(1939-11-15) Paved With Good Intentions
Details for Paved With Good Intentions
Summary: After receiving a cryptic and worrying message from Madeline, Rena arrives at the school gates to find out what's wrong - and this time she's pulling in backup.
Date: Saturday November 15th, 1939
Location: Hogwarts Gates
Related: A Killer in Our Midst, Runes and Ruminations, Trust in Dumbledore, and Only a Black Heart

Madeline arrives early, sitting beside the gates while they're still open to allow students out to Hogsmeade, a book in her lap. On the book rests a piece of parchment, which she sketches on as she waits. Occasionally she looks up to greet passing friends, going out to have fun in the village, but things have gotten quiet now and it's been a while since anyone passed her - the gates now sitting closed and secured, with a teacher in the nearby gatehouse, waiting to open it for the next student with a pass.

Rena dealt with the original trouble at Hogwarts largely alone. Time and experience have lead her to believe that that was a mistake - to some degree. And when Madeline sent the worryingly short message to meet her at the gates of school, it set off all kinds of alarm bells. If she's going to deal with trouble again, she's bringing someone along who is overqualified for the job. An experienced Auror, someone older, and preferably a parent. Who else would she call on but Bannon Bates?

The pair of Aurors used the Floo Network to make a quick arrival from London and then switched to their brooms. Time could be of the essance here, and there's none to waste if they need a serious chat with the girl who sent for them. Sweeping along through the air, Rena leads the way once more until they swish to a soft landing on the ground. Good thing she wore her heavy winter coat.

It's an Auror's life that takes them far and wide. However, it's rarely a good sign if they need to visit the same place more than once. When asked to join her, Bannon does not hesitate to accompany Rena to the school. He is relatively silent for their short journey to the school. His walking stick is held firmly in one hand as they fly from the village to the school, his bowler hat laying precariously upon his head. When they do finally land, he gives it a quick pat to ensure that it is firm upon his head. Stepping forward, he follows Rena once more closer to the gate.

Madeline looks up at the swishing sound of brooms coming in for a landing, smiling to greet Rena - though her expression promptly turns cautious at the sight of Bannon besides her. "Oh. You, uhh… You brought Josie's dad?" she asks a little uncertainly. "Hello again, sir," she adds politely, pulling herself up to her feet and hugging her book (and her drawing) to her chest. He's a Muggleborn too, though - didn't Josie say that? So he must be Protestant, or at least raised it. "I, umm, I'm glad you could come." But she lacks any of the usual bounce and glee she always greets Rena with. Instead she looks subdued, nervous, and uncertain.

"Maddie, you 'ad me worried!" Rena exclaims, stepping up to the very line of the gate, but not daring to venture further. Of course, she smiles… but it's a worried smile, and a tight one. Something is clearly wrong here.

"If something's wrong at the school again, it's best if I bring someone along with me who's got a kid 'ere, yea? I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable, but Bannon's a right gent, 'e is. You can trust 'im." Rena says with a slightly more relaxed expression, motioning for Bannon to come closer. "Now, what's it all about? Spiders causing a pain again?"

"Greetings, Miss Evans." Bannon bows his head to her. "Josie's safety, as well as yours and that of the rest of the school, is of the utmost importance to me. When Auror Odori expressed her desire for me to accompany her, I felt it the right thing to do." He offers to the girl. "I have only but the best of intentions in mind by being here. As well, I know how instrumental you were in assisting us in helping the school and as such, if I can return the favour, I wish to."

Maddie reaches out to put one hand on the gate's wrought iron, leaning up against it as she watches the two adults. "Well… 'course I can trust 'im, if I didn't Josie'd sure get annoyed with me," she answers, trying to put a little humor into her voice, and offering the man a small smile when he tries to reassure her. "It's not the spiders, though. It's, ummm… it's really complicated. But I don't think the school's in any, um, danger." She watches both adults' faces as she asks, "We're supposed to forgive people when they make mistakes, right? If they're really sorry. If they're really trying to do better. Isn't that what we were taught - growing up at church? Even if you make a mistake, even if it's a bad one, you say sorry, and try to do better… And we're supposed to forgive them."

