(1940-01-07) Pack Up Your Troubles
Details for Pack Up Your Troubles
Summary: Guy goes to a great deal of trouble to come see Rena and set her straight about a number of things. Most especially Flight Leftenant Faulkner.
Date: 1940/01/07
Location: The Leaky Cauldron
Related: Heavy Heart and Troubled Mind & Just a Minute Mr. Postman

Circumstances being what they are, anyone who knows what has been going on with Rena, knows better than to expect her to be her usual bright, bubbly self right now. She looks pale, tired and generally under the weather when she arrives back at the Leaky Cauldron via floo. The message Guy summoned her with left little doubt in her mind that she was probably in for it, as the saying goes. And so, the redhead barely takes the time to tug her clothing straight before looking about herself for the RAF man.

Guy is already leaning on the bar, and levers himself up as the girl appears, and he limps over towards her, "Rena!" And the arms are spread wide, offering a safe harbour, at least for now

It takes just about every ounce of inner strength for Rena not to burst into tears upon seeing Guy waiting for her like that - and her pained expression clearly shows the strain. Quickly closing the distance between them, she buries her face against his shoulder and hugs him very tightly: "Oh, Guy…" Is all that she can say for the moment, her voice tight and fighting hard against the urge to cry.

The grey wool arms wrap around, "I've only got today, I'm afraid. Urgent need to see my doctors for the leg. But…."

"Thanks awfully for coming," Rena manages to say, pulling back a little to reveal a very weak smile. Sniffing, she draws a small shuddering breath before adding: "You should sit down. I don't want to 'urt your leg worse." There is a small pause, and her gaze drops slightly. "I suppose you're wondering what finally smashed everything up." Aside from the obvious - which Guy already knows, all too well.

Guy gives a faint shrug, "Not really. Doesn't _matter_ what caused it, does it?" He gives a little 'oh', "Birdie asked me to act as postman for this…" And he produces a letter from his pocket

Rena's reaction to the letter is not, perhaps, what one might have expected. Her dark eyes instantly dart to the envelope, and she draws back her hand like someone who has just realized they were reaching into a nest of vipers. She looks absolutely petrified. "I don't think…" she struggles to find words. Shifting her gaze to Guy, she looks up at him with such a burden of guilt in her gaze. "Y-you know?" She asks at length, still not taking the letter from him - not yet, anyway. "He told you?"

Guy gives a little nod, "Yes. Yes. He did." He doesn't sound terribly upset about it. At least, not yet. "Look, do you want to go somewhere else?"

Rena casts a furtive glance around the room. At this hour of the day, the Leaky Cauldron is relatively empty; but still, she would rather have some privacy. "We can go to one of the private rooms and talk. I do it often enough with people on the job." She replies quietly, already moving to the stairs. It's the most expedient way to find isolation from prying ears and eyes. Anywhere else would require a good deal of walking, and in inclement weather, too.

Guy gives a nod, and removes his arms, "Good plan. And let anyone else think the worst of me, if they want, eh?!"

This at least causes Rena to laugh a little. "They always do." More in an undertone, she adds: "And they can all go boil their heads." She isn't feeling very friendly to the Wizarding world in general right now. That said, she leads the way upstairs to one of the private rooms without hesitation.

Guy moves up, and sits on the Ottoman, "Do go ahead, if you want to open the letter."

Closing the door behind them, quietly, Rena breaks from her usual habit of not using magic around Guy, and casts a charm to further isolate any discussion that might occur. Then, she joins Guy and takes a seat. It's such a shame to see someone who is normally full of bubbles like a good champagne as flat as an old beer. Again, she hesitates before taking the letter from him - and still, she doesn't open it. Rather, she stares at the envelope in her lap with shoulders slumped. "He was drugging me, Guy. Rather than deal with fights and arguments… he was drugging me to keep my bad temper in check. For months… I didn't know."

Guy's eyes narrow, "Just as well the bounder's fled, then." He relaxes a fist. "Also…. Birdie rather hinted that you've been telling him things."

