(1941-05-01) Guess Who's Going to Dinner?
Details for Guess Who's Going to Dinner
Summary: Grayson and Roe get better acquainted.
Date: May 1st, 1941
Location: R.C.M.C, Ministry of Magic

The Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures is not a quiet place at night. Much of that blame can be laid upon the shoulders of the Beast Division. Pixies screech and bat about their cages in the night, a kneazle prowls the floors, and an owl swoops through an open window, landing atop one of the desks near the back of the room, in the Dragon Research division.

The desk is occupied. Newly-occupied, in fact. A man in rather elegant robes, covering a perfectly-tailored Muggle evening suit, is busily arranging it with quills, books, a large sketch-book, and several heavy tomes. A picture - not moving - of a young boy standing beside a rough-looking older man is set in the corner.

"Ah, thank you, Pitch," the man says to his owl. He accepts a letter from the feathered animal and chucks it gently. Opening the letter, he seems to forget his other work, sinking down into the chair. It creaks a bit.

The Department is otherwise largely deserted, only the occasional straggler, weariy and hasty all at once as the thoughts of home and dinner and other such vital things take precedence. Cheery farewells are bandied about and the pleasant 'dings' of the elevator are fewer and further between. Grayson certainly picked his moment to get settled in relative solitude. Or so he may have thought…

A sudden scuffling commotion, enough to rouse the dozy heads of those creatures who had been attempting to nap, announces the arrival of another occupant of a desk. Well, presumably there's a person. Admittedly, all that's visible is a pair of legs and an enormous stack of teetering files and papers. That's just an accident waiting to happen. Sidling through the door, keeping it adequately ajar by way of a navy-blue high heel and a beige-clad shoulder, the mysterious arrival presumably knows her way well enough not to actually need to see where she's going? And that's also likely why she's also still speaking in a hushed, scolding aside to some unseen companion. "No.. no, I told you, not in here. Tinker, noooo!" This last is uttered upon a despairing almost-wail, shortly prceding a flash of greyish white fur across the freshly swept floor… and right under her feet.

Ahh, the good old train wreck in slow motion. She teeters one way, then the other, seems to right herself.. and then she's down, papers flying everywhere, files sliding across the marble and a haphazard tumble of chestnut hair to obscure her features.. if not the muttered litany of not entirely proper language escaping her lips. Hopping up onto a cluttered desk - it's not a huge stretch to ascertain that one's probably hers - a young Jarvey observes the scene, all innocence and twitching whiskers.

"Roe boom."

"Yes, Tinker. Roe buh-loody boom."

"Buh-loody boom!" The animal seems delighted with the new phrase, mimicking it repeatedly for another moment or so.

The laughter from that back desk is low and warm; rising to his feet, the man saunters forward to crouch beside the young woman. He takes her in coolly, his smile lopsided, scarred lip puckered up a bit. And then, once he has had a long look, he offers his hand to her. "Good evening, ma'am. Might I be of assistance?" His voice is pure upper-crust English, crisp to the point of mockery.

And there is still humor in his gaze as he glances up at the Jarvey, winking. He doesn't bother to disguise his mirth as he looks back to the young woman. "It appears to me that you've quite a bit of work to be getting on with."

There's an undeniable similarity, really, between the pair of bright eyes regarding the man curiously from over there on the desk, and the green, dark-lashed ones that are cast up toward him in flustered surprise, still with wayward strands of long hair in their way despite her raking the majority of it back with one hand. "Oh!" Gathering herself only slowly, still braced on hand and knees on the floor, the young woman blinks up at the stranger a couple more times before she notes the offered hand and accepts it with evident gratitude, after swiftly swishing her files and papers into a haphazard pile and hugging them to her midsection in the curve of her other arm. "Thank you.. I'm so dreadfully sorry, I didn't realise anyone was still here.." Her own tones are likewise elegant, though with a seemingly unintentional sweetness, in contrast to Grayson's smirking amusement. Straightening and finally succeeding in pushing back that mane from her brow, she offers an unabashed grin, revealing both straight white teeth and a charming lack of concern over her clumsiness. It must be a common occurrence. "Hello."

