(1939-08-08) A Bargain for Evidence
Details for A Bargain for Evidence
Summary: Following the only rock-solid lead she's gotten so far, Rena travels to Hogsmeade to meet with Lucian and discuss the Magijugend. However, he wants something in return for his help.
Date: 1939-08-08
Location: Hog's Head Tavern
Related: A Step in the Right Direction

Lucian is anything but a regular of the Hog's Head Tavern, and the clean-cut, blond young man draws more than a few stares from the clientele, especially so late at night. What he had intended to be an inconspicuous meeting was, perhaps, not well thought-out. Still, he does his best to simply keep his head down, focusing on his cracked mug full of bitter beer.

Known for being as inconspicuous as a daisy stuck in the middle of a bouquet of roses, Rena has perhaps met her match in Lucian. She never seems to dress down very much, and tonight is no exception. She is wearing a dark rusty-coloured skirt and suit ensemble that is neither ostentatious, nor casual. It just falls somewhere in the middle, and the denizens of the tavern take as much notice of her as they do Lucian. However, she is a girl on a mission, and she will not be unnerved by them.

"Mister Proudmore?" Rena asks quietly as she reaches Lucian's table. Offering a warm smile, the peculiar redheaded woman says: "I'm Irene - Irene Odori. I didn't keep you waiting long, hopefully."

At least Lucian looks like a local, with his heavy trousers and button-up shirt with the rolled-down sleeves. Only the outer robe worn for warmth interrupts the farm-boy look. Still, not the sort of local that usually frequents the Hog's Head.

At the greeting, Lucian glances up to meet Rena's eyes, an unmistakable wariness in his own. But he plays the gentleman, rising to take out a chair for her. "Miss Odori," he says flatly as he gets her settled before retaking his own seat. "So, let's not pretend this is anything but what it is. What's my father's game this time? I didn't think he had influence in your department, but I'm not terribly surprised."

"Mrs. Odori, actually," Rena says gently, accepting the seat with a smile. "But I prefer people call me Rena, truth be told."

Laying her handbag on the table, the young woman begins to tug the gloves from her slim hands gingerly. However, Lucian's words appear to startle her somewhat, giving her pause. Her movements cease after tugging the glove free from her left hand, and she tilts her head with a slightly puzzled expression touching her features: "I'm sorry— your Father?"

If this were anyone else from the office, they would probably let Lucian embarrass himself by saying something incriminating about his father, but Rena isn't that kind of Auror. She doesn't go through life trying to find the badness in people. "You've got me wrong, I promise." She says hastily, hoping to save the young man from saying something that he could regret later. "This is something else entirely - word of honor!"

Lucian sighs, shaking his head. "Yes, of course. You swear you don't know anything about it. Perhaps that's even true, and you're just here on orders. But you can tell whomever sent you that the hippogriffs are leaving the farm over my dead body. We've toed the line on every regulation and every demand the Ministry has made. When will you lot realize that he's using you?"

The young woman can only think to herself: Curiouser and curiouser…

"Mister Proudmore, I promise you I—" Rena makes a second attempt to stop him, but Lucian insists on speaking. Dutifully, she shuts her mouth and sits back in her chair with an increasingly quizzical expression as she listens. When at last he has spoken his piece, she hesitates to say anything. When she is quite sure he won't interrupt her, she takes another stab at this: "Is there some difficulty your family is 'aving… Having with the Ministry regarding your Hippogriffs? If you're following all the regulations, I can't see what axe they might 'ave to grind with you. But, all the same, I'd be glad to see if I could do anything about it." Rena offers in her good-natured way.

Lucian gives Rena a hard, disbelieving stare. Still, there is something so sincere about her. Maybe she really is just a dupe in another of his father's schemes. "My family is the problem…and I prefer if people just call me Lucian." He taps his fingers on the table pensively, but finally nods. "Alright. So if you're not here to harass me about the farm, what are you here for?"

Lucian has a way of knocking people for a loop, if this is the way he usually starts conversations. It takes Rena a moment to shake off the general confusion before she finds her voice again. "Alright then, we're on even footing. I'm Rena - you're Lucian." She isn't that much older than he is, anyway.

Maintaining her sense of composure, Rena lowers her tone, but also tries to keep a very neutral expression. "I came to speak to you about something related to the school, actually. But, first and foremost, I'd like to emphasize that you aren't in any trouble, nor are your friends." She reassures him, hoping that her words get through. "It's about an incident that apparently occurred with regards to a club you once belonged to. Would you mind terribly if I asked you just how exactly your wand was broken?"

