(1939-08-15) Sisterly Sympathies
Details for Sisterly Sympathies
Summary: Signe invites Beryl out to tea, to talk about her recent encounter with Cousin Alphard - but ends up reassuring Beryl in turn.
Date: August 15th, 1939
Location: Tasseo Teashop
Related: Cousins Collide Signe Who?

Almost as soon as the encounter was over, Signe reaches out to her sister, scrawling a note asking to meet the following day, and suggesting tea. She drops it off at the owl post office, before continuing with her day. It was a relief to her when Beryl agrees, and so she arrives a bit early, sitting at a table in Tasseo, with a pot of tea and two cups, a small tray of biscuits also waiting to be enjoyed. She holds one in her hand now, though she's barely nibbled at it so far.

With an air of calm and reserve, Beryl enters Cafe Tasseo smoothly. Despite being about six months pregnant, her graceful walk remains almost unchanged. The only physical difference with her seems to be the growing swell of her belly, which is now impossible - and too uncomfortable - to actively conceal. Her clothing has changed, naturally; and today she is wearing a lovely dark green wrap-around dress that is meant to be elegant, and yet comfortable for women in a family way. It ties at the side with a pretty bow. If anything, being pregnant has made Beryl lighten up considerably with her wardrobe. She almost looks approachable and friendly… quite different to the woman she was before.

"Siggy, darling, what's troubling you?" Beryl's light, sweet voice breaks into her sister's reverie as she approaches the table with a swish of her skirt. It's clear to see that something is wrong, and she isn't one to beat around the bush.

"I'm glad you could come," Signe responds, without immediately answering the question. She rises to her feet, greeting her sister affectionately. "And you look /wonderful/," she adds, meaning it quite sincerely.

She sits again, tearing off a small piece of her biscuit, and looking at her tea as she considers Beryl's pointed question, suddenly loathe to talk - but why invite Beryl at all if she /isn't/ going to talk about it?

"I saw cousin Alphard yesterday."

Beryl hugs her sister warmly, having to turn a bit sideways to hold her close for a moment. She even kisses Signe on the cheek before the other sits down. Taking her own seat, she lays her handbag aside and begins to slowly remove her soft gloves: "All your doing, I assure you," she replies with a light smile, glancing down at the dress. It's been incredibly nice to have a talented seamstress in the privacy of her own family to make outfits for her to wear throughout the pregnancy. "Your dresses make me feel less self-conscious about this troublesome child."

Pausing to feign a glare at her belly, the auburn-haired beauty says in a low voice: "Lay off the kicking until I get home, or else!"

Green eyes fix upon Signe once more, now that Beryl has settled matters with the baby: "Oh, cousin Alphard, eh?" She asks, arching one eyebrow cooly. "And how is the pompous little git?"

"I'm glad that you enjoy them. I enjoyed making them," Signe answers, picking up her tea for a sip. Her gaze goes to her sister's swollen belly, a hint of wistful delight creeping into her features. "Is she kicking?" Three more months - Signe has never been so eager to meet a child. She is going to spoil the little infant rotten.

"He seemed… well. He's interning with the Auror's for the summer. It's his last year of school." She tears off another piece of biscuit then adds, "He thought I was dead - died when I was eleven." She pops the piece of biscuit into her mouth.

Beryl graciously pours tea for herself from the pot, adding a demure spoonful of sugar and a squeeze of lemon to the cup before taking a sip. "Mmhm. Kicking like a brawler in the street at times. Tiberius is sure that it's a boy - and that he gets it from him…" Of course, Signe knows that Beryl has mixed feelings on the matter. Daddy dearest would love nothing better than for the child to be a boy, and her rebellious side wants a girl to be contrary. But, secretly on the inside, part of her wants it to be a boy as well.

"Alphard… an Auror." Beryl remarks flatly, clearly unamused by the notion. "Just what the Ministry needs. An uptight, downright, forthright square in the Auror's office. I'm sure he'll do a fine job of arresting people for blood status and crimes against fashion integrity."

She is just about to take a bite from a biscuit when Signe tells her that Alphard assumed that she had been dead since she was eleven: "What?!" She exclaims, outrage rising in her voice.

Color creeps into Signe's cheeks at Beryl's exclimation, staring down at her cup of tea. "You can't blame him for that," she murmurs. "He was only six when I turned eleven. And when my letter didn't come… None of the rest of the family wanted me around after that. His parents told him I went away - he assumed it meant I was dead."

