(1940-04-02) Removing All Traces
Details for Removing All Traces
Summary: After awakening to find that her cottage had been vandalized, Rena took the situation in stride and set out to clean up the mess. She was soon joined by an inquisitive boy and an old friend.
Date: 1940/04/02
Location: Lee Cottage, Hogsmeade
Related: Spur of the Moment Fun

Quaint and charming - that just about sums up the Lee Cottage. Like most cottages that pepper the landscape in Hogsmeade proper, it has a certain quirky, old world charm to it. Unfortunately, its otherwise flawless facade has been marred by the presence of some rather disgusting, spongy muck that was chucked at it the night before.
A smoky fire is going quite strongly in the front yard of the house, just past the low stone wall. A large iron cauldron is hung over the fire, and a young redheaded woman is flitting around nearby, seemingly preparing a number of ingredients for potion brewing. Never one to take the easy route, Rena Lee is going to deal with the problem on her own terms. Quite possibly, the most unusual thing about her appearance is the fact that she's wearing very odd clothing. A shirt with sleeves rolled up, and a strange pair of pants with straps that go over her shoulders and hook in the front. They are, in fact, overalls - but, most Wizards have undoubtedly never seen such bizarre garb.

The small Virgil trots along looking much like a wizard, just smaller. A dark blue jacket that almost looks like a robe in its robust nature, and a huge matching wizard hat and turquoise scarf pretty much cover him from head to toe. Hopping along, he seems to be playing some sort of skipping game, and reciting random words he must be using to memorize things from various classes. "Wingardium! Left hand rotation. Leviosa. Flick, twelve-six." Even skipping along, he has to take notice, and being a curious boy, he hops over to stand on the other side of Rena's wall.
"What'cha doing?" he asks.

"Whistle while you work - And cheerfully together we can tidy up the place…" Rena sings, whistling gaily between verses. Hearing the young boy's voice, however, she stops abruptly. Standing up straight, she brushes back her curly bangs from her forehead with one hand and finds Virgil. "Why, 'ello there!" She says with a bright smile.
Being the friendly, warm and gregarious type, Rena is never unhappy to see people - especially children. "I'm afraid somebody's gone and thrown a bit of muck at the 'ous, and I've got to get 'er cleaned up." Here, the young woman motions to the substance dotting her wall. There may not be many, but they are ugly - and some are out of her reach. That must be the reason for the ladder leaning against the wall. She really does like to do things the Muggle way.
Could get a cleaning solution from the shops, but it's more fun doing things yourself, yea? That's why they teach you in school." Her explanation is quite honest and simple. After a moment's thought, she adds: "You look to be about my friend Maddie's age. Madeline Evans?"

"Do you know what threw it? Do you think it was some sort of local menace, or was it kids? You should make them clean it up," Virgil says sagely, as if the woman needed advice on the matter and hops up onto her wall. Standing on it, he surveys the muck imperiously and pulls down his scarf a little for a better look, showing his face for a moment before he pulls it back up to cough into it. "And of course! My father, Cullen Goshawk, is an Artificer, and I'm going to be one too, he makes things for people, and he always tells me, and I think he's right, that a good witch or wizard should always make their own things. That way we keep our skills sharp, and don't waste galleons on things we can do ourselves. Even if takes a bit longer, the more we practice, the better we get!"

Hopping down on her side of the wall, he looks up at the house again and then walks over to look into the pot.

"So, what is that?" he asks, indicating the cauldron with a voluminous sleeve. "Oh, yeah, Maddie, she's nice. I don't talk with her much, I don't talk with anybody a lot."

Dutifully, Rena listens to the boy's advice about the menace who chucked something at her lovely little house. She makes very sure to keep her expression as sober as possible while answering: "Well, I did some investigating before'and. I'll look into things a bit later. But, first thing's first!"
Glancing at the cauldron, she replies: "Magicleanse. Not the most pleasant thing to brew, but it's meant to clean up unpleasant things. So, it all evens out!" Briefly, she looks over the ingredients and seems to consider something before asking: "Care to give me a little help? Of course, I won't ask you to do anything that'll get you into trouble. But, I'd appreciate the assistance."
After another light pause, the young woman sweetens the deal by motioning over to another rough wooden table not far away that is set with a glass pitcher filled with deep golden-brown tea that is brewing in the sun, and a glass-covered platter with biscuits and other goodies: "You can 'elp yourself too, if you've a mind. The sun tea should be just about ready."

