(1937-12-29) The Subtleties of Human Interaction
Details for The Subtleties of Human Interaction
Summary: In Rhyeline's favorite coffee shop, Endira joins her by the fire. The talk about Endira's research in the Far East and her need for an assistant until Jacqueline arrives with the full, whirlwind force of her personality and insists that neither of the more reserved ones are really living.
Date: Saturday, December 29,1937
Location: Coffee shop, Diagon Alley

It is a winter day. The weather is cool and fair.

It’s only a matter of time before the healers catch wind of just how much coffee this little mouse drinks. Until then, she seems to be trying to drink as much as possible. In one of her favorite haunts, the coffee shop in Verdic Alley, Rhyeline is all curled up in the cushioned chair closest to the fire, warming both her hands against the side of a cinnamon mocha. An extremely old looking book on dueling rests open in her lap with an image depicting an archaic casting motion moving across the page.

Into the coffee shop steps the tall, blonde and elegant figure of Endira Max. Her attire for the day is a pale gold blouse of watered silk in the Mandarin cut she's been favoring recently and a dark, ankle-length skirt, and heels that are high enough not to be remotely sensible in this weather. Over it, she's added a dark cloak that shimmers faintly, and her hair has been drawn into a bun at the nape of her neck, secured with an ornament that's been decorated with the figure of an oriental dragon. She pauses at the counter, issuing her request in a quiet voice, and looks over the room.

Rhyeline’s dark gaze flickers in Endira’s direction as the fair young woman steps into the coffee shop. Her curiosity lingers a moment or so until the woman reaches the counter. Then, just as Endira’s gaze begins to sweep the room, Rhyeline returns her attention to the book in her lap. Bringing her mocha to her lips, she takes a slow, silent sip.

Awaiting her order to be filled, Endira has plenty of time to survey the space, and her fingers tap briefly on the counter's surface. A count of minutes, rather than a gesture of impatience. Upon being handed her cup of coffee, she wends her way through the tables, and chooses one of the other chairs near the fireplace. "Good afternoon." This greeting is addressed to the small figure in the other chair, a polite greeting.

Rhyeline notices Endira's presence, but it isn't until the woman speaks that the girl peeks up at her. Nodding in greeting, she murmurs, "Good afternoon." In silence her dark gaze takes in the ice queen's elegant features.

The ice queen's blue eyes study Rhyeline closely for a handful of seconds and then a thoughtful expression crosses Endira's features. "Pardon my intrusion, but have we met? I'm quite certain I've seen you before." She's got a good memory for faces, but she can't always remember why a face looks familiar.

Rhyeline closes the book in her lap. "I don't believe we have met. I haven't been in London for all that long.”

"Nor have I." Endira settles back in the chair, one leg crossing over the other, fingers of one hand cradling the cup. "I'm Endira Max. I've been traveling until just recently."

“Oh. In that case- perhaps we met abroad. I serve as assistant to Ambassador Magnus Troy. I was with him in Berlin,” says Rhyeline, gazing up at the woman with bright curiosity.

"Ah." Endira's expression brightens, and she offers a warm smile. "Magnus is a cousin, by marriage. Not mine, of course, but he's family. And you are Miss Rhyeline Diderot. We haven't met, as it happens, but I've seen you in passing."

Rhyeline blinks in surprise, but then a warm, shy smile touches her lips in return. Nodding to her, she says, “I am pleased to meet you at last then. You are- are perhaps Miss Veruca Max’s sister?”

"I'm Veruca's younger sister, yes. Are you acquainted with Rue?" Endira's smile warms further at the possible connection. Such things tend to make her job ever so much easier, after all.

Rhyeline nods, smiling over at the woman. “Yes, I had the good fortune of meeting her one afternoon in the Ambassador’s company. She is also a good friend of a neighbor of mine.”

"Of all of my siblings, I'm closest to Rue," Endira says, nodding. "Though I'm still in the process of catching up with the rest of the family. I do love the travel, but it tends to keep one rather out of touch with things."

Rhyeline nods in understanding. “I was my parents’ only child. But the distance brought about by travel has caused me to lose touch a bit with them as well. Which countries did you visit, if I might ask?” The girl’s gaze shines with a keen curiosity as she watches her.

"I understand." Endira has never been particularly close to her parents, and the travel hasn't helped, though it doesn't really bother her. "Most recently, I was in the Far East. On previous trips, however, I've been on the Continent as well as the middle East."

