(1938-01-11) So Much Tension for a Casual Encounter
Details for So Much Tension for a Casual Encounter
Summary: While running errands in Diagon Alley, Rhyeline happens upon Mikhale as he is exiting his shop. Despite not having parted under the best of circumstances at their previous meeting, the two speak for a time and when Mikhale expresses interest in learning more of the Unity Movement, Rhyeline offers to explain what she knows to him. Sophia soon joins them, and then Alis arrives where the tension begins to build as she takes a protective stance over the quiet mouse, Rhyeline. Nova joins them just as they are entering Mikhale's shop, but put off by the atmosphere, doesn't join them for tea in Sophia's shop.
Date: Friday, January 11, 1938
Location: North Verdic Alley

It is a winter morning. The weather is cool and overcast.

North Verdic Alley - Diagon Alley - London

Often considered part of Diagon Alley by the masses, Craeft Alley looks much the same as Diagon proper, with shops of all sizes often leaning against each other or leaning out over the walkway. Here in the Northern end of the alley, the differences are a little more noticeable however. The whole alley here is a little more cramped, the buildings pushed together all the harder and the walkway itself is smaller. It's as if a charm to increase the space here wore out years ago. The atmosphere is still bright and cheery, however.

Walking out of his shop with Precator at his heels, he has several bags in his hands, they are empty however. He turns around pulling out his wand he points at the door and with a silent charm locks the door behind him. He bends down to scratch his dog's ear.

Rhyeline wears a rather elegant winter cloak of a rich violet hue, beneath which she wears a crimson dress composed of many layers of the most delicate silk chiffon, cascading nearly to her ankles. Her slender neck is left bare, with her dark curls pinned in artful curls to her head. The girl has only just passed Mikhale’s shop, drifting towards a flower shop at the end of the street.

Standing up Mikhale sees Rhyeline, the edges of his mouth twich upwards towards a smile, "Rhyeline." He does a once over on the attire, "Dressed to the nines I see." He quirks an eyebrow, "The ambassador has you off to some sort of function this early?"

Rhyeline pauses when she hears her name. Not more than a few places up the road form Steele Travel, the young one turns to look over at Mikhale standing before his shop with his constant companion, Precator. Nodding with respect, the she says, “Good afternoon, Mr. Steele. This is the sort of thing I wore when I served at the Ambassador’s side in Berlin. However, I no longer work for Ambassador Troy.”

Standing up and closing the distance between the two of them a little Mikhale asks, "Oh? I was unaware of the shift in your lo" He hesitates just a second before finishing, "cation of employ." He quirks an eyebrow slightly at Rhye. He is dressed in his 'business' attire, which is a three piece pin striped suit, he has forgone his usual hat and carries several empty canvas bags draped over one arm. "How have you been?" He asks the little one.

“I have been well, thank you,” murmurs Rhyeline with another small nod. A soft smile touches her lips as she says, “I have taken a position as Mr. Cassius Malfoy’s personal assistant. It is only my second day in his employ, however, and so I see why you might not have heard.”

"Cassius? I'm afraid I don't know much about him, he was in the class below mine if I recall correctly." Mikhale thinks for a moment, "Isn't he on the Wizengamot?" Clearly it's been a while since Mikhale concerned himself with the dealings of the English Wizarding community. "You're his assistant as well then?"

“Yes, I assist him with his work for the Wizengamot, however I also serve him in his work for the Unity Movement,” murmurs Rhyeline, watching Mikhale with a calm, steady stare.

The phrase unity movement causes a minute narrowing of Mikhale's eyes which almost imediately disappears, "I don't think I've ever heard of it. I'm afraid I've not delved deeply into the politics of the wizarding world of late." He deliberates for a moment, "Perhaps I should learn more about what is happening these days."

Rhyeline observes his reaction to the phrase, but allows him to plead ignorance if he wishes. “I see. Though Cassius Malfoy is able to explain the nuances of this movement with far more eloquence than I can, I would be happy to answer any questions you have some time.”

"You may be correct, but I daresay I would find your company more enjoyable." Mikhale says with a slight grin, glancing at the flower shop Rhyeline was headed to before he interrupted her walk. "Are you busy? I don't want to keep you from anything… but I would like to speak with you more." Precator nuzzles into Mik's hand and the wizard scratches under the chin absently.

“I am just running a small errand. You are welcome to come with me, if you wish,” murmurs Rhyeline.

