(1939-07-30) Honor or Duty?
Details for Honor or Duty?
Summary: After the scene Rena caused in the MLE office earlier in the day, Elijah would like to discuss things with her, one on one.
Date: 1939-07-30
Location: Farin Braw
Plot: For the Greater Good
Related: Preceded By: MLF? Spies? & Profiling Snively
Followed By: Profiling Moody

An owl reached Rena Lee not too long ago with instructions from Elijah to meet her at Farin Braw. Nothing else was included in the note but those simple instructions.

Elijah, of course, arrived fifteen minutes before the time he specified in the letter. Time enough for him to scout out the location; make sure there aren't any nefarious types hanging around, or dragons masquerading as Victorian-era chandeliers, et cetera. Content in his examination, the man has found a seat at a table in the corner and the time for his meeting with Rena draws ever nearer.

They tell you that your life ceases to be your own when you get into law enforcement; that you are a public servant and that means you're on-call almost every hour of the day. However, life was never like this before the terrorist attacks. Rena has been alternating between running herself ragged and spinning her tires for days, now. There appears to be no end in sight, and no rest for the weary. The owl (sent by Elijah) caught her just as she was reached home, hoping to find herself a little time to catch a few winks of sleep. As this seemed destined not to be, the young woman dutifully left home again, heading for the Farin Braw.
Arriving more or less on time, she walks over to meet with the Hit Wizard. Her steps slow somewhat as she approaches, and she composes herself before arriving. His is a very charismatic and somewhat overwhelming personality, and she often finds herself in awe of him. Why he always casts a pall of shyness over her is something she doesn't know… "Evening, Inspector Lovegood." She says with a faint smile.

"Your contact is lying to you, Rena Lee," remarks Elijah, continuing to find joy in her name. He takes a sip from his glass of whiskey and waits to gauge her reaction, sliding her chair out from under the table with his foot.

Already Rena is disconcerted by Elijah's initial remark. She pauses with her hand on the back of the chair with a blank look in her eyes. The expression quickly shifts to one of slight dismay, however, and she slowly sinks down into the chair. Clearly, she is extremely disappointed in the development… even if it does save her an unpleasant trip into Mister Worthington's office.
"I don't understand," the young woman says unhappily, scooting the chair closer to the table. "How do you know for sure? What's happened?" She then asks, clearly trying her best to pronounce her H's correctly. Her Cockney flair seems like a sacrilege around people like Elijah.

"Well, you trust me, yes?" Elijah questions as he fishes a cigarette out from behind his ear and lights it. His eyes continue to move over the girl, his head tilting a bit before he continues, "I pride myself in being able to accurately profile people of various different natures. It comes with time in this job, certainly; but I've always had a certain knack for it. Snively's not your man, darling. I'm sorry."

The little redhead sinks back in her chair slightly, dropping her gaze to her lap momentarily as her cheeks tinge with colour. It's embarrassing to think of how sure she was of the information given to her, and the scene she caused earlier in the day. If she could sink into the floor and disappear, she would gladly do so in a heartbeat - especially with Elijah looking at her like that.
"Perhaps they were mistaken, then… Mistakes happen," she murmurs, still averting her eyes. "They could 'ave - have heard wrong, of course. Or else, they were meant to hear something wrong so that they would put forward a false lead." There are so many excuses for what could have gone wrong. Finally, Rena works up the courage to glance at Elijah, and she remarks with a weak half-smile: "I'm sorry, sir. You must think I'm such a fool, now."

"Or…and I know this probably sounds like I'm reaching, maybe they told you the wrong name on purpose? Snively's entirely too obvious on a surface level. You don't even have to think about it, do you? He's an angry little bastard with a stamp. But…he's also completely content with cabbage stew and middle-management. No way he'd risk all of that to end up in Azkaban."

The inspector leans back in his chair and takes a drag from his cigarette, "This all smells of conspiracy, but then again conspiracy keeps friendly bedfellows with terrorist attacks, doesn't it?"