The young man maintains a guarded expression. Clearly he isn't the most trusting person. "You want me to rat on Flint? Why, so he'll cut Camilla off from Hogwarts?" He pinches his lips, forcing himself to pause and take a breath. "Look, you're probably just the messenger. So, I get it, this isn't your fault. But you've got to give us a break. We're barely holding on, and I know my father. He's not going to relent until he owns the farm and ruins Cami's career."

To say that Rena is nonplussed would be a massive understatement. How does she manage to step her right foot into a hornet's nest when her left is already stuck in a different one?

"Camilla?" She asks, "You mean Camilla Fawley? I remember her from when I was in school. I always thought she were— was a lovely lady. Last thing in the world I want is for her to be in trouble. I'd just as soon get my best friend in hot water." Pausing, the young woman rubs her temple with an upraised hand before saying: "Lucian, you read my letter. I begged you to keep our communications as secret as possible for a reason. IF anyone is to get in trouble, I want it to be the right party or parties. I will fight tooth and nail to protect innocent bystanders from harm. But you must understand that without the truth, I can't protect anyone. The best way you can help yourself, Camilla and anybody else who might otherwise get in trouble is to tell the truth to me and then say absolutely nothing to anyone about it until further notice. Do you understand what I mean?"

Too many years living in the Slytherin dungeons can make it hard to take a person at their word. Lucian spent so much of his formative years among people always trying to work an angle to get ahead. He's hardly innocent of it, himself. "I understand. But you need to understand my position. We've spent a year and a half dodging everything my father can throw at us, and the Ministry is his favorite tool. I can't just take you at your word that this isn't just another way for him to chip away at Cami's career. So…I'll tell you what. You promise me…give me your word that there will be an investigation into this campaign of his against the Fawley Farm, no matter who tries to block it, and I'll tell you what you want to know."

Anyone else might take umbrage at Lucian's attitude toward the whole situation; however, not so with Rena. Clearly, the young man is very troubled about this issue with the farm. And, to her, it sounds as though some injustice is being done. "Unless dark magic is involved, as an Auror, it's not really my business to investigate something along these lines, Lucian… However, I can't stand for injustice."

Pausing for thought momentarily, Rena considers what she can do before saying: "I promise you, I will see to it that an investigation will happen. Fair, open, honest and above board - no matter who tries to block it." She began investigating the wand case on her own time, after all. It's not healthy for someone in her position, but, that isn't likely to stop her from doing it again if need be. Besides, she hasn't much room to negotiate with Lucian. She NEEDS this information - and now.

"We call that square then?" She asks, offering her hand across the table to the boy. "You have my promise to help you, and you help me?"

Lucian eyes her hand for a moment. Taking that leap isn't easy. But he did state the terms of his assistance. Besides, in spite of his mistrust, there is one thing that Lucian holds dearer than all else: honor. This woman's words resonate with it. He clasps his strong hand in hers, giving it a firm shake. "It's a deal. So, my wand." He takes a long breath. He'd hoped that he'd left all of this behind him. "It snapped when I violated my oath to the Magijugend. How did you know about that, anyhow?"

"A little sparrow overheard someone say something about it." Rena says with a half smile. Obviously, she is kidding. She can't reveal the identity of the little girl who alerted her to the situation to begin with. "In all seriousness, I got my information from Briar Crocker. She said I needed to speak with you about it to get the full story."

Dim as the light is here in the tavern, Rena withdraws a piece of Ministry stationary from her purse, along with an elegant ink pen. "Now, please, I'd rather you tell me the whole thing from the beginning. What made you decide to join the Magijugend? And what was required of you before you were allowed to become a member?"

"Of course it was Crocker," Lucian grumbles with a sigh. "Alright, from the beginning. I joined because…Merlin, that's not easy to answer. I guess…I was trying to find myself, and I thought it could be a path for me. And…well…I was dating Ria Sykes at the time." He pauses for a beat, letting the Sykes name sink in. There is no family in England that more proudly proclaims their allegiance to Grindelwald. "Anyhow, to join I had to be interviewed by one of the Overseers. Those were Ria, and Medusa Malfoy. Once Ria did the interview and decided I was Magijugend material, I was called in to meet with Headmaster Flint. He spoke with me a bit about what the club was about, and had me hand over my wand. That's when he put that little ring on it. He also had me sign a contract with runes all over it. Part of the oath on the contract was something like, 'May my wand break if I am not true.' Sure enough, when I destroyed my Magijugend pendant, my wand snapped almost instantly."