Mikhale nods his head and offering his arm to the little mouse, "Well, then we can talk a little as you shop? So, sell me." He says with a grin.

Rhyeline hesitates a moment at the offered arm, but then she approaches and keeping close to his side, slips her hand into the crook of his arm. Peeking up at him, she bites her lower lip and says, “I don’t wish to sell you on anything. I merely want you to be informed so that you can make your own judgements.”

Mikhale glances over at Rhyeline out of the corner of his eye, "Ahh, so you'll be impartial and tell me the faults of the movement as well? Excellent."

“The opposition to the movement is quick to point out the difficulties that unification with muggles will bring. A sudden introductions of muggles into our society and of wizards and witches into theirs could bring about great conflict and only exacerbate the problems brewing within the muggle world. However, that is not what this particular movement proposes to do,” says Rhyeline, peeking up at him now and then as she speaks.

Mikhale and Rhyeline are walking down the street arm in arm, behind the two Mik's dog Precator pads softly. Rhyeline is talking and Mikhale nods his head, now and then as she makes her points. The nods are polite designed to express that he is listening rather than agreement one way or the other, his face is neutral. "Obviously a graduated integration would be more preferred."

Rhyeline keeps rather close to Mikhale’s side as her hand rests in the crook of his elbow. “Yes. So the question becomes not a matter of how it is done, because that will be done with the appropriate care, preventing the violence brought about by sudden change. It is not a matter of short-term consequences, but rather what will happen in the long run.”

"Who will be deciding on how it will be done… assuming that the movement wins?" Mikhale asks as the two advance on the small florist at the end of the lane. He steps forward slightly to open the door for Rhyeline. "And what are the projected long term results expected to be?"

Sophia happens to step out of the Cafe Tasseo right about this point, having taken a break from her shop, and decided to let someone else brew the tea, for that matter. She looks around for a moment, before heading back towards her shop, only to pause, and smile when she sees Rhyeline with a man she doesn't recognize.

Rhyeline pauses at the door to the florist, not yet entering. “Instead of two worlds, one living in secret while the other one wanders lost, down roads of death and destruction, we will become one again. Nuance is important. How exactly it will be done is an important question to be asking even now. However-“ the little one pauses as she catches sight of Sophia. With a soft, shy smile, the girl bows her head to her with the utmost respect. “Good evening, Miss Fox.”

Sophia smiles. "Why, good evening to you, Madamoiselle Diderot. How are you doing this evening? And who is your gentleman friend?" The beautiful, black clad woman, wrapped in a luxurious fur coat, examines Mikhail, almost as though she is assessing him.

With a two finger tap to his forehead and a slight inclination of his head Mikhale greets Sophia, "Hello, I am Mikhale Lewis-Steele, but please call me Mik. A pleasure to meet you Miss Fox?" He makes the name into a question, unsure if that is her preferred method of address.

Rhyeline’s shyness only seems to deepen as the woman speaks to her. Clinging a bit to Mikhale’s arm, she almost seems to hide against him as she peeks up at her. At her question, the little one hesitates, but as the man introduces himself, the little mouse remains silent for the moment.

Sophia smiles as she genteely offers her hand to Mikhale. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mister Lewis-Steele." She tilts her head, then turns back to Rhyeline. "There's no need to be so shy, Madamoiselle Diderot. You're a very dear friend, after all."

Mikhale will take the hand and raising it to his lips kiss it in greeting. His annoyance when she continues to use his last name is lost on all but perhaps Rhyeline who can feel the momentary tension in his arms. "You don't happen to be the Fox of the book shop just down the way?" He asks, as a means of distracting the conversation from Rhye most probably. Precator's ears flick low and he bumps against Mikhale's leg but the wizard doesn't respond.

Rhyeline’s cheeks warm just a bit as Sophia looks to her once more. Lowering her gaze, she bows her head to her and murmurs, “Thank you, Madame Fox. You are most kind.” Having spoken a word in French, her accent has slips for just a moment.

Sophia's smile grows wider, and she bows her head. "Indeed, sir. And you are truly a gentleman." She turns back to Rhyeline. "I'm only telling the truth, my dear. So, what brings such a lovely young couple out on a night like this?"

Mikhale grins glancing down at Rhyeline and then shaking his head, "Couple is perhaps the wrong term, I was just escorting Miss Diderot on a few errands while she enlightened me on some of the political situations of the current day." He adds by way of explanation, "I've been out traveling of late and haven't had a chance to keep up to date with the current flow of the ministry."

