(1939-12-05) Talk of Gifts
Details for Talk of Gifts
Summary: A meeting in the toy store. Shopping for the holidays.
Date: December 5, 1939
Location: Fingal's Toy Shop

Much of the Wizarding World considers this wintery season to be "Yule." However, it is unsurprising to note that the Ministry's Mugglest of all Aurors deems the holiday season to be Christmas. And, as it is Christmas, it is a pretty joyful time in general - even for someone who is often troubled by many things in the background as Rena is. But still, not many people would expect to find her inside of Fingal's Toy Shop, wandering around slowly with big, wondering eyes taking in all the sights. She was never able to enjoy this sort of thing as a kid, poor as she was. But, the fact that she's a grownup now doesn't seem to have affected her very much. The young redheaded woman just looks like a big kid, enjoying the scenery. The model of the Hogwarts Express appears to have captivated her momentarily, and she follows its course around the perimeter of the ceiling with her gaze.

Angelus is quite eager to leave the grounds on Friday evening. After changing out of his uniform and into something more regal looking. Blue silk fluttering around him, brocaded with silvery spiral patterns and golden thread. An outer cloak, made of warm woolens, drapes over the shoulders like a cape fastened at the neck with silver hooks. As the youth enters the toy shop, his cheeks reddened by the fresh, cold weather, his royal blue eyes scan around, flashing a grin as he tilts his head. A thoughtful hum escapes the boy as he walks, headed toward the direction Rena is. “What do I get her?” he whispers wonderingly. A brow arches as his gaze lifts to the redheaded Auror, but it’s a second before he registers who it is. It brings him to a halt when he realises, and he slowly inches to the side, possibly around another display before the woman notices him.

Still with a look of calm child-like delight in her dark eyes, Rena continues to follow the miniature train around the ceiling without realizing that someone very near at hand is staring at her. However, turning her body with the movement of toy, she does eventually come around to face in Angelus' direction. Breaking her gaze from the wonderful little train with a light sigh, she glances down.

"Oh! Hello there, Angelus." Rena exclaims, flashing a warm, sunshiny smile at the boy. Although she can be quite serious when the occasion warrants it, normal, everyday Rena is always so very open and welcoming. "Out and about to do some 'oliday shopping, are you?" She asks brightly. As the boy is wealthy, she hasn't any reason to assume otherwise.

Angelus grimaces at first, pausing in his stepping and turning it into, instead, a polite dip. A sigh escapes the boy, but he manages to hide, if not all of it, his uneasiness when the Auror addresses him. “Good evening, Auror Odori,” he greets formally. A light, flicker of a smile slips against his lips. He shifts on his feet, turning his head to glance towards the door, as if checking for an arrival. His gaze does a sweep around the shop quickly before he brings it back to Rena, nodding. “Trying to,” Gel answers. The youth considers quietly as he shifts again on his feet before letting out a sigh. Tilting his chin, he suddenly pipes up, “Do you think it would be a good idea if I found something for Evans? Would she…” He drops his gaze to the floor, biting down on his lower lip. He looks up again before speaking. “The last time I gave her a gift it made her uneasy,” he admits with a frown.

Madeline's uncle agreed to pick her up for the weekend - since it's been a full month since she last left the school - and it's clear she's already been to visit the sweets shop. Or at least, that's a good guess, seeing as she's still huffing out little puffs of smoke with a satisfied smile on her features, rather enjoying the magical effects of the candy she was sucking on. She bounces through the door and into the toy shop, turning a full circle. "I wonder if I can afford anything for the Pirates here," she muses to herself, while Perry closes the door after them.

"You did make a good deal off of your jam jars over the summer," Perry answers encouragingly.

"Well, that's always a bit 'ard to say, isn't it?" Rena answers uncertainly. Glancing around the shop briefly, as if searching for some inspiration, she adds: "Keeping the peace is always for the best. But, if you're worried she'll be uneasy, just get 'er something small that you know she enjoys and can use - like some candy. But, don't just do it for 'er - do it for others as well. It'll make it seem less awkward." Seems logical to her, anyway.

Familiar voices carry over the cheery din of the toy shop, and Rena's gaze travels over to Maddie and Perry as they enter. "Well, speak of the devils," she says as an aside to Angelus with a playful grin. "Maddie! Perry!" She calls out, tucking a conspicuous paper-wrapped parcel under her arm as she motions them over with a smile.