Pressing her lips together, she glances about herself, then stoops to retrieve a few more scattered sheafs. "Do pardon me…" There's one under his foot she tugs at gently until he, presumably, moves it. "I'm Rowena. Roe. Not the best first impression, I imagine.."

As if to deliberately punctuate the obvious, the little Jarvey tries, "ARSEBISCUIT!" as an agreeable exclamation toward the pair, eliciting a long-suffering sigh from his mistress.

Crouching down beside Rowena, Grayson helps to gather up the papers, giving them a rather blatant once-over, his curiousity as frank as his amusement. He glances up at the Jarvey as it swears, smiling briefly again. "I wonder where he learned that, madam? Oh. Forgive me. I am Grayson Loring." A tiny gesture toward a bow, even as he kneels before the woman.

"I am not certain what would count as a good impression, madam. I've never been particularly skilled at making them." Again, a hint of humor, this time self-deprecating. "But I don't believe this is the worst I've ever seen." Deliberately, he reaches out to squeeze the woman's shoulder in a rather forward gesture of commiseration.

"I once slid down a mud-fall right into the camp of a rather humorless gentleman. That was a bad first impression. And my only pair of boots ruined, as well." He releases the woman's shoulder.

The papers are revealed to be a mish-mash of notes, sketches and observations on centaurs, quite obviously written by many different sources, some more reputable than others. The files are just the usual boring paperwork for the department, largely reports on Pest Control recommendations and completions. "Oh.." Glancing over a shoulder toward Tinker, who's by now amusing himself with cleaning and fluffing up his tail between his two little forepaws, Roe shakes her head in a gesture of fond, mock-frustration. "I really do sometimes have hope that he can be taught civilised conversational skills.. but alas, as yet, no luck. As for the choice of vocabulary, I can assure you, Mister Loring, he doesn't pick it up from me!"

If the weighty hand at her shoulder perturbs the young woman, it doesn't show. That smile is turned back upon Grayson without falter, the expression softening in gratitude for the reassurance, as well as with the fatigue of her day. "Well, that's good to hear. Though if you've found yourself another office come morning I shan't take offence. Thank you." This is offered for his help with the paperwork, a hand extended to retrieve them from him as she rises from her hunker. There. Some semblance of proper. "Grayson Loring.." she hums, belatedly, over the name as she adjusts the burden in her arms, regarding the sharp-suited man thoughtfully. "..the name rings a bell.. though not the mud-fall story, oh dear. The loss of footwear can be such a devastating experience.. they really ought to include it in the hazards of the job."

"Yours does not, but I'll take the liberty and call you Roe. You may have seen my reports on the China situation? Terrible poaching, I'm afraid." There's a faint touch of irony, as though he is understating the case. The smile is a touch warmer this time, a bit more genuine. And the unyieldingly rigid barrier of his posh speech loosens a bit as he turns to regard the filthy-mouthed Jarvey.

"I admire your dedication, then. Civilizing a Jarvey is quite the job." He winks at the creature, as if inviting him to contribute to the conversation. "And, yes, I quite regretted losing the pair. I'd only just gotten them, do you see. Though, if we're being honest, they did not quite fit."

Withholding that damnable family name for the time being as she is, Roe doesn't seem bothered by lack of recognition. She does, after all, appear to be little more than a secretary, by appearances. "Oh, of course. The Dragonologist." Hefting her work across to her desk, the young woman sets it down unceremoniously, ignoring the rattle of a long-discarded tea-cup and the disgruntled squeak from Tinker. "Shall you be staying a little closer to home, then? Or simply passing through?" More than likely she's at least skimmed reports enough to know of the man.. whether she retained that information is anyone's guess. Roe's mind is a mystery even to her. Tucking her hair back behind one ear and straightening out her cable knit jumper, the sleeves loosely pushed up to the elbow, she watches Gray with apparently quite genuine interest, not merely making small talk for the sake of it.

