(1940-03-11) Black Rumors
Details for Black Rumors
Summary: Cy and Arla (Clara) meet for the first time, to their mutual displeasure.
Date: 1940-03-11
Location: Diagon Alley

With the nice weather many are out enjoying it. People shop, or go to work, the usual that anyone would find within Diagon Alley. And who should be there amoung them? Clara. The Prewett steps out from the sweet shop, but before she can leave the shop keep catches up to her and hands her a box of something and shakes her hand. As politely as she can muster the sweets are declined, but he presses again for her to take them so she does with a nod and smile. The two part ways a moment after, her head lowered as she walks while the box of goodies is stuffed into a bag she is carrying.

The weather might not be as cold and bitter as it might have been earlier, but some people seem to carry a cloud of cold and bitterness with them wherever they go! Cygnus Black, arguably, is one of those people. He is walking down the street with a walking stick that appears more for show and potentially bludgeoning the unwary more than it seems needed for any sort of limp, moving at a comfortable speed while a more flustered looking man walks quickly next to him. "…and all of them fell ill," the flustered man says.

This prompts nothing more than a slightly raised brow from Cy. "I fail to perceive any particular connection between the health of your dull and irresponsible offspring, and myself."

Flustered man appears to be approaching a point of outrage. "You sold it to them!" he shouts. "You!"

Cy finally pauses, not far from Clara Prewett, and regards the red-faced man evenly. "The sale was legal. Advice was issued; I am embarrassed to inform you that your children lacked the maturity or insight to follow it. Consequences can be difficult. Perhaps your darlings would be better suited to the Magical Menagerie? Something that does not require skill or intuition… a rabbit? A slug?"

It takes some shuffling around in her satchel, but Clara finally gets the box of chocolates in. What is she going to do with them? They are chocolate! Not something she enjoys. With a sigh and looking up she can't help but overhear what is going on a few steps away from her. First big grey eyes look to the man with the cane and then looks to the man claiming.. something, about his children. A brow lifts, it is interesting to say the least. Standing there a minute longer the witch shuffles through her bag again, as if looking for something, or maybe acting like she is looking for something…

Flustered man isn't going to take this lying down, no! He seems intent to Make A Scene of it. "This man is a crook!" he shouts at the street in general. Cy develops an annoyed, slightly pained expression as though he's got a rock in his shoe he can't quite get out, and most of the passers-by hurry along, cultivating a deep desire not to get involved. "He sold dangerous creatures to my children! CHILDREN!"

"Doxies," Cy corrects. "The creatures, that is, not the children, although there are some notable similarities involved."

This further incenses the parent, who seizes upon Clara as the nearest non-Cy person who didn't pretend to be incredibly invested with shopping, newspapers, or pavement. "He sold /venomous creatures/ to /children/," the man repeats for Clara's benefit. "It's criminal, miss! What say you?"

This invocation causes Cy to look over at Clara for the first time, as though she is an otherwise uninteresting feature of the street he's just now had occasion to notice. Up, down, up… she's glanced over, but whatever he sees there doesn't seem to merit particular comment or in fact an introduction.

Well now, Clara didn't expect to be pulled into this. Pushing her head out of her satchel - so to speak, the Prewett looks over to them with wide grey eyes and is stunned into a bit of silence. Sure, it's bad, but it's not her fight either. Seeing that the man in question is giving her the look over the woman can't help but stare back at him, and then look to the angry man with a small shrug. "I — sweetie, well, it's bad yes? I don't know which animal you're talking about sorry. But if it's dangerous to kids then it's dangerous to kids.." Eyes move back to Cy then. "I don't know the whole story though, so it's not may place." That's when she chews upon her lower lip. "But sir, whatever your name is, perhaps you should not be selling dangerous animals to children. Would you do it to your own?"

Flustered Man looks a little disappointed when Clara starts saying she doesn't know the particulars of the situation, but he perks right up when she concludes by suggesting that perhaps selling dangerous animals to children was not the wisest course of action. He turns a vindicated glare to Cy, chest puffed up. "You see!" he declares. "You're out of line, Cygnus Black, and I'll see that miserable shop of yours shut down by the authorities!"

This has limited influence on Cy, however, who rolls his eyes so hard he seems at risk of spraining something. "/Doxies/," he repeats. "It is hardly as though I delivered basilisks or dragons into the grubby hands of idiot children. They needn't even have purchased the pests themselves, I expect; if your wife's housekeeping is as poor as her looks and comportment, then they no doubt could have harvested their very own doxies from the fetid depths of your own draperies." This sends the angry man a deeper shade or purple, and he sputters wordlessly while Cy turns his attention to Clara, and her question. "Are you inane by intention, or does it come to you naturally? Of course I would do it to my own children. I would do exactly as I did for these young doxy-bitten fools: I would instruct them as to the proper handling, and if they failed to abide by it, I would let them discover the painful consequences of idiocy. I would acquire the appropriate medical attention, and trust that next time, they would conduct themselves more wisely in the care and handling of the creature involved."

