(1938-09-17) Controlling the Mouse's Curse
Details for Controlling the Mouse's Curse
Summary: Keenan comes to visit Rhyeline and tell her the results of his most recent tests.
Date: Tuesday, September 17, 1938
Location: Rhyeline's Flat

Rhyeline's Flat

A door with stained glass window panels reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's water lilies distinguishes this red-brick flat from the others on either side.

The mudroom opens onto a foyer with stairs leading to a second floor. A long hallway runs alongside the stairs through to the back door. The foyer opens to the right onto the parlor with an adjoining dining room. From the dining room, the kitchen hides tucked into the back of the house. Upstairs, a master bedroom and a guest bedroom allow for guests or even a flat mate. Outside behind the flat, surrounded by tall brick walls, sits a small garden.

The scent of an ever crackling fireplace intermingles with that of brewing coffee and the pure white roses in the bay window facing the street. Gentle lighting lends the flat a warm and cozy atmosphere.

The late summer's afternoon sun is bright, but not hot. It is the perfect day for children to run and play in a park or for young lovers to stroll through a garden. Rhyeline has drawn the curtains in her sitting room and even opened the windows to let the cool summer breeze flow in and brighten up her home.

Over the past few weeks since Rhyeline started to venture back out into the world, she has been improving steadily. Each time Keenan visits, her dark eyes seem to shine a bit brighter and there is more warmth in her cheeks. Since she fell ill, her thick, dark hair has grown quite long and now she wears it loose, gathering it with a crimson ribbon at the small of her back.

Wearing a light, silk summer robe that hugs her upper body close, Rhyeline gives another flick of her supple, cypress wand and watches as her tea set arranges itself artistically on the sitting room coffee table. Eyes full of eager anticipation, she glances out the window, searching for her expected guest.

Though he's been known at times to take off his chartreuse healer's robes when on a house call where he needs to roll up his sleeves, so to speak, Keenan never shows up to Rhyeline's in street clothes. Therefore, the bright green color is easy to spot as he apparates into a little garden nearby, and then casually strolls out and down the sidewalk. He carries a briefcase in one hand today, and his other arm is slightly crooked to the side as his hand resides in his pocket.

The usual Irish melody being whistled along the way is the other give away that the Master Healer is approaching. The light, airy tunes have been meant to put his patient at ease, and also to let her know he's approaching, giving her fair warning before the knock sounds at the door. The whistling doesn't stop with the knock, but today it does shift into a light tenor quietly singing in gaelic to himself as he waits for the door to open.

Though Rhyeline found the fact that Keenan kept his healer's robes on for his visits unsettled her at first, bit by bit, she managed to get used to it. The little one's smile brightens as the lilting melody reaches her ears. Scurrying to the door, she straightens her witch's robes and pulls open the door to beam up at him with in that shy manner of hers. "Hello," she murmurs, drawing back to let him step into her flat.

The green eyes tilt down as Rheyline opens the door, glimmering with good humor at the little one in front of him. Only the tiniest hint of the shadow that resided there when Veruca left remains, and may always be there. "Hello, Rhyeline. I hope ye're feeling as fine as ye're looking today," he offers with a grin. "Do I smell some tea?" His head lifts so he can sniff the air as he walks past her, only far enough for her to be able to close the door, as usual. He never leads the way into the young woman's home, keeping her in charge of any part of his visit that isn't related to the healing itself.

A pair of elegant little chocolate cakes from Sweet Temptations waits on the coffee table as well. Nodding as she smiles up at Keenan, Rhyeline shuts the door behind him. The girl's shyness has never vanished, but there is a rare warmth in her dark eyes as she watches him. Drawing closer, she tries to take Keenan by the hand and lead him off into her sitting room. She deposits him on the love seat and goes herself to curl up on the small armchair she always occupies by the fire. Flicking her wand, soon each has a warm cup of tea in their hands. Rhyeline knows by now how Keenan prefers his tea.

