(1939-01-10) Cocoa for Dark Times
Details for Cocoa for Dark Times
Summary: Hoping to reassure Bailey that she is in fact alright, Rhyeline invites her for cocoa at Sweet Temptations. Her guards (there are two now) prove to be rather on edge when Kathering plops down to join their charge and colleague.
Date: Friday, January 10, 1939
Location: Sweet Temptations
Related: Honeyed Words

The midafternon sun shines as a haze of pale light through the grey winter clouds. Each bitter gust of wind brings flurries of snow, nipping at noses as people hurry inside. From the inside, however, the snowflakes fluttering to earth might be considered quite beautiful. Although her nose is still a bit pink with cold, Rhyeline's dark eyes shines as she gazes out onto the street at winter's most graceful snowflake ballet.

Rhyeline warms her hands against the sides of a cup of cocoa with a light dusting of cinnamon atop the whipped cream. Taking a small sip, Rhyeline glances with a warm, shy smile over at Bailey. Having asked Bailey the day before if she would meet her at Sweet Temptations for cocoa, two different guardwitches sit at a discreet distance a few tables away.

"In the summer, warmth like this can uncomfortable… buut… in the winter, its cozy… we savor it…" Rhyeline murmurs with a bit of a grin.

Bailey's eyes flutter a bit as she sips her own cocoa, flavoured with peppermint and just a dash of rum. She nods in agreement as she licks the light foam from her top lip. "It's wonderful. Thank you for bringing me here." She peers over at Rhyeline curiously. "Are you sure you're alright?" She hasn't stopped asking since the first time she saw Rhyeline after the Sykes Gala.

Rhyeline brightens as she watches how Bailey enjoys the cup of cocoa and can't help but give a sweet, impish little giggle at her brief, foam mustache. The repeated question, the continued concern seems to warm the girl a bit, as well as deepen her shyness just a bit. "Yes… I promise I am, Bailey. I told you… my father kept me safe." Lowering her gaze, she hesitates before adding. "It was just seeing Cassius… but… but next to what he suffered, mine was nothing…" She peeks back up at her, dark gaze steady and unwavering. "I'm alright."

"Good. As long as you're sure. Sometimes these traumas can take days or weeks to really affect a person. You've been so busy looking after Mr. Malfoy that I worry you've not tended to your own needs." Bailey glances over to the table where her two colleagues sit and watch. "Is the extra guard your idea…or his?" She nibbles at her lower lip, giving Rhyeline a look of mild concern.

Katherine walks in from the streets taking a moment to shake snow off of her skirts and putting her coat on the coat rack. As soon as she catches sight of Rhyline she pretty much assumes she's invited to sit down and bustles past the table with a, "Well, hello neighbor! Let me order and I'll be right back." For all her the cheerfulness in her voice she looks a little haggard and slightly out of sorts.

"I didn't want him to worry…" murmurs Rhyeline, peeking over at her pair of guards before glancing down into her cup of cocoa. "It's true… I've… I've never had to- to witness something like- like that before." Her hands tighten a bit around her mug, before she closes her eyes and takes another sip. "But… I am more resiliant than I seem," she murmurs before meeting Bailey's eyes at last.

And of course, Katherine's unexpected greeting makes the little one squeak, clinging tight to her cup of cocoa. Recognizing her neighbor, the little one calms a bit, but still watches her head off to place her order with a silent shyness.

The boisterous arrival of Katherine draws a polite half-smile from Bailey. But her attention is mainly on her two colleagues, two whom she gives a subtle hand signal: Stand down. With the increased guard come new faces, which means less familiarity with Rhyeline's neighbours. The newer and more overzealous of the two guardwitches had already put her hand on her wand. But at the signal from Bailey she settles herself, looking a bit meek at the shaking head from her table-mate. Minor embarrassment averted, Bailey turns her attention fully to Rhyeline again. "I have no doubt about your resilience, Rhyeline. You know me. I just worry."

Katherine arches an eyebrow at the guardwitch that went for her wand as she comes back from the table with a large mug of hot cocoa in her hand. With one of her typical half smiles she says to Bailey,"Hello, Katherine Sykes, Auror Initiate, at your service. By the way, darling, you might want to tell your little friend over at the other table to be a little less zealous. It's liable to get her in trouble one of these days."All of this is said loud enough to be heard clearly at the next table and in that kind of sacharine sweet tone that tends to be more insulting than an outright insult. In a more conversational volume and with much more friendliness she addresses Rhyline, "HOw are you bearing up after the events from the other night, Rhye? I really wish I had been there. I feel like I failed the family not being there to help protect everyone…"

Rhyeline's cheeks grow rather warm, blushing with a touch of embaressment at her reaction. She looks up at Bailey and hesitating, lowers her cup enough for Bailey to see her small, appreciative smile. "I'll be alright, Bailey…" The little one hides once more behind her cup of cocoa when Katherine returns with her own. "I'm glad you were safe though… and… and I'm alright. But… my guards… they are- are extra cautious," she murmurs in rather quiet defense of her two guardwitches. "Oh… and- and this is Bailey Potter…" she adds.

