(1939-12-05) Over the Rainbow
Details for Over the Rainbow
Summary: After their encounter at the toy shop, Maddie and her Uncle convince Rena to come over to Perry's cottage for a nice family-type evening.
Date: 1939/12/05
Location: Perry Evans' Cottage
Related: Here Be Dragons

"Okay… Got it!" Madeline suddenly declares, putting a last, emphatic period on her parchment as she finishes the written assignment. "What do you think?" she asks, handing the Transfiguration essay off to Perry, who peruses it, before passing it off to Rena.
"You misspelled 'button' - it has two t's," Perry remarks. "But I think you got the concepts correct."
"They always do that to trick me!" the girl exclaims.
"Yes," Perry remarks dryly. "When they were standardizing the spelling of English words, they thought, 'What could we do to confuse Madeline Eleanor Evans in a hundred years' time?' and based all their decisions on that. It's such a burden you bear."

Rena tries so very hard not to laugh from the sidelines as she watches the interaction between Perry and Madeline. She happens to be standing beside the bookshelves, perusing the selections when the girl finishes her assignment, and it affords her some means of hiding the laughter… but not much. Attempting to conceal the giggling behind her hand fails eventually, and she very nearly keels over from the effort.
"I… I'm sorry, Maddie," Rena says through the laughter. "Ahem… anyway, I'm sure you did just fine, luv." Pausing a moment, her brow furrows as she remembers the middle name Perry used on the girl earlier in the day, and she says: "Half a tick - I thought you said 'er middle name was Meredith. Now Eleanor?"

It's Madeline's turn to giggle, while Perry does his best to look utterly innocent. "I don't have a middle name," she answers cheerfully, taking the essay when it's passed back to her. "So uncle Perry's always calling me something different." She peruses the essay, finding the word 'buton,' and carefully squeezing in an extra t. "There! Fixed it!"
"Good. We really do have to work on that spelling of yours. But for now - it's getting late. You should brush your teeth and get into your pajamas."
"Aww, but uncle Perry…!"
Unswayed, the man points down the hall.

"Use Cassandra sometime, then. That's my middle 'andle as it were." Rena says with a light laugh when the name situation is explained to her. "Seems it's got an interesting story be'ind it. I never knew till Bir… a friend of mine told me." She corrects herself quickly and turns back to the bookshelf before any hint of colour can show in her cheeks.
"Oh, g'on with you, Maddie," Rena remarks, not quite turning to look. "I'll be there to tuck you in when you're ready for bed. If Perry doesn't mind, of course." Perhaps it was a little presumptuous of her to simply assume he would allow it.

"Yeah?" Madeline asks, seeming to perk up with that notion. "Okay!" she agrees brightly, picking up her book and essay, and scampering down the short hall to her room to put them away, then dashing back across the hall to the bathroom so she can start getting ready for bed.
"That was kind of you to offer," Perry remarks, giving Rena a friendly smile. "If you see anything on the shelves there you'd like to borrow, you know you're welcome to. Including those magazines of Madeline's down at the bottom, I'm sure. She's been loaning some out to a few of her wizard-born classmates, I hear."

"It may not be the most… normal literature to try and educate them to Muggle ways with, but, it's a start, yea?" Rena asks with a faint smirk. "I suppose normal is relative. We 'ave our own version of what that means to us."
Crouching beside the shelf to take a look at the magazines, the redheaded woman chuckles quietly and withdraws one with a magnificent colour plate on the front depicting some kind of aerial antics in planes. Smiling a bit wistfully, she looks up at Perry and rises, magazine in hand. "I suppose this will sound silly to ask, but I never 'ad a regular child'ood myself. One doesn't read bedtime stories to kids when they're Maddie's age, do they?" No harm in asking. She wouldn't know!

"Not generally, but I bet she'd love it," Perry answers. "I did sometimes when she was staying here, during that whole mess with Flint. She was having trouble getting to sleep, and it seemed to help." He pauses a moment then adds, "She says she's sleeping better now, though."

