(1939-03-06) Rekindling the Flame
Details for Rekindling the Flame
Summary: A rather discouraged and worn out Rena visits Rhyeline at her flat. They talk of many things, and the Auror finds new inspiration for the struggle to make Unity a reality.
Date: 1939-03-06
Location: Rhyeline's Flat

Aurors keep odd hours. Almost as odd as politicians' assistants. In this case, the odd hour is a couple of hours past noon. The London sky is predictably gloomy, with dollops of snow building up on all the windowsills of Lambeth.
Rhyeline scurries about her flat, setting the coffee table with a plate of little cakes and a fresh pot of tea. For once, her movements go unobserved. The guardwitches which for so long have dogged her footsteps are gone.

Rena still maintains many Muggle customs and mannerisms. Although many of the Witches and Wizards she happens to keep company with generally have all manner of magic warning signs to tell them when a guest is arriving on their front doorstep, the young Auror continues to insist that she knock politely on the door. Which of course, she does now.
Approaching the steps, Rena is not in the least bit pensive or hesitant. Putting on a good, brave face, she raises her hand and knocks lightly on Rhyeline's door with three, lady-like raps. Then, she stands back to wait with hands folded before herself, politely.

This one prefers simplicity when it comes to the spells adorning her home. At the knock, Rhyeline sets down the little pitcher of cream and bowl of sugar. When she opens the door, Rena may notice the lack of any sort of guardian peering over the little one's head at her visitor. Rhyeline greets Rena with a shy, but warm smile and draws back with the door at once to let her step into the warmth of her foyer.
"Hello, Rena…" she murmurs, shutting the door with a quiet click behind her. "It is good to see you."

Rena's expression brightens as Rhyeline opens the door. The shyness of the other woman is rather reminiscent of the first few times she knocked on her now-fiancé’s door. Leaning a bit to one side, she smiles: "'Ello, luv! Been a while since I dropped by - awfully sorry about that."
Slipping through the door, she is very careful to wipe her shoes on the mat to ensure she doesn't drag any mud or snow into Rhyeline's clean home. For a brief moment, she actually begins to take her shoes /off/. Stopping herself with a slight blush, she wriggles back into them and flashes a sheepish grin: "Heh, I forgot myself for a moment there. That's only a rule at 'ome."

"Oh… em… it's alright. If- if it would make you more comfortable." Rhyeline hesitates a moment before stepping out of her ballet flats. "This is- is how I usually am at- at home." She peeks up at Rena with a shy and almost sheepish little grin.

Rena almost feels bad for having caused the slight confusion. Obligingly, she slips out of her shoes for certain now and sets them aside carefully near the door. "See, Takeshi is Japanese," she tries to explain as she comes upright again. "In Japan, people take off their shoes whenever they come into the house."
Heading into the house, Rena looks around herself but still keeps her hands very much to herself at the same time. Another thing she's learned over the last few months. If you don't want to break anything or be a nuisance, don't TOUCH things. "It's been madness the last month or so at the ministry. What with the aftermath of the Sykes Gala and everything."

Rhyeline nods. "I imagine it must be. I never see Edwarlinda…" she murmurs, leading Rena into the sitting room. "I- I appreciate so much what you and the other aurors do. I… hope that the investigation is- is going well?" Rhyeline gestures for Rena to take a seat on the sofa. The little one sits beside her, tucking her bare feet beneath herself.

Rena sits herself down on the sofa. Rhyeline's question leaves her looking a little uncomfortable though. First, she cringes inwardly slightly, and then she rubs her neck with her hand self-consciously. "Well, I'm not really part of the investigation, per se -as you might say." She admits, hesitantly. "You see, a rather unfortunate incident 'appened in St. Mungo's a couple weeks ago. I… was forced to arrest Jocunda Sykes. So, it's rather difficult for me to be involved in things now." Pausing here, she coughs slightly and blushes, looking down at her lap like a dog who knows they did something really stupid.

Rhyeline pours Rena a cup of tea and shows no surprise, only curiosity, when her guest explains about the arrest. "I had heard about that. It seemed… an odd story to read. She was released on… a warning? For so much?" Silently, she offers Rena cream or sugar in her tea.

