1995-08-31: Soup And Schmooze


Whitmore_icon.gif Brandon_icon.gif Eleanor_icon.gif

Scene Title Soup and Schmooze
Synopsis Lunch at the Ministry.
Location Ministry Atrium
Date Aug 31, 1995
Watch For Crazy!Whit and intentionally vague wording
Logger Whitmore

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood — uh, the ministry, and Whitmore is coming up from the Department of Mysteries to the Atrium. It's lunchtime, and there's this little witch with a cart over in the corner. It's cheaper and somewhat better (in his opinion) than the cafeteria, and he grumbles as he nearly runs into another wizard.

While most of his other colleagues have decided to go out together for lunch, Brandon's just not the type to go with them. Sure, sometimes he might, but most of the time he's all business. And that's exactly what it is now. Stepping out of one of the elevators he enters into the Atrium, folded parchment in hand, and starts to cross the expanse towards the elevator leading to the Minister's office.

Whitmore buys a sandwich and small container of soup from the small witch, and moves to find a seat on a bench. It's what he does every day. Also, he watches who comes in and out. When he sees Brandon, his expression turns into a small smile, and he nods politely. "Hello, O'Conner," he greets, as the man passes near him.

Even with the light amount of traffic in the atrium, the smells from the cart still waft around and seem to fill every bit of the room. Maybe it's creative use of a spell to help business. Regardless, it's enough to make him stop for a moment and consider maybe grabbing a bit. "Whitmore." he replies, hearing his name and turning to see who it came from. "How's the soup today?"

Whitmore pauses to sniff at the soup. "Seems to be decent. She does a palatable job." High praise from this one. "Anything interesting going on?" It's a mild question, and one intended to probe for gossip or anything worth listening to. Whitmore is sitting on a bench, eating his soup and sandwich. It's lunchtime for him. It's also lunch time (or at least the 'lunch hour') for Brandon O'Conner. He's walking past, and the two are talking. He offers his own tidbit to get the ball rolling. I heard that Graves from Ex Charms hasn't been to work in several days."

Brandon eyes the cart one more time before glancing back to Whitmore. "I might have to give it a try. Usually I just bring something from home." he says, shaking his head. "Just delivering a report up to Scrimgeour. He wants a report of the department's status." At mention of Adam, the Obliviator raises a brow. "That's not like him. Usually he's here all the time. The explosions I hear coming from that department scare me sometimes."

While it wasn't entirely proper to butt in on conversations, Eleanor was hardly of the personality to be intimidated by the notion of talking to strangers nor concerned with social backlash. Besides, the concept of missing people intrigued her, what with learning that a prominent professor at Hogwarts had wandered off and this business with You-Know-Who and all that stirring things up. Perhaps there was also some whisper of recognition for the Unspeakable tied up in some barely discernible memory - a brief brush in the bowels of the Ministry - making him and his secrets a mildly attractive lure.

"Seems to be more common these days," Eleanor singsongs as she pads her way at an arbitrary angle, twisting her head gently to direct her speech towards the pair. She allows her lips to curl in a gentle grin perhaps inappropriate for the subject of the conversation. "I hear the potions master disappeared without any explanation to the students at Hogwarts. Dark times."

"The nature of my work precludes that." Whitmore replies easily to Brandon on the point of 'sack lunches'. "Imagine food getting into some of the things we do…" He shudders. Though there is no way for the others to know what he means. "I do agree. He and Llewelwyn are terrors on the eardrums." There's a small smile and a wry chuckle, as though it's a 'company joke'. It rather is, though. When Eleanor saunters past, Whit turns. "Oh, hello, miss …?" He nods to her. "David Whitmore, though most call me by my surname. It's what I prefer." Only the Dark Lord himself calls him David, and only at rare times. Ex-wife aside, that is.