"I think we're all sleeping a bit better these days because of that." Rena murmurs thoughtfully, dropping her gaze and looking into the glowing fireplace for a moment. "Except for Mister Flint, of course." She adds, as a joking aside.
"I just wish life weren't always out of the pan and into the fire all the time, you know?" Rena remarks with a sigh, keeping her voice down so that Maddie can't hear the change in tone, as she might show up at any moment. "When are we going to roll out of the fire and onto the hearth so we can get on with life without any more miniature disasters and minor catastrophes?" Rena asks wryly.

"I wish I knew the answer to that," Perry answers with wry sadness. "It'd be nice to have some peace. We have a lot of men in the family out fighting this damnable war. I'd be there too if not for…" he shrugs his shoulders, and shakes his head. Just the random chance of being born a wizard.
From down the hall, Madeline calls, "Teeth clean!" then jumps back into her room to put on her pajamas.

Rena understands exactly what Perry means. And a look of subdued dismay crosses her features when he mentioned that a good many of the men in their family are now serving for King and Country. However, just as her lips part to speak, Maddie calls out, and she stays silent. With a softened expression, Rena walks to Perry's side and places a hand on his shoulder. Giving it a gentle squeeze, she says quietly: "I've made a fool's bargain, 'anging about with the boys over at Biggin Hill. I know I'm setting myself up for heartbreak. But, for what it's worth, I'm glad one of the Evans' men is still around. The home front is important… besides, Maddie needs you."
Releasing her hand, Rena puts on a brighter smile and calls out: "Be right there when you're ready, Maddie.

"Well, Maddie's father's around, too," Perry remarks dryly. "Not like I'm the only one." He gives Rena a curious look before adding, "I don't suppose you've met Dai?" The odds would say she hasn't - but you never know. "He's stationed there. Maddie's looking forward to seeing him over Christmas."
"Just need to get my jams on!" Maddie calls back.

"Don't be like that," Rena quietly chides Perry, frowning again, ever so slightly. "And don't think it 'asn't crossed my mind on occasion that I'm shirking my duties as a British citizen. I know my job's important on this side, but I feel like I should be joining the WAAF, or something like… But, you know I can't do both. None of us can juggle a job on both sides." Here, she gives a helpless, frustrated little shrug of her shoulders. Only the Muggleborn ever seem to understand the pains of living between worlds.
"Dai?" Rena lifts her head, blinking. "David Evans? I…" Her eyes widen, and she looks off into the imaginary distance before locking her gaze with Perry: "Well, yes, I met a David Evans, not even a month ago. Even mentioned a cousin of 'is sending 'im a good luck charm. Is 'e-?"

"No, we can't live fully in both worlds," Perry answers Rena in agreement. "We can only do so much. Unfortunately." As she asks about David, though, his expression widens into a smile. "Yup, David Evans, with 812 Squadron. Madeline said she sent him a letter, and a drawing - some sort of monster with balloons, I think she said? Don't know if that's his luck charm - could just as easily be something from someone else in the family."
From down the hall, Madeline calls out, "Okay! Ready!" She bounces onto the edge of her bed, dressed in a cotton nightgown, with a brightly colored ribbon decorating the neckline.

"Well, I'll be damned," Rena exclaims, completely baffled. She'll have to have a word with young Mister Evans the next time she's out there at Biggin Hill and tell him that she knows his cousin! That'll be a surprise for him, to be sure.
Remembering that she needs to watch her language, the young woman covers her mouth for a second and stifles back a small laugh. "No on-the-job language, I promise." She reassures Perry before heading down the hall to join Maddie.

"Right!" Rena says upon entering the bedroom. "Your uncle is probably going to strangle me for getting you all worked up before bed, but… In you get! Because I've got a surprise to tell you about." She grins, moving over to the bed and turning down the blankets for Maddie to get in.

