(1939-03-16) Understanding at Last
Details for Understanding at Last
Summary: After Thomas shows Rhyeline the book he managed to secure for her in France, the two friends have a heart to heart conversation about misunderstandings of the past and build trust for the future.
Date: Sunday, March 17th, 1939
Location: Books Unbound
Related: This scene follows Hanging on His Every Word

Rhyeline peeks up at Thomas with a shy, but warm smile as she slips into his shop. Once inside, she closes her eyes and savors the warmth that melts the pink tip of her nose. Hugging herself, she shivers. "Brr… it is so, so cold outside…" she murmurs before smiling up at Thomas once more.

Thomas smiles softly, as he slips in behind her closing the door silently. His eyes move across Rhyeline slowly, but linger for a long moment, before his eyes are torn away and he lets out a small cough his cheek turning a little red, "What kind of tea would you like? Grey?" he says slowly, "It is better to warm you up from the core you know." he says with a small nod.

"Mm… coffee?" murmurs Rhyeline with a hint of impish mischief in her young, dark gaze. "With… with a bit of cocoa? And cream? And- and lots of sugar?"

Thomas nods slowly with a small smile, slipping behind the bar, but before he even starts he reaches behind the bar and pulls out a rather beat up white leather bound book, with the tittle on the spine hand written and faded unreadable. "You might have noticed the store was closed for a couple of weeks." he says nodding slowly, "I went to France." he says with a small smirk moving across his face, "Picked up a few good texts, but this…" he says running his hands over it slowly, as if caressing it, "Actes et Memoires des Negotiations de la Paix de Nimegue" he says slowly, moving to softly across the bar, towards the direction of Rhyeline, "Diplomatic Texts from France in the 17th Century." he says nodding slowly, a smirk on his face as he reaches over and pulls a green mug off the wall.

Rhyeline blinks and peers curiously at the book. She can't help but draw closer to try and glimpse the title. It's too faded. Hands clasped behind her back, she peeks up at him and nods. She had noticed and had wondered. And worried. She can't help but blush a bit at that smirk. Once more her gaze returns to the book. Told what the book is, her eyes widen and her lips part in awe. "Truly? How- how did you…" The little one can't seem to believe that he would have uncovered such a treasure.

Thomas starts to make the drink that Rhyeline requested, with a few wand movements and taps, "Well I was in Saint Cado…" he stops and stares at the ceiling for a long moment, "I believe that is the one near Lorient." he continues with a small nod, "I went to go see the muggle Chapel, which was rather amazing." he says as he finishes her drink and sits it down on the bar, "When I met the most unique little French Wizard I have ever met in my life, well we got to chatting he invited me over for dinner, which I will note he made the most amazing Rillettes, I had my whole time in France." he says nodding for a moment.
"Well we got on the topic of me owning a book store back here in London, and he showed me a few of the relics he had collected over the years, this being one of them, after some rather fierce negotiations, I ended up with the book." he says with small nod, poking it towards Rhyeline a bit more.

Rhyeline leans forward against the bar and listens with rapt attention. Finding the book nudged towards her, she pulls it close and hugs it to her chest. "May I- may I borrow it? Or… or even… purchase it?" she murmurs, peeking up at Thomas with quiet hope.

Thomas smiled softly, picking up his cup of coffee and taking a sip, "Hmmm.." he says slowly, leaning against the bar, "Well considering I got it with you in mind." he says with a smirk looking at her, before suddenly reaching up and tapping her nose, "But of course." he says with a small nod, "I will let you pay whatever price you think is fair, I did make sure however that I did get the chance to read it prior to showing you, an amazing book." he notes with a small nod as he brings both his hands back to his coffee.

Rhyeline's cheeks grow rather warm and she can't help but squeak when he taps her nose. "Thank you, Thomas…" she murmurs, gazing up at him with hushed shyness. She hesitates before glancing to the cup of coffee he has prepared. Still hugging the book to her chest with one arm, she reaches and takes up the cup to hide behind as she sips slowly. "I… I will do some research… and… send a sum soon with an owl… is… is that alright?"

Thomas smiles, "Of course it is Rhyeline." he says taking a sip of his coffee, "So what did that guy want?" he asks curiously, pressing his coffee now against his forehead, "If you would rather not say, I understand." he says with a small nod and smile, "Though I do not like seeing you look so flustered, better when you smile… or even blush a bit." he says letting out a deep sigh and taking a sip of his coffee.