Angelus nods slowly, his head lifted as he replies, “I was already going to buy a basket for the entire House.” A smile flickers out, but fades at the Auror’s remark. “What?” He can’t help it when a little bit of annoyance leaks out in his tone, but he amends this with a soft smile as his eyes travel towards Madeline. He shifts on his feet as he glances from her to her uncle and he resists the urge, with an effort, to frown. He didn’t get to visit Hogsmeade nearly as much as she when he was only a second. A bitterness glints briefly in his eyes. In a light, entertained voice Angelus speaks to Madeline with a grin. “You found your way out of the castle again, did you? You’re fortunate to have an uncle with so much spare time on his hands.” He offers out a warm smile and then shifts to bow politely to Perry. “Good to see you again, sir.”

"Rena!" Madeline exclaims happily, bouncing across the room towards her friend and greeting the woman with a hug. "Oh, that explains why you weren't at home!" She seems to overlook Angelus until he speaks to her - and she smiles a bit uncertainly, glancing at her uncle then back to Angelus. "Hello, Eibon. Yeah, I'm real lucky. He didn't do it last year, but what with everything that happened, I guess it's just a habit now."

"It's not much trouble," Perry adds, "Since I have the place in Hogsmeade, now, and a room set up for her. Besides, she spends half of the weekend with her friends at Fawley Farm." Just as Angelus fights the urge to frown, Perry has to fight the urge to scowl. He has no fondness for Angelus - but he also must remind himself that the boy is only that - while he is an adult, more than twice the child's age.

Naturally, due to the parcel tucked under one arm, Rena is forced to return Maddie's hug with her free one; but, she does so warmly. "Sorry, love," she says apologetically, looking between the girl and her uncle. "I ought to 'ave known enough to leave a note pinned to the door at the cottage saying I was out and where I'd gone to."

For a brief moment, Rena's brow furrows and she glances back at Angelus. His words carry an all-too-distinct bite of resentment under the genial surface. She's not known for being the brightest when it comes to noticing things, but she isn't a fool. "Now, Angelus - Perr-erm, Mister Evans is a very busy man. Just like I'm a busy woman; but, we both like to make time for friends and family in 'Ogsmead whenever the weekends come around that the kids can leave school. It's not much of a sacrifice, especially now. It's the 'olidays, and none of us 'ave that nasty business with Flint 'anging over our 'eads like a black cloud anymore." And that's something to be truly glad of.

Angelus regards Madeline quietly with a tilt of his head, considering as he hums softly. His blue eyes flick between her and Rena, particularly eyeing Madeline suspiciously. “Did you enjoy that spying game the other day, Evans?” The youth arches a brow inquisitively. A slight grin starts to tug at his lips. “We should go look at looking glasses.” His eyes shift onto Perry, but before he can say anything further his gaze slides back to Rena. There’s a little twist to his lips as Angelus dips his head. “I’m sure Ministry workers are very busy, ma’am. I know my mother is often working even while she is at home.” He tenses when the ‘business with Flint’ is mentioned and he glances around the shop as he frowns. He manages a cheery smile as he brings his gaze back onto the Auror. “It’s been excellent having Professor Dumbledore as the new Headmaster. He’s easy to trust,” he says, this last bit causing his gaze to slide onto Madeline with an arched brow.

"And good riddance to-" Madeline starts before being cut off by her uncle.

"Madeline Meredith Evans," Perry says sternly, prompting a somewhat guilty look from the young girl.

"Umm - err. What… spying game? I don't really want to play any spying games. It's not, uh, a fun game. There's other stuff I'd rather play," Madeline answers instead, shifting a bit uneasy on her feet. No, she can't view anything like that as anything other than very serious business.

Again, Rena seems to be slightly nonplussed by the interactions between Angelus and Madeline. While she can't quite put her finger on it, there is a definite sense in the atmosphere of something hanging over them. The tension is tight enough to slice with a butter knife. An inquisitive and puzzled glance drifts toward Perry accompanied by a small shrug of her shoulders before Rena turns her attention to the kids.

"Spying games? Looking glasses? What on earth are you two going on about? You're speaking in riddles like a couple of Sphinxes." The young Auror asks between the two of them, arching one brow quizzically as she speaks.

“You weren’t paying any attention?” Angelus heaves a sigh and looks away from Madeline, giving his head a shake as he allows his gaze to trail over the toys on display. “No matter,” he murmurs, followed by a hum as he scans the displays, slowly taking a couple of steps. Not too far away, turning to again eye Madeline with suspicion. If he can help it he’s not going to give her any chance to bring anything up to her uncle or Rena. His blue eyes lift to Rena and he shakes his head once. “Just a fun game we can play while in our House commons. Describe something around the room and the others have to look for it.” He shrugs his shoulders, looking to Madeline. “You’ve been so focused on your transfigurations I guess you didn’t notice.”

