(1939-01-27) Passionate Intensity
Details for Passionate Intensity
Summary: Gaillard is disturbed by Cooper in the London Library. Extremely disturbed. That's his story and he's sticking to it.
Date: 27th January, 1939
Location: London Library (Wizarding Section)

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

from The Second Coming, W.B. Yeats

Whether Muggle or wizard, the London Library forms the ideal domain for leisurely people to assume diligent guises, and on this afternoon Gaillard Beauclaire, Esq, is no exception. The cutting breeze of the outer world has driven in many bibliophiles, and of those many, more than might be imagined have access to this member's library's most secluded secret. Few desks remain unclaimed, as a result, even in the wizarding section.

Gally himself is seated between a brown-bearded, tubby wizard in burgundy robes and gold pince-nez eyeglasses, and a severe witch who, as, today, he does, favours Muggle costume instead. Their quills skitter in harmony, a silence less absolute than that of Muggle pens, especially as the magical scribblers sometimes tire of manual tedium and assist their instruments with incantations in whispered undertones…

On the contrary, Genevieve Cooper is an exception since it's quite clear she's here on business. After all, who really peruses the historical reference section for fun? In her usual poorly selected garb, she's descending down a step ladder having plucked the second book she wished to look at. It joins the another book under her arm - the title is clear: 'The Joys and Pains of Integration' by Gilbert Sullivan, followed subsequently by the absurdly long subtitle that is not as legible.
No time is wasted and Cooper immediately settles herself at the nearest table, sitting across a hefty wizard, a severe witch and a … that peculiar hair color. "Ah…" Upon seeing Gaillard, she settles for an awkward audible noise of recognition from the back of her throat rather than an actual hello, or perhaps a wave. She knows him and stares at him from across the table., only she can't quite recall his name.

For his part, Beauclaire appears to be doing no reading at all, writing with a fervour unassisted by reference or research; the only book on his desk is, its lurid green spine reveals, a treatise on chilblains in the manticore, undoubtedly out of date but obviously large and solid enough to be of some use as a leaning-board. Then again, this aged, jaded, sort of youth is perhaps harder to distract from his own work than anyone else's, so Cooper's sigh does not appear to register with him until he has covered a whole side with a fine, fast, italic hand. It may, therefore, be a surprise that while rustling for more parchment, juggling quill and wand, he contrives to send levitating opposite to his new not-really-acquaintance what is undeniably a brief note.

Good afternoon. Did you try The Polyglots?

Even with his delayed recognition, Cooper still stares at Gaillard, almost blanky for she is not entirely there. She is more present in her memory where she digs around recent events for a name, any name that could be tied with literary stranger she had met once before. And then it hits her. "Beckly," she declares openly just as she takes the floating note from the air. Of course, Cooper was rather unaware of her volume until the bitch witch and Sir Burgundy glance at her. "Sorry…," the apology is whispered, the note unfolded.

Left in a rush. Wasn't able to pick it up on my way out, thanks for the reminder. Is Beckly correct?

Almost everything about the auburn-haired, or auburn dyed at least, scribbler declares that, like most visitors, or inmates, of the library, he ought to be wearing spectacles, but either exceptional good luck or even more notable vanity give his cold, goggling eyes an intense, untrammelled look, especially combined with the nervous sharpness of his jaggily toothy grin. He seems to find the annoyance of his neighbours and the curiosity of his interlocutress amusing in equal measure. He adds yet another postcript to the tossed about scrap by levitation and enchanted scribbling, rather than with quill and ink.

Spelt Beauclaire, actually, but yes, you have more or less the right idea. As observant as you are mysterious, madam. Gally Beauclaire of the Prophet,etc, at your service. Commiserations on having to read that bloody stodgy Sullivan tome, by the way.

The initial purse of her lips when Cooper reads the response, is loosened easily into a grin, and followed eventually by a snort. Yet, another audible sound that garners more subtle looks of resentment from their table companions. She scribbles onto the paper, but her hand is not quite refined at the critic's, but it's legible enough to convey a message.

Mysterious isn't an adjective I'm often tied with. Thank you for your sympathies, Mr. Beu-Bae-Beauclaire (It takes her a few attempts to spell his name). I haven't communicated through this method since I was a school girl. May I suggest the far table?

