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Julius Scrimgeour for Bella Scrimgeour.
The answer to the question "What happens when your family's reputation is a disaster?"
Her niece's humility was an admirable thing and had the added advantage of leaving Temperance feeling as though she was constantly rendering Blythe dumb with her words of wisdom and encouragement.Temperance Fairchild in Messiah
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Sous Me
January 5th, 1889

Mr. Baudelaire was certainly starting the year off with a bang. One moment he'd been chatting up some stodgy Auror – the next, Ahmet learned he was chatting him up about him!

And now he was the head chef of the McPadraic kitchens. At least the pay was nothing to scoff at... the pantry stock, on the other hand. Well, he had his work cut out for him.

It was well into the evening. He was unbuttoning his chef’s jacket when he heard the heeled shoes of someone who did not belong on the servant’s side of the manor.

he called, English accented with German and... something else, “this is servant side.”

There was a pause in the heels, and then a hearty laugh. He glanced over, then hastily buttoned his jacket back up. Not only was this a perplexing situation, but there was another woman with her as well.

“Is that you, Ahmet?”
the woman said in her native German.

Miss Nadia Schneider was the older sister of a classmate back in Germany, whom he’d met a few times when she came to collect her brother for vacation. He still wrote her brother on occasion.

“It is Armel these days,”
he said with a bemused look, and she scrunched her nose in confusion. “Regionalization.”

“Oh. So, you’re one of the kitchen... boys, now?”
she said, like she was arranging a puzzle mid-speech.

He made no correction.

“I shouldn’t hold you two up,”
he chose to say instead with a polite smile.

She smiled, nodded, and turned to her partner in crime.

“I hope the chef is still in!”
she commiserated, subtly slowing her speech but less subtly enunciating each word for this woman in a way she hadn’t for Ahmet.
Being home from PSYR should be nice, relaxed and a happy time, and yet Alexandra was more stressed within the walls of her family home then if she were at school. The education hadn’t stopped, and then the added factor of her father’s never ending watching and having to deal with her step mother. Perhaps she should have asked to spend it at their London holdings, but then she wouldn’t have been able to see her younger sisters.

At least Miss Nadia Schneider wasn’t a dislikable figure in her life. Alex would rather be chaperoned by the tutor over her step mother any day. Plus it also gave her someone to help improve her language skills. Although she couldn’t help but wonder what her father would think as the two walked towards the kitchen well into the evening. It wasn’t like she had never stepped foot in this part of the house, but that didn’t mean it was appropriate, and if it wasn’t appropriate it gave her father a heart attack.

She smiled to herself with light amusement at the thought, only to be pulled back to reality at the sound of Miss Schneider talking to the new chef.

Alexandra watched with curiosity, trying her best to keep up with the conversation. Hadn’t father said he was French? Yet here he was having a conversation with her German tutor in German.

When she was finally included within the conversation, Alex was well and truely confused.

“This is the chef” she replied in the language while indicating to Armel.

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He’d been here before. There was no good place to be as a working class man at the mercy of his ‘betters’ whims. The second Schneider slowed her speech down for her ‘friend,’ the situation was clear: this was one of the McPadraics, and he had just become the fall guy of their mischief were Arthur to find out.

The polite smile faltered. His mouth became an outright line when Ms. McPadraic pointed out the obvious.

“Ahmet? You?”
she laughed. “Why didn’t you say so! Oh, do you still make those cookies? Those, uh, the ones with the apricots!”

Ahmet sucked his teeth, schooling the polite smile back on his face and clasping his hands before himself. His eyes flicked minutely to Ms. McPadraic.

“The English prefer to eat with their eyes.”

Nadia huffed.

“And the Germans?”
she countered, hands on her hips.

“It’s all sausage,”
he answered with a hint of a smirk.

Nadia shook her head.

“Let’s see some of those cookies.”

He looked directly at Alexandra this time, then turned from the hook he had just been about to hang his jacket on. The others had already scattered, no doubt with more haste whilst their chef had served as a handy distraction.

“How is Pendergast? My sister wanted to go there, but Filigran won out.”

Alexandra may or may not have heard of a similar German school for nubile young women.
Alexandra’s confusion and curiosity only grow. They knew each other, that much had become clear to her. But Ahmet? Alex was almost positive that it wasn’t the name she had heard from father. She watched him closely as his behaviour changed to being more guarded. Not all that surprising, he had probably worked out who she was. Most servants closed off, although annoying, she couldn’t blame them. They did working under her father.

It was almost impressive listening to them talk at normal speed. If it had been French Alex would have kept up with little difficulty. But her German was not as strong. So while she understood the words, they had moved on before she could connect them. So what sausages and cookies had to do with each other, Alex had no idea.

