(1938-10-08) To Catch a Thief: The Thief's First Method
Details for To Catch a Thief: The Thief's First Method
Summary: Takeshi and Astoria discuss a recent patient at St. Mungos, who also happens to be a victim of a mysterious thief.
Date: October 8, 1938
Location: 37 Glumrose House, Umber Alley, London
Related: To Catch A Thief, Magical Maladies

To reach Umber Alley, one must travel the narrow, crooked paths of Knockturn Alley. And once past the shops, the neighborhood, sadly, does not improve. The street Astoria lives on is dark, and the buildings have warped until they lean against one another - the effect allows little sunlight, or moonlight, onto the dim street. Most of the lanterns don't seem to work properly, and there is an uneasiness to the entire neighborhood.

As Takeshi nears the front door, the hinges begin to creek and, slowly, the entrance is revealed. It is a dire entryway, indeed. A single candle floats about, doing its best to illuminate the dark walls and floor (it doesn't work as well as it should). A fire crackles in the other room, and near it sits Astoria on a sofa. She reads quietly, reclining, with another candle hovering above her head.

Takeshi is about to just curl up and die. He wants to clean, clean it all! His foot move swiftly looking at the paper that the owl delivered, his foot steps become quicker, finally he reaches the door, he knocks once. His eyebrow twitches slightly and then three more quick knocks come, but that isn't acceptable, so he knocks four more times evenly pacing the knocks out from one another, he is still wearing his bright yellow St. Mungo's robes as he shuffles slightly in place.

Astoria listens to the knocks, eyebrows knitting together while her eyes narrow and lips quirk, though she doesn't quite manage a frown. "Please, come inside," she says, setting her book aside and standing. She moves to the entryway, but pauses at the entrance to the living area. Her eyes settle on Takeshi. "Good evening. Lock the door behind you, would you? It had a peculiar habit of opening when the house gets too warm."

Takeshi closes the door and locks it, his brows furrow as he unlocks it and locks it again only to unlock it again, four twists, he lets out a sigh and tries again, lock, unlock, lock, unlock. He closes his eyes for a moment taking a deep breath, locking it once and taking a step away from it, but freezes, looking really really bothered and nervous, "Umm…" he says, "Umm…Umm…" he says slowly, before turning and unlocking and locking the door again only to unlock it again, letting out a frustrated sigh, he says softly, "Umm… Hello…" in his nervous and shy tone.

Astoria watches Takeshi, remaining silent. Her eyes narrow after the third attempt to lock the door, but she doesn't speak - instead, she merely watches. Eventually, after Takeshi greets her, she answers, "You are a peculiar gentleman. Indeed, I do not believe I have met anyone quite like you." After a pause, she gestures towards the living room. "Please, leave the door and let's have a seat where it is warm." One eyebrow arches, followed by a forced grin.

Takeshi looks at the door and tries once more, but ends up with same results, before nodding, "Oh…Umm…Umm…Thank you." he says taking the seat, only to stand up, resisting the urge to move it slightly only to sit back down in it. "Umm…Hello Miss Bletchley." he says warmly with a smile, his tone nervous as he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small piece of paper and starts to fold it, "Yes… I have heard that I am peculiar before…" he says that slowly, and sounding a bit more timid.

Astoria follows Takeshi into the living room. She resumes her seat on the sofa and crosses one leg over the other. Afterward, she resumes her study of Takeshi. "Perhaps I am too harsh," Astoria says bluntly. "I meant: your mannerisms, well, I am not certain what to make of them, sir. It was pretentious for me to judge them - please, ignore me." She offers Takeshi a small smile, but it soon vanishes. "May I offer you something to eat or drink?"

Takeshi nods slowly, "No it is fine, I am use to it." he says softly, as he folds the paper slowly, "I know my condition can seem rather odd and can be very distracting, especially when I get really nervous, it just gets worse." he says slowly, his heavy British Japanese mixture of an accent showing through, "Ummm…" he starts slowly, looking up from the paper to Astoria, "Umm…Do you have lemonade?" he asks softly, tilting his head a bit to the right, after he finishes making a small white crane and sitting in on his lap.

Astoria gently taps her leg, listening to Takeshi. "Then I will do my best to keep from making you nervous," Astoria replies simply. After the question, she says, "I have lemons in the cupboard. I will make you a glass. Meanwhile, why don't you tell me where you learned that exquisite art?" Astoria nods to Takeshi's hands, and the paper, before moving into the kitchen.

Takeshi looks down at the crane, "Oh…Umm… you do not need to go through a hassle of things like that. I can take some tea if it is easier." he says slowly, looking back down at the crane, "Oh Origami?" he asks softly, picking up the crane and looking at it, "My mother taught me when I was young and I have just kept at it all these years, same with Ikebana." he says slowly, with a soft smile, seeming to be a little bit more at ease now.

"It is quite alright," Astoria replies. "I am fond of sweet beverages - in moderation, of course." She winks at Takeshi, and begins to fetch ingredients for lemonade. Within a few moments she is well on her way to finishing a batch. While working, she says, "Origami?" Her accent tests the foreign word carefully. "That is a beautiful name - origami. The magic of folding paper. Do tell me, the other name you mentioned, Ike-," she pauses, unable to complete the word. "Is it another art?"

