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March 9, 2012

The owl hadn't been expected, and definitely not clear, but Milo had sounded urgent. Renn couldn't help but feel guilty. She hadn't been around. For good reason admittedly, but she hadn't been around. After Eric and his -
Well, she had been busy. And being busy while trying to be a mother, trying to keep Elise happy and, more importantly, unaware, had taken even more time. They had moved into a little room in the Muggle city of Aberdeen. She didn't need to hide anymore, technically but old habits die hard. It wasn't like the ministry didn't know where she was when they needed to speak to her, which they did, but it felt good not being near people which knew the story anymore.
Because the wizarding world knew. After all Eric was, had been, an Unspeakable, prominent in the Ministry with powerful friends. Renn knew more people knew of the death than didn't, and she so far had been kept out of public knowledge she couldn't help but feel like she was being judged wherever she went.
The muggle world made it so much easier.

One plus to the muggle world had been where the little family had ended up. The little muggle family with a spare room consisted of Andrew and Jessica Macloud and 16 year old Mathew. Jessica adored the little girl, which meant Renn had a safe option for Elise during the times she couldn't remain with her mother.
Times like now.

Renn, dressed like a muggle in dark washed jeans, knee high black boots, white shirt and black biker jacket, knocked nervously on Milo's front door. Although it had taken some getting used to, Renn actually quite enjoyed the muggle clothes. With her wand stuffed up her sleeve it was perfect. Her hair was uncharacteristically up and tugged away from her face in a messy pony tail.

With no answer she knocked again, chewing on her lip. What was so urgent that Milo had sent an Owl to a muggle area in the middle of the day? Weren't there rules against that sort of thing?

((Let me know if anything doesn't work ^^))
Dresden's mood had improved somewhat during the meeting with the girls, but since then, he'd gone back to his reclusive, moody self. It was shocking as he'd fully expected Dresden to practically be a live-in at Renn's to help support her emotionally or help her with the child they'd had for a day or two when everything had gone down while she jumped whatever legal hurdles she had to do or had consultations with lawyers. Milo had learned quickly not to mention Renn too much or say anything about that sense of surprise over Dresden's reaction to everything being seclusion. He'd tried a couple times to talk Dresden into traveling, but as expected, the man didn't want to. He couldn't blame him. It was better to be here than out and about wherever they decided to go should Renn need him.

Still, Milo was quickly reaching the point he couldn't stand it and had spent plenty of time ranting at Orion both as Orion and as Loki before he'd finally reached out to Berenice by owl about an hour ago. He'd been in pajamas at that point. Not having anywhere to go had its perks, and sometimes his favorite perk was the pajamas part. He'd cleaned the kitchen, scrubbed the floor, and ranted. Thankfully, magic spared Dresden from most of Milo's ranting or he was sure he'd have some trouble with his friend by now. But the owl had held a simple message. I know you're terribly busy, but if you have a moment, would you please come over? For Dresden's sake. Milo

Milo had set to showering and dressing and was finishing up with his teeth when he heard a knock on his front door. Having a mouth full of foamy toothpaste was not quite conducive to yelling out that he'd be just a moment or asking the grumpy Dresden to go answer it--not that Dresy would be likely to do so. So, Milo quickly spit and rinsed before heading out to the door. "Ah, Renn," he said. "Good to see you." He just wished it wasn't during dire times. It seemed that was the only time he'd seen the girl so far. Dresden really needed to have her over for dinner when it all washed over and they could all five enjoy a nice home-cooked meal together. A home-cooked meal of whatever Elise's favorite was, naturally.

"Come in. Dresden's in his room. I can see if I can get him to budge, but I don't know how successful that will be. Last time we had company, I had to bribe him with food and give him a proper scolding."
Renn was, but then again wasn't, surprised when Milo answered the door. It had been Milo who had all but summoned her after all.
What was wrong with Dresden? Milo hadn't said. Guilt twisted in her stomach when she realised Dresden had clearly been hurting and she hadn't been there. Dresden was there for her whenever she or Elise needed it, yet she had somehow let him down when he aparently needed someone.
Well, Renn gave herself a pep talk as she smiled at Milo, You're here now.

"Milo," She inclined her head just a touch, her hands folding themselves carefully in front of him, "It's good to see you again."