"Mister Worthington wanted to put out a warrant for 'is arrest," Rena murmurs, not raising her eyes. Guy knows her well enough to realize she somehow talked the chief out of it and let Takeshi go on his way. "Besides, 'e wanted me to abandon England. I couldn't do that. Ever."
A pained look crosses her features, and Rena dares to look up only for a brief second. "I shouldn't 'ave done it. I don't know what came over me. I just that I…" Shame-faced, her gaze drops away, and she blushes deeply. Guy has been kicking around this world long enough to know that the thing she isn't saying is that she loves Birdie.

Guy shakes out a packet of cigarette and lights one, "Yes. Yes, I know." He breathes out a plume of smoke, "I'd _also_ rather not have a right hand man with his brain scrubbed clean. Isn't that the usual result?"

Still unable to meet the man's eyes, Rena continues to stare down at the letter in her lap. She gives a tiny nod in reply before speaking in a very small voice: "I'll go to Azkaban if anyone finds out, and 'e'll be Obliviated." Isn't Wizarding justice merciful and kind? So full of understanding.
"Saying sorry don't even begin to cover all that I've messed up, Guy." Rena says, miserably. "Can you ever forgive me?"

Guy snorts, and lets out a plume of smoke, then tosses the cigarettes to the grill, "Don't be silly. I wouldn't be here if I hadn't already."

Finally, the young woman can raise her chin - if only slightly - and look up once more. However, the unfortunate release of emotions causes an equal reaction in tears. They shimmer in her eyes a moment before spilling over and rolling down her cheeks. "I… I love him so terribly," she says through the tears. "I don't deserve to - I don't rate a good man like 'im. And besides, who can ever trust me, knowing the way I've been?"

Guy lets out another plume of smoke, "Right. That does it. You taken Leave from the Ministry?" He doesn't wait for a reply, "You're coming down to Biggin Hill. You can stay in the pub. And you and Birdie can sort things out, like adults. Because, actually, you know, I think he's pretty happy with you."

Hastily brushing the tears away with the back of her hand, Rena tries very hard to regain some control over herself. Sniffing, she looks at Guy searchingly - perhaps with even the faintest hint of hope flickering in her eyes. "Y-you think so?" She asks, somewhat disbelieving. If she would just open and read the damn letter, she would undoubtedly answer her own question.

Guy says, "No, I'm just telling you to get on a train with me, so I can lure you back to my den of iniquity, and have my wicked way with you!" His eyes roll upwards, "What do YOU think?"

Rena gives Guy a sidelong look and replies with a faint chuckle: "Any other circumstances and I might not put it past you." At least she still has a little fraction of her sense of humour left.
Drawing up her courage, she finally slips her finger under the flap of the envelope and opens it. Truth be told, she feels half-sick with nerves, but she falls to reading the hastily written letter:

6 January 1940
RAF Biggin Hill

My dearest Irene,

I have received your letter of 4 January instant, and most certainly do not agree to the terms set forth therein.

Now that that has been said - We all make a mess of our lives. It is the nature of life. I spent a few years crawling around inside bottles and chasing the dragon after leaving the service. But make no mistake, nothing that I've done in my life, not even flying, has made me feel as very alive as being with you.

We both live dangerous lives. We may die tomorrow, next week, next year, or old in our beds after a long life. But even if I must give my life for King and Country tomorrow, I would rather have today with you, knowing that your presence made today better than it would have been doing anything else. Even if you must leave me to run off and face whatever evils you face, at least we have whatever time we can together. If you are a mess, you are a beautiful one that brings joy into my life.

Do not doubt your worth, ever, Irene Cassandra Lee. And if you do, remember that there is one person in this world who would give anything for you.

Come back to me. I miss you terribly.

Yours always,

Judging by the fact that a new round of tears well in the young woman's eyes, and she stifles a weak sob behind her hand while reading it - whatever Birdie wrote must be pretty damn compelling. "Oh, lor… Guy, I've got to go to 'im… right away." Rena says tearfully, through a small hint of an emotional smile.

