(1938-10-12) A Toast to a Withering Curse
Details for A Toast to a Withering Curse
Summary: When Rhyeline tells Graham and Phil that it seems her curse is withering, Phil orders a bottle of champagne and the three toast to the mouse's good health.
Date: Saturday, October 12, 1938
Location: Leaky Cauldron, London

Leaky Cauldron

This cramped, angular room is the taproom of the Leaky Cauldron. A long bar runs along one side of the room, plain wooden stools set out before it. Smoke from pipes and candles fills the air. The patrons of this curious little bar, many of them elderly, sit hunched over their mugs at the tables. Waitresses, sometimes coined "wenches", bustle back and forth bearing trays of food and mugs of ale. Many of the people seem strangely out of place, dressed in cloaks and floppy hats, as if they stumbled out of another century. Notably absent are any modern Muggle devices or electricity, the lighting all provided by lanterns and chandeliers.

It is Saturday evening, just before nine. The regular crowd are in the Cauldron, which means it isn't unusual to see Phil there amongst them. She is sat talking with a couple of people but then as the conversation comes to its natural end she picks up her glass and gets to her feet. Sipping her gin she looks around, seeing if anybody new came in while she was busy.

Just as Phil is getting to her feet, Rhyeline slips into the Leaky Cauldron with a hand self-consciously over her right cheek. Both cheeks, as far as anyone can see, are rather pink with cold. Standing silent, she scans the room, almost as if looking for someone. Catching sight of Phil, the little one bites her lower lip, but then hastens directly to her. "Um… could- could I talk to you a moment?" she asks, moving her hand so that her sleeve hides her cheek now.

The warmth in Rhyeline's cheeks deepens when Phil puts an arm around her shoulders and leads her off towards the secluded table in the back of the crowded tavern. "I… well- I had a bit of an accident… got bumped by someone coming through a door… but- it left a bruise you see…" Biting her lower lip, she lowers her hand from her right cheek to reveal the rather nasty bruise left (one assumes) from the edge of a door.

Frowning, Phil sets her drink down, and gently tilts Rhyeline's chin, so she can better see the bruise in the light. "Door, hmmm?" Her tone is soft and nonjugemental but there is suspicion in her eyes. "Well, I am no healer, but if you don't want to go to Mungo's I can see if my sister is home?"

"No… Keenan already looked at it… said my cheek wasn't broken. But- I wanted to know if- if you could recommend a good concealer… I- I had some make-up that my mother sent… but- the charms have worn off because- because it's old… and so- when my cheeks get pink, it- it shows that I'm hiding something…" And as warm as Rhyeline's cheeks are now, something strong enough to conceal a bruise would definitely show up in sharp contrast unless it were enchanted to mimic the warmth of her blushes. Catching sight of such suspicion in Phil's dark gaze, Rhyeline bites her lower lip, looking a touch hesitant and vulnerable.

Relaxing now that she knows Keenan has already seen it Phil lets go of Rhyeline and sits back in her chair. "I do have some makeup that I use for disguises sometimes. It is much thicker. I can pop home and get it if you want to wait here?"

"I- yes… just a little bit… for now… and- and then just- tell me the label so that I can send for some of my own…" murmurs Rhyeline rather softly, moving to hide the bruise once more. "And- Thank you, Phil… I truly appreciate it."

Phil pushes her gin into Rhyeline's hand. "Have some of this while you wait." She gets to her feet and pulls her wand out then apparates home. It is but the stuff of a minute really.

Rhyeline blinks when the gin is pressed into her hand. Once Phil has apparated away with a sharp clap, the girl peers like a curious kitten at the gin. After a small sniff, she takes a tentative sip. Not too bad. Gin isn't something she's ever had much of. But at Phil's recommendation, she takes another small sip.

Graham enters into the pub from the muggle side due to his state of dress it looks like he's come from home. He looks about the place a moment to see if he knows anyone and spots Rhyeline across the place. He begins making his way through the crowd to reach her. "Hello, Rhyeline." he says but pausing as he spots the bruise an eyebrow rasises. "What happened to your cheek?" he asks concern coming to his voice on the last part.

At the sound of Graham's voice, Rhyeline instinctively moves to hide the bruise. However, realizing that Graham has already noticed it, she lowers it once more. Flushing bright with self-conscious embarrassment, she murmurs, "Just an accident… Someone was coming through a door and didn't realize I was there… and so I got bumped… Em- Phil is about to come back… she- she went to fetch something to hide it…"

It takes Phil a few minutes to return, five or so. When she does appear with another loud CRACK she has a small glass jar in hand. "Oh, Graham." She gives him a smile then sits back down in her seat and swaps the gin for the jar of foundation make up. "Try that, much thicker," she tells Rhyeline.