Trotting over to the table with the ingredients, Virgil hops up onto a stool and starts helping to prepare ingredients. He glances over at the offered tea and bops his head a few times in agreement about the tea. "It does look almost ready," he agrees whole-heartedly and carefully starts counting the spider legs. Going over to look at her potion book, he looks at the instructions then goes back to the table again. "I'd bet it's some sort of local pest, not kids. All the kids are off this week, I'm only in Hogsmeade because my mom wanted to talk with the Madame at the tavern about something for my birthday. That's my guess anyway, anytime she gets secretive around my birthday, that's what I guess," he tells Rena. Pushing back his hat as he goes over to look into the cauldron. "Yep, yep, this is going along nicely," he says, doing his best to sound adult.

Graham now sans glitter, had come to Hogsmead for something or other probably work related. Hm and why not pop over to see his friend while he's here not that he doesn't see her at work anyways oh well! He carries with him a small parcel and so likely the whole visit is planned. He can only see somethings wrong as he makes the turn around the corner spotting the cottage his face falls and his step hurries spotting her outside with a student it seems he'll only speak when he's closer. "What has happened to your house Rena?" he pause before continuing "A vandal i'm guessing. Need help?" he asks.

Rena's dark eyes sparkle mirthfully at the boy's attempts at sounding grownup. Knowing that he hasn't ever done the brew before because of his age, she guides him as gently as possible without sounding patronizing: "Crush this clove of Garlic for me in the mortar, 'ere." She hands him the mortar and pestle. Without mentioning it, she carefully moves the bottle of Bundimun mixture nearer to herself. She definitely doesn't want him to touch that by accident. Nasty stuff!
"So, you're one of the Goss'awk children, yea? There's an old and respected family, sure as sure. Me, I'm just a Lee - nobody important in the Wizarding world. S'why I prefer people just call me Rena." She offers with a smile as she performs the unpleasant task of slicing a Crocodile Eye in a separate bowl.
Graham's arrival is met with a light laugh: "Vandals, yes. Who? There's the mystery. But, there's no need to fret about who until it's cleaned up." Stopping a moment, she remembers to make introductions: "Oh! Graham - this 'ere is young master Goss'awk. 'E was kind enough to 'elp me brew up some Magicleanse. Also, it's almost 'is birthday, apparently!" Glancing to Virgil, she adds: "This is Mister Cohen, a friend and fellow Auror. We work together in the same office."

The boy is wearing his scarf, as is customary, and a huge floppy wizard hat. He nods his head, or rather his hat bobs once towards Graham at the introduction. Taking the pestle, he gets a look of fierce concentration on his face as he starts to smash the garlic. "I like the taste of garlic in food, my mom says it means that I have too much free time, but I think she is just taking her Arithmancy too seriously," he shares as he smashes with gusto. Putting his whole body into the act of crushing the garlic. "Yeah, I'm going to turn thirteen. Which means I'll be a teenager, and closer to being able to use magic outside of school. I want that more than anything. What does Magiclceanse target?" he asks suddenly. "It won't remove the paint or anything, will it?"

"I see, well least can help with with the cleaning." Graham says agreeing about worrying about the who later on he'll continue his way over stopping at the introduction. "Pleased to meet you Mr Goshawk, kind of you to offer help." He holds up the parcel "I brought some of those little cakes I make new mixes want me to set them down inside or care for one now?" He asks looking over the potion arrangements a moment while he waits.

The young woman takes on a look of intense concentration, too. In her case, however, it is due to the fact that she is trying her best to not break into a fit of giggles.
"'Appy birthday a little early, then!" She exclaims, recovering her composure. "What luck that we've already got a little celebratory feast on 'and for the occasion."
To Graham, she smiles and motions over to the other table where the sun tea is steeping, and the other goodies wait under a glass dome: "Be a love and put the cakes with the rest of the goodies and we can all enjoy them in a bit."
Returning her focus to Virgil, she looks at the mashed garlic: "That's done to perfection, thank you! I'll add it, now. The water's boiling, and this is the first ingredient." She says, taking the mortar. Moving over to the cauldron, she scrapes the juicy paste into the bubbling water. "Magicleanse is a pretty mild cleaner. You can use it on clothing, even. The Bundimun Secretion is what gives it the kick. If you wanted it stronger, you'd just add more - but, only one drop at a time. Add too much, and it'd eat through the bricks in my wall, I'd warrant."
To emphasize this point, Rena puts on a pair of dragon hide gloves while she talks, wriggling her fingers into the rather over-sized pair.

"Hmm, so you could use it to get through a wall, maybe, or a floor if you needed to get in behind a dark wizard!" Virgil surmises, thrusting a finger into the air as he thinks about other practical applications for something that'd chew through a wall. Not that magic was exactly short on ways to get through things. A potion however, was quick and quasi-magical, so maybe it might get past some sort of defenses other magic wouldn't. He follows her over to the cauldron and watches her introduce the paste, "Yes, that's good. You can tell," he pronounces, once again speaking with the authority of a boy who likes to be perceived as more mature than he is.
After a second, he realizes that there were social niceties in there and turns his hat a little to look toward Graham.
"You're both Aurors? That's so cool. I'm probably just going to be a artificer like my dad, because I'm sort of sick all the time, and I can't be coughing when I'm trying to sneak up on bad wizards, but you guys are so awesome," he decides.