Guy gives a nod, and stretches his leg out, "Well, first I need to go to St Mungos. I _could_ do with some more ointment, and I'd rather not be a liar. And THEN we can go down there. Or I suppose you can just… you know." He pauses, "And do you need to put in for leave, or something?"

Recovering enough to slip the letter back into the envelope, Rena shakes her head: "I already 'ave leave - for a few more days, at least." There's that answered. "I'd still rather travel with you, there. Besides, I'll need to bring a few things. I didn't grab anything - not even my 'andbag when I got the message from you. I'll be ready to go with you when you're through seeing to your leg."

Guy says, "Alright…. meet back here, then, and get the train?"

"Yes, yes please," Rena replies, so much of the strain and the pain now largely gone from her voice. Then, up on her feet, she leans in and pulls Guy into another tight hug, so very grateful for him. "Thank you," she says, kissing his cheek. "I don't care what anyone says. You're the best in the world."

Guy chuckles gruffly, "You mean not everyone says that?"

"Not the people I work with, generally," Rena answers, flashing a wry smile. "Not that I give two figs what they think, right now."
Standing upright, the young woman quickly tugs her suit straight. Hesitating a moment, she asks: "But, I care about what you think… I know it's all a mess right now, and I don't know what the future will be - but… Do you approve?" Of Faulkner and herself, she means, naturally.

Guy says, "Well, as long as you don't get his brain wiped clean, yes. Preferably not killed by anything… special, either. Oh, or yourself sent to prison."

"Birdie swears he'll keep mum about it and play ignorant if anyone asks. With 'is experience… I trust 'e would be able. If we can just 'old out until Unity crosses the worlds." Here, she stops short and looks at Guy. "I know what you're thinking, and I know 'ow you feel about it. But now, it may be the only salvation I 'ave from the corner I've painted us into."

Guy gives a faint nod. He looks distinctly unconvinced. "Right. Well, lets get this show on the road…."

Guy settles into a first class compartment on the train. "Well, so far so good, actually."

Upon rejoining Guy, Rena looks a good deal more like her usual prim and properly turned out self. Although she still has an understandably worn look about her, some of the weight appears to have lifted from her shoulders.
"So far so good?" She echoes his words, questioningly, not quite sure what he means by it.

Guy says, "Well, the leg hurts less, and I have a good supply, so… yes. Yes, I think we're sorted."

Rena smiles. "I'm so glad that they've been able to do you some good. Nobody should 'ave to live in that kind of pain without relief, for so long." That one aspect of Guy has always troubled Rena. Not that she feels sorry for him. She just wants him to be happy and comfortable.
Shifting a little in her seat, Rena asks somewhat suspiciously: "Guy, did you know about Charl…Birdie and I? Before 'e came to you, I mean."

Guy says, "Strongly suspected, anyway. I've been around too long not to keep my eyes open."

Rubbing her hand along her arm self-consciously, Rena averts her eyes from Guy. "That, and I'm a bloody awful liar," she remarks, drily.
"I know all the things people are going to say about it. Twice my age, a Muggle, a pilot… can't be trusted," she goes on, shrugging her shoulders a little. "And I've only known 'im about four months."

Guy snorts, "Well, he's an officer, and therefore by definition a gentleman." He starts smoking of course, offering the cigarette case to her once more, "Were you planning on marrying?"

Just like Faulkner, Guy always offers the cigarettes, knowing full well that Rena will always politely shake her head and decline. However, his question causes her no little alarm. Lifting her head like a shot, her eyes lock with his, and she exclaims: "GUY!"

Guy shrugs, "What? It's a valid question, isn't it?"

Clearly flustered, Rena's cheeks tinge quite deeply with red. People aren't supposed to think such things under the circumstances, are they? It isn't proper or fitting. And yet…
"If things really do seem right between us," she answers quietly, looking pointedly out the window and not at Guy. "Maybe…in time… if he'll have me."