Keenan allows his hand to be taken, even giving her smaller one a little squeeze of thanks before his long legs bend at the knees, folding him down onto the love seat, where he sets down his brief case next to him. The tea is accepted with a grateful smile, and he takes a sip before he speaks again. "And so, how /are/ ye feeling, Rhyeline? Yer color is looking well today, and yer eyes bright. All good signs to a Healer." One eye half winks to her over the rim of his cup as he takes another sip.

As if on cue, a subtle pink warmth emerges in Rhyeline's cheeks. Grinning over at Keenan, she murmurs, "I've been going to Diagon Alley, to the shops and restaurants. I've… I've been meeting some new people… trying to make some new friends." Keenan may remember conversations about how Rhye wanted and feared to meet new people. Since Annie left, loneliness has been affecting her. Perhaps it is a pure result of Keenan's encouragement that has brought the girl to venture forth as much as she has.

The news brings an interested tilt to Keenan's head as he hooks his ankle across his knee, and then rests his tea there. "Have ye indeed? And have ye been finding any new friends?" He barely has to lean at all for his back to come to rest against the love seat as he listens to her account.

"I think so…" murmurs Rhyeline with a nod. "I- I met a girl who was a year ahead of me at Hogwarts. Her name is Brei. And- and she went to work for the IMC the year before I did. She became a translator and is working here in London. And- then there's an auror… his name is Graham. He likes to read as much as I do." As the little mouse speaks, she maintains a soft murmur. Despite her trust in Keenan, her shyness is ever present.

Keenan's smile broadens a little. "Ah, yes. Graham is a good sort of fellow," he winks conspiratorially to Rhyeline. "Just don't spread around that I said that. It's an older brother's duty to not approve of a boy his little sister likes." He takes another sip. "It is a good thing to be making friends. Loneliness can sometimes keep a person sick as much illness itself. Speaking of which," the gaze takes on a little sharper glint, "have you recovered from the last set of tests we had to do at Mungo's?"

At the mention of the recent visit at St. Mungo's Rhyeline bites her lower lip, drawing back a bit into her chair. The mere mention of St. Mungo's brings out a subtle, haunted shadow in the girl's eyes. "Yes, I'm alright. I- I'm sorry that… that I am such… such a difficult patient sometimes…" She bites her lower lip a moment before lowering her gaze and hiding behind her cup of tea for a long, slow sip.

Giving one of his grins that borders on the mischievous, Keenan waves his free hand. "Think nothing of it. There are some people as have to be dragged kicking and screaming just to have their check up. Ye are more… quiet… in your apprehensions." That free hand finishes its wave by coming to rest on the brief case next to him. "Are ye ready to take a look at the results with me?"

Giving one of his grins that borders on the mischievous, Keenan waves his free hand. "Think nothing of it. There are some people as have to be dragged kicking and screaming just to have their check up. Ye are more… quiet… in your apprehensions." That free hand finishes its wave by coming to rest on the brief case next to him. "Are ye ready to take a look at the results with me?"

For some reason that subtle mischief in Keenan's smile deepens the blush in the little one's cheeks. Perhaps her embarrassment over her conduct simply grows from his amusement. However, at the mention of looking at the results, a sudden, sharp nervousness flickers in the girl's eyes. "Have… have you seen them yet?"

Keenan gives a slow nod. "Aye, I have," he replies, his Irish thickening the first word slightly. The lilt slips out a little more now and then when he visits with her, but his expression gives nothing away, merely awaiting her answer to his question.

Unable to read his expression, Rhyeline slowly sets her cup of tea down in her lap and folds her arms across her belly, hugging herself a bit. The anxiety in her dark eyes grows as an edge of fear begins pressing into her heart. This is why healers terrify her so. In her eyes they are the ones that will inform her that her time has come, like angels of death. "Let me see?" she asks in a low, quiet tone.

Keenan nods once more, and opens the briefcase. Drawing his wand, he levitates two pictures a little ways in front of her. "These are the original pictures taken from your first test." He gives another flick, and the dark and light actually take on the properties of dark and light, dimming out the flesh around it to a gray shimmer, just enough that she can tell where in the body the threads travel. "As you can see, the dark threads had pretty much found their way through your entire system." A little flick and they raise a little higher, and two more pictures appear. Again, he highlights the dark and light.

