(1939-01-20) Sweets, Planes, and the Underground
Details for Sweets, Planes, and the Underground
Summary: Partial Log, Starts at Cassiel's entrance. Uncle and Niece are entertained (or are the entertainment for) Zack at Sweet Tempations. Talk swirls about, but eventually leans to Muggles in general.
Date: 20 January, 1939
Location: Sweet Temptations
Related: This is a partial log. SOMEONE may have the rest of it. :)

It's early afternoon. Kahren is sitting at a table with Zack - an empty cup of cocoa and an empty plate with a few pastry crumbs in front of her. Zack is drinking tea. Kahren is twirling her hair. She does that a lot.

"Oh, yes," Zack says. "That's a good reason not to like someone. I didn't know whether to like him or not. He seemed strange." Zack was more confused than upset by the other man's behavior and remarks. He smiles all of a sudden a small, amused smile. "Did you call me a gentleman?"

"And what else could I call you, Zachary Fudge? You're a /find/ gentleman," Kahren responds, smiling across at him. Yes, Zack is odd, but he's sweet and well intentioned. Just… so very, very clueless.

Normally it would be the Cauldron for Cassiel, especially at this time of day, when the last of his appointments are done, but of late he'd tired of it. That was not abnormal for him, of course… things tended to ride and fade in his interest at regular intervals, and he'd probably be back there sucking down chips and gravy with his favorite ale again in a few months, or a few weeks. But today, it's a sweet tooth.
And so he strides in. Having been on this side of the Cauldron all day, he's not in his muggle gear, instead wearing a set of multi-layered, midnight blue robes with silver trim, and a matching conical hat. In one hand he holds a straight-wood cane, a simple thing that looks manufactured of all things via Muggle design. And, considering the ornament on top is a clear, plastic, fake-diamond-looking doorknob, it may just be.

"No, don't call me that," Zack says, his brow wrinkling at the use of his full name. "I'm called Zack. My name is Zachary Fudge, but I'm called Zack. There's a difference. No one calls me a gentleman either. Why do you?" He looks round at Cassiel when the man enters. "Oh, that man has blue robes!" he says, not bothering to keep his voice down even as he talks about someone else. "They're nice." Zack wears dark blue robes himself, though his are accented by lighter shades of blue.

"Because it's a nice thing to call a young man," Kahren responds simply. "But I will stick to Zack as you prefer."
She glances up as Zack comments on a man in blue robes - and her expression promptly blooms into a broad smile. "Uncle Cassiel!" She stands from her chair, moving towards him to greet the man with a kiss to his cheek. "How are you? Have you met Zack? He was in my year at Hogwarts - Ravenclaw, though."

The man in blue robes' expression wasn't dour as he entered, and it certainly doesn't seem to be swinging that direction when he sees his niece address him. Cassiel calls out an equally expressive "Kahren!" As she approaches him, and his arms go out to offer a light hug as he accepts the kiss on the cheek, "Now this is an unexpected pleasure!"
A grin goes to the younger man who addressed him, trying to place him… but in the end he goes with Kahren's introduction, "Zack certainly seems familiar to me… but you know how faces can be some times." His can is transferred from his right hand to his left, so he can hold out a hand in greeting. "Well met, Zack."

"Yes," Zack says. "I prefer Zack. Oh, you know him. He's your uncle?" He remains seated when the man approaches him, and takes his hand to shake it, not realizing he should stand up. "Oh, hello," he says, blinking at the greeting. "Yes. Well met. I seem familiar to you?" He doesn't seem to recognize Cassiel.

Kahren is happy to return the hug in kind, before leading her Uncle towards Zack. "Yes, my Uncle. My father's older brother," she confirms, smiling at Zack before looking up at Cassiel. "I've already finished - but I'm done with my shift, so I've no where to rush off to. Order something and join us, won't you?" She passes off her empty cup. "Perhaps see if I can get another hot cocoa?"

