(1938-04-12) Visiting Fabrio
Details for Visiting Fabrio
Summary: Over the Easter Holiday, Hephaesta takes Ophelia to St. Mungo's to meet her grandfather, who they hope has some answers about the Mulciber family's involvement in the Heart of Gold.
Date: April 12, 1938
Location: St Mungo's Long-Term Residence Ward
Related: Plot: Forgotten Shadows

The Long-Term Residence Ward is quite different from the rest of St. Mungo's. Quieter, less busy, and filled with more creature comforts to help the patients residing here feel more at home. Though not a resident, Hephaesta seems perfectly at home here as well. She is greeted by several members of the staff, who know her by name, and she seems to know just where she is going as she leads Ophelia along by the hand. "That's Nurse Ollenby. She knows everyone in the hospital. Oh, there's Mr. Wicks. He came here the same time Grandad did. They play chess sometimes."

Ophelia holds tightly to Hephaesta's hand as she trails along after her. She smiles brightly to each of the people they pass, but there is a tension in her, which she has kept ever since she entered the Hospital. She fiddles nervously with her dress and coat with her free hand, adjusting her hair so many times that the braids are in danger now of falling out from being fussed with so much. "And they… should I… do I need to say anything? I mean, are there, ah… special rules here?"

"Well…yes," Phae admits. "But you don't need to worry. Just…don't be alarmed if anyone acts strangely." It isn't long before the girls are headed into one of the many rooms that serve as living quarters for the patients. Like a tiny apartment, the room serves as a bedroom, sitting room, and kitchen all in one. Seated in a plush, comfortable-looking chair is a rail-thin, elderly wizard in round spectacles and a colourful suit. He is absorbed in a book in his hands, but glances up when Phae knocks lightly on the open door, "Grandad?"

Ophelia, chewing nervously on her lower lip, nods and continues following along. She enters the room with a quick look around, and as she notices the man smiles even more brightly than she had at the others on their way in. She keeps quiet though, waiting for the man's reaction to their presence before speaking.

The old man stares at the two girls in silence, jaw slightly slack. He smacks his lips and sets the book aside, folding his hands calmly in his lap. "If you've come about the declankerator, you can tell your goblin masters that my answer remains the same. It is not, and never will be, for sale."

Phae's hand tightens in Ophelia's, and she takes a deep breath. "Grandad…it's me. Hephaesta." She swallows hard, keeping her voice deliberately relaxed and neutral, "Your granddaughter. I've brought someone to meet you. This…this is my girlfriend, Ophelia Summerbee."

Ophelia squeezes Hephaesta's hand, and reaches up with her other to lay a reassuring hand on her girlfriend's shoulder. "Hello, Mr. Mulciber." She offers now, still smiling and trying hard not to let the sadness caused by his reaction to show. "I've heard some wonderful things about you, and am glad to meet you."

Fabrio's eyes flicker back and forth between the girls. Again, his mouth opens in a dumbfounded expression. "Y-you…ah…yes…well, of course it's my granddaughter. I was…ah…just having a laugh. Come here, my dear." With shaky hands, the old man extends his arms toward Hephaesta, who rushes right into the hug.

"Of course, Grandad," she says softly, clinging to him a bit overlong before turning to beckon Ophelia closer. "Grandad, this is Ophelia, my girlfriend." she repeats.

Fabrio removes his spectacles, wiping the lenses with a nearby handkerchief before replacing them. "Girlfriend? Well, that is unexpected. But, yes, a delight." He offers a trembling hand toward Ophelia. "Splendid to meet you…eh…" He trails off, fumbling for a name.

"O-Ophelia, sir." Hurring forward after a indecisive pause, Ophelia takes the hand in both of her own and shakes it carefully, "Hephaesta makes such wonderful things sir, its how we met. And I hear your own creations are even better, I've been looking forward to meeting you."

Fabrio nods, shaking Ophelia's hand and giving it a pat. "Ophelia, of course. Ah…just you wait. My granddaughter's creations will surpass my own. She is a true Mulciber. The spark of invention runs in the family, you know."

"Actually, Grandad, that's why we're here. Ophelia wanted to ask you some things about the family." Phae gestures from Ophelia to Fabrio indicatively, leaning over to softly murmur, "Best to speak about it while he's lucid."

Ophelia grins, nodding with Fabrio. She steps back as Phae leans in, nodding once more, "Yes, actually, we did. I heard recently that it was Opiferus Mulciber who helped to make something I've been researching, called the Heart of Gold. I wondered perhaps if you could tell me anything about it?"

Fabrio blinks, the lines of his face deepening. "Opiferus Mulciber?" he intones in his breathy gravel. "Opiferus…one of the great minds of the the bloodline, yes. Hundreds of years ago. Of course…he was quite mad. None of his inventions were ever proven to work."

Phae occupies herself with fixing up some tea for everyone while Ophelia and her grandfather talk.

"Really?" Ophelia steps to the side until she finds a chair facing Fabrio. "Did he often work with partners? I hear that he worked with an alchemist to make the Heart." She lowers herself into the seat, folding her hands in her lap and giving the man her full attention while he speaks.

The old man nods, stroking the scratchy beginnings of a silvery beard growing on his chin. "Dragostus was the greatest alchemist of his age. Had wild notions about transmuting love. Mmm…yes, they made the Heart, alright. We Mulcibers had it for centuries after Dragostus died. But nobody could make any use of it, except…eh…"

Phae lifts her brow curiously when she comes back over with a tray of hot tea for the three of them, taking a seat beside Ophelia.

Ophelia tilts her head, eyes narrowing curiously. "Except who?"

Fabrio's voice drops, mumbling, "…except…Daedelus. He…eh…" The old man's gaze goes vacant and drifts away from the girls, toward his window.

Hephaesta sighs sadly, shaking her head at Ophelia. "We'd better go." She rises, leaning in to kiss her grandfather on the cheek, whispering, "I love you, Grandad. I'll be back in the summer."

"Daedelus?" Ophelia leans forward, but then Hephaesta is suggesting that they go. "O-oh. Alright… yes, um, it was really nice to meet you Mr. Mulciber. Thank you… " She stands, reaching for Hephaesta's hand again to give it another squeeze.

Hephaesta gratefully takes Ophelia's hand leading her out of the room. She wipes at her eyes, taking a shuddering breath. "Daedelus Mulciber…I know that name. He's my…great-great-great-grandfather, I think."

Once they are outside, Ophelia pulls Phae in for a tight hug. "Alright, so we can… look him up? Or maybe ask your father about him?"

Hephaesta squeezes Ophelia, giving a noticeable shiver as she comes away from her grandfather's room. "Maybe when he gets back. Dada had to go away to America for a few weeks for a convention. I think we're on our own until then."

"America? Goodness." Ophelia nods, rubs Phae's back for a minute, then steps back and takes both of her hands. "Alright then, we can look him up. I'll start with the library when I get back home, and write to Mum again, since she didn't find anything on the Heart or the Vengals at home."

Hephaesta nods, slowly starting the path back out of the ward. "I'll ask Archie if he knows anything. He remembers everything he reads. So you never know."

"Oh, sure. That would be wonderful." Ophelia grins, excited by the idea of another helper. "Now, I heard there's this wonderful tea shop upstairs… " She glances down the hallway, then back to grin at Phae, "And I think it would be just lovely if we could have a little, ah, time for just us before we go back?" She doesn't wait for an answer though, before leading Hephaesta back out and up to the tearoom for a lovely afternoon date.

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