(1940-05-16) Coffee Shop Reactionaries
Details for Coffee Shop Reactionaries
Summary: Beckett, Ethan, and Kahren's discussion of theater in wizarding London at the Sip and Sonder slips into a spirited debate with Rena and Peregrine about Unity.
Date: 1940-05-16
Location: The Sip and Sonder - Mystick District

It is a spring night. The weather is cool and stormy.

The scent of fresh ground coffee and baked goods permeates this eclectic coffee house. Moroccan lanterns float high above in the air, Indian tapestries hang over the brick walls, and Persian carpets sprawl across the wood floors. Colorful armchairs and couches cluster in small groups around low coffee tables throughout the shop.
To the right of the door, patrons may place their shoes in little cubby-holes and choose one of the pairs of slippers to wear instead. Tucked into the back of the shop is the coffee bar where Marie is ready to take and prepare orders. Off to one side is a spiral staircase leading to the coffee house loft.

Beckett's black leather oxfords are tucked into a cubby hole, and he is wearing his habitual green slippers from the ones the shop provides. They might as well have his name on it, and they fit him perfectly. His legs are crossed at the knee beneath his silver robe; his cloak is hung by the door. In his left hand, he holds up an old hardcover book whose title indicates it contains a collection of plays fit for the stage. He appears absorbed, yet he glances up ever so often to watch the eclectic mix of patrons.

The door opens and Ethan slips in and trades his shoes for a pair of dark blue slippers. Once his shoes are in the cubby hole he moves toward the coffee bar offering the woman behind it a faint smile and orders a cup of sweet coffee flavored with vanilla and a hint of cinnamon. Cup of coffee in hand he moves out of the way and goes to look for a table. Thats when he spots Beckett and what he is reading. He saunters over and eyes the book curiously. "Interesting choice of reading material you have there." He offers a rather charming smile. "May I join you or has that book captured your interest completely?"

Beckett looks up, a faint smile already in place, one that grows into a broad smile when he sees who it is. "Do join me, please. I believe I recognized you at the Natrix yesterday; Ethan Moody, I presume?" He rises to his feet to offer a slight bow, closing the book with a solid thunk in his left hand as he offers his right for a handshake. "I am Beckett Titus Nott. The duelist," he adds, to make it clear he is /that/ Nott, not another with similar name.

Ethan offers a pleased and rather charming grin in return. He dip his head in a respectful nod. "Indeed I am, its very nice to meet you Mr. Nott. I believe I have overheard a few things about your talent as a duelist..very impressive from what I have heard anyway." The hand is accepted and given a firm shake and the Ethan will settle into one of the chairs at Beckett's table. The coffee is his hand is lifted to his lips for a sip and then set gently upon the table the actors eyes studying the other with interest. "I was not aware you enjoyed reading plays though. A pleasant surprise though some plays are far better when seen on stage."

Healers come off shift at all hours of the day and night. After all - they want fresh minds overlapping with more tired ones, and enough time for healers to pass on their knowledge of emerging cases. Kahren's shift, today, had started in the wee hours and she's only just gotten off. Bed seems a tempting prospect, but with errands to run - well. Perhaps a spot of tea will help wake her up for the rest of her day.
With that thought in mind, she enters the shop, pausing to put her shoes into one of the cubbies and claim a pair of the slippers. She makes her way towards the counter to request a tea, and a little pastry, before turning to survey the available tables.

At one of the tables, two men have just sat down. There's plenty of room there, where Beckett sips his coffee slowly and answers Ethan, speaking with his free hand just as much as his voice: "Absolutely. I think it takes both reading and seeing to fully appreciate the craft. To see the actor's spirit truly possess the role, I need to see their starting point." If it makes a difference, both men are recognizable, depending on your familiarity with their sphere: Ethan a famous actor, Beckett a famous duelist. In the papers, you know, Arts section and Sports section respectively.

Of all the gin joints and coffee shops in the world, she had to walk into this one…
A young redheaded woman quietly enters the Sip and Sonder, primly dressed in a beautifully tailored Muggle suit and skirt. She too has often been in the papers - the front page, no less - but for less elegant things than the actor or the duelist. She is that pestiferous, troublemaking Auror Lee… Well, she used to be called Lee. Her name has changed several times over the last year. One can only hope that her current handle will actually stick for a while.
Foregoing the formality of removing her pumps, Rena chooses to remain in her dainty shoes. With her handbag tucked into the crook of her arm, she softly crosses the floor to the coffee bar to order a drink.