The blush deepens as Rhyeline hides behind her cup of coffee. But, she smiles up at him despite her shyness. "It's alright… I'm- I'm not quite sure what he wanted. He… he told me to go with him… for a drink… to listen to him. But… he didn't know who I was… and… when I told him that- that I was spoken for… promised to another… he… he seemed repulsed that I would suggest he had any such interest in me… so… I… I'm not sure what to make of him…"

Thomas waves his right hand a bit, "Curious people are all over. Sometimes it is better to pay them no mind." he says with a small nod, taking another sip of his coffee, "Speaking of which." he says with a small smirk, "How is Mr. Malfoy?" he says, clearly it is a playful jab and he is certainly watching to make sure he hadn't jabbed at a nerve, "I certainly hope he is doing well." he continues with a small nod.

Rhyeline's cheeks burn with warmth and hiding once more behind her cup of coffee she gives a subtle nod. "He… he is well. He has much recovered since- since the attack…" she murmurs faintly. Thomas might notice the emerald engagement ring on her left hand.

Thomas nods slowly and takes another sip of his coffee, "Good to hear." he says still nodding a bit, "And you, how are you?" he asks curiously, his blue eyes moving to meet her eyes. "Well?" he asks curiously, though it is clear to one who was paying attention, such as Rhyeline also does, that his grip would tighten around his mug as he asked.

"I… I am well…" she murmurs in a hushed tone with a nod. She gazes up at him from behind her cup of coffee with such profound shyness. But, she continues, "He… he finally agreed to- to let me wander without guards… watching so close…"

Thomas nods slowly, "That is good." he says slowly, taking another sip of his coffee, before sitting it down on the bar, his blue eyes staring right into Rhyeline's, "You know I will never stop loving you Rhyeline." he says with a small nod closing his eyes, "I don't want tension between us, I care for you deeply." he says opening his eyes and looking up at her, "I know I have been an…" he says biting his lip for a moment, "I have said and acted in a way that you didn't deserve and I value your friendship, is what I am attempting to state." he says with another nod.

Rhyeline can't quite seem to blink nor avert her gaze. She stares up into Thomas' eyes, perfectly still. At his words, even the tips of her ears turn a bit pink with her blush. "I… I understand what- what you had tried to do… You… you were worried for me… and… tried to be firm with me… Forgive me for- for being so secretive… Thomas… You have- have been nothing but kind to me… and… did not deserve such distrust…"

Thomas shakes his head for a moment, "No I was too firm with you, because I was worried about you…" he says with a small nod closing his eyes again, "Because I was jealous." he continues nodding a little bit again, before looking back up with that trademark smile, though it is clear he is forcing it a bit, "But you are good for each other." he says giving her a small wink, "You have the right to have secrets, as do we all." he says reaching up and tapping her nose softly.

Rhyeline blinks as he taps the delicate tip of her nose. The blush continues to radiate warmth from her cheeks. "There…. there was- was no need to- to be jealous… Thomas…" murmurs Rhyeline in a rather quiet tone. "I… I did not accept his courtship because- because I loved him… or- or wanted to love him. I… I did not reject your love only to seek his… It… it was because… as his wife, I- I could do as much good as I could with- with the short time I felt I had…"

Thomas nods softly, "I know Rhyeline, but it is only human to be jealous." he says with a small sigh, "I knew…" he say softly, "That no matter what I did that you wouldn't return… how I felt." he says with a small nod, "Nothing I did was to hurt you, because I knew if I kept perusing I would only cause you grief." he says with a small shrug, picking his coffee back up, "And that you are one to measure time with accomplishments, while I measure time differently, through experiences." he says as he takes a sip off his mug.

"I… I don't want to- to simply fade away… and be forgotten… when death takes me at last. I… I want to have mattered. And… I know that- that I am just a mouse… in a world of secrets and snakes… but… if there is a role I might play… where I can leave… /something/…" Rhyeline hesitates, biting her lower lip. "That is why I- I sent to serve the Ambassador… and… it is why I decided to serve Cassius… and accepted his courtship… I… I don't want to be forgotten…" Having shared such a secret of her heart, Rhyeline clings tight to the cup in her hands. Her eye shine with such vulnerability.

Thomas reaches up with his free hand and softly strokes Rhyeline's cheek without even thinking, it seems almost out of instinct, his brow which is normally furrowed seems softer, as he says slowly, "Being remember is not measured by the tasks you complete but the hearts you touch." he says slowly with a small nod, he begins to lean in though he stops and turns his head, his hand pulling back, "You are an amazing person, a talented Witch, you always sell yourself too short." he says with a small shrug.

