(1938-11-02) The Nobility of the Snake
Details for The Nobility of the Snake
Summary: Upon hearing that his consort is in distress, Cassius drops everything and rushes to see Rhyeline.
Date: 2 November, 1938
Location: Rhyeline's Flat
Related: Occurs shortly after Secrets of the Heart

The guards are still standing outside down the street. Wearing such old-fashioned clothes, they do tend to stick out in muggle London. That doesn't seem to be something that concerns them. Since her earlier encounter with Thomas in Diagon Alley, Rhyeline has returned home and retreated into her books. A cup of coffee (her first in the longest time) rests in one hand. A book sits open in her lap. Her dark eyes and her nose seem a bit pink- as if she has been crying. Now the calm after a storm has settled upon her. With a small sip of coffee, she turns another page.

Cassius wasted no time once he got word that Rhyeline was in distress. Locating him had taken some doing, as he was in a meeting. But he sent the reporting bodyguard back to his post, excused himself from the meeting, and…

…*CRACK!* Hoping to find no Muggles in her parlour today, Cassius pops into view out of thin air, wearing a look of deep concern.

Rhyeline flinches at the loud clap of apparation. A few drops of coffee stain the book in her lap. She wasn't supposed to be drinking it anyways. In the brief moment where Cassius' arrival catches her so off guard, he might catch a glimpse of the pain shining in her dark gaze before her quiet reserve swiftly settles back into place, muting it. Furrowing her brows with a subtle look of cautious confusion, she murmurs, "Is everything alright?"

The disorientation passing, Cassius hurries to Rhyeline's side, sitting on the edge of a nearby seat and reaching to touch her hand. "I was going to ask you the same thing. Dear one, you Disapparated away from your bodyguards in distress. What has happened? Has someone hurt you?" Though his voice is calm, there is that flicker of protective fire in his eyes she has seen before.

Rhyeline knew he had a meeting tonight. And yet a brief mention from one of the guards about her distress was enough to make him drop everything and come to see her. As Rhyeline gazes up at the protective fire in his eyes, tears blur her vision. Her composure melts away as her features tighten with pain. Her nose gets pinker as do her cheeks. Setting aside her cup of coffee, she lets the book fall to the ground as she draws close, seeking his embrace. Squeezing her eyes shut, she draws a sharp gasp of a breath, but makes no other sound as she cries.

Cassius's brow knits with growing concern, and he draws her close, sitting back to make his lap available to his little mouse. "There…let it out. You are safe to cry with me. Let it go, and when you are ready, tell me what has happened." His face is the perfect, soft visage of composed compassion…without so much as a hint of the wrath smoldering under the surface for whomever might have put her in such a state.

Rhyeline's arms slide around behind Cassius' neck, hugging him as she trembles in his arms. She curls up against him, folding her legs towards her chest. She burries her face against his neck where he can feel when she draws a sharp gasp and lets it out slow and shuddering. Bit by bit, the tension eases from her fragile form. It might even seem as if she as fallen asleep. But at last, she speaks, low and hoarse, "I was foolish… too quick to trust. I should have been more cautious."

Reece rubs a hand along her back, curling his other around her legs to hold her safely against him. He kisses her cheek, cooing soothing sounds. "Darling, surely not. Tell me about it. What has you in such sorrow?"

"It's nothing… I was- was just… foolish. I let my guard down… let myself get hurt. When I was told I seem a snake wearing the fur of a mouse… I should not have let that hurt me…" murmurs the little one, sounding much soothed at Cassius' gentle ministrations.

Cassius lifts a finger to stroke her cheek. "Of course not. A snake is a remarkable creature. Most of all because, when the scrapes and nicks and bruises life inflicts upon us become too extensive, we shrug off our old skins and begin anew, rejuvenated and unscathed." He smiles softly, pressing a lingering kiss to her forehead. "But also, like a mouse, we prefer to avoid unnecessary conflict, choosing our terrain and lairs carefully. For like the mouse, we understand better than more how dangerous the world is. You see, other animals will wear pretty faces and act the part of the noble beast. But a snake is honest. Snake freely admit that, if cornered, we will bite venomously. It is the prouder animals that are liars and deceivers. They would put on a show of nobility, when, in truth, they are killers like the rest."

