(1939-01-22) Bikes in the Park
Details for Bikes in the Park
Summary: Intending to meet his neice at Hyde park on the way home, Cassiel nearly causes Cooper to take a spill. Everything is going friendly-like, until Alistair shows up of a sudden and drama ensues.
Date: 22 January, 1939
Location: Hyde Park, London

At 350 acres, Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in Central London. Divided from Kensington Gardens by the body of water known as the Serpentine, Hyde Park is full of trees and grassy fields and walk ways, and is home to the world's first Speakers' Corner. There, people can give speeches about or debate any lawful subject, as long as they avoid profanity. The Grand Entrance to the park sits right near Apsley House (the home of the Duke of Wellington) at Hyde Park Corner.

It's just like riding a bike, she's always heard. The only problem is Cooper never really learned just how to ride a bike. So why she is on one is anyone's guess. In the waning sunlight of early evening, grunts can be heard from the blonde witch as she manages to shakily steer and pedal the contraption a few feet forward before the thing tilts, forcing her to start over again. But whatever the motivation, it doesn't seem to stop her from trying once more. "God I don't understand how people manage to get around on these things …," she sighs, her hot breath escaping into the cold air. Cooper proceeds again, uncertain mounting, hesitant pedaling, unstable steering, and she's slowly rolling forward.

In all truth not trusting most Muggle forms of transit, and with the air to clear to fly his way from one to the other, Cassiel has opted to take the long route back to Diagon Alley, via Shank's Mare. Of course, being on this side he looks nothing like he would otherwise… all robes gone and instead dressed up not unlike a police inspector… that is, if the inspector was about 20 years after his time. Multiple coats, pleated scarf, and a conical hat are all part of the costume, as is the odd cane he walks with, a straight piece of wood with a crystal-looking plastic doorknob as its centerpiece.
He whistles tunelessly as he walks one of the many paths, although he pauses as he sees the younger woman struggling with an odd contraption. He's seen one before, although the name completely fails to come to him. However, he can at least recognize distress.
"Are you doing well there, miss?"

Okay, here we go again! Things are going smoothly this time, seeing as Cooper has made it past her usual distance without falling. There's a clear effort being made by the way her brow knits between her eyes in concentration. Although Cassiel's voice reaches her ear as she slowly passes him. "Yes, I'm … quite well enough …," she only half pays attention to the man. But that amount is enough for Cooper to catch onto his ridiculous garb, and she takes the risk of looking over her left shoulder for a second glance. What a mistake! The bike slips on some unseen black ice on the walkway, the wheel loses traction, Cooper and the bike fall to the side so fast she can't even stop the fall. "W-whoa!"

Cassiel is not known for being quick on his feet, most days, but apparently this is one of those lucky exceptions to the rule. Seeing the woman falling, or perhaps even anticipating it, Cassiel spins in place and moves to catch her, hoping that she's not too far yet for him to make it in time.

Still on an early shift, Kahren has been off for hours. Long enough to stop off at home, cook a proper meal, and floo back into the city again, dressed in what /she/ thinks is Muggle attire - an odd and eclectic mix that has earned her more than a few odd looks. Studying the clothes of the other Muggles she's passed, she's uneasily decided it must be the pants. Whatever gave her the notion that Muggle women would wear pants?
A motion not far away catches her attention as she spots a woman losing control of her bike. Oh no! What if she gets hurt!

Quite a good catch! Cassiel manages to catch Cooper by the shoulders before she meets an untimely end. "Good god! I'm absolutely done with this thing!" she says frozen in her half down, half held up by the stranger position. She's half panting from the scare, more of her hot breath manifests into puffs as she collects herself. "Many thanks, sir," Cooper says, awkwardly shedding herself from the bike, and unforgivingly uses Cassiel's shoulder for some stability. But she does remember his attire and blinks. "Are you on your way back from a costume party?" she asks, shaking off dirt or renegade snow on her trousers.

His cane fell to the ground when he spun to catch the woman, but for the moment Cassiel is focused just a bit elsewhere at the moment. Ever the gentleman, he gladly offers hand and shoulder as needed while she rights herself. "My apologies for breaking your conversation. I'd be horrified to think that I caused you to experience harm on that…" he looks at the bike, the word still escaping him "contraption."
At the question regarding his clothing, however, he actually looks quite affronted. This guise had been specifically cobbled together after weeks and weeks of careful study and consideration, dash it all! His mutton-chops actually seem to bristle, "No… no. Not a costume party at all. I'm simply heading home from work and meeting my niece for a leisurely stroll. Must keep warm, after all!"
Suddenly remembering it, his eyes cast about for the cane he dropped.

