(1939-03-10) Cake and a Cup of Debate
Details for Cake and a Cup of Debate
Summary: Rhyeline and Shelley agree that Grindelwald must be stopped, but debate the how. Shelley is skeptical of Unity's position on full integration with the muggle community. Rhyeline tries to calm her fears. In the end, Shelley agrees to speak at the next gathering in favor of increased cooperation with muggle authorities to prepare for when Grindelwald ends secrecy by force.
Date: Monday, March 10th, 1939
Location: Sweet Temptations
Plot: Unity

Shelley has more of a sweet tooth than she tends to let on - but the truth is, the auror simply adores cakes and pastries. Often she takes her sweets to go - but it seems today she's decided to linger in the shop, sitting at a table with a small plate, a warm chocolate cake in a ramekin sitting in the middle of it. She's eating the gooey confection with a spoon, between sips of bitter coffee. Outside, the sun has already set, and Diagon Alley is lit by lamps.

Rhyeline steps into the shop, shivering with cold. It is a long walk from Gringotts, but the little one wants a particular slice of that cake of molten chocolate before heading home for the night. She pauses just across the threshold, shutting the door carefully behind her. No one has followed her in, nor does any guard witch stand out on the street. She remains unsupervised. “Hello…” she murmurs, looking over at Shelley with a soft, shy smile.

It's instinct - Shelley always looks to the door when it opens, wary of who might come through, so she watches Rhyeline come in with no guardwitch before or after. Her eyebrows go up, and a spoonful of cake pauses partway to her lips. Sure - they hadn't followed Rhyeline the last time she saw her, but the girl had been with Graham that time. But here she is - alone.

"You really did get rid of them, then?" she remarks, sounding impressed. A hint of a smile tugs at the corner of her lips. "Good for you, Miss Diderot."

A subtle blush warms the girl’s cheeks. She glances over her shoulder, out at the empty street before looking to Shelley with a nod. “Yes… well… it had been some time since- since an- an incident… with… a young man acting inappropriately. So… Cassius… finally agreed…” she murmurs in a rather quiet tone that should only reach Shelley’s ears. She glances down at the emerald engagement ring on her left hand. “And… I think… he hopes that this will… will help.”

Sure. With the sort of man who would have accepted Rhyeline's soft-spoken no in the first place. "Perhaps it will," Shelley says instead of voicing her thoughts. "Well. You're welcome to join me, I suppose. If you're of a mood to. After you've ordered something, of course."

“I’d like that,” murmurs Rhyeline, brightening with a soft smile. Her eyes linger on the cup of coffee Shelley sips with her cake. When the girl returns, she has ordered the exact same thing. Folding her legs beneath herself on the chair, the little one first brings the coffee to her lips. “How have you been?” she asks, pausing behind the cup.

"Fine," Shelley responds easily - despite the fact that there's something tired about her features, and the way her shoulders slump. She offers no more details than that. Though what had once been a relatively raw streak of fresh and sensitive skin down the right side of her face is now nothing but the faintest of scars. "How about you?" she counters.

“A bit… tired,” admits Rhyeline in a rather quiet tone. The little one brings a small bite of cake to her lips and pauses, savoring the exquisite richness of the dark chocolate. “It’s always good to- to take time for- for moments like these… Quiet moments… to just savor the good things in life…” With a small smile, she takes another bite.

"I can imagine that wedding planning takes a lot out of a girl," Shelley agrees - and was that a teasing hint of humor in her eyes? "But it must be a happy sort of exhaustion."

Rhyeline blinks. “Oh… mm… no, that- that’s not it.” She shakes her head before hiding behind her cup of coffee. “There… there hasn’t even- even been an engagement party… yet. No, I- I am… preoccupied with… my work…”

Shelley can't help but let out a faint huff of amusement as Rhyeline completely overlooks the joke. "Oh, well, work can do that too. Especially the mess you're dealing with. It's not likely to resolve anytime soon." Unless they get very lucky and Grindelwald dies, mysteriously.

“I am… am trying to organize a- an event… Rena wishes to speak on behalf of the Unity Party. I am hoping that- that it will… have a rallying effect. Everyone is so frightened… scared to act. They are so scared to make the wrong choice that… that they will wait and let Grindelwald make it for them…” Rhyeline bites her lower lip. Lowering her gaze, she takes a bite of cake.

