(1938-01-01) A New Beginning
Details for A New Beginning
Summary: With the advent of the new year, Alis begins her new relationship with Cassius as his bodyguard…and more.
Date: January 1, 1938
Location: Berylwood
Related: Friendship Revisited

The morning of New Year's Day is met like any other at Berylwood. Cassius is up bright and early, dressed and ready for work. He sits at the breakfast table (which is large enough to be a dining table in most homes), chewing on a muffin, sipping juice, and reading today's edition of the Daily Prophet. A house-elf stands nearby, out of the way, awaiting his master's needs.

Ordinarily, Alis is not one to spend a great deal of time sleeping, but the single glass of wine had her down for the count nearly six hours. Upon awakening, there were a number of things that she failed to take into account when she accepted his offer to stay overnight, one of which involved a singular lack of anything else to wear. Which would be why, when she turns up at the breakfast table, she's wearing a robe. It's not hers, obviously, but that's what house elves are for, right? She fluffs her hair with a hand and drops into a chair, and fixes the nearby creature with a plaintive look. "Coffee?"

Cassius lowers the paper, and glances to the house-elf. The little creature snaps its fingers, and a cupboard opens. A cup and saucer levitate themselves out to settle before Alis, and from the bottom of the cup, hot brown liquid bubbles up. The cream and sugar are levitated over next. "Did you sleep well?" Cassius inquires. "You seemed ready to shut your eyes before I even shut the door last night."

"Mm." Alis spends a moment doctoring the coffee, adding an unhealthy amount of sugar and a dash of cream before picking up the cup and taking a sip. "It was the wine, and I'm afraid I must apologize. It hit me harder than I expected, and I slept entirely too long. I feel like a sloth." She takes another sip, sets the cup down, and stretches her arms up over her head. "This is why I don't normally drink at parties."

Cassius chuckles. "Six hours and you think you've slept too long. You have nothing to apologize for. That is, unless the wine affected your judgement last night. Have you reconsidered either of our arrangements?" His eyebrow lifts curiously over the rim of his juice glass.

"Six hours is entirely too long." Alis lowers her arms, then picks up her coffee cup again and sips from it. "Wine and other spirits never impair my judgment, they just make me sleepy. To put it more plainly, I haven't reconsidered, no." She smiles at him over the rim of her coffee cup. "I suppose it's a good thing that I never did find a place of my own that was suitable."

"Excellent. In that case, welcome home." Cassius gives her a broad smile. "I'll have the Anti-Apparition Jinxes attuned to you. You should see the kennelmaster about getting the crups accustomed to you. We'll go over the rest of the security measures after work today."

"I'll be sure to do that. Is there anything coming up in your schedule for the day that I should know about?" Alis Takes another sip of coffee and straightens a little in the chair.

Cassius shakes his head. "I don't think so. Just a normal work day. I'll take the opportunity to show you around the Ministry. I do tend to roam quite a bit when I'm there. Once you have a sense for my normal day there, I'll leave it to you to decide if your presence is needed during my work hours. It is highly unlikely anyone would attack me there. But you're the security expert."

"Do you know, I've never really had a proper tour of the Ministry?" This is unlikely to be a surprise, since Alis never even considered a career in a Ministry branch. "Highly unlikely isn't impossible, though. Even if it turns out to be unnecessary, it's generally best to establish my presence as a given, get people used to the idea of seeing me in your company. Speaking of your company, I heard from Miss Diderot that you'd offered her the position of assistant."

Cassius chuckles. "She seemed to be under that impression. No, I have not offered it, exactly. But as of our most recent conversation, she had indicated that she would be willing to serve in that capacity, and I've informed here that I would be considering it. Are you well acquainted with Rhyeline?"

Alis waves her hand in a so-so gesture. "I'm getting there. She made quite the impression on me, certainly. Every time I see her in public, it's as if she's got an enormous bullseye on her forehead." She gives him a look. "Not entirely unlike the first impression I had of you, come to think of it. Maybe that's why I felt protective enough to put up ward at her flat."