Rhyeline's embrace on the book tightens, as does her hold on the cup when he strokes her cheek. She can't seem to move. She can't avert her gaze. Nor can she help but tilt her cheek into the gentle, affectionate touch. When he pulls his hand away, she lowers her gaze at once. For a time, she remains silent, unable to find her voice. But at last, she peeks up at him and murmurs, "I am… am realizing… that… That there is more to life… there is… a sweetness to life… that… I want to savor… I don't want to- to just hide…"

Thomas' lips curl up softly into a smile, "The first book I was reading when I met you, the Yearling, do you remember it?" he says slowly, taking a sip off his coffee, "Jody learned towards the end, more about himself and the world he lived in and the world other's lived in." he says slowly nodding, "As we grow we soon realize we are not the people we always thought we where and we discover that things are more important then we ever thought. We learn the bitter sweetness of defeat and mistakes and the joy of embracing the lives we forge for ourselves and how to embrace our mistakes." he says softly nodding, "That is the difference between an adolescent and an adult, the embrace." he says in a rather sing song voice.

"I… I suppose… I am learning such things a bit late. But… I never… I never thought before that such warm things could matter. I always thought that- that love was fleeting… As… as it had been between my parents…" Rhyeline bites her lower lip, hesitating. "When… when you told Laurence you loved Phil… and that she loved you… I thought… it meant that… that you had lost interest in me… forgotten me…" She quickly adds, "But- and of course, you- you deserve all the happiness that- that Phil will bring you. I… I don't… I mean… I…" She stammers and bit by bit, her voice fades.

Thomas nods slowly, "Love is fleeting." he says nodding, "But that doesn't mean that when someone has touched your heart that, even for a short time, their touch doesn't linger forever." he says with a small nod, "You will never be forgotten Rhyeline, you should remember that." he says with a nod, "You deserve all the happiness too." he says with a small nod, "Denying yourself even an ounce of feelings, desires or wants, is denying yourself life." he says with another small nod, "When you sit down and read a book, that author's life, is experiences, his thoughts and emotions, are entwined in every word that touches the pages of his book." he says with a small nod.

"Yes… I think that is- is why I love to read them so much. But… you're right… and… I don't… want to forget to- to live my own life…" Rhyeline bites her lower lip, leaning a bit closer against the bar. With great care, she sets down her book and the empty cup of coffee. Staring into the cup, she murmurs, "I don't feel death so close… the curse is- is faded… and… I'm trying to… to not be so scared…"

Thomas smiles softly, "The first step is, going out of your comfort zone." he says nodding, "You always know where you're headed if you stay where you are, it is when you do something crazy, like run off to another country to try and find something." he says with a wink, "That you end up embracing who you really are and what you really want." he says, gesturing to the whole store, "So instead of trying, just do something, just do something that feels right, don't think about it, just make that leap." he says with a small nod.

Rhyeline gazes up at him in silence. Now that she has shared a bit of her nature, he shares a bit of his. Where she is terrified of being forgotten, he throws himself into a moment to fully embrace it. She hesitates, even now, biting her lower lip. But the, she slips around to the other side of the counter where he stands. Should he make the slightest movement of apprehension away from her, she will pause. But should he simply wait, patient, as if knowing what she is about to do, she steps forward and tries to wrap her arms tight around his middle in a hug. Eyes closed, she whispers, "Thank you… for the sacrifices you made… for going to Berlin to seek out those who had hurt me…"

Thomas returns the hug warmly, "You are welcome Rhyeline, I would do it all over again if needed." he says before releasing her offering her a small nod, "You never told me how the coffee was?" he says with a sly smirk, as he takes a sip of his own, "Thank you Rhyeline, for, forgiving me even after I was so pig headed and clearly out of place when I said what I had said." he says nodding slightly.

Rhyeline shakes her head a bit. "You don't need to apologize… I… I should have- have seen your concern for what it was… and known… how much I matter to you. I… I shouldn’t keep secrets of myself from- from you…" She hesitates and glances away. "But… I… I don't think that- that Phil cares much for me." She bites her lower lip as she peeks up at Thomas, eyes full of apprehension. "Will you tell her? The things I tell you? I… I understand if- if you need to… She is- is your fiance…"

Thomas leans against the bar for a moment, staying there in silence as he listens, before he takes a long sip off his coffee. Softly he places it on the bar and he reaches into his vest and removes, that same silver cigarette case that he has always had, with the Carrow family crest on the front. Removing one of the cigarettes he brings his wand up and taps the tip, lighting the cigarette as he pulls an ashtray over towards him, "Well I am not one to get into the middle, of things like that." he says taking a drag off his cigarette, "Really I wish I could understand Phil and You, when it came to you two." he says nodding, "But I don't." he says with a small shrug taking a hard drag off his cigarette, "I won't tell her openly, but if she asks I will tell her. Does that make sense?" he asks curiously. "I respect you and care for you, so I of course want to respect your trust."