She simply stood, arms behind her back watching. More the chef then her tutor.

“It’s...” all so easy to say something she shouldn’t. Alexandra bit her tongue to stop herself, using the time to pretend she was thinking of the right words rather then the right sentence.

“...a lovely school that teachers what they say it will” she finished with a pleasant smile. Her eyes strained against the roll but she managed to keep them from turning.

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Nadia had always been a talker, and so it was easy enough to keep his attention from inappropriately wandering. Mostly.

Ms. – no, most likely Miss, McPadraic. Allah. Trapped in a kitchen with the Sword of Damocles like a whipping boy for the king. At least Nadia was married. From what he could tell, England had even stronger divides amongst the classes and the sexes, well beyond the point of intentionally stifling their minds. The working class women he’d worked with were well enough, but upper class women...

His gaze turned on her as he set up his preparations, summoning this and that quietly in the background. Pretty thing. Probably never had dirt under her nails in her entire life. Probably couldn’t understand a word they’d been saying, either.

… His eyes slid to her again as he floured a board. She could speak sentences. Ambiguous sentences. Was that a spasm in her eye, or was he just projecting?

Better not let them catch him looking, even if he could do this with his eyes closed. He chopped the dough by magic, though corrected almonds in the centers by hand.

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“I would hope!”
Nadia laughed. “Merlin, that kind of school – ” she paused, having to remember to slow down, “it puts you in a different league. Gregorovitches instead of Wunderliches,” she sighed.

Alexandra would recognize ‘Wunderlich’ as her married last name.
Alexandra would love to have dirt under her nails. But she was who she was, and her father was too controlling to allow that to happen.

When his eyes turned to her, Alex averted her gaze to his hands or to her tutor, hoping not to have been caught staring. A light tint of pink to the cheeks was the only give away of her behaviour. He was fascinating and it annoyed her that he was speaking German not French. A big puzzle to solve.

With a tight smile, Alexandra gave a light nod. “Indeed.”

She moved away from the woman and closer to Armel under the pretence of seeing what he was doing. “Does your sister enjoy her school?”

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It had been some years since Ahmet had been a spectacle. He didn’t catch the blush, but he did notice her inching closer. He arched one brow, though didn't look her way.

Nadia made herself comfortable (well, as comfortable as she could) in one of the wooden chairs, making a face and rearranging her skirts with a disapproving look at it. Ahmet opened the stove and cast a charm in it before closing it back up.

“She is a strange one,”
Nadia sighed. “Only magical intervention can save her from herself. Maybe she can transfer somewhere else,” she added with an amused look toward Ahmet.

He was leaning against the wall with arms crossed, checking his pocket watch before recrossing them.

“Merlin, does it ever stop raining here?” she sighed, the patter of rain starting outside.

he deadpanned, opening the oven to peek at the coals.
“Nadia!” Alexandra reverted to English, giving her tutor a stern look. Even if she knew the family, which was beginning to seem to be the case, talking like that about the sister was unkind and uncalled for.

The young woman turned and began to look through the kitchen supplies, it was better then staring at the man waiting to be caught. Although she did smile at his reply to her tutor over the weather. Weather... were they already at that point in the conversation? Well they couldn’t have that.

“What is in the cookies?” She asked, reverting back to her slow German.

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It certainly wasn’t the first rule of decency Nadia had transgressed this night. Exhibit A: their in-progress snack. She batted her eyes and put a hand along the side of her face in ‘dismay’.

“Dear me!”
she sighed, still speaking in German. “Perhaps I need that schooling yet.”

Small talk. It seemed that was a thing that transcended class. He pointedly let his gaze slide over to the line-up beside the floured cutting board, then back to Alexandra. Then he meandered back over to the work station.

“Eiweiß ,”
he started, tapping the top of an egg carton (the yolks sat separated in a glass), “Zucker,” he tapped the sugar, “Mehl,” flour, “Maisstärke  und Mandeln.” He finished off the list with a tap on an unlabeled jar of white powder and a bowl that only had the peels of the almonds left in it.

“What about the apricots?”
Nadia frowned.

“Ran out,”
he shrugged, starting to put things into their proper places once more – the sink for some, the shelves and cooling box for others. “Try on Sunday.”

Hopefully he’d be off on Sunday.
Alexandra very deliberate rolled her eyes towards her tutor. “You can take my place...” she whispered under her breath so neither would actually hear her. Perhaps her tutor could benefit from even a day there, Alex on the other hand was over it. But between school or marriage, school was the better option.

His pointed gaze was returned with a challenging look, that turned into raised eyebrows at the pointing. She knew the worlds well enough to not need the visual. It was almost grating to be treated like that.

So she repeated every ingredient in English without moving her eyes from his face. “Egg white, sugar, flour, cornflour and almonds.”

