(1938-01-18) Embarrassment
Details for Embarrassment
Summary: Embarrassed by Alis' actions, Cassius chastises her.
Date: January 18, 1938
Location: Berylwood
Related: The Fox Finds Mouse's Trouble

The work day ended with a visit to Rhyeline's flat for tea. When Cassius finally Apparates home, appearing right in his library, he immediately has his house-elf bring him a snifter of cognac and send for Alis. Taking a seat in his favourite high-backed chair, he crosses one leg over the other, and waits.

It doesn't take long for Alis to turn up; it would have taken even less time if the house-elf had indicated any urgency in the summons. It's not all that far from her training room to the library, though, so she walks rather than Apparating. She doesn't linger in the doorway, either, instead padding into the room to stand a few paces away from him. "Something you need?"

Cassius nods and gestures to a nearby chair. "Please, take a seat. I need to talk to you." His expression is neutral, calm and serene. To anyone else it would merely be unreadable. But he so rarely masks himself when alone with Alis.

A wary look flashes across Alis' features for a handful of seconds, and she eases to the side, perching on the edge of the seat of the indicated chair. "Well, this can't be good."

Cassius sighs, setting his snifter aside. "Alis, do you recall that conversation we had about restraint? About how what you say and do reflects upon me?"

"I remember." There's nothing wrong with Alis' brain, when she chooses to make use of it. "This wouldn't happen to be about the trip to St. Mungo's with Rhyeline, would it?"

"I'm glad you realize that it is. That will save us some time." Cassius says with an even tone. "Do you have any idea who it was that you threatened?"

This one takes Alis a little longer to work through, because it was only mentioned in passing. It's fairly obvious when she makes the connection, though, because she's nowhere near as good as he is at keeping her emotions from showing on her face, particularly when she's not trying. It's a fairly rapid sequence: mortified followed by irritated and then turning to ashamed. Her cheeks color, and she drops her gaze to the floor. "Your cousin's wife," she says quietly.

Cassius nods gravely. "None other. Not that I would be pleased about you threatening healers of any other persuasion. But Clover Macnair, my cousin's pregnant wife, is undoubtedly off-limits." His eyebrow knit together in aggravation. "You assured me that you would keep yourself in check. Is this your idea of restraint?"

Alis keeps her gaze firmly on the floor, the color rising higher in her cheeks. "At the time, I had my reasons. I apologize, and I'll send one to each of the healers, as well."

Cassius openly frowns now, his voice taking on an edge. "Unless Healer Macnair was presenting a clear and present danger to Rhyeline, your reasons are invalid. You will do much more than apologize. You will not be accompanying Rhyeline to her sessions any longer. I do not want Clover Macnair feeling as if she and her unborn child are in danger while she is attempting to save Rhyeline's life. I trust her judgement far more than O'Shea's."

Alis' jaw twitches with the effort of maintaining her silence, as well as swallowing her pride, and she flinches at his words. What finally comes out, however, is a very meek-sounding, "All right."

Cassius sighs, softening the hard lines in his face. "I realize this isn't how you are accustomed to comporting yourself. I tried to warn you about the world you were stepping into."

Her shoulders twitch, but Alis doesn't lift her gaze. "I know. I'm sorry." She takes a breath, lets it out slowly, and asks, "Was that all?"

Cassius nods slowly. "Yes. No, actually. You should be aware that my tea with Rhyeline met with some friction. Don't be surprised if there is some additional tension with her."

"Noted." Ordinarily, Alis would be prone to asking questions, but she gets to her feet and steps toward the door in silence, still without looking at him.

"Alis," he says before she gets to the door. "Make no mistake. I have no regrets."

Alis pauses in the doorway, turning toward him though she still doesn't look directly at him. "I've only this one. I really am sorry, Cassius." Then she flees, so as to be in her room and well out of earshot before she starts crying.

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