Graham nods to her words and will move over and sets the parcel on the table before returning back to the others listening to the explanation about the ingredient "Something like that yes." He says to Rena and them both he smiles noddning to the auror question. "Ah, yes many a good sneak ruined by a sneeze." He comments easily though looking back to Rena "I think I was to shinny for any sneaking yesterday though." he gives her a wink. "I was lucky Sorcha was at my place when I got home." he chuckles..

"Listen to 'im talk," Rena says to Graham, pointing her elbow at Virgil. "Just an artificer."
Handing a bottle of dubious looking brown powder to the boy, she says: "Measure out one and a half ounces of that on the little scale for me, will you? Cockroach Powder." A pause, and then she says: "Artificers are some of the cleverest people around, you know! That takes special skills and a very keen mind. Never think you're just anything of the kind."
Returning to the Cauldron, she carefully takes up the stoneware bottle containing Bundimun Secretion and tilts it carefully over the water. The moment the drop hits the water, there is a large POUF! of brown-ish green smoke that quickly flies away on the wind.
Corking the bottle, Rena chuckles at Graham: "Your friends 'ave a bad 'abit of playing pranks on you. People are going to wind up calling you Captain Sparkles, what with that stardust trail you left everywhere you went after."

The boy does as instructed with good precise movements. He likely does quite well in his potions class. "How do you get cockroach powder, do you just grind them up? Whole? Or do you have to dry them out first?" he asks as he finishes measuring into a mortar, which he carries over to Rena in both hands. His small hands wrapping around the bottom of the bowl for double the support. "Well, being clever is great, but I want to make a difference for people besides making their houses nicer and their lives easier. I've been working on sheet music that enchants your instruments, or, the idea anyway. But I don't make people safer with that," he admits and looks down into the cauldron.
"Is it supposed to start sparking like that?" he asks dramatically when she looks away for a few moments, alarm in his voice. Then smiles cheekily at her when she looks over. Gotcha.
"Why was he sparkly? Why were you sparkly, Mr. Graham?"

"Captain Sparkles, think I can at least be General Sparkles." Graham says with a wink though looks to the student "She's quite correct Mr Goshawk, any job that you enjoy is important at very least to you and thus worth doing." He looks at the cloud that goes up. "Hm next spell i'm learning scouring charm, tad bit safer." He says though looks back to the student. "Because my newest adopted sister sister, put a glitter bomb in a book. She knows I cannot help but read, its my inner Ravenclaw. When I opened it up *BLAM* head to toe glitter."

"You dry them out first on a metal sheet in an oven, generally. That's the fastest way to get them crispy for pulverizing." Rena answers, wrinkling her nose a little bit at the thought. She is none too fond of creepy-crawlies like Cockroaches.
The sliced Crocodile eye is then plopped into the cauldron while Graham explains his sparkly predicament, and she slowly stirs the mixture. One time, the spoon goes clockwise; then, three times more in an anti-clockwise motion.
Taking off one of her dragon hide gloves, she holds it out to Graham: "Can you 'elp me lift it off the fire?" It needs to be removed from the heat and left to simmer down on the iron spider sitting nearby.
Looking to Virgil, Rena offers: "Music is a good place to start, though. They say laughter is the best medicine for people - but music seems to do them just as much good. Who can say but you might find a way to 'elp people with music, someday? I love to sing, and I enjoy playing music, too. It always makes me feel better when I'm sad."

"Well, the way I'm going to make the sheets, is so that they can play ensembles without enchanted instruments, and they'll play all the different music you want, you just need to have the sheets written out. Then they can play a full orchestral piece, right in your house! I think the muggles might have figured out a better way though," Virgil admits as he watches the cauldron. Hearing about the cockroaches, he nods a little and stands out of the way, which happens to be in front of the spider. That is until he realizes what was intended, at which point he hastily skips out of the way. Always underfoot.

Looking into the cauldron again, he goes over to look at the spellbook.

"A glitter bomb. I'll remember that one, not that I'd use such a thing in school," he says soberly. Putting on his best face of earnest honesty.

Graham accepts the glove and will take one side of the cauldron to help lift it off to cool. He listens to the conversation about music and nods in agreement to the idea about it being healery. He doesn't lose focus until the cauldron is set down before looking back. "It was a big thing when I was in school, but these things come and go far as pranks go." He comments though he looks over the cleaning solution potion a bit while he ponders a bit more.

