(1939-04-21) Chairs and Tears
Details for Chairs and Tears
Summary: Rena drops in by Arthur's house to beg for help in cleaning up a mess she's made.
Date: (1939-04-21)
Location: 10 Claremont Square
Plot: Forgotten Shadows
Related: Evidence and a Tipoff.

Indecision - it's not something that Rena Lee is known for. Normally, she just makes up her mind to do things on the fly and she dives in head-first before she has time to think; however, tonight, there is a distinct air of indecision in her demeanor.
The small redheaded woman walks by a row of upper-class brick townhouses, glancing pensively at one in particular. She passes it by… only to stop in her tracks and close her eyes. Deep breaths, Rena - deep breaths. She turns back, clenching her fists lightly. The look of uncertainty is replaced with a look of determination, and she marches herself up to the door. Faltering only a moment longer, one gloved hand is raised, and she presses the bell to announce herself. Whilst waiting for an answer, she quickly works to tuck away any loose strands of hair and brush any wrinkles from her clothing.

10 Claremont Square, from the outside it is quiet only one light on, though as the bell rings a few more come on and from the outside the sound of someone coming down the spiral stairwell can be heard, before the light to the entryway turns on and the door opens, revealing a shirtless Arthur in dress socks and a pair of dress slacks. Silently he stares at Rena for a moment, before opening the door all the way, "'ell come on in." he says turning and walking back into the entryway towards the stairs, knowing Rena will follow and close up.
The house seems to be decorated entirely in Jazz Deco, and Arthur's socked feet move up the stairs not waiting for Rena, "I'm in da den." he says softly behind him, waving his hand, somewhat dismissive. When Rena would make it to the second story and to the den, it certainly would surprise her, pictures, reports, sketches, clippings from the Daily Prophet, all pertaining to Ilbert Carrow float in the air, along with similar ones for all Carrow family holdings and operations. In the center of the room a chair sits out of place with a small table next to it, a large glass ashtray with a burning snipe sits in it next to a half empty glass of rum, with Arthur sitting in it, his eyes moving between everything slowly.

Somewhat reserved, Rena offers a faint smile as Arthur answers the door. However, there is a fleeting moment where she abruptly averts her eyes from him upon realizing that he is shirtless. Fortunately, he's off and away before she can say anything, and he doesn't bother to wait around and see the colour rise embarrassingly in her cheeks.
Softly, the door closes behind Rena, and she stops briefly to remove her hat. She's indoors now, and this is casual. Hat and pin are left behind at a table near the door, and she quietly walks up the stairs. Wide-eyed, she takes in her surroundings with a slightly wistful smile. She thinks his decor is fun and exciting. Just like him… No, Rena, stop thinking that way.
"Arthur, I…" She comes to a halt, her lips parted slightly as she looks at the massive amount of information floating around the room: "I'm sorry if I went an' caught you at a bad time. M-maybe I should…" Leave? Any excuse will do.

Arthur shakes his head still sitting in his chair, gesturing towards another one over by the desk, "Hoy, bloody nonsense, if yeh did I wouldant ah let yeh in." he says picking up his snipe and taking a long hard drag off of it, "He is out dhere, and I know it. Somewhere in all dis he is hiding in it." he says looking over at Rena for a moment, "But yeh didn't come here da talk bout Ilbert, did yeh?" he says with a chuckle, taking another drag off his snipe and sitting it back down in his ashtray, before standing up and walking over to a table with a haphazardly tossed dress shirt on it, as he slips it on he says, "What be on yeh mind, honey lips?" he says playfully, picking up a empty coffee cup and looking into it for a moment, trying to judge it, "Coffee?" he asks slowly.

Again, slightly flustered, Rena's eyes dart away from Arthur and down to her hands. In them, she clutches a handbag that matches her suit. She may not be a snazzy dresser, but she does dress sharply - largely thanks to the little time she spent with him before… before things went south.
"Yes, please," Rena replies to the offer of coffee; he knows better than to offer her anything stronger. She doesn't want to smile, but she'd damned if she can prevent it from showing through.
"I'm in a bit of trouble with a case I've been working on for a while," Rena admits, finally managing to look up at Arthur again. "It's one 'elluva spot to be in, but I made my bed an' I've got to lie in it - as they say. I need 'elp, though… From someone a good deal cleverer than I am."