At first, Rena appears to be relieved to hear that the school isn't in any danger again. That's a weight off her mind. After all, she only JUST got the place cleaned up. But then, Maddie says that it's complicated. Well, that can't be good…

Shifting, Rena decides to crouch down outside of the gate as the girl speaks. Listening intently, she gives a small, solemn nod of her head. "Remember the woman at the well, yea?" She asks with a half smile. "Everyone wanted to treat 'er like a criminal for doing bad things, and 'e said that only them what was without sin should cast the first stone. Of course, nobody could - and they went away. So then, 'e says to 'er 'Go, and sin no more.' Meaning she could start over and do better."

Kneeling down, so he can be closer to eye level with Madeline, Bannon gazes at her, curious, for a silent moment, waiting until Rena has finished answering before allowing himself to give his input. "We all make mistakes, this is true. And, in church, we do learn that forgiveness is paramount. It is important. Just as equally, we learn that it is important to love one another. It is said, 'Love your neighbour.'" He offers a tiny smile. "Sometimes our neighbours make us mad. Sometimes they disappoint. Sometimes they even hurt us. But it is important to remember that we are all we are all in this together. That's why love and forgiveness are so important. They help us move forward." He glances up at Rena. "The story that Auror Odori mentions is important as well, because it reminds us that we all make mistakes. It reminds us that we are not better than those who seek our forgiveness. In fact, there may even come a time when we seek forgiveness from those who once sought it from us." He takes a deep breath in and sighs softly. "Does that help?"

Does it help? Not really. Other than Madeline is glad that they all agree about that. "But we're also supposed to, umm… to follow the law, right? And it would be wrong to… to hide it, if someone broke the law - wouldn't it? Would it be wrong to hide it if they were sorry - and trying to do better?" She clings tightly to the bar, while looking desperately between the two aurors - almost begging them to let her know it'd be okay to say nothing more.

Clearly, judging by Rena's expression, she agrees with everything Bannon says - although he can definitely say it in a far more elegant manner than she. Ah well, cockney common sense versus the well-bred, upper class. What does it matter when they come to the same conclusion?

Maddie's next question causes Rena's dark eyes to fall. Her own hand rests on the bars of the gate, but now, her grip loosens and slides downward slightly. It's hard to hide her feelings about the imbalance between Justice and Mercy she so often sees. "We've got to follow the law, Maddie. There's no black and white answer to that question because so often, the situation and circumstance colour the answer. The laws we live by are there for a reason. Wise people wrote them, and they've endured for a reason… even if it's 'ard to see sometimes." Pausing, she adds as an afterthought: "That's why we 'ave people to represent us in court. Trained people who do their best to make the court 'ave mercy and see reason."

The next set of questions bring a frown to Bannon's face. He shakes his head. "Auror Odori is quite right, Miss Evans. We must follow the law. Forgiveness of a person does not negate the law, despite whether or not they have intentions of either never committing another crime or whether they have intentions of being a better person." He sighs slowly. "It is, at times, unfortunate. If a law is broken, the perpetrator must be questioned regarding the illegal act, and a decision must be made as to the consequences thereof. There is much that must go into said decision."

"So… so I should tell then?" Madeline asks, her stomach twisting as she looks between them both. "But I, umm… what if it's an unforgiveable?" she asks - voicing a question that's sure to chill the blood of any auror, hearing it from the voice of a child. "Don't they always send them to Azkaban prison forever for that? No matter what?"