An absent-minded hand strays toward the Jarvey - who can't be more than a few months old, going by his size - and he sleepily makes his way up her arm to nestle in the curve where neck meets collarbone. A wide yawn, a slow blink toward the new person and a muttered , "Mingebag.." And the little creature begins to doze, utterly content and secure. Roe won't drop him, after all. She strokes his downy fur just once, then leaves him be, with a nod of assent to the dapper gent. Quite the job, indeed. "Well.. lesson learned, I suppose. Note to self, do not slide down hillsides in ill-fitting footwear."

"To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure. China grew a bit uncomfortable there at the end, as you've no doubt heard, but there's always Peru. I'll certainly stay long enough to finish my treatise on cross-breeding." A brief grimace crosses his face. "The footnotes alone shall keep me here for some months." Following along behind Roe to her desk, he turns over one of the documents on centaurs. "Who are you assigned to, Roe?" Indeed, he seems to be assuming she /is/ no more than a secretary.

"This is quite an eclectic collection he has. Some of these sources are.. Questionable." He smiles up at the young woman, letting the documents fall back into place. And then he reaches over, quite casually, and tries to pet the Jarvey.

The grimace rouses a soft chuckle from the young woman. Oh, she knows the pain of hashing out those documents. Sympathy in spades! Calmly watching the turn of page, she smiles still in the wake of the question and observation. Someone's got a sharp eye for detail, haven't they? "Well, I'd offer my help but I'm not very 'up' on dragons.. the best I could do would be proofread and pick on your grammar. That sounds rather fun, though, I must say." Yeah. For her, maybe. "Assigned to..?" Arching a brow, Roe looks momentarily bemused, though her expression clears with realisation. Well, she did just fall in the door and dump papers on a desk with nothing in the way of title waving. Not really her thing, you see.

"Oh.. nobody. That is.. I'm.. well." Straightening her shoulders a touch, subtly correcting her posture to something more befitting - and looking utterly uncomfortable with it - she ignores the faintest hint of rosy warmth on her cheeks as her actual position here is inevitably wrought from her. "..a consulting Magizoologist, is the most definitive term. Though, I spend my time largely between Pest Advisory and err.. Centaur Relations. By choice. I'm not being fired, so far as I know. At least, I imagine my uncle would warn me, if that were the case.." She grins, eyeing Gray sidelong in amusement to see if he catches that clue. "Mmm.." The sound is agreeable as she looks again down to the indicated papers. "Sadly most sources on centaurs are questionable. The spectrum ranges from wild speculation to fanciful fabrication.. or just prejudice and slander. Nobody really knows, to any helpful degree. I thought I might at least sift the chaff, as it were.."

Tinker, for his part, snuffles and squirms a little in unconscious pleasure at the attention, though doesn't stir. Typical baby.. frenzied brusts of activity, nonsense and foul language, interspersed with the sudden determined need to sleep, with little warning.

"Oh. I see." Is that the faintest hint of amusement as the young woman tries to assert herself? Surely not. Grayson watches Rowena closely, his head canting as he takes in her words. His scarred lip twitches slightly. "You must forgive me. I made a rather foolish assumption, I see." And then he smiles at her, full-on, his angular features lighting up. "You shall allow me to buy you dinner, as an apology, of course."

If he detects the clue toward her uncle's identity, the man doesn't seem to show it. "In fact, I was considering taking in a show this evening. Faustus. It's a Muggle theater, but I find the pathos to be quite moving." After a few beats, he says, "Or you could tell me why you've chosen to remain in the least-popular section of the division. There's no criticism in the words - genuine curiousity, instead.

"Well, I didn't exactly swan in all elegance and airs, did I." Roe physically handwaves the faux-pas with a flick of her fingertips, quite unperturbed. Is she used to being mistaken for an underling? Perhaps. But it plainly doesn't matter to her the way it does to some people. The sort-of invitation does seem to catch her by surprise, though she recovers admirably following a blink and soft, cut-off sound as if she had been about to promptly and politely decline.. then reconsidered, either to be pleasant or because something else caught her attention. "A muggle theatre..?" Grayson doesn't know her, so he could take that emphasis either way.. particularly with the way she's simply staring right back at him, green eyes wide. Even that megawatt smile doesn't have her coy or girlish. Quite the contrary, she looks.. disbelieving.

