(1939-07-02) Dressing Down
Details for Dressing Down
Summary: Bannon has a serious discussion with Rena about her conduct as an Auror initiate.
Date: 1939-07-02
Location: Law Enforcement - Ministry of Magic
Related: Just the Beginning

The aftermath of the previous night's bank heist is not yet known; but Rena knows that heads are going to roll for what happened, and there will be hell to pay. However, these appear to be the least of the young Auror initiate's worries. This time, nobody can say that it's her fault - not to any large degree - so, she needn't worry too deeply about repercussions being directed at herself, personally. Whatever is weighing on her mind seems to be dragging her down quite badly during the quiet evening hours at the office. Nearly everyone has gone home, but the small redhead remains at her desk. Her arms are folded on the top of a good deal of paperwork, and her face is buried in them deeply. Believing herself to be quite alone, she does little more to hide the stifled sobbing.

Clack, clack, clack. The distance clacking of a walking stick upon a floor gets closer and closer toward the Auror office. It's not long before the be-suited, bowler hat wear Bannon Bates can be found entering the the Auror Office at this late hour. His face set in a serious mood, he makes a point to go past Rena Lee's desk, to see if she is, indeed, here.
"Please come to my desk and bring a chair, Miss Lee." He intones, barely stopping before he continues on to his desk in a different part of the office. Though, that being said, no desk is too far away from another. He sits, resting his walking stick against the desk, and placing the hat in the middle of it. From there, he takes some papers out of a drawer and starts to read them as he awaits the, hopefully quick, arrival, of Rena.

Beset by her own troubles, Rena does not react to the sound of Bannon's cane tapping on the floor until it's too late. His voice jars and startles her into an upright position, and she turns away hastily with a sniff to try and hide the telltale wash of tears on her face. Fortunately, he spares her an immediate lecture and moves along. This gives her time to pull out a handkerchief and tidy her appearance - at least a little bit, anyway. At length, she rises from her desk and puts a brave face on. Tugging at her prim suit jacket to straighten it, she begins the slow walk to join Bannon at his desk.
Despite Rena's best efforts, she still looks something akin to an ashamed child who has been called to the front of the class for admonishment when she arrives before Bannon. With her eyes slightly downcast, the young woman asks quietly: "You wanted to see me, Mister Bates?" Pulling a chair over from nearby, she puts it in place. However, one to stick to formalities, she remains standing until told to take the seat.

"Please, have a seat." Bannon says, motioning to the seat, after a moment, still reading over the pages in front of him. It's still a moment more before he puts the pages down on his desk and turns to face Rena. "I wish to speak with you in regard to the bank heist." He informs her, his tone steady, formal. "Most particularly in regard to particular matters of behavior that I noted from you that I felt were…less than adequate. I understand that you've had an especially difficult time, for someone so new, however that does not make me any less worried."
His blue eyes stare at her for a silent moment. "I did not wish to make a spectacle of my speaking with you, which is why I am glad you are still here. I merely wish for this to be a moment of learning, and perhaps a time to permit you to do some inner dialogue." His lips twitch, just barely, as if they're about to frown. He manages, for the time being at least, to continue to manage an impartial gaze. "Do you have any thoughts as to what I may wish to speak with you in regard to?"

Rena doesn't like this any more than Bannon does. In fact, she probably dislikes it a good deal more than he; however, there is nothing to be done. And so, she sinks into the seat before the senior officer's desk with a dejected air.
Throughout the older gentleman's prelude to whatever speech he intends on making to her, Rena stays silent as the grave. Her dark eyes remain fixed uncomfortably on the floor before her, and she seems less than inclined to remark on anything unless he requests a comment. Which he does, of course, and the silence lingers on for some moments before she finds her voice and says: "I ain't supposed to feel sorry for law-breakers. I ain't supposed to be phased by 'orrible things like… /that/. And I ain't supposed to rush 'ead-long into dangerous situations without backup." That would seem to just about cover it.

"Please, sit up straight. It does little good to shirk away from an unpleasant conversation. We've all been where you are sitting, in a variety of situations. Myself included." Prim and proper gets the job done…sometimes. Bannon offers a nod to her comments. "I would say to more so focus on the law-breakers and rushing into the dangerous situation without backup. Being 'phased by the horrible things', as you say, that affects as all. I would say that our job as aurors is to feel compassion deeply. To be empathetic to the suffering of others. It is how we allow ourselves to react, however, that is the imperative note to take away."
He takes a deep breath in and lets it out slowly. "I would say, what an auror must do to unwind after a case, or after a situation like yesterday, is up to said auror. In the midst of an event, however, we must let our compassion be ruled by our conviction to stop the foul deeds. And, once we are on our own, should we need to shed some tears in our down time, that is perfectly understandable." He sighs and shakes his head. "I must seem so heartless at times, putting on a face that appears indifferent."
Opening up a desk drawer, Bannon riffles through the items before pulling out a newspaper article. On the top it reads, 'Auror Nearly Dies, Killer Still Hiding'. Showing it to Rena so she can see, there's a picture of a younger Bannon, unconscious, in a bed at St. Mungo's.