Rena's expression remains somewhat fallen as she accepts the cup of tea from Rhyeline. A small, grateful smile slips through - but it's not an enthusiastic one. "Yea, I told basically: In as much as the Ministry 'as bigger fish to fry and more important messes to deal with, it would be appreciated if you'd expedite this mess and get it cleaned up as soon as possible."
Rena heaves a small, beleaguered sigh. Taking a sip of her tea, the young Auror looks very much like someone who's been putting a brave face on for a long time now, but is beginning to wear down from whatever is bothering her in the background. "I didn't 'ave much choice. Besides, they're right. There's too much else to deal with."

"Ah… I see… so… politics." Rhyeline's tone is gentle, sympathetic as she pours her own cup of tea. "The Sykes are a powerful family. And… though it is good for you to pick your battles… you should know that- that your association with the Unity Party doesn't leave you alone anymore in such games of power and influence… the Malfoy family is powerful as well."

"It ain't the kind of politics I prefer to be involved in." Rena grumbles into her tea, looking slightly agitated and morose. Looking over the rim at Rhyeline, however, her dark eyes soften a little bit and she lowers the cup: "I know that - believe me I do. But I didn't want to involve anyone else in this mess - especially the Malfoys. In the grand scheme of things, I suppose it's all rather trivial." Pausing a moment, she looks up to the heavens in a way that speaks volumes. "Besides, Mr. Malfoy's aunt 'ates me as much as all the bloody Sykeses do. "
Bringing her gaze back down to earth, Rena's eyes fall on Rhyeline's ring on her hand, and she stares for a moment before saying: "'That's lovely!" noticing the finger it rests upon - the same as her own - she can't help but smile, looking to the other woman with bright inquisitiveness: "Does this mean you're getting married too, then?" Always abrupt and to the point, little Miss Lee isn't known for tact.

A rush of color warms Rhyeline's cheeks when Rena notices her ring. She almost reflexively hides her hand in her lap, but then leaves it settled upon the sofa cushion beside herself. "Mm… yes… I- I suppose it does. Though… I'm not quite sure when." She hesitates, peeking up at Rena from over the brim of her cup. "It… it's still so new to me. All of this. What about you?" Her dark gaze flickers to Rena's own ring.

"Same boat as you, luv," Rena says with a lackadaisical shrug. "Still getting used to this train 'eadlight, even though I've been wearing it for a couple of months now; and I still don't know when we're getting married. I suppose it doesn't… matter much," her voice falls slightly, and her eyes wander over the glistening white ring on her own hand. The expression painting her features becomes somewhat wistful. "We just…'aven't really 'ad much of a chance to talk about it."
After a moment, her gaze returns to Rhyeline, and Rena smiles wryly. It's a half-hearted attempt at a smile at best: "I ain't even worked up the nerve to tell my dad that I'm getting married. I tried to tell 'im I found a young man and was in love… but when I explained who 'e was and what, all 'ell broke loose."

Rhyeline bites her lower lip. "I… I don't think that my father is too keen on Cassius… but… he gave his blessing. I- I'm sorry that- that yours isn't as- as understanding." She takes a small sip of tea. "Are… are you alright? Rena?" She hesitates. "You seem… like… you carry too many straws on your shoulder at once. I- I worry a bit about what one more might do."

"Apparently, being in love with an 'oriental' is not 'is idea of what 'e had in mind for 'is one and only daughter." Rena says somewhat bitingly, forming quotation marks in the air with her left hand at the word "Oriental." Sighing slightly, she drops her free hand to her lap. "God only knows what 'e'll say when I finally grow a backbone and tell 'im that I decided to marry the man." Nothing repeatable in mixed company, no doubt.
The question posed by Rhyeline is astute. Rena is good at keeping a cheery face on, but so many things have become skewed and gone wrong in her life over the last few months that it's getting harder to cope as every little grain of sand falls. "I'm… managing," she answers at length, forcing a feeble smile as her eyes meet Rhyeline's. "I 'ave too many things on my mind, these days. Maybe I need an 'oliday. 'Ave to wait till I'm married for that, though."