Cassiel's handshake is firm, and his smile genuine, "Not certain where from, no… but I'm sure I'll figure it out at some point," Then as a point of introduction, he says, "My name's Cassiel Umbridge, but I absolutely insist people call me Cay." With a hard 'c'. "I work over in Accident and Catastrophes as a Liaison."
He looks back to Kahren, grabbing the mug, "I think I just might. Irish or regular?" is asked with a slight grin. And it's doubly ridiculous, considering the establishment.

"Okay," Zack says, releasing the man's hand. He always looks vaguely uncomfortable after a handshake. "Then I should call you Cay. And you should call me Zack. I insist on it too. I don't like Mr Fudge or Zachary or anything like that." He peers at the pair of them. "Irish or regular what?" he asks, the question seeming to him to come out of nowhere.

"The cocoa. He wants to know if I want them to put whiskey in it - which they don't even /serve/ here, and he knows I have no taste for the stuff, besides," Kahren responds, rolling her eyes. "He's a terrible influence."

"That's because you've not tried enough of the stuff out there, yet, Kahren," Cassiel retorts with a grin and a wink, "One regular, plain, boring, uninteresting hot cocoa coming up. And likely another one just like it for myself." Pause, "And a bit of carrot cake, I think. Yes."
He offers both a slight grin before heading over to the counter to make his order.

"Why would you put whiskey in cocoa?" Zack says. "That would destroy it. It would become undrinkable." Bemused, he watches Cassiel wander off to the counter before turning back to Kahren. "What did he mean he worked as a liaison?" he asks her. "A liaison to what?"

"Many people like it," Kahren responds with a shrug of her shoulders. "Including my Uncle. But he's /odd/." She says the word fondly though, with a brief glance after the man. Her attention quickly returns to Zack as she clarifies, "He works with Muggle-born wizards. Visits their homes to notify them and their families of their talent and their invitation to attend Hogwarts, and he follows up with them, to make sure the student is integrating well, and the family is coping well."

"And we sometimes help with accidents involving Muggles if the other teams ever get short-handed… although thank Merlin it doesn't happen often," Cassiel offers as he returns, two cups in one hand, a plate with a frosted orange cake in the other. The three are set down, before he sits himself.

"Oh," Zack says. "There's a whole portion of the Ministry devoted to working with Muggle-born wizards?" He looks to Cassiel as the man rejoins them at the table. "Are there a lot of Muggle-born wizards? How many do you deal with? What do you do if they aren't integrating well? Or if the family isn't coping well?"

"Thank you," Kahren says to her uncle as he returns with the mug - picking it up in both hands and blowing across the surface. After blowing a few more times, she takes a cautious sip, while allowing her uncle to answer Zack's questions.

The look Cssiel gives Zack is a bit quizzical itself, but that doesn't stop the smile from coming through. "You're curious. Please tell me you're in research of some sort, or at least creating things…" He chuckles, and then takes a sip of his cocoa. "I wouldn't say a whole section…" Or, for that matter, a whole team. Not that many these days interested in his type of work. "But yes, there are a few of us who dedicate ourselves to that work."
He frowns for a moment, considering the answers to the next set of questions, and while he does so, he idly scoops a bit of the frosting from his carrot cake, and eats it directly off the finger. "There are a number, although specific numbers and the like are kept on a need to know basis. Privacy and safety, and all that. But I can say that I work closely with a little under two dozen individual subjects at Hogwarts in their Pre-OWL years."
And then a breath, "My job is to make sure the other two don't happen. And I'm proud to say that, at least for the most part, I'm succeeding there swimmingly." There. Evaded.

"I'm in research of some sort," Zack tells Cassiel. "I create things. I mean spells. I create spells." He listens to the man explain his work, though he frowns at the imprecise way in which Cassiel addresses his questions. "So you're good at your job. That's good. Does swimming help you do a good job? I like to swim, but it has nothing to do with creating spells. Unless the spell has something to do with swimming."

