(1939-06-24) Bridge Over Troubled Water
Details for Bridge Over Troubled Water
Summary: Guy finds Rena in distress on London Bridge.
Date: 1939-06-24
Location: London Bridge
Related: Guilty Bones and Skipping Stones

It would have to be an extremely late hour in the evening for traffic to calm down to a slow trickle on London Bridge. However, despite the lateness of the hour, some few solitary people make their way across, either by foot or by vehicle. One of these people is a fairly diminutive, young redheaded woman who walks slowly, looking as though she's holding a heavy burden on her shoulders.
Pausing with a small sigh, Rena edges her way over to the far side of the bridge and looks down at the water lapping far below. Leaning tiredly against the wall, she brushes her cheek with the back of her hand to wipe away a stray tear. She's obviously been walking for a long time, and apparently not with happy thoughts weighing on her mind.

Guy is strolling back over the bridge from Southwark, back towards the City proper, smoking a cigarette thoughtfully. He spies the small figure, and pauses a moment, "Rena?" He says, as he approaches closer.

The voice causes Rena to start a little. She wasn't expecting to meet anyone who might recognize her, not in this of all places.
In a moment, her dark eyes fall upon Guy, and she can scarcely help chuckling at her own nerves. "Mister Grosv… Guy," she says, sniffing a little and lifting her chin. She can at least make an attempt at a smile - a poor one, but a brave try. Of course, anyone with the slightest sense of perception can tell that she's not herself at all. "'Ow nice. I 'aven't seen you in a long time."

Guy nods, moving closer, and producing a young white flag of a handkerchief from his pocket, "Duties. You understand, I'm sure." The handkerchief is handed over. "You eaten yet?"

For a moment, Rena hesitates to accept the handkerchief. But, it's pointless to try and deny that she's been crying when it's so blatantly obvious.
"Thanks," She says in a small voice, taking it from him at last. Turning away slightly, she uses the handkerchief to get her face back in order - and the time to pull herself together a little more. "N-no, I… I ain't. Guess I've just not been 'ungry today." She answers truthfully.

Guy nods, briskly, "Then shall we find somewhere suitable? I'm sure we can find a place to eat… and for perhaps a drink or two."

"I don't think I…" Rena begins to answer, her expression looking more and more like a person who's on the run from something or someone. But, after a moment, her tight shoulders slump a little and she swallows back the inclination to find an excuse to say no. "If it ain't no bother. M-maybe I could manage," she says, finally coming away from the wall. "You're always so kind to me."

Guy gives a brisk nod, all practicality, "I find that if I haven't eaten, everything seems awful. And your sleep?"

Rena begins to walk with Guy. Of course, she knows that he's right about food. When your mind is full and your stomach is empty, the world tends to seem a good deal more grim than it otherwise might. "I suppose I 'aven't exactly thought that out…" She admits when he asks about her sleeping arrangements. She feels rather foolish admitting that. But, it would seem she hasn't really thought through anything very clearly.

Guy's brows lift, "Ah. A slight marital tiff?" Clearly he'd meant HOW she was sleeping. Not where.

In the dim light, Rena's cheeks tinge rather quickly with red and she focuses her eyes on the street ahead. Rubbing her arm with her hand uncomfortably, she tries to find some way out of the hole she's already gone and dug herself into. "Not exactly," she answers at length, her voice somewhat strained. "Takeshi and I… we never fight about anything. 'E deserves better is all."

Guy exhales a cloud of smoke, then flicks the cigarette over the edge of the bridge. There's a muffled cry in the background a moment later of, "Watch what yer doing yer nasty bar-steward. Some of us WORK on the river, you know". Guy of course doesn't react to things happening off the main screen, instead stepping towards you, "Isn't that rather for him to decide?"

Slightly startled by the cry of outrage, Rena is shaken momentarily from her inner thoughts. However, Guy brings her back to the conversation immediately with his question.
It's very hard for her to look the man in the eye. Only briefly does her gaze drift his way before she returns to looking at the pavement and twisting the handkerchief in her hands: "If it's a choice between breaking 'is 'eart so 'e can decide for 'imself, an' just doing the 'onorable thing by everyone and disappearing…" Her voice becomes clouded again as tears threaten to overtake her once more.

Guy says, "Honestly, doing the 'honourable thing' is stupid. Do the _right_ thing, if you must, but you don't think you vanishing is also going to break his heart? And without you there to help mend it."

