(1940-03-03) Confession Is Good for the Soul
Details for Confession is Good for the Soul
Summary: Rena needs someone to confide in, and she seeks out Graham in his home.
Date: 1940/03/03
Location: Cohen Residence

Rena Lee may have her qualms about the Wizarding world and all that comes with it – her powers included – but she uses them with care and respect. As such, she does not take Apparition lightly. In truth, she really, truly hates to do it under any circumstances, given the ugly potential side-effects; however, sometimes the situation warrants the risk.
Appearing with a sharp crack in the middle of Graham's cozy sitting room, Rena bobbles unsteadily and staggers to one side when she arrives, wand in hand. Fortunately, she manages to stumble into one of the chairs, catching herself on it. Dropping down onto the cushion heavily, the young woman closes her eyes and leans her head against the chair back. There just isn't anything like the instantaneous wave of nausea one gets from Apparition. Fun times.

Graham is home but not in view of sitting room. He isn’t – well not just yet anyways. It seems that the young man of the house is going about morning routines. The sound of apparition is pretty specific to those who know it exists of which he does and timing can be a pain. He is walking back from the kitchen towards the stairs when suddenly there's a red-haired witch in his living room though not the one who'd seen him in less clothes. He at least has a towel wrapped around his waist and is covered there down but shirtless. "Uh, hey Rena.. you okay?" he asks concern coming into his voice though he takes a few steps her direction he rolls back on his heels thinking better of it.

For a moment or two, the young woman stays very still. Her face is a few shades paler than normal. She just isn't the best at the whole Apparition thing, despite her education. Graham's voice seems to bring her around a little, and she turns her head slowly. Seeing him standing there with a towel around his waist, her eyes pop open. Needless to say, she turns away again, rather abruptly, and her cheeks tinge red. Now, she's got her colour back!
“Oh… Graham – I'm s-sorry,” Rena stammers. “I know I c-came at a bad time. I – I'm alright, I just needed to… I need someone to talk to.” She spills it out quickly, still pointedly averting her eyes.

He is still going to make sure that she's alright and only seems to think she's well enough when she looks up though turning pointedly away after. "Its okay Rena, my modesty doesn’t trump if there’s danger or you need help. I did say anytime, and I meant it. Though, be right back so you can at least look at me." He seems to be in good enough humor though wondering what's wrong. The auror moves upstairs and to his room and isn’t long before he's coming back now fully dressed. "All dressed." he says moving to pull a chair and plops into it in front of hers "So what's goin on?"

Graham's temporary departure affords Rena a breather and a chance to regain her composure. As any young woman might, she searches for a mirror and fusses with her hair to get it back in place, along with checking her scant makeup to see that it is right. Tugging every little part of her suit back into order, she is just fixing her sleeves when Graham returns.
Resuming her place on the chair as he rejoins her, Rena breathes a faint sigh. She clearly has that look on her face that says something is weighing heavily on her mind, and she's in desperate need of unburdening herself. However, she doesn't know how to begin.
“Graham… I… let me put it to you 'ypothetically, as it were?” She asks before moving on. “If a friend broke a law – an important law – you'd 'ave to do something about them, wouldn't you?”

Graham is watching her closely as clearly something isn't right with his friend though whatever he thought he might hear its not what she says. The young man must think about it a moment before sighing "There was a time I'd have answered absolutely. A black and white issue. But, that was before I was forced to consider theft from my boss for the betterment of others. Now I know its not always so easy. So hypothetically I would hear them out what law was broken and why to get all the facts straight before I could know how to react."

Rena has such a way of looking at people searchingly when she's troubled and hoping for a good answer. Anxiously, she watches Graham as he speaks; and, her shoulders sink slightly by the end as her gaze drops away. She's not very good at being poker-faced when attempting hypothetical situations.
“What if the friend did something serious, like breaking the statute of secrecy to a Muggle because they love them, and felt it was unfair to keep them in the dark? Because, they trusted the Muggle enough to believe they would go on loving them… in spite of knowing that they were a witch?” It isn't hard to decipher that the girl isn't talking about someone else. Her eyes are fixed on her hands resting on her lap. She looks like a schoolgirl who knows she's made a terrible mistake, even if she doesn't regret it; but still, she knows that she deserves the punishment that comes with the crime.

He is still watching her closely and meets her gaze as she searches him for his feelings on this matter. Graham listens to her words and is silent though taking a deep breath to answer which he does. "Hm, for that I will admit that I as long as nobody was harmed because of it that I wouldn’t feel inclined to toss that person to the sharks. I have experienced, well not someone I’m in love with, but friends who I do care about who are Muggles, and I admit that I do not like to lie to them. I think that if intentional or just their brain telling them something's not right stops them from truly becoming a friend and its sad." he pauses a moment thinking deeply. "I wouldn’t think that person deserves punishment."

