(1938-01-10) Threat Assessment: Melania
Details for Threat Assessment: Melania
Summary: Alis pays a visit to Melania Black to determine how much of a danger the woman presents to Cassius.
Date: Thursday, January 10, 1938
Location: 12 Grimmauld Place
Related:
Characters
AlisMelaniaOrion

12 Grimmauld Place


The interior of 12 Grimmauld place is in an interesting state of… repair. While there are signs here and there of neglect the house has largely been left in, much of the house, especially in the more often used sitting rooms and parlors of the lower two floors, has quite obviously been recently renovated, cleaned, and redecorated. The walls have been covered in rich new fabrics of deep green and silver silk damasks, the floors refinished in brightly polished ebony and patterned marble tiles. Though the often low lighting can easily make the tiles to be black and white, closer inspection will reveal that they are in fact white and a very deep green in color.

Black marble sconces shaped like human hands hold candles along the walls of the foyer, stairways, and halls to provide light. In each of the larger rooms, such as the formal sitting rooms, a black crystal chandelier provides light. Sofas and chairs upholstered in satins and silks furnish each room, most of these black with silver accents. Heavy drapes hang over the high windows, their thick silks and velvets nearly completely blocking sunlight when closed. The halls and stairways hold portraits of Black family ancestors, most of them looking on with stern and disapproving expressions or venturing to offer an opinionated comment on what they see. Gilded silver and black mirrors.

The upper floors, which primarily hold the bedrooms and private sitting rooms of the family members, have had less work done to them. The halls are much as they are on the lower floors, while the bedrooms themselves are in varying states of repair. However, though work not yet begun in every room, one thing is consistent throughout the house. Each room is impeccably clean, no matter how old the furnishings or wallpaper.


Its not often that Melania makes it back to 12 Grimmauld place so early. Thankfully, now that the holidays are over, its become a possibility again, so when she received a note from Alis she was able to leave the twins to close up her shop and join the family earler than usual. As dinner ends, and the family members disperse to their various private rooms, Melania remains in the front parlor with Orion, preparing for her guest. Dressed in a form-fitting blue gown, she reclines on a sofa with Orion, watching him play with his newest toys and supervising the coffee tray being placed on the sideboard.

Alis Orpington is not a name that's well-known in the wizarding community. Yet. Given she's been Cassius Malfoy's bodyguard for a little over a week, that's beginning to change, but Alis made sure to make mention of her employer in the note she sent Mrs. Black earlier in the day. She is dressed in the same attire she typically wears for the business day: a suit not unlike that of a Muggle businessman, tailored to fit her marginally more feminine and certainly more petite frame. Her shoes are sensible flats, her hair only slightly wind-tossed as she makes her way up the steps to the Blacks' door. The clock strikes the hour half a second before her hand knocks upon the door; a prompt arrival, at least.

A house elf opens the door, bows to Alis, and silently gestures for her to enter. He offers to take her coat and leads the way to the parlour, all without speaking, opening the door and bowing once more. Inside, Melania rises with a warmly polite smile, "Miss Orpington, welcome. Do come in." The boy, who looks to be somewhere between 5 and 7 years of age, looks up with his mother in an attempted pout, but a mildly stern look sends him out into the hallway with the elf. "I'll be up in a moment to tuck you in, Orion. You can take your new toys with you until then."

Giving her coat over to the care of the house-elf, Alis is taking in details of the home as she's led inside, up until Melania actually addresses her. At which point she flashes a polite smile, sketches a brief, informal bow, and says, "Thank you for having me in your home, Mrs. Black, but please, call me Alis." Her attention shifts to the child, and she studies him for a moment. She's not entirely sure what to make of the boy, and she has little enough experience with children, all of which is clear in the way she carries herself. "Orion," she muses aloud. "That's one of the constellations, isn't it?"

Nodding in response to the bow, Melania gestures for Alis to sit. "As you like, dear." The boy perks up, hearing his name from a stranger, and beams at Alis for a moment, "Yes! Uncle Reg'lus says… " He trails off, catching another look from Melania, "Yes, mother… " And then he's leaving, and the house elf is shutting the doors to the parlour, leaving the ladies alone. "You'll have to forgive my son." Melania explains, "He's not so used to having much time with me in the evenings. My work often keeps me away until late."

Poor Alis gives Orion a blank look, then schools her features and settles into the indicated chair. "It's perfectly all right," she says, waving a hand. "I don't have much exposure to children, is all. Haven't since Hogwarts, anyway." She folds her hands in her lap, almost primly, and offers another smile to the woman across from her. "Is it difficult? Balancing work and family and other things?"

Melania chuckles and begins to pour coffee. "Difficult? Not often, no. The family is very good about helping out whenever they can, and my husband is quite understanding of the constraints on my time. How do you take your coffee?" She looks up from the pot, her expression still polite and warm.