Moving swiftly on without any helpful elaboration at all, Roe gives a gentle, sincere answer to the question of her employment. "..I'd intended to work within the CDDC, originally. But, as it turns out, I simply can't bear the thought of putting a creature to death by my own hand. If I must honestly advise the Committee to do so, then so be it.. but I simply can't stomach it myself." A pause. "And honestly? I think a career in Dragon Restraint would meet a swift, sticky and scorchy end, for me. I'm not exactly light on my feet."

"Yes, well. As I've had reason to reflect the past few days, dragonology is a rather small field. Self-selecting, as you say." Grayson smiles at the woman's disbelief, though there's a hint of hauteur to his tone as he continues. "Yes, I quite like Muggle theater. Chinese Opera has its appeal, though I rarely made it into the cities, but Faustus? Lovely. I've waited years to see it again." There's definite challenge in his voice, and his chin raises slightly.

"As for putting down a creature — yes, it can be quite hard. And it's so often the human's fault." There's real passion now, too, and a hard line of anger. "I often wonder if we deserve these creatures."

"Oh, please don't think I'm.. well, you know.." She hesitates on the word, then utters it anyway, for simplicity's sake. "..'prejudiced'. No, I simply adore muggle arts. Knitting, in particular. And miniature cakes. But their theatre is so endearing."

And the delightful thing is? She's not kidding. Her features are alight with enthusiasm as she turns, scrabbling about on the desk and producing, at length, a dogeared program from a not-very-recent performance, offering it out toward Grayson with a 'see?' expression; entirely lacking in smug but still a defiant counter to his defensive head-tilt.

"I'd be delighted to go.. if.. I mean was that an invitation? Or were you simply informing me of your cultured evening plans..?" Roe's smile wavers just a little, genuine uncertainty beneath the good nature. Too polite to simply assume she's wanted, and shy at the oddest moments. You have to love social awkwardness.

"..absolutely." She nods her agreement to Gray's standpoint on magical creatures. "I'd rather we educate people on how to live around such creatures.. not destroy them just for being what they are. I suppose you see a lot of that in your line of work, too.." There's sympathy in her gaze to accompany the words. "..I've a great deal of respect and admiration for dragons. I simply also have the common sense to stay out of their reach."

Some of the arrogance flees from Grayson's stance as Rowena gushes on. It's as though a layer of armor has come off, freeing the man beneath to shine through. He seems amused at the woman's enthusiasm and then, as she begins to falter, the amusement grows. "Yes, it was certainly an invitation," he says cheerfully. "My father keeps a box seat at the Opera House, though of course he's been in India for quite some time." Revealing, not-so-subtly, that he is Muggle-born himself.

After a hesitation, he continues. "There is a certain breed of Wizard who views even Muggles as creatures." The idea causes a ripple of disgust to touch his face. He clears his throat. "In truth, in China, I was far busier fighting to save dragons than having to put them down. The Japanese have made quite an industry of it."

What a treat! Actual Muggle theatre! But Roe's aware of her tendency to go on and on when it comes to certain topics, so she bites her tongue now, simply nodding along in understanding as Grayson speaks. The revelation of his heritage, it seems, is of no particular consequence to her, either. She doesn't bat an eyelash.. though those green eyes do gleam with curiosity and a thousand unasked questions being filed away for another time. Poor Gray. No idea what he's letting himself in for.

And then it's a dash of politics. A wrinkling nose is about as harsh an expression of distaste as the redhead can muster, evidently. Still, it's a mighty enough difference from her dimpled smile to imply genuine feeling behind it. "Y-e-ees.." The word is drawn out as it occurs to her. "..you've been away quite some time. But I imagine you're still well aware of the goings-on in Europe, to that effect. Dreadful. Truly, dreadful." Soft-hearted Roe, who can't even tell off her baby Jarvey, is hardly likely to put much stock in such vindictive notions as 'The Greater Good' is bringing about.