Cassius nods, "Well, it's good to know you've extended your blanket of security over her. I suspect she'll become my assistant, so that should work out nicely. Goodness, I'm going to need a bigger office."

"Rhyeline is quite convinced that she is not nearly important enough to require security." Alis' tone is wry, as she says this, implying she doesn't believe any such thing. "She wouldn't let me put in proper wards, so it's just a monitoring system, to alert her if someone's entered while she was away, and alert her to any intruders."

Cassius sighs. "She has some issues in that regard, yes. Still, if she is in my employ, I will insist upon that protection. She'll accept it if I demand it." He finishes off his muffin, and sets the newspaper aside. "Are there any other security questions that are pressing in your mind?"

Alis finishes her coffee, then sets the cup down with a quiet sigh. "Not to be indelicate, but is there anyone else with whom you're spending a great deal of personal time? I wouldn't want to overreact to the close proximity of a personal friend, after all."

Cassius smirks, folding his hands on the table. "Indelicate? Are you asking for a list of my lovers?"

"I am." Alis leans back in her chair, crossing one leg over the other. "It's not as if I won't find out anyway, and it's better to be prepared."

Cassius chuckles, nodding. "As you wish. You understand, of course, that this is not to be spoken of. Not even to my mistresses. Discretion is absolutely essential."

"Of course." Alis nods. "I do understand the value of discretion, Cassius. However, it is a legitimate security concern. I wouldn't ask, otherwise. I'd just wait for them to turn up."

Cassius nods. "Very well. I currently maintain intimate affairs with Melania Black, Eleanor Bennet, Charline Rutherford, and Josefa Loucks. I have been dating Eden Eibon, and I suppose you could consider my dinner with Rhyeline a date. Does that address your question satisfactorily?"

Alis files the names away and nods. "It does. You'll tell me if the situation changes?"

"I shall," he assures her. "You should be aware that I am looking to get married. It is time that I started a family. Eden and Rhyeline are both considerations."

It's a good thing Alis has finished her coffee, so she can't choke on it. The news catches her off-guard, but she's quick to catch up, and after a stunned moment of silence, she schools her features and nods. "Of course. I'm sure there are some who would say that it's about time."

Cassius arches an eyebrow at her, noting the particular choice of words on her part. "What would you say about it?"

"I have nothing whatsoever to say about it." Alis shrugs, getting to her feet. "Marriage is one of those things that I avoid like all of those lectures on the goblin wars, back in school."

Cassius rises along with her. "I hope you do not think less of me for it. I have an obligation to my family to continue the line. I do have a desire to see my children running through the halls of Berylwood."

"No, of course I don't." Alis shakes her head, offering a faint smile. "Some people are suited for a life of marriage, children, family. I'm not one of them, but you know that already." She gestures at her attire, or rather the lack thereof. "I should be going. I didn't bring a change of clothes, and I'll need to look presentable if I'm to be following you through the Ministry all day."

"There are clothes here that you can use. I'll have some sent to your room." Cassius tilts his head, looking her over with a growing smirk. "Though I rather like this look on you. It's quite fetching."

Alis arches a brow at him. "You have clothes in my size? Tailored to fit? Keep in mind that I've been living with a seamstress for most of the week." She can't quite help smirking at his expression, however. "I was tempted, for a couple of minutes, to ask the house-elf to bring me one of your shirts."

Cassius grins, stepping closer and extending his fingers to trace along the part of her robe. "That would have been extraordinary…and I'm quite certain we would not have gotten this far in our conversation."

The smirk turns into a smile, and Alis tilts her head back slightly as he steps closer. "I can go back upstairs and change?"

Cassius slides his fingers up to stroke the soft skin along the side of her neck. "No need." His hand continues upward to cup her cheek, and he dips his head down, unquestionably moving in to kiss her. He's going to be late for work today…

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