It /isn't/ his fault - Signe truly believes that. That doesn't stop it from hurting, though.

"That boy never did have any imagination," Beryl mutters to herself, still with fire snapping in her normally cool green eyes. "If I thought it was worth wasting my breath, I would have a talk with his parents. But, as you know, I'm the black sheep of the family and nobody listens to me anyway."

Although inclined to continue to storm against Alphard's irritating assumption and his parents feeding his ignorance, Beryl's look softens upon glancing over at Signe. Reach out to rub her sister's arm affectionately with her hand, she sighs: "They're small-minded people, Signe - small-minded with shrunken hearts. Try not to let it get to you, darling. One of these days, you're going to show them all up. And I'll personally enjoy rubbing their faces in it." She means it, too.

Signe looks up at her sisters again, nodding uncertainly, though she does offer a grateful smile for the reassurance. "It was kind of nice, though. Being able to talk to someone from the family - aside from you and mother and father. He was trying to be kind to me - gallant, even. He was glad to see me."

Beryl finally eats one of the biscuits before her and takes another sip of tea, now that it has cooled a little. However, the look of decided skepticism shows plainly in her features as Signe defends Alphard. It almost seems too much for her to believe. Perhaps she's simply seen too much hate and prejudice in her day to be so easily persuaded of anyone's good intentions where Signe is concerned.

But still, she tries to give him the benefit of the doubt, since her sister is so insistent upon on. "Oh?" she asks, "Was he?" Urging Signe to say more if she will.

"Yes. He was," Signe confirms. "He… took me out for tea. We talked. He wanted to know where I had been, and what I had done. It's only…" Her gaze drops to her cup again, as she searches for words. "He didn't seem to realize… He honestly thought I'd just gone traveling. He didn't understand until I told him."

He's /probably/ not going to go very far as an auror, with that those sorts of deduction skills.

Beryl holds her teacup to her lips with both hands, peering over the steaming drink at Signe intently as she explains what happened during her pleasant little visit with Alphard. Her remark about the boy's deduction skills causes her to break into a smile, which is fortunately concealed by the tea. Taking a small sip to mask and smother the laugher that wants to slip past, she then sets the cup down on its saucer lightly: "And what was his reaction when you told him?" She asks curiously, trying to measure her own judgment of the situation by gauging Alphard's response to learning that Signe is in fact a Squib.

"I think it confused him, mostly," Signe answer softly. "He saw that I was upset, and he wanted to help me…" She looks up at Beryl briefly, then back down to her tea again just as quickly as she adds, "But he wouldn't touch me. He wouldn't even take my hand when he left. But he said I could still write. That he'd still like to come hear me sing…"

"How very noble of him, I'm sure." Beryl says drily, giving the slightest hint of a roll of her eyes to the heavens. She does it so quickly and so demurely that the gesture is scarcely noticeable.

"Well?" She urges her sister again. "What are you going to do about it, then?" Clearly, she just expects her to have a plan in mind, or a thought at least. "Are you going to write to him? Invite him to hear a performance? You'll have to do it on this side of the tracks, so to speak, darling - the likes of him aren't prone to frequenting Muggle establishments for entertainment."

"I'm not sure," Signe admits quietly. "I want to write to him, but I'm not sure if I should. I'm not sure what I would say."

She bites the inside of her lower lip delicately, considering her next words before she adds, "Apparently… the lounge upstairs in the Natrix is wizards only." /Alphard/ knew this - and she didn't. How could she have missed something so obvious?

"Well, yes dear," Beryl says carelessly, lifting her cup again to her lips. Pausing, she gives her sister a curious look: "I didn't press the matter before because you've always so vehemently been against performing on /this/ side for an audience of Wizards and Witches. But… I thought you knew." An apologetic look is directed at Signe. Beryl feels terrible, now that she realizes that her sister is somewhat embarrassed by the fact that she didn't actually have any idea about the upstairs lounge of the Natrix being rather more exclusive than downstairs.

Signe lets out a quiet sigh. Of /course/ Beryl knows, too. Why wouldn't she? "Perhaps I was being… willfully ignorant," she remarks softly. "I still don't want it to get back to father." She's a big enough embarrassment as it is.

"Do you think I should write to Alphard? Maybe he doesn't really want me to - it could be he was only trying to be polite."

