(1937-12-14) Two Rings
Details for Two Rings
Summary: Magnus gives Frank a new assignment.
Date: December 14, 1937
Location: Watershed
Related: TBA

Watershed London

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

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.

Though Frank has been summoned to Watershed on a fairly regularly basis over the past several weeks, this time is different; up until now Magnus had merely instructed him to appear at regular intervals, twice per week. Now, however, the translator has received an owl with a message instructing him to appear as soon as reasonably possible. The ambassador is sitting in the main room just past the entry hall sipping on a glass of a red wine with an expression that is both thoughtful and harrowed on his gaunt features. Today he's still in his grey suit, having neglected to change into something more comfortable upon arriving at his residence. Now and then his eyes flit to the door as he awaits the arrival of his erstwhile servant.

The evening timing means that Frank has - presumably - just come off work. Certainly, he's in his work clothes, though the line between 'work' and 'casual' is a tedious one, with him: he tends to give the vague impression of being a man who wears cheap suits for every daytime occasion except, perhaps (and only perhaps) a trip to the seaside. He has, regardless, made this venture enough for it to be a smooth process. A minute or two after he first comes into sight, he's knocking on the door, hat in hand and expression blankly amiable.

At the knock upon the door, Magnus is up in an instant. He moves across the room with surprising speed and pulls the heavy bronze slab open, then waits for Frank to make his way in before closing it once more. "Good evening, Mr. Weasley. Good evening. Sit down." Apparently he isn't in the mood to waste time with too many pleasantries today, or the usual news about the other man meddling with various diplomatic communications. He paces back to the coffee table and pours a second glass of wine, then sits down and folds his hands over his lap. "Have some wine with me."

"Good evening, sir." You'd really think Frank was here on his own free will, with the pleasant friendliness of his tone. He smells faintly of cigar smoke, a recent addition to his persona, though none of the stinking horrors are (thank god) on his person now. Trailing obediently after the ambassador, he takes a seat, hat set absentmindedly on the floor by his feet. "Thank you, sir. Happy to." Wine! Something he actually enjoys! Things are looking up.

Magnus picks up his own glass of wine, though he doesn't yet drink any. From the looks of the bottle, he's already finished off a good half of it. He reaches into his suit coat and pulls out a sheaf of papers, then sets them down in front of Frank. "I spoke to Miss Cooper, and managed to convince her I'd been writing a… thriller, of sorts." He grins, and there's something not entirely friendly in the expression when he does. "Since you're ostensibly a collaborator, I think you should spend some time reviewing it. By the way, have you spoken to any other MLE personnel since you met with Gene… Miss Cooper?"

"Yes, sir," Frank says, blandly: the prospect of reviewing someone's half-baked novel evidently holds no terrors for him. Setting his glass down after a few sips, he reaches absently for the sheaf, doing no more than glancing at the uppermost page before depositing the thing in his lap. "No sir," he adds, placidly in response to the question. "I haven't, to the best of my knowledge. She's the only MLE member I'm acquainted with."

"Good man," Magnus responds. He takes a small sip of his own wine, then reaches into his pocket again. There's a worried look etched on his face - one that probably won't be terribly difficult for Frank to spot in spite of the curse-induced stupor. The ambassador stretches his hand out so that it's hovering a foot or so away from the other man. "Open your hand, Mr. Weasley. I have something for you."

"Is everything all right, sir?" There's nothing in Frank's expression but placid, friendly concern, the corners of his mouth slightly downturned, his pale eyebrows slightly raised. Well - there's also that vaguely baked undertone, but that's normal nowadays. "Yes sir," he adds, dutifully, as he extends his hand to take the mystery object.

When he opens his fingers, something small drops from his palm into Frank's hand. Magnus withdraws his own and sets is back at his side, then leans back on the sofa. He's given the translator two small, elegant rings - one for a man and one for a woman, the latter obvious because of its thin, curving band. "Everything is fine, Mr. Weasley," Magnus says, his lips curling down at the corners. He seems keen to get off of the subject, and goes on quickly: "I'd like you to perform another small job for me. I'd like you to engrave runes that will activate a Confundus charm on the wearer of the woman's ring - but only when the wearer of the man's ring twists it on his finger." He lifts his wine glass to his lips, tilts it up, then lets out a small sigh of satisfaction. "I can perform the Charmwork again, of course."

"I can certainly try," Frank says, a trifle cautiously, as he examines the rings, brow furrowing. "But I… don't know how to do that, sir. Especially on such small items. You would want an artificer, surely." He glances up, looking gravely apologetic - and perhaps a tich like a dog that's not quite sure if it's about to be hit or not. Tentatively he adds: "Are you getting married, sir?" Because obviously Magnus would hex any woman he got engaged to. OBVIOUSLY.

Magnus frowns more deeply, and raises a hand to rub at his forehead. "Go ahead and try it, Weasley. Keep trying, if you need to, until you think you've got it right." He doesn't look especially hopeful, although there's no harm in seeing if the other man gets lucky enough to engrave something passable. He tilts his glass up again and nearly chokes at the question. "Wh… /no/, Weasley, I'm not getting married. Merlin's beard." He glares at the unwitting fellow, looking half disgusted and half amused, then motions towards the door. "Take the rings with you and do your best, Mr. Weasley. I'll see you at the same time in two days, I think."

"Yes, sir. Sorry, sir," says Frank, dutifully. "I'll… buy some rings to practice on." Because he's a GOOD little minion. And because he might well be exploding something in the process of trying to do this. The jewelry is slipped into a pocket as he stands, collecting up his hat and his dignity. "Two days, then." Even being Imperius'd can't totally muffle the look of mild dismay on his face, like a schoolboy who just received an assignment he isn't prepared for.

"Good, do that. Let me know if you need additional funds. Once this job is successfully completed I'll be happy to pay you quite well for it." Perhaps /that/ will motivate the poor, shabbily-dressed fellow where an evil curse can't quite manage. Magnus continues to lean back, relaxed and complacent, on the sofa as Frank makes his way out. Just before the translator leaves, though, he suddenly sits up and clears his throat. "Oh! Mr. Weasley- there, on the shelf. There's another box of cigars for you. Take them. And enjoy."

Aw, goddamnit. Frank definitely looks outright dismayed, now. "Yes, sir," the translator says, glumly, before taking his stinking package, tipping his hat, and getting the hell out of dodge.

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