Rhyeline’s gaze brightens at the mention of such fascinating, far off places. “Truly? The Far East? I have read so much about those places. I even practice a bit of the paper folding that they do in Japan. And- and is it true that they eat their fish without cooking it?”

"Not all of the time," Endira replies, though she nods. "It's called sashimi, if it's just the fish, and sushi when there is rice and other ingredients. It's mostly found in Japan, though there are other places in Asia where one can find it."

“I know they have other dishes. But that one struck me the most. Sashimi and sushi. I read that it isn’t just raw fish, that there is an art to it. It sounds so strange but- I’m curious to try it. Was it good?” murmurs the girl. The conversation seems to be luring the little mouse out of her hole so to speak.

"There is very much an art to it." Endira nods. "I found it to be quite enjoyable, yes. Though I spent more time in China than Japan. The contrast between the cultures is most intriguing."

Rhyeline nods. “Indeed. And the political situation as well. There are storm clouds there just as there are here in the West.” The mouse lowers her gaze, contemplating the half-drunk mocha in her hands.

Endira sighs. "The political situation is a shame. The rising tensions have made things most inhospitable for foreign witches and wizards, which is among the reasons I chose to return home to finish compiling my notes on my research."

“Yes. Ambassador Troy was forced to return to London for similar reasons,” she murmurs with subtle lament. Taking another sip of her mocha, she then peeks up at the woman and asks, “I am curious, what were you doing that led you to travel so far and wide?”

"That's what I'd heard." Endira lets out another sigh, shaking her head over the situation. She's more than willing to let the topic shift to her travels. "Research. One might say I'm something of a student of history."

Rhyeline’s smile grows. “Truly? Perhaps you are familiar with my father’s work in the field of the History of Magic. Dillorous Diderot? He has written a number of books on the subject. He has just recently published a book on the Magi of the Near East.”

Endira's smile brightens. "Oh, yes, of course. I chanced to meet him, briefly, a few years ago. Though my own study involves researching the Muggles' version of events in addition to the magical history."

Rhyeline doesn’t seem surprised that she has met her father. However, hearing what the woman’s focus has been, the girl blinks and her curiosity certainly seems piqued. “Oh? How fascinating. Have you written anything?”

"Nothing remotely publishable, I'm afraid." Endira shakes her head. "My research isn't really meant to be shared with the general public, it's more for the sake of my own curiosity than anything else."

“Oh,” murmurs Rhyeline, disappointment flickering across her features. “That is a shame. I think that your views would contribute to an aspect of the field that is sorely neglected.”

"Ah, but such knowledge must be used wisely, do you not think so?" Endira's shoulders lift in a shrug. "There are surely those who would use it for the wrong reasons, which is why it must be kept to a select few. In some of the circles I frequent, the knowledge that such research is being done would bring to the fore some rather unsavory opinions."

“All knowledge is dangerous. Likes knives or fire, can cause great harm, but also good. Your understandings must be especially so. But as carefully as you guard it, I am sure you will use it well,” murmurs Rhyeline with a soft smile.

"There are certain connections that I have been able to draw over the course of several years," Endira says. "My understanding is, as yet, imperfect, though I grow ever closer to an answer with each location I research. This most recent trip was most informative, but I'm still compiling all of my notes, the better to draw the proper conclusions."

Rhyeline nods with a soft smile, “Well, if ever you do choose to share something with the world, I would be most curious to read what you have to say. Is that what you are doing here then? Reviewing your notes? Organizing things?”

Endira waves a hand, sipping from her cup. "Here? No. I'm in no hurry to finish the work, and so I've left my notes behind. However, every conversation is an opportunity to learn something."

“Oh? To learn what sort of things?” asks Rhyeline, tilting her head to the side, a bit like a curious kitten.

"Whatever I can." Perhaps Endira has sensed the curiosity, or perhaps she's just used to being vague. Possibly, it's some of both. "People hold an endless fascination for me."

“I see. You are a student of the subtle workings of human interaction,” murmurs the little one, gazing with unblinking fascination at Endira.

"That, too," Endira acknowledges. "Thus why my research is an ongoing process, and the knowledge still incomplete. I am always learning."

“I have never been able to make a formal study of it, but I find it fascinating to watch others, and to listen,” says Rhyeline with a soft smile.

"There's only so much one can learn from watching and listening, however." Endira sips more of her coffee. "I prefer to be engaged in the conversation, with regard to current events."

Rhyeline nods before taking a sip of mocha. Resting it down once more in her lap, she says, “Yes, your methods would not be the same as mine. We have different strengths, I think.”

