(1940-01-15) Dark Clouds Overhead
Details for Dark Clouds Overhead
Summary: After Rena has spent a few days in hospital, Graham comes to visit her.
Date: 1940/01/15
Location: St. Mungo's Hospital
Related: Going To Pieces

Aurors and Hit Wizards are always getting into trouble, and always winding up stuck in St. Mungo's for a quick patch-up job, or else more intensive care. Small wonder, then, that MLE keeps an open line of communication with the hospital. All things considered, it's just good practice. And so, on days like this when one of the Ministry's problem children (Rena - who else?) winds up occupying her bed overnight, word gets sent to the department that she will either be absent or late coming into work that day. One can only wonder What Now? She already had leave for a week to take care of the mess of her personal life. Apparently, it wasn't enough, judging by this.
At the moment, Rena is just resting - mostly waiting for the healer to tell her she can get up, get dressed and leave. Sitting up in bed, she gazes out the window, looking very far-off and preoccupied.

Graham appears with a pop into the atrium of the hospital with something in his hands. Being such a frequent patient, he might as well have special parking sticker or something. A staff member looks up, though he seems to be intact and not dragging anyone in who's not, this time. He will walk to the front desk and ask for a room number nodding his thanks before he moves down the hall counting the numbers. The young man reaches for the door but thinks better of it and instead knocks lightly.

Very much lost in a world of her own thoughts, Rena continues to stare out the window for another moment or two. At first, she doesn't realize that there was a knock at the door; however, another light rap comes, and she turns her head slightly: "Come in?" She says, raising her voice slightly.
Shifting in bed, the young woman props herself up against the pillows. She looks so tired and pale… maybe it's just the age old problem of being a girl without her makeup. It's hard to say. But, the fact is that Rena just doesn't look like herself.

The young man takes a silent deep breath, but hearing the permission to enter he will turn the knob and step inside. Graham takes a moment for his eyes to adjust probably but finds the bed and the woman there upon it. He looks concerned a moment but no that wont help he smiles softly "I'd hoped to see you at work, made little cakes. I brought you a couple, and some flowers." He holds out the items from behind his back and will move over at least to grab a chair near her beside.

When Graham appears, Rena isn't exactly sure how to react. Does any of it matter anymore? Now that everything has fallen apart anyway. It all seems so pointless, now.
The young woman offers a weak smile and self-consciously brushes her hand back through her hair, even though there is no way to fix it so easily. "Sorry - I meant to be there. But, then I went and 'ad a bloody fainting spell and wasn't coming 'round. A …friend brought me 'ere. Silly nonsense. I'm alright, now." She says, trying to sound convincing.
"That was awfully sweet of you, thinking to bring me flowers," Rena smiles a bit as she takes them from Graham. "And the cakes… I think I could manage." She can't help wondering in the back of her mind just how much does he know about everything that's happened. Surely rumors have already run wild in the department.

Graham shrugs slightly "You might be my second guinea pig, though Shelley's still alive and she liked them well enough, they each have their own fruit filling. With a little drizzle on top." Yaay chef auror-Graham. He offers the flowers over "Least I can do really, I havent seen you seem like forever too bad it has to be here of all places. I'm glad your feeling a bit better." if he's heard anything going around he doesn’t seem to be broaching it. "Nasty business fainting though, anyone I know bring you?"

Rena gazes down at the flowers and looks them over. She loves flowers. More than just about anything in the world. They were one of those rare gems, seldom to be seen in the world that she grew up in; and now, they seem unduly precious to her.
Shaking her head, she answers quietly: "No, I don't think you've met Charlie Johnson. 'E's an American Wizard who 'asn't been over in England long. And he… is a friend." Really, that's all that she seems to want to say just now. Her demeanor is still strangely subdued. "I was clearing the last of my things out of the 'ouse. Charlie 'appened by and saw the door ajar and thought there were burglars. Suppose it's a good thing 'e did stop in, or I wouldn't 'ave 'ad anyone to bring me 'ere when I fainted soon after."

"Ah no, name doesn’t strike a chord. Last American I knew was Nova. She was a good witch. Professional Quidditch player. I think you met her once or so?" Graham says though he'll bring the plate over before he's to comfortable and offers it with three of the cakes on it. "I hope you like them." The rest of the story is heard and a deep breath nodding "I'm glad he happened by. Nothing to play around with." The auror will say but then plops down hard into his chair seeming unable to stop the words which slip out. "God, Rena I'm sorry. That doesn’t cover it - not close." He places his head in his hands a moment before he looks back up to the bed.