"Rena, huh?" Shelley asks, before taking another bite of her chocolate cake. "That's good. At least - I was happy for her, when Unity party came down the way it did. I knew how much it mattered to her, obviously." As it would for most any Muggle-born. "I imagine she'll be a pretty good spokeswoman."

“She is so brave… and passionate. She can stand before great crowds and- and express what is in her heart. And… yes, I- I am glad that… that Unity chose the course it did. There is still hope to- to bring about change… to- to act and set our own course before the choice is taken from us… But… the Ministry will only listen if enough voices rise up and demand a response… otherwise… it will continue in its familiar rut of indecision and indifference.” Shaking her head, Rhyeline takes another bite of cake. So much for trying to get her mind off things. With a troubled brow, she stares down at her piece of cake.

"Passionate's one way to put it," Shelley remarks in dry amusement. She's silent for a moment, taking another sip of her coffee before adding, "But I was glad at the choice that was made, too. It's what Alis would have wanted. The more voices speaking against Grindelwald…"

“Alis… she was a dear friend of yours… yes?” murmurs Rhyeline, slowly. She pauses, biting her lower lip. “And… and you… share your- your friend’s views? That… that we must… speak out against Grindelwald?”

"She was," Shelley agrees - her tone wary, and her gaze cautious. It isn't something she speaks of freely - it was still too raw for her, after more than a year. "And I do. Grindelwald will destroy our society. We may have magic, but the Muggles have numbers. Challenging them, forcing them to attack us, is sheer lunacy. It'll end with wizarding children at the stake, completely unable to save themselves - and who's to say the Muggles wouldn't be justified, with the threat of Grindelwald over their heads?"

“And… what of reaching out to them? Uniting, rather than- than suppressing. I know that- that there isn’t much time, but- but surely it is better than- that waiting for the veil of secrecy to be torn away on the continent, for the violence to begin there and- and for the muggles here to begin to look for us as- as a hidden enemy… one they must root out… Better to establish friendship… There are many of us with- with muggle relatives… childhood friends… We might have some differences, but- but we are all still human…” Rhyeline has fixed Shelley with an almost beseeching look.

"Of course they're still human," Shelley remarks calmly. "The only difference is the magic. I've seen plenty of the Muggle world - thanks to Alis. It's /different/ then ours - but I don't know that it's any better or worse."

She scoops up a little of the cake - but she doesn't eat it yet, gesturing with the spoon. "There's a risk to revealing ourselves. There always will be. A greater risk now than ever, I'd say, but there may not be a way to prevent them from finding out if Grindelwald isn't stopped soon."
Rhyeline gives a small nod before taking a sip of coffee. “And… I don’t think that will happen. He is gathering far too much support on the continent. He is too powerful. We cannot rely on assassination. And… you’re right. The muggles… they have so much to offer as well. Their technology… it is amazing. There are dangerous forms of technology… just as we have dark magic. But… then again, even if it weren’t for Grindelwald, I would advocate an end to secrecy. I just… I just wish times weren’t so desperate.”

"As do I," Shelley agrees solemnly. "No matter which way we turn - there's going to be war, and there's going to be bloodshed. I think the chances of avoiding that are very, very slim. But the more people who oppose Grindelwald, the more chance we have of emerging with both our societies in tact."

“When- when Rena speaks to- to the crowds… would you come? Perhaps… lend your voice? Your support? Everyone is so uncertain. But… to hear certainty around them… it might help. It… it could mean all the difference,” murmurs Rhyeline, biting her lower lip as she watches Shelley.

"Support Unity?" Shelley asks with a faint frown. "I'll denounce Grindelwald for what he is - a monster, a bigot, a power-hungry bastard. I'll happily speak about the need to speak out, to denounce him, and to demand he abides by international wizarding law. But to speak in support of /Unity/, specifically?" She shakes her head slightly. "That I don't know."

