|Scene Title||Ghosties in a box|
|Synopsis||Madeline opens a box and lets some old ghosts out to play. Jack helps put them back in.|
|Date||Sep 18, 1994|
|Watch For||Murderous ghosts, dragonologists, and rogue files|
This division of the Ministry is comprised of several departments within departments! As with the rest of the Ministry, this is a rather hectic branch to work in. Interoffice memos are constantly zooming through the air, conversations are always going on via fire, members of the Werewolf Capture Unit can be seen being mopped up once a month. Sometimes chipper house elves can be found underfoot, shining shoes, offering tea and such. Other duties handled by this office are the dealing with complaints over magical creatures, along with regulating and monitoring of breeding magical creatures. By far, the most active section would be the Beast Division. Several secretarial witches sit on duty at a desk shaped like a semi-circle in the center of the room. These witches handle basic information and appointments. Behind them are four different doors leading to the main divisional offices.
It's late. Not horribly late, but certainly outside of regular business hours, which is why the department is empty save for Madeline. She'd stayed late to deal with a mess created by a rogue file, but now that she's been left with some alone time, well - she pulls out a dark wooden box, roughly the size of a soccer ball, from the shadowy space underneath her desk. She sets it down atop a few of the forms still covering her desk, and gives it a thoughtful look. A pale finger reaches out, tracing over the various seams, trying to find some sign of weakness or a latch, something, anything.
It may be late, but Jack is still prowling around. He looks more tired than usual, and steps into the RCoMC to see if his favorite file clerk is in. As per his normal means of entry, he stands at the edge of the door, leaning against the frame, watching Madeline for a while before making his presence known.
The box is, perhaps, feeling particularly lively today. In response to touch it shifts, wobbles slowly back and forth in place. Edges click down against the desk, the square object taking up some sort of dance. Back and forth, then stilling again after.
Madeline hasn't noticed Jack's arrival, and seems less likely to notice him leaning there in the doorway now that the box is finally actually doing something. Her manner a great deal less self-conscious when she doesn't know she's being observed, Madeline frowns, letting it finish its dance before she tries anything further, her hand hovering just above it until it's through. Then she sets it back down atop the box, tapping it three times and leaning in to see if she can hear anything. Her other hand reaches into her robes to absently draw her wand, but she doesn't yet attempt to use magic on the box.
Jack is content to remain a casual observer for now, although his curiosity is mounting quickly. He smiles widely, crosses his arms across his chest, and shifts his weight, crossing one leg across the other to get comfortable against the doorframe. He leans formward just a little, hoping to get a better glimpse of the box.
It knocks back. Once, twice, three times. Then it does something new. The lid begins to slide aside, rattling once before it goes toppling to the side of the counter. There's a lag afterward, stunted silence before the noise comes. "Murder!" The box cries out, "Murder at the ball!" And then something emerges. It's an insubstantial thing, plump and ethereal woman draped in voluminous robes and decadent jewelry. She pops out of the square, flutters up into the air afterward. Then more. A transparent man holding equally insubstantial wand, another figure clutching wineglass with a gaping hole where chest would be, and yet another in the same finery, this one with outlandish mustache. They all come out almost at once, bursting from their home and clustering in the air like raucous storm clouds.
As the box knocks back, Madeline gives a satisfied smile. That's progress. And then, maybe too much progress. She peers at it curiously as the lid slides off, easy as that, after all her prying and prodding at it all this time. She's just leaning forward to peer into the box when it cries out, causing her to jump back a little with a start. She makes a few ineffective shushing noises, but these die off rather abruptly as those ethereal beings beginning to pour out of it. After watching with wide eyes for a moment, she starts to somewhat uncertainly get to her feet and take a step back. "What- Who are you?" she asks, trying to figure one from the other in their roiling mass.
Jack blinks. Huh? Is this a magical creature? He leans forward a little more, becoming unbalanced, and stumbles, making a little noise in the process. "Damn," he mutters to himself. He steps forward to get a better look at what, or who, the thing is.