For a time, Rena forgets to breathe. The tight feeling inside her chest from carrying around this worry for such a long time is both stifling and suffocating. However, once Graham has worked out his thoughts on the matter and voiced them, some of the tension begins to ease away, and Rena draws a faint breath. Bringing her gaze up from her lap, she works up the courage to look at him again.
“No one was harmed,” she answers at length, finding her voice. “He… didn't exactly know what to think at first. A bit of a shock to him, of course. But, it didn't change anything. He still felt exactly the same – and he can be trusted! But… but, the chances of 'im ever being vetted by the Ministry are about as good as a snowball's chance in 'ell.” Rena finishes, resting her forehead on her hand.

Graham watches her a moment and even gives a soft smile when she speaks in the first person confirming what he'd figured on this point. "From what I know of him, I wouldn’t think that anyone had been hurt Rena." He ponders her words a bit further "I am not certain really on him getting vetted, your thinking because he's a service member but it cant be the first time this has happened." He ponders a moment "Be right back again." He will stand he reaches out gripping her shoulder lightly as he passes. "We'll think of something." He says disappearing when he comes back he has two trays of food and some glasses for drinks he'll move though this time to the couch sitting and patting the other side to join "Can use the table this way." he scoots the living room table closer to the couch.

Like Faulkner, Graham knows that Rena is very bad about taking care of herself in the eating department – especially when she's upset about something. He's nobody's fool, and he's right in thinking that she needs something in her stomach, right about now.
Rena follows him over to the couch and plunks herself down to join Graham there. Having gotten that weight off of her chest, she is feeling a little hungry. “But, it's more that he's an officer, Graham. If he were just a pilot, it mightn't be so bad. But he's a Leftenant. Maybe not the 'ighest rank, but certainly up there – and he can't often tell me about his work any more than I can tell him about mine.” Pausing for thought, the young woman tilts her head and adds with a wry smile: “Really, that's why he's so trustworthy. He's already well acquainted with keeping secrets all the time.”

He will set up her plate quickly and pour a glass for her. He is listening as well to her words. "Hm, well there is usually a way around these things, just have to be seen from all angles. I mean from what I’ve seen and heard you two are pretty serious, and well something will eventually happen to bring it to light so we plan for that now so we ca beat it." He listens further while he prepares his own plate. "Trustworthy.. keeping secrets." Graham pauses "One quick daft idea, is see if they'll accept if he takes an unbreakable vow. Nothing that he'd have to betray his country but that he wont speak about witches and wizards and the like."

Rena begins to eat with some enthusiasm when the plate is handed over to her. However, Graham's suggestion of the unbreakable vow causes her to stop mid-chew and freeze. Unbreakable vows are dreadful things. “I…I couldn't ask that of him. Not unless it were a last, desperate resort,” Rena replies at length, her voice rather weak. That could only be a worst case scenario.
“Graham, is it awful of me to be so in love, so soon after…” She struggles with her conscience over everything that happened in the last year, and she struggles with the burden of guilt. “I already know the answer. Just like telling him the truth – it was wrong of me. But, I felt like I had nothing left to lose.” It may well be that Graham did not know before how depressed and miserable she had been before this.
“I do love Takeshi,” Rena adds in a heartbeat, but not without an ache in her voice. “But, not the way a wife should love a husband. That was my fault… and thank God, he never knew I betrayed him. But, will he ever be alright?” She'll never know. That's going to haunt her for the rest of her life.
Slumping, Rena looks away, and she shakes her head a little: “It all started with Arthur. 'E swans back into my life like a bloody typhoon… and then what? Aabandons me all over again.” Her hand clenches momentarily. “Then I meet Charles, and it's like… some'ow, I never really knew what love felt like before,” she goes on, her voice quieting, and her manner easing into something more gentle.

“I'm sorry, Graham.” Rena says abruptly. “I shouldn't be troubling you with all this, after everything you've been through with your girl. It ain't fair of me.”

He will continue to listen. He scoots a bit closer and places his arm behind her at her shoulder, trying to comfort her. "I never liked Arthur, but we knew that. I get it now, though. He had a place in your life that needed to find closure. I feel awful about Takeshi. I'd not have expected that of him, and any small part I played which hurt you, I don’t take lightly." He breaths deeply "Rena, perhaps Faulkner's your second life and you're starting new. It won't be that you forget either, but more that when you do think back, you'll find it doesn’t hurt." He says though the last bit he chuckles "She's back in town by the way. But for how long who knows. Don't worry about that. I want to be there to help you. If or when it comes time for me to choose with Sorcha, I'll seek you out, don't worry." he smiles and squeezes her to him a moment.