Rena's expression lapses quickly back into being very troubled, though she tries and fails to mask it from Maddie's sight. For a moment, she glances at Bannon worriedly, shaking her head slightly as if to ask whether he understands what's going on any better than she. However, she returns her gaze to Maddie, fixing on her with a more neutral expression: "I can't answer that for certain unless I know the details, Maddie." Pausing, she bites her lower lip before going on. "Please, let us help? Bannon and I, we don't want anyone to get hurt. And if damage 'as been done, we need to do what we can to fix it as soon as possible. Otherwise, it's like leaving a wound to fester."

Bannon offers a brief glance toward Rena. "The use of an Unforgivable Curse is quite serious." He says as he turns his attention back to Maddie. "Whatever the situation, it does the person no good to leave them unknown. Even if…even if they are attempting to do better, we still need to know who it is. Especially in this situation. I understand how difficult this must be." He raises his eyebrows ever so slightly. "I wouldn't want to hurt someone who is attempting to better themselves. But if a law has been broken, especially in this scenario, may do them more harm. Keeping a secret, such as using an Unforgivable Curse, can gnaw away at a person's conscience, making them feel terrible."

"She does feel terrible, I think," Madeline says quietly, a few tears sneaking out. "But it's not really a secret. Most the school knows… But you'll try to help her? Please. I don't want her to go to Azkaban, I don't think it'd be fair. She's… she's a seventh year now, so that means she musta been a fifth when it happened, and that's not OWLs yet so she was just a kid, still," she insists desperately.

Rena hazards breaking the barrier of the gate by mere inches, reaching through the bars to lay her hand atop Maddie's to try and comfort her. She really wishes quite desperately that she could give the girl a hug right now. This is dreadful - just dreadful. And she's STILL utterly confused as to who they are talking about.

"Poor kid. There's got to be some kind of lenience for under-age wizards and witches. If there isn't… maybe there can be." She murmurs, more to herself than the others. Drawing her focus back on the girl at the gate, she says: "You've got my word of honor, Maddie, I would do anything I can to help the girl. I know possibly the most knowledgeable, learned man in the law - and maybe he would help, too, if I ask him."

For the time being, Bannon himself has to bite his tongue of what he knows from what he has studied of wizarding law. "Perhaps…if there were particular circumstances under which she had to perform the curse. It is difficult to say anything with certainty. But we would like to help. If we can." He can only hope that their words are enough to allow for a name.

Madeline nods, looking reassured by Rena's words - and by her touch to her hand. She wishes she could have a hug too, though. Looking to Bannon she adds quietly, "Please try to help?" She shifts uneasily on her feet, still wishing she didn't have to say more - but it's Hogsmeade weekend, and the whole school knows. It'll get back to the Auror's Office somehow.

"Well, umm, you know… you know how a Durmstang student helped Headmaster Dippet and the three Hogwarts students come home?" she asks, looking between the two aurors for confirmation that they were aware of it the incident. "Well… that was Valda Rozenblats. And now she's a seventh year here. But, umm, Soleil Parkinson - she's one of the ones that went to Durmstang and escaped, you see - she says Valda Rozenblats is the one who, uh… who killed Leander Fox.

"But she's really sorry! Eibon thinks so, too! She was crying 'bout it, and she told me it was like - to think of the worst thing you ever done, the thing that makes you feel the most horrible and guilty in your whole life, only everyone around you is saying how you did a good job you did the right thing and it's just making it worse. That's how she said it was."

For Rena, this is one of those moments where the world just seems to stop. Everything grows quiet and still - deathly still - in spite of the cold highland breeze and the occasional, harsh croaking calls of distant ravens. Part of her wishes that Maddie had not said the name, or else that she had not heard it. This is all so dreadful.

Slowly returning to herself, the young Auror swallows and remains silent for one heavy moment longer before speaking. "You were right to tell us, Maddie… Thank you," she says, her voice somewhat strained and tired sounding. What the devil is she going to do, now?