"Oh, don't feel badly, Siggy," Beryl says, trying to sound comforting and consoling for Signe's sake. "There are all sorts of little secret nooks and crannies over on the Muggle side of things that can be overlooked. That's the whole point of them." Well… that probably made it worse. Chiding herself inwardly, the elder Crabbe sister shakes her head slightly: "I didn't mean it that way, exactly. It's just the whole secrecy issue, you understand. It's for everyone's safety that things like that are kept close to the chest."

Shifting her mental gears to Alphard, Beryl slips into a rather smug little smirk and tilts her head slightly to one side: "If he was merely being polite, then it will teach him a lesson to be more honest in future. What will it cost you besides a little ink and paper to write him, regardless? And, perhaps he was being sincere. Give him a chance - and maybe he'll give you one."

Signe watches Beryl for a moment as thinks over her sister's answer, taking another sip of tea. After a few moments of silence, she finally nods, giving Beryl a tight but grateful smile. "You're probably right. I'll try writing to him." Though she still isn't sure what she'll put.

Beryl gives a nonchalant little shrug of her shoulders and cooly replies: "Just tell him the next time you're scheduled to sing at the club and invite him as your special guest. It'll butter his ego a little, I'm sure."

Taking another dainty biscuit from the plate, Beryl pauses momentarily to regard Signe with some care. After a thoughtful moment passes, she focuses on her tea so as not to put her sister on the spot with a pointed stare: "You are singing there again, aren't you?" She asks, not really phrasing it as a question of If, but rather a definitive when. She has confidence and faith in Signe, after all.

"He did seem to have quite an ego," Signe agrees - allowing some amusement to color her tone. She takes another sip - looking curious as Beryl seems to study her. She glances away at the question, but looks back with a nod, her smile a little taut. "It's good for my career. And Wolfgang's been taking… quite the shine to me, I think. Should I… change my name?" And to what? It's an odd thing to consider.

Finishing her cup of tea, Beryl's movements are both slow and thoughtful. More than anything, she is interested in deciphering just what is on Signe's mind, lurking in the background. To her thinking, there is something more that her younger sister isn't saying - not just yet, anyway.

Setting the cup down onto its saucer with a light clink, she gradually begins to spin it round and round with her forefinger. She always has been a fidgety person, and Signe is undoubtedly used to the fact that she doesn't do well when just sitting still. "You know how I feel about you changing your name, Siggy. The answer won't change, no matter how many times you ask me. But, what does Wolfgang have to say about it?"

"I can't say I've asked him," Signe admits. "Do you know how many times I've been asked if I'm related to Buster Crabbe?" she adds, flashing Beryl another smile. "And no one can ever pronounced 'Signe' when they see it." It does get a bit tiresome being addressed as 'Sig Knee.'

The auburn-haired woman stifles a small giggle behind a raised napkin. Muggle films at the cinima are something to behold, and quaint in their own way - if a little silly. But, even Beryl can admit that they are a fun way to watch some particularly handsome men on the screen for an hour or two. "I'll take it as a compliment to the family. We should be so lucky to have that hunk in the family!"

Sobering down and lowering her voice, Beryl leans one elbow on the table and props her chin up on her hand as she gazes at Signe: "So, why not use the name I do? If people can't say it right, call yourself Siggy! Say it's a nickname - it'll endear you to the public even more."

"You're not supposed to pronounce the g!" Signe protests with a laugh. "You've been incorrigible about it for years - now I'm supposed to encourage the rest of the world to follow your bad example?" she asks. "It's going to be entirely up to me to teach my poor, darling niece how to pronounce her auntie's name, isn't it?"

"Psh," Beryl objects with an impish toss of her red curls: "It'll be Aunt Siggy all the way, and that's flat."

Her expression changes with a small, sudden wince. It's hard to tell if she's annoyed or simply a little startled as she places a hand lightly on her belly. "You - always putting in your two cents worth," she says after recovering slightly. Glancing up at Signe, Beryl manages a little smile: "Sorry, darling, baby is very fond of interrupting me. Especially if I move too quickly or raise my voice."

"Hardly something to apologize for," Signe answers. "But it'll be Auntie Signe," she asserts. She gets up, moving her chair so she can sit next to Beryl, gesturing to her sister's swelling stomach. "Can I…?" she asks hopefully.

"Of course," Beryl answers with a kind smile. Signe is the child's aunt, after all. "The little scamp likes to play hide and seek though. You may get lucky on the first try - or he may just decide to pipe down and not make another move."