"I have been slain!" The specter with most of its chest missing offers that, raising accusing finger toward mustachioed man. In response the culprit merely dives downward, sinking down into the floor, head quickly vanishing beneath. The other begins to soar in broad circles over the offices, occasionally vanishing into walls before it reappears within the room.
The plump woman seems to be the only one inclined to answer Madeline's question. "Anna Whitewater, dear. Welcome to the party!" There's a pause then, ghostly gaze sweeping back and forth before she mentions, "Oh dear. Is this the party? It's most unfit. Are you the host?" She hovers downward, closes to place face almost atop Madeline's.
Madeline looks between the murder victim and accused murderer, her gaze following the accused down to the floor; she frowns a little as he disappears beneath. Hopefully she won't be getting any lectures from the department below. She doesn't have too long to worry about it though as she's now got a ghost woman literally up in her face. "I- What? No!" she replies quickly, starting to get a little flustered as she pulls her head back, trying to get away from the woman a bit. The noise at the door finally registered, and Madeline casts a wide-eyed glance over her shoulder, expecting to see another spectre. That it's the very flesh and blood curse-breaker gets a little squeak of surprise from her. "Muh-Mr. Noble," she greets, in that sort of 'I can explain!' tone of voice.
Mr. Noble chuckles, and shakes his head. "Don't worry about me. Sorry if I startled you. I was just coming down to see if you were here. What is that?" He gestures toward the box. "I'm supposing that isn't normal behavior for it?" And is it a creature? "Does it belong here, or should we take it down to our friends in 'Mysteries?' " He has no clue. He figures that's where he'd put it. "S'not a boggart, is it?" Surely she's not deathly afraid of a murder at a party?
"No?" The reply from the ghost woman is long and disapproving, chiding sort of noise made before spectral form floats toward the other living person in the room. She repeats the gesture, asking, "Is it you, then? The party was supposed to be here. Where are the drinks? Where is the company?" Demands are coming increasingly fast, Anna's face puffing up and seeming to grow larger by the second.
Meanwhile a chase is underway. The man with the mustache is zipping up through the floor, followed closely by the gentlemen with no stomach. "Come off it! You were asking for it!" The neutral spectre chimes in agreement at this, but seems otherwise busy going through desks putting himself half-inside one of the nearby walls.
"It's … mine," Madeline replies of the box, the delay in equal parts because she's not sure if it's technically hers so much as it was merely left in her care, and because she's rather distracted by the chaos in the room that she's inadvertently caused. "Sort of," she amends rather hastily, her attention going back to the spectres. "There's - I'm sorry, there's no party here," she notes in as loud a voice as she can manage right now, which isn't all that loud, truth be told. "Now I … know how Pandora must've felt," she mutters to no one in particular. "Would you please - please kindly stop that!" is added to the ones chasing each other around.
Jack isn't sure how to answer this, so he opts for the truth. "I wasn't aware of being the host, but I'm sure if I need to I could help out." He shrugs his shoulder, going with his instincts, as he often does in situations like this. He nods at her response, and then returns to addressing the ghost directly. "I don't know anything about a party, so I don't know what kind of things you'd need…" Anything to get the people talking, he figures. When Madeline tells them there is no party, he chuckles. "Well, if it belongs to you, and you'd like me to take a look at it…" It is sort of up his alley. "Up to you, though." If it's not hers, then, he won't mess with it. "Are you okay, Miss Sagace?" He realizes the woman appears a little shaken.n
The department is presently home to four ghosts. Most of them seem to be clustered around Jack and Madeline, harassing the two sole living individuals about this late, though perhaps not on purpose. Madeline's demands for ghostly chase between a specter with a hole in his chest and a ghost with a mustache fall on mostly deaf ears. Instead the culprit phantasm begins to circle and dart through the woman, the other following suit. Each pass creates a chill, deathly sensation that comes and goes as they whip past. "This man murdered me! Murder most foul!"