"I've always had some admiration for those in your profession," Alis admits. "I was rubbish at Potions, back in school." She glances at the coffee pot, and there's a flash of a grin. "More sugar than is healthy for a person, and a dash of cream. Thank you."

With a small grin, Melania adds the amount of sugar that her children tend to prefer when allowed coffee. Each of the two cups gets a dash of cream as well, before she offers the first to Alis and returns to her seat. "Its not easy, potions. There are few indeed who can master it. An admirable choice for your envy."

"Mastery of any field can be difficult, if one isn't suited for it," Alis observes mildly. She breathes a thanks for the coffee and takes a sip, making an appreciative noise to indicate that it's suitable. "I hadn't the patience for Potions, or much of anything else that required a great deal of sitting and waiting for long periods of time. I've gotten better since." As evidenced by how she's on her best behavior right now.

Melania nods,sipping her coffee as well. She sets the cup and saucer in her lap to listen to Alis talk, nodding and offering a mildly amused grin. "I should imagine so. I doubt Mr. Malfoy would keep anyone without patience in his employ for long."

"While that may be true, it's entirely possible that Cass may have been inclined to keep me around in some capacity or other even with the lack of patience." Alis takes another sip of coffee. "We've known each other a very long time, after all."

"Have you, then?" Melania quirks a brow, watching Alis with mild curiosity. "And yet you have only recently become a member of his staff, correct? What were you doing with yourself before taking up this new post?"

"I've only recently returned to England." Alis sips more coffee. "I've been traveling. Studying, improving my skills, and my craft. Though it's more accurate to say that I've recently re-entered his service, as I served in a similar capacity when we were at school."

"Hmmm." Melania nods to herself, considering Alis' answer. "Then you must work well together. And I assume that means you enjoy being in his employ?"

Alis' smile warms. "I do. Very much so. And we work very well together, it's true. I hadn't realized how much I'd missed him until my recent return."

Melania smiles widely, and nods, pleased with the woman's answer. She sips her coffee once more, then sets it on a side table. "That is good to hear. Now. I assume your visit is not simply a social call? Not that I mind being visited by lovely young ladies of course. But you seem to me very much like a woman with a purpose."

"That's because you're an intelligent woman, Mrs. Black. I did come with a purpose." Alis finishes her coffee, then sets the cup aside. "I'll be blunt, shall I?" She pauses only long enough to note Melania's response before continuing, "I'm his bodyguard. As you have access to his body, I felt it best that we become acquainted."

Melania nods in acknowledgement of the compliment. Raising a brow when Alis offers to be blunt, she gestures for the woman to go right ahead and do so. The reason, when given, is met with some surprise. "Blunt, indeed." She murmurs with an amused grin. "And yet not without its own kind of elegance. You wish to ascertain, then, whether I have reason to desire to harm your employer in some way."

"We call it threat assessment, in the security business." Alis flashes that grin again. "I was finished with that before I sat down. You present a security risk, but it's minimal."

Now Melania looks quite amused. "Minimal indeed." She allows herself a moment to chuckle before adding, "Well, I suppose I can see how one would come to such a conclusion." Sitting back, she folds her hands in her lap and watches Alis, "Does this mean I'll have to turn in my wand when I visit in the future?"

"Please don't misunderstand me," Alis spreads her hands in what's meant as a placating gesture. "I'm not saying that you aren't dangerous, but you're dangerous in a way that Cass is prepared to handle. I can't say for certain, but I rather suspect that it's at least part of the attraction, for him." Alis smirks, shaking her head. "You can keep your wand. You're certainly not any less dangerous without it."

Melania chuckles once more. "Not at all, my dear. I was only teasing. I'm quite certain myself that you are correct, and the danger we could present to one another is a great deal of our interest. So. Tell me, will you be wanting any other information from me?"

"My apologies, for not recognizing it as teasing. That's probably something you should keep in mind, actually. I was a Gryffindor, back in school. I don't do so well with nuances and subtleties, I much prefer the direct approach." This time, the grin that Alis flashes is a bit feral. Then she changes the subject, "What's your interest in Rhyeline Diderot?"

Melania's brows both lift this time, thinly veiled interest rising in her eyes in response to the feral look. She blinks, then, surprised by the question. "Miss Diderot?" Looking thoughtfully to one side, she ponders the question. "Hmmm. I'm still deciding that myself, actually. It will depend, in the end, on what use I can make of her."

Blue eyes flash in a brief warning, and Alis leans forward, just a bit. "I suggest you handle her with the utmost care. She's also under my protection." Her choice of phrasing is quite deliberate, here.

"Oh?" Melania, curiosity instantly rising, simply regards Alis with a calm grin. "Has this to do with her employment?" She reaches around for her coffee cup, adding before she takes a sip, "Though I would assure you, at least, that I've no intention of harming her."