Rhyeline's eyes drift shut as she tilts her tearstained cheek into the snake's gentle caress. Her lashes glisten in the warm glow of the fireplace. "But I have no bite. And- and to find the small truths I offer met with such indifference… to find that when I have let them close, they believe me a deciever… And then- to have my secrets, all the secrets of my heart demanded…" Falling silent, she just shakes her head, returning to hide against Cassius' neck.

Reece smiles, nodding. "No, you do not have a bite. I only wished to show you that there is no shame in being a snake." He tightens his embrace, rocking her gently. "Tell me, Rhyeline. What happened?"

Rhyeline's hand tightens upon the fabric of Cassius' tailored cloak as he holds her so close and rocks her. "I'm not sure… I was trying to explain why I was being followed by my two guards… and then… he started to say things that- that hurt so much… I don't know why. But- he knew things only she could have told him… I had confided in her because I thought I could trust. But now- I think I better understand their recent distance… But- it doesn't matter who, Cassius… I won't let them hurt me again…"

Cassius cups his hand to her cheek, catching her tears. "It matters who, Rhyeline. You told me that you would keep me informed about your life. If somebody has betrayed your trust, I must know who. Who has done this awful thing to you?" He dips his face to seek her gaze, his eyes mere inches from hers.

Rhyeline can't help but lose herself in his piercing jade eyes. "I don't want them to be enemies. It was due to my own lack of caution that my trust was betrayed. I shouldn't have placed it with them. I will tell you who. But please. I don't want them to be punished…"

Cassius sighs, frowning with mild disapproval. "I promise, there will be no retribution without your permission. But I should know who it is I should be cautious about, since they clearly do not respect confidence."

"Yes. It would be wise to be cautious. But then- I should have expected. Phil is a reporter and her job is to share stories. But- she is not the one that said such things. That- that was her fiance, Thomas…" murmurs Rhyeline in a rather soft tone. Having spoken, she searches Cassius' gaze for his true reaction.

Cassius doesn't make much effort to hide his reaction. Quiet displeasure. He nods slowly. "Thomas. The man that professed his love for you and then promptly forgot it, yes? And do not mistake what Miss Rowle did for professional duty. A journalist must understand better than most the need for discretion and trust."

"I thought she was kind… she made me feel so warm during the birthday party she organized for me as a surprise. I thought she might be like Graham… a sister to me. But she has seemed distance since I started to get closer. I wondered if that was simply her nature and I had never gotten close enough to see. But now… I wonder if she shares the beliefs behind Thomas' accusations. I hope not. I hope that- that she just… shared my words with a lover… and nothing more…"

He frowns, shaking his head. "Your words were not hers to tell without your permission, lover or no." He strokes her dark curls, placing another light kiss upon her brow. "I'll not try to convince you of the need for retribution. If they cannot see how blessed they were to make a friend of you, then there is no punishment I could devise that would make them suffer more than their ignorance will." He tilts his head sympathetically at her, offering a subtle, supportive smile. "But Rhyeline, I cannot help but notice the timing of this sudden change of opinion. Not long after you have accepted my courtship. Has my interest in you brought this grief upon you?" Cassius is all to aware of the reputation he and his kin have in certain circles.

Rhyeline hesitates, considering his words. Peeking back up at him, she presses a soft, tender kiss to his lips. "Their misinterpretations cannot harm us if we don't let them. Phil's distance and Thomas' accusations coincided with mentions of your courtship. But, it was my own lack of judgement that brought my pain. Never your interest."

Cassius returns the kiss just as tenderly, squeezing her lovingly. "No, not your lack of judgement. Theirs. But as you say, they cannot harm us if don't let them. You see? You can shed your skin like a snake." He smiles warmly, not a hint of malice when he compares her to a serpent. He kisses her again, reluctant to let those soft lips get away from him. Talk is quickly forgotten, as the warmth and tenderness of the moment overtakes them.

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