The auror watches the movement of his friend a moment, but nods "I am sorry to hear that happened. I hope you are well otherwise?" Graham says to her he nods about Phil when she pops back into existence "Hello, Phil hope your well." he moves around though "Would you mind if I join you?" he asks still polite all the same.

"Yes. I- Actually, I spoke with Keenan yesterday, and-" But then Rhyeline pauses when Phil returns. She accepts the concealor from Phil with a murmur of appreciation, and immediately applies a dab to her cheek. The mark is invisible now, but her cheek still looks odd. She hasn't blended it well. Looking up at Phil, she tilts her cheek for her to see it better and murmurs, "Better?"

"Of course, sit down Graham." Phil scoots to the edge of her chair and gently blends the make up in better for Rhyeline. "There, now it is better." She leans back and wipes her hand clean on her robe. "So who was coming out of the door that you walked into?"

Graham moves to sit in the open chair "Thanks." he says though he's looking to Rhyeline to see if she will continue with what she was about to say not wanting to press just in case but his eyes show a hope in them that it's good news from Keenan. "Ah, yes it looks much better. Hopefuly it heals quickly." he waits to hear the answer to the question as well.

Rhyeline blinks and does her best not to wince when Phil blends the make-up with the rest of her cheek. Now when she blushes, the make-up shifts perfectly in hue as well. At Phil's question, Rhyeline bites her lower lip and averts her gaze. Shifting in her chair, she hesitates, almost as if trying to find a way to avoid answering. At last, she murmurs, "It was Madam Ismene Malfoy… And- and Keenan was there too… They spoke, but also- Keenan mentioned the results of some recent tests…" Changing the subject? No, she's just continuing with what she was telling Graham.

Phil sips her drink and gives Graham a side long glance then turns her attention upon Rhyeline as the younger woman shares what happened with them. "Ismene Malfoy hit you with a door? Why was she leaving in such a hurry? I thought she liked you?"

The young man seems surprised as well though he looks to Phil first nodding at her question, before back "I don't imagine she and Keenan got on well together so that would be interesting." Graham is more interested in the request of the puzzle "What were the test results, hopefully good news." he wont press further knowing it's no good at all.

"She does… it was an accident. She was coming into my flat and didn't expect me to be in the way," explains Rhyeline, peeking over at Phil. Looking up at Graham, a soft, bright little smile appears upon her lips. "Yes. It was. It seems that- that the curse… he said it seems to be 'withering'." As she tells them this, her eyes almost seem to shine with happiness.

"Withering? That's good. Does Kenan have an idea as to why it is withering and will it stay permanently…withered?" Phil doesn't spend more time discussing the Malfoy widow, but focuses instead on the good news Rhyeline has delivered.

Graham smiles big not at her being hit in the face of course, but the news of the curse withering. He possibly forgets himself a moment leaving over and giving her a one armed hug before he straightens once more "That is great news." Phil asks the question he was going to ask anyways and he waits for an answer.

Rhyeline can't help but give a soft, sweet little laugh of pure delight when Graham hugs her. She returns it, clinging tight for just a moment before almost beaming up at them both. "Yes… and- soon, I might even be able to return to work. And- I feel it even… I feel death not so close… When I see healers, they don't scare me as much."

"Healers aren't so bad," teases Phil. She does live with one, so she is a bit biased. "But I am glad you are getting better. I am sure that Cassius will be happy to have his assistant be more active." With a clap of her hands she declares, "This calls for a celebration." Tilting her chair back on two legs she shouts over to the bar, "Champagne and three glasses!"

The auror cant help but chuckle but he's glad the other doesn't mind his hug and even returns it a true good sign for him at least. Graham says "He must be seeing some marked improvement to say you are on your way back to work, that's great. You've begun to fight the curse which isn't compatible with your nature. I didnt thing it was." the last bit is in lowered words only for their table to hear.

"Yes, I- I'm learning to- to starve it…" murmurs Rhyeline in an equally soft voice. When the champagne comes around, Rhyeline's cheerful smile rivals even that of the night of her birthday party.