"I suppose that's true enough," Rena says uncomfortably. More than ever, she would love to just do a good old fashioned vanishing act and flee the scene. How utterly humiliating… She's made a fool of herself in front of the whole bloody office. Not that that's anything particularly new or strange. She just never felt it so keenly before.
"I suppose there's nothing more to be said or done about it, then," Rena remarks with a light sigh. "Back to the drawing board, as they say." Pausing, she dares to look at Elijah apologetically and say: "I'm awfully sorry, sir. Sorry that I wasted your time and all… It weren't…/wasn't/ intentional."

Elijah reaches across and comfortingly pats her on the hand, "Rena, I once pegged a sparrow as an international art thief. We all have our moments of bad judgement; it comes with the job." He pats her hand once more and withdraws it to pluck the cigarette from his mouth, tapping it over a nearby ashtray.

"Now, on to the more pressing matter at hand," remarks Elijah with a sudden sternness, his eyes fixing almost harshly on the woman's features.

A Sparrow? That must be some story. However, Rena hardly has the presence of mind to ask about it right now. Her mind is wrapped up in so many things that she can scarcely deal with sorting them out anymore. The pat on her hand is a kind gesture, however, and she does appreciate it. She even manages to flash a grateful little smile in return.
Elijah's sudden change in attitude makes the young woman want to cringe. There's always a catch. Someone is always just a little irritated with her… usually with good reason. She's just so damn good at being a troublesome nuisance. "W-what's that, sir?" Rena asks in a very small voice, waiting to hear the worst.

"You need to tell me who your contact is, Rena." There is very little wiggle room in his voice. The coldness that he brings to an investigation is playing second fiddle to the ice that's hanging on the words he's using now. "I don't care if your contact's life could be in danger if you reveal him to me. I care that /your/ life may be in danger if you don't."

Worry furrows Rena's brow. Already, the anxiety and nervousness is creeping back into her heart, and she begins to slowly twist at one of her gloves between her hands in her lap. "But I can't tell you that, sir." She says in a pleading voice.
It's hard for her, but she does force herself to look him in the eye, begging him to understand: "With me it's different. I don't like it any more than anybody else, but my life being on the line is an occupational hazard, as they say. I'm an Auror, it's what I do for a living… Ironic as that sounds, come to think of it." Stopping, Rena shakes her head and drops her gaze again.

Elijah lets out a long sigh, "Within reason you put your life on the line, Rena. In the best case scenario this was simply a misunderstanding. In the worst case scenario, your contact is actively trying to sabotage an MLE investigation. Are you sure that you want to roll the dice on this just so Takeshi can get up and your funeral and say 'Well, at least she didn't give up her contact.'?"

Damn the man. This is a public place - a place of business - and here he is pushing her to the brink of tears where everyone can see it. And indeed, given the young lady's visible distress, a few distant customers have begun to glance in the direction of the Inspector and his lady-friend.
"I wish you wouldn't say things like that. But 'e wouldn't be proud of me for giving up somebody's name, either. 'E wouldn't be proud of me at all. Especially if it meant that I was putting someone else's neck on the line. It may be that he looks at me like I can't do no wrong, but that might just take the giddy biscuit and change his mind!"
Rising from her seat, Rena snatches up her purse: "It's my fault and my responsibility to find out the truth be'ind this. It'll 'ave to be if I'm to keep the person's name a secret." As if her workload wasn't already filled to overflowing… Sure, what's one more case to handle for a woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

"Rena," his voice has softened considerably, "please," he gestures to the seat she just rose from. "I'm sorry I had to do that to you, but I had to know your intentions were…well, above the mark. Please," He gestures once more and beckons for a cup of tea to be brought to the young woman, leaning back and crossing his legs.

"I only wish to help you," remarks Inspector Lovegood, the more familiar fatherly tone returning to his voice as he speaks, now.