Forget levitation, Cooper simply lobs it, unintentionally (or intentionally?) ricocheting it off the back cover of the severe witch's book. Not quite appreciated of course, for the woman opens her mouth to confront Cooper. Only the blonde auror, gives an apologetic shrug as she rises, and to Gaillard she gestures to the empty table against the window where she already strides toward.

Surprisingly, it's to his intimidating neighbour that Gally now turns, stage-whispering, "You must forgive her, Madam Vector. One of our foremost magical poetesses. Not quite used to human company, or library etiquette, but a great talent. Perhaps we can arrange to have a signed copy of some of her work couriered to your residence, eh…?"

He appears to have muttered, winked and cajoled the said witch into acquiescence by the time he allows himself to drift, idly enough, it would appear, to the table indicated. "You're a friend of Mrs Fairfax's," he states with velveteen softness, "and it seems have manners to match…now that I've reintroduced myself, perhaps you might oblige…?"

Given the casual gait she sports while walking to their new location, Cooper doesn't mind leaving the responsibility of covering for her actions to Gaillard. No doubt he spun a wonderful tale. Her fingers even slide over the spines of books as she passes. "Genevieve Cooper, pleasure to meet you Gally," she says pulling a chair out for him first, like a perfect gentleman before claiming her own seat across table. Cooper as she offers him a proper hand shake in greeting. "I'm curious to learn how you know Mrs. Fairfax, considering you're well acquainted with her manners," she mimics his quiet tone as she stacks her books up in front of her.

Gally himself has rarely been accused of behaving - as opposed to dressing - like a perfect gentleman, and sinks into the offered chair without demur. "I would hardly say I know her, Miss Cooper," he begins warily, though the caution of his voice is not matched by the mischievous look in those amphibian eyes, "were she not, I'm sure you'd agree, a rather easy acquaintance to make. We've exchanged a couple of…visits…and more beverages, that's all; we're scarcely closer, …well, than you and I."

As the auror arranges her books like a fortress wall, Gally casts another deprecating, pitying look at the Sullivan. "But really, you're putting yourself through far too much. Surely you don't intend to tackle the whole thing? Once one has the…flavour…Mr. Sullivan's prose and practices are much of a muchness. A few pages was all it took for me to be sure of the line of argument that would most irritate the poor booby…"

"Is that it really?" Cooper's lips purse again, looking mildly disappointed at his explanation. She hunches forward onto the table, resting her chin atop her fist in an child-like manner. "Given the rather shaken look on your face when you saw her, I was certain there was going to be a good story behind it all. Or perhaps there is, and you're simply witholding it from me." Her own version of mischief bleeds into her childish grin that could rival Gaillard's amphibian eyes.
But ah the book! Cooper rolls the sleeves of her oversized coat and sweater before taking it in her fingers. "It's really intended to be a textbook, so I don't think it'd be wise to read it cover to cover. Only, it's regarding a topic quite dear to me, so I may end up doing so anyway," she snickers and flips through a few intimidating pages. But her brows raise and she looks to the critic with interest, "Are you saying then, that your conversation with him at Unbound was intentionally meant to take a jab at him?"

"I think, perhaps, that Mrs Fairfax, too, might like there to be a good story," Beauclaire muses with more insinuation than gallantry, "but so far, the only chapter has been a highly conventional tangle of cocktails and misunderstandings. Perhaps, indeed, even Fabia Fairfax," he smirks at that name, as musical as it is fanciful, "can be more conventional than she might appear. No doubt I shall discover the truth of that one day. I imagine you've discovered it already, Miss Cooper, given the provenance of that repulsive little animal she drags about with her…"

Now it is Gally's turn to look quizzical, "Politics, or purism? I have little taste for the first, in these dismal present times, and I'm only really attracted by the question of blood-purity when it intrudes on more stimulating questions. Poetry. Family. Secrecy…"

He sighs, nods, and confesses as much, "A colleague gave me to understand that a comment from me upon Sullivan was expected by the Prophet editor, especially as Gilbert and I were briefly up at the varsity together. I constructed the piece that would cause most annoyance, and therefore conversation, with minimal reading. It seems to have worked, and now I am able to return to more amiable matters, like the exact blood status of Marlowe, or, indeed, getting to know you, Miss Cooper…"