"It's a smaller world than we think, sometimes," Perry remarks with amusement, letting out a quiet laugh at her reaction to the foul language. "I'd appreciate that - but not as much as her parents would. Cecil can be something else."
Madeline slips in when she's bid, reaching for her dragon stuffed animal that she'd won at Fawley Farm over the summer. She hugs it tight, the charms turned off for the moment. "A surprise?" she asks curiously. "I love surprises!"

Once Rena has neatly tucked Madeline in, she seats herself on the edge of the bed and looks down at the girl fondly for a second before a cat-who-swallowed-the-canary look begins to slip into her expression. Glancing at Perry just once more, she begins to talk.
"What if I told you there is a story about a whole nother world - a wonderful and sometimes frightening world - a world beyond the moon, beyond the rain. And a young girl, just about your age, finds 'erself and 'er dog quite lost; far, far away from home, because she was picked up inside a cyclone and dropped there. All manner of strange and wonderful people live there, even Witches and Wizards! But, wonderful as it is, she has to find a way to get home to her family…"

Madeline listens intently, a smile growing on her features as Rena outlines the tale. "I'd say it sounds like a good story!" she says eagerly. "And it's a good thing she has her dog along with her or she'd feel awful lonely. Did you make it up yourself?"

Rena grins and shakes her head: "No, I've never been much of a story-teller, I'm afraid," she admits. "A Muggle gent wrote it a very long time ago. And now, the magic makers over in 'Ollywood - over in America - 'ave made 'is story into a film. One the likes of which you and I 'ave never seen before! Snow White were something grand, weren't it? But, this is even better. I know, because I saw the preview not long ago." Pausing, she reaches into the pocket of her suit jacket and withdraws a tidy little stack of tickets: "Soon as I saw it, I thought of you and your family, and 'ow much fun it would be if we all went to see it in the cinema together. So… Happy early Christmas." She then presents the stack of tickets to the girl with a big smile. After all, there are quite a few of them to accommodate.

"Oh, wow," Madeline says with widened eyes as she accepts the tickets, and reads what's printed on them. "The Wizard of Oz," she murmurs. "That does sound good! It's a book too, though? Have you read it? Do you have it?"

"There are actually many books about Oz. The Wizard of Oz is the first." Rena explains, still smiling. "Only place I've ever found them was in the library in London, though. Now that I 'ave a friend who's awfully good at finding things (especially books) maybe I can convince 'im to find the Oz stories for us, yea? He's a Muggle, but 'e could've been a 'Ufflepuff, I think." Pausing, a sparkle shows in her eyes and she leans in to whisper conspiratorially: "He really is quite wonderful… And you know what? He's a Lieutenant in the same squadron as your cousin, David." Now how about that? Tonight is just FULL of surprises.

Madeline's eyes widen, and she lets out a little squeal of delight, before letting out an excited, "You know Dai?" loud enough to be heard out in the sitting room. "Is he doing alright? He wrote me a letter, you know, saying that he likes living in the barracks with everyone and that he's making lots of friends, and that he's looking forward to seeing us for Christmas - even though it's not gonna be on Christmas actually, you see, but that's alright."

Rena's got the Cheshire Cat grin on her face now, and it won't go away. "Why 'e was fit as a fiddle the last time I saw 'im, sure as sure." She answers brightly. "I even took a few turns on the floor with 'im - dancing, you know. It was a birthday party for the Squadron Leader - also a good friend of mine. Quite a good dancer 'e is, too!" What she doesn't make mention of is the wardrobe she wore for the party. Best leave that lay."
Taking the tickets for the film from Maddie's hand gently, Rena sets them aside on the nightstand. "Of course, now I've got you all wound up like a clockwork toy, and you're not going to want to go to sleep any time soon." She says wryly.

"You were dancing with Dai?" Madeline asks with a giggle. "I wish I could've danced too! I love birthday parties. You know, I should send a drawing to Dai's Squadron Leader, too! That'd be a nice thing to do, wouldn't it? I mean, it's kind of like being Head of House, right?" Yup, she's definitely wound up now. "I can work on it tomorrow some, I bet. Maybe I'll draw him a dragon who can breathe fire on all the German planes."