Eventually, as Graham talks, Rena leans in and lays her head against his shoulder. In the last few months, her list of allies has grown thin, and her world has been slowly fracturing and falling apart, bit by bit, and piece by piece. It's a relief to have at least one friend left in the Wizarding world. She doesn't know if there are any others since her divorce.
“I hope she comes to her senses and decides to stay for you,” Rena murmurs in reply. She never could understand what ailed that woman to make her claim to love Graham and then heartlessly turn her back and walk away repeatedly. That isn't love as she understands it. Not that she really understands it…
“Oh, Graham – why?” Rena asks sadly. “Why of all the men in the world did I 'ave to fall in love with a pilot during a war? I'm so afraid he's going to die.” This last word comes with a choked-up sound of being dangerously close to tears.

Graham doesn't seem bothered when she leans over and will simply hold her gladly. He looks down to her and smiles there is a sadness to it though of his own. "I hope so too. I don’t know though. Sorcha was a Ravenclaw too, but always different from me, my nose was in a book. I knew what I wanted to become and worked to do so. Dueling club and everything. She was a good student, but also got in to trouble at times. Where me being a prefect, of course, I didn't break rules. I can understand needing to find your identity as she is, but why am I an obstruction to that? Sorry that's not the discussion we're having." He will listen to her words squeezing her to him another moment "That's a scary thing, but we both know what it is to have a dangerous job." He says softly "Something may happen, but he is well trained and skilled. You have to live in the present its hard but no amount of worrying or not eating will help him and he wouldn't wish for you to be miserable.. you both just have to make the most of all the time you have and I will hope, that means a very very long time."

Living in the moment, living for each other, and trying hard not to think of the perils that both face on a daily basis – these are very hard things to accomplish for a worrier like Rena.
“I know you're right,” she finally admits, heaving a little sigh. “I'm going to try my best… to make the most of every moment we have.” Pausing, Rena sits up and takes on a determined expression: “I will be happy – for as long as we're together, I'll be happy. If I lose him… then, there will be a lifetime for tears afterward. I don't want to waste any more of it, now.”At least the young woman finds the strength to smile – even if it is a little forced. She will learn.
Thinking of something else and trying to take a happier direction with her thoughts, she reaches between the lapels of her suit jacket and fishes out a beautiful eagle pendant. It is clearly made to mimic the eagle on the uniform caps of all RAF servicemen. “No one else knows about this. Look at what he gave me for my birthday.” Rena says with a brighter expression, holding it out for Graham to see. On the back, it's inscribed with: "Never forget to fly. To I.L., all my love, C.F., 1940."

"That's the way to do it Rena. I'm not saying it is easy and it wont creep in sometimes. But, if it does remember the present and the good times. Those are the things you should keep." Graham says and of course he'll move his arm so she can sit up properly he will look to the eagle as she brings it out he'll lean in to see the pendant and its engraving he smiles: "That's a lovely keepsake for sure. I did notice he called you Irene, he's lucky I didn't ask "who?" he chuckles smiling at the lighter turn in the conversation.

Rena blushes a little and laughs. Glancing down, she seems a little self-conscious about the whole name issue. "Do you know, the truth behind calling myself Rena?" She asks. "I started calling myself that when I went to 'Ogwarts, and it caught on. I don't know, I just… felt that I needed to be someone different in that world than in the other. I've always been Irene on the Muggle side, and Rena on the Wizarding side - if that makes any sense."
Stopping herself from rambling, she resumes her breakfast at long last. Between bites, however, she explains a little further: "Him being a teacher of the classics, and being such a proper British gent, he really liked the sound of it when I told him my proper name were Irene Cassandra Lee. Seems Cassandra were a seer of sorts in 'Omer's day; but, nobody ever listened to her." Sounds vaguely familiar, that…

Graham smiles watching her. He is glad that she's eating, and he's doing his small part to keep her healthy. "I can see from the point of starting out new why that would make sense, but whatever you're called, its still you. This side, that side, or up-side-down. I knew you as Rena, so I'll stick to that, if its alright. But still, its all you to me at least." He gives a smile and shrugs though he listens to the last bit. "Huh, that's interesting."

Although Rena's troubles are far from over (they're probably just beginning) she does feel better for having confided in a friend about the truth between herself and Faulkner. If nothing else, her heart feels a good deal lighter. Confession is good for the soul, after all.
The two Aurors finish their breakfast, enjoying their chat while Rena enlightens Graham about the Iliad and the mad things that Homer wrote about back in the day. It's a lot of fun to pass on the knowledge she's gained from Faulkner since she's gotten to know him; although, admittedly, Greek mythology does sound a bit butchered when retold by a girl from Wapping.
After they have finished, they do a quick clean up job, the pair use Graham's floo to pop over to the Ministry and report for work - one at a time, of course - but still, it's rather nice to come in to work together with a friend.

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