Rhyeline's eyes shine with concern as she watches Rena. "Does… does Takeshi know? He is a- a healer, yes? I… I know that they have their own burdens… but… he- he should be your- your solace… the one who- who helps you set aside the world for a time…"

Rena has never been anything but independent in, her own right. Standing on her own feet with head held high, no matter what comes barreling down the road at her. She's the support for /other/ people… and very hesitant to be a burden to others.
The redhead's shoulders slump slightly, and she looks rather far away for a moment before replying carefully: "I try my best not to trouble 'im more than necessary. It'd probably be better if I did. But I cause so much trouble already, and 'e's been working mad hours like I 'ave…"
Now, Rena is just making excuses and staring into her mostly empty teacup, tilting it this way and that, distractedly.

Rhyeline bites her lower lip. "I… I see," she murmurs, averting her gaze for a moment. "Well… I… I know how much it helps to- to have someone to talk to. And… I know that you don't know me well, but- but my shoulders are sturdier than they might seem. I'm… someone who will listen. And… and I can keep secrets." She peeks back up at Rena, meeting her gaze.

The smile flashed at Rhyeline may be small, but it is genuinely grateful. However, it's still plainly weighted down by some underlying sadness or worry. "I know you'd listen. But I don't like to put my problems on to other people. Not even sure I know 'ow." Rena says after a moment, faltering somewhat. "Way I was raised," she continues, somewhat helplessly, "You smile, no matter 'ow bad things may be backstage. Because the show must go on and there mustn't be a frown in sight." A faint sigh slips through, and Rena finishes the tea from her cup before smirking: "I've just been away from the stage too long. I'm starting to slip… but there's no going back now."

"I was raised to be silent… so… I'm not so good at it either. If- if it weren't for the fact that- that Cassius can simply read me so well… I doubt he'd have learned much of me at all," murmurs Rhyeline with a faint, sympathetic smile.

"You know what it's like to 'ave someone try to kill you," Rena says flatly, still looking into her now empty teacup. Maybe she's assuming too much from what little she's been told about Rhyeline's personal troubles, but that is her presumption. "Do you know what it's like to 'ave someone killed right next to you? Do you know what it's like to be told you're lower than the dirt every day you're alive? To be treated by people who ought to be your peers and juniors as if you were worthless? To know that you're right about something and to be passionate about it, but no one respects you or listens to you?"
After a moment, Rena laughs mirthlessly. "That ain't even the half of my problems either. I'm just a fool who got above herself and decided to bite more out of life than she could ever 'ope to chew or swallow."

"I… I know what it's like to be a mouse in a world of snakes and secrets. To be underestimated. Which… can be a good thing," murmurs Rhyeline as she sets aside her empty teacup. "And… I know what it's like to fight for something that matters… even when others thing you are naive or foolish… And… I do know what it's like to be looked down on because of my blood… I'm relieved that Cassius' aunt keeps to herself so much… because if she were to find out from the rest of the family?" The little one averts her gaze as she can't suppress a shiver of genuine fear.

So, Rhyeline is a mouse in a world filled with snakes. Oddly enough, Rena has been referred to as a fox on some occasions… and foxes have been known to kill and eat snakes.
"It's the Ismene Malfoys, Jocunda Sykeses and Brad Moodys of this world that are the bane to my sanity and almost make my job not worthwhile." Rena replies in a slightly sardonic way. Her relationship with three prominent Pure-Blood families leaves a good deal to be desired - or so it would seem. "But, if everything goes awry and I'm forced out of my job in the ministry on principle, I'm not going to stop fighting to unify people before Grindelwald's army of idiots gets a chance to create a bloodbath out of what could be a peaceful transition to a peaceful future."
Rena's demeanor has become increasingly agitated over the last few minutes, and now, fire shows in those dark eyes. She rises to her feet, unable to sit any longer.