"Oh, umm, well, I have been working pretty hard on my studies," Madeline agrees uncertainly, sounding puzzled by Angelus' explanation. "Mostly my transfigurations. Oh! And I've been working on your present!" Madeline suddenly tells Rena in an eager voice. "You're gonna love it!"

"Gifts for Rena, but not for me?" Perry teases the girl. "Glad to hear you're studying, though. You'll do alright in your classes, I'm sure of it."

Rena continues to seem puzzled for a moment or two. Then, she laughs merrily and shakes her head: "Oh, lor' - that old game, is it? Muggles play that one, too you know. I Spy! That's what they usually call it over on that side. It's a good pass-time during bad weather when you're stuck indoors, or else traveling somewhere for a long time on a train." Poor woman. It's so easy to put one over on someone whose mind is so much under a cloud.

Still smiling, Rena turns her attention from Angelus to Madeline: "You're making something for me, Maddie? Of course I'll love it. I've loved everything you've ever made me. I only wish I 'ad the talent to make something for you in return. I'm afraid you'll 'ave to be satisfied with something special bought." Glancing up, the young woman grins at Perry, adding: "I don't know what to get your uncle, though."

“I should be thankful for it,” Angelus remarks with a twitch at his lips. He nods to Madeline, a grin pulling across his face as he tilts his head. “Without your drying spell my robes might have been ruined.” Yes, ruined, because they couldn’t dry on their own. An amused smirk flick against his lips, moving his shoulders slightly in a shrug. The boy’s blue eyes flick from Madeline to Rena and to Perry. Tilting back his head, he pipes up as he smiles warmly. “Are you going to bring Madeline to our New Year’s party, sir?” He shifts on his feet, turning his gaze back to Rena. His grin widens as he asks with an eager flicker in his eyes, “Oh, are you going to make an appearance, ma’am? I’m sure my parents would be delighted if you and Healer Odori would attend.”

Madeline beams broadly as Rena praises her talent, bouncing up onto the tips of her toes. "I can't wait for it to be a bit closer to Christmas so I can give it to you!" she says eagerly. She considers her uncle for a moment, then looks back to Rena as she adds, "Oh, uncle Perry's a Ravenclaw, so he likes books! And stuff from the joke shop. I haven't decided what I'm gonna get for him or make yet. But I'll figure it out! And we have a shopping day coming up soon."

As Angelus asks about the party, Perry gives him a considering look. Given the history with the boy, it's not a party he's feeling terribly eager to bring Madeline to. "I'm not sure," he answers. "We'll have to see how things shape up."

At the mention of a party, the young woman's expression falls ever so slightly, and the smile fades into a look of deep consideration. In her case, it's nothing personal against Angelus or his family. Rena is all for making peace and doing her best to mend bridges that were so badly singed over the summer and fall. However, there are dark shadows lurking in her own background that she desperately tries to conceal from the rest of the world.

"I deeply appreciate the offer, Angelus. And I will do my very best to be there." Rena says at length, lifting her chin and renewing the look of calm confidence in her features. "But, my husband is very… he has trouble with social gatherings. I can't make any promises for his sake." There, she managed to choke it out before it sounded like a sugar-coated half-truth. Phew…

Angelus simply nods his head in response to Perry, shifting on his feet. “Of course, sir.” His eyes flick to Rena, and his smile grows, showing more of an eager expression. It just matters to him that she mentions doing her best to be there, and he nods his head fervently. “Well I hope I’ll see you there, even if it’s just you. For a little while.” He lets out a sigh as he turns, looking over the displays as he starts to idly move around.

"See you back at school!" Madeline calls after Angelus, waving one hand, before spinning around to study the store. "Do they still have the little dragons? Last time I was here they still had all the little dragons!" she declares, bouncing towards the area where they're kept on display.

Perry, meanwhile, keeps his eyes on the retreating boy. Madeline hasn't had any complaints about him… lately. He can only hope that's because there's nothing to complain, rather than the girl keeping secrets again.

Rena does manage a genial smile as Angelus takes his leave of them: "Be seeing you." She replies quietly. There is a brief moment following this that the young woman's gaze drops self-consciously downward. She masks it easily enough by fussing with her gloves and tugging them straight.

Madeline bounces off to see the toy dragon display, which brings Rena's attention upward quite abruptly. Biting her lower lip, she watches the girl from afar, somewhat worried. Would she put two and two together about the lack of one very impressive little toy dragon in the midst of the display? A guilty glance is directed at Perry, accompanied by a faint smirk. Rena points at the parcel tucked under her arm and gives a tiny nod. He shouldn't have difficulty figuring out what she means.