Guy's words bring the tears to a stop, at least. Drawing herself up a bit, Rena swallows them back and looks squarely at the man: "I don't /know/ what the _right_ thing is anymore. There doesn't seem to BE a right answer 'ere."
Quickly looking away, Rena gets her voice and temper back under control. Obviously she's on edge, and can hopefully be forgiven for small outburst.

Guy produces a packet of Woodbines from his pocket, and produces one for himself, then offers the packet to you, "Sounds like there's some explaining to do?"

Rena looks to the packet and shakes her head, murmuring a subdued "No thanks."
For a long moment, the young woman struggles internally with the question. Keeping it inside as she has been, it's begun to eat her alive. If she didn't have such an overactive conscience, none of this would be an issue.
"It's 'ard to explain," Rena begins. "And it ain't exactly a short story…" she adds, almost hoping that Guy would tell her never-mind then - even if it is tearing her apart.

Guy lights the gasper, inhaling, "Right. Well, best tell it as we walk to find dinner, then!"

Again, Rena's shoulders sink under the weight of her invisible burden and she breathes a small, dejected sigh. There's really nothing for it. At least Guy isn't liable to be judgmental about anything she says. That much she can count on.
"You might be surprised to 'ear this… but there was another man before Takeshi and I ever met. I just didn't like talking about it because… because of the way things went between us," Rena begins her story. "'E grew up a lot like I did - worse, in fact. Once 'e got away from it all and became an Auror, 'e decided 'e wouldn't ever live poor again. When we met, it was all like being snatched up in a whirlwind… Dancing, jazz music, 'igh life." Here, she can't help but give a small, wistful smile. "When things were good, they were lovely. But - but we fought a lot. And when things were bad, they were dreadful."
Of course Rena must be going somewhere with all of this, even if it doesn't seem particularly sensible in the present.

Guy gives an absent nod, "Known situations like that. Living on the edge, so living to the maximum when you can."

Now, Rena's expression falls as she goes on. "Long story short of it though… 'e wasn't exactly faithful to me in the end. 'E was sleeping with another…" She doesn't finish the sentence. Instead, she crosses her arms and hugs them to herself. "When we broke up, it was a bad break. Especially since we work in the same office. We just made a point of avoiding each other as much as possible, and it worked for a while."
A heavy "But" lingers in the air for a moment before Rena finds her voice again. "Since I got engaged and all, I tried to smooth things over and not keep a private war going in the office. We went on a mission together not long ago… and…" the young woman's footstep falters with her voice. Desperate, she looks up at Guy: "I don't know what 'appened. When 'e said 'ow sorry 'e was for everything 'e'd done - I don't know what came over me."

Guy gives a bit of a nod, exhaling smoke, "I see! Well, worse things happen at sea. There's no need for Takeshi to know, is there?"

"I tried to tell myself that," Rena admits, shamefully. "But… but what's the use? It is /worse/. I know it don't make any sense. I know it makes me some kind of a 'orrible person… I love them both, Guy. For very different reasons, but both of them equally." The crumpled handkerchief is held to Rena's face as she stifles a little sob on the brink. "I can't give up Arthur any more than I can Takeshi. And it's not fair to either of them, even if 'e DID say: Marry Odori. Just as long as I can 'ave this part of you, I don't care."

Guy's brow lifts, at 'that part'. Then he takes a deep inhalation on the acrid smoke, "Well, you're going to have to make a decision, aren't you?"

The decision is exactly where Guy found her, not long ago. The decision to disappear and no longer hurt the people she loves. Although one could argue that running away solves nothing, and is the ultimate act of cowardice. "I don't know what to do," Rena admits with a helpless shrug. "'E's 'appy to leave things as they are. Let it be a secret that Takeshi never need know about. Just so long as we can 'ave that small part of each other. But… but it ain't right, is it, Guy?"

Guy shrugs, "Why not? I doubt the husbands of my lovers know they weren't virgins when they came to the marriage bed." There's a faint smile, "You don't swear to be faithful until the wedding, after all."

Rena listens carefully to Guy, weighing his every word against her already overburdened conscience. There is some truth and justice in what he says. In fact, it echoes some of the excuses she's tried so desperately to convince herself of since the incident. "But, what about after?" Rena asks faintly, her gaze staring ahead of herself into the mist.