Arthur pulls his wand out of his leg holster, Rena would know that he is always with his wand, perhaps paranoid or perhaps smart, the man sleeps with it for heavens sake. Tapping the brim of the mug, some lukewarm coffee starts to pour out the tip til it is full, before he moves with his shirt still unbuttoned and offers the mug to Rena, while sliding his wand back in it's place, "Eh, ain't da cleanest right now, but it be cleaner dhen anything yeh be finding on the East End." he says with a chuckle, gesturing towards the chair by the desk again, "Come now dake a seat already." he says shaking his head, before sinking back into his chair, picking up his snipe and taking the last drag off of it before snuffing it out.
"Hoy come off it, yeh be cleaver enough, no need da polish meh shoes, yeh know dhat." he says shaking his head, before running his hands over the little hair he has, "Whatca gotten yehself inda this time?" he asks, cutting her a sharp glance.

Never has Rena been confident in her intelligence. She isn't exactly polishing Arthur's shoes, so to speak. She genuinely believes that he's a good deal smarter than she, and as consequence of that, trusts him enough to come to him when she needs a wiser head to think things through.
Accepting the cup of coffee, Rena hesitates a little before moving over to a chair to take it. Barely having sipped the hot drink, Arthur puts it to her pointedly, cutting to the chase. He should know by now that the guilt-ridden look in those dark eyes means that he's hit the nail on the head. The trouble she is in, is something that she's brought upon herself.
Setting her cup aside, she unclasps her purse and withdraws a folded newspaper clipping from inside: "I went to the Forest of Dean a few months back to locate a grave. I 'ad to find it to prove that 'e was dead… because another Auror is using 'im as an excuse. She attacked Graham, claiming to 'ave been told by this informant that 'e was a traitor an' dangerous. But, the wrinkle is that this man's been dead for six years… I need 'is wand to identify 'im so Worthington 'as proof to take action." That sounds simple enough…

Arthur reaches over and picks up his glass of rum and takes a stiff drink of it before closing his eyes for a second. "So yeh need meh da help yeh robe ah grave?" he says slowly his eyes moving back over towards Rena, he has never been anything but blunt about pretty much everything. "Bloody 'ell Rena." he says resting his head back against his chair letting out a long and over exaggerated sigh. One she knows he uses when he is pretending to think.
"Also, 'ell Worthington should know she is, full of it. Cohen? Bloody 'ell if dhat man is a traitor and dangerous then I am the bloody King." he says rolling his eyes and taking another drink, though just a sip this time. Rena is all too familiar that Graham and Arthur have no love lost between them. "So if I don't help yeh, would it give Cohen some hell da deal with?" he asks playfully, a smirk on his face.

As Arthur speaks, putting the pieces together, Rena appears to be shrinking into her chair, slightly. "Well…yes an' no," she answers vaguely, her voice thin and strained. "See, I found the grave, but I 'ad the most godawful timing. There were some escaped Muggle prisoners on the lamb in the area. I was attacked by three men out there in the forest and knocked about pretty badly… The man who came with me saved my life, though." She explains, twisting her gloves between her hands and looking down at them pointedly. The incident still upsets her deeply, and she dislikes talking about it. This is the first Arthur has probably heard of the attack.
"I managed to get the skull from the grave, but nothing else." Finally looking up, there is a pleading expression in her eyes, begging him to understand: "I 'ad broken ribs and no 'ealer to fix me up. We 'ad to retreat with the job unfinished. And that ain't even the /worst/ of it." Her eyes drop again and she looks like she could just curl up and vanish.

Arthur sits the glass down on the table, pulling his wand out he waves it in a few quick gestures all the floating documents move slowly and float and stack neatly inside a few folders behind Rena on the desk, the folders closing softly on the papers. Giving a sidelong glance to Rena, he reaches over and picks up his brand of imported snipes, Spuds, removing the snipe he pinches it between his lips and retrieves the zippo off the table, flipping it open and sparking it to life, before lighting and taking a hard drag off it, sitting the pack and lighter back down on the table.
"So yeh, went grave robbing, bumped inda some whack jobs." he says nodding taking another drag off his snipe, "Got hurt, managed da steal dis guys skull, I might note yeh should keep him on yer desk, make a good paper weight." he says with a chuckle, "But now…" he says looking at her, "Honey lips, hurry up and spit it out." he says tapping the butt of his snipe, causing the ash to slowly float down into the ashtray, while the bluish grey smoke floats slowly up to the ceiling and lingers.