Perry catches the look, and gives Rena an understanding smile and a nod. Good. Though that was one toy Madeline would have to keep at his cottage, rather than at home.

"Oh, it's gone!" Madeline's voice rings out predictably. "Do you think they'll make another?" she asks hopefully, glancing back towards Rena and Perry. "Well. And the other ones are nice too, I guess. See how splotchy this one is? It's kind of neat."

A tiny hint of anxiety shows in Rena's face. She didn't want to cause Maddie any undue grief or disappointment before Christmas, on the one hand. But, on the other hand, it just goes to show that she managed to pick the right dragon toy, after all. Besides, the surprise of the gift on Christmas morning will be all the more wonderful and sweet when she opens the package and finds it waiting for her.

"Maybe so, Maddie," Rena answers confidently, flashing a warm smile in the girl's direction. "They do make such wonderful things. Was there one you especially liked?" She then asks, quite innocent sounding as she walks over to the display.

"Well, it was green, with these spikes down its back, and when it breathed fire there were hints of blue to the flames," Madeline explains, as she scoops up the splotchy one instead, to scratch at the back of its head. It snaps at her for her troubles. "He was just really neat. Oh, gosh, what do you think Mischief would make of one of these?" she asks abruptly, letting out a quiet giggle. "I bet that'd be something else to see - huh!"

"It does sound like quite a dragon, that one." Rena admits, tightening her arm ever so slightly around the package. "Mischief might be jealous if you 'ad something like that to take your attention away from 'er." She grins, hazarding a quick wink at Perry over Madeline's head.

"I'll tell you what, though." The young woman adds more soberly, crouching beside the display and looking over the display with a glance. "When I was a little girl - actually a year older than you, I wanted books more than anything else. And there was a book I saw in a shop window all about Dragons. Stories from different, far off lands. I wanted it so very badly, even saved up my pennies in hopes of getting it for myself… And then one day it was gone. I was so sad. But, a friend of mine told me I needed to keep wishing, because there's a kind of magic in wishes, you know. She said it would come to me if I wished 'ard enough. And sure enough, guess what I found waiting for me on Christmas?"

Angelus walks around at a slow pace, browsing even as he glances back towards where Rena, Madeline, and Perry are, frowning slightly. He shakes his head and continues looking, slowly rounding back to where he had left them. He’s carrying something in hand as he approaches anew, and a grin flashes across his face after glancing between the adults and Madeline. “Hey, Evans, come over here. Come check this out.”

"A dragon with spikes all down its back that was just the prettiest green ever and breathed fire that was just a little bit blue?" Madeline counters, grinning at Rena. "…either that or the book. One of the two." Perry cuffs the girl gently on the back of the head, giving her an amused look just before she turns her attention to Angelus "What did you find?" she asks curiously.

"Well, now, I admit that would've been something to behold." Rena laughs, her dark eyes sparkling with amusement as Perry cuffs Madeline lightly. "It was the book, all wrapped up in fancy paper with a ribbon and bow. It was the 'appiest Christmas I think I ever 'ad up till then."

Back up on her feet, she motions for Maddie to go along and join Angelus. She really does hope the two of them are getting along better. Angelus' occasionally cryptic remarks leave her worrying and wondering, sometimes.

Angelus approaches Madeline, holding out in front of him what appears to be a simple looking top. He grins at her, but then flicks his gaze around as he hums, searching for… Ah. He gestures to a spot on a shelf, but before he reaches out he glances up at Rena, dipping his head politely to her, and the same to Perry, before he tilts his head. A smirk flicks out as he locks his blue eyes on Madeline. “I should just give you a galleon so you can buy whatever you want for the holidays. That way I don’t have to risk you hating whatever I decide.” He smirks again, gestures to the shelf again, and sets the top down to give it a good spin. As soon as it starts spinning it starts to crackle and surge with static, glowing brightly as it looks like lightening spinning around it. “It won’t stop until you pick it up,” he explains as he looks to Madeline.

"A… galleon?" Madeline asks in surprise. "A whole galleon?" She looks at her uncle, and then at Rena, and then back at Angelus. "I- but, umm, I mean… I don't think all of my gifts from my mum and dad 'n aunts 'n uncles all together wouldn't be worth that much." A galleon's a fortune, as far as she's concerned. She watches the top spin, while the little dragon she was holding crawls up her arm to roost on the top of her head. "Oh, wow, that top is very nice," she agrees. "If it'll just keep going and going, it could be a nightlight, even!"