"Come." Again, the preremptory command. But Grayson softens it by offering his arm to the woman. "If we hurry, we can have dinner and a drink before the First Act." His smile is a touch mischievous; or, perhaps, that's simply the scar. "Grindelwald and the Greater Good. Yes, I've heard that they've grown rather popular" Again, the wry tone of understatement. "It shall have to be dealt with, eventually, I suppose." Though what he means by that is anyone's guess.

"Tell me, do you prefer white wine or red? I've not been in town long, but a friend of mine at Whitehall — yes, another Muggle! — recommends a lovely place very close to the theatre district."

Gosh. A tad bossy. Then again, Roe's used to being bossed about and taking it on the chin. She also entirely lacks that haughty air that Gray seems to have so well honed. Or any kind of experience when it comes to.. erm.. no, it's not a date. It's an apology for his thinking she was a secretary. An apology that includes wine, dinner and the theatre… BUT, she's not attired in any sort of special way. A jumper does not speak of anything other than two work colleagues chatting over a meal. Yes, yes, that's fine. She might be sweet, but she's not an idiot. And if anyone thinks they can curry favor with the boss through his niece, they're gravely mistaken. Isaac's just happy if Roe gets through a day without breaking something. An ornament. A limb.

"Errm.. I'm afraid I'm rather a lightweight when it comes to wine.." The admission is honest - she doesn't have the opportunity to try it much at all. And she's no conisseur, she's not going to make a fool of herself pretending to know anything about it! "I'll leave it to your ah.. good judgement. Are you sure this is..?" Looping her arm through his obligingly, Roe looks pointedly between Gray and his perfect suit and.. her. Looking like a scruff. She's not quite sure he isn't having fun at her expense.. but it's worth putting up with regardless, if theatre comes at the end of it.

"It's very Bohemian of you, dressed so casually. You'll fit right in with the artistes." Grayson's voice is reassuring. "You look lovely." Patting her hand lightly, the aristocratic Wizard begins to lead the woman from the room. "We'll just have a glass or two, and an aperitif, of course. Perhaps a martini." He does seem to be enjoying himself, smiling confidently aside to Rowena.

If this is his way of currying favor, he is certainly subtle about it. The man continues to give no sign that he knows her last name at all. And he doesn't seem particularly curious about it. Continuing to chat as he passes through the doorway, Grayson says "If you're serious about researching Centaurs, perhaps you should plan a trip to the Forbidden Forest? But I'd brush up on your Shields first, mm?"

What exactly just happened. She walked into her office, fell on her face and now she's.. going to the theatre with a man she just met? This is turning out to be a very odd day. Fortunately, Roe enjoys life's little quirks. Usually. "If you say so." Truth be told, she was more concerned how he might be looked at, dallying with a mad cat lady. But if he's not bothered, neither is she. She does, however, stealthily snake a hand up to gently pluck Tinker from her shoulder, carefully settling him onto a small cushion on her desk before they move off. Try explaining to a muggle why you've brought a ferret to the theatre.

"There's word of unrest in the forest, actually… I had planned to investigate the next time I was in the area. But you can't exactly just walk up and ring the doorbell, can you. They're volatile, complex creatures. I need to ascertain the 'proper' way to approach them, so as to avoid any unnecessary upset." Yes, her heart is definitely in the right place. Whether she can hold her own in a dangerous situation is, of course, another matter entirely. At the mention of 'brushing up', anyway, she simply offers Grayson a vague smile and a nod. "So tell me.. which breed of dragon do you find the most interesting, Mister Loring?" You can tell a lot about a man by his favourite dragon. Probably.

"What type? That's very much like asking me what my favorite novel is, Roe. And do call me Grayson. Gray, even." He considers the question as he guides the woman along, nodding pleasantly to an Auror as he passes. "Obviously, I'm very fond of the Chinese Fireball. They're rather elegant — that unique ruff along their spine is not found in any other breed, you know." He's quite happy to talk dragons. But then a thought strikes him.