Rena's dark eyes drift past Maddie's shoulder and look pointedly at the castle: "Dumbledore." She says quietly, "Why is 'e doing this? There's got to be a reason - a damn good one. Mister Bates…" She turns her gaze back to her senior officer, looking to him for some kind of insight.

And there's the truth of the matter. The student from Durmstrang. Standing up straight, Bannon heaves a heavy sigh, staring off to the distance, not seeming to look at anything in particular as he thinks of the situation. He's finally brought out of his contemplation when Rena says his name. "Hmm?" He looks over to her for a moment. "This is certainly an issue that stems from already murky waters." Perhaps that doesn't help, at least outwardly, but he has his process.

"The curse itself, I believe, would have been used at Durmstrang? Which, some may argue would make prosecution for use of the curse the responsibility of the Norwegian Ministry of Magic." Bannon frowns, glancing between Maddie and Rena for a moment before continuing. "However, as it was a British citizen and student on whom the curse was performed, and thus whose life was consequently ended, the British Ministry may wish, or may even be required, to bring charged upon her."

"Yes, sir, it happened there," Madeline confirms. "Not here." She shifts uncomfortably. "I wish they wouldn't, though. She was just a kid still - even if she is an adult now. They can't lock her up in Azkaban for something she did when she was a kid! They wouldn't ever send me there, right?"

Well. Maddie wouldn't ever do something to warrant it…

"Mister Bates, please-" Rena says quite abruptly, her face showing a good deal of anxiety. She jumps to her feet quick-sharp, and grips the senior Auror's arm with her hand. "Please, let's not do anything hasty. Not now, not yet?" The young woman pleads with him, struggling to find words; an excuse; anything to buy a little time.

Again, her anxious gaze darts around, searching for inspiration of some kind. If only she could snatch it out of thin air and spin it from the clouds…

"Mister Bates, let me write to Professor Dumbledore? Ask him what 'is reasons are? Ask 'im to explain?" Rena asks, suddenly. "It will only delay us a few days. I'll take the fall for it, I will - if there's any blame to be laid for the report being made late, just let it be on me. I don't mind…"

"We all come to regret certain actions of ours. But should we not still face the consequences of them?" Bannon is obviously on the fence about the issue. "If a student from here were to use an Unforgivable Curse and kill another student, whether they were to regret it or not, they would still be required to face charges of murder and for use of a spell that is forbidden." He shakes his head slowly. "Regardless, it is not for the Auror make the final decision, but merely to apprehend those who have done wrong and allow Wizengamot to make the final ruling." He looks to Rena with a raised brow. "While I respect Professor Dumbledore, reasons could he have for preventing us from doing our job?"

"But… she can stay here in the meantime, right?" Madeline asks quietly. "I mean, it's not like anyone can leave the school without the teachers knowing. They, umm…" She shifts uncomfortably before suggesting, "Maybe they could keep her wand for her, when she's not in class? I'd hate for them to do that, but it's better than taking her away somewhere, isn't it? She should get to finish school."

"We won't know if we don't ask him, will we?" Rena replies pointedly, still holding onto Bannon's arm and looking up at him with pleading eyes. What she wants to say is that she can't bear the idea of throwing a child on the so-called "Mercy" of the Wizengamot. What chance does she stand? And if the Public latches onto the story, things could get ugly - and fast. More pressure on the authorities to move swift and fast.

How can she say that in front of Maddie? The poor kid is already shaken enough by the situation. It's better left unsaid - or left until later when she can speak with Bannon alone.

"We can't take her away from here in the meantime, no." Rena replies to Maddie at length, finally releasing the older Auror's arm. "No one can." Not unless or until the Ministry hears about it, issues a warrant and sends agents to arrest her.