For Rena's part… Angelus' somewhat backhanded offer is taken the way it really is. She was far poorer than Maddie was as a child. She knew real poverty and want. And, unlike Maddie, she did not have the love and support of a family to keep her head above water when things got tough. "I'm sure Maddie wouldn't accept, Angelus." She cuts in briskly, keeping her voice even and calm. "She doesn't need that kind of money. There are other people in need who can make far better use of that kind of coin to buy food and clothing." That said, she forces a smile back into her features and she draws a small breath before going over to give Maddie a quick one-armed squeeze.

"Afraid I've got to be off, love. But, I'm sure I'll be seeing you soon. Goodbye, Perry, Angelus." Rena says with a nod as she slips away from the group and heads for the door.

"I couldn't agree more," Perry agrees. "But maybe Madeline can help think of a good charity to send the money to," he suggests.

And Angelus stares at Madeline in his own astonishment. He shakes it off with a blink, his smile flickering lightly in amusement. “My things aren’t cheap,” he remarks with a mere shrug. Looking away from the still spinning top, the youth flicks his gaze up to the dragon on her head before he casts his gaze up to Rena. He can’t help but frown as he listens to what she has to say. But he does let out a sigh, glancing at Madeline. “You probably wouldn’t,” he murmurs. He lowers into a little bow when Rena announces she should be off. “It was a pleasure to run into, Auror Odori,” he says with a small smile. He turns back to Madeline and points to the dragon. “I could just buy you that then, or that,” he says, motioning towards the spinning top. He spreads his hands out before him. “Help me out here, Evans. I don’t want to get you something that will make you uncomfortable again.” When he lifts his eyes to Perry, the boy sighs. “We already have charities that we donate to, sir,” he adds with a dip of his head.

Madeline looks between the two adults, letting out a quiet, "…oh. You think so?" she asks. Then her attention falls back on Angelus, shifting uneasily. "It wasn't, umm, what you picked, you know. What you picked was fine and it was really nice of you to do it, 'course, it was just… I didn't expect it, and things were so…" She's not really sure what to say. She seems to ignore the fact that she has a little splotchy dragon on the top of her head for now.

"I'm certain you do. But it may not be the same charities that Madeline would pick. Where would you like to see money go to, Maddie?" Perry asks his niece encouragingly.

"Oh," the girl repeats. "Well - something to do with the war, I suppose. For soldiers that got hurt, maybe, or the families of, umm… of the ones that don't come home. Or maybe to the Kindertransport kids! The ones that didn't end up in homes as nice as mine, maybe."

Angelus lets out a hum, considering as he regards Madeline. “Well would you accept a gift from me this year?” He flicks out a smile. “You were on the list I have to get something for, after all. Since we worked things out between us, I thought… Well,” he finishes with a shake of his head and a shrug. “Is it all right? That I get you something?” The youth glances up at Perry, letting out a quiet chuckle as he nods his head, looking between him and Madeline. A little spark flickers in his eyes as he inclines his head. “Is that what you would want, Evans? I could do that for you. Donate to one of those.”

"Yeah, you could get me something. I mean, things are better now, I think. I hope." Madeline offers Angelus a smile that isn't entirely certain - though her hesitation has nothing to do with the dragon breathing fire on her head. "A donation would be great," she adds, the smile widening. "There's so many folks need help right now. I've got cousins fighting, you know. And an uncle. My cousin Dai, he flies in an aeroplane, even. A spitfire."

Angelus blinks, and stares at Madeline with wonder. Call him thoughtless, but he’d rather have his own present than sending the money off somewhere. He frowns as he studies the girl, but then it turns into a smile as he lets out a heh. “That…” he starts, his tone slightly stunned, “…is really selfless of you, Evans.” He nods his head, and steps back. “Well, I don’t need to be here anymore. I’ll talk to you when we’re back on the grounds.” He lifts a hand to wave, nodding, and then offers Perry a polite bow. “Have a good evening, sir. I hope you decide to come to our party.”

Madeline shrugs her shoulders. "I've got everything I need, really," she explains. "And other stuff, well, I can borrow off of my friends, I guess." She finally reaches up to pull the dragon off of her head, ignoring its nips at her fingers. "Oh, you're a little brat," she coos at the animates toy. "See you back in the tower!" she adds.

Perry, meanwhile, places an approving hand on Madeline's shoulder, giving the girl an approving squeeze. "Have a good evening, Mister Eibon," he says to the child.

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