"Thanks awfully," Rena says gratefully as they set the cauldron aside. Removing her glove, she takes the measure of Cockroach powder and sprinkles it onto the mixture. As it cools, the cleaning solution will settle down and finish brewing on its own. "There now. You've a leg up on your mates by a couple years!" She adds for Virgil's benefit. "You've assisted in making Magicleanse - and did a right sharp job of it, too. Thank you!"
Wiping her hands on a rag, the young woman considers the idea of the orchestra and grins: "Well, I suppose most Muggles just use a wireless and listen to the BBC for music in their homes. But! I think they'd be just as amazed by your idea. I think you should keep working on it."
Moving over to the table loaded with refreshments, Rena motions for Graham and Virgil to follow. "I say we reward ourselves now on a job well done before we get to cleaning the spots off the wall." Stopping a moment, she puts on a superior attitude, pointing at Graham: "Five points from Ravenclaw for giving the idea of glitter bomb pranks to a younger student!" Then, turning to Virgil, she playfully adds: "Fifteen points to Ravenclaw, however, to Master Goss'awk for excellent potion making assistance."

"Make sure you send a letter to the headmaster, I'm sure it'd work out," Virgil says with a smile at the points rewards, and seems pleased with the assessment about his plans. Their approval means a lot to him and he goes over to the table with the refreshments, pulling over a stool so that he can stand on it and look at the food there. He turns his head slightly to look at Rena and Graham and then starts picking at things, eating slowly so that he doesn't upset his stomach. "The wireless, that's it, but I guess that is sort of limited, right? Not a lot of sound, and not as authentic as the real thing," he says, having heard one at a Muggle-born friend's house not so long ago.

Taking off his scarf, he lets it drape along his neck, rather than obscuring his face so that he can eat and drink without getting crumbs everywhere. His hat however, continues to sit low and covers a great deal of his head entirely. Shifting his weight a little, he leans over and looks at some of the treats, sniffs the air a little, then leans back.

"Do you just spray the spots?"

The auror looks aghast: "Graham, the prefect losing house points, why that's never happened." Graham says with a laugh though the statement is likely true enough as he moves over towards the table full of goodies. "Sorcha was telling me some of her classmates pulled an even glitter related prank but I've said too much already." He stops as he reaches the table looking over things and back to the house he does wonder who did this the working through a recent list and working outwards.

"Spray AND scrub. I shall let Graham do the scrubbing, as 'e did offer to 'elp…" Rena replies to Virgil's question with a devious smirk. Mischief sparkles in her eyes as she glances at Graham. He knows she doesn't mean any harm.
"Wireless is a bit limited. As are phonographs. They always tend to 'ave a bit of a crinkly-crackly sound when they're played. And 'eaven 'elp you if there's interference on the airwaves due to the weather." She remarks on Muggle technology while pouring herself some tea into a glass. "That's why I've got my piano, 'ere. I can make my own music when I've got the itch." Rena nods toward the cottage where one can easily see a lovely upright piano in the living area.
Taking note of Graham surveying the superficial damage to the house, the young woman smirks wryly: "I'm none too fussed about it, Graham. You learn to deal with things being chucked at you when you grow up on stage." She remarks, trying to brush it off. "In fact, I'm surprised nobody egged my house before! It's about time somebody thought of it."

"I get to spray, yay! I just hope I don't get any of it on my clothes, or my mom will know, and she'll throw something at me, and then I'll have to clean that!" the boy confesses, though he is probably exaggerating. Hopping from foot to foot, he looks up at the house, then back to the cauldron. "I can play the piano too," he says with a smile. "I'm going to have to learn some other instruments though, unless I get copies of famous music from other people with all the sheets," he says.

The young man looks back to Rena and gives a smile her way "Not even really all that creative a job really. No designs or patterns." he comments though he grins over to her giving a salute "Here to scrub M'am!" The auror comments pulled back from his thoughts for the moment "I did wish I learned to play an instrument guess it isn't too late really." he comments with a shrug.

Rena stifles back a giggle at Virgil's enthusiasm, hiding behind the act of sipping her tea. Once she has recovered, she smiles and motions to the house: "If you like, you can take a look through my sheet music. I've got oodles of it tucked in the piano seat - all Muggle songs, though. You're welcome to any of it if you want to try it out." She offers. "The piano, too, for that matter."
Graham's remark causes Rena to laugh outright. "I know. You'd think whoever did the deed could've at least written something creative with the goop. Oh well. I guess it was a rushed job."
Once the trio have finished fueling up on delicious sun tea and treats, they move on to the task of removing the offensive globs left by the erstwhile vandal. Whomever it was surely had no intention of giving anyone a pleasurable afternoon; but, what began as a chore quickly turned into a fun afternoon. It's all a matter of how you look at things.

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