This time, the darkness, instead of appearing to be a web all throughout her system, appears as thicker, darker lines, more centralized along the limbs, rather than trying to fill them. The same is true in her torso, the dark seems to have coalesced to the center, rather than being spread out. "As you can, though the dark threads are still present throught your body, they are not… we'll say, leaking, that's a fair enough term." He lets the pictures hang there as he picks up the tea which had remained easily balanced on his knee during his wandwork, and takes a sip.

Rhyeline's dark eyes shine with fear as she looks to the two pictures. At first, seeing that the second one shows darker lines, her pupils constrict and her arms tighten around her belly. But, when Keenan's words sink in, she bites her lower lip and peeks over at him. "So… is… is that… good?" she asks in a halting tone.

Setting the tea cup back into the saucer, Keenan's gaze turns to Rhyeline with a slightly perplexed expression. "Well, yes, Rhyeline," he replies, his voice coloring with humor. "It means that the infection is more contained. While not completely gone, it is no longer running rampant through your body." He lowers his foot to the floor, leaning forward so that his elbows rest on his knees, bringing him more to her height, even across the intervening space. "It's probably one of the reasons ye've well enough to go visiting in Diagon Alley. And, I'm just taking a wild guess here, to resume some of yer work."

Rhyeline calms a bit, but seems a little shaken from her brief moment of terror. Lowering her gaze, she takes a long, slow sip of tea. Still not looking up, she blinks back moisture from her eyes, gives a little nod. "Yes, I see. That makes sense. I've… I've felt winded a bit now and then, but- I think that's more because I'm not used to going out."

Keenan nods as he watches her, a bit of worry creasing his brow for a moment as he realizes that she had thought the opposite. "Ye should start believing in the good interpretations of yer condition. Ye've been improving, but ye should listen to that breathlessness. Ye're right ye're not used to going out, and ye'll have to work up to it little by little again."

Rhyeline peeks over at Keenan and nods, flushing a bit. "I know… I just- It looked darker. So… I thought maybe it was stronger, even though it seemed better. But- so… if it's so much better… does that mean I could go back and- and work full time for Cassius?"

There is a long sigh as Keenan considers. "not right away. Not at the pace ye were going. Ye'll back in Mungo's in less than a week. Something I'm certain we both want to avoid." He pauses, staring into his tea cup. "Unless he gets ye a charmed carpet or some such that ye can do a good portion of yer moving around on. Ye can't be walking everywhere. If he can procure such fer ye, then ye can work. But he'll have to keep an eye on ye, since I am quite certain ye won't pay attention yerself. I can tell him what to look out for, and if he sees certain symptoms, he should do what he can to have ye rest. Whether it's sitting down, or actually going to sleep, depending on how late at night it is."

The warmth in Rhyeline's cheeks grows quite noticeable as Keenan points out how bad the little one is at looking after herself when she's working. Though she asks whether she can go back to work every time she sees Keenan, she accepts his decision without argument or question. One more sign of just how much her trust in the healer has grown over the last few months. "I understand," she murmurs. "I- I will ask him when I see him next. Though- I don't think he can afford to make such allowances for me."

"He is wise enough to see how valuable ye are. Ye're like any other treasure in this world. Ye must be taken proper care of or ye'll break," Keenan reasons. "If it will help ye, with yer permission, I am willing to share the particulars of yer case with him so far, and explain why it was ye had to return to Mungo's, and why we need to take certain precautions to keep ye from returning."

Rhyeline's dark gaze widens and her cheeks glow with warmth at Keenan's reasoning. Overcome with shyness, she hides once more behind her cup of tea, peeking over at him over its brim. In a rather soft tone, she murmurs, "Yes, you have permission to explain things with him. I… I would appreciate that."

Keenan nods, and then straightens as he finishes his tea. "Then I shall. Ye can make an appointment for him to come see me. In the meantime, Healer MacNair and I are working on a new potion to seal up the leaks that the treatments have pushed the darkness back through. As we push it back, we can trace it better, but it's quite pervasive. This… is going to take a long time, I'm afraid."

Rhyeline nods, resting her tea in her lap. "I understand. I- I appreciate so much all that you have done for me. I… for so long I- I thought it was the end at last. But- you gave me hope again. And- you let me come home early. Thank you for- for always being so patient."

