(1938-10-29) Worth Fighting For
Details for Worth Fighting For
Summary: Clayton drops in on Rhyeline and Astoria to wisk the little mouse away to a dinner date. He remains persistent despite news of Cassius' courtship claim. And just then, Cassius comes to call.
Date: Tuesday, October 29, 1938
Location: Rhyeline's Flat
Related: Cake and Cognac

This scene immediately follows Cake and Cognac.

The sound of a roaring motorbike comes through the streets of Lambeth, the headlight breaking through the little bit of darkness that has already settle. Slowing down as it moves closer to Rhyeline's flat, before stopping right in front of it. Climbing off the motorbike is Clayton, still dressed in his Royal Air Force uniform, his hands moving up and removing the pilot goggles from his head and slipping on his officer's hat. Moving towards Rhyeline's door as he straightens out his greatcoat, before knocking suddenly on the door.

"Very political of him," Astoria says with a nod. "But intelligent." She sips her drink as the clock chimes and, oh - was that a knock? Astoria sits forward a little, keen eyes focusing on the direction of the door. "Expecting someone?" she asks, glancing back to Rhyeline with a raised eyebrow.

"Oh dear," squeaks the little mouse. Biting her lower lip, Rhyeline looks to her front door rather anxiously. "I… it's- it's this… this muggle man… he's… he's part of the muggle military… I've been… been wanting to get to know him… so that- so that I could have a muggle perspective on- on the growing storm over Europe." However, the warmth in her cheeks would suggest that there is more to her apprehension than the fact that she'd forgotten he was coming.

Well he has been invited in once, that is good enough. Clayton reaches and opens the door cracking, "Rhyeline, you in here doll face?" he says through the crack in the door, "That bloke in here?" he says with a softly chuckle, waiting and listening for a response. His gaze moving towards his idlying Motorbike considering going in.

Astoria's smirk spreads across her lips after Rhyeline speaks, and her gaze intensifies dramatically after the mention of "doll face." She glances back to the door and quietly clears her throat in an attempt to settle her expression. "She's in here, sir," she replies, tone crisp and precise. "Why don't you come inside?" Winking mischievously to Rhyeline, Astoria quietly takes out her wand, whispers an incantation, and taps her robes. They flutter vividly before transforming into a modest, black dress with sleeves and a high collar. The fabric shimmers a little in the right light, and fits her figure as a dress properly should. A moment later she quickly tucks her wand away, inside a sleeve, and smoothes the front of her clothes.

A clear chime rings through her flat as the door opens. The wards have been broken, alerting the little mouse to an intruder. And before the little one can recover from her alarm, Astoria is inviting the muggle man in. Tonight Rhyeline wears a witch's dress of silk that flows like water close along her subtle curves before cascading from her hips. Though the exact cut is more unusual than the muggle clothes she wore the first night they met, perhaps it is simply a new fashion Clayton has yet to see. There is cake on the coffee table and a bottle of rather expensive cognac. A third plate and a third glass sits off to one side, its user having just left. Sitting curled up in the high backed chair, Rhyeline sits wide-eyed and frozen, like a gazelle caught alone on the serengeti. Her cheeks glow with warmth.

Clayton takes a step looking around for the source of the sound, "Why you got a PA system in your house? Have enough guests you need to make announcements?" he says playfully as he removes his officer hat, hanging it on a hook, before removing his greatcoat and doing the same. He enters the room, his eyes focus on Astoria for a moment, before a playful smirks moves across his face, "Why Rhyeline, you never told me you had such gorgeous friends." he says offering Astoria a small wink, "Squadron Leader, Clayton William Kable of her Majesties Royal Air Force." he says in greeting, before turning and giving Rhyeline a smirk, "You of course look lovely like always." he says, before looking at the empty plate letting loose a loud sigh, "Someone ate my slice eh?" he says not waiting to be invited and just sitting down.

Astoria's eyebrow arches when she catches sight of Clayton. "Why Rhyeline, you never told me you knew a delectable man in uniform," she replies, tone mirroring Clayton's while she smirks in response. Her legs cross until they assume a more proper state while her attention drifts between Rhyline and Clayton. "My name is Astoria," she adds, but she does not elaborate on the other plate, or his seating himself without invitation or his not kissing her hand. Ahem. Not that her hand extends. Instead, her narrowed, fierce gaze settles upon Clayton, and the smirk persists.