Rhyeline peeks up at Mikhale and nods as he offers Sophia an explanation. The two are standing in front of a florist’s shop. Biting her lower lip, the little one hesitates a moment before nodding apologetically to Sophia. “Yes, forgive me. If you both would excuse me, I will only be a moment.” Slipping from Mikhale’s side, the girl dips into a little curtsy towards them both before turning to escape into the shop.

Sophia nods. "Ah, so she's been acquainting you with our noble cause, I take it. She has become one of our most fervent supporters. And quite eloquent on the topic, when she does choose to speak." She can't help smiling at the tiny witch, as she disappears into the shop. "So, tell me, Sir. Do you have a view on Repealment and the Unity movement?"

Watching Rhyeline go with a smile and and slight bow, he opts to wait outside with Precator and Sophia. "One cannot in good conscious hold an opinion before all the facts are known." Mikhale responds quickly, "It would do us both a disservice if I were to claim support or disfavor before I knew more than their names and reputations." He smiles slightly, "After all, reputations can change much based on perspective and time."

Once safely inside, Rhyeline approaches the counter slowly and while she waits for the owner to notice her, she closes her eyes and simply listens to the peaceful silence of the shop.

Sophia nods thoughtfully. "Quite a wise view. Hopefully, though, Madamoiselle Diderot will be more than sufficiently able to enlighten you. And I certainly don't mind sharing my views."

With an incline of his head Mikhale agrees, "Indeed, I've been meaning to come and visit your store, perhaps while I'm there we can discuss it in more depth." He glances into the shop to see how the shopping is going. Before smiling at Sophia again, "You're also more than welcome to come by my shop." He gestures towards the shop front that was, until recently vacant. Nothing except the lack of a for sale sign seems to designate that it is a currently owned however.

At last the woman behind the counter glances over and notices Rhyeline waiting for her. After a quiet exchange, the owner nods and accepts a small note from the girl as well as a few sickles.

Sophia glances to the shop, and nods. "And what will you be selling, then, Sir? I'm sure I'd have heard if another purveyor of rare books were to be opening up a shop, so I certainly don't view you as competition."

"Well, I run a few different businesses. For the past few years I've been working as a… procurement specialist. It took me to all four corners of the Earth, but I felt the desire to return to England so I came back, without the… exposure and networks I had elsewhere I've decided to open a touring business. Taking people to all the exotic places they've heard about but never been," Mikhale tells the dark skinned woman.

Rhyeline dips into a little curtsy, murmuring her thanks to the florist. With the order successfully placed, she then turns and heads back out onto the street once more. “Forgive me,” she murmurs to the two who stood waiting for her.

Sophia smiles to Rhyeline. "No need to forgive you, Madamoiselle Diderot. I'm assuming you're on an errand for your new employer? And how is Cassius, by the way?" She nods, raising an eyebrow. "Oh? And would you be catering to those of us on this side of the veil? I certainly can imagine you would do quite well…"

"Exclusively actually, I have no interest in travelling by Muggle means halfway across the globe." Mikhale smiles at Rhyeline as she comes out and offers his arm to her again, "Was that it or did you have more errands to run?" He asks the mouse. Precator nudges around his master, sniffing at Sophia's feet for a moment.

Rhyeline hesitates a bit as she had before as Mikhale offers her his arm. Peeking up at Sophia, the girl bites her lower lip before drawing close to the man’s side once more and slips her hand into the crook of his arm. Lifiting her gaze to him, she shakes her head and murmurs, “No, sir. That was my last errand this evening.”

Sophia nods, smiling at Rhyeline and Mik. "Understandable. Although I occasionally enjoy taking the train up to Hogsmeade, or traveling via the Knight Bus, I wouldn't want to do so exclusively, especially over long distances. Muggle transportation can be /so/ tedious. What are some of the destinations you will be going to?" At Rhyeline's mention of not having any further errands, she smiles. "Then shall we retire to the Cauldron? Or perhaps my shop for some tea?"

"Currently the popular one seems to be the Carribbean or the Pacific." Mikhale says with a grin pointing up, "Something about snow makes white beaches and warm nights desirable. However, I have travelled extensively in the Far East, Africa and Americas as well, and could readily prepare trips to just about anywhere." He'll glance at Rhyeline as the suggestion of libations or food is made, "I have been meaning to ask your opinion on a few of my posters… and I'd rather like to show off my shop. Although I fear my tea probably wouldn't be quite on par with Miss Fox's."