Timidly, Rena takes one of the cakes at last. She sincerely hopes that she was right in thinking that she could manage one of them, right now. It will probably be fine. Nibbling at it, she takes her first bite and has to admit that it tastes lovely. Which is probably more than Shelley did.
However, Graham apologizes quite deeply and sincerely, leaving her in silence for a moment. Swallowing hard, Rena says: "It's not really your fault. Nobody knew… not even I knew. Turns out that was part of the reason I sort of fell apart and fainted though. Apparently if you've been force fed potions for a long time and stop dead, your body doesn't like it."
Stopping a second, she lowers her gaze and her hand. "Besides all that, I've done nothing but make a mess of things on my own side ever since." Smirking mirthlessly, she adds: "I can't be trusted on my own."

Graham takes a deep breath "I still feel horrid. Not just that, but lots of other things too that I've done that made us not as close." He has at least some time to think back now. "You'd acted strange and I should have known something was wrong. Worst..auror..ever.." He has to swallow something back like sickness in his throat at the thought. He nods to her "I bet that is a bit of a shock to your body no doubt." he comments with some trouble he does watch her eat a bit of the cake and she seems to enjoy it which is at least good. The young man shakes his head "Rena, the world is screwed up right now and hasn’t been right in a good long time your young. There are very few mistakes which cannot be fixed and healed with time. I know I have to believe it for the ones I’ve made, am making, and will make."

Rena's dark eyes remain fixed on the cake in her hand. She simply can't bring herself to raise them to meet with his again. Everything he says, she hears it and understands it. She's young, she can fix her mistakes… the accidents can be undone - all in a perfect world. But, the world isn't perfect. Just as he says, the world is screwed up and likely to get worse before it gets better.
"Graham, I…" her voice breaks the silence at length, struggling to maintain calmness so that it doesn't waver. "I was expecting." There's a bombshell dropped that no one was anticipating. There is something horrible about the word “was,” and it bears a terrible weight.

The young man watches her for any reaction and isn’t immediately able to tell if what he's said helps any at all. Graham listens through the silence until she speaks, and then he's working through it Expecting.. her.. was.. his face goes from calm to pained. "I didn’t know.. Rena.." He sputters "I'm so sorry, I should have been here for you the whole time." he says he's hesitant a moment things not being right with them but still he reaches out unless she stops him or says something, he will take her into a hug.

So much has gone wrong, lately; and Rena has felt so desperately alone, but for Faulkner in her life. Then she remembers that Graham doesn't even know about Faulkner.
Her mind racing, and her head beginning to spin once more, Rena doesn't object to the embrace. She lays her head against his shoulder and sniffs quietly. It's fairly clear that she's still in a state of shock, and not able to process everything in her own mind. "You couldn't 'ave done anything," she answers after a time, her voice slightly muffled. "It's just one of those things… so they told me."
As much as she's suffered lately from the righteous indignation of others, it's small wonder that something inside of her immediately jumps to feeling the need to add: "It weren't Takeshi's, either. Or Arthur… I'm just not a very good person at all, Graham. Don't feel sorry for me."

Graham is glad that she doesn’t push him away. He will embrace and squeeze her, holding and listening to her words, muffled or otherwise. "Maybe not, but being there is what friends do. I've not been a good friend to you. A good friend should be supporting and not judging. I am sorry for that and it won't happen again." He listens further "None of that talk Rena. You're a good person and I know it." He's quiet a moment. "I hadn't realized you'd met someone else. Anyone I know?" He asks, perhaps to lighten the topic just a little.

"Maybe neither one of us 'as been good at being a friend for a while," Rena replies dismally. "Thank you for being here for me now, though. I can't tell you what it means." Broken as she feels, it's almost impossible to express how much she truly appreciates and needs it, just now.
Sniffing again, the young woman almost seems too worn inside to cry. "Afraid you might not like 'im," she says, managing a wry smile. "Friend and companion of Guy's. 'Is name is Charles - Charles Faulkner, and 'e's a flight leftenant in the RAF." Pausing a moment, she tries to gather her wits and describe the man. "Truth be told, 'e's a bit older than I am… But, that don't mean aught to me. 'E is the kindest, most understanding man I've ever known - smart as a whip, too. I know it's been wrong, but…" Finally, Rena is able to raise her head and look squarely at her friend. Her eyes are so sad, but full of genuine sincerity: "Oh Graham, I never knew what it really meant to love someone the way I love 'im. And now, I 'ave to tell 'im about this…"

"I don’t know, but I intend to change my side of it, either way. I have missed you being my friend." Graham says, and he looks to her as she turns back though he cannot help but smirk: "So far, he sounds nothing like Guy to me." He winks to show he's just teasing with his words. "Hm, an RAF man. I see nothing wrong with it, as long as he treats you as well as you deserve to be." He replies. The next part makes him both frown and smile. It is so bittersweet to find love, but he finds his voice after a while. "If he does love you, he will understand how hard this is and be there for you."

