(1939-07-31) Unshouldering the Burden
Details for Unshouldering the Burden
Summary: After thinking long and hard, Rena decides that she needs to reveal the identity of the contact who accused Snively of being a spy.
Date: 1939-07-31
Location: Law Enforcement
Plot: For the Greater Good
Related: Honor or Duty?

Rena has been incredibly quiet all day. Of course, everyone has been knocked for a loop since the terrorist attacks and nobody is quite acting like themselves; but Rena has been particularly subdued and thoughtful all day. Hiding behind her desk for as long as possible, waiting for the main room to become relatively quiet and empty as the day drags on toward evening, she finally makes a decision - and makes her move.

Rising to her feet, she slowly makes her way to Worthington's office door. Typically, she's been summoned there for scoldings and repremands in the past, but now, she appears to be turning herself in to some degree. Hesitating as she reaches it, the young woman swallows hard and closes her eyes before raising her hand to knock.

*Tap - tap - tap* Followed immediately by a timid - but all too familiar - little voice asking: "Mister Worthington. May I have a word, sir?"

The secretary by the door gives Rena a withering look. "You cannot simply-…"

"Come in, Lee," the muffled voice from within the office cuts off the secretary. The door clicks and swings open. From behind his desk, Worthington sets down his wand and beckons Rena forward with a curt wiggle of his fingers. "I've been expecting you. Come, sit."

Rena stops in the doorway, casting one half-backward glance behind her. Uncomfortably rubbing her arm with her hand, she breathes a heavy sigh and enters the room. Whatever is on her mind seems to bear a great deal of weight, and she's not wholly alright with the idea of unburdening herself on Worthington. But, she's here now, and there is no turning back.

Closing the door quietly behind her, Rena approaches the boss's desk without taking a seat. The situation is too uncomfortable for sitting. "Sir, I've spent the night and 'alf the day trying to figure out what I've got to do. Fact is, battling it out in my own mind, I've come to the conclusion that it's a problem of choosing between Duty and Honor." She may seem to be babbling, but the look in her dark eyes is serious and sincerely troubled. "As a person, you can 'ave a code of honor and principles - but no matter how good they are, they're still personal feelings in the end. As a public servant, your duty comes first… And my duty is to keep the public safe if I can. I've got to tell you who sent the information about Sinvely and the MLF. I couldn't tell Inspector Lovegood, because 'e isn't in charge. You're my boss, and you wouldn't be sitting behind that desk if you didn't know what you were doing. So, I can trust you to do what's right…"

"I certainly hope so. Lee…Rena. Relax. Take a breath." Worthington rises from his seat, moving around his desk to lean against it, so it is no longer between them. "Now, you believe that you cannot keep the peace if you maintain your source's anonymity? That's a hard place to be. I've been there myself."

Realizing that she's already worked up to a near-fever-pitch already, Rena checks herself and does steady herself with a tight little breath before trying to explain herself in a more coherent manner. "This person trusted their safety to me, sir," she says sorrowfully. "I don't know if they're lying or not. I'm gambling with their life right now. If I tell you who they are, they may die. And if they do… I'll never be able to forgive myself."

Dropping her gaze to the floor, her hand toys with the silver necklace charm that just looks like a Japanese character. Few know that the symbol means courage. "But, if they are lying, and if they've 'ad something to do with these terrible things, it could mean things will get worse and more people will be hurt. I couldn't live with myself if that happened, either. Seems I can't win this one."

Slowly, her eyes drift back up to meet with the Chief's, and Rena says very simply: "The letter, the poem… they both came from Brad Moody."

Worthington stands, leaning against the desk, with his arms crosses comfortably before him. He nods as he listens, considering all she is saying, finding familiarity in much of it. When she speaks the name at last, his lips part in a quiet, "Ah." He strokes his chin, choosing his words carefully. "I cannot say I'm entirely surprised. Tell me, what was it that caused you to think that he might have been dishonest with you?"

"I don't want to believe he's been dishonest with me, Sir," Rena pleads, trying very hard to control the emotion in her voice. "Maybe he hasn't. Maybe I just condemned him to die!" Her grip tightens on the necklace pendant, and she takes on a very bewildered and upset demeanor as she drops into the seat offered to her earlier.

"There are so many possibilities. The people he overheard! They might've been lying to fool him. Or maybe he misheard what they said! It may not be that he was lying to me at all, and now…" Her shoulders slump, and she sinks back in the chair helplessly. "I'm not good at Chess, sir. Takeshi tries to teach me, but every game winds up the same. Me being cornered for a 'Check,' and I wind up trying to fight my way out until I've run out of pieces. All the kings horses and all the kings men - and then comes Checkmate."

Pausing to think, she looks away briefly before returning her gaze to Worthington: "That's 'ow I feel anymore. Like I'm stuck on a bloody chessboard I can't see. The other Aurors don't know how to be objective about Mister Moody. If I said 'is name, they would call 'im guilty on the spot and run out with wands blazing. I trust you to actually think about this and try to decide whether or not Moody's a liar or not. I 'ave to give it up to you. I'm not smart enough for this."

