(1939-08-23) Olive Branches
Details for Olive Branches
Summary: Rena pays a visit to Berylwood in an effort to make peace with Cassius and reaffirm her friendship with Rhyeline.
Date: 23 August, 1939
Location: Berylwood Manor, St. John's Wood, London
Related: The Die Is Cast

Many months have passed since Rena last darkened the proverbial door of Berylwood; and she would not be doing so again were it not for the fact that Cassius and Rhyeline kindly sent Takeshi and she a thoughtful wedding present upon hearing the news of their marriage. Things being what they are, and with so much water passed under the bridge, she wanted to say a word of thanks in person. Notes sent by owl are all well and good, but, under the circumstances, it seems better to acknowledge things in person.

Walking up to the grand gates of Berylwood with a small suitcase in hand, the small redheaded woman feels very small indeed as she peers through the bars. Such a caged in existence is not for her, safe as it may be. Cold iron gives her the shivers. However, she finds the fancy bell-pull and gives it a tug with one gloved hand. Now, she need only wait to see if the residents are "at home."

There is the expected delay after the bell is rung, as the servants are undoubtedly informing the master, and instructions are given. But a few minutes later, there is a clack of iron, and the gate swings slowly open of its own accord, creaking ominously. The long driveway winds its way through impressive sterling rose bushes and various topiaries that loom menacingly in serpentine forms. When Rena reaches the house itself, a manservant is waiting on the steps for her, gesturing toward the open door. "This way, madame."

Inside, the servant offers to take her coat and bag before guiding her to the solar, just as a maid brings a tea tray with three cups, filling one for Rena as she is informed that the master and lady of the house will be with her shortly.

The wait is a quiet and lonely one. A person might almost think she were being snubbed with the length of time that has passed. But at last, the entrance to the solar is filled with the narrow, sharply dressed, platinum haired form of Cassius Malfoy, with Rhyeline upon his arm. "Mrs. Odori, I am so sorry to have kept you waiting. We were having a swim when you arrived. You understand, I hope." He leads Rhyeline in to take her seat, right beside his own. "It's lovely to see you. To what do we owe the pleasure of your visit?"

A shy smile lingers upon Rhyeline's lips as she keeps close at Cassius' side, a subtle, warm blush in her cheeks. With Cassius' assistance, she eases into her chair with a rather slow, careful grace before peeking over at Rena. "It's… it's good to see you…" she adds in a quiet tone.

Nothing much can phase Rena about Berylwood and its formalities. Again, they are very much against her taste - but what of that? She's only an occasional visitor. The only thing she has trouble with is fighting the urge to play with the echoes that reverberate so well throughout its palatial halls. Now that is a struggle. However, she behaves herself and follows along after the servant with as much prim ladylike dignity as she can muster.

As for the wait, it isn't that much of a bother for Rena. She spends her time taking in every detail of the room (as there is a great deal to look at — like a museum) and enough to occupy her mind.

Cassius and Rhyeline enter at last, and Rena hops up out of her seat abruptly, having been slightly startled as the silence was broken. "Nothing to be sorry about, I'm sure — sir," she replies with a faint smile. "I did drop in unannounced-like. Rather expected to be kept waiting, to be honest. I wanted to stop by and thank you… both, personally for the gift." Pausing, her gaze drifts to Rhyeline, and she smiles a little more warmly: "I hope you're feeling better?"

Cassius smiles warmly to Rena as he pours tea for Rhyeline and himself, also offering to refill Rena's cup. "It was our pleasure. I hope you and your husband will enjoy them. Now that you're here, please allow me to personally congratulate you on your nuptials. Marriage is a wonderful and sacred thing. We wish you the best."

Rhyeline blinks, a bit surprised at Rena's hope that she has been feeling better. Does she know? What did Graham tell her? She glances hesitantly to Cassius before looking to Rena once more. "I… yes, I- I have been- been a bit better." The little one pauses as Cassius pours tea for her. She takes her cup and peeks up at Cassius with a shy warmth and appreciative smile. At the mention of marriage, the warmth in her cheeks deepens and she hides behind her cup for a rather long, slow sip.

"It was very much appreciated. Thank you for the good wishes." Rena replies, doing her best to keep her language as formal as possible without sounding like an over-starched shirt. She agrees to the refill of her tea before continuing. "It was awfully nice of you both to think of us… and to think kindly of me."