Actually, Mr Cooley's skull had graced her desk as a paper weight for some time… until Worthington decided to be all proper and enforce rules and regulations. Now, the poor man's bones languish in an evidence box.
Rena snatches the little newspaper clipping she had withdrawn from her handbag some moments before from her lap. She clutches it tightly while Arthur speaks. But then, with dark eyes flashing, she gives it a sharp fold and throws it at Arthur: "Oh, just read the bloody thing," she says sulkily. Taking up her coffee again. He's either going to want to kill her when he's done, or be slightly amused.

Upon unfolding the paper, Arthur will see a story from a local newspaper in the vicinity of the Forest of Dean. It's full of sensationalist writing, detailing the heroic shooting of the three escaped prisoners… but then, it moves on to the aftermath. "Local constabulary were baffled to discover disturbed earth near the scene of the carnage. Upon investigating further, an unmarked grave was revealed, in which the headless skeleton of a man was found. It is believed the man in question may have been a teacher due to the pointed stick he held clutched in his skeletal hand. Every effort is being made to locate information regarding missing persons in the education field. For the time being, the remains are being held by the local police."

Arthur rolls his eyes as she toss it at him, "Hoy!" he shouts at her picking up the clipping and taking another drag off his cigarette, tapping the butt he lets the ash fall into the ashtray. A sidelong glance is given to Rena, before Arthur suddenly breaks out in laughter. He is literally cracking up in his chair, putting the paper down and now trying to stifle the laughs escaping his lips, he looks over at Rena, "Ah Bloody 'ell." he says shaking his head, "Yeh should have planted da gun on the bones!" he s says starting to laugh again, "Dhat would have given em even more da try and figure out!" he says running his hands through his hair again.

At first, Rena looks across at Arthur indignantly. In fact, she looks downright insensed. "It ain't no laughing matter!" She exclaims, trying to look stern. However, his laughter is absolutely contageous. Despite her best efforts, she begins laughing, right along with him.
"Well, the cat's out of the damn bag, now," Rena says, trying to force herself to become serious once more… and failing rather miserably. A reproachful look is shot toward Arthur: "You see what kind of trouble I'm in! This 'as got to go down as one of the worst screw-ups in the 'istory of the M.L.E. Arthur, what am I going to do?"

"Hoy! It is bloody hilarious!" Arthur says to her, shaking his head, "A bloody teacher." he says shaking his head before taking a hard drag off his snipe. Looking over at Rena, "Nah, da worst is more then likely hiren meh." he says with a chuckle and a wave of his hand. Leaning in close to Rena, he looks rather serious, leaning closer and closer in. "Dis is da plan." he says looking right then left, "Yeh going da get da following, ah sixpence, a bottle ah rum and some fancy knickers, I got ah plan." he says nodding.

Completely sobered down, Rena regards Arthur without a trace or hint of suspicion. This IS serious business, after all. She came to him in her hour of need, and she trusts him. And so, she leans in as well as he seems to be ready to outline a plan. She's all ears…
A sixpence - she nods, a bottle of rum - she nods, a pair of fancy knickers - she nods… "Hoi! Wait 'alf a tick!" Rena's expression changes in an instant, and she is up on her feet just as quickly; giving Arthur a pointed shove to push him back into his chair fully. "You bastard, what do you think I'm going to do with that? Toss the guard a sixpence for a drink of rum and then seduce 'im with my knickers?" Crazier plans have been hatched before…

Arthur rubs his chin for a moment, taking the final drag off his snipe, before snuffing it out. "Nah, yeh are going da go get it and yeh are going da change into the fancy knickers, drink a couple glasses, spend da night." he says with a shrug and a smirk, "Dhen in the morning we flip da tanner and if it is head we knock out a Bobby steal his uniform and dhen steal da wand and run like all 'ell, or if it lands on tails I pretend da be da widow coming da claim da body." he says with a small shrug.