Rhyeline hesitates, looking from Mikhale to Sophia and back again. At last she murmurs, “Perhaps we could step into your shop for a moment, but then- then go to Madame Fox’s wonderful book shop?”

Sophia nods her head, smiling brightly. "Why that would be most delightful. Please, do lead the way." She moves close to Rhyeline, and leans over to whisper in the girl's ear.

His opposite hand reaching over to rub softly against Rhyeline's, Mikhale's brown furrows slightly at the sharing of secrets. He'll none-the-less escort the two women to his business, a quick tap of his wand unlocking the door and allowing entrance. "I'm still working on it, but I've managed to get it mostly how I want it." He'll hold open the door and gesture for the two women to go in.

With a muted CRACK of displaced air, Alis arrives on the sidewalk, taking a fraction of a second to look around before heading unerringly in Rhyeline's direction. She notes the company that the younger woman is keeping, arching a brow at the way Mikhale is holding the woman's hand. "All right, Rhye?" she asks, her voice very carefully neutral, along with her expression.

Rhyeline stands rather close to Mikhale’s side, her hand tucked into the crook of his elbow. The little one bites her lower lip and her cheeks warm at Sophia’s whisper in her ear. She gives a hesitant, meek little nod to the woman before looking up to Mikhale once more. Remaining at his side, she waits for Sophia to enter first. The soft crack of apparation causes the little mouse to start in surprise. But catching sight of Alis, she calms a bit. Offering the petite red-head a soft, shy smile, she nods and murmurs in the softest of voices, “Yes. And you?”

Sophia turns, not at all startled by the loud crack. As Alis joins them, she smiles at the small woman with the bright red hair. "Oh, hello."

Mikhale's hand is still on his wand, when Alis apparates, his wand is pointed directly at the witch within a breath. Her greeting to Rhyeline happens soon enough that all but the most seasoned would assume he was simply turning to greet the newcomer. "Hello Orpington." He says politely knowing the other witch from school at the very least.

"Put it away, Steele, unless you want to lose a limb." Alis' wand is still in her hand, but she's polite enough not to go pointing it at anyone. She's even polite enough that her tone is almost amicable, even if her expression is still neutral. Her gaze shifts to Rhyeline, and her expression softens, briefly. "You've been gone a while, I came to see what was keeping you." She studies Rhyeline for another moment, flicks her gaze over Mikhale again, and finally gets around to addressing Sophia, with a polite smile. "Hello."

Keeping close to Mikhale’s side, Rhyeline bites her lower lip as her dark gaze flickers back and forth between the man and the red-head. The subtle warmth of Rhyeline’s cheeks deepens as Alis addresses her. Bowing her head, she murmurs. “Forgive me, Alis. Am I needed back? We- we were about to see Mr. Steele’s new shop and then- and then- have tea with Madame Fox. ”

Sophia raises an eyebrow at the exchange, then offers her hand to Alis. "I don't believe we've met, my dear. I'm Sophia Fox, owner of Fox's Treatises and Rarities, just down the street."

Mikhale will grin, "Oh, a habit I suppose, never know when someone unpleasant might show up." He does quirk an eyebrow as Rhyeline and Alis continue their exchange, before remembering Alis' fixation on Cassius during school and making the connection. "You're welcome to join us. Assuming you're fine with me keeping my wand out long enough to open my own door?"

"Charmed, I'm sure." Alis retracts the metaphorical claws to accept Sophia's hand and shake it firmly. "I'm Alis. Security specialist, currently in the employ of Cassius Malfoy." At which point she returns her attention to Mikhale, and rolls her eyes. "What kind of idiot locks himself out of his own shop? I thought you were supposed to be some kind of expert at getting into places." She tucks her wand away, her attention turning to Rhyeline, and she shakes her head. "No, he can spare you for a while yet."

Sophia smiles to Alis. "Ah, yes. So you work with Madamoiselle Diderot, then. She's a regular customer of my shop, and, if I may say, a dear friend." She turns to Mik and Rhyeline, not saying anything more at the moment.

"Getting things out of places to be more correct." Mikhale says with a slight smile, and a pointed glance at the door, where no door knob or opening device is visible. The door is open though, so he puts his wand away, and gestures for the women to proceed him in.