"I don't understand her either… She… she seemed to think that- that I wanted you for myself… but…" Rhyeline shakes her head, lowering her gaze. Her eyes linger on the cigarette box. "If she asks you for my secrets… you will tell her? If she asks… why I agreed to Cassius' courtship… because I… I thought I could do some good… so I wouldn't be forgotten… You will tell her this?"

Thomas takes a long hard drag off his cigarette, closing his eyes for a long moment. He just gave a long speech about mistakes and embracing them, and he realized he was about to make another one. That no matter how he cut this slice of cake the other would be upset at the size, his eyes still closed, he exhales the bluish grey smoke, his eyes opening in time to watch it carelessly float to the ceiling, his blue eyes followed them for a long moment, "No." he say finally with a small nod, making his dedication to his answer, knowing full well what he was doing. "I will keep it silent for you." his words come out slowly, this going against everything he feels about secrets, but he just can't stop himself.

Rhyeline lifts her gaze and it's clear that this was not the answer she expected. "I… I will never give you a secret that- that will hurt her to not know…" She pauses, biting her lower lip. "I am just… just scared. I once… I once wanted so much to trust her. I thought she might be like Graham… but a sister… but then… she… she changed so much. She asked me such harsh questions… Like… how could I possibly seem so meak, cowering as I do, unless my mother had abused me…"

Thomas nods, "Phil is an interesting person." is all Thomas says on the subject, before he takes another thoughtful drag off his cigarette and taps the butt of it, causing the ash to fall silently into the ashtray. Reaching over he ruffles Rhyeline's hair with a wink. "Though you are quiet the interesting one too, why if you both chased me at the same time, I am certain that my mind would have exploded." he says with a wink.

Rhyeline squeaks when he ruffles her hair, which is light as silk feathers. Peeking up at him through the mess of long, loose curls that have tumbled to half hide her face, she can't help but smile. "You have no need to fear… and… nor does she. I am promised to another… And… although I- I don't think he loves me as- as you love Phil… or might have loved me… He… makes me feel warm… and… loved… in his own way…"

Thomas gives Rhyeline a playful wink, "I was picking on you Rhyeline, but look at you get all fired up." he says with a sly smirk forming across his lips, "Now if that isn't adorable, I don't know what is." he says nodding. "The love Phil and I share, is but of course different then the love you and Cassius share, we are of course, different people." he says with a small wink, "I am certain that you love him and he loves you, in your own ways, which is of course the only way either of you can love another, as you are different from every other person in this world, if you where to love how I love another, I would be greatly worried." he says with a wink.

Rhyeline blushes once more, but this time she doesn't seem quite so tense or shy. Instead, there is simply bashfulness in her manner. At the wink, a soft, impish little laughter escapes the meek creature. "Yes… I suppose it- it would be a strange thing." She hesitates before drawing closer for another, more gentle hug. It is brief. She draws back after but a moment. "Thank you Thomas… for… for making me feel so warm…"

Thomas nods and returns the hug, "That Rhyeline is what friends are for. What life is for, love and laughter. A life with out that, is like a book without any pages." he says tapping her forehead, "Now you never did tell me if I got the coffee right." he says in a playful tone with a smirk, putting out his cigarette with a small nod, "Thank you Rhyeline, for choosing to embrace things, even if it is not what you wanted too." he says with a nod.

"The coffee was wonderful… but… the company… even more appreciated." Rhyeline then glances to the book and with a light, mischevious little grin, she takes it up and says, "But nothing is better than books…" Oh dear, it seems all his good advice went in through one ear and slipped out her other. Except then she adds, "Or at least… not better than a book you thought of me enough in France to bring back for me…"

Thomas chuckles, picking up his almost empty mug of coffee and taking a sip. "Well I am glad the coffee hit the spot and I am glad you enjoyed my company." he says nodding, "As far as the book goes, well I try and keep my eye out for things that I know my repeat customers would enjoy." he says offering a wink, "French? Antique? And Political?" he says with a slight smirk, "If that doesn't just scream Rhyeline, I wouldn't know what did." he says with a small nod.

Rhyeline's laughter is soft and sweet as she nods, admitting the truth of his words. "Thank you Thomas… I will cherish this book. And- and send payment once I have learned more about- about what it is truly worth." She glances to the door. "I… I should go…" Smiling back up at him, she adds, "But I will come back again soon…"

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