Rena is torn between the overwhelming desire to run for the exit, and get home so that she can have a good cry - and staying to hear Elijah out. If she goes home, she goes to an empty house, completely devoid of any comfort or company. And she can't bear that very well just now.
Slowly, she resumes her seat and lays her handbag back on the table like a civilized woman. His tone /is/ very different now, and a good deal less frightening. "I'm sorry, sir," Rena says a bit shakily. "I understand… But honest, I don't 'ave personal feelings wrapped up in this. I want justice to be done, as always. I just can't justify giving away someone's name when they might die for it… when we don't know they meant any harm."

The tea arrives, and Rena is hard-pressed to lift the cup with a steady hand. But, she tries to put her best effort forward.

Elijah nods to her, "I understand, Rena. Honor is a big part of our job. To stand stalwart against the rushing tide of crime and injustice is a tricky task entrusted to only a few. But I see you standing alone. You're a young Auror who wears her heart on her sleeve with a burgeoning career and family. Do you know what that makes you to those who would have that tide break the levee? It makes you an easy target." He tilts his head, his gaze more comforting that incredulous. "I only wish you would place your trust in me, but seeing as how that is not the case, I shall not push the issue any further."

The young woman's shoulders slump and her head lowers slightly. It makes her feel very guilty to cause Inspector Lovegood to feel that she doesn't trust him. "It isn't that I don't trust you, sir. I do trust you!" She says, sitting forward anxiously, hoping that he believes her. "But this person trusted me with this information… with their life! I'd be throwing their trust away if I told anybody about them."
Reigning in her voice, she shifts her gaze uncomfortably around the room before saying more: "I only want to help everyone. I want it so badly… Maybe this person used me because I am stupid and easy to fool. But, if they didn't, I threw their life away." Shifting uncomfortably, Rena sighs: "Give me time to think. I…I need time."

"Of course. You can take all the time you need. I only ask…how would revealing their name to me put their life in danger? I'm not actually on the case. I was working a homicide down on the docks when I was pulled in to take statements like half of my department. The only dogs I have in this race are you and the protection of innocent lives," Elijah smiles warmly to her, and says, "You know, I actually see a lot of myself in you, Rena. The idealism, the unwavering sense of duty. It's refreshing, but I have to warn you that protecting everyone is, inherently, not a job you can do by yourself. Trust me. I sacrificed a lot of relationships and credibility on the road to learning that lesson. Hell, I'd have Ogden's job by now if I'd learned it sooner and didn't let this job drive me mad." Yeah, he knows what they say about him.

He leans back in his chair and takes a sip from his whiskey, his calm eyes resting on her features once more.

"I- I don't think that you're mad," Rena says softly, meeting Elijah's gaze. Not that she's the best person in this world or the next to make judgement on the sanity of others. People have increasingly whispered that she's losing her marbles at an alarming rate of speed these days.
"It's hard to explain. I just sound like more and more of a fool if I do. I don't know /how/ this person's life would be on the line if I told anyone about them… I only know that they told me it would. I took their word for it because…because life is too valuable to throw away." Her eyes return to her tea, and she takes another comforting sip of the hot brew before continuing. "I don't know what to do anymore. Aside from taking some time to think about it…maybe find out something on my own." She knows that her attempts at investigating would be feeble in comparison to the likes of Arthur or Elijah. She needs to let someone else in.

Elijah quietly remains reclined against the back of his chair, one leg crossed tightly over the other. A swirl of his glass releases a bouqet he's more than happy to inhale before he takes a short, calm sip from it. A short 'hrmmm' is vocalized very quietly,; almost an afterthought. His eyes continue to rest on her delicate features, but he doesn't say a work.

Rena realizes that Elijah is studying her again, and her cheeks fairly burn with a blush. Perhaps it's only the steam from the tea that causes the redness to rise in her pale features. However, her lips part, and she struggles momentarily against the urge to say something, only to lose in the end. Trying not to sound worried, she finally asks: "Why do you look at me like that, Inspector Lovegood? Do you think I'm the spy now?" Really, she might as well ask, under the circumstances. Although she has a feeling that isn't the case.