Rena laughs: "Mister Grosvenor is a grumpy old curmudgeon - or so 'e likes people to think. I bet 'e would get a kick out of German planes being made into toast by a dragon. Though I'm sure 'e would explain 'ow impractical it would be to loose a drake on them instead of guns." Mentioning guns seems to remind her of something, and she adds: "You know, Mister Grosvenor and Lieutenant Faulkner - the fellow who's good at finding books - 'ave been teaching me to shoot." At least Maddie, unlike so many in the wizarding world, won't judge her harshly for spending time with the pilots at Biggin Hill.
Realizing she's just making it worse, Rena shakes her head and chuckles: "I've got to find a way to undo the damage I've done, getting you all excited. What can I…" She looks away, considering. "I know. I've learned a song from The Wizard of Oz. Would you like me to sing it for you? Or are you too old for that sort of thing?" She asks.

"If you can shoot, then you can come game shooting with us!" Madeline invites cheerfully. "Angus MacMillan - he's a Gryffindor, too - he's going game shooting with us over the holidays." And as far as Madeline's concerned, the more the merrier!
"Oh, I like songs," she adds, wiggling down a little deeper under her covers. "Is it a pretty one?"

"We'll see," Rena answers with a softer smile. She's learning to shoot… but not at game. Grim as the reality may be. If she ever had to raise a pistol, it would be at a bloody German. And she hopes and prays that the war never comes to the point of outright invasion.
"And yes, it's a beautiful song. I think if I'd 'eard it when I was a girl, I would've been singing it all the time." A wistful look crosses her features, and she adds softly, "It's a song about dreaming of a place where there isn't any trouble. I think that's what we all wish for, isn't it?"

Madeline nods her head firmly. "Sure we do," the girl agrees. "Jus' like Hogwarts is!" she adds. "I mean, other than passing exams and such. …and Rozenblats being all mad at me. Other'n that."

Rena reaches out and fondly brushes back Madeline's hair with her hand: "Maybe one day she'll understand and forgive you. After all, it did turn out that the Ministry already knew. Cat was out of the bag long before we talked, love." She does hope for Maddie's sake that the girl won't continue to be angry. But, there is little she can do, now. To ready herself for the song, the young woman hums a few bars quite softly before sitting back in her chair. Then, she sings…

"Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There's a land that I heard of, once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops, that's where you'll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly
If birds fly over the rainbow - why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow…
Why, oh why can't I?"

"I know," Madeline answers with a sigh. "'n I hate that it hurt her, me tellin' you 'n all, but I had to, right? 'n I sent her a drawing as an apology…" As if that fixes everything. Drawings seem to be Maddie's answer to everything these days.
She's silent by the time Rena starts to sing, looking up at the Auror with her blankets tucked under her chin. "Oh… that is a pretty song," she breathes out quietly. "Sing it again?"

Rena smiles warmly, and obliges the girl without hesitation. She's grown incredibly fond of the song, and it's a special thing she can share with Maddie after all the turmoil they've been through together… And in the face of the troubled times in which they live now. A moment of peace and tranquility; a chance to be a kid and to dream about kinder things. Despite everything weighing in the back of her mind, she's only too happy to sing the song about the land Over the Rainbow once more. One can only wonder what Perry must be thinking, off by himself in the other room.

Before too long, Madeline is humming along with the tune - it is pretty catchy after all - and starting to grow quite sleepy. She lets out a yawn. "You'll have to write down the words for me," she murmurs. "You'll tell uncle Perry I said goodnight?" she adds.

"I will - on both counts," Rena says, smiling. Leaning in, she wraps Maddie in a warm hug before rising from the edge of the bed. "Sweet dreams, Madeline Cassandra Evans," she adds with a mischievous glint in her eyes as she makes sure the blanket is all tucked in, nice and snug. Then, she turns out the lamp and moves quietly toward the door.