Rhyeline hesitates a bit, biting her lower lip, but when Alis tells her that she is not yet needed at Cassius Malfoy’s side, the youngest one smiles softly and murmurs, “I see. And you? Can he spare you to join us?” Without quite realizing it, the little kitten is clinging a bit tight to Mikhale’s arm. Once again, she waits for the other women to enter before she allows Mikhale to lead her inside.

"Amateur," Alis breathes, with a roll of her eyes at Mikhale. She turns her attention to Sophia to smile a little more warmly at the woman. "Yes, I work with Rhye." She frowns at Mikhale, or more accurately she frowns at the way Rhyeline is clinging to him, but she finally gives a nod. "He can spare me for a bit, yes."

Sophia can't help raising an eyebrow at Alis' frown, but doesn't persue the subject. "Well, we were about to visit Mister Steele's office, as Madamoiselle Diderot mentioned. Would you care to join us?" She looks around, and smiles when she notices the tiny bundled form. "Miss Nova, is that you?"

Nova turns around hearing her name called, but not exactly sure from where. She wasn't really looking /where/ she was going, just knew someone mentioned food in a general direction. She'll make her way over to the group, "Hello Sophia. How are you this evening?" She'll glance over and when she recognizes some, She'll nod, well, it's more like the scarf nods, "Hello Alis….Mikhale." Her voice is slightly muffled.

Catching sight of Alis’ frown, Rhyeline bites her lower lip and the hand in the crook of Mikhale’s elbow clings a bit tighter to him. She looks to Nova as Sophia calls out to greet her. The young one’s dark, watchful gaze lingers upon her. Surrounded by so many, the shy creature remains silent for the moment.

"Hallo, Nova," Alis greets the Quidditch player. "Join us, won't you? We're visiting Mikhale's shop, for reasons I really must hear." She doesn't really do subtlety, so the sarcasm should be easy enough to pick out. "Are you certain you're all right, Rhye? Would you rather have my arm, instead?" She offers it, even, all polite.

Glancing at Rhyeline to see if she'll take the offer from Alis, Mikhale decides it's cold outside and it's about time to be making this an indoor party. So he'll escort the mouse in, the door staying open so long as anyone waits to come in. Once inside and past the Genkan, he'll gesture around, "Welcome, feel free to look around. Let me just go get those posters." Depositing Rhyeline at a chair in the Egyptian area of the room (which incidentially is the only place with a table and chairs) He'll walk over to a statue, and running a hand down one side, open a hidden compartment where he removes several map cases.

Steele Travel - Diagon Alley - London

As much a home as it is an business, the door to Steele travel is usually closed and locked. A small atrium at the front has a pad of paper and a slot to request an appointment. Otherwise the door is thickly warded and steel reinforced. Once you get past the door however, it's like entering several new worlds all at once. The entrance has a traditional genkan, with the lowered floor and a rack to place ones shoes. Each section is separated by a theme relevant object, like a wall of ferns, a Japanese folding screen or a wall carved in Egyptian hieroglyphs. One corner has a hammock, a sand pit and a floor to ceiling window enchanted to mirror a Caribbean beach. In another area is a fully stocked Japanese tea service. A sectioned off area near the back contains Turkish hookah den. To the back and right is a replica of an Amazonian forest, complete with an enchanted water fixture and a boat that dips slowly in the current. The last area is full of Egyptian motifs and statues. With a large table and chairs allowing for several to be seated comfortably. A cleverly disguised rope pulls down a set of stairs that lead up to the second floor.

Sophia smiles, and offers an arm to Nova. "Please, join us." She leads the way into the shop, and looks around. "Hmmmm. You've quite the collection of artifacts and plants here, Mister Steele.

Nova takes Sophai's arm, will just look around as she uses her other arm to unwraps the scarf from herself.

Rhyeline bites her lower lip as Alis offers her arm. With subtle anxiety, her gaze flickers from Mikhale to Alis. Not wishing to offend either of them, the girl seems a bit lost. But then Mikhale takes matters into his own hands and simply guides her inside and deposits in a chair at a table. Crossing her ankles and folding her hands in her lap, she watches in silence as the others follow with a reserved dark stare.

Alis isn't about to let Mikhale escort Rhyeline anywhere without a shadow, and she trails after him, then stands in what appears to be a nonchalant and relaxed pose near the younger witch. "It's an awful lot of… things," she observes, mildly.