Rhyeline watches, transfixed by the fire in Rena's eyes. Her eyes follow that flame like a moth as Rena paces. Slowly, Rhyeline rises and as her guest turns to double back again, the girl steps forward. There are no more than a few inches of difference in their heights, and yet, Rhyeline look up to Rena. Head slightly bowed, she peeks up at Rena through her lashes.
"I left my position at the I.M.C. so that I could better contribute to the fight against the darkness I saw growing on the continent. Now… the darkness has deepened… it has reached our shores. But… I won't stop. No matter how worried for me Graham becomes."
Rhyeline tries to take Rena's hands in hers. "We won't stop. And… things beyond your control should not trouble you. You need only be concerned with your own actions…"

"It's my /job/ to be worried about things beyond my control," Rena nearly snaps. But, finally realizing the grasp on her hand, her movements cease and the tightness in her shoulders begins to ease into a dejected slump. "Aurors are supposed to 'old back the darkness and keep others safe from the shadows. All I've done since becoming an initiate is fail." A slight pause, and then the young woman frowns deeply: "I can't even bloody negotiate with a /Vampire/ properly, for lord's sake!" …whatever that means.
Stopping for breath, the young redhead looks up at the ceiling in a beleaguered way that shows how truly harassed Rena feels inside, lately. Pulling herself together, she says: "I don't know what to do. I'm worried about the war our country may be facing. I'm worried about what's 'appening in Europe - especially with Germany. We've GOT to unite our people before anything worse 'appens, or else the country will be divided when the storm begins, and there won't be any time left."

"Things beyond your control are elements that you must consider when making your choices… but… if you worry… agonize over trying to change what you cannot, it will tear you apart. You can only bear the burden of your own choices… no one is meant to carry more." Rhyeline's thumbs brush across the tops of Rena's hands as the girl tries to soothe the young auror. She stands quite close, gazing up into Rena's eyes with a calm, steady stare.

It was no idle comment that the young woman made earlier in the conversation. Rena genuinely needs a holiday - and quite badly, by all indications. But the world seems to be spinning out of control right now. In fact, both worlds; there is no time for leisure.
"I've spent my whole life carrying other people's loads, Rhyeline," Rena says at length, her smile looking rather tired and worn thin. "I don't think I can stop. Not yet anyway. But something 'as got to be done before the tide changes and war 'appens. 'As Cassius made /any/ progress with the political side of things?"

"Yes… we are working to gain support at the Ministry… And… you mustn't worry about the politics there. You are meant for other things." Rhyeline hesitates, peeking up at Rena. She bites her lower lip and without a word, she tries to draw closer. The little one tries to embrace Rena gently, hugging her, because she seems to so desperately need it.

Rena still wishes her old life back. It seemed like a godsend to be taken under the wing of the Wizarding community at eleven years old. She had a future, a way out… Things just didn't turn out that way, at all. Sometimes, it really seems as though she would have been better off if she'd never laid eyes on Hogwarts. But, these circular thoughts are left unspoken as she simply relinquishes control and allows herself to be embraced by Rhyeline. Returning the hug warmly, she says muffledly: "I'm tired of feeling like my 'ands are tied. It's all well and good to work on politicians, but it's the /people/ who need to be won over."
Not that Rena is insinuating that Politicians aren't people… she wouldn't do that. Would she?

Rhyeline nods slowly, still clinging tight to poor Rena. "You… have such fire… Just… let it burn bright. It will affect those who are willing… those who will matter in this…"
The girl remains quiet and still for a moment before she tries to gently stroke through Rena's hair. "The world is a dark and dangerous place… I… I wish I had your courage… but… please… don't let fleeting things weigh on you… the derision some show… the little mistakes… that all will fade. I promise."

Rena sniffs after a moment and lifts her head. She has a very far away look in her gaze: "It's funny, when you're on stage; all you can see is the light, really. It's dark out there, but you don't see it - except around the edges. You know the dark is there, and that there are people in the shadows. Good people, bad people; people who fall somewhere in between…" She pauses, bringing her gaze back to Rhyeline before continuing. "Now, I'm part of the darkness past the footlights. I guess that's part of my trouble. I 'aven't figured out 'ow to survive out 'ere in the dark yet."
Smiling wanly, but appreciatively at Rhyeline for an instant, Rena adds quietly: "I 'ope that you're right about things fading. Someone needs to be sure of something; because I sure ain't."

"I am certain that you are meant to take to the stage… to raise the will among the masses to unite against Grindelwald… We must not let him decide the course of history…" murmurs Rhyeline as she rests her hands gently on Rena's hips. She offers her a small smile. Her eyes shine with trust. With faith.