"Indeed. That is not a bad thing. It would be terribly boring if everyone were good at the same things." Endira can appreciate the talents of others more so than most. "My methods are well suited to my work. Though after this most recent trip, I confess I'm considering looking for an assistant."

Rhyeline blinks and tilts her head to the side. “Are you? What happened in your recent trip to make you wish such a thing?” Bringing the mocha to close to her lips once more, she pauses and says, “You will need to be careful with whom you chose. Such dangerous knowledge. You should not overlook what an assistant can notice.”

"Oh, the trip in itself was fairly routine. However, upon arrival back at home, I realized that I had missed a great deal." Endira sighs, shaking her head. "I've been back just over a week, and I'm still catching up on everything. An assistant would be able to manage my affairs while I'm away, and create enough of a structure that I should be able to catch up fairly quickly. Though it will require a great deal of vetting, to be sure."

Rhyeline watches Endira curiously over the brim of her coffee cup. The two sit in cushy armchairs by the fireplace in the coziest little coffee shop. Resting her cup once more in her lap, Rhyeline asks in a soft tone, “You would wish an assistant to stay behind? Ah- I see. You mean that you missed so much here. Not that you would prefer a second set of eyes for your research.”

"A second set of eyes would also be invaluable, of course," Endira allows. "Among other things, it would allow me to spend less time abroad when I do travel, as the most important work is the compilation of my observations. Going over my notes could easily be done here, if there were someone to assist with the work."

Afternoon, Jacque still stuck in the city without assignment. The holidays are always such a boring time. The elegant, bombastic little red head saunters into the room on her just too high to be comfortable stilettos. Must be nice to be small and pull them off. She's wearing a tailored green suit with a skirt that is JUST a touch too short to be proper. She doesn't seem to mind. The woman turns on the ball of her foot and heads over for the counter, nodding to the waiter there.

“So much work you are putting into organizing your notes, and yet you intend to submit nothing for publication?” Rhyeline shakes her head with a small smile. “You are cruel, as my father might say.” Out of the corner of her eye, Rhyeline notices Jacqueline’s arrival. %r%tSuch a stunning woman with a powerful presence to match, of course the little one’s gaze is drawn. Having had such a whirlwind encounter with the woman so late at night, the mouse doesn’t recognize her at first. But after starting to look back at Endira, Rhyeline’s gaze is drawn a second time as recognition strikes. She sinks a bit deeper in her chair, watching as she heads for the counter before finally looking to Endira properly once more.

"Just because the work is not presently meant to be shared does not mean that it needs to be any less organized than something that is." Endira smiles as she speaks, though her attention is drawn to Jacque as soon as the other woman comes through the door. She notes Rhyeline's reaction and her smile sharpens, but she doesn't press, instead waiting for Jacqueline's attention to turn their way, at which point she'll wave.

Jacque is not a woman to be rushed. The Queen herself, or the Minister of magic could be waiting on Jacqueline and she would take her sweet old time. She leans against the counter, ordering tea with some very precise instructions on how it should be steeped and how much milk to add. A few knuts drawn out and she slides them across the counter to pay. She then scoops up the mug, sniffing at it and taking a sip before nodding in approval and turning away. That's when she spots the women. A feline smile stretches over her lips and she casually paces in their direction…"Endira. I feel like it's been ages and yet you haven't aged. Are you using those potions again?" She asks with a wink. "And… my little lady from the book shop. Still in one piece I see. Good!"

Like a mouse in the presence of two graceful felines, little Rhyeline remains rather quiet indeed. A subtle blush touches her cheeks as Jacqueline recognizes her. Nodding she murmurs, “Yes, miss. I have been careful to not walk alone at night so much.”

"Hello, Jacqueline. I might say the same about you." Endira's smile remains sharp as she looks up at the redhead. "I have no need of potions, however, I simply know better than most how to take care of oneself. And it hasn't been that long, in the grand scheme of things." She gestures with an elegant hand toward the mouse in the other chair. "You're acquainted with Miss Diderot?"

"Only just slightly. I kept her from a rather poor fate one night. All in a days work, you know. I am glad to see her in one piece now." Jacqueline gives that wide, white toothed grin in Rhyeline's direction, protective and proud at the same moment, then pale eyes flicker back up to her old friend and she tilts her head in quiet agreement. "All of that is true. Calling me on my bullshit already, Endira?" She winks.

Rhyeline’s dark, observant gaze flickers back and forth between the two acquainted ladies until their attention returns to her. As Jacqueline smiles both protective and proud, he girl can’t help but slide down just a bit in her chair as a deeper shyness settles upon her.