Takeshi chuckles softly, "Ikebana is a art…" he says slowly trying to think how to explain it, chewing on his bottom lip softly, "It's flower arranging. But not like how flowers are arranged here, it…" he says softly, "I will bring you one sometime so you can understand." he says slowly, his brow furrowed, "I don't know how to explain it with out showing you." he says softly with a small nod.

Astoria listens to Takeshi while she pours sugar into a small cauldron. A spoon spins of its own accord, mixing, while Astoria finishes making the drink. "I would very much like to see it," Astoria replies. It isn't long before she returns to the living room, carrying two glasses of lemonade - complete with ice. She hands one to Takeshi and resumes her seat. "It sounds intricate, but lovely - I have never had much talent with arrangements."

Takeshi takes a sip of the lemonade, "Oh Ikebana, takes years upon years to learn." he says softly, "Thank you the lemonade is wonderful." he says slowly with a small nod, "Though…" he starts and stops, "I am not sure I understand, well with, me being here, why." he says softly, offering Astoria a soft smile.

Astoria listens quietly to Takeshi. Her eyes narrow when he admits confusion, and she clears her throat directly afterward. "You may have had the opportunity to meet with Madam Millicent Gardner, a wonderful woman who lives in Godric's Hollow. She is part of a news story that a colleague of mine is writing. I, however, am responsible for Madam Gardner - at least as she pertains to the story." Astoria smiles, but pauses in her explanation to ask, "So, are the two of you acquainted?"

Takeshi smiles softly, taking another sip of his lemonade, "Indeed I helped diagnose and treat her today." he says softly, "I am always familiar with her sister-in-law, I gave her a Ikebana a few weeks ago, in the Potions Ward." he says slowly, "I suppose my concern is for her well being, I still consider her a patient, despite her giving me your contact information, I am a tad bit nervous that, how any information I provide will be handled." his says softly, tilting his head curiously to the right.

Astoria tilts her head slightly as Takeshi speaks. After his question, Astoria answers swiftly, "The man who cursed her - he is a thief - uses a spell that has yet to be identified. Madam Gardner was among his first victims, if not the first, and the curse botched due to his own inexperience. In every instance that followed, the victims had no recollection of the events, and there were few signs of magic. My colleague believes that if we can determine the spell that was used then we may be able to provide more assistance to the other victims. And, of course, the authorities would be alerted." Astoria takes a sip of her lemonade. "Madam Gardner asked that I keep her involvement confidential, which is why she did not alert the authorities herself. She trusts me to use the information to catch the culprit, and to help her fellow victims." Astoria pauses to recline a little. "I take the utmost care when it comes to sources of information, sir," she concludes.

Takeshi nods slowly, closing his eyes for a moment, "I did not mean…" he starts slowly, "I did not mean to offend." he says slowly, his tone a bit more timid now, "I care about all my patients is all, I am certain you can understand." he says softly, taking another sip of his lemonade, "It was a memory charm, no lasting damage. The headaches was caused by a combination of fear and stress, she has been given a potion that will correct it." he says softly with a shrug, his hand moving and fiddling with the paper crane slowly, "That is all I can tell you from the residuals of the spell." he says slowly, "The long a patient waits, the hard it it is to reverse engineer the spell. The residuals so to speak start to vanish." he says softly with a nod.

"I understand. You are a professional - and I respect you for it," Astoria answers softly. Her eyes narrow slightly as she listens, and her lips grow thin when Takeshi stops speaking. There is a moment of quiet, at least from Astoria, before she replies, "I see. That is… curious. My colleague and I suspected a more powerful spell." She raises her hands, steeples them, and presses her forefingers to her lips. "But it would seem that is not so."

Takeshi shakes his head, "Well I can not speak for the other cases, though if I can voice my speculative opinion?" he asks curiously, tilting his head a bit to the right looking at her with a soft smile, not appearing to be nearly as nervous as he was before, he has calmed down finally, that's good. "I haven't seen the other patients, victims, whatever term you prefer." he says slowly with a nod, "Mrs. Gardner said that her assailant, failed twice and physically attacked her hitting her in the back of her head." he says softly taking a sip of the lemonade, "Either it is simply that, a simple memory charm or he used a simple memory charm after he had physically knocked her out and has used a different spell on the others." he says softly with a nod.

Astoria pauses her sip of lemonade and sets the glass aside. Her gaze flits up to the ceiling for a moment, and then returns to Takeshi. "That— yes, yes! That fits with information she provided me with," Astoria says, tone suddenly pleased. Her emotions are often kept at bay, and each expression practiced. But, now, genuine excitement bubbles to the surface. She pushes back a strand of hair and reaches into her robes. "She told me, yes, her it is - she told me she /resisted/ the spell. He must have learned that memory charms can be resisted, so he changed his method!"

Takeshi smiles softly telling now that she is pleased, "I certainly hope I was able to help." he says softly with a nod, "Like I said, my views are purely speculation, since I have not seen any of the other patients." he says slowly with a small nod, taking another sip of his lemonade.

"I will be sure to inform my colleague of your thoughts on the matter," Astoria replies. She stands and moves into the kitchen, again, and returns a moment later with a drawing board, ink, and quill. "You have been a great help, sir. If there is a favor you require in the future, do not hesitate to contact me. I will make myself available to you," Astoria says. And then she begins to write.

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