Well, this is quite the scene, and Clara is staring at it with disbelief.. Yet her eyes have fixed upon Cy in such a way that his name brought about some sense of warning. It's a few seconds till it's gone because the angry man is all the more angry now and even uses her to finalize his belief of the Black's wrong doings. Swallowing the lump in her throat there is a deep breath. The witch doesn't look angry nor offended - at least she isn't trying too. "Mr. Black," Begins the Prewett. "You so easily judge another when it is so easy to judge you. I suppose no one has ever claimed the horrible state of parenting you seem to house." Words fight away bitterness. "Any sane and loving parent would be more aware of dangers to their own, and this man here," A nod is passed to the purpled man, "Has some right in being angry. Perhaps you should take some lessons from that!"

"My wife," sputters the purple faced man, "You dare to talk about my wife—!" He seems about to go on, when Cy turns his attention that way again. This time, the look is much harsher. He's put together well enough, with a good suit, a hat more attractive than the one in his wiki page, perhaps a bit of wear and tear from animal keeping. He looks civilized. But there is something rather feral in his look toward his erstwhile customers' father, something which suggests he may have a slightly tenuous hold on all that civility. "You perceive by now that I am a great believer in natural consequences," he states, very quietly. "I would not recommend you test the consequences of trying my patience further. Your children have learned a lesson, and so, if you learn to think, have you. Our business is concluded. Good day to you." Purple-face must have picked up on the implied warning, or at least have decided discretion is the better part of valor, because he shakes his head in disgust, settles his hat, and stomps off.

This of course leaves Clara the undivided attention of her new friend, who regards her in unsettling inscrutability for a moment. "Forgive me," he says after a moment, tone too dry to lend sincerity to the words. "Whom is it that I have the pleasure of addressing, child? As you are so intimately aware of the particulars of my life, and as you are so free with your wisdom, it seems only right that we are made known to one another."

Watching the purple-faced man storm off, that leaves Clara in the middle of the storm. Still she is unwavering under it. Listening patiently for him to finish and when it comes to needing to give a response there is a second of silence, she seems to be considering what exactly she wants to say. "I am Clara Prewett." A Prewett! One of the pure-blood families from the sacred twenty eight! There is no following greeting such as 'nice to meet you' or 'it's a pleasure', because really, it isn't.

"How do you do, Clara Prewett." Cy tips his hat to her, but it's civility without warmth, and there's no sense that he does, in fact, care about how she's doing. "I am sure you can agree that we are creatures of reason," he continues. "Of evidence, of logic, of actions and reactions. You have made certain declarations of my character, Miss; chiefly that I am judgmental, that I house a — oh, what did you call it. A horrible state of parenting? So by your dramatic account, I am a judgmental, horrible parent, that I am neither sane nor loving, that I endanger the innocent. It is your right to hold such opinions; it is also your right to voice them, however ignorant and gauche you appear in doing so. It is my right to inquire regarding your reasons, your facts. And so I ask you, Miss Prewett — on what evidence to you carry your spite? One encounter with a fool in the street? We have only just had the dubious pleasure of acquaintance, so we may logically determine that your knowledge is not first hand. But surely you're a clever girl, and not so prone to ludicrous flights of fancy based on the half-observation of situations you know entirely nothing about."

Pinned. That's how Clara feels. Like a fly against a wall with the swatter at a ready, there is no real way to escape it. She stands against his storm of words - even if logical, and does her best to keep a calm and cool air about her, though it is hard. Also not wanting to seem the fool something must be thought of, and something is. "Well for one, your actions now." A hand motions to where the man had stormed off to. "But, you know as well as I that the houses talk and gossip!" Yet something in her tone suggests more, though there is no freedom made of what that is. "I've spent much of my life hearing such stories, as I'm sure you have of other houses. And reputation of Black is as fitting as the name you carry, after all."

"This is the best argument in your defense? /This/ is the fuel sourcing the fiery courage that makes you draw yourself up tall to me, filled with righteous indignation?" Cy sounds slightly incredulous, as though he's surprised in spite of himself. He shifts slightly, leaning a bit on the walking stick, as though whatever unsentimental gears tick away in the machinery of his brain are recalibrating their expectations slightly. "That's all you have to say for yourself, Miss Prewett? 'Cygnus Black is a mean old man because all the gossip and rumors say he is, and also once he disagreed with a customer right in the road in front of all the good people, and also he didn't pat me on the head and give me lollies and tell me I am a nice girl'? You aren't a nice girl, I'm afraid. You have declared yourself a gossip and a foolish rumor-chaser, which is a very strange trait to make plain about oneself upon introduction."