A little hopefulness begins to return to Rena's eyes. The fire does not vanish, but it is far more under control, now. It helps to know that someone has a little faith in her, especially when she has so little in herself these days. "We won't let 'im decide. One man 'asn't got any right to decide the fates of the rest of the world around 'im. The people need to know. We need to stand together in this country of ours, or we'll fall apart, separately." Halting again, she sharpens her gaze on Rhyeline: "We need to rally people to Unity. Not just talk from one person to the next. There's got to be a way to get to more people."

"Would you be willing? To… to speak to so many at once?" murmurs Rhyeline tentatively. The thought seems to fill the meek creature with even greater admiration than before. Her eyes shine in quiet awe at the young auror.

Rena doesn't hesitate for an instant to answer: "Why, yes, of course." It hardly even seems like it was a question to her mind. "I don't see why not. I didn't do 'alf badly at the community forum, after all!" She adds with a confident smile. Some backlash may have come of her outspoken statement that was broadcast across the country, but overall, her words were taken with admirable respect.
"But I don't know 'ow to go about it. We can't just call for community forums left and right. Besides, people 'ave already slipped back into feeling complacent about the whole thing again because nobody's causing any trouble… well, except for the likes of those horrid criminals that instigated the Sykes gala crime. And that threw suspicion on Muggle-borns, which is going to cause us problems down the road."

Rhyeline nods. "There will be challenges, but… that is simply the nature of the world. And… it is in our nature to adapt… to make choices based on circumstances. Remember… there are choices you can make… and then there are the circumstances you must accept… That is- is what keeps me from… from paralysis… And… I hope it will help you from letting the world crush your fire."
Drawing close, Rhyeline hugs Rena a bit tighter this time. "It will be alright… Remember… you aren't alone."

Challenges are something that Rena can live with. As long as there is a clear mountain to climb, she will always be the first to put her foot to the stone and the first to offer a helping arm to those struggling behind her. It's all part of her nature.
The discouragement that showed so plainly in Rena's demeanor has all but vanished now, and she pulls Rhyeline into a brief bear-hug before letting her go. Her mind is working again, in a far more constructive way. The pacing is no longer that of a caged animal. There are things to do and things to think about, now. "What about the wireless? Are there ANY other shows that one could use as a platform outside of Moody's? There's GOT to be some opposition… isn't there?" None that she can think of at the moment. That's unfortunate.

Rhyeline gives a soft squeak at the tight hug Rena returns with. The little one watches Rena's energized pacing with a bit of a grin. "I can arrange an interview… or if you like, we can have an event where you engage with members of- of a crowd. It is for you to decide… what would you prefer?"

Rena's eyes remain fixed on the floor for a moment as she walks to and fro. Her pace is slow enough to not seem menacing, but the gears are most definitely turning inside. Pausing her movements momentarily, she turns on Rhyeline and considers carefully before replying: "Public interaction is better than just me speaking my mind. But will the public pay attention if they don't know who the devil I am or what the devil Unity is? We've been out of the public eye for a little too long. People forget things so easily from one day to the next."

"Well… I can have Cassius introduce you… or- or perhaps Edwarlinda could do it?" suggests Rhyeline as she clasps her hands behind her back.

Rena pauses yet again. Her expression hints of a wry smile. Already, there are those who murmur and whisper that Rena Lee is in the pocket of the Malfoy family - although this is far from the truth. The problem with such rumors is that there is no way to diffuse them. And one might just as well attempt to use them to one's advantage, that being the case.
"Edwarlinda 'as always been very kind to me," Rena replies meekly. They don't even know each other, really - and yet, the woman has stood up for her in the past. A gesture that is neither lost nor under-appreciated on Rena's part. "Mr. Malfoy as well," she adds quickly. "The latter might be a better choice though, as 'e isn't occupied with being a mum," she smirks a little here, good naturedly.

Rhyeline blinks, looking a bit confused at Rena's remark about Cassius occupied with being a mum.