Oh, look! See? The other woman was dressed quite like she was! Wasn't she? So then why /were/ the Muggles staring so? And wasn't that- "Uncle Cassiel!" she calls brightly, moving towards the pair, and smiling at the pair. "Well, that was an unexpected bit of excitement! I'm so glad you weren't hurt, Miss. I'd worried for a moment that- well. I'm glad you're alright."

Cooper blinks in confusion at Cassiel's choice of words. "Conversation? I … wasn't talking to anyone," she quirks a brow, while a fingerless gloved hand pushes her thick framed glasses up the slope of her nose. But his replies continue to confuse her, "Do you often stroll in outdated inspector's clothes then? Or is this a special niece?"
It seems Cooper's question is somewhat answered, when Kahren appears. Quite a delightful young lady in quite a delightful getup! "Ahhh, you must be the niece. Your uncle just saved me from a nasty fall. I like your trousers by the way," she smiles in approval and admires the pair with her eyes. But then there's another blink, "I … are you from this area of London?"

Once he's certain Cooper is settled, Cassiel grabs the cane he dropped. "Concentration…" is offered as he corrects himself, shaking his head, "Breaking your concentration. Forgive me… that's a bit more action than I see on a regular basis. I guess mine isn't all there as well." A brief smile, and then confusion again, "Outdated?" He asks, straightening back up, brushing some imagined lint off his shoulders.
He seems about to expand that when he hears Kahren's voice. The smile returns in full force at that point. As Kahren approaches, the hand not occupied by the cane goes out in a familial offering of affection. Then comes the next question. "We're from the South End, actually," comes the practiced, almost by-book reply.

Kahren steps into the hug, giving her uncle her usual kiss on the cheek in greeting. "Yes, South End," she agrees. "But this is such a lovely park, isn't it? In any season."

"Yes. Outdated. I don't think I've seen that inspector's hat around since I was a young girl. You're a history enthusiast, perhaps?" Cooper tilts her head curiously. What a queer Muggle! She bends down to pick up her bike by the handles. "Oh south-end. I'm sorry if I seemed nosy for asking. I was almost sure I had seen you before," she smiles warmly to Kahren. "My memory gets jumbled up sometimes, but I'm pretty certain I'm correct about the hat," a grin spreads on her face after the joke.

With a slight puffing of his cheeks, Cassiel tries to not let the commentary on his outfit (his favorite one, dash it all!) rile him too much, "You simply do not frequent the proper haberdasheries, then… it's as simple as that," is offered back with a wide smile.
And then, removing his arm from his niece's shoulder, a leather-gloved hand is out stretched, "My word, but I am all sorts of rude today, however, grabbing a young lady in such a crude manner without properly introducing myself. Cassiel Umbridge, at your service." A queer Muggle, indeed to have that name. The same name as a known Muggle Liaison. A decidedly un-Muggle name to boot.

"I've always thought it suited you," Kahren offers, for all the good her wizardly input does. Towards Cooper she adds her own introduction. "Kahren Umbridge. Certainly a pleasure." She's studying the bike now, curiosity on her features. How does it work? What does it do? And could /she/ give it a try?

Alistair is walking down the park path at a brisk pace looking over his shoulder as he goes. The blonde appears somewhat distressed and almost bumps into the group but his grace saves him from that at least. Spotting Kahren he smiles his most charming smile. "Miss Umbridge! Such a pleasure to see you again…perhaps I could convince you to help me with a slight…problem. I can also promise a reward if you do." He glances over his shoulder again before giving the woman in question a hopeful look and his sweetest smile.

A queer Muggle that just gets queerer. "Haber..dash..er…," It takes Cooper a second to recall what that word even meant, but she gives up and settles instead for a polite smile and response, "Yes. I suppose I'm not quite a haberdasherie fanatic." But the name Umbridge seems to turn a light bulb on in her head, which then shines through her blue eyes. "Oh! Umbridge! I knew I've seen you both before!"
She takes a hand of the handle to offer Cassiel a strong, confident shake, which she will also offer to Kahren, "Genevieve Cooper. You probably don't remember me, but I think I went to school with you. I may have been a couple years ahead though." The name of said school is quite intentionally left out. "And you, sir. I would usually be quite surprised to run into our kind out here, but given you reputation I no longer am. You must know how to ride this thing better than myself."