"Always," Endira replies, her smile warming. "How have you been? You look as lovely as ever. Something must surely be agreeing with you." She tilts her head to address Rhyeline, explaining, "Jacqueline and I have been acquainted for quite a long time."

"I'm bordd… bloody well bored. Stuck in London for the holidays, no real family around… no one to shag. It's bloody boring." Jacqueline huffs a bit, plopping down into a seat as close to gracelessly as she can manage. "And yourself, Endy?" Then she's pausing and looking over to Rhyeline. The edge of her high heel taps against the girl's calf. "Don't hide, speak up. Truly. Neither of us bite. Not women, at least."

Rhyeline nods at Endira’s words. That much had been clear to the girl. The edge of Jacqueline’s heel tapping against her leg causes the girl to blink and her gave shifts to Jacqueline. “I’m not hiding. Just listening.”

"Oh, you poor thing." Endira gives Jacque a sympathetic look. "I've just gotten back from the Orient. In time for the family's holiday events, of course, so there was that." When the redhead attempts to draw the mouse into the conversation, Endira lets out a delicate cough. "Speak for yourself, darling. I don't bite men, either. It isn't proper." She has that whole ice queen image to keep up, after all. "We were at school together, but we've run into each other for professional reasons as well. Jacqueline's in acquisitions."

"I woke up on someone's floor after a New Years Eve I don't remember and Endy there was stacked up in bed with a dozen men. I was suitably impressed. We've been best friends ever since." Jacqueline dead pans, her expression completely serious for a few heartbeats before that grin breaks across her red lips and she shares another one of her winks. "That's what you get for showing off your time in the Orient, dear."

Rhyeline has witnessed a fair few introductions involving those in ‘acquisitions’ as she says. Looking to Jacqueline, she nods once more, but then her eyes slowly widen. The innocent creature seems quite shocked by the woman’s deadpan assertion regarding the first time they met. Though it turns out to most likely be just a joke, the girl calms though she seems a bit unsettled by such humor.

"Don't believe a word she says, Rhyeline," Endira asserts, with a shake of her head. "Jacque's just jealous of my capacity for restraint and self-control. Mostly because she continues to insist that I would have ever so much more fun if I behaved as wantonly as she does."

"You WOULD have ever so much more fun if you did. But no, you insist on keeping ice between your th… gloves and never relaxing. One of these days, Endy.. I promise you. You can't run from enjoyment forever!" Jacque grins wider, used to this part of their relationship, even if she does geninely want to see Endira sit back and relax. She then looks back to Rhyeline and sees that shock, smirking deeper herself, "Oh. Not you too? Is everyone here a bloody ice queen?"

Rhyeline obviously finds Endira’s habits far more prudent. That doesn’t stop her from being fascinated by Jacqueline’s intense and extremely vibrant personality though. “It is not in my nature to do such things. The world would be a dull place if we were all the same, no?”

"I'm not an ice queen, I merely have exactingly high standards," Endira protests. "And Rhyeline has a point. The world would be a very boring place if we were all the same. Where would you be if you had no one to exert your very bad influence on?"

"Oh no… If we were all drinking, shagging, dancing and generally out there living life to it's UTTER fullest, the world would be a FAR more interesting place! If you aren't living, dears, you are dieing. Far too many people out there are dieing!" There is Jacqueline Strathcona wisdom for the night! She gives a brief, assured nod and then takes a good gulp of her tea again, now that it's cooled.

“There is more to living than such things. Life is no less fascinating for those who explore other aspects of it,” remarks Rhyeline softly. Then lowering her gaze, she takes a deep draught of all that remained in her cup. “Speaking of such things, I should be going. There were some other things I was hoping to do before the sun set.”

"Jacque, darling, I do hate to be the bearer of such news, but we are all of us dying. It is inevitable, much as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west." Endira's tone is rather matter-of-fact, but still warm. She looks vaguely disappointed when Rhyeline excuses herself. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Rhyeline. I do hope we'll see each other again soon."

"Mmm." Jacqueline responds, not exactly looking convinced, but she also doesn't seem interested in keeping up the arguement. As Rhyeline mentions that she needs to go, she looks down at her own little watch and blinks. "Departing is… probably not a bad idea. I have an appointment in the city. Really just stopped in for tea. But it was good seeing you ladies again. I'll corrupt you all another day!" With that, Jacqueline stands, waltzing around the table and out the door as smoothly as she came.

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