It looks as if Clara wants to say something, something that may make the whole situation different, and she is close. But it's bit back, let him ponder. Shrugging a bit but getting a little red in the ears - it's not every day someone can fuel anger in her, the Prewett does her best not to waver. "I do not partake in rumour making nor gossip, as best as I can. However, I -do- enjoy listening to people, and when families get together conversation is often at the expense of others!" A hand reaches into her satchel and the box of chocolates are taken out and offered to him. "I'd not want you to pat my head and give me candy, it's not your approval I'd need to seek anyway, nor do I want it. But if you feel the need, I've got a box of chocolates here, perhaps you you would like them? It seems you need the sweetness more than I."

"Conversation at the expense of others." Cy sounds amused now, echoing Clara's words. "So you do /not/ listen to gossip or rumors, but you /do/ 'listen to people' even though in your own words the conversation is at the 'expense' of others… whereby we can assume it is not flattering. But listening to families say things in poor taste about others is not gossip. Thank you for clearing that up, my dear." He rests both hands on the walking stick, comfortably. "The person you should listen to is yourself, Miss Prewett, as you continue to embarrass yourself with every added word. May I offer you some advice? Be what you are. You are fooling no one. If you are a pernicious gossip, then playing word games will not make it otherwise. And if you are a judgmental, dangerous, thoroughly wicked man," one corner of his mouth crooks into a smile, "Then no amount of chocolates can make you sweeter." He seems like he's having fun now, to the extent that Cy understands the concept of fun. "Shall I offer you more rumors to spread around the next time you 'listen to people', child? I am a criminal. I am indubitably up to some form of smuggling and/or illicit substance trade. I once fed a man to a dragon. I disturb the peace. I eat muggle babies every Sunday for tea."

Clara easily realizes that he seems to just.. hate, everything. That it's better off to make others feel low than to be equal to them, than again he is a Black. Smirking now she casually waves away his statement that she is a gossiper. Nothing needs to be said of it, he will conclude over and over again that she is just that. Yet, when he mentions the lack of use the chocolate would give there is a laugh and the boxed is pushed back into her satchel. It's just chocolate to her. "I'll let people know that your enjoyments are so lavish, yet deadly, Mr Criminal Black. Is there anything else you wish to confess to then? It would be unfair to the public for them to not be aware of -all- of you're dastardly deeds."

"What, everything at once? And no more skeletons in my closets for you and your muckraking friends to go over at your lovely dinner parties, with scandal and horrified pleasure?" Cy tsks and shakes his head. "Where is the good in that? All things in moderation, child. I will slowly dole out gossip to you bit by bit. Today, eating babies; tomorrow, persecution of the innocent. If any of the aforementioned muckraking friends, or indeed you yourself, should take an interest in knowing more, they may contact me directly by making a visit to Black's Bestiary, which is quaintly nestled in a part of town all of your type are too good to venture into." He removes his hat from his head and holds it over his heart, bowing to her in an old fashioned sort of way. His hair is wild, and lends another hint of fierceness to the otherwise controlled appearance. "Congratulations, Miss Clara Prewett. You are the pure and flawless embodiment of everything I dislike about human beings, and you have confirmed my long-held opinion that no good ever comes from leaving my home and my creatures."

THere is some mild interest, she wonders what sort of secrets he has - or even may know some, but wishes to hear them. Also, she is fairly amused. It's not every day you meet someone so.. able, to dismiss the world and people around them with such flair. It's rather entertaining, if not cruel from his side of things. To follow along with his 'bow' her head bows in return to him, slightly acting as if she deserves such treatment. "Then I will await, every day in anticipation for the blessings that are your devious secrets." Playing into it with a smile her head tilts a bit eyes not looking him over in the way method of judgement that he had at first with her. "Though how will I hear such horrid tales if you wish to never leave your home? Mind you, that makes it easier for all to keep an eye upon you and your unlawful deeds."

"I am the proprietor of a business." Cy snaps his fingers, twice. "Try to keep up, Miss Prewett. If I am not at home, I am at my place of work, and you may have the enjoyment of extracting your rumors directly from the source at those premises. Provided, of course, you fire up sufficient reserves of nosy self-righteousness to visit, and provided you trust me to deliver such secrets into your keeping at all. If I were you, I wouldn't trust me." Both brows lift. "I am a bad man." His hat returns to his head with an air of finality, trapping his hair like a creature in a cage, and he seems to believe his business is done here. "Were I pleasant, I would offer farewell pleasantries, but I am not. Good day to you, Miss Prewett." And with that, he steps off, in the direction he was headed when waylaid by the angry parent. Most people seem to give him a wide berth!

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