Rhyeline seems overcome with an intense shyness. At last hiding behind her glass of cognac, she takes a sip perhaps a bit too long. With a little cough, she flushes and peeks back over at them. In a rather soft tone, she murmurs, "Good- good evening, squadron leader. This- this is my friend-" Wait, Astoria had just introduced herself. Biting her lower lip, her gaze flickers to the cake and she explains, "We were just- just…" Ah, but at last, her soft voice fades and the mouse retreats behind her glass once more.

Clayton chuckles, as he leans over and cuts himself a small piece of cake juggling it in his hands he takes a bite looking between the two, "Pleasure is all mine, Ms. Astoria." Don't mind if I have some cake? Been a crazy day at the hanger." he says shaking his head, "Rhyeline can you believe they still don't have my Spitfire up? Been running around all day with out a single bite to eat." he says shaking his head, he looks over Astoria slowly, watching the gaze, "Why Ms. Astoria? Are you jealous that Rhyeline has gotten to ride the motorbike and you haven't" he says looking back at her leaning in close.

"I will take you for a spin too if it has you that upset." he says offering her a small wink, before his head suddenly snaps at Rhyeline, "Just… just talking about how we are headed to dinner? Italian food remember?" he says offering her a small wink, "Our second date you know." he says with a small nod.

The words, 'what's a motorbike?' nearly escape Astoria's lips, but she contains herself and simply nods along. Slowly. "Oh, I'm sure you would not want me to, erm, ride it," Astoria replies. "I have a frightful reputation with br- rather… horses. Yes. I do not ride well," she concludes, grinning slightly. She fans her own cheek with a hand until there is a mention of a date. Astoria looks towards Rhyeline, eyebrow tilting ever-so-slightly upward.

Rhyeline looks as if she wishes her armchair would swallow her up and conceal her from sight. The mention of a second (not first) date seems to only deepen her shyness. Biting her lower lip at Astoria's quirked brow, the little one parts her lips, but still can't seem to find her voice. Gazing up at her witch friend, Rhyeline's dark gaze seems almost pleading.

Clayton leans back taking another bite of the cake, "Well Ms. Astoria, all you gotta do on a mottorbike is hold on tight, just ask Rhyeline." he says offering her a small wink, "Nervous as hairless cat in winter, but once she climbed on and wrapped her arms around me she settle right down. So if you ever want to give it a try, just " he says finishing off the last bites of cake, "Now that hit the spot, can't believe that Chief, going to hem him up if he doesn't have her up in the air soon." he says shaking his head.
"Oh, Rhyeline." he says looking over at her, a small smirk growing on his face, "We got an old two seater from the Great War, if you would like I can take you for a spin." he says offering her small wink, "Give you a chance to be in the clouds, free as a bird if you have never been." he says with a small nod, his gaze intently on her, "I can arrange it, remember you only live once." he says his smirk widening.

"I believe that is what my riding instructor told me," Astoria replies with a soft laugh. She pushes a bit of hair from her brow, allowing her expression to sober slightly. Exhaling slowly, Astoria says, "Well, sir, I'm afraid I have a bit of bad news. Rhyeline has been under the weather, and I have been instructed to make sure she stays indoors. I think your date may need to be postponed." The eyebrow lowers while she turns away from Rhyeline and focuses on Clayton. She clears her throat, adding, "But I think you should feel welcome to stay awhile. No harm in good conversation. And cake."

Rhyeline turns away to finish the last of the cognac in her glass. Setting the empty glass aside, she peeks over at Clayton and Astoria to watch them out of the corner of her eye. Clayton's mention of how she'd clung to him when riding on the back of his motorbike keeps the little mouse quite silent. Tucking her bare feet beneath herself as she sits curled up a bit in her armchair, she folds her arms across her slender middle.

Clayton nods slowly, "She mentioned the heart condition, the day we went to the Cinema." he says with a small wave of his hand, "Don't know what kinda Doctor Healer person, she has but I chatted up a few of the Docs at work, they all say she should be getting as much fresh air as possible." he says looking over at Rhyeline, "Captain Jakobs, over at the R.A.M.C. said if she would like he would be happy to take a look at her for me, he is a Cardiologist." he says looking back at Rhyeline.

"You seemed to do pretty well the other night, but we can sit here and talk and if you do toss me out, I will just sit on your steps til you talk to me again." he says offering her a small wink, then suddenly he stands up, walks over to Rhyeline and flat out kisses her on the forehead, whispering something to her.