With a grin Mikhale shrugs, "I do enjoy finding things." He advances on a particular statue, and slides a hand along its side. Doing so seems to trigger a piece of the Egyptian wall to begin rumbling, rotating out to reveal a shelf from which Mik removes a single map case from about six. Stepping away from the wall causes it the portion to slide back up, it's location impossible to determine in the closed position. He walks back to the table and takes a seat next to Rhyeline, pulling out several thick canvas sheets from within, he'll roll them out on the table allowing them to be seen, the art on the pieces is a bit post-modernist. "I had these drawn up as advertisements." He explains, the art is pretty good for a poster but nothing to post in the Louvre. They each depict several English people in unusual locales, one at the base of a waterfall that is so tall it reaches the bottom the water becoming vapor midway up. Another on the Great Wall of China, and still another on a beach reclining on wicker chairs. The last is mostly unfinished the rough details suggesting more than depicting.

Precator comes and sits down at the foot of the chairs, his tail wagging against his master's legs while the head is just under Rhyeline.

Nova , after freeing herself from her scarf, gives Sophia's arm a light squeeze before dropping it to /really/ look at where she is. She'll note the odd behavior of not only the girl that isn't talking, but Alis as well. Nova will start to unbutton her coat as she walks over to look down on the posters, glancing over to see if Sophia follows.

Rhyeline’s dark gaze lingers a moment more upon Sophia before she glances at Nova, meeting the athletic woman’s gaze as she observes her. The shy creature’s stare seems cautious and guarded. At last, she turns her eyes away, looking to the side where Alis stands close next to her. Peeking up at her, she offers the petite woman a soft smile before her attention is snagged by the posters that Mikhale brings to her. Leaning forward just a bit, the soft smile lingers as she observes them. Once each has been presented, she looks up at Mikhale and offers him a small nod of appreciation. Though she remains silent, it’s clear she likes them.

Leaning against the arm of the chair Rhyeline's seated in, Alis folds her arms over her chest, looking unimpressed. "It's an awful lot of clutter, Steele. Can't be good for business, surely?"

Sophia does go with Nova to take a closer look at the posters. As she does, the glances first to Mik, then back to the american witch, not saying anything at the moment.

"It suits my business needs. I imagine you prefer more utilitarian accommodations, stark environments to suit a mind with sharp edges. Besides, sometimes you just want a little bit of home about you. In a world so increasingly made small by magic and even muggle technology it suits us all to become more universal citizens. It is not enough that we be simply British, we must also be concerned with the world around us… without reaching out to our neighbors to learn and grow from their experience we are doomed to failure." Mikhale says to Alis.
Mik will smile at Rhyeline as she gives her approval of the posters, "Thank you." Precator will watch Alis as she edges closer to his master and Rhyeline not quite growling.

Nova will raise an eyebrow, as she's /not/ British, but will hold her tongue.there is a weird tension, she is not liking, and it's making he a bit tense. She'll glance to Sophia and give a smile.

Rhyeline offers Mikhale a small nod as he thanks her. The silent girl peeks over at Sophia as she follows Nova to the table. After watching them for a few moments, she follows Nova’s gaze to the posters once again.

"I don't, in point of fact," Alis replies to Mikhale, with a shake of her head. She turns her head and offers Nova a tight smile. "I'm just ribbing Steele a bit, Nova, nothing to be worried about. I promise I don't bite, though I can't speak for Steele, here. I hear tell he's been known to, on occasion."

Sophia notices Rhyeline becoming more withdrawn. "Please excuse me for a moment," she says to Nova, then goes back to the tiny french witch, leaning in to whisper into her ear.

"Only when the situation warranted it." Mikhale assures with a wink as he walks over to one of the dividing partitions and pulling it aside for a moment returns with a plate full of biscuits. "The white chewy looking Taffee are called White Rabbits, a popular candy in Japan, others you should all be familiar with." He says placing the plate on the table, "Anyway, those are the posters." He glances around the room, "Nova, I hear you have another team-mate on the Arrows?"

Nova gives Alis a look,"I am fine." She'll even tilt he head a bit at the statement. And will nod as Sophia walks over to the mute girl. she'll glance to see if any of the candies are honey flavored, "Yes, Sykes is coming on. I've only met her briefly…then again, practices having started in full swing yet."

Rhyeline’s hands tighten just a bit in her lap as Sophia whispers to her. The little one lifts her dark gaze and watches her searchingly for a moment, but then her attention is stolen as Nova approaches to snag one of the sweets. With one last hesitant flicker towards Sophia, she glances up at Mikhale and then at last peeks over at Alis.

