|Scene Title||Papers and critters|
|Synopsis||Jack takes a scared demiguise into the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, and attempts to chat up the clerk there. Interesting results ensue.|
|Date||Jul 06, 1994|
|Watch For||Oblivious file clerks and disappearing demiguises|
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.
Madeline steps out of the Beast Division with an arm full of files, one of which seems downright determined to wriggle itself free of her grasp, which is making the large pile of papers no easier to deal with. She's only part-way out the door when it makes another bid for freedom, and she just manages to catch it before it can fall from the pile. This does leave her pile rather off-balance, however, and the only way to keep it together is to quickly push it up against the door-frame, wedging it in between her body and the doorway. The day is saved, but it puts her in a rather difficult spot, since she doesn't have a hand free to grab the pile properly, and she can't step away or the pile will go over. She heaves a sigh and then ducks as an inter-office memo takes advantage of the open door to go flying on through.
Jack enters the office with his arms full of … something. This something seems to be clinging to him with a vengeance, even though it can't be seen. Jack peers around, spotting Madeline, and frowns. "Excuse me, ma'am, is there someone who can help me?" He's all smiles, though the smiles are a bit forced as it appears the creature (whatever it is) is causing him some sort of pain. "I found him stunned near where I was working. I didn't know what to do with … " He probably looks like a fool, trying to bring this critter in when nobody can see it.
Madeline's eyebrows go up as Jack addresses her, and she glances back over her shoulder as if to make sure he's not perhaps talking to some other woman currently stuck in the doorway as well. Nope, seems to be just her. She looks back to the man, frowning with some confusion as she tries to figure out what exactly his problem is. "Hexes aren't our department," she finally comes up with, though she's still eyeing him with a perplexed expression. "You might do better at St. Mungo's?"
Jack sighs, and shifts his weight to the other foot. "No… hold on…" He finds a chair, and sits down, and starts talking to the animal clinging to his chest, stroking something softly in front of him. It looks a bit surreal, but after a moment, a small creature appears, simian-like and grey. "It's a demiguise. Poor little thing was stunned. Do you know what I can do with him? Where I could take him, or … " The demiguise, sensing that the stroking had stopped, retreats back into his defensive pose of invisibility.
Madeline stares at the man as if he's crazy as he sits down and starts stroking the air. And people say she's strange. Though she could probably make her thoughts a little less plainly seen in her expression. When the critter finally appears, she's not exactly surprised - she's been working here too long to be easily shocked - but it's a relief to know he's not completely lost it. "Unless you've got a complaint about it or are looking to breed it, you probably want through here," she suggests, nodding through to the Beast Division. Of which she's still blocking the door. Though she's rather forgotten that fact in all the other excitement.
Jack is comfortable sitting for the moment, and since the little critter is a little more relaxed (meaning he's not clinging tightly to the man), Jack leans back in his seat. "Alright. I haven't seen you in here before," he notes, eying her paperwork. "Of course, it's been awhile since I've had to come down here. Several months, in fact. Last time it was a little salamander…" He chuckles, still remembering /that/ mess. "They've sort of re-done things I think." Or, he wanted an excuse to talk to the woman. One or the other.
Madeline doesn't seem suspicious of any duplicity on his part, at least. "I tend to stay in the back, with the files," she explains why he might not have seen her. This leads her to nod down at the bundle of pages, which reminds her she's still stuck in the doorway. Her end of the conversation pauses while she puzzles this out, but finally manages to just set the papers down on the floor without pulling them away from the wall. The rogue file finally manages its escape, but since the pile is safely on the ground, it only gets to fall six inches and flop rather listlessly to the floor. Madeline ignores it and straightens up, turning her attention back to the man and his invisible critter. "A salamander from a few months back? I think I might have heard about that one…" she muses thoughtfully.
Jack grins. "Yeah, that was me. Someone tried to get the little bugger to flame at just the right angle. Had him stuck …" He realizes he's rambling, and looks only mildly abashed. "Ah. Well, I must thank you for your hard work. I know I would be completely lost if I had to do work like that. I'm better out in the field." He pours on the charm, and then yelps most un-charmingly when the demiguise is scared by his chuckle. "Ouch!" He shakes his head, absently petting the thing again. "I'm glad Kettleburn brought a couple of these to class. Makes it easier to deal with them in the wild." Care of Magical Creatures was a class Jack did fairly well in.