"She receives adequate care from a specialist," Astoria exclaims. "You needn't make inquiries on her behalf, she-" Astoria's head tilts and her eyes narrow when Clayton stands and abruptly smooches Rhyeline's forehead. "Oh my," she says while her eyes narrow. Quite taken aback, Astoria says no more.

Rhyeline lifts her head, staring up at Clayton with wide-eyed caution until he places the gentle kiss to her forehead. At his whispered words, the girl bites her lower lip, hesitating as she peeks up at him once more. With the most subtle of motion, she shakes her head. And at last, somehow, she finds her voice. "I should tell you… I… I've accepted his courtship…

Clayton chuckles, "I am sure she is getting adequate care, though you can't blame a man for concern over such a lovely lady, what is the harm in a second opinion." he says looking over at Astoria offering a quick wink, "Captain Jakobs is one of the best Cardiologist in the R.A.M.C." he says with a small nod looking back at Rhyeline, that sly smirk still on his face, "Wonderful!" he says clapping his hands together, "Then he won't mind a bit of competition. Like I told ya, if a fella really wants a gal, he won't mind working to have her." he says nodding slowly, "I certainly don't mind." he says with a wink, the smirk still on his face.

Astoria closes her eyes for a moment while he posture stiffens. She clears her throat and stands up, saying, "I'm going to get a little more to drink." Forcing herself to smile, for the fifth time this evening, she walks carefully to the kitchen. A moment later she passes through the doorway.

Rhyeline bites her lower lip, looking a touch conflicted when her words fail to dissuade Clayton. Though she appreciates his peculiar muggle manner and wants to know his thoughts on the conflict in Europe, his disregard for Cassius' claim might put him in a dangerous situation. Tucking a stray curl behind her ear, Rhyeline peeks over at Astoria with a touch of concern when she goes to fetch something more to drink, especially when there is still some cognac on the coffee table. "Astoria…" she attempts, but her voice is too soft to reach into the kitchen.

Clayton looks at her for a moment, now crouching down so that he is eye level with her, "Rhyeline, if you want me to go or stop, you can ask." he says with a small nod, "Though I can't promise I will listen." he says with a small smirk, his eyes trying to stare into hers. The smirk still on his face, he doesn't say anything about Astoria leaving, "I don't think your friend likes me." he says with a wink, reaching over and tapping Rhyeline on the nose softly with his index finger.

Astoria remains in the kitchen, probably having forgot that an entire bottle of cognac is on the table in the living area. She rummages around, glass in hand, trying to find that blasted bottle.

Rhyeline blinks as Clayton taps her delicate nose. It isn't possible for the girl to look any more shy than she does now. Her dark eyes shine with caution. However, her cheeks also burn with warmth as she stares up at him. On the table next to the bottle of cognac, there are three glasses and three plates. And cake. Rhyeline peeks over in the direction of the kitchen where Astoria rumages before looking back up at Clayton through her lashes. "I think my news caught her off guard…"

Outside, a black horse-drawn coach slows to a stop in front of Rhyeline's flat. The footman opens the side door to release the tall, platinum-haired gentleman within. Though his garb is reasonable for Muggle London — a crisp, tailored black suit with a high collar, silver piping, and a deep green cape. Black leather gloves cover his hands. His long hair hangs about his ears in that styled-to-seem-unkempt look. He reaches back into the coach, collecting a package which he tucks under his arm, partially hidden by the cape.

As Cassius approaches the flat's door, his eyes snap to a mark, normally invisible, but suddenly glowing on its surface. He reaches into his jacket, withdrawing his snake-entwined wand. Testing the door and finding it unlocked, he carefully pushes it open, creeping inside, his keen eyes casting about. Hearing voices ahead, he makes his way down the hall with soft steps, his wand extended and a Stunning Spell waiting on his lips in case of danger.

Clayton is still crouched down looking at Rhyeline, "So next Monday you are coming up in the plane with me." he says with his wink, though his face changes for a moment, as he looks to the Hallway, before shaking his head, "Thought I heard something." he says with a chuckle, before reaching over and tapping Rhyeline on the nose again, "Also we still have to have dinner tonight, want me to cook something up?" he says with a smirk.

Astoria exits the kitchen with a harumph, still holding her glass, and casts her gaze back into the livingroom. Oh, that's where the bottle is! The opening of a door doesn't distract her while she walks back into the room. "Sir, I really should insist you remain a polite distance from Rhyeline. This is polite company, after all," she remarks, tone a little short.