"If you weren't smart enough for this, you'd have never made it past Auror training. What you lack isn't intelligence. It's confidence and patience." Worthington clears a space on his desk, then hops back to sit on it. "You're probably right that many would readily condemn Moody even on a suspicion. But fortunately they don't have the authority to condemn him. Only the Wizengamot can do that. Look, we've got reasonable suspicion that he was trying to set Snively up, yes? But suspicion isn't enough. That's why we investigate. Remember your training. We know that he had the means to do this, by playing upon your trust. He had the opportunity, simply by providing you the false information. What comes next?"

Confidence… she has pluck, and a seemingly endless ability to run headlong into the most ridiculous dangers, but it's very true that Rena seldom has any faith in herself. Being called out on it causes her to blush, however. She doesn't mean to be this way.

"I don't know what's next, sir." She answers honestly. "What was the point in lying about Snively - if it was a lie, and not just a mistake? A red herring, as my kind of people would say? But we don't know that it was a lie at all! I mean, obviously it was, but it could be that the man was lied to and passed on bad information by accident." Stopping herself before she runs this circle into the ground, Rena rests her forehead in her hand, propping her elbow on the arm of the chair. She has the look of someone who's quickly coming down with a headache. "How do I even begin trying to untangle this bloody mess?"

"Slow down, and think." Worthington holds up three fingers. "What are the three aspects of a crime we must establish? Means," he lowers one finger, "Opportunity," he lowers another, "and motive. What is his motive? As you say, it could be a red herring. A distraction. Perhaps he had some vendetta against Snively. Who knows? We can speculate all day, and it won't matter much. But if we really want to know if this was deliberate on his part, look for a motive. If it was to divert our attention, then from what?" He clasps his hands in his lap, leaning forward a bit to intensify his stare at her. "But whatever we come up with, I believe you did the right thing in coming to me. This investigation requires subtlety…which is why I'm afraid I'm going to give it to someone else."

Rena and subtlety go together about as well as oil and water - that, she knows. Doesn't make it sting any less to be reminded of it now and then. However, she has nothing to say in her own defense… especially given her record since joining the MLE as an Initiate.

Encouraged slightly by his reassurance that she did the right thing by telling him about the case, she begins to smile. However, being told that the case must be transferred to someone else, causes the smile to fade immediately. She won't argue. Whatever her faults may be, she does not disobey orders when they've been given to her.

"Of course, sir," Rena says quietly, trying not to look as disappointed in herself as she feels right now. "I understand. I-if Mister Moody should contact me again, then… I would give the information to the person you do assign to the case?" She asks, to be clear. "I don't know that 'e will do. But, if it does 'appen - that would be the thing to do, even if 'e says again that 'is life is at risk?"

Worthington nods in confirmation "You carry on as if nothing has changed. If Moody gives you something, bring it to me and the investigator. Speaking of whom…that's the other reason I'm taking this out of your hands. Besides you being too close to this, this is also only marginally Auror business. I want someone with another perspective. You mentioned Inspector Lovegood earlier. How familiar is he with this situation?"

"When I explained the letter and the poem to Arthur, Shelley and Graham," yes, she uses their first names, "We brought Eli- Mister Lovegood along because 'e seems to know something about the Muggle Liberation Front as well. Since it concerned that, I thought it best to bring 'im along to talk. Then, 'e took me aside later, saying that it was all a lie. 'E went and profiled Mister Snively and said it weren't any good as a lead. The man's innocent as the day is long. That's why 'e wanted to know who sent the letters. But, I couldn't tell… It wouldn't be right without going to you, first - I thought."

Ceasing to run on with more explanation, Rena looks up at Worthington earnestly: "I don't think 'e's mad like people say. The man just… thinks differently from other people." Perhaps Rena is too optimistic about Elijah. However, living with a man who also suffers from a mind that works differently, she's bound to have sympathy for the good inspector. Besides, they're neighbors.

"Good. I think he's just the man for the job, especially if he's already looking into it. I'll see that the case is assigned to him. You'll be his chief contact in the Auror Office. But Lee, make no mistake," Worthington says with a smirk as he hops down from his desk, "he's mad. He's simply learned how to make it work for him. Really, that's something we all should do, turning our challenges into tools." He offers a hand to Rena to help her up. "Chin up, Auror Lee. You've done everything right. Keep up the good work."

"I… I hope you're right, sir," Rena says in a very quiet and unsure voice as she takes the chief's hand. Until this thing is resolved, one way or another, she's going to wonder if she's condemned a man to die.

Rising to her feet, the young woman offers a weak smile and a small "Thank you, sir," to Worthington as she turns to go. However, something causes her to stop and turn back: "Oh, I've got a solid lead on the wand situation. I need to talk to a key witness who claims that a particular member of the Magijugend quit the group and lost 'is wand due to its being broken by the iron band afterward." Stopping a moment to think, she adds: "Once I speak with them, I'll 'ave something particularly interesting for you to read when I turn in the report, I think. Maybe it'll be the key."

There, at least, is a hopeful thought that Rena can smile about. In time, she'll feel better for having unburdened herself of this case. It's safe to say that she feels a little better already.

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