With the name comes recognition. Cassiel chuckles, smiling broadly. His response is warm, "MLE, right? Now that I have the name… much better with those than faces, I must admit." He looks down at the bike, shaking his head at the assumption there. "Not at all. I tend to stay away from anything with large gears in it. Gears and I… well, let us just say I've never met a wind up toy that lasted more than a few hours with me." Much to his shame. The ruddy things were a blast.
At the new arrival, and his odd question, Cassiel turns his gaze to the newcomer. Clearly someone who knows her… but if there's one trait that runs through his bloodline, it's protectiveness. He's quiet, however as he lets her respond.

"Oh, did you?" Kahren asks, sounding surprised. She usually remembers her schoolmates so well, too! "Which house?" she asks a bit uncertainly, trying to place the woman before Alistair's presence distracts her.
"Mister Travers?" she responds, a slight frown tugging at her features. "Well. That would depend entirely upon the problem." Though she is notoriously unwilling to leave anyone in distress. "What troubles you?"

Alistair smiles and is about to explain the reason for his distress when a shrill feminine voice comes his way from behind. An angry looking red head is headed right for the young man and with a slight 'eep' of fright he eyes the group and answers quite frankly. "Ladies and gentleman the problem has just arrived…" The woman grabs his shoulder and pulls him around to face her. "Alistair Isaac Travers! How dare you?!" He raises his hand slowly in defense. "My dear Vanessa you need to calm down I…" "Shut up! Your sweet words may have worked on my sister and my husband but I'm not so easily fooled! You call dare to yourself a friend..you..you man stealing traitor!" Alistair takes a slow step back. "If it helps I didn't instigate the encounter with your husband…that was his idea…"

"Correct! A quite impressive feat, considering my identity tends to slip the minds of just about everyone," Cooper grins and pats her pockets down for something, which turn out to be a cigarette case. "Yes, I hear you have a great hunger for mundane artifacts. In which case, I should bring you a crate full sometime. I was raised in 'this world'." A cigarette is offered to both Cassiel and Kahren. They're clearly of cheap quality. But they get the job done. And to answer Kahren's question, "Hufflepuff, like yours."
The shrill cry however makes her jump and she stairs wide-eyed looking at the interaction between the new arrival and his Vanessa.

A hand goes to Cassiel's side, instinctive action nearing the wand before he recalls where he is. Instead, he stand directly beside Kahren, and watches the little drama unfold. A frown crosses his features, "This the sort you've been keeping with, kiddo?" Is asked.
Sadly, the interruption also means he won't have the time to gush about a /crate/ of Muggle artifacts being foisted on him. Totally unfair.

"Hufflepuff?" Kahren sounds dismayed and embarrassed. "Cooper, you said? Genevieve Cooper? Well it's just lovely to see you- ..again."
She stares at the drama between Alistair and the woman, a frown tugging at her lips, though the expression turns akin to a scowl at her uncle's expression - an almost unheard of expression for Kahren to be making. "Certainly not," she responds quietly.

Alistair feigns a look of hurt at Kahren and pute a hand over his heart. "My dear you wound me. And here I thought we had something special…I thought you enjoyed our last encounter. In fact my certain you…" Slap! Alistair blinks and touches his now throbbing cheek as the red head glares at him and lowers her hand before turning and stalking off angrily. He sighs. "I feel very sorry for her husband you know…the level drama that man must have to put up with must be near deadly."

"Uhm it's mutual … what are you up to now these days?" Cooper is trying her best to create polite conversation despite the scene. It's failing however, as she decides to simply slip a cigarette and watch on as if she were watching a film. The slap makes her jump with a little bit of an 'oh!' that comes out of her. It's soon followed by a fit of giggles. "Christ, boy! Aren't you a little too young to have such a reputation?" A lighter is pulled from her pocket so she may puff the cigarette into life.

Cassiel looks at Kahren with a bit of a look of relief, and that arm goes around her again, trying to inch her away from the bizarre scene, "Good. I was afraid I'd have to put on the tough uncle voice… and we all know how ridiculous that sounds in the end."
Yes… this is all just a bit too strange for him.

