1995-11-13: The Monday Morning Memo


Valentina_icon.gif Snape_icon.gif Jas_icon.gif

Special guest appearance by Healer Pierce.

Scene Title The Monday Morning Memo
Synopsis After the Death Eater attack on Diagon Alley, Jas is in the hospital, Valentina is visiting him, and Snape knows where Clemency is.
Location St Mungo's Hospital
Date November 13, 1995
Watch For Bad jokes, sketchy healers, gratuitously-timed exits, carefully-worded messages, comfort in the strangest of circumstances, and the same lies as ever. Also, the best expression-telegraphing Britain has ever seen.
Logger Jas

Monday morning at any job sucks. (Monday mornings in general just suck.) Monday morning at a hospital - even a magical one - sucks more. Apparently nobody sent the 'Monday Morning' memo to one Healer Pierce, who strolls into the Curses ward wearing robes of blue and … a straw cowboy hat. Hands in his pockets, he's whistling something that sounds like it came right out of the 1950's, pausing at the foot of each bed to glance over charts - looking for any changes since he left last night. Only when he makes it to Mister Lancaster's bed does he stop properly. It's not every day he gets this kind of opportunity, after all. "I had a date last night after I got off," he offers the small grey animal, unable to suppress a cheeky grin. "If I didn't have to come back at the ass-crack of dawn this morning, I would've given her what she so obviously wanted." Though his distinctly American accent is one that stands out, that smile reaches all the way up to his bright blue eyes - such a rare trait when one has been at this job as long as he has. He pauses, watching her surreptitiously over the page he's flipping over the clipboard. Wait for it … Wait for it … "She was a real fox."

"You know," Jas says, sounding exhausted — a little raw, still — "I'm pretty sure, considering where we are, that the Wizengamot would vote to acquit me for killing you for saying that this early in the morning." His tone, despite his exhaustion — did he even sleep? — is merely conversational, as he calmly keeps stroking one fingertip down the back of the small silver fox curled up next to his hip. (Did she fall asleep next to his hip?)

No, likely she didn't. Valentina the silver fox most likely fell asleep at his feet, and somehow shifted and then eventually got moved in order to be petted by Jas. She is, however, obviously amused by the healer; chittering fox-laughter noises emit from low in her throat and her eyes are smiling. Her tail twitches just a little, as if she's about to pounce something, but nothing comes of it. Valentina, who absolutely slept quite well thank you, holds still. Shifting back is for when she actually needs to /say/ something instead of laugh.

"Lancaster." There is a shadow in the doorway, and it's one tall, dark wizard. He gazes up at the Healer, having missed the 'fox' comment entirely. He gazes down at the fox on the bed. "Is this a new form of therapy, Healer?" He gestures to the silver fox. "I was unaware they allowed … pets." He steps in fully. "I have news." He strides closer toward the bed, waiting for the Healer to finish whatever he is going to do. Impatiently.

"Well, it was meant to be," Pierce answers Tall Dark and Handsome, first. "I told the nurses that the best thing for these boys' recovery would be to get in a whole string of foxes." He does his best impression of a concerned frown. "Wouldn't you know it, I got the one nurse in the whole country who took me literally. Now the place is full of 'em. Can't turn around without tripping over some tail." Letting that double-entendre fall between them, he turns big puppy eyes on Snape, fluttering his lashes winningly. "I don't suppose you're looking to adopt one? Free to good home. That one there - " he nods at the fox on Jas' bed " - is especially friendly." His sense of timing - though leaning more towards the comedic than the dramatic - is just as good as Snape's. And so, with a shift of topic probably meant to cause whiplash, he turns to Jas. "I've been sent to the Wizengamot six times, twice in a gift basket. Apparently I need time to ripen. You, on the other hand, were pretty bruised and mushy when they brought you in. How are you feeling this morning?"

"Quite overripe, but I'm willing to share." Jas is still scowling, somewhat, at the healer, and is not — remotely! — curving his hand around the fox's back, somewhere between possessive and protective, for approximately three-sixteenths of a second. Surely not. No, no. At any rate, what he is is rather amused at Snape's entrance, which takes his mind of just what that news is likely to be, at least long enough — hopefully — for that healer to leave the damn room, already.

The Especially Friendly Fox lets out a cheerful chirp at the continuing praise from the healer, and then the tail-twitching begins again and she leaps off the bed after having gently nosed Jas' hand. Fox disappears into bathroom, and a moment later, a tall blonde woman steps back out, looking a bit disheveled and lacking her shoes. Valentina smiles again at everyone, especially the healer who was full well aware that she wasn't just a regular fox, and says, "I take up a lot more space sometimes, though."

Snape snorts at the Healer's banter and Jas' response. He crosses his arms across his chest, and continues to wait. "Where is your wife, Lancaster? She'll want to hear this too." He looks around the room without moving his head, then watches as the fox strides into the bathroom. "Ahh. Yes." His expression darkens, and he focuses his attention back on the Healer.