Bailey offers a hand to Katherine at the introduction. "A pleasure, Miss Sykes. Please don't judge Justine too harshly," she says quietly. "Everyone is tense after what happened at the gala." She gives Katherine a strained, apologetic smile.

Dejavu time as Kat puts her cup down leaving behind a little foam mustache on her top lip alomst identical to the one Bailey was sporting a few moments ago. She takes the time to slowly, almost sensuously lick the foam off her lip, her eyes closed in appreciation for the taste before she shakes Baily's hand, "A pleasure, Bailey. You don't mind if I call you Bailey, do you? And I definitely understand being a bit tense. I am too, especially since I've been trying to get assigned to the case with no success. Apparently I'm "too personally involved." The disdain almost literaly drips off the last few words, making it clear what she thinks about the idea of being to personally involved and making it just as clear that she truly is.

Rhyeline pauses at the sight of Kat's own little mustache, on the edge of a bit of a grin. But the sensuous manner in which Kat removes it, causes the little one's dark gaze to widen. Bowing her head, she hides behind her cup of cocoa once more as her blush deepens.

Bailey cannot help but notice Kat's evocative manner, herself, causing a visible swallow as she stares. Thank goodness for quick distractions, as she shakes her head to Katherine when asked if she minds a first name basis — she clearly doesn't. "That must be difficult. I'm sorry. I know how personal attachments can conflict with professional duties." Her eyes flicker toward Rhyeline for a moment.

For her part Kat completely misses the other two women's reactions to her enjoyment of her cocoa. After all, her eyes were closed. Looking from one to the other she finally settles on Rhyeline,"So is Bailey your new head of security? You sure have moved up in the world since you started working for Cassius. HOw is he doing by the way? I read in the reports he was one of the people hit with a Cruciatus. Is he recovering apace?"

Rhyeline peeks over at Bailey, blushing with ever greater shyness. Her hands tighten a bit around the cup of cocoa when Kat focuses on her. A small nod, and she murmurs, "Yes… he is improving… Thank you. And… what of- of your family? Are… are they alright?"

Bailey lapses into silence, sipping her cocoa and listening. The two women are so closely connected to the horrors that occurred, they clearly need a chance to talk about it.

Katherine sighs and shakes her head, cocoa cup held in both hands and positioned in front of her chest in an uncharacteristically defensive posture. "I honestly do not know. This attack has started a rash of small scale retaliations and counter retaliations which is keeping Auror so busy its bordering on ridiculous so I haven't had an opportunity to check up on people. This is actually the first free time I have had in days. And I just had to get some sweetness in my life before going to visit anyone…" She seems a bit ashamed about the whole thing and diverts the conversation away from her by asking Bailey,"So how did you get into the body guarding business?"

Rhyeline gives a small nod. "In the darkest times, it's important to savor the small pleasures…" And with that, she brings her cup of cocoa to her lips once more. As Kat shifts the conversation to Bailey, the girl follows, watching Bailey from behind her mug.

Bailey swallows her mouthful suddenly, caught off guard by the question from Kat. Apparently she thought she'd have more time to ruminate while the other two talked. "Oh…well…just circumstances, really. Um…I took a job. A private job, and it worked out well. That led to other work, and eventually I wanted something more stable, so I signed on with Aegis Security."

Katherine is in the process of drinking some more of her cocoa as she listens to Bailey when her eyes slowly widen. What was a leasurely sip turns into gulping a then she puts down a hastily emptied cup, gasping a little bit from the nearly burning heat of the liquid, "OH cripes! I forgot I had a meeting at the Ministery. I am /so/ sorry but I really have to leave. Nice meeting you, Bailey. Rhye, I'll see you soon." Standing up she smirks at the guardwitches at the other table and tosses off a comment as she rushes to put her coat on, "Keep up the good wortk ladies. BUt work on your subtelty." And with that she's out the door in a flurry of coat tails and swishing skirts.

Rhyeline sits in silence for a time once Kat has gone. "I don't spend much time at home anymore… and… it's been ages since I'd seen her…" she murmurs before peeking over at Bailey. "Yesterday though… I… I saw your previous employer…"

Bailey shakes her head at Katherine's parting words to the guardwitches, chuckling. "Why does everyone assume we're supposed to be subtle? We're a deterrent more than anything else. Subtlety works against that." She pauses mid-sip at Rhyeline's information. "My…previous…? Which one?"

"Mr. Carrow…" she murmurs, between sips, watching Bailey's eyes with a hushed curiosity.

Bailey swallows hard, setting her cup down and folding her hands on the table. The nervousness in her eyes is plain to see. "Rhyeline…you need to be careful around him. He's not a good man."

"I know he isn't…" But from the lack of caution in her young, dark gaze, it might seem she doesn't quite understand. "He was trying to manipulate me… but… I can't quite see why…"

"It's his way," Bailey says quietly, keeping her voice well below the range that anyone but Rhyeline should hear. "He likes to control people. Listen, I can't say more. It would be dangerous."