"I shall come with you when you go, then. To the Forest. It'll be quite a nice diversion for me, and two shall certainly fare better than one." Again, the assertiveness. "Have you come across the proper method for requesting an appointment with them?"

Roe seems to accept the given answer without judgement, similarly flashing a warm smile to the passing Auror and remaining quiet enough to give her companion leave to speak. "I'd go for the painfully obvious choice of the Opaleye. They're beautiful. They make me think of unicorns, in a way." She can hold her own on most topics, provided she's got the books. And, given her collection, it's VERY likely she has the books.

Noting the fractional pause, the young woman glances up and aside to the well-dressed dragonologist as they enter the elevator, aware that something's coming and regarding him expectantly. Ah. There it is. Now to find a way to put this ndelicately. "There's no 'method', as such, that I know of.. though that is, of course, one of the things I'm researching. I expect a deal of advance warning of my.. our.. impending arrival, at the very least.. and then it is their choice whether they desire to parlay. It's just.. well, they're very proud creatures, Mister.. Gray. It will require careful handling. You know?" Mirroring his gesture of moments ago, she pats his hand lightly, silently beseeching him not to take offence. "Are you quite sure you're interested in that sort of pomp and propriety?" Sure you can be respectful, more like…

Startlement, then amusement, cross his face. Grayson grins broadly, glancing up at the elevator lights. "My dear woman," he says pleasantly, "I have lived for ten years in the Chinese hinterlands. For many of those years, I was in and among an ancient people with their own magic, their own ways of thinking. If I had not swallowed my pride and learned, I am quite certain that I would be dead." His eyes dance with amusement and something else — excitement.

"I live for the opportunity to learn more of this world. Please. I know I've been presumptuous, Roe, but do please take me along." Though the words are conciliatory, there's still a clear note of certainty in his tone, as though the decision has been made and agreed to.

"It's not my place to tell you where you can or cannot go." points out the redhead, relenting to a grin at that pathetic attempt at 'contrite'. "And if it is truly of interest to you.. I would be glad of the company. I doubt anyone else will offer." Either because the office is a joke or because she herself is more than a little odd, take your pick. For a time, she falls rather quiet, simply waiting for the elevator and mulling over things in her mind.

"You're a rather strange sort of person. Do people tell you that a lot..?" Coming from her, it's not an insult. Even new as they are to one another, that much is perfectly apparent. It's more.. a detached observation. Mayeb even, at a stretch, a compliment.

"Quite often, Roe, yes." The elevator dings as the floors pass. "In fact, I've taken it as a point of pride to be rather odd." And there, beneath the pleasant words, is that glimpse of steel again. Perhaps even of bitterness. "In my situation, most people try to fit in — to become the perfect copies of those who scorn them. I detest that." He smiles, softening the words. "I rather like standing out."

As the elevator 'dings' open, and the muscular wizard steps through the door, insistently guiding the redhead along. "And I must say, I rather think we make a matched pair with our oddities." He, obviously, does mean it as a compliment.

Roe considers this for a moment, this 'ideal' of normal and whether rebelling against it is an admirable choice. "I.. don't give it much thought, to be honest. I'm just.. who I am. But then, my family as a whole is considered rather eccentric. So perhaps it matters less when people already expect it of you." Flicking a glance at Gray, noting the ice beneath the warm facade, she nevertheless returns his smile when it's offered, content to accept whatever front he prefers to make use of, if it makes him comfortable. "Well.. that much is obvious. The suit, for example. You're hardly a wallflower."

The compliment is accepted graciously enough, for all intents and purposes. Though, truth be told, she dismisses it as just another tease. Because she, actually, doesn't actively seek or enjoy standing out… it just tends to happen when you're tall, redhaired and hopelessly clumsy. And also if you get blamed for your Jarvey's bouts of tourettes.

"Not here in the city, no. Elliot always told me to dress up to my own expectations." At the mention of this Elliot, some of his inner harshness fades for a few moments. "But I assure you, in the field, I have learned the benefits of blending in." He continues to guide, out toward the world. "Shall we walk to the Theater District? It's a touch chilly, but if you don't mind?.."