Rena is about to resume her thoughtful pacing when she notices Rhyeline's nonplussed expression. She stares at the other woman with hands on her hips for a moment, and smirks: "It's a joke, luv. Edwarlinda is a… and 'e's /not/… oh, well, it doesn't really matter." She says this lightly, waving it off without a care.
"Oh, by the way, 'asn't anyone been assigned to watch over the Malfoy's 'ouse yet?" Rena then asks, distractedly. "Since the Ministry put out the order, I thought that one's guard duty would be snapped up immediately."

"Yes… someone's been on the house…" murmurs Rhyeline with a slow nod. Turning, Rhyeline slowly makes her way back to the sofa and curls up once more. "I could try to get somoene else to introduce you as well… a newer supporter. Perhaps someone from the Ministry?"

Relieved to hear that someone is on the assignment, Rena immediately moves on from that train of thought and back to the matter at hand: "As long as there's some way to bring Unity back into the forefront of people's thinking so that another forum can 'appen where people can actually ask questions and be 'eard. I've never KNOWN people to be so lackadaisical about things as the wizarding community." She says in exasperation. "No offense to them that does pay attention to the world around them; but most seem to think they live in an isolated little bubble that's never going to be intruded upon by anybody or anything else."

Rhyeline nods, averting her gaze. "Yes… I've- I've found the same trouble. But… people are scared. They are terrified to make the wrong choice. So… it's easier to make no choice… and to hide. They cling to preservation, even if that course of action will end with Grindelwald making choices /for/ us…"

"And that's exactly what we've got to make clear to people. By being complacent, they're letting a bully run their lives and make their decisions for them." Rena says firmly, nodding to her own words. Her convictions are strong - that much she can be given credit for.
"We also 'ave to make them understand that standing strong and uniting against a threat like Grindelwald is NOT a thing they will be alone in. The more people stand, the stronger the defense. Many voices are more powerful than just /one./
One could almost believe that Rena genuinely thinks that they can win this thing against the great wizard from Germany.

"Preservation is falling apart… it knows it cannot hold against the tide of Grindelwald supporters. There is too much on the continent out of their hands… already moving forward… The people are frightened… Unity is the only viable option… We need to stand united… And we need to act. We must pressure the Ministry to enact legislation that will end secrecy… we need to reach out to the muggle community before Grindelwald and his people try to enslave them…"

"Exactly!" Rena replies sharply, clasping her hands together, but pointing at Rhyeline with both index fingers pressed together. She might say more, but her lips purse slightly, and she draws a small sigh: "There's a whole 'ell of a lot of planning needs to be done. We can't just go about this all 'elter-skelter. There's got to be a methodical plan of action for bringing all this to the people's attention and trying to win them over to Unity. And I suppose that's where the likes of you and Mr. Malfoy come in. Orchestrate things properly from the background, say when and where - and I execute the plan when the time comes."

"That is my place… yes… I will do what I can to- to prepare the stage for you… for you to shine," murmurs Rhyeline with a soft, warm smile.

"I'll shine all I 'ave to to make this 'appen," Rena says with a faint smirk, "But this ain't about me. It's about the people about our country. I suppose, in a way, it's about the whole of Europe." For an instant, that awe-inspiring thought causes Rena blanch slightly.
Recovering herself with a small shake of her head, the redhead manages a smile: "I've got a lot of writing to do; ideas and so forth. I'd best be getting back 'ome so that I can set 'em to paper." By no means is she trying to be rude, but the long walk will do her a world of good. Her mind seems to function better when her feet are moving.

Rhyeline nods, rising once more to her feet. "Of course. If- if you like… you can send me what notes you compose… I often help Cassius prepare for events and- and it was something I did for the Ambassador as well…"

"That's probably for the best," Rena replies swiftly, already on her way to the door and throwing her coat on quickly and slipping back into her shoes. "Lord knows I ain't great shakes at that sort of thing, even if my speech went over well at the forum. Thanks!"
With renewed purpose in her mind and renewed energy in her step, Rena seems to be a good deal closer to her old, chipper self now. Nothing has really been resolved, but at least she has something useful to incline her energies toward again.
Rena is already out on the doorstep when her distracted mind remembers her manners. Hurrying back, she pulls Rhyeline back into a fast, strong hug: "Thanks awfully!" And with that said, she pulls away and trots down the stairs.

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