Rhyeline parts her lips to speak, starting to shake her head when Astoria returns and tells Clayton to keep his distance. Though her cheeks burn with the warmth of her blush, the pink hue might seem more muted than in recent weeks. Biting her lower lip, she watches Astoria with quiet concern before peeking up at Clayton with a rather bashful apprehension.

Cassius's eyes darken when he hears Astoria noting that a man is being rather too forward with Rhyeline. But, it sounds peaceful enough. He adjusts his hat to a dashing angle, tucks his wand into his jacket, and steps into view, rapping lightly on the wall to announce his presence. "Rhyeline, my dear. I didn't realize you would have company. Miss Bletchley, so lovely to see you." He turns his charming smile on Clayton, approaching with a gloved hand extended in greeting. "I don't believe I've had the pleasure, sir. Cassius Malfoy."

Clayton waves his hand a little bit, "Well Ms. Astoria, we've already kissed twice, I don't think me crouching down to talk to her, is really bothering her." he says looking at Astoria and giving her a small wink, it seems he is enjoying making her correct him, "Though if Rhyeline wants me to move all she has to do is ask." he says looking up at Rhyeline, noting her apprehension, though he wants to hear it out of her mouth.

As Cassius enters he looks over at Rhyeline, "The other fella eh?" he says standing to his feet and taking Cassius's hand firmly in his and shaking it, "Squadron Leader, Clayton William Kable, with her Majesty's Royal Air Force." he says offering the man a smile, "I had just picked Rhyeline up for our second date, but she is apparently feeling under the weather, so I had just offered to cook something up." he says still holding Cassius' hand firmly in his and shaking it.

Astoria turns quite sharply at the wrap, having not reached the bottle that will surely become a most enjoyable oasis in the very near future, and begins to reach for her sleeve. Instead of robes, she wears a modest black dress. At the sight of Cassius, though, the quick-reaction halts. "Oh, Mister Malfoy - it is a pleasure," she says, tone suggesting no familiarity at all. Clayton's jab goes unresponded to as the two men engage in a handshake. She ignores them and finds the bottle, and its contents quickly find their way into her glass.

Rhyeline freezes like mouse hearing a snake's hiss when Cassius steps into the room. Caught off guard, her eyes shine bright with such apprehension. Hearing Clayton's claims, her apprehension soon turns into alarm. She parts her lips to speak, gives a small shake of her head, but she can't seem to find her voice. The little one looks as if she might faint.

Cassius chuckles with amusement at Clayton. "A second date. How droll. But I fear you are mistaken, my good man. I am not the 'other' fellow. I am 'the' fellow. Perhaps you haven't been told. I am courting Rhyeline, and she has accepted." Extending his other hand toward Rhyeline, keeping the package firmly clamped under his arm, he gives her an adoring smile. "My dear, do come greet me and tell me about your friend."

Clayton smirks at Cassius, "Oh but she has told me she accepted your Courtship." he says with a small nod, "But like I told her, if a fella really wants a gal, he won't mind a bit competition." he says still shaking the mans hand, "Let me guess, you swept her off her feet on a motorbike too?" he says with a small chuckle, "Nevermind, you don't strike me as the type to… get dirty for things you enjoy." he says nodding slowly.

Astoria seats herself and crosses one leg over the other. She quietly tilts the glass in her hands back, taking a good sip, before finally turning her attention to the gentleman. She offers no interjection.

Rhyeline's heart beats quick, but faint- fluttering. Like a moth drawn to a flame, Rhyeline rises from her chair and crosses the room to greet her suitor. It takes effort and care for her to rise, and her movements are full of a slow grace. The little one seems a touch relieved when Clayton assures Cassius that she had indeed tried to make it clear to him she had accepted the courtship of another. However, for the muggle's sake, quiet caution continues to shine bright in her eyes. Drawing close to Cassius, she slips an arm around behind Cassius' back. Rising up onto her toes to place a kiss to his cheek.

"Motorbikes and aeroplanes. Goodness, no. I have no need of such toys to impress a woman." Cassius dips to receive the kiss from the tiny Rhyeline. "I find that intellectual stimulation and a good sense of humour are far more effectual for establishing a lasting bond. Your own sense of humour, for instance. Quite funny, the notion that I have competition. You may release my hand now." The last comes with a bit more command in his tone.