He casts a sideways glance to Roe, offering it out as a playful challenge. "You haven't told me, by the by, who your family is." So he had noticed. And takes the opening she leaves him to inquire.

"Well yes, I imagine blending in to foliage works better in the vicinity of dragons than a tuxedo and top hat." Oh, so she can do sarcasm. There's even a smirk tugging at the corner of her lips. Cheek! "I'm alright." she adds, continuing on in regard to the weather and the walk and smoothly returning to pleasant conversation. And she thought Tinker was hard work…

Oh, look at that, he took the bait. In fairness, it wasn't really bait. It's not anyone's fault that he's been gone for a decade and missed out on the office joke that is Roe. Roe and her mismatched outfits and china teacups. Roe and her lopsided mini cakes that she brings in to share or her lumpy wooly scarves, never finished in one colour as she always seems to run out partway through. He'll learn all of this in time, of course. But for this evening, all he needs to know is, "..I'm Rowena Scamander."

Well, now's the time to scramble for an excuse to be elsewhere, if he's that sort of bloke. But who knows. For the moment, she keeps her hand resting lightly atop his forearm, those glassy green eyes fixed on their path, meaning any glance her way would only find her in profile.

An eyebrow raises; Grayson looks over at Roe for a moment, then smiles. "Isaac's daughter?" Obviously, he doesn't know the man well, nor the state of the Scamander family. But just as obiously, Grayson is completely unbothered. Or he's trying very hard to pretend to be.

"I should have realized. There is a certain family resemblance." Perhaps that is just a hollow comment, to hide his own surprise. And then he chuckles softly. "You're certainly putting your social standing at risk, Roe. I hadn't realized I was in such estimable company." Another half-bow, mischief in his eyes.

"His niece." The correction is gentle, and not without a trace of relief, oddly enough. "Newton Scamander is my cousin." Well, there's a lot to live up to, right there. Fantastic Beasts is one of the best known textbooks in the world. Still, she doesn't strike as the ambitious or competitive sort. Maybe it's simply good fortune that has her in this line of work.. good fortune and a genuine love of magical creatures, if this encounter is anything to go by. "I have actually been told I look a little like him. Though I'm not certain that's a compliment!" Having apparently sidestepped this social landmine surprisingly well - Gray hasn't run screaming into the night, anyway 0 Roe's tension begins to dissipate as swiftly as it had gathered, that broad grin returning as she meets the man's gaze.

"And oh, don't be ridiculous. If you can dismiss me as a secretary, what makes you think the rest of the wizarding world considers me of any interest whatsoever either..?" A timely prod at his earlier gaffe, deliberately given to divert attention from that twinkle of mischief. "This outing will not make the gossip columns, I assure you."

"There's a shame. The first lovely woman I've had dinner with in years, and I won't even make it into the gossip columns. Tsk. We must try harder next time." Again, the presumption of the man is fantastic. He takes a moment to examine Rowena carefully, scrutinizing her face. His gaze is far from analytical. "Yes, I think I see the resemblance. Certainly. All of his best features, but you've done away with those alarming eyebrows." A hint of a tease.

Strolling down the street, he takes in the view of a city at war. Men and women move along the streets, their gas-masks at their sides. "And I hadn't dismissed you, you know, Rowena."

"Mmm, a good pair of tweezers and some hedge clippers make all the difference. I can lend them to you, if you like." Roe flits a pointed glance over the man's features, in turn, though doesn't bother to conceal her amusement. His eyebrows are perfectly fine. "I'm sorry there wasn't a wider selection of impromptu dining partners to choose from.. maybe you'll have better luck tomorrow." Strangely, she seems quite serious. Well, surely she's just the only option, right? She doesn't mind, she still gets to go out.

Laughing momentarily, a pleasant, melodic sound from somewhere low in her throat, Roe fixes her gaze on Gray, arching a skeptical brow. "Oh, you did too. It's alright! You were exceptionally pleasant even when you thought I was the hired help." She pauses, considering him. "Your family must be ever so respectable." Again, she's not poking fun. The attire, the opera seats.. the general 'owning the place' swagger.. he's from money, even if only the Muggle sort. The Scamanders, of course, aren't pure bloods. They've just done well for themselves.