Under Bannon's admonishment, Rena forces herself to sit up a little straighter. Her expression, however, changes very little. A small "Yes sir" is murmured, but nothing more as he continues to chide her for the things she most certainly did wrong during the heist. Oddly, when he remarks about unwinding after a hard case, her eyes surreptitiously drift in the direction of Arthur Nightingale's desk for a brief moment. But, then again, Rena is an odd duck even on the best of days.
Leaning forward slightly, she places her slim hand on the newspaper as she looks over the article Bannon presents to her. "Not your finest of hours I'm supposing, sir?" No, she isn't trying to be funny.

"That was a most defining of moments for me as an auror. One, luckily, most have forgotten. It was when I was a young auror. I was cocky, so very self assured in my own abilities that I believed I did not need the assistance of others to take down this mad man." Bannon explains. "But I was also angry. Angry at the world. Angry at the fact that I had yet to stop this man. Most of all? I was angry at myself. Angry that I had permitted this man to continue for so long, angry at myself that I had let him kill so many. I wanted to use the Cruciatus curse on him. I wanted to punch him. Very ungentlemanly, if I do say so myself." The last sentence is said with quite an air of pomposity often found among upper class families in Britain. "But I did not let the other aurors support me as they were meant to. Please, I do not believe I tell you this to admonish you. Remember, we are in this together. If you had ended up in St. Mungo's, you would have regretted it." He clears his throat. "And I would have been beside myself with guilt that I had not been able to prevent you from coming to harm."

Solemnly, Rena listens to every word that Bannon says as he relays the details of his story. But still, when he mentions how regrettable she would have found it to end up in St. Mungo's on her back, her lips part as if she might argue that point to some degree. However, be that as it may, she quickly relents and avoids the remark she might have otherwise made. Now is neither the time nor place for irreverence.
Dropping back into her seat, Rena silently stares at the top of Bannon's desk for a time before stirring a little and speaking again. "Every time I get called out on a real mission, it seems like somebody uses a bloody killing curse. One of the times, the witch almost used it on me. I interrupted 'er, sure as sure, but it could've been my 'ead. And that weren't even a mission! It were just a matter of visiting a friend in 'ospital…" That tirade ends, and the woman slumps and looks away unhappily. One can scarcely blame her for feeling as though she had a cloud of darkness following her. "I'm bad luck, I am."

"You are not bad luck, Lee. You are an auror. And being an auror means that you shall come across the Killing Curse more times than you had ever thought possible." Bannon responds. "It is a grim realization, but there it is. I have both witnessed the Killing Curse performed on others and had it attempted at me." Putting away his news article, he gazes at Rena for a long moment. "I am not going to report your behavior. This time. But I do suggest you attempt to find ways to cope with these situations when they are not occurring. If you cannot keep a strong constitution while you are in the field, others may start noticing. I believe you have great potential as an Auror. Believe in yourself and your ability to take command of the situation, and you can go far."

This wouldn't be the first time Rena has been dressed down by one of her elders and betters - within and without the office; and it will not be the last, in all likelihood. Naturally, she is grateful for the fact that Bannon won't report her conduct to Worthington… even if he did stipulate that this was a one-time get out of jail free card. Once again, without speaking her thoughts out loud, the young woman unhappily muses on the fact that it might have been better for everyone if she had stayed a showgirl. Life would be a good deal easier, quieter and painless. Instead, however, she merely murmurs her thanks.
"Yes sir," Rena repeats herself once more. "I'll do my best, sir." She adds, glancing up at the older Auror from across the desk… which seems to be a rather large expanse at the moment.

"Miss Lee?" Bannon raises an eyebrow, as if she's meant to read his mind from here on out. "I hope you are aware that you are able to speak with me any time you wish. If you ever need a person to speak to, about anything that troubles you, you may seek my assistance." He offers a little smile underneath his mustache. "I realize this job can be taxing on all of us. While I am sure you've others you may speak with, I just wish you to be aware that should my presence ever be required, I shall be there. Even if you just require a listening ear to unload an burdensome day upon. We all need people who can understand, or at least appreciate, the struggles we are going through." And initiates need a nurturing. It's not coddling, it's allowing one to become their own. Yes. That's it. That's what he's going for here.

Rena was not expecting the generous offer, and it plainly shows in the surprise visible in her expression as she raises her head to look more fully on Bannon. At first, she seems hesitant to believe that he means it; however, she knows well enough that he has nothing to gain from lying. A faint little smile tugs at the corners of her lips, and she gives a small nod: "Th-thank you. I'll remember that in future, sir. And… I appreciate it. It means a lot." She means it genuinely, too.
"'Owever, be that as it may, I really ought to be getting along 'ome." She says, rising to her feet before remembering that it's rude to do so without permission. Like a deer caught in the headlights, Rena stops abruptly and says: "That is to say, unless you need me to stay a bit longer."

"No need to thank me. Just do well. That's all the thanks I need." Bannon offers. "Hmm? Oh. No. Really. I should be off home as well. I've got to make sure my daughter is okay." Did he mention he had a daughter? "I shall see thee in the morrow, Miss Lee. Pleasant eve to you."

Judging by the look of mild surprise that touches Rena's features, she did not know that Bannon had a child. Somehow, that makes the man a little less frightening and forbidding - at least in her own mind. "I 'ope you 'ave a nice evening at 'ome with your daughter, sir. Good night," the young woman replies. Her voice is a bit more relaxed and her manner somewhat less dismal than when she came in. Will she actually learn from what Bannon has told her? Only time will tell.

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