Clayton chuckles and releases his hand, "Toys?" he shakes his head, "Cute, Mr. Malfoy." he says looking over him slowly, "Though I would hardly call them toys, considering one is a machine of war. You may have played with little tin soldiers growing up and have somehow mixed the two up." he says offering Cassius a small wink, "As far as competition, I suppose we will see. I mean Rhyeline hasn't asked me to leave yet." he says rubbing his chin slowly, "Curious." he says slowly.

Astoria takes another sip of the cognac and gently bobs her foot while watching the exchange. It's all quiet on the sofa-front, although her eyes do narrow after Clayton's final comment.

There isn't much sound of the return of Graham a tiny pop perhaps and he's learned the places out of sight where he can appear without being seen on the street outside. The young man shakes his head slightly whatever had called him away hadnt been worth it, it would seem. He moves to open the kitchen door lightly still the familiar chime sounds and he smirks slightly, though he shuts it lightly behind him though. He looks back as he walks through noticing the gathering has grown. "Good day everyone i'm glad the meeting went on in my absence. The world continues turning, called back for some procedural nonsense." he spots the look on Rhyelines face and so heads that direction "I'll beat your door chime some day little sister." he grins to her trying to break her tension.

Rhyeline keeps close at Cassius' side, pressing against the package hidden under his cape. She rests her burning cheek against his upper arm, peeking over at Clayton. Despite such a neutral expression and having withdrawn deep into silence, her dark gaze shines expressive as ever. When Graham returns through the kitchen door (what was he doing in the garden?) he can see the caution in the overwhelmed girl's eyes. A subtle smile touches Rhyeline's lips upon catching sight of Graham, although the apprehension filling her doesn't fade.

Cassius sighs, giving Clayton an indifferent shrug. "Of course, so long as you maintain gentlemanly behaviour, I won't have to ask you to leave, either. Your presence is quite amusing, after all. You are a gentleman, aren't you, Mr. Kable? So, surely, you understand how inappropriate it is for a gentleman to keep company alone with another man's consort, let alone attempt to cajole her into a date. That is how this courtship scenario works, you see." If he weren't so obviously wielding his tongue to fend Clayton off, his tone might suggest he was catching up with an old friend. Graham's entrance gets a raised eyebrow and a warm smile of greeting, but he glances to Rhyeline, awaiting her introduction.

Clayton smirks, "You make interesting and valid points, though I do recall saving Rhyeline's life." he says tapping his chin, "Then her getting on my mottorbike, then going on a date with me to the cineima, she certainly seemed happy." he says nodding slowly, "For someone who certainly wasn't concerned over me being competition a few moments ago, you are sure talking a lot." he says nodding, "Curious Curious." he says before turning and looking at Graham, offering his hand, "Don't believe we have met, Rhyeline's brother? Squadron Leader, Clayton William Kable, with her Majesty's Royal Air Force." he says nodding at him.

"Ah, Mr. Cohen," Astoria says lightly, turning a little towards Graham. If she catches the man's attention she mouths the words, 'he is a muggle,' without actually saying them. Turning, Astoria adds, "I think I will make myself useful and cut some more cake." She stands, chuckling slightly, and makes her way back to the kitchen.

"It's good to see you again Mr Malfoy. Afraid I got called out by work before, but congratulations are in order all the same." Graham chuckles "I brought cake over on a whim with Miss Bletchley but I admit i was quite trumped. In surprises." he looks to the approaching man shaking his hand lightly "Graham Cohen, perhaps you know Captain Benton?" he asks though he continues "Not related by blood, but i've adopted her as family." he explains.

"Mr. Kable," Cassius says with a sympathetic frown. "You are mistaking my concern for worry. I am concerned that you are rapidly putting your foot into your mouth, and I would rather not see a good fighting man embarrass himself. After all, in spite of your vaunted date, she has still accepted my courtship. It rather speaks for itself." He smiles fondly down at Rhyeline before giving a firm nod to Graham. "Of course, Mr. Cohen. It's wonderful to see you again as well. My, this is quite the soiree, Rhyeline. How fortuitous that I arrived when I did."

Rhyeline's dark gaze glows with appreciation for Graham as takes on explanations. Nuzzling her cheek against Cassius' upper arm, the little mouse peeks up at him looking so small and vulnerable. Silent, she watches him, trying to read his eyes. Though the mouse still seems quite cautious, his fond smile seems to reassure her a bit. Perhaps soon she will calm enough to find her voice once more.

Clayton ponders for a moment, "Can't say that I can pin it on anyone. Though I tend to stay in the realms of the R.A.F. only every so often I drift off to other branches, like when I go to speak with the R.A.M.C. about a friend, I have one of her Majesty's finest Cardiologist willing to take a peek at Rhyeline." he says with a small nod, "Though I admit, absolute please Mr. Cohen." he says with a small nod.