"But the view is worth the space!" Pierce winks at Valentina as she re-emerges, thrilled down to his toes to have a patient - even a patient-by-proxy - who will banter with him. Jas' assessment of his health has Healer Pierce hanging the clipboard on the end of the bed and ambling his long limbs around the side of the bed to lift at Jas' eyelids and slide his lit wand in and out of his patient's direct line of sight. He then moves on to check pulse - by hand at the wrist, not by spell - and then does use a spell to check blood pressure. To someone used to wizarding methods of healing, the intrusion might seem more than strange, but it is what it is and Healer Pierce doesn't look nearly ready to make any apologies. "Hmm, your heartrate's a bit high for someone who's been resting." But the sly look he passes between Jas and Valentina says all it needs to about his suspicions regarding that number. "And the last scan the nurse ran showed you're mildly concussive, but aside from that, you're healthy as a horse!" Patting Jas' knee, he checks his wristwatch and nods to Valentina. "Make sure he has some water in him before they come back with his morning vials. I've got to finish my rounds and give the interns their morning coronary, but I'll be back to check on him soon." Lifting his cowboy hat in a salute to Valentina, he slides out of the room with a bounce in his step and that whistle back on his lips. A moment later, he pops back around the doorway. "No wild sex before I get back. Or if you absolutely can't restrain yourselves, the nurse knows where to page me!" And with that, he's gone - off to torment some other poor soul awake at this hour of the morning.

Long exposure to various Slytherins, Death Eaters, Snape particularly, other Ministry officials, and distant royal cousins has enabled Jas to have at least a few skills when it comes to telegraphing meaning through subtle facial expressions. He might never be the very best at it, but the glance he sends in Snape's direction is very clear as it says, 'Well, if you don't kill him, I might have to. Or at least some torture, right? You torture him and I'll make him forget why, but not the fact that he was tortured. It'll be fun! A lot more fun than being here all day!'

Jas coughs, and rubs his nose, and sits up in bed without bothering the nursewitches. He raises an eyebrow at Snape, glances at Valentina — is she going to sit back down, now, or not? — and then nods a little. "So," softly. "What news is it you bring us?"

Whereas Valentina is absolutely delighted with Healer Pierce, even for all that she would rather be garrotted than actually have sex with Jas. That doesn't stop her from waving pleasantly as he departs, giving nods to the instructions even as she might nto really want to be helping care for Jas, of all people. He's there. She can't fuss over Clemency, so she might as well fuss over Jas — considering she knows by now it isn't his fault their daughter is missing. He didn't just abandon her, she wasn't off on her own — Not allowing her mind to run away with her, she sits on the very edge of the chair and jerks her head toward Jas' water. Drink it, man.

No sooner does Valentina jerk her head at him — well, his water — but Jas is drinking, and waiting — impatiently! — for Snape to talk already.

Snape catches Jas' expression briefly, and follows the Healer's path to the door, closing it, locking it and casting a muffliato quickly. "I have seen Miss Lancaster. She is well, however," Severus pauses, looking pointedly at Valentina, best considering how to let Jas know that his child is in the hands of the Dark Lord. "She attended a — tea party put on by several of our mutual acquaintances, Mister Lancaster. I was unable to — convince them to let me bring her to you, but I was sent with a message to secure your assurances that you would ensure that the goal was accomplished within its specified timeline." He strides closer to the bed, looking at both parents. "I am attempting to discover other means of retrieval, but in some things, as you well know, Mister Lancaster, my hands are tied."

To say that Jas blanches would, perhaps, be a charitable thing; to say that he practices his very best century-deathday-impression might be slightly more accurate. But when he actually speaks, he sounds surprisingly resigned, and to hell with certain secrets, and fuck finesse. "Merlin's saggy figged arse," he says, and sighs, and scrubs at his face with both hands. (At least that water got set down, first, emptied.) "He kidnapped my daughter because he thought I wasn't trying hard enough, is that it?"

It would be surprising if Valentina did not actually speak at the exact same time as Jas, considering her words are erupting from her emphatically as soon as Snape's stopped talking, nary a few beats between them. "You've seen her? How under the sun did you manage to see her and she has not been brought back to me?" To her. Not to Jas. To her. And then she's whirling on her ex-husband just as quickly. "And you know who took her?!" Someone is angry. Someone is livid, hands shaking.

"That was the summary of the discussion I was privy too, yes." Snape replies to Mister Lancaster before turning to his wife. "She appeared to be in fair health, Missus Lancaster. However, she was given a sleeping draught as I was encouraged to leave." To come here to send a message. "As I said, Missus Lancaster, I am working to secure her freedom. It may take some doing, and perhaps some assistance …" He frowns and looks between the two of them. "I shall not interrupt your discussions any further." 'Arguments', more like. He looks between them again, and then strides to the door, unlocking it and clearing the muffliato. "You know how to reach me." This is directed at both of them. Extremely uncomfortable in the situation, Snape strides out of the room.

There's just nothing good, at all, that's going to come of Snape's departure, especially as it's going to be a while yet before the nurses or medics come back in to check up on Jas once again. So he's somewhat nervous — not because his daughter's been kidnapped, anymore, but because her mother is pissed off, and directing that, for the moment, directly at him. He at least knows how much of a fight Valentina can put up. "Of course I know who took her, when he's going to go on talking about it like that, Leta," Jas begins, still exhausted by the whole thing. He's trying for reasonable. "Considering you know I'm a fair hand in a fight, do you really think I wouldn't at least have an idea of who took her, when a cluster of Death Eaters attacks me in broad daylight and she goes missing in the aftermath?"