Leaning in and speaking in a quiet tone so that Maddie cannot hear, Bannon whispers to Rena, "You may not be a parent, Mrs. Odori, but I am. I believe that was part of the reason you wished me here. As a parent, I know I would be bereft had my daughter were killed, and I would want justice. I am not saying that this girl should not be treated fairly, but she has killed another. A student whose parents will never see him graduate Hogwarts. He shall never live to have a career, to fall in love, to have a distinct life of his own. That is not something to be let go. There are consequences. I believe she must be brought to the Ministry. It is our jobs as Aurors to ensure those who have done wrong are brought in."

Leaning away from Rena, Bannon straightens his tie. "I trust my response to the situation shall be duly noted in the report? I am able to remain nearby to the school for the remainder of the weekend, I believe, at the Fawley farm."

Madeline watches the two adults uncertainly as they confere quietly, a worried expression on her features. What if she did just make a mistake? What if Valda gets locked up because of this - because she told? But what choice did she had? Someone else would have told, right? Like Parkinson? She as probably out there in Hogsmeade talking to someone from the Daily Prophet right now!

Rena knows - how well she knows and understands. Of course she agrees with everything Bannon says, she has to. She's an officer of the law. But, that doesn't stop the tears from welling in her eyes; and oh, how they sting in the cold Scottish wind. Fortunately, it serves to dry them quickly, before Madeline can see them plainly. "Three days, Mister Bates… please?" She begs in a whisper; one last desperate try. "No more, no less."

Bannon looks at Rena for a long moment before turning to Madeline and saying, "I know it must have been difficult informing us of this, but it was the right thing to do. Church did teach us something aside from Forgiveness, and that is this: 'You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.' Meaning, in part, that it is better to speak the truth than to keep a secret." Grasping his walking stick firmly, to Rena he says, "You know what I would have you do. You know that I would have her brought in."

"Well, but, sometimes secrets are important," Madeline says uncertainly. After all - she kept secrets for Rena since last spring! She looks back and forth between them - though that last part makes her stomach twist. "Oh, please don't Mist- err… Auror Bates, sir." Her grip tightens on the bars. "She was just a kid," she insists desperately, a few tears sneaking out of her eyes. She should have told just Rena! Or told no one at all!

Bannon Bates isn't going to let Rena have her way and get off the hook - not this time. He's not going to indulge her need for him to validate her desire to buy some time. And without that, she just can't go against him. Respect your elders; that's a big part of who and what Rena is… even when it hurts.

The small redheaded woman's shoulders slump rather visibly, and her whole demeanor becomes one of defeat. Hurrying back to the gate, she slips her soft gloved hand through the bar and brushes Maddie's cheek. She looks like she wants to cry, too: "Don't cry, Maddie - please. You'll get me going, next. I promise I'll…" There is a pause, and her hand freezes. Looking up at the castle fleetingly, she blinks and returns her gaze to the girl. "Hold on 'alf a tick."

Dropping down onto her knees outside the gate abruptly, she says: "Maddie, let me borrow your book, yea?" Digging into her handbag to find a pen and some paper. "I've got an idea." She won't be defeated, yet!

"Regardless of possible legal ramification, she must at least be questioned on the matter. I am sorry, Miss Evans. It is better we do this now, however, than later. Should the public be made aware, it could do more harm to her and the school." Bannon explains. He has little more than that to say, for the moment.

Madeline hands over the book - keeping her drawing in her hands. She looks from Rena, up towards Bannon, and uncertain expression on her features as she tries not to cry. "After she's questioned… Could she come back? She'd just be going to the Auror's Office to talk for a bit?"

Rena gingerly takes the text book from Maddie through the bars. Setting it on her lap, the young Auror begins to write at a rapid pace. Her handwriting may not be the best, given the circumstances; however, the recipient ought to be able to read it. (The letter reads as follows for the sake of the log, though the others can't presumably read it clearly.)

"Professor Dumbledore,

I don't know if you remember me, but my name was once Irene Lee - I graduated several years ago, and have since become an Auror. I recall you as a just, fair-minded man; and one with a good sense of humor. Please understand that I have the deepest respect and admiration for you; and, I trust you to do nothing without good reason. That being said, I am aware of the situation with Valda Rozenblats, and must tell you that I will be forced to report it to Chief Worthington and Commissioner Ogden.