"I missed it, too." Rena states simply, her voice straining against the confusion of emotions running riot inside. "I need friends so badly right now." She then says, knowing that she has painted herself into a very dark corner.
"I promise you, Charles does love me," Rena answers in earnest with regard to Faulkner. There isn't a shred of doubt in her her voice, only a hint of defensiveness. She's been under attack of late, and she can't really help herself.
"But…" Her gaze begins to slip away, and her shoulders sag, "That's why it'll be so 'ard to tell. H-he would've been so very glad if… now, it's gone. Just gone." Her voice fades, and she drops into silence. It's an alien pain for her to even try to wrap her mind around. To have ones hopes raised for such a short span of time, and then, before she could even begin to adjust, a life was taken away from her. "It's all my fault."

Graham listens and watches nodding in agreement to the first part. "I agree that friends are important." It is after she speaks further that he will give a soft smile: "I believe you, I'd like to meet this guy sometime, I think.” However, a frown returns and he quickly shakes his head. "Rena, you know it isn’t your fault. It's nothing you've done wrong here. And, if he is half a good a man as you say, he will of course look after you. What could have been can still be."

Silence ensues again - the kind in which one can hear a pin drop from a distance of about twenty feet. It takes a while, but the young woman finally gathers the strength to draw a slow breath: "I hope you're right," she replies in a quiet, uncertain voice. One can easily forgive her skepticism at the moment, given how new the wound is. In time, she might learn to believe again.
Tugging idly at the bed sheet with her fingers, Rena struggles to find words to place with her thoughts. "I'll be out of 'ere soon… But, could you do me a big favor, Graham?" She asks, raising her chin slightly.

He can mostly only sit in the silence and watch her allowing her the time to think. "I really hope I am, you deserve to be happy." Graham says as he listens turning to face her properly and nods "Of course anything at all." The auror looks curiously at his friend wondering what she will wish of him.

Trying to smile a little, Rena says: "It's nothing terrible. But, if you could go to the house and fetch my trunks and take them on to 'Ogsmeade, I'd be awfully grateful." Pausing a moment, she goes on regretfully: "I really can't bear going back there… not again, now that Takeshi is gone and all. And… well, I need to meet Charles and tell 'im. It'd be such a weight off of my mind to not 'ave to worry about it."
Looking down at her hand, Rena realizes that she hasn't touched the cake she took earlier. "I'm sorry, I 'aven't even tried your lovely cake. I will now. I've been very bad about eating lately."

Graham will smile in return to hers though he nods to the question and will think only a moment "Of course I can do that. Would be glad to." the auror nods to her words and they make sense to him not being able to face an empty house. "I'll do that right after I leave here." He says he smiles once more looking at the cake. "I've noticed you not eating, though I hope my cake doesnt make you think it was a good choice." he chuckles.

"Thanks awfully," Rena replies, smiling brighter for a fleeting moment. "It'll make things so much easier on me to not 'ave to deal with it all."
As to the cake, the young woman feigns a weakly disapproving look and scolds Graham: "Oh, nonsense. Unless you mixed up your sugar with your salt, I'm sure it tastes fine." Pausing, to prove her point, Rena takes a ginger bite from the cake. After chewing, she nods in affirmation, her expression showing that she is clearly pleased with the taste. Swallowing, she then says: "There. See? It's delicious. And it didn't kill me."

"Your welcome, glad to be of help really." Graham says as he is glad to see her smile its almost the one he remembers from when they first met which is a good thing. "I dont think I did that." he chuckles though waiting for the food to be tasted. "I'm glad you like Rena you can help me taste test new experiments more often if you'd like." he chuckles.

"Charles and I… we're going to be married, someday. I think… I hope, anyway." Rena says, slowly. "I ought to try to learn 'ow to cook a little, don't you think? Maybe you can teach me." She says hopefully. However, at that moment, one of the hospital orderlies pokes her head in the door and announces that the Healer wants to see Rena one more time before giving the okay for her discharge.
"I guess that's the Mungo's way of telling visitors to scram, as they say." Rena remarks drily to Graham. "Thanks again… for everything. And I mean it." She adds sincerely, reaching her hand out to brush the young man's arm. "I'm glad we're friends again."

Graham smiles "I hope you two are, and i'll be glad to teach you how to cook anything you'd like." The auror says turning back as the door opens. "Hm I could just duel'em?" he says with a wink to Rena and the healer. "Just worry on getting better Rena, and i'm glad we're friends again too. He will lean and if allows kiss the top of her head either way he smiles "I'll see you soon." he will wait for a response before moving out.

Rena smiles warmly after Graham kisses her. “I'll be back on my feet in no time.” She answers, able to make herself sound confident, at least. “I promise,” she adds, a little more subdued, “I'll get well, soon. And, I'll take better care of myself.” Heaven knows that she's suffered enough hard lessons over the last few months to fill in a lifetime of naivety with experience. As she always says, though: Everyone is entitled to make mistakes once and learn from them. It's the folks who don't learn that you've got to be wary of. She's learned her lesson, and learned it the hard way.

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