You cannot have a celebration without champagne, or at least in Phil's mind you can't. She accepts the bottle from the barman when he brings it and the glasses over and then twists off the cork with a POP before handing it to Rhyeline. "You should put a coin in it and wrap some ribbon around it; a keepsake of this moment in your life." Each of them is poured a drink and then Phil lifts her glass, "To you Rhyeline, may your health continue to improve and your life be a grand adventure."

Graham nods in agreement with her assessment of the curse and her own strength. "Exactly, and that's a great idea Phil." he says over to the other while they wait he ponders a moment the rest about returning to work but he accepts his glass and holds up his glass "To Rhyeline." he seconds and than takes a drink from his glass enjoying it.

"May I not be forgotten when my life reaches its close…" murmurs Rhyeline. Then speaking up a bit more, she adds, "And may I travel the world and fill the bracelet with charms." With that, she closes her eyes and takes a small, but savoring sip of champaign. Then, without a word, she reaches back and unties the crimson ribbon from her hair. She holds it out for Phil to show her how it's done.

"Indeed." Phil salutes them each in turn with her glass then sips her champagne. When Rhyeline hands her the ribbon she takes up the cork and wraps the ribbon around it until the ribbon is short enough to tie into a pretty bow. Patting her pockets Phil finds her coin purse and pulls out a few galleons. Checking them until she finds one minted in 1938; the rest are put away but that coin is pushed into the pliable cork, set so that the year is visible. WHen she has finished Phil grins, "Voila!" The gift is handed over to Rhyeline as a keepsake.

The young man takes another big sip of his drink, though he turns to listen to Rhyeline "I do hope you can travel, that would be great especially after all this time of having to be cooped up." the first point he's already voiced his feelings about so he wont go into it not here at least. Graham watches the next part take place as he's not sure on his tradition after all. "Very nice keepsake."

Rhyeline examines the keepsake before tucking it away. Peeking up at Phil, she murmurs, "Thank you so much… I- I don't think that- that this news would be half as sweet if- if I didn't have such wonderful people to- to share this life of mine with…" Peeking up at Graham, she adds, "And- I'd like very much to travel… to journey through the orient- to see all the beautiful places I've read about… maybe one day-" she peeks over at Phil, including her, "one day when the world is calmer, we can go travelling together…"

Phil sips her champagne, she is rather fond of the bubbly drink. "One day," she agrees with Rhyeline, nodding her head, "one day when the world is calmer we shall go somewhere lovely. And we won't take Graham because we will want to pick up handsome men and he cramps our style."

Graham finishes off his glass enjoying it "I agree, when things settle that would be great." the auror agrees with the others about traveling "Being interested in history i'd like to travel many placed as well, but getting time off work at the moment wont be easy. If I ever crack this case another vacation will be in order." he chuckles.

Rhyeline's cheeks grow rather warm as Phil's suggestion makes her look rather shy, but she can't help but smile just a bit. "Yes… and- by the way… em- speaking of men…" She peeks over at Graham, "Did you know that Thomas has opened a new book store? It's magnificent." Her gaze flickers towards Phil briefly before she peeks back up at Graham.

Phil drains her glass and then tops it and everyone else's up. "Oh?" She leans forward her hair obscuring her face as she adjusts her belt. "Well good for him. Thomas loves to read. I'll have to visit it sometime." Lifting her head again she smiles and picks up her glass.

The auror watches between the pair apparently Phil's jab is only given a look with a fake eye-roll in teasing. Graham watches as Rhyeline speaks again and shakes his head in response. "I didnt know that, but i'll have to check it out. I was telling you the other evening. The newest spy novel should be out maybe I can be one his first customers buy three copies."

"I… I am thinking of- of investing… in his shop, I mean… Because- well, he tried so much to help me and- and I want to help him as well…" Turning a bit pink, she brings the glass of champaign to her lips for a small sip.

"It isn't your fault he is in that situation, Rhyeline," says Phil, hinting that she knows more than she had previously let on. "But I am sure he would be happy to have a good friend as an investor."

Graham sets the glass back on the table as it's empty for the moment before he speaks. "Indeed, and since returning no worse for the journey it seems to have been a success, but yes i'm sure an investor would really help his business take off." he orders a cider unable to help himself falling back to his favorites.

Rhyeline nods at Phil before peeking over at Graham. "Yes… he discovered something that- that is important to know… He did it to help me. To help fight the curse. So- I want to help as well…"

"I'm sorry to cut this short, but I promised to have a late night supper with Felicity." Phil rises to her feet, draining her second glass of champagne. "I will see you both later."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License