Realizing that she's gone and referred to the baby as a "he," Beryl chuckles and actually blushes a little bit. "Tiberius… he really does want a boy, I think. I know what I said about Daddy before, but, I guess I kind of hope it might be a boy, too. Despite part of me wanting to carry on the obstinate Goyle Girl curse." Stopping briefly, she takes on a truly devilish smile: "Maybe we'll knock everybody for a loop and have one of each."

"Maybe," Signe responds. "That sounds like something you might pull off," she teases, as she rests her hand on Beryl's stomach. "Either way - I can't wait to hold him, or her, or /them/." A bit sheepishly she adds, "I've already started sewing some darling little outfits."

Beryl begins to get a far-off look in her eyes… a look that is laced with a hint of fear or worry creeping slowly into the background. She's got a lot to be scared about. Until now, the baby has just been a sense of joy, but with the birth so terrifyingly near, she has a good many reasons to be scared. Signe will probably notice the change in her expression, although she does try to mask it quickly with a smile: "Good thing you have been, too." She laughs, a little hollowly. "You know I can't sew or knit worth a damn. I never was good at those things. Merlin's sake… What was I even thinking, deciding I wanted to be a mum?"

"Beryl… You're going to be an amazing mum, and you're going to raise a brave, strong, self-reliant witch or wizard." Or possibly squib. Signe leans her shoulder against Beryl's as she adds, "And I'll be there for you, as much as you need me. As much as you'll have me. You've always been there for me, after all."

Perhaps it's all just a bit too much for Beryl to handle. Her emotions have been somewhat rocky of late, and Signe's words just seem to push her over the edge.

Quite suddenly, she loses some of her tough composure and wraps her arms tightly around her little sister, holding her close. Her eyes burn with the tears she is holding back with a great deal of effort. Her voice is tight, and scarcely reaches above a whisper as she says: "I always want you there, Signe. I need you to be."

"And I will be," Signe promises. "I've promised to do the opera next month. But after that… if I need to clear things from my calendar, I will." She hugs her sister, a little startled by the outpouring of emotions - but determined not to show it. "Mum made /you/ strong enough for this. So for the two of us together? We'll be fine."

Of course Beryl appreciates Signe's reassurances. They do go a long way toward calming her down, but still, something is hiding in the background, deep in her mind. The shadow of her own history haunting her, and an unrelenting sense of foreboding and fear. She tries very hard to regain some of the composure she's lost so dramatically, but to little avail: "I'm so frightened." She admits in a whisper, not really caring if any of the other customers in the cafe decide to stare at the two women while all of this transpires. "I don't want to lose…" She says, unable to finish her sentence.

Those words cause Signe's stomach to sink a little as she continues to hug her sister, not sure how to respond at first. "You've… spoken to a healer about your concerns, right?" After all, that's the best she can do. "You just keep looking after your health - I'll help however I can - and no matter what happens, I'll be there.

"But I /believe/ it's going to turn out well. You are going to have the most perfect, healthy, and beautiful baby, Beryl."

The grip Beryl has on her sister begins to relax, and the surge of fear and emotion begins to subside to a degree. Beryl sniffs quietly and allows Signe to draw back at last. She puts forward a weak smile, but a genuine one: "I'm sure it'll be alright… Tiberius wouldn't let anything happen to me - to us. If something went wrong, he'd find a way to get a midwife there before you could say Jack Robinson."

Coming to realize that she has probably made a spectacle of herself, Beryl's cheeks tinge to a light rosy red, and she works to fix her ever-unruly hair. "I suppose I should be getting home," she murmurs. "It's all been a bit much for me to come out like this. I don't know what's the matter with me."

"Not a single damn thing," Signe responds, quietly letting out a rather rare foul word. "If you want to go… I'll walk with you. And Beryl… if you need me to, or want me to, I'm happy to come stay over. So you can always have someone nearby, just in case. You only need to tell me what you need," she promises fervently. "Alright?" She doesn't seem to care if they've made a spectacle of themselves for once - even if it is the second time she's been at the center of a scene here in two days.

Beryl looks as if she wants to cry again, but she manages to force down the feeling before tears can slip by. Signe's offer is answered only by a small smile and a nod. She would very much like to have her take her home. And frankly, she may very well take up Signe at her offer to come and stay with her soon. Tiberius has been away a great deal, doing… fates only knows what sort of business in the shadows. She doesn't want to be alone, especially right now.

Grateful for the company, Beryl then links her arm in Signe's. The two women make their way out of the Cafe and head down the street. It's a long way, but they enjoy the pleasure of each other's company.

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