Rhyeline continues to bite her lower lip for a moment and then just nods. Lowering her gaze she murmurs, “Unless we focus on what we should do /instead/, there will be anger, but no consistent call to action. Instead… there will just be added fear and chaos…”

"Sooner or later, fear and chaos are going to come," Shelley points out in a dry tone, before taking another bite of her chocolate cake. She just hopes she's more able to take an active role in the MLE before that happens. "But everyone should be demanding the Ministry take an active stance against Grindelwald. That it put pressure on other nations to see the damage that he's doing, and the danger he places /all/ of us in. This 'for the greater good' is all nonsense. Either he's deeply deluding himself, or he's merely extremely manipulative and selfish."

Rhyeline takes a small bite of cake before shaking her head slowly. "I… I don't think that- that the Ministry has such power… I once served in the I.M.C… I was there when- when negotiations with Berlin… broke down. And… the Ministry can't simply take a stance against something… it needs to- to be clear about what it will do instead. That- that is how- how policy works."

"It's not completely toothless," Shelley points out. "The Minister and the IMC would have to work together, probably in conjunction with the Muggle Government. The Statute of Secrecy is international law. Goverments world wide should be telling Grindelwald exactly what penalty he faces if he breaks that law in his campaign to subject innocents. And Governments who won't stand against him don't deserve the friendship of British witches and wizards, and the benefits that friendship affords them," Shelley states rather flatly. "It probably won't be enough, of course. As I said - I think there's very little we can do to prevent an all out war."

Rhyeline nods, looking over at Shelley from her cake. "We can only truly control what we do here… we can set a precedent that- that other nations could follow. Or… once we are united here, we could- could try to empower other resistence movements…. but… clinging to secrecy when- when the veil will so soon be rended on the continent?" The little one shakes her head, falling silent.

"/We're/ breaking international law if we breach the Statute of Secrecy," Shelley points out. "Is that really the precident we want to set? And what if it doesn't go as well as you hope? What if the response is fear from the Muggles? Witch-hunts? It adds fuel to Grindelwald's movement."

Rhyeline nods a bit, acknowledging Shelleys's concerns. After all, they are quite valid. "Yes… It needs to happen slowly… that's why we need time… and need to start soon. Starting small… working /with/ muggle leadership to slowly reveal ourselves… It needs to come with education, for both sides… if it appears that the muggles truly aren't ready, we will have methods of withdrawing. But… I think that… that if we rise up as allies… and together we face a common enemy on the continent… that will bring us together…"

"I'm all for forging stronger relationships with the Muggle government. I think that'll be vital in the years to come. But I won't condone breaking secrecy. I'm an auror, and it's the /law/," Shelley responds firmly. There seems to be little room for wiggling there. "Now. If Grindelwald breaks it - I'll happily go over to mainland Europe and lock his ass up in Azkaban for the crime. Few things would give me greater pleasure."

"I don't mean we should break the law…" murmurs Rhyeline, shaking her head. "I mean we should change it. We should act first… because… if Grindelwald breaks it, locking him up will do little to undo the violence that bad first impression will unleash."

"We'd need international cooperation for that," Shelley points out. "And the moment that's changed - what little dis-incentive Grindelwald may have will be gone. Locking him up may count for more than you think." She takes a sip of her coffee. "Or killing him," she adds.

"But… if there is no international cooperation? The muggle attempt at a League of Nations failed almost before it began. And do we have the power to go to the continent and lock him up ourselves? That would violate their soverignty…" murmurs Rhyeline.

"If he breaks international law? We damned better have the right," Shelley points out firmly. "And as long as we are being honest and forthcoming with the British Muggle government - as long as we are being firm, and steadfast in our belief that Grindelwald is a criminal that needs to be stopped…? We may not fair as badly as you fear when Grindelwald finally does show his true colors. I really think the key to mitigating this mess is unifying as many witches and wizards as possible against Grindelwald, and making sure the Muggle Government knows what we face."

Rhyeline nods and leans forward, poised upon her elbows. "But at present, we don't have that sort of liason with the Muggle Government… there is nothing in place to help mitigate the damage… We would need more time and international cooperation for full re-integration… that's true. But at least for now… we need to prepare for the fall out. We need to unify and work /with/ the Muggle government…"

"We need to start working on that relationship - and the sooner the better," Shelley agrees. "And that isn't breaking Secrecy. We allow /some/ Muggles to know of us, after all. But can't and won't endorse revealing ourselves to the general population at large. There's too many threats and unknowns right now." And, as mentioned, it's illegal. "But the first steps are getting everyone to see the threat that Grindelwald poses, and getting the ministry to begin forming that relationship."