Standing over Arthur in his chair, Rena looks down at him like a scolding teacher for a moment. The real /plan/ is revealed, and the redhead falters momentarily. Backing away a step, she replies quickly: "Y-you know I can't, Arthur." Her pale features become tinged with a hot blush; quite revealing and extremely self-conscious at the same time. Oh, she could get away with it. Her job often causes her to simply NOT come home at night. She could use it for an excuse any day of the week, and her trusting, loving fiance would buy it. But, her conscience won't allow for it.
Lacking alcohol, Rena takes up her coffee and takes a sharp drink from the cup so that she doesn't have to look at Arthur. "I just… can't." He may be cruelly joking with her, but she takes it seriously.

Arthur simply runs his right hand through his short hair for a moment, he just offers Rena a simple smile. "I miss you Irene." he says slowly with a smile. Though he doesn't press the issue, he picks up his glass and in a quick swig downs the rest of it before pushing out of his chair, his hand pulling out of holster, with a wave all the papers shoot out of the folders and scatter across the air, floating. Holstering his wand, he moves before one the sketches, not looking at Rena any more, his arms crossed and he stares at the sketch, "I'll help yeh ah course." he simply says now, focusing on his own case again.

He says her real name. Most people don't do that… almost no one does. For some reason, when he says it, it causes a small pang to go into her heart. Her lips part, and she wants so badly to say that she misses him, too. But, he already knows that, surely. She says it without breathing a word - and often without meaning to.
Closing her eyes for a moment, Rena swallows again and pulls herself together out of a tailspin. Making an attempt at her familiar, sweet smile, she turns to Arthur saying: "Thanks, ever so much…" Only to see that he isn't looking at her now.
She takes a step toward him, almost lifting her hand; but then, she withdraws, knowing better than to even touch his shoulder. It's just better this way. "I'll let you know when I've made arrangements for the trip. Best let you get back to your work." She says with a small smile, now heading for the stairs.

Arthur nods, "Right." he says slowly, his eyes staying focused on the sketch. He can't look back now, he just can't. He wishes deep down inside he didn't still love her, he wants to believe she still loves him, but he knows better, he needs to ignore that little voice in the back of his head, that ache in his chest. "Anytime, Rena. Yeh know yeh can come da me with anything." he says nodding, closing his eyes.
"Yeh keep yehself safe." he tries to say it softly, but it comes out more as a mutter, "Yeh know how da get out, I dhink I may have found a lead, with Ilbert." he says with a small wave of his hand, the same excuse he always gives her when his heart can't bare the conversations any more, when his mind can't accept looking into her eyes. When it kills him to see her smile.
"Hoy! And do meh a favor, quit stealing people's skulls." he says shaking his head, his hand moving and tracing a random part of the sketch with his finger. Rena is no idiot, she knows he is on to nothing, that he doesn't see anything, he knows it deep down, but he just can't right now.

Rena stays rooted at the top of the stairs, unable to leave at first. Something about Arthur always makes her want to run back and throw her arms around him and… Of course, she can't do that.
"Don't stay up too late, Arthur," she says, forcing herself to sound lighter than she truly feels. Their visits always seem to end that way. Him telling her to stay safe, and her telling him not to stay up too late. The habits people get into when nothing else will fill the gaps of silence.
Taking the first step, she hears his last remark about stealing skulls and stops again. He may not see her smile, but he can hear it in her soft laughter. "No promises," Rena replies lightly. She then trots down the stairs while she has the chance tear herself away. A moment later, the door clicks shut, and she is out on the dark street. A long walk… that's what's needed.

Arthur stands there, silent til he hears the door shut behind Rena, he turns quickly on his heels grabbing the wooden chair and tossing it across the room into the wall, causing the wood to splinter and break, his case files to scatter, his eyes close for only a brief moment before he walks over to the wall next to his desk and flops down next to it, his shirt still open. His hand pulls open the drawer pulling out a half empty bottle of rum, closing his eyes and tilting his head back, he takes a hard swig right out of the bottle, keeping his eyes closed as the random sheets of papers continue to float down to the floor. "I'm sorry…" he whispers softly to himself.

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