Turning back to Cassius he claps his hands together, "Perfect!" he says with a smirk, "Since you are not concerned about me stealing Rhyeline away from you, you will have no issue with me seeing Rhyeline and taking her out." he says with a wave of his hand, "Also Mr. Malfoy, allow me and my good fighting men to worry about were out feet go, I mean I wouldn't want to bother you as we play our Toys." he says with a nod, the smirk still on his face.

Astoria finds a knife in the kitchen and begins to cut the cake. She listens to the conversation from a distance, smirking a little as the two men continue to speak.

Graham nods at the others words. "It's a big army, so i'm not surprised." The young man says as the other hasnt heard of his friend he looks back to the couple standing back a bit he nods at Cassius's words "I would have gotten a bigger and more occasion appropriate cake." he jokes trying to keep things light which he tends to do. He turns as Astoria walks back in giving a smile.

Cassius sighs, shaking his head. "Well, it seems I haven't been simple enough in my language, Mr. Kable. So I shall try to be forthright." He maintains his friendly smile, but his tone turns decidedly more grim, even warning. "I am courting Rhyeline. If you attempt to violate gentlemanly conduct, which would include 'seeing Rhyeline and taking her out', I shall be quite cross with you. Please don't make me cross with you. It would become one of your life's biggest regrets. Accept that the better man has triumphed, and move on." He gives Clayton an apologetic shrug, and gestures to the seats. "Now, why don't we sit, have a drink, and stop making Rhyeline and her other guests uncomfortable, hm?"

"Please, I… I think it would be best if- if… you left… I… I'm not feeling well…" At least the mouse speaks, but her voice is rather faint. And in truth, Rhyeline appears to be clinging just a bit to Cassius, as if she needs him to steady her. Dark, vulnerable gaze full of caution, it flickers from Clayton's face, to Graham's to Astoria's.

Clayton chuckles, "Aren't you just cute, Mr. Malfoy." he says with a chuckle, "Maybe I haven't been simple enough, I full intend to see Rhyeline here, also since when is it gentlemanly to threaten someone?" he says rubbing his chin, "I will say this, the next time you threaten me." he says his smirk vanishing, "We will handle it like men and step outside and I will gladly, show you were my foot can go." he says, "Oh also don't ever call my Spitfire a toy again." he says waging his finger at him, "It is not very gentlemanly to insult the hard working Fighting Men, of her Majesty." he says slowly.

Then Rhyeline speaks, he doesn't say anything to her just shakes his head a bit, "It was a pleasure meeting all of you interesting people." he says with a wave of his hand, "I hope you get to feel well soon, Rhyeline." he says as he excuses himself, "Though last I checked, it was proper to keep prior engagements." he says from the hallway as he slips on his greatcoat and officers cap, before letting himself out, the roar of his motorbike can be heard as he brings it to life, the roar echoing down the street as he rides off.

Graham watches back and forth though he's standing quite silent. He is ready to move though likely only to make sure Rhyeline doesn't get caught in the middle. He watches as the airman moves out on request. "Ah, well.. yes those airplanes are really something if you've not seen them before." he says awkwardly "I should likely go as well, I am expected at a certain appothecary but wanted to stop by and apologize for my quick exit. Miss Bletchley, Rhyeline Mr Malfoy. Congratulations again." he pauses a moment "I know your quite busy, but if you find that you have a moment i'd really like to discuss something with you." the last directed at Cassius. He'll move back towards the Kitchen but will wait a response.

Cassius tut-tuts, shaking his head. "I fear he has made me cross." He turns to Graham, wearing a solemn expression. "Auror Cohen, I will gladly make time for you. Also, please expect a memorandum from my desk tomorrow. I will be requesting a signed statement from you that this Muggle, Mr. Clayton Kable, has made clear his intention to harass Miss Diderot against her wishes and my advice, and has make threatening remarks toward me. Should the situation become complicated, and heaven forbid that the Statute of Secrecy be violated in self-defense, I should like her and I to be well protected."