"Zack takes things /very/ literally, Uncle Cassiel," Kahren informs her uncle, smiling a bit wryly. "When someone says swimmingly they just mean they're doing well at it."
Looking aside at her uncle she adds, "Don't leave until I've had a chance to tell you about /the Underground/. Don't let me forget."

Cassiel's chuckle holds no malice or ill will. The question actually amuses him. And in its own, unintended way, meets his own odd sense of humor. "Actually, I'm pretty much rubbish at swimming anyhow, so it's good that it's just a figure of speech."
He then looks at Kahren, and Zack may notice that while Cassiel said he insisted on everyone calling him Cay, he doesn't with her. "All right dear… logged and filed away." But the request definitely has captured his curiosity.

"Oh," Zack says, thinking about it. "Yes, I've heard it used that way before. I don't see what it has to do with swimming, though." He looks to Kahren, a thought occurring to him. "Why do they call it the Underground?" he asks her. "Calling it a tube makes sense. A train is sort of like a tube. But calling it the Underground doesn't make any sense. Underground is a place, not a thing."

"Well - because it's underground," Kahren explains, surprised by the question. "You have to go /down/ some stairs under the earth to get to the train. And then the train /travels/ through tubes. I think that's why they use those names, probably." She looks aside at her uncle questioning. He knows more about Muggles.

"It's also an adjective, Zack, a descriptor." Cassiel notes, "Meaning that it is under, below, the surface. Muggles often use it to define illicit activities or persons who act outside of a lawful fashion, since they try to work unseen 'under' the surface fo the law." And for that reason he looks back at Kahren with a bit of an upturned brow.

"Yes, I know," Zack says. "But that's like calling a fish the Ocean. The Ocean is found in the ocean, and the Underground is found underground. It's confusing." He looks at Cassiel in surprise. "Oh. So there are a lot of criminals who use the Underground? That explains why they'd be willing to risk the eclectrity."

Kahren meets her uncle's gaze, then laughs. "Well, I certainly didn't mean /that/ sort of underground, personally." Kahren was much too /proper/ for that sort of thing, besides. Zack's next comment earns a sort of horrified look from the woman. "No. I don't think that's why."

Cassiel actually offers Kahren the grin this time, "Well. You said he was literal. I figured the additional information would be of service. But I'm glad to know my niece isn't associating with such undesirables." An elbow pokes at her lightly before he turns back to Zack. "They might, you never know. I've never been to the Underground myself."

"Oh," Zack says, having thoroughly confused himself about what the Underground's purpose is. "I haven't been either. I don't think I want to go to it. It sounds scary." He stands up all of a sudden. "I need to go. I have to go to my parents' house and give this to my brother." He snatches the chocolate frog he purchased up from the table and walks off, only to return a few seconds later to say, "Goodbye." Then he leaves properly.

"Goodbye, Zack!" Kahren calls after him, watching him leave, then looking at her uncle and shrugging her shoulders. "He's an odd man - but he's always been like that. You've really never been on the Underground, though, in the work you do? Do you always apparate to their homes?"

Cassiel watches the young man go with a continued smile, "He's charming. Odd… but charming. You said you've known him since school, was he always this way?"
As to the Underground, he smiles, "Call it a fear of the unknown. I'd love to… but since I tend to break Muggle /toys/ just by looking at them, I really am not certain how safe one their tubes would be. So if apparation isn't possible, I'll typically broom it."

"Since year one," Kahren confirms. "He's terribly /bright/, just… socially inept." And even that doesn't seem to cover it.
"Well - I'll admit, I would be much too intimidated to travel it on my own. I was escorted by a squib - he's in the Royal Air Force. He flies /planes/ at /400 miles an hour/. Can you even imagine?" She smiles broadly with slightly widened eyes - clearly amazed by this feat.