Guy gives a snort, and lets out another jet of smoke, "Or you get pregnant, of course."

Even more pointedly (if that's even possible) Rena keeps looking away out the window. The colour seems to drain from her features slightly, and she swallows, shifting uncomfortably in her seat. It's just one of those instinct things for her arm to cross over her abdomen in a defensive way. She says nothing.

There's a slight pause, and the RAF man lets out a little groan.

"I'm not!" Rena says, somewhat sharply - even if there is a hint of panic in her voice. Her brow furrows and she glances back at Guy briefly: "I'm not, surely," she repeats. "Don't think I ever can be. Otherwise it would've 'appened a long time before this…"

Guy says, "Because your husband took a lot of attention in that way, yes?"

Looking down, deeply ashamed, Rena murmurs: "You know I've been with other men."

Guy lets out a plume, "I didn't, but congratulations. It's a skill. You need to practice it."

Rena props her elbow on the window frame beside her and rests her forehead in her open hand with a sigh. "'Ow can you possibly act like it's a good thing?" She asks, looking sidelong at Guy. "It's all well and good if men are free and easy, but women…" It's a scandal, and shameful.

Guy's brow arches, "Oh? And if men are to be having lovers, who are they going to have, if all the girls are virgins?"

"Guy, you're awful," Rena replies with a faint smirk. However, the look of worry continues to linger in her features. "I can't be," she mutters to herself. "Not now." It would be the absolute worst timing of anything she's ever done in her life if it were the case.

Guy says, "What? If you say so." He gives a shrug again, "And well… that's alright, if you can't. You do know that there's safer times, don't you?"

Now, this is going to prey on her mind. It won't stop unless or until she knows one way or another… or something happens that completely knocks it out of her mind. Which is often the case with Rena. Scarcely any time between one crisis and the next. "What do you mean?" She asks, looking at Guy.

Guy gives a faint groan, "Honestly. Please tell me at least that Faulkner uses armour when he's with you?"

Again, colour begins to show in Rena's features, and she lowers her gaze before answering in a small, small voice: "Not since the first time."

Guy closes his eyes. "Well…. we'll have to see then, won't we?" He glances at the landscape going past, "Right… well, first things first!"

"I know… setting things right." Rena remarks, quietly. "Are you upset with me?" She then asks abruptly, not even dancing around the issue. She might as well. He certainly has every right in the world to be if he is.

Guy snorts, "Rena. Lots of things in this world annoy me. So far, you're not even close."

A look of relief washes over Rena. Guy means the world to her, in so many ways. It would pain her terribly if he really were angry with her. "You 'ave to be the Godfather, though." She says, trying to insert a little lighthearted humour. "If we do marry and 'ave a baby."

Guy says, "Of course! Assuming I live so long, of course!" He chuckles, looking at the countryside going by, "Almost there."

"Don't you DARE die on me and force me to 'ave a boy so I can name 'im Guy." Rena chides the man sharply, casting a warning glance in his direction. It's wartime… humour can be a little grim, but no less funny.
Anxiously, the young woman cranes her neck to look through the window. Clearly, she's itching to disembark and get to Faulkner as soon as humanly possible.

Guy laughs, and the train starts slowing. "Well, I'll do my best, alright?"

A gentler look comes over Rena, and she turns to Guy: "I'd be so lost without you." Of course, he knows how she feels about him already. But still… "I love you an awful lot." She adds, picking up her small suitcase and handbag.
She doesn't seem like the monster that she seems to think she is - not during moments like these.

Guy leans over, and takes the suitcase, looking a bit gruffly pleased, "Right. Right. Lets get you to the pub."

Smiling gently, Rena allows Guy to take the suitcase for her. Maybe everything will be alright, after all. Life seems a good deal less bleak and dire, now. With Faulkner's letter tucked safely into the inside breast pocket of her coat, she feels at least some small glimmer of hope in her heart as she follows her friend off the train. Things will get better. They have to, someday.

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