Madeline giggles at the name. "G'night, Rena Cassandra Lee Odori," she answers. She hugs her dragon a little tighter, letting out another yawn before she allows her eyes to fall closed.
Perry remains in the sitting room - though he's poured himself a nice frothy cup of liquid refreshment from a bottle stored in the ice box. He sips at it, while reading from a book he's pulled from the shelf. "She sounded excited about Dai," he remarks with amusement. "Can I get you anything to drink? There's tea - but I also have a small liquor cabinet, and some bottles of ale in the icebox. Plus some pumpkin juice," for Maddie.

"It's been a day full of unexpected news and surprises," Rena remarks to Perry as she returns. "Tea would be lovely, thanks. Best stick with something not so spirited, if you know what I mean." Yes, probably everyone in the Wizarding world knows that Rena is a complete and utter lightweight by now.
"I do 'ope that you and the family won't mind about the cinema tickets… I suppose I really ought to 'ave asked first," the young woman says, tugging her clothing straight. She's begun to feel somewhat worried that she might have overstepped herself a bit on that one. "After my fine little speech at young Mister Eibon, today and all."

"That kid's a right git," Perry remarks, letting some of his bitterness and anger bleed through. "If it were my place, I'd cuff him soundly about the ears for the thing's he's done. I don't know how you put up with him - I have to grit my teeth every time I see him." Climbing to his feet, he moves towards the kitchen, filling a pot with water and using a spellword to heat it to a nice, warm temperature before adding a scoop of tea leaves. He lets it steep, while pulling the cream out of the ice box.

Rena can't help the quiet laugh that slips out. "I know what you mean, Perry - believe me. 'e can be downright infuriating at the best of times. I try to make allowances for the boy, though. It's like I've told Maddie… strange as it sounds, the boy's been deprived of a lot of things in life. Things necessary to growing up and becoming a healthy human being. 'E is a product of the upbringing that the upper class purebloods foster, and it's not right."
Pausing, the young woman passes her hand over her face tiredly. "If the Unity party gets its way and we wind up integrating both sides of society, folks like 'im will 'ave the worst of learning to adjust. Many of us Muggleborn will be throwing our 'ats in the air and singing for the joy of freedom. Them? I wouldn't want to be in their shoes."

Perry puts the teapot on a tray with a cup and saucer, the cream, sugar, and a some biscuits. He carries this back to the sitting room. "He's been raised all wrong," he agrees. "But I find I can't forgive him for what he put Madeline through. She says she's forgiven - I wonder if she's just saying what she believes we want to hear."

"I suppose neither of us can read her mind." Rena admits as she takes a seat, joining Perry for tea in the sitting room. "And only time will tell. But still, when it comes down to it, I try to be understanding and patient - even with people like Angelus."
Shifting forward on her seat, Rena pours tea for herself; carefully adding the little bit of sugar and cream before stirring and sitting back once more. "Everyone is entitled to make a mistake once. As long as they learn from it and don't go back to make the same mistake twice. I think that's the worrisome thing with that boy. As Maddie's pointed out, 'e does tend to run round in circles, making the same mistakes over and over. Might be an unfortunate sign of lack of intelligence… but that's owing to 'is upbringing, I think." Hopefully not his breeding.

"Yes, he's disappointed her more than once," Perry agrees. If 'disappointed' is the right word at all. "Did she ever tell you about the little stunt he pulled on Diagon Alley over the summer? Not that Madeline was completely innocent that time." He shakes his head slightly. "And not that I really blame her. Everyone deals with… their experiences in different ways." Leaving Rena to enjoy the tea, he picks up his ale for another drink.