At the invitation Renn stepped inside, looking around the little flat with interest, "Your owl sounded urgent..."
She listened to Milo's assessment of the situation, it didn't sound good. Renn had never heard of Dresden like this. Well, unless he was working on something big but even then he was likely to drag you into his lair and talk your ear off, not lock someone out.
At the offer to make Dresden enter the land of the living Renn shook her head.
"I'll talk to him. Thank you for calling me." With that she turned to the door indicated and, with a breath in, knocked. Without waiting for the door to be opened Renn turned the knob and pushed the door open herself.
"Dresden..?" She pushed the door open a little more, her head poking itself through the gap, "It's me, is this a bad time?"
The knock at his door caused him to flinch and the verbal barb that he'd been set to hurl died on the tip of his tongue the moment he recognized the voice. Renn? Renn! What in Merlin's beard was she doing here? He'd been holed up in his rooms since the trio had left and had buried himself in trying to find a way to break the trace, surfacing only when he needed food or when he had to step out to go meet his handler. The past few days had been overwhelming and a string feeling of hopelessness had settled over the professor like a mini little storm could. Even Orion had been keeping his distance as of late. Dres knew Milo and Orion were getting the brunt of his ire over the past few days but with the pressure Beau was starting to put on him to shape up and get his act together he'd needed an outlet and unfortunately for his room mates they were it. So in order to avoid as many shouting matches as he could Dres had locked himself in his room and threw himself into his research.

It was hard to hide the surprise on his face when Renn opened the door but it was quickly hidden along with any worry behind a small smile. He slid his chair back and had the grace to look a bit sheepish. Merlin's beard he probably looked like a train wreck! Hell his normally immaculate room (the complete opposite of his desk space) looked like a hippogriff had ran through it. The professor was currently wearing nothing more than a t-shirt and a typical pair of dress pants and that was about it. His hair had taken on a wild-man look and, judging by the way he'd been scratching his neck earlier, he could probably use a quick shave. Dres noticed she hadn't come in yet so maybe he would get a chance to quickly clean up before going to see her.

"Hey Renn," he started as he pushed himself to his feet, slamming books shut and doing his best to stack up his research notes quickly while trying to locate his wand. He looked back toward her for a moment before continuing. "Uh..kind of- just um uh- I just need a second."
The chaos didn't take Renn by surprise, Renn had seen Dresden's office in the recently closed Hogwarts after all. He always seemed summon a tornado when he was working - or at least that's what Renn assumed happened due to the huge messes. What had caused those green eyes to widen was the state of her boyfriend. Dresden looked as though he'd had many a sleepless night recently and apparently no one had been questioning him.
Well, that was about to change.

She attempted to look un-phased by Dresden's appearance - she felt like she was getting an insight to Dresden the teenage years - and fixed a strong gaze on the man.
"I'm going to put the kettle on. I'll see you in a few minutes." And with that Renn withdrew her head and allowed the bedroom door to snap shut behind her. She blew out her breath, puffing out her cheeks. For a moment she considered how best to handle the situation - she had never experienced Dresden like, well, this before. Did she go in hard? Forcing Dresden to pick himself up? Or support him like he always had before with roles reversed?
Renn didn't know. In the end she decided to, well, wait to decide. Maybe her presence would be enough? And if not they would have to go from there...

Renn made her decision with a shake, schooled her face into what she hoped was a neutral expression and turned back to Milo.
"I'll make tea shall I? The kitchen is this way, yes?"
Renn didn't wait for a reply. She turned instead towards the kitchen door and let herself inside.

Dresden had until the tea was complete to show himself. Renn could only hope she had made a correct assessment of the situation.
Milo was in his armchair when Renn came back, staring across at the fireplace. It was a spelled fireplace at the moment since it wasn't winter, so it wasn't particularly putting off heat into the room but still provided the lovely scent and homey look of the fireplace. He was worried about his friend, if Renn had come out this soon. The last time he had seen a moody Dresy was during their teenage years when his moods had been so turbulent it had seemed impossible to keep up with them and then had been the overdose and it had come out what his mate had been up to. Milo didn't think Dresden was to that point yet, but since Dresden was typically pretty even keel, it was a concern, especially with the seclusion. He'd been able to put together that Dresden was leaving the house for other reasons since the girls had visited, but he figured it was probably for Trace-related research or even to see the girls. After all, Renn typically made him happy--not more frustrated and grumpy.