The information about Severus Snape gets a mild nod. "I had heard that as well. I do wonder whom the Headmaster has chosen to replace him since the school year does begin tomorrow, does it not?" He pauses long enough to take a good bite out of his sandwich. He closes his eyes, savoring the flavor, and then smiles that wry smile again. "I know he had a substitute for the last of the year. I wonder if she shall return, or if he has something entirely dfferent planned."

"Oh indeed." Brandon nods, allowing a wide grin to cross his face. "I can't imagine what unspeakable horrors might ensue should something or someone down there get their hands on some food. Seem to recall a muggle movie that involved something like that." The comment about Snape does grab his attention away from the current line of conversation though. "I'd heard something along those lines, though from what I hear that replacement they have is almost as bad." No, he never had Snape as a teacher, but the reputation precedes the man.

Eleanor allows her stride to slow to a halt when addressed in turn, keeping her gaze settled on the cleanly tailored man as if her eyes were anchored in place. She turns slightly, bringing her head back in line with her body and allows her lips to part a little bit to reveal the whites of her teeth.

"Pleasure Da—Whitemore," the younger woman replies, nearly stumbling over the address. Habits were difficult to break. "Wright. Eleanor Wright. I'm not so particular on the point of names and all that. There's enough bleeding silliness in the world to worry about labels and all that." Shoulders rising and falling in a nonchalant shrug, her expression slides into one more placid and neutral. Her feet also carry her a couple steps towards the pair, bridging the gap a bit to make things feel a little more chummy. Brandon receives an arched brow. "Moo-vees?" A quick nod. "Rather beastly indeed. To be in school again. A simpler world, no?"

There is a slight curl of Whit's lip when Brandon mentions Muggle movies. However, it disappears rather quickly, hidden by a dry laugh. "Oh, now, O'Conner. Surely we're not that bad." He shrugs elegantly, and takes a sip of the soup, slowly, so as not to burn his mouth. "Miss Writght. And you are in the training for the MLE? Auror division, correct?" Don't ask how Whit knows that. He'd tell you, but he'd have to obliviate you. Or get Brandon to do so. "One must be always learning, I believe."

Brandon smirks back a Whitmore. "Well, I can't say for certain since your whole department is, shall we say, a mystery. But, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt." It's all said with a touch of humor, and jesting. "Another Auror trainee? That's a good thing I suppose, considering if rumors are true then they're going to need all the help they get." he adds, nodding to Eleanor. "If only it were that simple."

Whitmore's knowledge of her current career path elicits a cocking of Eleanor's head to the side, eyeing the dark haired man with a mildly quizzical expression that quickly evolves into an arched brow. It's only a couple heartbeats before she levels her head and replaces inquisition with an enthusiastic nod and toothless grin, dismissing her concern for now. She shifts her weight to favor one foot with her hip sliding to one side to allow one hand to rest comfortably about the length of her wand's holster. It was a bit of a security blanket at times.

"Quite right. Seems employment record security is a bit of a bodge job." Eleanor agrees, conceding that his knowledge is true. Her eyes flicker over to Brandon. "I hear recruitment's tapering off a bit. Either the Ministry is getting pickier or fear is starting to influence career choices." The young woman averts her eyes for a moment, her gaze drifting up the ceiling as if consulting the powers that be. Her holster protests a little bit as well, strained beneath her grip.

"A little of both, I'd wager, Miss Wright." Whitmore nods, and eats some more of his sandwich. After he swallows, he continues. "Well, we're meant to be mysterious, O'Conner. That's why they call us the Department of Mysteries." Nevermind that it's supposed to be the things they study that are the Mysteries. He notices Eleanor's movements, and gives a quick tap on his wrist, touching his own wand. Habit, that.

"I'd venture to guess more fear than anything else." Brandon says, scowling as he shakes his head. "Cause we aren't getting picky about are standards. They'll take just about anyone. Look at Whitemore here." Oh yes, that was a jab. A friendly one at that. And despite the touchy-feely wand thingy going on, he doesn't bother indicating his own. Better no one knows so they can't disarm you.