"After the terrorist attacks, we were separated for a week while Takeshi was away, helping save the lives of the victims with the other healers in seclusion. Of course, I was stuck at the Ministry. Then, when he returned, he said that he didn't want to wait anymore - that I was what kept him going through it all." She explains apologetically, trying not to blush. "I didn't mean to cut people out of an actual wedding. Just… things as they were, Takeshi wanted to keep it private between us for a few days after all that misery. You understand?"

Cassius nods with an open-handed gesture. "Of course, of course. It was your time, your decision to celebrate it as you pleased. I imagine it might have felt awkward to hold a grand affair in the shadow of such tragedy, after all. Do you intend to hold any sort of reception?"

"As- as shy as- Takeshi seemed… I certainly understood when- when you didn't have a large wedding," murmurs Rhyeline from behind her tea cup. She glances at Cassius. A Malfoy wedding is likely to be anything but small and quiet. Looking to Rena, she adds, "I am pleased you found someone to share warmth with in these dark, frightening times. You will keep each other whole and safe."

"Takeshi is terribly shy, but he's doing much better," Rena says with a brighter smile. Anyone who does know the timid little healer personally will have certainly noticed a change in him over the months that he spent living with Rena in his house. He will never be a bold extrovert, but he's much less devastated by social interaction these days.

"I suppose I hadn't thought of that," Rena then admits to Cassius in a rather crestfallen way. "There are people who would have appreciated being there. Graham, Kaleb, Shelley…" she says thoughtfully. "But, I don't know anything about planning events like that - not even small ones. That's not exactly something they teach at Hogwarts, and it's not something you pick up with my past, either. Most celebrations happened inside of cramped dressing rooms."

"Well, do let us know if you intend to have a party. We could put you in contact with a number of event planners that hire out their expertise." Cassius is careful, of course, not to presume that they will be invited to any such party. "You know, now that you're here, I hope you'll forgive me to 'talking shop', so to speak. I wanted to thank you. I've had a look at that report you filed on the Magijugend situation. Very interesting stuff, and I daresay, actionable. There will be a hearing in the next few days, and I'm confident that we'll be able to sway the Wizengamot to approve a warrant to examine those contracts."

"I'm sure that- that they understood…" Rhyeline's smile grows brighter still when Cassius mentions Rena's work on the Magijugend case. It would seem that Rhyeline has heard of it as well. Nodding, she adds, "Your unflinching persistence in this matter… despite the risks… it is remarkable. It is so good that you have brought this issue to light."

Rena lowers her cup of tea and lays it to rest on her saucer somewhat shakily. Blinking, she looks between Cassius and Rhyeline in a way that belies her nerves being very much on edge. Not that the rattle of the cup didn't say as much. How does she manage to forget that Mister Malfoy works in the higher ranks of the Ministry? Tunnel vision, one can only suppose…

"I… thought I failed everyone," Rena says in a small voice, clearly astounded to hear that the case even managed to edge forward at all. What Mister Worthington says about her lack of confidence is no joke. She doesn't have much faith in herself at all. "You mean I actually did something right?" The young woman asks rhetorically. What a revelation!

Shaking herself out of the brief reverie, Rena can scarcely help smiling. However, she does sober down immediately to correct Rhyeline: "Oh, but I can't take credit for bringing it to light. Somebody left a letter on my desk months ago, asking me to look into it. I had to be terribly careful because I didn't have any proof that it was more than rumors. You can't hold rumors against people, even if you don't like them. And… I honestly gave Flint the benefit of the doubt as much as I could all along."

Cassius offers a sympathetic frown to Rena's worries of failure. It helps to cover his private amusement regarding the mysterious letter. Rena had been the perfect piece to play in that round of the game. "Then I'd say you did your job well." Cassius lifts his teacup respectfully to the young redhead. "To Irene Odori, a credit to the M.L.E."

Rhyeline bites her lower lip at the tremor in Rena's hand. The girl leans closer to take Rena's hand gently in hers. "Rena… the Ministry recieves hundreds of letters full of accusations and dark rumors… But you recognized that this matter was too important to simply dismiss… and you investigated until you uncovered enough truth to give those like Cassius the tools to correct this injustice." The little one squeezes Rena's hand gently.

As Cassius proposes a toast, Rhyeline releases Rena's hand and lifts her own teacup. "A reassurance that there are those in the M.L.E. that will not rest in the pursuit of justice."

Rena's cheeks tinge with rose rather deeply when both Cassius and Rhyeline make such a fuss over the job she's done. Calling her a credit to the M.L.E… saying that she's such a good Auror. It's enough to make a girl self-conscious to the point of wanting to vanish through the floorboards.