"So it was," says Valentina slowly, gently, hollowly, an empty space where her emotions might have been before, "definitely Death Eaters, then. Of course. But why —" She refuses to actually ask, to put words to the questions rolling through her mind, to try to assign meaning to Snape and Jas' exchanges. Or to how they might know each other. Or to anything. She's tired, and at this point, isn't going to scream for information. She's going to want to be spoon-fed it. And she's going to put her head in her hands and sob.

It takes a long moment of warring emotion before Jas is trying to sit up and wrap — no, wait; better not to wrap his arms around her. She'll likely slug him. Instead, he has a hand warm at the back of her shoulders, rubbing, at least trying to be soothing. "We'll get her back, love," he whispers to her through her sobs. "I won't let anyone hurt her. Not a single soul on this blessed earth can lay a hand on our daughter and survive." She used to complain about him being cold, callous, too much of a law-enforcement-officer, if he wasn't distracting her away from his colder side. Maybe she'll draw comfort from it, at least in this moment.

At least Valentina isn't really crying — they're more hollow, shaking sobs. Shaking like all the rest of her, despite the surprise that Jas the Tough Guy is now actually being Jas the Tender. So yes, for that moment, she seems to calm a little. Ease into his touch, a little. A lot more than she'd like, when reflecting on it later. "Where is she," she whispers, cold, ragged.

"I don't know, Leta." It hurts Jas, to have to admit that. And he suspects — oh, it's a rock-solid lump of suspicion, yes, resting cold at the pit of his stomach and making him sick with loathing and fear, but he doesn't know. He hasn't seen her. He can't just go jump over to the Riddle Manor and tell the Dark Lord that he's ever so grateful for the fine care and all of that, but his weekend with Emmy is over and it's time for her to go back to her mother's. True or not, it's not going to work. "But." He draws in a shaky breath, and when he exhales he's back to being the ice-cold Enforcer that so many people see. "I'll find her, and I'll get her back, safe and sound."

"You don't know." Valentina is simply staring up at Jas, at this point. She's not sure what else to do. She isn't violently pulling away from him, though — she's still acting a bit frail and lost, very unlike her. "You don't know where she is, but you know who has her, and somehow it's someone who knows you and also knows him, the man who was just in here, and you — think it's because of you? Jas, what is going on here?" She balls her fists tight, now irritated. Who says it's his job to get their daughter back, anyway? Why isn't she? He should be involving her!

"Professor Severus Snape is the Potions Master at Hogwarts." Yes, Jas is still tired. At this point, he's pulling away from Valentina again; she's obviously not all that interested in being comforted, or at least, by him. "He's also an acknowledged former Death Eater," neatly skirting around the fact that he's a current Death Eater, "which I imagine is somehow related to the way he happens to have laid eyes upon Clementine. I will know who has her, and he will pay." Congratulations, Dark Lord: Your plan has officially backfired.

Oh, Jas. How wrong you are; Valentina would have loved being comforted, she's just a little shaken up. And doesn't quite know who to blame. "I know who Professor Snape is," she replies weakly, staring at her hands as if they hold the answer to some great mystery. Spoiler: they don't. "I do not know if I knew — the rest — but Jas, what do Death Eaters want with our little girl?" Our little girl, now, and not my — evidently there was something to his comforting effort.

Jas isn't actually conscious, now, of sliding closer to her, of wrapping his arm around her shoulders — he just misses her, sometimes, and the way what they had had been so easy, so comfortable, before he ruined it. "I don't know, love," he whispers, feeling cold himself, now. The things the Dark Lord has done to him are terrible enough; the thought of those selfsame things being done to a little girl — no. Never will he allow that. "I think — you know I wouldn't ordinarily be the one appointed to Hogwarts." She does; they've talked about it. "I think it might be all tangled up together in that. Why I'm at Hogwarts, and not in London, and why she's — gone — taken from us — and not safe at home with you."

"Do you know why?" Valentina challenges, even though now tears are springing into her eyes. "Do you have any idea why it is you? You have no experience in — in teaching, in children that old — in education, any of that —" She has more, and she's a scientist.

And Jas is bitter, bitter as he murmurs, soft, dark, venom deep beneath the badger's claws, "Perhaps because the one who took her thought he could control me through her, all along."

For a moment, Valentina is silent.

It's a long moment.

A very long moment, but eventually it breaks, and she asks, tear-ridden and tired, "This is all part of some sick plan?"

And Jas, despite himself, is smiling, just a tiny little bit, with tears in his own eyes, and his own exhaustion unhealed by the long night behind them. "Much the fool, one who would take a child from us, wouldn't you say?"

"Truly," says Valentina, words part of a long exhalation that ends in another broken, swallowed sob. "What — aren't you telling me?"

Jas hesitates, but — "Only the same things I've always not told you, love," is sealed with his own sigh.

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