Some time in the afternoon, Caitlin sat in a cafe a couple of blocks from the Ministry of Magic as she waited for Evanna to arrive. The two were becoming friends, at least in the teacher's eyes, and Caitlin was happy to meet with her. However, to her dismay, the meeting would not be entirely amicable: she was hoping to talk with Evanna about some particularly sensitive business.
The woman ordered a tea and a plate of fried potatoes, which she placed in the middle of the table for the two of them to share. She poured some ketchup in a corner of the plate and started eating while she waited. She would undoubtedly order something else once Evanna arrived, but she hadn't eaten properly in a few days and wanted to distract her nerves with some nourishment.
Being a new mother was certainly not the easiest task in the world. Evanna felt as though she hadn't slept properly since Sophia had been born. It was probably not a false statement. She was not yet back on fieldwork, but she was slowly returning to work for longer periods of time. But she did want to make sure that she was around Sophia enough as she was growing, and not just throwing her at someone else to look after. Finding a balance was going to be difficult.
Pushing the baby in a pram, she made her way to the cafe that Caitlin had picked out for their meeting. Finding it without much difficulty, she went inside - and did have some difficulty navigating a pram around tables, but that was another matter. "Hello, Caitlin," she greeted with a smile.
Caitlin got to her feet as soon as she heard Evanna. "My darling Evanna, how ar--oh, oh, what is this beautifully delicious lump of flesh?!" Caitlin's smile grew impossibly big as she leaned over the carriage to get a better look at the baby. How exciting! "What a joy, what a delight!
"What's her name, Evanna? Oh, I'm so awful, I haven't gotten you any gifts--lunch is on me. I insist," the older woman added quickly, in case Evanna tried to argue.
Evanna smiled faintly as Caitlin started gushing over the baby. She did have to admit that it was nice for people to fuss over her child. "This is Sophia. And-," she started, and then Caitlin insisted and she dropped it. "Thank you," she said with a smile. Sophia didn't really need any more gifts, she was being spoiled enough as it was. That was the thing about being in rich families who seem predisposed to trying to outdo each other.
"Sophiiiaaa, what a beautiful name!" Caitlin delighted over children, especially small babies who were yet to be formed into proper, loving adults. She bounced over to Evanna's chair to pull it out, leaving enough room for the other woman to sit down.
Caitlin took her own seat and handed Evanna a menu, in case she needed it. "Please, help yourself to the potatoes. I got them to share--I hope you don't mind, but I was a bit peckish. How are you, darling?" She held her menu open in her hands, but her eyes rested eagerly on her lunch companion.
"I'm great, as always," Caitlin said without thinking. It wasn't really a lie. It also wasn't entirely honest. After Evanna's answer, Caitlin scanned the menu quickly before picking her food, and a server came to them, ogled the baby, and took their orders.
"Oh, my, catching up." She clasped her hands together and rested her arms on the table, but only for a moment before taking another fried potato. "Well, what's been going on? Anything exciting?"
"I'm glad to hear it," she said, giving the waiter her own order as they came over.
"Well," she said with a slight laugh, her eyes drifting to the pram. "I'm afraid you've already seen the most exciting thing that has been going on in my life lately." There was not really a lot of time for anything else right now. "What about yourself?"
"I think that's very exciting! Another piece of Evanna Everhart to share with the world. We're all the luckier for it," Caitlin said with a wink. "I've been...."
She thought about how to answer. She had been teaching. She had been revising and researching. She had also been filling Algar's shoes since his disappearance, which was a lot for the school to handle. "The headmaster is missing," she said honestly. She felt that she could trust Evanna, so she decided to trust her. "I've been very busy. The new term is starting soon, which does so excite me, but I'm concerned about Algar."
Caitlin smiled and nibbled on a potato. Her smiled lacked the same luster that usually decorated it.