"I… I'm… very grateful to you both," she murmurs shyly - not knowing what to do or say under the circumstances. "I don't feel like I deserve so much praise. I've done a lot of foolish things in the last year and caused an awful lot of trouble to an awful lot of people." Her dark gaze drops away from the pair, quite abashed and apologetic.

Cassius sips his tea, drinking in Rena's honour, then sets the cup down. "Mrs. Odori…Rena, if I may. What has happened in the past is simply that. In the past. We are all here civil folk, and I think we are all capable of moving forward rather than dwelling on past disagreements. When last we spoke, I told you that I admired you. That was as true then as it is now. I hope that today will mark a turning point in our relationship."

"There are many times when I have also felt a foolish creature… but we continue forward, we learn from mistakes. It does not do to dwell on them overly. However." Rhyeline pauses, watching Rena with an earnest, unwavering gaze. "You have no reason to regret. You are strong and full of vim. Too full of spirit to be constrained by the care needed for political machinations. There is no shame in that…"

Rhyeline glances to Cassius with a soft smile before looking once more to Rena. "And Cassius… he is not one for empty words. Were it not true, he would say something else… tactful, but true. Don't disregard his words, as I once did, as empty flattery. They aren't."

Cassius addresses Rena by name. That gesture of kindness and familiarity causes her to look up once more. Although hesitant to believe her ears at first, Rhyeline's reassurance helps to bolster her courage a little. At least, it gives her enough confidence to smile hopefully. She doesn't like being enemies with people under any circumstances. If it were up to her, she would be everybody's friend in the whole world. She's a soft-hearted sweetheart, and there's no escaping the fact.

"Really?" She asks, brightening even more. "I don't want to be at odds with anyone. I've hated how things unraveled all along," Rena admits, since they are all being truthful and above board now. "I'd rather we were friends. And if I can be useful at all ever again, you know I want to help."

Cassius gives his fiancee a look of such open gratitude. It's an unusual break of character, allowing his emotions to be put on display so freely. "Thank you, love." He nods to Rena, adding, "It's true. I deplore deception, save when it is necessary to protect an innocent, of course. I strive to always speak honestly, tempered only by courtesy and tact. I told you before that we might continue to be allies, and it's true. We have our own distinct methods, but I believe we are fighting for the same thing." He gives a great, contented sigh, tugging at the front of his jacket to straighten it.

Rhyeline meets Cassius' gratitude with a shy adoration before looking to Rena. She nods at Cassius words, adding, "I'm certain of it. I have heard the both of you speak up before crowds in earnest… your cause is the same one."

Maybe Rena has done more than one right thing, lately. Maybe she was lost in the woods for a time, and now she's back on the path. She's been doing so many things wrong for the last… Merlin only knows how many months, that it is a big relief and a weight off her shoulders to begin to make things right. Even if she has to do so in a piecemeal fashion; bit by bit, she can undo the damage she's done.

"I'm awfully glad," Rena says with a genuine smile. Truth be told, she finds herself a little misty-eyed just now. "Really, I am. Things have been so bad lately… I only want to do the right thing and help everyone. I'm so glad that we're friends again - and allies, like you say, Sir."

Somewhat flustered by her own emotional state, she laughs a bit thickly and says: "Really, I shouldn't take up any more of your time. If I don't get on my way, I'm liable to break down and cry like a ninny."

Cassius tilts his head, giving Rena a sympathetic smile. "Then we'll talk of lighter things. If you choose to stay, that is. For dinner, perhaps? Chef always loves when we have company. It means more taste buds to delight. He can be so vain, that way." He chuckles softly.

Rhyeline giggles and shifts closer to leeeaan in and hug Rena as tight as her meek strength allows her. "I've missed you… very much." She peeks up at Cassius as he invites Rena to stay for dinner. No doubt he remembers just how depressed Rhyeline had been after his falling out with Rena.

"I've missed you, too. Awfully." Rena admits softly, still fighting off the inclination to be tearful as she returns Rhyeline's hug with a good deal of warmth. "Well, I do need to get to Hogsmeade…" Rena says reluctantly, knowing that she is dressed for a train journey, and not a formal dining room as the Malfoy mansion is sure to have. However, how can she turn down the invitation so kindly and generously offered? Besides, there is Rhyeline to consider. "But, it's not as urgent as all that. I can take a late train." She says with a smile. It all feels quite a bit like a homecoming to Rena. Perhaps the wheel has turned, and things are beginning to look up again.

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