Simple enough recipe, and yet her tutor had seemed excited by the prospect of having them. Perhaps they reminded the woman of home or something. Alexandra watched him openly as he cleaned, still trying to work him out. Was it because she was there that he was closed off? Most likely. Yet it might also have to do with her tutors behaviour.

“Milch?” she finally questioned, wondering if the egg whites were enough with all the dry ingredients within.

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What had started as a bland stating of the obvious ended in something that couldn’t quite be called a smirk.


His gaze lingered in their unannounced staring contest, but he was the first to finally look away. He had work to do – not to mention an audience of two people who could get him into irrecoverable trouble. One of whom seemed to notice the service more than her own peer...

He opened the oven, waved a hand through the blast of heat above the door, and grabbed the cookie tray with a mitt. Sliding it in and shutting it, he took a look at his watch before answering.

“Prefer soft cookies?” he said in English.
Perhaps not called a smirk, but Alexandra took it as one. Hence concluding that he knew what he was doing. She was all to happy to play the game, it was getting boring around the house anyways. Yet she couldn’t help but feel disappointed when he finally turned away, rather then feeling the rush of the win.

With a light hum, she made her way over to her tutor and took one of the seats, not bothering to straighten out her own dress. It was beyond the point in time where she would care if it wrinkled.

“I don’t have a preference. Just doubted if egg was enough to balance out the dry. Would it not just crumble away?” she replied in turn.

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Nadia frowned and looked between them, uncertainty crossing her face.

While Ahmet did not notice the indignity of not smoothing her skirt, Nadia did. She cast a disapproving look down at her skirt.

He clasped his hands before himself and leaned against the counter.

“I would hope not,”
he replied with a devil-may-care look.

“Did you see the latest concert in Manchester,”
Nadia cut in with a note of urgency.
With her response cut off by her tutor, Alexandra sighed deeply before she raised, rearranged the skirt and took her seat again, this time over playing the action of smoothing out the skirt. It was too late into the evening to truly worry about such things, but she didn’t need it getting back to her father. Not when she still had a couple of days left within the house.

Once seated Alex shifted her gaze between the two with a light frowned. Her mind swirled with questions as she leant back into the seat and intertwined her hands together on her lap. How did they know each other? Why did Nadia keep using the wrong name? Why was he so good at German? So many questions, yet all impolite to ask.

"Where you even in town for it Mr Koch?" she asked while shoot a look to Nadia as if the woman should have thought of that fact first.

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(( OOC: how to unfuck my own errors lol – I’m going to say Nadia was referring to him as “Mr. Ahmet” versus first name basis, my bad. ))

He turned to check the counter over for any trace of crumbs... but Miss McPadraic might just catch a blatant smirk as he did.

Apparently, it took a couple decades (or more!) to crush the soul out of some English women.

When Alexandra redirected their attention to the chef once more, Nadia was mortified! Here she was, a perfectly good and reputable acquaintance, and her charge was essentially choosing to talk to the furniture instead!

Ahmet turned to face them once more when he heard his taken surname. Ms. Wunderlich was looking at Miss McPadraic, mouth in a small but indignant ‘o’. Ahmet, on the other hand, was destined to live in the service of Miss McPadraic until she could wrangle a husband – could be days, could be years.

And she was adorable.

“Once or twice, Miss McPadraic,”
he said offhandedly. His English was even more practiced than his German. “Mostly passing through to Preston.”

Manchester was mainly known for its overpopulation, whereas Preston was better known for its Grand National horse races.

That said, Mr. Baudelaire had sent him to cater to far more wizarding events in Manchester than Preston – there was a steady population of Central Asian Wizarding immigrants there, and some were quite wealthy.

“German, please,”
Nadia said curtly.

“My apologies, Ms. Schneider.”

“It is Mrs. Wunderlich now.”
She looked less and less impressed by the minute.
In her shifting gaze Alexandra did notice his smirk and she couldn’t help but blush lightly. That act had to been for Nadia, she hadn’t even thought about behaving such a way in front of the chef.... hopefully the man wouldn’t tell her father.

After addressing the man, she looked back at her tutor and almost laughed. The woman needed to relax. It wasn’t like she was talking to a low ranking maid. She was talking to the chef, the one responsible for their food. Honestly seemed like a good idea to be on good terms with such a person. Alex didn’t want to be poisoned.

Although at Nadia’s snapping reply, Alex couldn’t help but bite her lip. She didn’t need her partner in crime to lose it and go running to her father.

“I was thinking we could head to town tomorrow, maybe find Eleanor a book to help with her German study. I hear she is still struggling” she said towards her tutor with eyes staying on her and a gentle smile, hoping it would calm the woman back down.

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