"It does, in part." Alis inclines her head in a nod. "As of last evening, she's also in Cassius' service. That makes her safety and security my responsibility."

Melania sips her coffee, nods, and places the cup down again. "Well, worry not. There would be little use in putting the girl in any real danger. And my friend has grown quite attached to her, so I doubt it will ever be in my interests to truly harm her."

"That's good to hear. I understand there's an issue with her health, and I expect Cass will be speaking to you about it soon." Alis doesn't want to get too deeply involved in that conversation, however, as it's more Cassius' business than hers.

"Hmm." Melania considers that. "Possibly. Her newest healers are being less cooperative with me, but I've no doubt they'll have her up to better working conditions soon." Her answer is dismissive, and followed by a careful look in the redhead's direction. "So, then, are you in agreement with Cassius concerning his movement?"

"I've met Healer O'Shea, and given Cassius my assessment of him." Of course Alis has. She inclines her head in a nod at the mention of the movement. "I am. I'm still not as well-versed in the topic as I'd like to be, but I'm not the one who's going to be called upon for speech-making purposes."

Melania nods. "Of course. Still, as dedicated as you are, no doubt you'll manage to learn all you wish in no time. But tell me, who guards Cassius while you're away? I assume that, in addition to these… meetings, you have personal time of your own?"

"Very little, as it happens." Alis shrugs, smiling faintly. "I've made some changes to the protections at Berylwood, and he's safe enough there that I don't feel it necessary to be with him every minute. It's when he leaves home that my protection is required."

"Aahh." Melania considers this for a moment. "And does this then mean that I will be needing to make certain arrangements are made for you when he visits me?" Her tone is curious, implying more that she wishes to be prepared than that it might be an inconvenience.

"Only if he wishes for me to accompany him," Alis replies. "Presently, however, the risk is minimal, and I don't believe it will be necessary. Should the situation change, either he or I will let you know."

"As you like." Melania nods. She grins, then, looking amused once more. "You're quite dedicated, I see. Admirable, in a body guard. And yet I'm left wondering, what else do you hide under all that pretty hair… "

"I can afford to be dedicated. Cass and I have been friends for half of our lives." Alis arches a brow at Melania, her head tilting slightly. "I'm not certain I understand what you're talking about, however."

"Oh, come now." Melania laughs, "You must have some interests other than protecting our lovely Cassius. Not that he's not worthy of such a goal, mind. But there are, after all, many hours in a day."

Alis lets out a little laugh. "Ah. I'm afraid I may well prove a disappointment to you, Mrs. Black. I'm not nearly as complex as most people seem to think I am. It helps, of course, that I genuinely enjoy what I do. Aside from security, however, I have something of a passion for dance."

"Oh, lovely." Melania smiles, "An excellent hobby. I should like very much to see you dance someday. No doubt you're quite graceful."

"I'm quite well suited for physical activity," Alis agrees, nodding. "I've made a study of various Muggle fighting styles, as well. In Brazil, I learned one that combines elements of both dance and violence. After all, in my profession every little bit helps."

Melania nods along, continually amused by Alis' answers. "And do you have a partner, with whom to practice your dancing?"

"Not as such, no." Alis gives a shake of her head. "Admittedly, I've only been back in the country for a handful of weeks, and much of that time has been occupied doing other things."

"Then if you ever have need, let me offer myself. I don't dance often, but I have taken enough classes to ensure that I make an agreeable partner. More coffee?" Melania asks.

The offer gives Alis pause, and she arches a brow. "That could prove interesting," she allows. "It's true that it's more satisfying to dance with a partner, however."

"Most definitely." Melania agrees. "Most things are, in fact. Especially when one's partner is so lovely. Feel free to send me an owl anytime, or stop by my shop if you like."

"Though, I rather suspect that I might have to teach you a few steps. Provided you're amenable to learning, of course." Alis gets to her feet, ruffling her hair with a hand. "For now, however, I should be going. It's been a busy day, and I still have some things that need to be done before I can truly relax for the evening."

"Of course. Anytime." Melania rises, and walks Alis to the door. "Thank you for coming. I'll look forward to discussing your visit with Cassius." She slides the doors open, glancing up the hallway before gesturing for Alis to join her.

"It was truly a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Black." Alis trails Melania to the hall, then waits patiently for the house-elf to return her coat. "I'll be sure to give Cass my recommendations regarding his security here when I arrive home."

"As you wish." Melania nods. As the house elf appears, bringing Alis' coat back, she offers a hand to shake, "I've quite enjoyed our meeting, myself. Feel free to come and visit anytime you like."

Shrugging into her coat, Alis gives Melania's hand a firm shake. "Thank you. I'll be in touch." She sketches another little half-bow, then turns as the door is opened, taking two steps after passing through it before Disapparating away with a muted crack of displaced air.

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