"Yes, I heard it was quite a show," Madeline agrees, not making this flaming salamander sound like a bad thing at all. She offers a smile, though it's rather self-conscious and slightly awkward, in response to the charm, not quite sure what it is he's getting at. "It's very hard to get lost. The forms are quite detailed. And numbered." And boring, though she refrains from mentioning that part. At his ouch, her eyebrows go up and she gives a keen look to where she imagines the creature to be. "What's it doing?" she inquires curiously.
"Demiguises get scared easily. So, when they do, they cling, and disappear. I didn't know about the clinging thing, but when I grabbed him, he grabbed ahold of me and wouldn't let go. Had to floo, of course, so he wasn't happy about that either." Jack doesn't elaborate on the forms, except to snort softly and shake his head. "I think everybody does well at different things. I'm just better at the running out front and catching the curse straight on. Preferably with a well-aimed counter." He grins widely. "I'm Jack Noble." He lifts his eyebrows for just a second, the precursor to his famous eyebrow-waggle.
"And I take it it's painful, this clinging?" Madeline clarifies. Or else she has no idea what the ouching and wincing is about. "Claws?" is her further guess. She continues staring at the space in front of him, as though she might be able to see it if she only tries hard enough - but as he goes on, her manages to draw her attention back and get another faint smile from her. "That sounds very exciting. You must get hurt rather a lot." Jumping in front of curses and all. "I suppose this is what I'm good at, though I'll admit I haven't tried much else." She shrugs simply, as if it just isn't an option to aim for more. "I'm Madeline. Sagace. It's nice to meet you, Mr. Noble."
"Not exactly claws," Jack clarifies, continuing to stroke the frightened animal. "Think more like hands with nails. Four of 'em." He shakes his head, and watches as the little creature reappears for a few seconds. "Yeah. I went straight into cursebreaking too. First thing that sounded worth doing." He rolls his head, his neck emitting a soft 'pop'. "It hurts, but less so now that we're sitting down and being mostly calm." In the name of doing just that, he exhales a breath slowly, and visibly relaxes.
"Four hands?" Madeline inquires with a lift of her eyebrows. Four hands with nails all digging in, yes, she'll concede that must be at least a little unpleasant. Her paperwork forgotten in the doorway of the Beast Division, she moves over a little nearer now. "I just sort of found myself here doing this and, well, it isn't so bad. It could be worse." The file clerking, she means, though it may not immediately be clear. "So how did you find it, anyway? I'd ask why someone stunned it, but it sounds as if maybe they didn't want it clinging to them either." That gets a faint smirk.
Jack chuckles, more softly this time, as he's conscious of the demiguise's fear. "He happened to find a cursed jewel that someone dropped. Stunned him right out. He got lucky, though, if he'd've held on to the thing for much longer…" He shudders slightly, then forces himself to relax a little more. Something clicks in his mind, and he frowns a little. "Would you want to try something different? Or are you liking it?" He realizes that the job does have to be done, but he's always sticking his fingers in anyway. Maybe he's more like his little sister than he would like to admit.
"What? It'd've killed him?" Madeline guesses, going for the obvious. "Poor luck for him," she has to allow, trying to cast a sympathetic look, but it's hard since she can't actually see what she's looking at. Instead, she looks as though she's feeling sorry for Jack's shirt. Thankfully, his question stirs her back out of this attempt, though leaves her looking a little puzzled. "I … don't know if I'd say I'm liking it exactly. But I've been told it's appropriate for me, so I suppose that must mean I'm good at it. And perhaps I should play to my strengths." Yes, that sounds quite reasonable.
Jack nods fractionally. "Unfortunately." He looks down at the thing, but of course, it's gone invisible again. "Well, okay. I mean…" He's unsure for a moment, bringing a free hand up to run through his hair. "I talk to people around here all the time, so if you change your mind, maybe I could put in a good word for you somewhere." Since she's being so friendly and helpful right now.
"Be handy though, sometimes, able to go invisible when you're scared," Madeline muses with another look 'at' the invisible creature. At his offer, her eyebrows lift again, as does her gaze more slowly, and she doesn't seem entirely sure what to make of it initially. Finally another slightly awkward smile surfaces. "Well, thank you. I'll keep that in mind. You're really most kind. But I wouldn't want to overstep."