Kahren is not much one for reading the sports pages - but arts are certainly more her style. Her gaze locks onto Ethan for a few moments, before her gaze shifts over to Rena approaching her position at the counter, instead. Oh. "…Miss Lee," she greets the woman with a small smile and a nod. "Some weather we're having today, isn't it?"
Kahren is not much one for reading the sports pages - but arts are certainly more her style. Her gaze locks onto Ethan for a few moments, before her gaze shifts over to Rena approaching her position at the counter, instead. Oh. "…Miss Lee," she greets the woman with a small smile and a nod. "Some weather we're having today, isn't it?"

Beckett continues speaking to Ethan, not in hushed tones, but not in a voice that carries, either. He nods occasionally at Ethan's responses, and his direct eye contact is unmistakable. His gestures tend toward to the flamboyant. When Rena walks by without removing her shoes, he raises an eyebrow. His drink finished, he excuses himself to Ethan and rises to follow Rena to the bar and get another. "I've not seen many ignore the rules of the house," he observes in a neutral voice. "Nor have I had the opportunity to ask why they do so." He smiles faintly. "So I ask you: why?"

"Mrs. Faulkner." The young redheaded woman corrects Kahren. There is no perceptible sharpness in her voice, but her manner is a trifle tinged with cool formality. "And it is, sure enough. I was beginning to get a chill out there on duty and decided I'd best nip in for a cuppa."
Beckett's abrupt approach momentarily prevents Rena further from placing her order. Turning to face him, she answers quietly: "No disrespect meant, but truth is I'm not 'ere for long, and I'm not stopping by to make myself comfortable." She's an Auror, and chances are she's headed to the interior of "the alley" soon, for one reason or another.

Ethan watches as Beckett excuses himself from their table and rises to go speak with Rena. The woman is noted with a raised brow and a thoughtful look and Ethan watches the group of three idly while he sips on his own cup off coffee. He tilts his head and tries to listen to whatever is being said, who knows he might overhear something interesting.

Beckett nods at Rena's explanation. "A worthy reason." He gestures back towards Ethan with a subtle dip of his shoulder and a tilt of the head. "You are welcome to join us for what time you have." And then he says quietly, "I believe she's waiting for your order." He is in line behind her to get his second drink.

Generally, the Magistrate of London is known to take his tea at the Cafe Tasseo, since it's closer to League Alley, but the weather has caused a diversion from the normal plan and so Peregrine pulls off his cloak as he enters the Sip and Sonder, a quick spell removing the mud from his boots before he replaces them with slippers, and another drying his cloak as its hung up. His hat is flicked into place with a practiced motion of the wrist.

"Oh," Kahren answers the correction on the name. Remarried so soon? The fact that she's biting her tongue is rather plain on her features before a bit belatedly she offers, "Congratulations. I wish you every happiness." After all - there's no need to be rude and stir up bad blood - is there?

Ethan sips his coffee and glances back over in the direction where Becket is speaking with the ladies. He offers each of them a faint smile and an incline of his head glancing to the free chairs and back to confirm Beckett's invitation is fine with him as well. Leaning back a little in his seat he will wait for Beckett and whoever else wants to join them to come over to where he is sitting.

With Rena distracted by conversation with Kahren, Beckett gets another coffee, passes by the two with a smile and a nod to Kahren. The distinguished gentleman at the door receives a second glance and a respectful quarter-bow, with a welcoming gesture towards his and Ethan's table, before he reseats himself. "Apologies. I always wonder why some people refuse to follow the niceties. This seemed a good time to ask. I was just about to ask you if you have any roles in the works."

Peregrine spots a familiar redhead and heads in Rena's direction. He looks like he's more or less recovered fully from his recent-enough brush with Lycanthropes, and the high collar of his shirt covers the start of the scars, though his stay in St. Mungo's was weeks long. "Congratulations, Mrs. Faulkner." he says, warmly, "Word on the street is that you've been walking on air for weeks now."

The formal stiffness does not seem to be wearing off. "Thank you. We are very happy. It's good to have peace of mind with a steady, upright man, at last." Rena replies to Kahren before ordering her coffee from the lady behind the bar - as Beckett reminded her to do so. The storm outside left the woman downright damp, and when she said she was chilled, she wasn't kidding. Despite the warmth of the coffee house, she hugs her arms about herself instinctively and shivers slightly.
Peregrine seems to bring the sunshine with him, however, and Rena's features light up into a bright smile: "Mister Urquart! I'm awfully glad to see you, I am. And yes…" she pauses, her cheeks tinging with a slight blush, "You might say that. I've never been so happy in all my life. But, are you doing alright? I was so worried about you after what happened at the warehouse."