"It is," Milo replied as Renn reached the end of the hall where he could see her and motioned off to his left where the split kitchen/dining area was. "Teas to the left of the sink." He figured she'd realize he meant the wall cabinet when she didn't see anything beside the sink that looked remotely like tea leave or bag housing. He stood from the arm chair after a moment longer and walked the few steps around the furniture and to the kitchen where he leaned against the counter. "He's been like this since...well..." He gave Renn an awkward, sad little smile. "And he won't talk to me. I think there's more he's chewing at than your situation or the visitors we had a couple nights ago. I haven't seen him like this in a long time, Renn. And the last time... Well, it wasn't good, Renn. It wasn't good."
As soon as the door shut Dres let out a breath he didn't even realize he'd been holding. Renn had been the last person he'd expected to be knocking on his door, and exactly the last person he wanted at this point in time. Thank Merlin he wasn't meeting with his handler until much later tonight. Beau had been increasing the pressure and Dresden could only assume it was because the man's superiors wanted him in...

The professor shoved those thoughts aside for now and buried them deep as he rifled through papers to find his want. A frustrated sigh escaped when he couldn't locate the object and instead he walked over to the wardrobe and pulled out a clean button down and put it on over the t-shirt without much fanfare. "Accio wand," he barked out and after a few short moments the object had been searching for popped out from behind his desk and raced to his open hand. Dres then wasted no time in casting a quick spell to pull the wrinkles out of his pants and t-shirt before tossing it on the bed before heading out of his room to the bathroom. A quick shave and a good teeth brushing later and even Dresden had to admit he was feeling more human than he had in days. There was no saving the hair though bar taking the time to shower so he quickly ran his hands through it in an attempt to get the spiky mess at least looking somewhat decent. Once satisfied he padded his way out to the kitchen. Renn had said she was going to make tea.

As he neared he noticed Milo leaning up against the counter and while Renn still had her back turned to him he mouth to his friend "You owled Ren?" and followed it up with a glare. It was the only logical explanation for his girlfriends surprise visit. He then tamped down on any anger he had and replaced it with a grin and slid up behind Renn and give her a kiss if she let him. "Hey beautiful."
With the help of her wand and a quickly rinsed tea pot, Renn busied herself with the refreshment preparations as Milo spoke.
"There's more he's chewing at than your situation or the visitors we had a couple nights ago..."
Well she knew what 'your situation' was. How could she not? When she'd first seen Dresden after Eric's ... There had been a tearful reunion with her daughter, a muddled explanation, desperately thankful kisses and then pushing him out the door. She hadn't wanted him to leave, that was the last thing she ever wanted, but Dresden couldn't be allowed to get near the investigation. It wasn't safe for him.
But the visitors? Dresden hadn't mentioned those. Renn frowned at the tea pot as boiling water came pouring out of her wand.
"Who visited you-?"

"Hey beautiful."

Renn jumped in surprise, but turned with a smile to see her slightly tidier boyfriend.
"Hello to you too," She returned the kiss, although broke away, her cheeks flaring as she remembered Milo's presence.
"Sorry..." Renn ducked her head in her hopes to hide her blush. She placed the lid on the teapot to keep the steam in.
"How do you take your tea Milo? Dresden, have you eaten?"
Milo put on as innocent a look as he could manage and put his hands up in peace. "She just showed up," he mouthed to his friend before he greeted his girlfriend. He smiled as they kissed and grinned to himself as he realized Renn had blushed. Well then. Perhaps this was supposed to be extremely awkward? Milo had to admit there was some degree of it, yes, but it wasn't like they were out right snogging or doing anything shag-like.

Renn apologized and he waved it away, shaking his head. He'd rather she kiss Dresy if that would make him happy. If it went beyond that, though, there was a bedroom and a few spells. "A splash of milk and a cube of sugar," he replied to Renn's question. "And he hasn't yet. I've been cleaning, haven't had a chance." Perhaps Dresden was meant to answer that last question, but Milo was Milo.
Dresden turned so he could lean up against the counter beside Renn. Her question had caught him off guard. When had he eaten last? Good question... what time was it even anyway? He was about to respond and tell Renn not to worry about it when Milo cut in. His temper flared but Dres reigned it in behind a tight lipped smile. "I've been busy with research, I'll grab something later." He tried to keep the words light and the edge off of them but he wasn't entirely sure he'd succeeded. Honestly he wasn't that hungry yet and he didn't want to waste either Milo or Renn's time with making anything. No right now he wanted to crawl back into his dark room and bury himself in his books.