"I think she may 'ave done." Rena replies thoughtfully before taking a sip of her nice hot tea. "But, you know, I've found in most cases where an argument or a fight occurs, both sides of the party are to blame. Sometimes the blame isn't equal… Still," she gives a little shrug of her shoulders. "They are kids. And this 'as been one messy year for grownups and children alike. I think we all just need a little time to settle down and get back to normal as much as possible." Her way of saying that the best thing to do is be patient and calm. Just wait out the storm and see what the outcome is before making up ones mind.

"It didn't ingratiate him to me, from the start. Not that Maddie should be keeping secrets from me - but her housemates shouldn't be spilling her secrets over jealousy over some fool badge." Yes. That damned Junior Auror's badge again. "Though to be honest, I might not be blameless in it, either. I may not have given as much thought as I should have to what Maddie needed after what happened at Sweet Temptations." He stares at his glass for a moment adding, "Now there's a day I wouldn't mind forgetting. When did the world go and get so…" He trails off into a momentary silence. "And how did we not see it coming?"

Like Perry, Rena would not mind forgetting that horrible day in Diagon Alley. Just the memory of it is enough to cause a little of the colour to fade from her features as she stares distantly at the floor for a long moment. Perry's question causes her to stir, however, and she remarks carefully: "It's like water."
Realizing she isn't making herself clear, she sips her tea before saying: "Changes 'appen slowly, like water sometimes. It's flowing fast as a brook, but always seems to be the same. You can't see it, but all the while, the brook is widening as the water cuts away at the earth; and one day, it turns into a stream… and the stream into a river. It just takes such a long time that nobody notices it 'appening, until suddenly you go to cross the little brook and find yourself faced with a river, instead. We're all always so wrapped up in our lives that we sometimes forget to see what's changing around us."

"I suppose that's true," Perry agrees. "I just wish we'd all been a little more observant. Would have saved us all some heartache." He drinks more of his ale, adding, "I'd give most anything for Madeline not to have been there that day. Still - we were lucky. The three of us are here to tell the tale. Some families can't say the same."
Changing topics abruptly he adds, "So what are these tickets, and how many did you buy?"

Again, a flicker of sadness slips into Rena's eyes. She tries not to think about that day… it's going to catch up to her eventually, though. She can push it back all she likes, but someday, it will come again.
"The Wizard of Oz - a new, pretty sensational sounding film - I bought tickets for everyone so we can all make a big, special evening of it and enjoy a magical experience that won't leave anyone traumatized, 'opefully. My Christmas present to the Evans family." Rena says with a grin.

"Including the Bronne children?" Perry asks curiously. "If you didn't, I can afford three more tickets," he adds hastily. "You aren't the only one on a Ministry salary, after all." Though Auror's get significantly more pay and for good cause. "That should make a nice outing. Is the cinema in London? I'm not sure the Bronne children have been into London, not since they arrived in England. They'd enjoy that, I'm sure."

"Of course the Bronne children!" Rena replies laughingly. "They're part of the family, too, after all. And I know that London will be a big experience for them - but, I figure between us all, we can manage to 'erd four children through it all, safely. If it turns out we can't do it in an evening because of conditions," meaning the war, of course, "I'm sure there will be a daytime showing to take in. I just want there to be happy memories this Christmas."
The last part is truthful, however, Rena does not voice the fact that she feels a growing anxiety in the pit of her stomach that next Christmas may not be very bright. They need to make happy memories now, so they are strong and can be held onto in the future if things get bad.

"They'll all love it. It's a very generous gesture, Rena," Perry says warmly. "And brave of you to be willing to take on all four at once. Have you seen the way they set each other off?" he asks, letting out a quiet laugh. "Having some brothers and a sister has been good for Maddie, though." Will they ever be able to go home, he can't help but wonder?
The pair continue talking, hashing out details for Perry to pass along to his brother. Perry even teasingly remarks on Rena's present - how hard Madeline has been working on it, how he's been helping her acquire the materials for the project. The fact that Madeline even learned a brand new spell for the project. The dregs of the pot of tea has grown cold before Perry shows Rena to the door, bidding her a friendly goodnight.

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