Eleanor flashes Brandon a predatory grin, her eyes seeming to light up a little bit at the friendly slash. Her attention slides back to Whitmore, seemingly paying no mind to his own shifts in body. "What exactly /does/ the Department of Mysteries do, Mr. Whitmore?" An idle query, one that she knew likely wouldn't be answered. "Never really been able to come up with an excuse and there's bugger all to be found in the books."

Oooh. That jab struck home. Whitmore is a proud man. However, he keeps his facade up, and gives a laugh to the intended joke. And there is genuine interest in his department. This soothes the wounded pride. "We investigate mysteries, of course. Anything wizardkind cannot understand, we explore. We quantify the unknown. We measure the weird." He smiles brightly at her. "So, Miss Wright, what is it that you are looking for? Anything in particular? Or are you satisfied with the way of an Auror?"

"It's an entire department shrouded in mystery." Brandon says, grinning as he talks. "If you listen to rumors, some people will tell you that if you're summoned down there for anything, you won't come back. Hogwash, I say. Besides, the Obliviators are where it's at. Nothing gets my morning going like a fresh clear mind."

Eleanor's idle hand finds its way up to her forehead where it brushes a few wayward bangs out of the way and behind her ear for safekeeping before falling limp to her side again. The motion reveals a rather angry looking purple bruise sitting at the edge where the fabric of her shirt covers the collarbone and shoulder. She shrugs in response to Whitmore's question, lips pressing into a thin line that perhaps belies a slightly conflicted viewpoint. "There's a reason I didn't find myself sorted into Ravenclaw, Mr. Whitmore. Never had a mind for sussing out details and all that bother." Brandon's comment elicits a genuine smile from Eleanor. She could appreciate black humor. "Became a bit of a swot during school to make it into the program. Now that I'm here I have my doubts but I'm sure that's no different than any other witch or wizard scurrying around these walls; Auror or not." She pauses for a moment to draw in a large breath that is exhaled slowly and audibly. "I'm good at it, I think. That's reason enough to continue regardless."

"Not precisely what I asked, Miss Wright." It seems that Whitmore is ignoring the Obliviator for the moment. "I asked if you are happy there, and what you desire. Soething to think about, I believe." And with that, he falls silent for a long moment, drinking more of his now-cooled soup. He notes the bruise, but says nothing about it, merely lifting an eyebrow and looking pointedly. If she wants to comment, she will. Otherwise, it's not nearly important enough to mention.

Brandon grins back and nods. "Auror training can be quite tough. Considered it myself when deciding what I wanted to do. But found I had much more of a knack for memory charms. Which…pushed me to where I am now." Another glance at the cart, and he finally makes up his mind. "Which is right here, suddenly feeling like some soup. Excuse me." he adds, stepping away towards the cart.

Eleanor ponders the more direction question for a moment, allowing her eyes to again drift to the top right. Abruptly, her attention returns to the Unspeakable and she nods curtly, featuring the same pressed-lip expression for a handful of heartbeats before her face relaxes. "I think so, yes." The edges of her lips curl up into a wan smile. Brandon soon receives the brunt of the young woman's gaze. "Soup doesn't sound like too bad of an idea." She goes to make step towards the cart but only makes it one awkward footfall before she feels compelled to address Whitmore again. "How about yourself, Mr. Whitmore?"

Whitmore purposefully misunderstands, holding up her own soup cup. "I have some soup, thank you." He gives a small smile, and waits for their return, eating his food as they do. He even whistles a bit after finishing his soup.

It's only a short moment before Brandon returns with his soup. Soup which, upon returning to the group he nearly spills onto the report he's holding. Which suddenly reminds him, he has to deliver that. Glancing between Eleanor and Whitmore, he nods to both of them. "I hate to leave such fine company and conversation, but I seem to remember having to deliver this report up to the Minister."