Jack snorts. "Yeah, it would, indeed." He sighs. "Though, I don't tend to do that. I tend to run forward instead of backwards when things get dicey." Stereotypical Gryffindor, anyone? He shakes his head. "Well, I probably should get this little guy into the right hands." With a scooping motion, he puts his hands underneath the small animal, and walks toward the door, then realizes that Madeline is in the way. "Um, do you mind…" He chews on his lip, a little nervously. "The door's back there, right?"
"That sounds like a good way to get yourself killed," Madeline points out somewhat wryly, though with just a little bit of intrigue that someone would do such a thing. She doesn't realize herself that she's still in his way until he has to come right out and mention it. "Oh! Right. Sorry." She frowns down at the pile of papers blocking the doorway and then, despite all her hard work to keep them balanced just mere moments ago, she rather hastily just pushes them aside with one foot, trying to deftly slide the pile out of the way. She doesn't do too bad a job of it, though the pile does end up sliding over, most of the pages still contained but no longer neatly stacked. "Just through here, yes, exactly. They'll know what to do." She even holds the door, since she's right there, and he seems to have his hands full.
Jack is impressed with such… gallant behavior. Lady opening the door for him? That's a bit of a change. "Thank you. I should be right out." He steps through, and it's only a few moments later when he returns, sans critter, and holding a small roll of parchment. "This is always the fun part, right? The report…" The sarcasm in his tone is light, though it is present. He sits down, and unrolls it, pulling out a self-inking quill. "Now where should I…" He looks a little confused. "Where should I fill this out?"
Madeline doesn't exactly see anything amiss about grabbing the door for him. But then, she sometimes has trouble following these social constructs, despite her parents' best effort to drill them into her as a child. She just felt like being helpful - it's been known to happen. When Jack returns, she's kneeling down by the pile she was so quick to kick over before, trying to gather it back up without letting any of the more wily pages get away. "Ah yes, the report. It's very important. How else would we keep our file room stocked?" That might be just a little sarcasm of her own, though her tone is dry enough to make it hard to tell if she's joking or not. To his question, she gives a brief consideration and then straightens, offering the file folder she was just about to put back onto the pile. "You can use this to write on, if you'd like. Or you could borrow the desk there, but some of the secretarial witches can get possessive…" She sounds as if she speaks from experience, having dared to set down a stack of files there or something.
"Wouldn't want to upset the secretarial witches. They run the place, right?" Jack's grin and eyes twinkle, and he grabs the file folder. "Thank you. I'll try to be quick so you don't lose your place…" He sits down. "What is all that, anyway?" The question is light, intended to keep conversation going. He's listening, he really is. Even though he's scribbling furiously on the parchment, writing down the situation and all for the files.
"They think they do," Madeline replies in a slightly ominous tone, as if she hopes to one day show them it's actually the file clerk who keeps the place going. But then remembering herself, she gives a faint smile, shaking her head. "Don't worry about my place. I've a good memory for the order of these things. That one goes after the report on the manticore. I'm not sure what exactly it's about. I'm just relocating them to the archives. There's about seven cabinets to go, so I'm not in a particular hurry." At least she's talking a little more easily now, having fallen into the rhythm of conversation.
"Wellll… Yes." That's kind of what Jack meant. But he finishes the paragraph he's working on and looks up. "That's quite a talent." Eyebrows lift again in serious admiration. On the manticore, Jack comments. "Wow. I bet that would be an interesting read. Or maybe more like an interesting interview, because these forms have a tendency to take a good story and strip all the adventure from it." He grins, and returns to writing, then realizes that these forms are pretty much all she sees. "Um, no offense."
Madeline's eyebrows go up in turn, as she's surprised by his admiration. "Well, there's a system, though it would take some time to explain," she non-explains, not quite outright denying that she has some talent for it, while not quite claiming the compliment either. "Why would I be offended? I didn't design the forms." Some might say that jokingly, but she seems to be honestly wondering why he'd think she'd be offended. Should she be offended? "Those who handle the forms don't seem to be the ones who seek adventure." And she doesn't exactly rush to lump herself in with them.