Cooper's brows raise even higher and she informs him flatly, albeit with a smirk, "So then you already know that I gave her that repulsive little animal." No doubt, she is interested as to why Gaillard is not fond of Honey, only the air he seems to put on and his exquisite grey suit may give him away. A soft snicker is given, "Yes, Fabia can be surprisingly conventional, which is part of that 'truth' you're seeking. It's delightful really. I'll spare you any spoilers, though I will divulge that you're in for a treat should you actually progress with her far enough." Oh, how she could go on and on about her friend!
"Ahhh, so it's not just that sly look in your eye, you really are a tricky one," Cooper concludes with a bright smile, continuing to lean on her fist leisurely, "Was your sole intention to rattle him or are you simply not fond of his work? Or both?" She is quite a curious one indeed! Was she really meant for law enforcement? To answer his latter question: "The politics really. I've heard enough of purism to make me sick for a lifetime. And I perhaps mentally flirted with Unity only I can't seem to stomach that either. I'm not one to usually side with the status quo, but I've seen too many cases of things going awry otherwise."

"It was hardly difficult to deduce, Miss Cooper. I may be, like most men of letters, a somewhat study-bound, solipsistic animal, but, again like most men of letters, I am not entirely unobservant. And I'm quite sure you speak on good authority, accordingly. Only a great deal of…affection…leads to the exchange of tokens in flesh and blood. Myself, I'd have made do with a kitten. At least cats can wash themselves." And Gaillard looks like nothing so much as a cat himself, as he lounges and yawns opposite his latest connection.

"As for Sullivan…I don't care much for him either way, but reputations are forged in the decay of other ones. I thought I'd needle behind his pompous cause and do myself the odd favour. When it comes to Unity…all the most glamorous society figures seem bound up with them, dear Miss Cooper. I will not deny that Malfoys and Blacks and Lestranges and so on, …intrigue, as well as amuse, me. Their grand schmes, alas, are doomed, I fear, though it shall be diverting while they strut their turn. It doesn't take a politician - no, nor even a wizard - to know there's a war coming anyway. Do you remember the last one, Miss Cooper?"

He leans closer now, his syrupy voice lower, more urgent, touched by zeal for the first time. "I was a schoolboy, locked up in Ravenclaw Tower while friends and relatives in both countries, both worlds, died. Both, yes…but especially the Muggles…and especially the Irish. My mother would send Howlers, my father simple letters, care of the school he thought I was attending. I know which ones moved me more, Miss Cooper."

Cooper smiles rather warmly at his use of 'affection'. How the word rolls so knowingly off his tongue, and how it amuses her so. She affirms his suspicions with nothing more than that very smile and comments, "Cats wash themselves with same tongues that 'clean' their members. And they're a great deal self-important - not too far off from young men who buy into the bombastic culture of muggle University." There are far less women in Uni than Cooper would like to see, but she could rattle on about that for days.

"Enough about cats. You're spot on about the kind society that seems to gather around Unity," says Cooper, whose chin rises in irritated pride at the same rate that sarcasm bleeds into her words. "No doubt another unfortunate cause for them to rally around, because, of course, half-blood and muggle borns need them to be their champion. They're no better than 'Army of Truth.' You give them a chance to reveal themselves among mundane folk, and mark my word they'll attempt to seize control bit by bit. That's what always happens in a dichotomy. One must prevail ahead of the other, even if it is by a small margin."

Cooper resorts to simply listening, when Gaillard asks her about the Great War. Did she sense a bit of patronizing? Her ears open with interest at his boy hood. "Yes, I remember you mentioned something about you muggle father and witch mother … doesn't sound like an easy balance to keep. Tell me, is he still unaware of your and your mother's abilities?"

"'Members'. You must think me a shockable bookish old maid, m'dear," Gally chuckles, loud enough, at last, to attract a disapproving stare from an eminent retired member of the Wizengamot. "In any case, I accept your comparison…in a complimentary spirit. But as for our…distinguished…friends in Unity…you are too hard on them, I think. They are most similar of all to the Peace Party coagulating around the Muggle Prime Minister and even, they say, Buckingham Palace. Most of them are rich. Many of them are beautiful. A few have powerful intellects. All have good intentions, and even better tables. They may be destined to fail, but I would sooner enjoy their attempts than be crushed by bleak, unregenerate reality…"

"As for Unity…if it happened, and I shouldn't think there's time for it to do so before war is upon us…if it did, there'd be good in it as well as bad. For myself, I fear, the repercussions would be mostly inconvenient. Secrecy is important to my…choice of friends. But one mustn't be selfish; and it's true I have a sentimental side that would gladly see my family at one. And what of your family, Miss Cooper?"

