. He is in trouble for protecting me.”

Cassius lifts her hand to place a light, chaste kiss on her knuckle. Just the barest brushing of his lips. "I fear I know little about the case. It wasn't assigned to me. It's curious, though…how a new prosecutor was brought it at the last minute, causing the hearing to be postponed. Highly unusual." He moves to the door, opening it for her. "If I hear anything more, I'll be certain to let you know anything I can when next you visit."

Rhyeline gazes up at him in silence, distracted for the moment as he places such a gentle kiss to her knuckle. However when he mentions the unusual proceedings regarding the prosecuter, the girl blinks, returning to the present with a worried furrow of her brow. “A new prosecutor? What… what do you think it means? Do… do you know who the prosecutor is?”

"Of course," Cassius nods. "Ursula Shacklebolt. One of our best. She has quite a record of convictions. I don't know her well, personally, as she's a fairly private woman. Though I daresay she opened up quite a bit after a few glasses of wine at the M.L.E. Christmas party two years ago." He chuckles softly, "Ah, listen to me gossipping. Ignore me, please." He gives her another wry smirk.

Rhyeline gazes up at him with a quiet gratitude, but it seems the news of the prosecutor’s conviction record only deepens her anxiety. Biting her lower lip, she works to smooth her features, to maintain an appropriate composure. “Such a prosecutor they changed to at the last minute? But the Ambassador… he was trying to protect me. And my dear friend Annie. My stunning spells were too weak and if he hadn’t… if he hadn’t…” The girl’s eyes begin to glisten. She has not spoken yet of what happened that night and falling silent, she looks away, ashamed of her display of emotion. Swallowing, she murmurs in a low, quiet voice, “Forgive me. I… I should go. Thank you very much for lunch, Mr. Malfoy.”

Cassius nods in understanding. "Do not fret, my dear. Nothing is ever hopeless, and no obstacle is insurmountable. Do give Mr. Troy my regards." He gives her a half-bow at the waist as she goes.

“Thank you, sir. I… I truly appreciate your reassurance. I will be sure to give him your regards. Please. Have a pleasant afternoon.” Then, with a little curtsy, she turns and heads off down the corridor, head bowed.

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