Jack seems to have the attention of the ghost of a plump woman, her voice rising as she demands, "Food! There should be food, and drink, and dancing. Where are the decorations? Were are the guests? Do you not understand how to throw a proper ball?" She grows larger with each accusation, chilly head bumping up against the focus of her ire from time to time as she speaks.
Xander passes through the doors to the DRCMC with a sheef of parchment tucked under his arm, seeming to be late as usual to get his things in though this time he'd gotten to the Ministry a ltitle too late. Either way, by the hunch of his shoulders and a slightly tired cast to his eyes it would seem that he had come a good ways Apparition or not. He straightens up at the sight of other living people in the offices though, a look of surprise there that fades into something of a smile to masque the fatigue. "Ghosts?" His lips purse together just a bit after saying the word, eying the spirits with a hint of interest. "Bah. Leave 'er alone ye bloody fools."
"I don't think … I was supposed to have opened it," Madeline admits, biting lightly on her lip as she watches the ghosts whirl about in her department. Somehow she suspects this might be frowned upon more than keeping a puffskein in her top drawer. She gives a little shudder as the two ghosts pass through her, frowning thoughtfully at that suggestion. "Yes, I … got that," she replies to the victim's accusations. "What - did he do?" Well, she might as well get some answers while she's here. Glancing over at Jack, she gives a slightly helpless shrug. "I think … anything you can do to help at - at this point." There's a gesture towards the chaos that was her fairly calm department mere moments before. "Can you even eat food?" she asks a little carelessly, eyeing the increasingly large woman warily. She glances over as yet another flesh and blood type wanders in on this scene, and can manage only a weak smile in greeting.
Jack waves his wand at the box, casting a basic diagnostic spell to see what the thing is, first off, and secondly, if it has any particularly common curses on it. "Okay." The ghost in his face gets a frown. "No, ma'am, that was usually my mother's department. She put on a great spread for such things… why I remember one time…" He goes on for a few minutes talking about a ball his mother threw while he continues to examine the box.
"Of course we can eat food!" The indignant reply comes from the plump woman between her talks to Jack. She only allows him to finish about half her story, demanding, "Then take us there!" Examining the box itself is a surprisingly difficult process. When he can gather, though, is it's probably meant to hold things. Likely ghosts, things that normally aren't constrained by physical boundries. Whatever spell was attached to the box, though, seems to be only half-working.
The ghost with a hole through the center points downward, as if her other question was obvious. "I asked Ms. Rose to dance, and he demanded a duel. Then he blew out my stomach, the cad!" Somber nod is made from both, verifying said story. The other ghost does mention, in his defense, "I told you that I was taking her, blowhard!"
Xander gets the last ghost. The fourth one slowly rises from the floor behind him, head craning to peek over the man's shoulder. "Hello! Where is this? Have you brought our meal? What do they do here?" Lots of questions from this one.
A shiver runs down Xander's spine when he feels the chill given by that particular ghost, choosing not to look back at him as he continues walking across the office towards the desk that the other two were at. "This is the Ministry of Magic, Department for Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures." He looks up at the rather large woman with a small grin. "You know, if you want food, i'm sure we've got some dog food hanging around here. I mean you -are- in the right part of the building for it." The words are spoken with a teasing tone to it as he drops his folder down on the desk to look at the very thing that Jack seemed to be trying to figure out. "Hm, what is that?"
Madeline just raises her hands defensively as the woman's ghost goes all indignant on her. Her gaze flickers back over to the duellist ghosts, peering rather carefully at the whole blown in the middle of the losing one. "So you … lost the duel," she points out. "That must have … been quite some spell. What - what did you use?" she asks of the winner. Perhaps she's just hoping if she keeps them talking, it will keep them from terrorizing the rest of the Ministry. She glances back over at Xander again as he makes his way towards them, and then her gaze flickers back to the box. "That … is where these came from," she replies in a sheepish tone, ducking her head a bit.