Sophia nods, then turns at the mention of Jocunda Sykes. "Ah, yes. I did hear the news. She's actually been keeping company with the oldest of my nephews. A wonderful, dear young woman."

"Just checking." Alis' tone is still bland, and she still looks as though she's merely relaxing next to Rhyeline. That she's still standing and isn't reaching for any of the sweets would be clues that she's not nearly as relaxed as she appears. "You looked a bit uncomfortable for a moment there." She glances down at Rhyeline, and her expression softens again into what might almost be called a smile. Then she looks back up, and it's back to the poker face.

"Ahh, I've met her a few times, seems a decent enough sorts, and skills enough at broomflying. It'll be interesting to see how she handles herself this season." Mikhale grins at Nova, "Anything in particular you're looking for?" He'll watch Sophia and Rhyeline and the reactions that her whispering causes. He'll throw on a smirk, "Miss Fox, if I may ask… since you seemed curious is there anywhere in particular you'd be interested in going?"

Nova will reach in and grab a honey candy, and it's the first Nova smirk of the evening.She'll unwrap it and look to Sophia, "Good. I'm glad. I hate flying with bitches." Alis gets a look of, cause you're so relaxed, but Nova won't /say/ it. she'll grin at Mikhale, popping the candy in her mouth, "Found it."

Rhyeline offers Alis a small smile as the woman’s expression softens. Then looking to the sweets, the quiet one samples the Japanese sweet that Mikhale had recommended. Lowering her gaze, she nibbles on it and then considers the taste thoughtfully.

Sophia reaches out, and takes one of the white candies herself, taking a bite of it. "Mmmm. These are actually quite good." She does smile, turning to both Rhyeline and Nova in turn, then directing it towards Alis as well. "Somehow, I think I must be the tallest lady here.

Mikhale refrains from eating any of the sweets himself, not being much of a candy person. He'll sit back down, this time across the table, "Yes, the bad tasting candy is in an entirely different looking plate." He grins at Sophia.

Nova sucks on the candy in her mouth. Still not entirely sure why she's here, but, hey, it's warmer than outside. She'll just glance around at everyone, eyebrows raising at Rhyeline a bit.

Catching Nova's look, Alis flashes the athlete a brief grin, gesturing toward herself with a hand. "Bodyguard. It's rather my job to be paranoid and protective of those whose safety is of the utmost importance." She nods at Sophia, then shrugs. "You are, but I've found that size matters very little in the grand scheme of things."

Rhyeline doesn’t take a second candy. Instead, she lifts her gaze to those around her. The posters have been seen, the sweets have been sampled. Now the little one seems to be wondering what will happen next. Will they continue onwards to Sophia’s shop? Or will someone alter the course of the evening’s events?

Glancing around and wondering much the same as Rhyeline, "Well, shall we continue? I'd offer to serve tea, but you're not dressed for it and I'm not sure it's big enough for this many people." Mik says glancing over at the Japanese section of the room and the tea service set up there.

Sophia smiles. "Oh, I'm not disputing that, Miss Orpington. In fact, I believe that the Muggles have a saying that applies here. 'Good things come in small packages.'" She reaches for another candy, this time a chocolate. "Of course, Mister Steele is quite lucky, having four such lovely ladies keeping him company.

"Alis," the redheaded bodyguard corrects Sophia, though her tone is still mild. "I stopped using my surname ages ago, and I don't even bother giving it out any more. There are, after all, three other Misses Orpington in my immediate family, and I shouldn't like to be confused with my sisters." Though there's small chance of that, really.

Nova continues to stand and watch, as she's not sure what the hell is going on. She just wanted dinner. Although honey candy helps.

Rhyeline glances up at Sophia as Mikhale suggests that they all proceed to her shop.

Mikhale's lopsided grin smirks at Sophia's comment about the four ladies, "Well, some days are better than others." He'll move to stand up and begin collecting the posters rolling them up and putting them in their map case again. "Sadly, I think I will have to refrain, I have some business that needs to be attended too before it gets too early. But I would very much like a rain check if the offer still stands at some later point."

Sophia smiles. "Ah. I apologize. Alis it is. And as I believe that Mister Steele feels that he's unable to hoast for tea, then shall we adjourn to my shop, then? I'll send to the Cauldron for something more substantial than candies, as well.

"That sounds like an excellent idea." Alis straightens, offering Rhyeline a hand to assist her with getting up out of the chair. "So sorry you won't be able to join us, Steele. Some other time."