"Hrmmm?" Elijah vocalizes, his eyebrows raising. "Oh, nothing of the sort. It's just a habit, I suppose. One of the reasons why I can't manage to keep friends." He reaches up and taps his temple, saying, "This doesn't turn off."

"I don't understand why it would drive people away from you, though," Rena says with a tiny hint of a frown touching her features. The blush in her cheeks cools somewhat, and she takes another soothing sip from her tea. She can talk like a cockney guttersnipe at times, but she has a strange way of acting like a lady. Someone must have raised her well.
"I think it makes you very interesting," the young woman offers with a genuine smile. "I just never know what you're thinking from one minute to the next. I can't quite keep up with you… I suppose it spoils things to ask what you /are/ thinking?" She can scarcely help asking.

"Not everyone enjoys being constantly studies," Elijah says with a bit of a shrug as he raises his cigarette to his mouth for one last drag before he snuffs it out in the ashtray near the wall. He clears his throat and says, "I'm currently compiling a list of your known associates and running background checks based around known character profiles and my own personal run-ins with them."

Rena chuckles. "It's not so terrible being studied. I don't think anyone could uncover half of what's inside of me, though," she says with a little shrug. "I hang around a fair few people who might be called important, I suppose - but the people who mean the most to me are the ones who understand what want means." Now, naturally she doesn't mean want as in desire… she means the word in the sense of needing something, be it food, clothing, shelter, money - or all of the above. "We're a different breed of people from the rest. We grow up fast and we grow up hard. We become adults sooner than others, and if you're like me, you want to devote your life to never leaving a person in want that you can help… if you have a chance."
Pausing, the young woman finishes her tea and sets the cup down on the table. "So," she asks with a bemused smile, leaning on her elbow, "What do you deduce about me?"

"Cassius Malfoy, Brad Moody, Cruentus…" Elijah trails off silently pondering something to himself before his attention is once again snagged, "About you? Very little. Other than the fact that I like you very much and I'd like to see you succeed in this."

"Guilty on all counts," Rena replies with a faint half-smile. "When you line them up against a wall, they do look a very strange and different sort of people to spend time with, don't they?" She asks, somewhat glibly. Although there may be a little darkness behind the smile and a dimness to the light in her eyes, Rena doesn't feel shame for knowing any of these people. Of course, her fiance would argue that Cruentus is not "People" in the strictest sense of the word…
Her expression softens somewhat, and Rena tilts her head a little: "I hope you mean that, sir. I'd like to think you do - because I like you, too. And I'd rather people be proud of me than disappoint. I seem to be disappointing a great deal, lately. I'm trying to do better since Arth…well," she stops herself, "Never mind. It isn't important. I'd just rather not disappoint you, that's all."

Elijah slips some coins from his pocket and sets them on the table, having seemingly come to some revelation, "Excuse me, Miss Lee; there are some matters I need to attend to." He stands up, downing the rest of his glass of whiskey and grabbing his coat up. He slides the long coat on and straightens the velvet lapels, his eyes resting on Rena.

Of course Rena understands that she mustn't detain Elijah any longer. She's taken up a lot of his time, and undoubtedly been a slightly irritating guest to entertain. "I will…let you know if I can tell you about the person who sent the letter. I promise that, Inspector Lovegood." She'd rather leave things on a high note, even if she can only promise a /maybe/.
"Also, thank you for the tea, and just talking, sir," she adds with a smile. "I feel a little better now. I can face going home to an empty house without feeling so badly about it." Of course, Takeshi must still be sequestered away with the other healers, working feverishly to save lives. "So, thank you for that."

Elijah dips his head to her and says, "Any time, dear Rena. You know where to find me." He flashes her a smile and plucks up his fedora before placing it on his head and slipping out of the restaurant.

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