The implication being that Takeshi doesn't fit that bill? Begrudgingly - Kahren may have to concede the point in regards to Arthur. He gets himself into more trouble… Still - Kahren keeps a smile firmly in place. "Well - I am glad to hear that, and to see that you are well." She nods politely - and then decides to take Beckett and Ethan up on their offer - as a convenient way to remove herself from the awkward situation. Approaching their table, she greets the two men with a smile. "Hello - I'm Kahren Umbridge," she introduces herself, without taking a seat quite yet.

"It's no trouble. I must admit I always get curious about such things as well…I suppose I am a bit nosy all things considered." Ethan offers Beckett an easy going smile that morphs into a rather bright grin at the question. "Interested in seeing me perform are you? Well as a matter of fact I have been accepted for another role. A lead role in fact." He looks thoughtfully at Beckett and considers him a moment. "I must admit I have some mixed feelings about the director though. A difference in political opinions should not affect my work however and I'm trying not to let it…it's rather hard work you know?" He lets a out a dramatic sigh and sips his coffee as Kahren approches. He looks up and offers the woman a faint smile. "Ethan Moody, its very nice to meet you Miss Umbridge."

Beckett has a ready smile for Kahren, too: "Beckett Titus Nott. Do sit, please. I hope you have an interest in the arts," he says with a grin, continuing the conversation with Ethan. "One works despite such differences. It is that way everywhere these days, especially at the Ministry. Nothing is firm. People think dropping secrecy is a simple matter, but I do not believe they have thought it through." The Obliviator shifts back the topic: "Oh, I have seen you perform, Mr. Moody. Is this an original composition? If not, what play?"

"Yes, I got your flowers." Peregrine says, to Rena, "They had to move out some of the furniture to make room, but you needn't have felt responsible, and it's far from my first stay with the healers since I became a Hit Wizard. I mean, when I was at Hogwarts, we had to whittle our own wands…" Peregrine grins slyly, and then nods, "Well, that's good to hear. People should be happy. There's too little of that these days, especially in our profession. What was it that Muggle philosopher said? If you stare too long into the abyss, the abyss stares back into you."

Stifling back a giggle about the flowers she had sent to the Magistrate in hospital, the young woman remarks: "But I wanted you to 'ave a cheery room to recuperate in. There's nothing so good for getting well as sunshine and flowers."
Rubbing her hands briskly against her arms to warm them, Rena casts a glance at Peregrine that might seem slightly suspicious. She isn't quite sure she believes him about whittling wands… "And you walked to school - five miles uphill - both ways, right?" She asks, playfully.
Her hot coffee arrives, then, and she accepts it gratefully. Before she has even finished her first sip, the mention of Unity catches her ear, and her expression becomes a tad grim. Behave yourself, Rena - behave.
Recovering herself, in an aside, the young woman dryly remarks to Peregrine: "That sounds exactly like something my husband would say."

"Its not a simple matter…dropping secrecy in the middle of a muggle war? Its not wise I don't think…and who is to say the muggles won't turn against us as well once the secret is out? I mean they might not do much damage but they do outnumber us…I don't think mixing our culture with muggles is the right course of action myself." Ethan can't help but add his two cents to Beckett's statement and then chuckles softly at the mans admission. "Are you a fan of my work then? Or do I need to prepare for criticism? Its not an orginal play but I believe the director wrote his own take on it. Its called the Warlock's Hairy Heart..one of the stories in The Tales of Beedle the Bard. I will be playing the Warlock." Ethan takes a sip of coffee and glances between Beckett and Kahren waiting to see if they have anything to say on either matter.

Kahren accepts the offer of the seat, dropping down into it with a relieved sigh. "On my feet most of the day," she remarks. Never mind that it's barely afternoon. "Oh, I am rather fond of the arts. I play the flute myself, and I frequent plays when I can. So - what is up and coming this season?" she asks curiously - the talk of Unity completely ignored. She's still not quite sure how she feels about that.
"Oh - you're the play the villain in the piece, then are you?" Kahren adds, getting a thoughtful look on her features. "That could indeed be fun to see. I shall have to secure myself a ticket when the time comes, Mister Moody."

"We know what happened when they knew, before," Beckett says. "What is different now? They're not ready to know what we can do without being terrified. I see it all too often; I am an Obliviator." He raises his cup to his lips for the smallest of sips. "If we trust the Muggles enough to know us, do we trust them enough to know everything? Will I still be called upon to hide our worst mistakes from them? Do we support one group of Muggles over another?" He concludes somberly, "It is a matter of time before treating Muggles like wizards becomes treating wizards like Muggles. If he has the answers, then my cousin plays his cards too close to his chest." He is apparently distracted from the High Ideals of Art - for a moment.