Rhyeline bites her lower lip, looking a touch pained as Clayton takes his leave. Peeking up at Cassius, her apprehension grows. Tugging on his cape, she murmurs ever so softly, "He doesn't mean any harm…"

Astoria takes note of Clayton's departure with a gentle frown, and nods to Graham before he apparates away. After a wince and a gentle rub inside her ear, Astoria picks up the three plates (managing to balance one on her hand) as well as silverware. She walks back into the livingroom and sets each plate down on the table. The booze prevents her from being too savvy, but she manages. A moment later she breathes a sigh of relief and seats herself on the sofa again. "What a lovely evening," she intones while reclining, tone not without a sense of irony.

Cassius frowns disapprovingly. "Of course he means harm. Goodness, it's like my sister and her Irish brute all over again." He sighs, putting his free arm around Rhyeline's shoulders, his other to her elbow, to guide her toward her favorite seat. "I gave the man every opportunity to back down gracefully. But I won't have him coming around and making your life difficult." Astoria's quip earns an amused, sidelong smirk.

"He took me to see a muggle cinema… and… I'd hoped- hoped to learn more about a common muggle's views on- on the growing crisis in Europe," murmurs Rhyeline in a small voice. Once guided to her seat, she lingers at Cassius' side, not occupying it just yet.

"Well, I would encourage you to find a different muggle to interview. That man seemed a mere inch from fisticuffs at the mere idea of not getting his way," Astoria says, tone quite sharp. "Imagine if he had attacked Mister Mafloy. The press would have had a riot over the event if news had gotten out."

"A worthy pursuit," Cassius assures Rhyeline, and nods along with Astoria. "She's right. It would be a whirlwind. Spinning such a confrontation in our favour would be anything but a sure thing. He seems to have developed an unhealthy obsession with you. I said I would protect you, and that includes warding off the inappropriate advances of other men. Please sit, dear. You should relax."

Rhyeline's cheeks burn with shame when Astoria makes the political dangers of such conflict clear to her. Easing herself into her chair, she folds her legs and curls up a bit. "Forgive me… would- would you care for some cognac? And cake? We were celebrating our- our courtship…"

"Hm, yes, we are," Astoria says, apparently approving the change in subject. She gestures to the cake and reclines a little more with her glass. "It's rather good. The sweet shop in Diagon Alley never fails to impress."

Cassius arches an eyebrow. "Celebrating our courtship with the man attempting to sabotage it? I trust that he had not made his ungentlemanly intentions clear until mid-celebration, then. Nevertheless, yes, I would gladly indulge." As Rhyeline certainly knows, cognac is Cassius's drink of choice.

"No, it- the cake was- was a surprise from Graham. But then, I- I surprised him with the news." Tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, looking a touch self-conscious, she adds, "I'd forgotten that- that the squadron leader had said he'd come tonight…"

"It has been a rather odd evening," Astoria adds after Rhyeline's explanation. He nods slowly and sips her drink. "But the cake is quite lovely." Her foot begins to bob again while she watches the couple, eyes quite keen.

Cassius helps himself to a snifter of cognac before taking a seat near Rhyeline. "Well, let's not let the squadron leader's uncouth behaviour ruin our celebration." He lifts his glass, looking first to Astoria, then to Rhyeline. "To Rhyeline, a treasure worth fighting for."

Rhyeline can't help but look warmed by the toast Cassius proposes. The little one has already had an inch or so, but taking up her empty she holds it out, hoping Cassius might pour her a bit more so that she can join in on the toast. "Thank you, Cassius… and- and I appreciate your restraint… and patience…"

Astoria coughs quitetly, raising a hand to cover her lips while she clears her throat. After raising her head she nods, though her cheeks are a little flushed. "Indeed," she replies, raising her glass. And then, "To Rhyeline, and Cassius!" She tips back her glass and swallows a fair bit of alcohol after the toast.

Cassius gladly refills Rhyeline's glass, clinking his own to hers. He gives Astoria a grateful bow of his head, and drinks. "Mmm. Patience and restraint. Indeed. I took nearly a year deciding to court you. I should say I might have too much patience and restraint." He flashes Rhyeline a smile, settling back comfortable in his seat.

Rhyeline brings her glass to her lips for a long, slow sip. The cognac is a rather expensive label and an excellent year. Perhaps it was sent by one of Rhyeline's French relatives not long ago. Pausing, the little one peeks over at Cassius with a bit of a grin. "Things were different when we first met… I thought Eden, or even Alis would be a better choice… And- and there wasn't as much hope for overcoming my curse."

Astoria sits quietly, sipping from her glass while the witch and wizard speak. A gentle smile touches her expression for a moment as Rhyeline mentions Eden and Alis. It doesn't linger, though, and she soon finds herself sipping again.