Guy says, "Well, depends how seriously you take vows, doesn't it?"

"What good am I as a wife? Even if I love Takeshi with all my 'eart and want to 'ave children and all… While on the side, I want to be in another man's arms at times because 'e's the piece of me that I wish I didn't need. And yet, I do." Rena says despairingly, obviously frustrated with herself to no end. "Nothing makes any sense. I /don't/ make any sense."

Guy exhales another puff, as he ambles gently along, "Take a husband and a lover? It's very French and Bohemian."

"But… 'ow is it fair to either of them?" Rena asks, looking sadly at Guy now. "Especially to Takeshi - who never 'urt anyone in 'is life. Never did a gentler, kinder man ever live. Doesn't 'e deserve better than… than me?"

Guy says, "Well, doesn't he deserve a say in the matter? I mean, he may prefer a share of you, to none at all. But it should be his decision, don't you think?"

This gives Rena an uncomfortable pause for thought. Having to face Takeshi with the awful truth of her guilt… that's exactly what her cowardly side didn't want to do. "That's the right thing to do, is it?" She asks in a small voice. "You don't think it's better if I just go away before I 'urt anyone more than I already 'ave?"

Guy says, "Because that will just add at least two and probably three to the numbers injured, won't it."

Again, Guy's words silence Rena. Somehow, in all of this, no one has been able to talk real sense into the confused girl's head. But now, the turmoil has begun to calm, and Guy has given her some clarity and direction. However, after wiping away a couple more tears that have strayed onto her cheeks, Rena looks at Guy unhappily and asks: "Are… are you ashamed of me, Guy?"

Guy bursts out laughing, and then suddenly realizing that it's probably not helpful, he shakes his head: "No. No, of course not. As I said, I've had many lovers. Are you ashamed of me?"

Realizing that Guy doesn't mean any harm, Rena isn't hurt by his laughter. "No, I'm not," she answers quietly. "Despite what some people think of you," (of course she means Graham) "You know I still say you're a good man. And I respect and admire you a lot."
At last, Rena does manage to look at her friend and offer a small, but genuine smile.

Guy offers his arm, "So, what's the worst? You lose one or other of the men. But in the best? Well, problem sorted out."

It almost seems a hundred years ago, now… That night in Diagon Alley when Rena first encountered Guy, when the snow began to fall and he offered her his arm as they walked together. There's something comforting in remembering that. And so, she slips her arm into his once again.
"I know you're right. I just couldn't sort it out myself without someone to 'elp me. I should've known you'd understand better 'n anyone." Rena says, sounding a good deal more like herself. "Thanks for being… well, for being you, Guy." She then adds in her sweet, simple way.

Guy chuckles, "You mean old, depraved, and generally cynical?" There's a little of his habitual gruffness there. And naturally the walking is slightly slowed by his limp. Although it's less, perhaps, than previously

Rena can scarcely help laughing at Guy's description of himself, but she doesn't answer. It's his openness and outright honesty that make him so helpful in times of trouble. She can depend on him telling her the absolute truth without any sugar-coating to sweeten the pill. Sometimes, that's what's needed.
Coming more to her senses, Rena glances down as she realizes the limp isn't quite as severe as she remembers it being in the past: "Guy, is your leg feeling better?" She asks with hopeful curiosity. She's always wished that something could be done to help his old injury.

Guy admits, quietly, "A healer at St Mungos has been trying various things. Some of them ease it. Turning better to the left in the air, too."

Now Rena /has/ to smile. "That's wonderful!" She begins to say, quite a bit more loudly than intended. Realizing this, she controls her voice and tones it down quite a bit. "I'd forgotten you were with Kahren there, some time ago - I'm supposing it's 'er? Maybe it won't ever make it all better, but anything to lesson the pain and all. That'd be grand."

Guy nods, "Yes, it's her. Smashing girl. Good with her hands, and potions, and things."

Rena replies: "She's awfully nice. She's always seemed very kind to me, from what little time I've spent with 'er." Naturally, Kahren is a co-worker of Takeshi's, and they do cross paths on occasion - especially if Rena goes to meet Takeshi at work for any reason. "I'm so glad you decided us witches aren't all evil and mean 'arm. She only wants to 'elp you as much as I want you to 'ave it."

Guy gives a little grunt, "They're not all like you, you know. I attribute it to you being brought up… you know… as a real girl."