I don't wish to take action without your input. I am heartsick when I think of throwing a child on the "mercy" of the Wizengamot, and would almost rather quit my job than have it on my conscience. I can only hope that - with your wisdom - I can write a report less likely to incite harsh action against Miss Rozenblats. But, time is short. If much of the school knows, the chances of the news becoming public knowledge increase with each day. Please understand that I only wish to be fair. I don't want to see any more families wounded by the events at Durmstrang.

- Auror, Irene Odori"

Once she has finished, Rena skims over the letter hurriedly and folds it up. On the blank outer part, she scratches "Urgent - M.L.E." with the pen before handing it through the bars to Madeline: "Maddie, please get that letter to Professor Dumbledore as quick as you possibly can."

Looking away from the girl, Bannon doesn't answer. "Auror Odori, if you could return the broom I used, I would be immensely grateful. I should be off to the farm." Looking back to Maddie for a brief moment, he says, "Miss Evans, I do apologize if I have caused you, even for the briefest of moments, any amount of grief. I wish only for this situation to be resolved as swiftly and efficiently as possible, in the a way befitting its sensitive nature." He clears he throat. "Good day to you both."

"I… understand, sir," Madeline answers Bannon, as she watches Rena finish the letter. She takes it when it's offered to her - along with her book as well. "I, umm, should go now then, I guess," she answers - though she doesn't move quite yet - instead she hugs her book and her drawing back to her chest with one arm, while holding the important letter in her other hand. "Is it okay if I give it to Professor Pettigrew or Professor Mopsus if I can't see the Headmaster?"

Rena can perhaps be forgiven if her answer to Bannon is slightly… terse. "Yes, sir," she replies quite simply as the man bids them good day. She's probably thinking a number of things she ought'n't - but fortunately, they remain unvoiced.

Turning back to Maddie, the young woman nods: "It's meant for Dumbledore, but it won't matter if other teachers see it, I suppose. One way or another, hopefully, it'll get to him as soon as possible. Just do your best - you always do."

Reaching through the bars one last time, Rena gives Maddie's shoulder a reassuring squeeze. "Come on, Maddie. I can't leave unless you smile again. Promise me you won't give up hope?"

Madeline does answer with a smile - glad for Rena's reassurance. "I know you'll do your very best to help her," she answers. Her expression sobers up again as she adds, "Umm. If I talk to Rozenblats again - I dunno if she'll talk to me again - is it okay if I tell her you're helping her? To write to you if she needs any help?"

"Absolutely," Rena answers without a spark of hesitation. Some might think that it's ridiculous for an Auror to be so ready to help… but this is a kid they're talking about. And they don't know the circumstances of the crime, yet. People have been Imperius'ed into doing terrible things before.

"And remember, anytime day or night, you can call on me. That goes for any of you kids 'ere at school, too - including Rozenblats. I'll be there for you however I can."

"I know you will," Madeline answers, giving Rena another smile. "And maybe uncle Perry'll take me out next Hogsmeade weekend. Oh - if he's home will you stop by and tell him I said hello, and give Sally a pet and a scratch from me?"

Rena smiles confidently and nods: "I will." Then, drawing her hand back through the bars, she busies herself with brushing her coat off and gathering her things. "No, off you go. Quick, like a mouse!" She says with a grin, picking up her broom and making ready to leave.

"Yes ma'am!" Madeline gives Rena a playful salute with the hand holding the letter, then turns to dash up the path leading to the castle. She is a girl on a mission - and she can be a dreadfully stubborn one.

As for Rena - well… she's a woman on a mission, too. One that weighs heavily on her mind. She breathes a slow, heavy sigh before mounting up. "Bloody 'Ogwarts. Why can't things ever just be simple?"

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