"Alis? Goodness." Cassius waves a hand dismissively. "We had dallied with the idea, if neither of us should find a suitable partner. But really, that was never seriously going to happen. As for Eden, delightful as she is, she simply does not understand me the way you do, my dear. How foolish of me not to see sooner where my attentions should have been." He gestures toward Astoria, "But I do not mean to make you feel the third wheel, Miss Bletchley. Please, tell me what has filled your life of late. Surely, there is some sort of excitement in the journalist's life?

"I don't think I'd have said yes until you gave me a chance to know you better," murmurs Rhyeline in a rather soft tone. A certain pinkness lingers in her cheeks as she takes another deep sip of cognac. Added to the glass she'd finished not long ago, its starting to make the little lightweight rather tipsy. As Cassius turns he focus of the conversation to Astoria, Rhyeline peeks over at the woman for a moment, her dark gaze shining bright with curiosity.

"If by 'excitement' you mean work - then yes. Work preoccupies most of my time, and has for many years. The time I don't spend working I've partially dedicated to endorsing The Three Broomsticks, which, I was pleased to hear, riled up Brad Moody." Astoria chuckles a little. "Which reminds me - did either of you happen to hear that horrid interview?"

Cassius nods, pointing with his snifter-hand to Rhyeline. "When I can't listen myself, Rhyeline takes notes and fills me in. Something about the Glinch case, yes? What was so horrid about it? Forgive me, I didn't hear the actual broadcast."

"As always, he tried to trap her in twisted words… he tried to suggest that by repealing the statute of secrecy, it would make legal spells like the one that was used in the Glinch case," murmurs the little mouse. Even in her slightly intoxicated state, Rhyeline remembers the key points. "I thought you did rather well making your position clear, Astoria," she adds with a warm smile over at Astoria.

"Oh-" Astoria begins, but then Rhyeline expertly explains the interview. Her brows rise while the other woman speaks, and after the compliment she inclines her head. "Well, thank you. Do pace the compliments, however. I shouldn't like to get a large head." She winks. "I personally found it horrid due to his belligerence. I suppose some part of me believed him to be a man of the news. Instead, he seems more interested in propaganda."

Cassius laughs, shaking his head. "Ah yes. Brad Moody and his supposed clever traps. I look forward to sparring with the man. I'll try not to make him look too foolish. I'd like to be invited back, after all. But you are not wrong, Miss Bletchley. Moody is no newsman. He has an agenda, and it shows. Not that I mind much of value in his opposition, either. That David Smith. Both merely mouths spewing uninformed rhetoric to rouse their respective audiences."

Closing her eyes, Rhyeline tilts her head back and drains the last of the cognac from her glass. She sets the empty glass on the coffee table and then curls up in her chair, nestling her cheek against the armrest. "I believe he is convinced of his version of truth… but when the world does not conform to his vision, he tries to twist facts and statements…"

Astoria listens to both, nodding at various points. "I admit that I would enjoy listening to him interview you, Mister Malfoy," Astoria replies with a rather wicked grin. She bobs her foot up and down while speaking. Turning slightly, she regards Rhyeline for a few moments before saying, "You have a knack for finding the good in people, don't you? I feel obligated to provide you with a rather inadequate amount of caution: be careful not to think too highly of others." She turns back to Cassius, "And you, sir, make certain she does not become too vulnerable to the likes of Mister Moody."

Cassius lifts his glass again to Astoria in a sign of respect. "You have my solemn oath, that Rhyeline shall be under the aegis of my care and protection for as long as she wishes it." He reaches a hand over to briefly cover Rhyeline's, a fleeting display of affection, without pushing the boundaries of polite company too far.

Eyes closed, Rhyeline extends a finger and raises up into the air to call their attention. "I know perfectly well how dangerous he is… That. That is why I convinced him to let Cassius speak instead…"

Astoria nods solemnly after Cassius' oath. She drinks the last of her cognac with a swift tilt before lowering it with a grin. She chuckles while watching Rhyeline's posture. "Oh dear," she intones while standing and placing the glass on the table. "Well, I should leave the two of you. Expect an owl from me before the weekend, Rhyeline. I have a few outlines that will need your careful eyes. But," she waves a hand, "we will discuss that business another time." After a rather careful, but wobbly, curtsy she pulls her wand free and begins to walk towards the door to the garden. "Goodnight," she offers before stepping outside.

Cassius rises to see Astoria out, in proper gentlemanly fashion.

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