"I suppose there's some justice in that," Rena admits. Although her opinions of people more deeply steeped in wizarding society are hardly glowing, they aren't quite so harsh as Guy's. But still, she feels they could all do with a bit more integration and a shot or two of reality every so often. "I wouldn't change places with any 'alf or pureblood. I'm glad I was born and raised in Wapping and spent my life around all manner of people in the theatre… even if it weren't ideal. I don't regret it at all. I'm only sorry so many 'ave done you wrong among witches and so forth, Guy."

Guy gives a shrug, "I'll survive. I'm a big boy. But I don't think you can sit in isolation in your own little world this time. Not in the storm that's coming."

"You know I'll keep on doing what I can to that end," Rena replies softly, glancing off into the distance. "I rather made a muddle of things with the Unity Party, what with overstepping myself and 'aving my own opinions about things so that Mister Malfoy threw me out on my ear. But, I'll keep trying to convince people." A faint but helpful smile is given here. "And even if nobody else in the Wizarding world ever listens, the boys of the air force 'ave one witch on their side - for whatever that's worth." She adds, for a bit of mirth.

Guy says, "Oh, a lot, I'm sure." He rubs his chin, "The French will be their usual selves, I suppose."

"Their usual selves?" Rena asks curiously. "I suppose they'll try their best like anybody when the time comes, don't you?" It's an innocent question, coming from one who knows only what little she learned of The Great War from listening to people like Guy speaking of it during her lifetime.

Guy laughs, "Oh, they're good fighters, but they DO grumble!"

Rena chuckles and shakes her head. She also gets a far off look in her eye, glancing at the sky: "I'm a better flier now. I promised I would make myself learn to do better, remember? I know I can't ever do as much as a plane, but, just don't forget 'ow quiet and inconspicuous a girl on a broom can be if she's careful. If you never need a secret weapon or someone to spy on things, I'm your girl." Nobody would ever technically have to know, would they?

Guy gives a thoughtful nod. "Well, may come a time when that'd be handy. I don't suppose you could carry explosive charges on a broom?"

"Probably not a lot." Rena muses, completely distracted from her troubles by these thoughts. "Brooms can carry some extra weight though, if you manage it carefully and 'ave a way to attach them proper." Any other witch would probably be appalled at even being asked such a question, but Rena is always game for such hypothetical thinking.

Guy nods absently, "A small bomb in exactly the right place would mess up a runway, or a fuel dump, or something like that."

"Ooh!" Rena exclaims, wide-eyed. "That'd be marvelous! Just stop the planes from taking off, and they're stuck there until they get things repaired!" Clearly, she's already carried away with the idea, judging by how tightly she squeezes Guy's arm, and that far off, devious glint in her eyes. Brooms do have an advantage over planes. They can take off and land almost anywhere, and as she mentioned before, they have the added advantage of silence.

Guy gives a nod, "Been thinking about how things like that would work." Which must be tricky for him, since he can't explain it.

"Of course, your superiors couldn't know about it, could they - if it came to that?" Rena asks, her shoulders drooping a little. "It'd get you in trouble because they'd say: You're a madman. No such thing as witches." Pausing, she looks up and thinks. "But 'ow would one work around it? There'd 'ave to be a way."

Guy says, "Oh, I'd need to look at the actual situation. But yes, ways and means."

The fact that Rena is so eager, ready and willing to do something as completely outrageous as carrying explosives via broom into enemy territory… well, it should give anyone pause to think about the mind of this woman. But, at any rate, her heart is in the right place - for king and country.
"Just remember, you can count on me for anything, Guy. If it comes to war, all you 'ave to do is call for your little friend and she'll be there, ready to do what's necessary." A cold determination shows in her gaze briefly, but it soon softens down into a small laugh: "Maybe I'm just 'alf giddy from 'unger, but I feel like I can face things now. And keep my eyes a'ead."

Guy gives a faint smile, "Right, well lets fold some chops into that stomach of yours, and find you somewhere for the night."

Rena smiles at Guy gratefully as they head toward a promising place to find food. He's an unlikely hero - but the best kind so often are. He's saved her from herself, essentially, and stopped her from making what could have been the biggest mistake of her life. It won't be easy to straighten out the mess she's gotten herself into by any means; but now, at least he's given her the willpower to try.

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