As everyone else stands up and files off to Sophia's Mikhale will continue putting things away, "Rhyeline, before you go, might I have a word?"

Rhyeline accepts Alis’ hand, also placing a hand on the table to assist herself in standing. Once she is to her feet though, she seems alright. Keeping close to Alis’ side, the girl offers her a soft, shy smile before Mikhale’s request draws her attention. Biting her lower lip, she hesitates before glancing to the others.

Nova shrugs. If there's food, she'll go.

At Mikhale's question, Alis arches a brow. Then she glances over at Nova and Sophia. "If you ladies would like to head over, we'll be along in a minute." She turns back to Mikhale, patting Rhyeline's hand in a reassuring gesture. "I'm here."

Sophia nods, and offers her arm to Nova. "Of course. Please, do hurry. I am so enjoying the company this evening." She smiles, as she starts out the door.

Glancing from Rhyeline to Alis, "I meant in private… you're more than welcome to wait by the door, you'll be able to see her from there and it's not like I'm going to run away with her while you're sitting around in my house," Mikhale says.

Rhyeline keeps close to Alis’ side, but then glances to Mikhale a bit hesitantly. Sophia’s departure with Nova draws the quiet one’s attention for just a moment before she looks to Alis once more.

Nova just looks to Sophia and grins. She'll follow the woman out. As they're leaving "You have strange companions."

"Excuse me, but aside from a comment on the decor, you don't see me standing around telling you how to do your business." Alis' tone is rather sharp, and she makes no move whatsoever to leave Rhyeline's side. "So you can shove off telling me how to do mine. I don't trust you, Steele, and I have a personal interest in Rhye's safety. You can speak to her in my presence, or we'll be going."

Rhyeline’s cheeks warm a bit at Alis’ powerful protectiveness. Once Nova and Sophia are out the door, the little one parts her lips to speak. Hesitating just a moment, she finds her voice at last. “I’ll be alright, Alis,” she murmurs rather softly.

Narrowing his eyes slightly, Mikhale will consider the little redheaded witch for a moment, he is unconcerned by her sharp tone. "I would please ask you to refrain from threatening me in my own home. I assure you that she is safe, and we will be within easy striking distance, if it will put you more at ease I will leave my wand on the table." He pulls out his wand and places it on the table and then walks several steps away from it.

"Did I stutter? You can talk to her in my company, or we're going." If Alis were an animal, she'd have her hackles raised and everything, but she'll have to settle for a steely glare. "If whatever you have to say isn't fit for conversation in company, then she doesn't need to hear it."

Rhyeline bites her lower lip a bit as she watches Alis, however the girl seems to feel it is not her place to contradict Alis’ judgement in regards to her safety. Lifting her gaze to Mikhale, she watches, waiting to see what he will do.

In contrast Mikhale is very much at ease, his voice neither rising in anger nor softening in fear. "You seem very intent on making decisions for her that have no clear relation to her security. I am unarmed, and without a wand. I hope you give her leave to do her duties with a little more leniency. But clearly a polite request for private conversation in full view is more than you consider Miss Diedroit capable of handling on her own."

"Words have power," Alis says simply, moving as if to escort Rhyeline toward the door. "My job is to assess every threat to her safety, and you needn't possess a wand to be a threat, Steele. If you insist on seeking out her company, get used to the fact that you're going to have to deal with my presence." She pats Rhyeline's hand with her own free hand. "We shouldn't keep Ms. Fox waiting," she says, in a much softer voice as she addresses the witch.

Rhyeline glances over her shoulder at Mikhale a bit hesitantly, but the girl allows herself to be guided towards the door, keeping close to Alis’ side. Peeking over at the woman who is actually half an inch shorter than the little mouse, Rhyeline nods, but then glances once more over her shoulder at Mikhale.

Mikhale's eyes will follow Alis for a moment before flicking back to Rhyeline he manages a half-smile at the mouse when she looks back. "Are we so different? Her and I? That when she demands you do something for your protection it is acceptable, while when I suggest something it is despicable?" He'll say the last loud enough for Rhyeline to hear.

"Oi!" Alis calls back over her shoulder. "I'm not looking to bed her!" With that parting shot, she opens the door and escorts Rhyeline out to the street.

"Of course you're not." Mikhale says to the door. "You have no room in your life for love, only the stark lines of absolutism." He turns from the door and finds more Sake.

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