"Would you come to the gathering? Where Rena is to speak? Would you speak up with these thoughts? Full integration is far off… And it would only happen in the event of widespread support… as the culmination of a slow and careful process. At present… what I am worried for is what happens if Grindelwald rends the veil on his own… we need to be prepared for that…"

"Depends on the message of the event," Shelley answers, "but possibly. Peaceful protest. Unified, staunch opposal to bigotry and violence. I'm happy to support those things. If we're talking /unity/ though - that's not something I can and will support right now," she points out firmly.

Rhyeline's expression begins to brighten when Shelley tells her the things she can support. But then she blinks. "What… what do you think… Unity means?" she asks, biting her lower lip.

"Muggle and wizarding society joining as one," Shelley says simply. She gets a thoughtful look on her features. "What if this… event, what if it were put on by Preservation /and/ Unity?" she asks. "Could make a stronger point. Leave the whole issue of secrecy by the wayside, and focus on simply the issue of the need to oppose and stop Grindelwald. Could get more support from a wider array of people that way."

"Preservation wouldn't advocate the kind of cooperation with the muggle government you suggested…" murmurs Rhyeline.

"We can cooperate with the Government and still preserve secrecy," Shelley points out. "Obviously the individuals within the government who are told the truth would need to be approved as per usual policy. Why should they oppose that?"

"It is change… it is movement towards more cooperation with muggles, greater integration. They don't even want to think about what might happen if Grindelwald reveals us to the muggle world as tyrants and violent oppressors. And… Unity does not advocate telling the whole muggle world about us tomorrow. It advocates cooperation with muggle authorities, and /if/ it proves possible and necessary, /then/ we work towards greater integration… but Rena is to speak not about that… the gathering will be about uniting against Grindelwald and increasing cooperation with the muggle authorities… to prepare for when Grindelwald reveals himself… we need to have systems in place to counter that."

Shelley watches Rhyeline for a moment, a dubious expression on her features. "I'm hesitant to appear as an advocate for Unity, specifically," she responds. "But I'll consider adding my voice to Rena's. I would try speaking to the Preservationists - I'd be more than happy to come along with you, if you think it'd help. Two different groups making a unified stance would make a stronger point, if we can manage it."

"If those who advocate preservation would also advocate more cooperation with the muggle authorities, that would be wonderful. But… in my experience… most think muggles too dangerous to cooperate with at all… Unity advocates for cooperation… for consulting with muggle authorities… working /with/ them… preservation wants to keep things as they are…"

"But the way things are still allows for the possibility of cooperation if we choose it - and right now, we /need/ it," Shelley points out. "We don't need to /change/ anything to institute greater cooperation."

"I agree… we just need to start heading in that direction. The Ministry needs to approve and /ennact/ greater cooperation. But the lack of movement in that direction is a result of those who cling to present actions… to preservation… And… if you can persuade them to ally with Unity against Grindelwald, that would be wonderful. I hope you are successful," murmurs Rhyeline with a soft smile.

Shelley lets out a quiet snort of amusement, her lips quirking at the corners. What is she - an activist, all of the sudden? "Maybe we'll unleash Rena on that job," she says in amusement.

Rhyeline can't help but grin. Her eyes shine with impish mirth. "Oh dear… She would poke them with sticks until they got up and- and saw the truth of what is happening around them…" She tucks a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "I understand your concerns about full integration… If Grindelwald doesn't force us out of secrecy, full integration is not something that will happen without a great deal of slow, careful testing… without certainty that the time is right and widespread support and cooperation. Cassius has /never/ advocated otherwise. But… we need to take steps to prepare for what might happen. We need to cooperate and unite in these dark times… Will you help us? At least with this?" She bites her lower lip, watching Shelley with eyes full of hope.

"And full integration can never happen without the agreement of the international community," Shelley points out simply. She gives Rhyeline a considering look, her finger tapping on the side of her coffee cup. "I believe that I can. At least tentatively."

Rhyeline’s features brighten with a soft smile. “Thank you, Shelley,” she murmurs before taking a final sip of coffee. “It- it was good to- to speak with you. I… I should be going. I’ll… send word when- when the gathering is to be. Good night.”

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