Eleanor suppresses a juvenile desire to stick out her tongue at Whitmore, instead allowing the mobile muscle the opportunity to slick her teeth in distraction. She turns away, removing the Unspeakable from her sight for the moment to replace him with the middle-aged Obliviator whom she begins to approach with some alacrity; footfalls punctuated by the dull thud of thick soles on polished wood.

"So—-" the word barely gets out in an audible fashion directed towards him before the man describes his intent to depart. "Well, best of British to you." Suddenly soup didn't seem like such an interesting idea and she pivots on the ball of her foot, devouring the distance between herself and Whitmore's bench which she soon unceremoniously plants her rear on. Leaning forward, weight settled on her elbows that rest on her thighs, she tilts her head slightly in the Unspeakable's direction. "Did you have another career path in mind before joining Mysteries?"

Whitmore shrugs. "I spent a lot of time in several different departments throughout the ministry. I couldn't find my niche, and was rather pleased to find that I fit in well on the tenth floor. I spent the most time in Mister O'Conner's own department, but that's been years." He waves a hand airily. "You don't choose to be an Unspeakable, actually. They choose you." He snorts softly. "I only wished to serve in the ministry somewhere."

Eleanor's mouth widens into a smile again before abruptly falling off. Her head droops for an instant, eyes focused downward to the polished floor and then snaps up to the level. With this she straightens her posture, clothing whining slightly as her back fits in line with the spine of the chair. Her fingers lace together, settling on her lower abdomen with thumbs twiddling idly. "Why focused on serving in the Ministry?" Eleanor asks, her tone taking on a slightly airy, breath-laden quality.

Whitmore quirks an eyebrow again, and leans forward slightly. "Because, Miss Wright. The Ministry is where everything happens. It's where laws are made and the world is changed. I wanted to be a part of that." The middle-aged man smiles, the fire of revolution in his eyes. "It's where change happens. And I want to be a part of that."

Eleanor's eyes flicker to the side, examining Whitmore sidelong with pupils just barely visible at the edge of her sockets. Her head bobs slowly in a languid, repeating nod before slouching down slightly. Her head tilts back threatening to rest of the nape of her neck on the arch of the bench. For the moment, she contents herself to draw her attention away from the Unspeakable and just peer up at the intricate ceiling. "Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to get into Mysteries then if you want to see this so-called change. I don't gather that being holed up in some dark room all day provides one with much of a view."

"Oh, but we're not. We liase with nearly every department, and we contribute things to many." The gleam in Whitmore's eyes only intensifies. "And do you know the power of knowledge, Miss Wright? Knowledge can build monoliths and tear down kingdoms." His expression turns dangerously manic for a fraction of a second. "And where else would you find the most knowledge than in a place that holds all mysteries?"

Eleanor shuffles a little bit to the side, distancing herself from the man clad in the dark blue robes under the guise of finding a more comfortable seated position. Her head tilts a little bit to the side, angled towards Whitmore, and her eyes slide towards him to keep him as the focus of her attention. "I dare say you may be getting a touch bit looney wandering around the unknown, Mr. Whitmore." She says this with some hint of jest swimming around in the currents of her voice and an arched brow accompanying. "But, I do sort of see where you're coming from. I guess that's why we keep so much hidden from the Muggles. You think we'll ever be completely open with them?"

Not if he can bloody help it. "I am unsure how to answer that." Whitmore dissembles. "I am uncertain that the major issues can be resolved without serious conflict. That is one thing that I have learned about humanity, Miss Wright, Muggle or Magical. We like conflict." The dark man completely ignores the comments about his looniness. After all, his sanity is a small price to pay for 'the cause.' "However, I have my hopes for a brighter future." He just doesn't describe what that future may be. That's up to her to infer. A chime sounds. "Ahh, and that is my cue to head back down to my 'dark room.'" There's a quiet chuckle. "Have a pleasant day, Miss Wright." And he stands to return the soup cup to the small witch, and nods to the young woman before heading back to the elevator.

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