"He's a wise man, then." Peregrine says, "Or maybe I just read too much bad philosophy." He pauses to order himself a cup of the strong Turkish coffee, glancing over his shoulder at the conversation going on behind them. He looks at Rena and says, "You're a supporter of Cassius Malfoy, aren't you? He and his fiancee tried to… recruit me once, I suppose you might say. I have tended to stay rather apolitical."

The young woman's expression tightens, and one can almost sense the tension in the air emanating from her petite little frame as the others continue to speak against Unity. Peregrine's question snaps Rena out of her pointed stare, and her features soften momentarily. Out of respect for the Magistrate, she would never chide him for his beliefs. He is far wiser than ever she will be, unless she misses her guess.
"I do support him." She answers Peregrine simply, "However, if you'll pardon me a moment…"
Taking a purposeful step toward Beckett and Ethan, Rena draws herself up to her full and unimpressive height, lifting her chin: "The answer to supporting one group of Muggles over the other is easy to answer, for anyone with a conscience. Wizard, Muggle - it doesn't matter. We're ALL human beings, and the ability to tell the difference between right and wrong is pretty well inborn to every human being." There is a pause before a small tremble passes through her, and Rena continues: "The way forward is Unity. A house divided against itself cannot stand forever. It's only fear and willful ignorance that keeps the two sides separated."

Oh, dear… here it comes. Kahren picks up her tea, which had been delivered to her, and sips from it while Rena delivers her impassioned speech. She doesn't seem at all certain how to respond, though, and simply offers quietly, "It seems to me that both sides have rather good points. And, as I've said in the past, ideally I would like to see the world be united, and yet… I'm just not certain this seems the best time. With tensions being what they are." Certainly that can't make things more volatile - can it?

Ethan is nodding in agreement to Beckett when Rena stalks over to add her voice to the conversation. A brow raises and the actor regards her rather calmly but also rather haughtily. He considers her a brief moment before he speaks. "My dear lady we never implied that both wizards and muggles weren't human beings. Yes we all have thoughts and feelings but we also are all prone to anger, judgement and hate. Muggles fear us because we are different, because we have abilities they don't. Some hate us and one thing I've learned is that you can't change how another person feels about you you must accept it. But I will not accept muggles killing wizards out of spite and I feel that's what would happen if the two worlds were brought together. Yes humanity is capable of great things but its also capable of great cruelty to if you think about it. Its human nature to judge others just as its human nature to know its wrong to do this. Things are in no way black and white." Ethan sounds quite convinced of his own opinion and glances to Beckett briefly to see what he thinks of this.

"So when two groups of Muggles fight, what do we do? When a Muggle comes to believe we are dangerous - and they will - do we stop them from organizing against us, or simply watch the inevitable approach? Do we reveal our hidden homes, welcome them to Diagon Alley?" Beckett's lip curls at that notion, but his tone is civil, his voice even, though it suddenly projects. "If we are to have Unity, then let us have it on our terms. I, for one, will not trade centuries of safety, dignity, and culture away out of charity for those who killed our ancestors."

Peregrine watches Rena stalk off, and turns with his back to the bar, his coffee cup in one hand and the saucer in the other. "I don't think Unity is talking about just blowing the lid off." he comments. "And remember that Grindelwald has plans that we don't control - and those plans involve revealing ourselves to the Muggles in… a less than charitable way."

"Fear and willful ignorance works both ways." Rena answers coolly, regarding both Ethan and Beckett's comments alike. "It were fear and ignorance that caused the witch hunts in the past. And out of reasonable fear, we hid ourselves away. Centuries 'ave come and gone, now. Mankind has grown and advanced. It's time for both sides to be brave and learn to live with and tolerate one another."
Kahren's remark receives a faint sigh: "Tensions don't even begin to describe it. However, I'm sure that the majority of people in this fine establishment haven't the faintest clue what's REALLY going on out there in the war." More of the point she was making about willful ignorance…
Turning back to Peregrine, Rena's expression falters. Grindelwald… that name fills her with an almost unspeakable dread. "As Mister Urquart says, Grindelwald's plans are less than charitable. Purists tend to think it's all well and good, as they won't 'ave a care in the bloody world if that man 'as 'is way." She's slipping back into full blown cockney as her temper rises. "But, absolute power corrupts absolutely. That man 'as all the makings of a tyrant, and there will be no one safe from the likes of 'im. No better than Hitler."