There's a draw of the red brows together on his forehead, the green glimmer dimming a bit towards seriousness. "I don't give up, Rhyeline. I won't give up on ye, ever. A healer's purpose is to give people the strength to live, and to do that…" he gives a little grin, dimpling his left cheek. "I have to give ye hope, to believe that ye have the strength to live."

Rhyeline can't help but return his grin with a shy one of her own. She answers with a silent nod and sits watching him for a moment. She seems to be considering something. At last, she sets aside her tea and with slow, careful grace, she begins to draw closer. Sitting down next to him on the love seat, she peeks up at him a moment before attempting to take his arm and hug it.

Keenan's head tilts to the side, his gaze curious as she moves to the love seat and sits next to him. At some point during their conversation, he had stowed the photos away again, and so everything is all neat in his briefcase. When she reaches for his arm, he doesn't draw it away, although there is a moment of confusion before he realizes she's hugging it. His face relaxes into a smile, and he reaches his other hand over to her shoulder to give her a gently, almost affectionate squeeze.

Rhyeline tenses a bit under the squeeze at first, but then relaxes and even nuzzles his arm like a kitten might. Not drawing back just yet, she peeks up at him in silence, watching his eyes.

The Healer was a big brother and a protective general long before he earned his green robes, and Rhyeline is a little thing, similar to those Keenan took under his wing as a lad and a young student at Hogwarts. The hand he reached over, once he'd realized her intent, was a brief touch, before it dropped back down, the wrist coming to rest on his knee, and the smile, encouraging, as if he can make her believe, just because he believes, that she will get better. The look is broken before it becomes a stare down, as has been his habit ever since he started working with her, there's a natural consciousness of not overpowering the vulnerable in his care. He doesn't make a move to dislodge her, transferring his gaze to the fireplace, which gives her a three quarter profile glance of him as he lets himself fall into his own thoughts, which brings a bit of the shadow back that became a part of his life when Rue moved.

At last, Rhyeline draws back, but remains sitting beside him. However, she continues to watch him, studying his features as close as she used to when first deciding whether or not to trust him as a healer. Then she follows his gaze to the fireplace and rests back next to him. In a soft tone, she murmurs, "I might not be strong, but… I am resilient…"

Keenan raises his eyebrows, half turning so his profile is to her now that she's leaning back. He leans slightly forward once more, lacing his fingers loosely as his elbows rest on his knees once more. "Aye," he replies. "But ye seem to be only counting strength as a physical thing. Ye've a strong mind, and anyone who doesn't realize that is unwise. It's why I've been working so hard to try and make ye /believe/ ye'll get better." He returns his gaze to the fire, watching the flames, before he takes a breath and reaches for his briefcase once more, this time to remove the vials of potion for her to take.

"Resilience is a sort of strength. But- it's more subtle. You see me when I a most frightened… most vulnerable." Rhyeline pauses, peeking up at him as he prepares the vials. "I seem fragile but… I'm resilient. I'm scared, but- it will take much more than that to ever break me." A subtle smile touches her lips.

Keenan grins as he shifts slightly sideways to offer the vials over. "The key word in that sentence being 'seems'," he points out. "I know ye're working through yer fear, Rhyeline. And that's why I do as much as I can to lessen it."

Rhyeline's soft smile warms further as she peeks over at him. Nodding, she accepts the vials and murmurs, "It might have been faster to be stern with me… but… I appreciate your patience. You… I learned I could trust your promises." Lowering her gaze, she then proceeds to take her medicine.

"There are times to be stern, and times to be patient," Keenan replies easily, lifting one shoulder. "There's a trick to deciding when stern, while it might work, might not get the results ye're wanting." A wry expression pulls at one corner of his lips. "Despite all stereotypes, I am a man of my word. When ye're not a rich man, yer word is all ye have to give."

Rhyeline can't help but shudder at the horrible taste of the medicine. Peeking up at Keenan, she manages a bit of a grin, despite the aftertaste in her throat. "Yes. This I have come to know. You are one I can trust. Thank you, Keenan…"

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