Rhyeline's voice rarely carries beyond the intended listeners of her words. "For me to know? Or for you to tell?" Her dark gaze is steady, fixed upon Bailey's eyes.

"Both," Bailey says firmly, a deadly seriousness in her eyes. "It's better just to leave it in the past. Please trust me on this."

Trust. Rhyeline nods. Though she is accustomed to a world of secrets and shadows, she trusts Bailey, and at her request, she lowers her gaze to take a small sip of cocoa. "I will keep my distance from him… Forgive me if- if I have frightened you…"

Bailey shakes her head, forcing a smile. "It's fine. I'm not telling you who you can associate with. Just to be wary…and not to press me about my past with him."

Rhyeline nods, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear as she looks to Bailey. "I won't. I didn't mean to. I was just… curious. But… I… I wanted to- to talk of other things… To… to enjoy your company. It makes me feel warm… even in dark times…" Still solemn, she starts to take a sip of cocoa, but finds she has finished it all. She sets the empty cup down on the table.

Bailey nods agreeably, glad to get away from the subject of Hector Carrow. "What would you like to talk about, then? Surely, we can find something cheerful to brighten our day. Oh! Do you recall Miss Fabia Fairfax?"

Rhyeline blinks at the sudden mention of the rather peculiar, yet fabulous Fabia Fairfax. "Y-yes… I… I saw her not long ago… in Hogsmeade. I- I went with Zack to the Three Broomsticks."

"I ran into her just the other day. Here, in fact," Bailey gestures around the sweets shop. "She was given a puppy for Christmas. This adorable little pug named Honey. She's the more adorable creature. Of course she lets the little thing run roughshod over her. So I convinced her to let me take Honey out for training a few days a week."

"Cassius gave me a puppy… one of the crups… he's mine. Comes inside with me…" A soft, bright little smile emerges in her young features as she peeks up at Bailey. "Are… are you good at training dogs then?"

Bailey's smile turns a bit more genuinely bright. "That's wonderful. Crups are awfully cute. Though, keep them away from Muggles," she warns. "I'm no breeder or anything, but I can train a dog to behave. We used to have dogs when I was a kid. I'd take them out hunting with me."

"I never had pets… no animals… my- my mother didn't care for them. And… the crups used to make me nervous. But… Shucky- the one Cassius gave me… he doesn't bark so loud like the others. He just watches me, hoping I will pet him. He looks so happy when I pet him," murmurs Rhyeline, glowing with a quiet happiness.

Bailey giggles softly. "It sounds like you're just as happy. He must be trained, I assume? Maybe we could introduce Honey to him. Having a well-behaved dog around can be a very good influence when trying to train."

"Shucky is very well behaved. He's the smallest, but… I think he's also the most clever. When I talk to him… he tilts his head and watches me. It's as if he's listening…" Rhyeline's cheeks grow a bit warm as she smiles, biting her lower lip. "If you think it would help, you /should/ bring Honey to Berylwood…"

Bailey tenses, almost invisibly, at the mention of coming to Berylwood. "Sure…or…I was planning on taking Honey out to the countryside at least one day a week. Maybe you and Shucky could come with us."

Rhyeline gives the slightest tilt of her head to the side when Bailey tenses. Tucking another loose wisp of a curl behind her ear, she nods with a soft smile. "I'd like that. But… we'd have to be careful… away from muggles."

Bailey nods vehemently. "Yes. Not a problem. I know a few good place, off the beaten path. Maybe even around Hogsmeade, if you care to come that far. I'll have to head out there to pick up Honey, anyhow."

"I could go visit Zack afterwards… let him meet Shucky. I… I wonder if he'd like dogs…" murmurs Rhyeline thoughtfully.

"Oh, he's in Hogsmeade now? You may have mentioned that before." Bailey shrugs, "Maybe he'd like to come with us. I've never had the chance to meet him."

Rhyeline hesitates a bit. "Mm… maybe… maybe we could go together to see him afterwards…" Lowering her gaze, the lingering warmth in her cheeks grows more noticeable.

Bailey nods. "Whatever you'd prefer." She tilts her head curiously, squinting. "What is it?"

"Nothing… I… I just… I dunno. I like it when it's- it's just us…" she murmurs for Bailey's ears only. "Althought… I guess that- that won't happen again for… for a while…" She sneaks a peek over at her pair of guards.

Bailey smirks over at Justine and the other guardwitch. "I suppose not. But I'm sure we can arrange for some private time…at least with them in another room. At your flat, maybe."

"I'd like that," Rhyeline admits in the softest tone. It's the first time she's let on that she is anything but appreciative of her guards' presence.

Bailey rises from her seat. "Alright. As soon as our schedules allow, then." She gives Rhyeline an apologetic smile. "But now for, I'm sorry, but I have to go. Ever since the Sykes Gala, we've had extra training shifts at work."

Rhyeline rises as well and offers Bailey a soft smile. "It was good to see you, Bailey… Even if it- it was short… And… yes… when things are- are a bit calmer, I- I look forward to our outing…"

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