Cassiel nods again, looking down and suddenly realizing he's been ignoring his carrot cake. Eschewing a fork, he breaks off a piece, offering it over, "The more intelligent a person is, the more the possible they lack in other areas. The mind has to compartmentalize things, after all."
He then pauses, "You actually went on it?" Squib is ignored for a moment, and if the bit of cake isn't taken, it's dropped. "What was it like? Did it smell of grease and smoke? Were there a lot of Muggles there?" Leave it to her uncle to focus more on that aspect.
Until the subject of a plane registers in his head, "Wait. A squib? Who pilots one of their flying machines? Can I meet him? You have to introduce me!" Eyes bright, wide, and almost childlike. Words? Almost babbled.

Picking up her plate from earlier, Kahren offers this to receive the cake. Unlike her uncle, she picks up her fork and uses it, slicing of a dainty bite. She smiles at his child-like excitement as she nibbles at the cake. "I'll try to," she promises. "I have to get the potions I made for him delivered, at any rate. Wouldn't it be incredible to see one of their planes?
"These Muggles are so much more clever than we give them credit for. I mean - I really /expected/ the Underground to just be choked with smoke - like comes from the Hogwarts Express - but there wasn't any! Guy says it's because they use e-lec-tricity to power the trains. He said they trap lighting and put it into wires and make it do work to move the train! Just incredible."

Cassiel nods emphatically, "I was actually talking to Gilbert Sullivan about this just the other day," the causal mention of the famous author like it was no big deal, "They are so inventive… creating things to replace the lack of what they can't do with magic. They can't fly on brooms, so they figure out how to create metal birds. They can't create energy, so they store it in wires and boxes. Amazing. I understand, though, why some are frightened or intimidated by them."
He smiles, "I think one day they're going to surpass us. And most of us won't be ready. But seeing a plane? Would be absolutely brilliant."

"I don't think I ever understood just how talented they are until I spoke with Guy," Kahren agrees. "Four hundred miles an hour! We don't have anything that travels so quickly." Now, here her expression sobers, some of her child-like glee turning into something far more sober. "Guy said they put machine guns on the planes. I didn't know there were different kinds of guns - but these /machine/ guns can fire 400 little bits of metal into a person each minute. I saw what one of those did to his leg and… it was horrific. And he said that was an older model of machine gun that /couldn't/ do 400 bullets each minute."

The thought is sobering, but Cassiel nods, and says, perhaps a bit to vehemently as he unceremoniously tears off another bit of cake and pops it into his mouth, "And we're supposed to /rule/ them? Or better yet, just present ourselves to them with perfect faith and expect them not to see us as a threat?" He nods, "They entice me. They make me want to know more. But they also frighten me. Not because of their propensity to invention, but because how likely they are going to be to wipe us out if the current political trends continue."

"It worries me, too," Kahren agrees quietly. "I would hate to see anyone - wizard, squib /or/ Muggle hurt." She lets out a sigh. "And Guy also said something about… bums? Bums dropping on London? I'm not sure what it meant, but he said it in such a dire tone."

Cassiel shakes his head, not catching the reference either. "Not certain… but they do tend to borrow terms from older devices. Knowing them, and what you say about their weapons… if it's dropped, it'll be from something like that. Perhaps it's a curse of some sort?" A frown, and then a deeper one as another person suddenly sticks their head through the door of the shop, looking for and finding Cassiel directly. A silent summons is obvious in his expression before the door shuts again.
A sigh from Cassiel, and the last bit of cake is devoured. "I think I'd better go. That doesn't look good."

Kahren nods, and smiles at her uncle, despite the solemn turn their talk had taken. "I'll see if Guy could arrange for you to see his planes. Take care of yourself, uncle. I was glad to see you." She rises when he does, to give him another hug, and one more kiss on his cheek.

Cassiel holds his niece tight for just a moment. Perhaps due to exactly the same solemnity of those parting comments, "Be safe, kiddo. And come say hello more often." Another little grin, and then cane is in hand, as he heads toward the door.

"I will when I can!" Kahren calls after him. She makes no remark on the 'kiddo.' She's long since given up on /protesting/ that - and has moved on to the stage where she rather likes it.

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