"Far as I can tell, it's a holding box. But it's … starting to fail." Jack frowns. "We'll probably need another one soon. Otherwise, they'll get out again without the help." He grins cheekily at Madeline. He's half-listening to the story, a lot of times, the keys to the thing are in the thing. Since the ghosts were what was inside, it might take a little more work. "Hmmm." He's trying to think of where he got that last one… "Where did you get this, Miss Sagace?" He asks, curiosity clear in his tone. There's no offense, just curiosity.
"Bombarda Maxima." The victor of the duel seems proud of that, the other making enraged face before the chase begins again. They loop around Madeline once, beginning to sail across the ceiling after. It leaves just Jack with just Anna, the complains, "It's been so long in there, having to listen to all of them. We thought we finally arrived at the ball. The last one ended so poorly, a new one is in order."
Xander's friend just nods his ethereal head at explanation, commenting, "That's fascinating. Food? I'll have to go and find it." He begins to breeze lazily away afterward, vanishing into another wall afterward.
Xander leans over the desk thoughtful to examine the thing with idle curiosity gleaming in his eyes before looking up at the woman and the two duelists. "Bombarda Maxima. That's an interesting choice in a dueling spell now isn't it?" He offers to Jack, playing along with the group for now. "You know, i'd imagine a number of other ghosts might hold the type of parties you'd like. I'm sure something could be arranged if you met a few." Something of a very faint smile is offered to Madeline after that, almost reassuring in the wake of whatever insecurity she seemed to have at the moment before adding to Jack, "Idle curiosity makes me wonder the same."
"Bombarda Maxima," Madeline replies to herself, though she doesn't have too much time to muse on that, giving a little sound of surprise as she finds herself looped and the chase on once again. So much for that idea. "A- Ah, someone … left it with me," she replies to Jack's question carefully, not wanting to get any someones in trouble. "I could give it back, if we could just … get them back in it," she says, watching as the quieter spectre disappears into the wall again. "I don't think I ought to lose them," is noted with a troubled frown, though it fades a bit at the reassuring smile from Xander. "Did the last one end poorly because of the duel?" she comes back around to ask the woman.
"That's just it, Miss Sagace. We could get them back in to the box, but the box isn't going to last much longer. It'd happen again…" And Jack leaves unsaid that next time, he might not be around to help. "We need to find another hol— " He stops himself as one of the ghosts floats toward him. "Another party." He rolls his eyes, then reaches up to run his hand through his hair. Where did he find that other box? Oh, yeah. He snaps his fingers. "Ok. I know where I can get a new one. But, it'll take some time, so maybe if we get these guys to finish this … party, and we'll move them on soon."
"Yes, yes, after poor Leonard lost his stomach everyone took great offense, and the whole party was ruined." The plump ghost glares after the spectre with that flowing facial hair, though she seems to reorient on Xander soon enough. "Do you? Take me there, then, hurry. I've been waiting for somewhere near five hundred years now." The other ghosts have wandered off on their own business by now, eventually drifting back through the room before sailing toward ports unknown. They seem, though, adverse to staying away for too long.
"Now now, not all of us can join in on these parties. They are purely sophisticated affairs now M'lady." Xander replies as he turns to cross both arms over his chest with the light creak of leather. He nods his head towards the other two there afterward, "They wouldn't meet the standard either. After all, your parties are so very far above us. They require that you be of the spectral variety." He offers, seeming perfectly serious for the moment though a glint of mischievousness could be seen in his eye for any who might recognize that look. "500 years of waiting. I imagine you're raring to go but to do that, you'll have to find a few other ghosts and make a few new friends."
Madeline looks a bit surprised that Jack so promptly knows where to find another box - but she probably shouldn't be. "Well, they can't finish it here," she points out. "…This, ah, isn't a ballroom." Certainly nothing to do with the fact that this is her place of employment and she had no business playing round with that box in the first place. "I wonder if they all killed one another," she muses in a quiet tone, after listening to the plump ghost's explanation. "A party seems a - a silly thing to cling to this earth over." At least in her opinion. She doesn't care for parties and it's not hard to detect that from her tone. Xander just gets a curious look for all he's promising this ghost-lady.