"I am not certain that you have any problems with which I can assist you," Kahren says - just a touch cooly. She found this whole scene dreadfully uncomfortable, the man was just… preposterous and incorrigible. She tolerates her uncle's protective arm, and instead turns her attention to Cooper.
"Oh, I work at St. Mungo's now - specializing and Plants and Potions Poisoning, and I've just started learning Creature Induced Injuries as well. Yourself?"

A look of horror crosses Cooper's face when Kahren says the dreaded 'H' word. "Oh … a healer … quite a tough profession …," she seems rather avoidant, and almost green, but she smokes on. If there is one thing she's afraid of, it's healers and hospitals. "I'm uh … working for the MLE now." Suddenly, she becomes aware of her bike and now slightly uncomfortable in a healer's presence she gives mounting it another go. "In fact, I've got a bit of work to do. So you know, We'll just have to catch up later. It was nice seeing you Kahren, and meeting you Cassiel, and uhm…you too… boy…" Her technique is a bit sloppy since she's trying to get away, but she does manage to get the bike going and off she rides into the winter sunset.

As Cooper makes her sudden and hasty retreat, and the drama continues to unfold with Alistair, Cassiel looks to Kahren, "Then I think he should deal with his own troubles… don't you?" A look of distaste crosses the man's face, and he looks in the direction Cooper retreated, "I was walking that way, still want to accompany me?"

"Goodbye… Genevieve," Kahren murmurs in puzzlement - the other woman's departure so abrupt. What on earth caused…? She lets out a sigh, then smiles at Cassiel. "Of course I would love to." She glances back at the ruckus, then shakes her head, happy to move away from it. She makes a face, before explaining, "I ran into him in Sweet Temptations - not too long before I saw you there, in fact. He said the most horrid things about- well. They don't bear repeating. But he's a cad, and such topics are certainly not suitable when children may happen by."

As the get further from the incident, Cassiel relaxes noticeably. "Terribly familiar of him to just come running at you like that. And going on and on… the both of them, talking about those things where anyone could hear…" He shakes his head again. "I believe something set Miss Cooper off. I'll seek her out at the Ministry at some point, make certain there wasn't some unknown offense."
He then snaps his fingers, cane still tapping beside him as they walk. "I think I saw him in the Prophet… the gentleman who was kidnapped and released, or something to that effect."

"Yes, that was him. It was apparently the day of his release that I met him," Kahren responds, shaking her head and sighing. "I was and still am glad he was released unharmed, of course." But she has no desire to have /anything/ to do with him. "He's a terribly unsettling man, though." %

"Unsettling? That's a kind word," Cassiel offers with a bit of a chuckle. He shudders, "He lived. Unscathed. And apparently undaunted to boot." A shudder, and he picks up the pace a bit, ice be damned.
"And she said my outfit was outdated! You have any idea how long I researched to get just the right look?" A scoffing laugh, "Outdated…"

"Well. It looks nice on you to me," Kahren offers, sounding uncertain. "Though I may not be one to judge. The Muggles keep giving me the oddest looks. What do you think I got wrong?" she asks, genuinely seeking his advice.

Cassiel chuckles. "The pants. Muggles are /so/ weird about pants. Why /anyone/ would choose them over robes and a good solid pair of leggings I'll never know, but I've gotten used to them enough. But for some odd reason they seem to think every one of their women only wants to wear ankle-length dresses and anything else is inappropriate."

"…oh," Kahren says, sounding a bit disappointed. "I thought they looked sort of… dashing." I suppose I could transfigure them into a skirt…?"

"Nah. Merlin take 'em. If you like it, wear it. Be you. You don't see me wearing some stiff black suit and tie like some penguin, do you?" Cassiel offers. "Even if this /is/ outdated… it's me. I chose an outfit I could wear. And so maybe it looks a little odd… you notice it was one of US that commented on it. I just have to keep that in mind."

"Well - I suppose that's true, but isn't the whole point of dressing like a Muggle that we're meant to blend in?" Kahren asks sounding uncertain. "Though I suppose it's not like wearing a pair of trousers is going to bring the whole Statute of Secrecy down around our ears."

Cassiel thinks on it for a moment, "Yes… but one thing Muggles are good at is looking past things. The Statute works because we aren't in their faces about it. But it's not like there are moving pictures on your trousers, or something else similar. They probably just think you a radical, and as a result just stare and don't push beyond that."

"A radical? /Me/?" It is a laughable concept, and it earns a broad smile from Kahren. The two continue their companionable stroll, Kahren remaining as oblivious as she can to the stares she earns.

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