"I think I'll just send you written notice instead. I rather enjoy my impromptu dinner partner, thank you." Not a written invitation. Written notice. Gray absently squeezes Roe's arm in his own, pointing across toward one of the restaurants. "Just through there, I think." Still keeping his arm entangled with Rowena's, he begins to cross the street. Perhaps he doesn't think that the woman can make it without falling.

"We're quite respectable, yes," he says after a few moments, his tone thoughtful. "Father serves in His Majesty's Armed Forces, of course, in India. Things are growing quite interesting over there." It's a detached tone of voice; an observation, rather than an expression of concern. "In the Muggle world, we'd be considered minor nobility. Very minor. Exceptionally."

In all fairness, no, she probably wouldn't make it. Though she's kept up remarkably well thus far, with an arm to balance her. Roe's green eyes follow the direction of the man's gesture, an absent nod conveying her appreciation of the outer facade of the indicated building, at least. Not that she'd know the difference between this and a greasy spoon. But it's nice to be nice. "Ohh.." Her response to the matter of his family's standing unwittingly makes it apparent she hasn't a strong grasp of such things, really. At least she doesn't pretend otherwise. You can't learn new things if you pretend to know it all.

"And.. what does that mean for you, exactly? In the muggle world..? Does that sort of standing come with requirements?" Finger sandwiches with the Queen, perhaps. "Well, I suppose not, what with you being gone for so long.. is it a large family? Do you have many siblings?" Now that the questions are loosed, they rush forth all at once. This is, he will learn, quite typical of Roe when she's intrigued by something.

"Well. Theoretically, I suppose, I am to sit in judgement on my tenants and so forth. But we've quite a small estate, and I think my only tenants are the people who keep the house up for Mother." Grayson looks bemused at the questions rather than irritated. "I'm an only son. Mother's health is…delicate." Just for an instant, there is a touch of guilt, and then it's gone.

He holds the door open, revealing a rather posh restaurant. Waiters in tuxedos, a greeter who stiffens somewhat at Rowena's appearance. Before the pair can be banished, Grayson speaks up. And the full weight of his class comes bearing down on the poor man.

"Excellent. We shall have the table nearest the window. And have the sommelier sent over, would you? Now, we're in a bit of a hurry, so if you'd just…" And he just steamrolls over the poor man.

"Oh, I'm sorry.." Perhaps fortunately for Gray, Roe's sympathy is foribly set aside as they enter the restaurant. Oh dear. She is very much out of place, here. Not that the young woman herself cares.. she misses the subtle nuances of that sort of thing, not even paying attention to the maitre d', entranced as she is by the lamps overhead. Indeed, she stumbles over her own feet, tugged along by the hand still resting in the crook of her companion's elbow as he strides off without warning. She remains upright, though, with a sheepishly apologetic smile to the woman whose chair she bumped while regaining her balance.

"It's awfully pretty." she remarks, a complete contrast to Gray's persona as she takes in the decor with all the wonder of a child. She keeps up their conversation, all the same, even if her head is on a swivel. "I've two elder brothers, myself." Blissfully unaware of the poor greeter in their wake, or of the surreptitious glances being stolen her way by some of the other diners this evening, Roe obligingly follows after the haughty figure in the suit.

"Something red." The words are casually flung into the sommelier's face. Grayson pauses and draws out the chair for Rowena, standing behind it with a smile. "Two older brothers? Dear, dear. I wager they didn't know what to make of little Rowena." He glances at the departing sommelier and then murmurs softly, for Rowena's benefit, "The key is to pretend as though we belong. I know it's odd."

"Please sit. I thought we might enjoy some lamb before the Opening Curtain." And the sommelier is hustling off, now that he has an idea of what to pair the wine with. Poor man. Grayson seems to slip in and out of his role like a second skin. Softly, again for Roe alone, he says "Make the world change around you. It's a different sort of magic."

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