"Ms. Rose…" Jack attempts, addressing the woman who seems to have the reins of the situation on the spectral side of things, "Would you be willing to go back to the party for a short while while I find you a new party to go to? I know where one is, and it should be quite different." He smiles. "Maybe we can even change the scenery up inside for you. That would help, wouldn't it?" He glances at the inside of the box, wondering if he could change the design somewhat. "Is that okay with you, Miss Sagace?" That'd clean up the office and the situation, at least for the moment. "Then, we can find a better place to put them, unless you have some reason to communicate with them?" He might know somewhere they'd be more welcome. He can look, anyway.
The large woman needs to consider it a moment. Eventually she nods, replying, "If I /have/ to. You best be fast, I don't want to wait much longer." She puffs away them, stuffs herself back into the box. The others wander after, still arguing amungst themselves as they pour back into the little container, the thing shaking again as it accepts its ethereal contents.
"Well, that was interesting. Worse than a Hungarian Horntail." Xander comments with idle musing before turning to offer the two a small smile. "Where is this other that you were talking about?" He leans in over the table to examine the container again afterward, his curiosity seeming stoked for the moment. A soft sound of musing would come from him at that though he doesn't say anything else regarding the subject. "You two are here rather late. Some filing not get done or something?" He casts a glance between the man and woman, a faint hint of teasing suspicion drifting there before picking up the sheaf of parchment he'd carried in with him again.
"Yes, that'd be fine, thank you," Madeline agrees with a ready nod, watching as the ghosts agree and begin to filter back into the box. She lets out a little sigh of relief, but then wastes no time stepping forward to pick up the fallen lid so that she can replace it securely. "I can … get them back to whom they rightfully belong." It's noted quietly, perhaps only meant for herself, though neither of the gents should have a problem hearing it. She looks back around at the two men, seeming thankfully oblivious to any teasing or insinuations there. "Yes, there was a … rogue file that knocked over several piles. It took some time to get the papers back in the right folders, as some didn't want to go." It only now occurs to her that she has no idea why the others are here. "I'm sorry, did you, ah, need something?" Business as usual, even as she keeps an elbow atop the box, trying to make sure that it stays closed.
Wade has left.
"I came to see you, Miss Sagace. I hadn't seen you in a while, and wondered if you'd asked about my idea?" He looks over at Xander. "I'd have to buy it from a friend. He's got a couple that he keeps on hand for stuff like this." He considers. "I'll see if I can find the thing, and then if I can, I'll give it to you, Mi — " Oh, what the hell. "Madeline. Then you can give it to whom it rightfully belongs. It'll save me, or someone like me, trouble later." When the box does fail. "Did you get the file figured out, then?" He sounds genuinely concerned. "Have you eaten?"
Xander tilts his head just a bit with the onslaught of questions, a warm smile offered without another word on the subject before looking back at the woman. He raises the stack of parchment in his hand in offering to her after that before replying, "I just need these given to the right person. It's the weekly report on the Pseudo-Dragon studies we've been researching in mountain range around Hogsmeade. If you can make sure it gets there, it'd be appreciated." The taller man would step away afterward if she took the parchment with a look cast about the room.
Madeline can't help a little smile at Jack's word, though she doesn't seem to be entirely certain why she can't help a little smile at Jack's word. "The files are all mostly back where they belong, yes. I … managed to contain the rogue one with, ah, spellotape, which … should hold it until morning." She hopes. "Is it - supper-time already?" That's said with a little surprise, but would suggest that no, she hasn't eaten. She reaches out with her free hand, the one not attached to the elbow that's still resting atop the box, to take the report from Xander. "I can … see to it, of course. Thank you. I'm sorry about all this bother."