Busy at her job, Rena concentrates deeply on writing Lucian's statement accurately on the sheet of paper before her. It affords her little chance to show any change of expression or make any remark on the story as he relates it. When she does finally lift her head, dotting the final period in a sentence, the young woman muses: "You say there were runes on the contract… Very interesting, that."

"How long were you with the club, Lucian? Can you tell me what sorts of things went on during the club meetings?" Rena asks with an air of calm curiosity. "Also, any chance you happened to see where he retrieved the contract from?"

Lucian nods in confirmation as she speaks, keeping a fairly neutral expression. Though there is some hint of worry as he potentially digs himself deeper with Flint and those people. "Runes all around the edges of it. He was the Ancient Runes professor, after all. It was pretty obviously magical. My signature glowed for a moment after I signed it.

"What was the next question? Oh right, how long. I don't know…a few months, maybe? That was all sort of a blur to me. Um…he got the contract out from his desk drawer. Same place he got the little ring from."

Glancing up again, Rena notices Lucian's discomfort and her expression softens considerably. "I will absolutely do my best to keep you and Camilla and anyone else in the crossfire safe, Lucian. That's another promise I give you on my honor." Hopefully that will reassure him a little.

"I suppose the last thing I must ask you…" Rena says, repeating herself gently, "Do you remember the sorts of things that went on during club meetings? I only ask because there are accusations of dark magic. It would be better know for certain that there was or wasn't. Truth be told, nothing would make me happier than hearing that there was none." She may dislike Flint and all he stands for, but all she cares about in the long run is the truth.

"There was no Dark magic," Lucian says flatly. "There was a lot of talk about Grindelwald and his book. But nobody even mentioned Dark magic at any meeting I attended." He fidgets for a moment, his eyes dropping shamefully to his mug. "Of course…there's the Durmstrang connection."

If Lucian were younger, Rena might reach over and pat his arm consolingly so that he knows she has a great deal of sympathy for him. But, as he is almost as old as her husband, she feels it better to not seem potentially patronizing. "What can you tell me about that?" She asks, calmly. "The Durmstrang connection?" Clearly, this aspect bothers him a great deal. Otherwise, he wouldn't react as strongly to it as he is.

"Everyone forgets about what happened at Durmstrang. During the Triwizard Tournament?" Lucian looks at her expectantly. The incident that led to the death of the Hogwarts champion was all the media could talk about for weeks. "I was there. Those students that attacked us, they were Magijugend. They wore the Eye of Truth and everything. That girl…she killed Leander with a Killing Curse. So, maybe there was no Dark magic with the Hogwarts Magijugend, but I have seen a Magijunde use an Unforgiveable Curse."

Rena really can't help but take on a very troubled look as Lucian speaks, now. She remembers, searching back into her memory. The whole thing was such a tragic nightmare and a mess. One that never was fully resolved or cleaned up.

Breathing a small sigh, the young woman's shoulders slump as she looks over the statement in front of her. Turning it around for Lucian to read, she says: "I want you to be satisfied that I haven't misquoted you in any way. If there is anything else you think needs to be added… please, tell me. There is an old saying that seems to apply here to a lot of things these days: The truth will set you free. You have no idea how much you've helped us already, nor how grateful I am to you."

Lucian takes up the paper, scanning it carefully. "Just make sure that investigation happens. Then I'll know." He falls silent for a moment as he finished reading over the statement, then nods. "That's everything I can think of. I don't think you can really take it as fact, but I don't think it will be long before the Magijugend start learning Dark magic. There was a lot of talk about 'purer' and more advanced magic. Maybe they already have, and I just quit too early." Lucian shrugs, sliding the paper back to Rena.

"I gave you my word," Rena says, speaking in dead earnest. "Come hell or high water, I keep my word when I give it."

Folding the paper crisply, Rena slides it into an envelope, which she then tucks into her handbag. "I'd rather say that you quit just in time." She says, snapping the clasp of the bag shut. "I'm glad you didn't find yourself there. You're better than that, and worth more than that group as a person. Always be true to who you are, because you're worth it. Remember that."

Maybe she's talking to air, maybe her words will carry weight… it's hard to say. But Rena lives her life believing that she should offer some glimmer of good to every person she meets.

"Thank you so much, Lucian. I will be in touch with you as soon as possible about the investigation." She says then with a smile as she rises to her feet. "I've kept you long enough. I appreciate your help, more than I can tell you."

Lucian rises from his seat, moving once again to take out Rena's chair, as a gentleman should. "Just make it count for something. I used to love Hogwarts. But in just a year, Flint turned it into something I don't even recognize anymore." He gives her a nod of his head, awkwardly tucking his hands into his pockets. "I look forward to your good news."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License