Maybe Jack's just jumpy, or maybe he's been caught out too many times by things coming from his mouth before he can think. He shrugs. "I don't know," he replies easily, crossing a t and then signing the bottom. "And you're right. Not everybody likes it crazy like I do." Which makes him chuckle a little bit. He stands up, and sets the form in the correct box. "That's done. Do you need some help shifting some of that?" He gives a nod toward the pile of papers and folders. "I could help you out."
Or maybe it's partly that Madeline sometimes has a tendency to take things too literally, though she's been trying to work on it. "Why do you like it crazy?" she inquires, again honestly wondering. "Do you enjoy the challenge?" She glances back over at the pile of things, considering a moment before looking back at him. "I don't know that I need help, but it … would be appreciated?" She sounds almost like she's guessing that might be the correct answer.
Jack is a little unsure himself. She doesn't seem to be responding to his overtures, and that floors him a bit. "I do. I love the challenge." He smiles. "Well, if it's more of a bother than a help, I can leave you to it. But… I'm willing to help." He unconsciously flexes a little. "Even if it's to move those things where you're going. Can't hurt, can it?" He's irrepressible.
Madeline gives him a considering look before nodding just once. "Then I would say you're in the right line of work." She offers a faint smile at that. While she might seem rather standoffish, if he asks around at all, he'll no doubt learn this is downright chatty for the mousy young thing. She looks back over at the pile of papers, considering the offer. "I don't think you'd be any bother," she replies thoughtfully. "And no, I don't think it can hurt. Unless you try to carry too many at once. Or there's the small risk of papercuts." Yes, she too has a most daring and dangerous line of work!
Jack chuckles at that. "I'm sure I can handle a papercut or two." He moves to pick up the stack of files. "These?" He gestures to them, making sure that's what she needs done. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'd go crazy trying to do something else. I know I've gotten lucky to find this career early on." He shrugs, waiting for her response.
Madeline offers another smile, canting her head slightly to concede the point. "From the sounds of it, you'd hardly even notice a papercut. It isn't exactly jumping in front of curses. But … it is appreciated, thank you." She nods in confirmation that he's got the right stack of papers, and she moves nearer to help with collecting them up, not leaving him to deal with them single-handedly. "It does sound all very exciting. I imagine you must see quite a lot of amazing things in your line of work." Not that she doesn't see some amazing things too, but then they're usually caged up or stunned or written about dully on paper. It lacks some of the romance. "How did you find it, anyway?"
Jack chuckles, hefting the big pile with ease. "Well, I read those pamphlets they hand out end of fifth year. It was the only one that looked good. So, after I got my NEWTs, I found a firm that was willing to hire a young, upstart kid with decent scores." He shrugs, downplaying some of it. "I found I liked the work, but not the company. So, after a few years, I went out on my own." He nods toward the door. "Are we headed that way, or where should I take these?"
"Oh yes, I remember those pamphlets. None of them sounded horribly interesting to me," Madeline admits, which may explain how she ended up here. She pauses in the conversation, to nod confirmation that he's got the right direction. "Right, through here." And she moves to get the door again, since she's already got him carrying all her load. "It sounds as if you're very … self-directed," she decides after giving it a brief moment's thought. "Is there a lot of work to it?"
Jack shrugs, shifting the load in his arms as he goes through the door. "Sometimes. It's hit or miss as far as that's concerned." He grins. "But it's definitely interesting and exciting. Sometimes too much." This is a bit of an admission. "I've always been good at getting things done. Whether they needed done or not." He rolls his eyes, and walks down the hallway, letting her show him where he needs to go. "Just yell at me to stop, or turn." Yes, he's a tease.
"It's hard to imagine things being too exciting," Madeline points out with a faint smirk, nodding at the pile of files he carries as if to demonstrate the height of excitement in her day. "In fact, you happening along is one of the more exciting things to happen in awhile," she muses, not really intending it as compliment or insult, but merely observation. "What sorts of things do you do?" she goes on, gesturing with a sweep of her arm along the length of hallway. "I don't think yelling will be necessary. Besides, I hardly want to be drawing attention to the fact that I've got someone else doing my job," she points out, but it sounds more wry than serious. It's doubtful anyone would notice even if she took out an ad in the Daily Prophet.
Jack nods. "Alright." Something makes him pause for a moment, and he shakes his head. "Wellll…" He starts into a story that will take quite a while, and he'll continue to help her move things from place to place until the story or the conversation is done. When he leaves, he's whistling quietly.