Evanna smiled faintly. "You are very kind," she said earnestly. Her eyes drifted to the baby and she was suddenly nervous about how the small girl would grow up, and what she would turn out like.
At Caitlin's next words, her mood sobered. "I've heard," she said with a frown. "And we know who's done it, but unfortunate that doesn't get us any closer to..." well if by knowing who's done it, they knew the group responsible. They didn't know any specifics of people.
Caitlin only smiled at the compliment--or the words of good will. Whichever it was.
"I had quite thought you'd heard," she admitted. "I can't imagine the news escaping anyone in your Department, considering the magnitude of the situation. Please, can you find it in yourself to tell me more about what is going on? I was once an auror, and now I'm in charge of a whole school of people. Perhaps I can assist you, or at least better prepare Hogwarts for what's happening." Both would have been nice.
"If they took Algar, it's possible they're among us. Near me and the students."
As Caitlin spoke, Evanna gave a slight frown. This was going to be a tricky place to tread. Because she wanted to help, she did. But all she same, she couldn't go around speaking everything that she knew, regardless of who the person was. "I believe the knowledge that would aid you is already public knowledge," she said slowly. It also didn't help that there was so much they didn't know.
"Protecting the school further is a good idea. We still don't know how these people are disappearing, which makes protecting people from it harder. However heightening security around the school won't hurt." It would help more than anything.
Caitlin nodded slowly. She wanted to sigh, but she chose not to. Evanna didn't need that sort of negativity in her life. "Indeed, I would not proceed any differently," she agreed. "And you--do you feel safe? Being an auror is hard enough work without...." Without being one of the people that the group was targeting.
"Never you mind that, Evanna. We'll both be perfectly fine." Caitlin would be a liar if she said she wasn't afraid of being targeted too, but she would keep her head held high and try to guide everyone else along the tumultuous waters of the Wizarding World the best she could. "Just don't forget, I can help. Quite invaluably, I believe. Forgive my confidence." She grinned and popped another potato into her mouth.
"Without being a potential target," she finished Caitlin's sentence. If anything, being an auror and a pureblood made her even more of a target. You'd want to get rid of the people in the positions to stop you. "I don't quite worry so much for myself," she answered truthfully. "I worry about Kody." A pureblood, and the head auror, surely he'd be a target. "And my brother. And..." her eyes drifted to the pram that Sophia was in. Surely as a baby she was not a target yet. But to grow up into the world as it was now... she didn't want her daughter to grow up in fear.
Her eyes moved back to Caitlin, and she gave the lady a faint smile. "I'm sure your expertise will come in help." Caitlin was after all, quite an accomplished witch, was she not? "If you were in our position now, if you hadn't left the ministry, how would you proceed?"
Evanna finished the words that Caitlin wouldn't finish, and it didn't make her feel any more at ease. Of course the woman across from her would worry about everyone else first--and that didn't make Caitlin feel any more at ease. People needed to look out for themselves as much as they looked out for others.
She often fell flat of that goal herself, but she would tell others to do it just the same.
The question made the Deputy Headmistress pause. When she did speak, it was soft at first, and her eyes were focused on the table as if she was recalling her past. "All those years ago, I never thought anything like this would...yet here we are...." Caitlin looked up at Evanna. "I don't know, honestly, what I would do, but I know now that I want eyes and ears on the inside, much like they have eyes and ears all around us. It's a dangerous gambit that I wouldn't ask of anyone." She would do it herself if she didn't feel responsible for Hogwarts.
"I would want a steady supply of Veritaserum, just in case. Something doesn't sit quite well with the people who have resurfaced--why have others turned up dead and these people haven't? Clearly the murderers are meticulous." Mistakes could happen, but one didn't engage in such underground warfare without careful planning and filling in the holes. "It also seems to me a miracle that anyone who's escaped their clutches continues to operate.
"Naturally, I'm paranoid about everything," the woman continued, smiling lightly. "When people's lives are in danger, everyone becomes suspicious."