Ethan raises a brow at Rena and lets out a slow breath. "Yes there is bad blood on both sides but do you really think we should sacrifice our culture and privacy to people who used to burn us at the stake? Do you think the muggles will be able to stand that there are a group of people who can do things they can't? They will lash out and so will wizards..its not safe to just tell them. I don't agree with telling them at all myself but if it must be done then it should be done very carefully with safeguards in place. Unity is an ideal but this world is not ideal. As you said there is fear on both sides, there is also hate and prejudice. You talk like throwing two very different groups together and simply saying work out your issues will actually work…people are more complicated and tricky than that. It won't work. People don't just change their views overnight…it would be war on both sides." He keeps his tone even and calm, not seeming to get excited even though its clear this is a topic of importance to him as well.

"I can't pretend to know what's the best path through the mess that's become of our world," Kahren answers softly - rather than even attempting to make up her mind. Instead, she picks a bit uneasily at her pastry. "I just hope things don't turn out quite as badly as Mister Grosvenor has predicted…"

"What is the point, then? If we are to stay separate, why tell Muggles at all?" Beckett asks, looking to Peregrine. He listens to what Ethan has to say, then purses his lips.
He shakes his head slightly at Rena. "So Unity means choosing sides in a Muggle war? That would have been good to share before the Wizengamot voted," he says dryly, raising an arm in a half-shrug. "You are not doing much to dispel perceptions that Unity's grand ideals have no answers to the practical questions: how to preserve safety, how to maintain peace among wizards, how to avoid blame whenever anything happens that Muggles don't understand. You say they've learned better, but in the same breath, mention they are busy killing each other in large numbers." He raises an eyebrow. "I do want to know: does Unity mean joining the Muggles in killing each other?"

"Well, do you think that Mister Hitler being in charge of Europe - a man who seems to fear everyone who is not like him - is a good thing for Wizards or Muggles?" Peregrine asks, sipping his coffee, "And as I said, Grindelwald has his own plans. He openly espouses the Wizarding conquest of the Muggle world. So, if we are revealed in that way, aren't we going to find that our parade of horribles - that the Muggles will start hunting us again - will come to pass?"

"Never climb a fence you can sit on, eh, Kahren?" Rena asks the other woman with a dry laugh. "If Guy were 'ere, 'e would give a few choice words, I'm sure."
Her dark eyes snap back to Beckett and Ethan, drifting between the two before answering: "And you think that Grindelwald won't impose bloodshed on the population if 'e 'as 'is way? Blood makes poor mortar, but that don't usually stop a tyrant from…"
All the while that Rena has been talking, her features have seemed to grow paler. Now, there is almost an ashen tinge to her complexion as her words come to an abrupt halt. Swaying slightly on her feet, she lifts a hand to her forehead and pauses a moment to recover herself. The recovery does not come quickly.
Giving a quick shake of her head, the young woman takes an unsteady step toward the door: "You'll pardon me," she says, trying to maintain some dignity through the unexpected shift. "I need some air."

"Now I'm not quite sure that's called for Mi- …Mrs Faulkner," Kahren responds, with some anger creeping into her voice. It's not an emotion she's often accustomed to. "You can't blame someone for not knowing where to turn on something so complicated." But then the woman's color turns rather poor - and the anger drains away quite abruptly into profession concern. "Are you quite alright?" she asks, promptly rising to her feet. "Let me help you," she offers, along with her arm.

Beckett rises as well with a concerned expression, but he does not follow. "I do hope you feel better, miss." He says to the others at his table, "I regret that speaking mind may have cued a condition. Now, Mr. Moody - may I call you Ethan? - what is different about this rendition of the Warlock's Hairy Heart?" He is content to probe politely and discuss the Wizard art scene in London until the cows come home.
"Do join us, if you have a mind, good sir," Beckett adds towards Peregrine with a dip of his head.

"I'm…" Rena's instinct is to stubbornly insist upon the fact that she is alright. However, another wave of nausea and light-headedness gives her enough cause to latch on to Kahren's arm to prevent herself from losing her footing. "No, I'm not." She answers, weakly.

"S-sorry," the young woman murmurs, able to get that singular word out as Kahren helps her to the door. It's an all-encompassing word, perhaps, directed at everyone present - Kahren included. Fresh air will help, surely… won't it?

"I'll come back to settle my tab," Kahren calls towards the counter. "Perhaps I should see you to St. Mungo's," the healer offers quietly as helps Rena outside. "Or perhaps just have a look myself somewhere more private, if you rather." Any hint of badblood has disappeared behind the healer's concern as the two women disappear from view. Kahren doesn't even bother to slip back into her shoes. Maybe Rena'd had the right notion after all.

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