"Yes. It is supper time. Would you like to go get some supper?" Jack looks mildly amused at her absent-mindedness. "Should we set something on that?" He glances around for something like a paperweight to set on top of the box to keep the ghosties inside. He really needs to go get that box from that guy. "I'm not gonna let you stand there all night and hold that thing shut." He grins widely at her to offset any harshness in his words. It's only a couple moments later that he realizes he hasn't introduced himself to the other person in the room. "Apologies. My name's Jack Noble. I'm a cursebreaker." As you can plainly see.
"You could always cast a Colloportus spell on it." Xander offers in conjunction to the thought they were going with, "That way the ghosts can't knock it open or anything. A temporary fix at least." The smile is still retained for the two of them when the woman tells him of the fate of said reports with a small nod given. He tilts his head afterward with Jack's own words. "And i'm Xander Douglass, Dragonolist." The clawmarks in the leather over his shoulder and otherwise would signify the proof of that. "The two of you have fun. It's time for me to get back to Hogsmeade." With that, he offers them a three fingered salute before turning to head out of the Department.
"Yes, all right," Madeline agrees fairly easily to the idea of some supper. "I had to give my lunch to It again." She really should just start bringing in some proper food for her pet. As both of the gentlemen suggest plans that are, perhaps, a little more feasible than keeping the box shut with her elbow, she gives a sheepish smile, ducking her head in a nod. "Yes, that - that might be a good idea." She leans over to set the report down on a clear spot on her desk and then turns back. "A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Douglass. Madeline Sagace." Her gaze flickers to those clawmarks in the leather, and she looks a bit intrigued - but doesn't ask. "Have a good evening," she bids instead.
"That'd work for a short period of time, but with the magical energies pulsing like they are, it wouldn't be a sure thing." Jack informs the dragonologist. "Well met, sir. Sounds like an interesting job." He turns to get a handshake as part of the greeting, but the man is turning to go. "Ok. Take care of that file, Madeline, and we'll go get something to eat. I'm starving." And he has more paperwork to do, at least for his personal files. As well as trying to get ahold of another box for the ghosts. He moves back to where he was when the whole thing started. Leaning against the door, arms crossed, just watching Madeline work.
"That'd work for a short period of time, but with the magical energies pulsing like they are, it wouldn't be a sure thing." Jack informs the dragonologist. "Well met, sir. Sounds like an interesting job." He turns to get a handshake as part of the greeting, but the man is turning to go. "Ok. Take care of that file, Madeline, and we'll go get something to eat. I'm starving." And he has more paperwork to do, at least for his personal files. As well as trying to get ahold of another box for the ghosts. He moves back to where he was when the whole thing started. Leaning against the door, arms crossed, just watching Madeline work. He chuckles to himself "Or just pack a little more in your lunch if he likes your food so much. That's what Liam does with Godric." The mention of his least favorite brother merits rolling of the eyes. Really it does.
"All right," Madeline agrees, watching Xander go for a moment before she finally risks taking her elbow off of the box to begin finishing up with her things. "Who are Liam and Godric?" she inquires, pausing just long enough to glance over, before she returns to her work. There isn't too much left to do, thankfully, since she'd finished up her things before she started playing with the box. Xander's report is quickly perused and then put into a folder before she walks it over to a nearby desk, adding it to the IN tray there. "I … think I forgot to answer you earlier, I'm sorry. I did speak with them," she notes as she crosses back over, a faint smile beginning to show. "They are, ah, open to the idea, though we still need to work out the finer details."
"Good." This is music to Jack's ears. "Glad to hear it." Her question about his brother makes him frown slightly. "Liam is my elder brother. He's a prat." He rolls his eyes and stands straight, moving to offer his arm to her. "Godric is his owl." Jack is a Gryffindor as well, but he considers that to be an extremely pretentious name for a little owl like Liam's. "Liam and I don't get on very well. Which works out, since he's the one managing the family stuff, and I don't have to stay at home to do that." A very good thing for Jack. "Any particular place you'd like to go?"
Fade to Black
Bigbig thanks to Wade for puppeting the ghosties.