The sidelong, impish glance he gives her hints that he's aware of the gist, but is still curious about the details…

Cooper can't help but laugh as well, attempting to stifle it with the back of her hand, only to also gain a harsh look from the elderly man. Crossing her arms, she shakes her head and sighs, "Sometimes people with the best intentions are the most worrisome, especially mixed with passion. They'll push on with what they think is best - disregarding the very people they believe they're saving." She shrugs and closes those bright blues of hers briefly before adding, "In any case, I hope you're right Mr. Beauclaire. I hope there will be no time for it. And I hope you won't be inconvenienced. Are you no good separating your cats from your dogs?" A grin is served with that tease, after all she was the one who said no more to the topic of cats. "Anyhow, I think it's very possible to see your family together, even under the guise of secrecy. It's a shame your mother can't come clean. I don't know how I'd be able to live with the lie…"
Cooper almost muses on about the topic, only Gaillard asks her a question back. And she answers, with just as much mystery as he attributes to her. "I was raised by my squib aunt, who was a wonderfully gentle woman and who tried to pass on her kind manners to me, but I'm suddenly fearing that she failed," she admits, a wistful look about her face.

Something Cooper said in her ruminations appears to have struck the critic greatly, and while his lofty brow crinkles, he appears meditative rather than irritated. "The best lack all conviction, while the worst / are filled with passionate intensity," he murmurs in a sing-song whisper. "As my most famous countryman puts it…though I don't know if that's exactly what you're saying…or quite the opposite. Nor am I sure about Willy Yeats's powers…though if you see me again with dear Gilbert, I'll be sure and insist he was a Gryffindor man and see what happens, eh? In fact…who knows, maybe Yeats had a squib aunt too. There's a drop of something strange and possessed in him, that's for sure. Passionate intensity, indeed…"

It has certainly been a roundabout speech, and by its end Beauclaire stands bare inches from the auror, a very peculiar look indeed in his large, staring pale eyes…perhaps reminiscent to one in her profession of a victim of the Imperius Curse.

Then, with an infinitesimal movement of his lightly built shoulders, he goes for the kiss. It may be distinctly fresh, but the acquaintance is hardly an old or vital one to risk, and what else, after all, are the stacks of secluded sections of the Library meant for…?

Having nothing to disagree with in his words, Cooper remains quiet with her back hunched and her leaning upon her fist. It seems she's mulling over what he says. "Willy Yeat's?" Despite treading a lifetsyle between magical and mundane, she's boasts no familiarity with the literary world. The name doesn't ring a bell, though she tries to jog her memory anyway, looking out the window at the activity on the street below.

It's a good thing she only notices his proximity simply moments before his move. For it may have altered her choice of action. Needless to say, he successfully caught her unawares, yet Cooper remains still enough to let him kiss her for as long as he needs - unresponsive, yet not cold to his advance. And when he's finished, she simply keeps her hunched position, seemingly unaffected and yet smirking, "That easy, Mr. Beauclaire? To think I expected to have to work for it."

It isn't, indeed, overlong as such moments go - the bald head of the Emeritus Wizngamot man is now safely turned aside, but there is no guarantee it will continue to be so, and Gaillard Beauclaire values highly his own privacy and dignity. Nor is the kiss itself as passionate as the spirit of Yeats - shortly, unknown even to his fellow-countryman and admirer here, to depart from the living - might demand;* though any diffidence in the touch of the thin lips and elusive tongue is perhaps compensated for by those still distinctly, almost maniacally fervent eyes. But soon Beauclaire detaches and takes a step back with a light snort.

"Very drolly said, Miss Cooper. But I'm afraid I've found my…professional patterns…quite…disordered; I had better…recoup…them elsewhere. I'm sure we'll meet again soon enough, …with or without Mrs Fairfax." And the crack of his apparition really irritates the readers of wizarding London. "That Beckley," the bearded wizard in burgundy complains, "who in Merlin's name does he think he is?"

*W.B. Yeats dies at Menton, in France, the day after this scene.

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