"So how have you been? Elise driving you crazy yet?" It was a deflection yes, but Dres was genuinely concerned and interested in how Renn had been holding up. He'd seen her a few times since her return but with the case, and the potential trial, she'd asked him to step back so he wouldn't get pulled into anything. Besides anything to get the conversation off of him was all the better.
Well, Milo was nothing if not honest. Renn reached down three teacups. One lump of sugar for Milo, one for her, and none for Dresden (who didn't take milk either - heathen). She could feel Dresden close to her as she worked, the smallest slithers of air between their bodies. She liked having Dresden close by, in her space. Renn knew it was her fault he hadn't been around, she had asked him to pull back while the Ministry was investigating Eric's death. Renn didn't want Dresden to be caught up in the whirlwind, but she couldn't have him around so she could be painted as a woman scorned either.
It was hard, and she hated having him at arms length, but for now it was necessary.

When Milo outed Dresden's current eating habits (although his own didn't seem much better), Renn frowned.
"Dresden... Nothing is so important that it pushes you out of the priorities list..."
She took Milo's teacup first over to the man, before she brought Dresden over his own. Renn pressed the cup into his hands, her thumbs rubbing gently over over his knuckles.

"Elise is fine, being spoiled rotten by my landlady. Let me make you -" Renn paused and glanced back to Milo, "Both of you, something to eat. There must be some food in this house?"
Renn could make a meal out of anything, besides she liked cooking, especially for those she cared about. Dresden was right at the top of the list, second only to her hurricane of a daughter.
Milo shrugged. "I can make something if you two want to catch up," he replied. He had food in the fridge but hadn't the foggiest what he wanted to eat. He was hungry, admittedly, now that he had been able to fully relax from his cleaning rampage. Renn was here and would make Dresy better, and life could go as much back to normal as it possibly could. There would still be problems to solve and whatnot, but that was a normal part of life. Overcoming hurdles, solving puzzles....

"What are you in the mood for?" Milo asked the two of them. "The only meat I have right now is bacon. It's shopping day." He would not be buying bacon this time. He'd bought enough to have breakfast the day the girls had come over and then the BLTs for the five of them, and he still had several slices to go. That was more than enough bacon. Apparently his eyes had been bigger than the cravings.
At Renn's lite scolding about his eating habits the professor rolled his eyes and let out and exasperated sigh. Why the bloody hell did no one ever listen? Before he could mount any formal protest she'd placed the warm cup in his hands. The slight motion of her thumbs was soothing but the moment she pulled away and went on any calming effect the small gesture had vanished. He wanted to be happy that Elise was doing good, and Renn seemed to be as well but instead he found himself trying to get them to forget the food thing. And then he felt his eye twitch when Milo offered to take over.

"Look, Renn- You don't hav- Guys it's fine!" The words were noticeably sharp this time and Dres found himself pushing off the counter and heading for a seat at the table when Milo started rummaging around for things. He set his tea cup down on the table harder than he probably should have, all thoughts of drinking it flown from his mind. Instead the Dres found himself engaging the floor in a staring contest simply because it was less trying on his frazzled temper than looking at his friends.
Bacon? What typical men. Renn smiled a little indulgently at Milo. She didn't know whether he had much in the way of cooking skills - she had her doubts, if only because he had spent his time at Hogwarts being cooked for by house elves. Still, It was a rare occasion that Renn had anyone to cook for her, it was a kind offer.
"That is a kind offer Milo - thank you ver-" but Dresden cut across her with, and there wasn't another word for it, anger. Renn pulled back, tea forgotten. Anger? Of all the emotions she'd witnessed from Dresden over their relationship, but anger had never been one, especially anger directed at her.

She blinked in surprise, hurt tugging at her eyes before she pushed it away. Renn shot a glance to Milo and mouthed the word, sorry, before she followed her boyfriend across the room. After a moment if hesitation, Renn placed a careful hand onto Dresden's bare elbow.
"It's not fine," Renn said gently. It wasn't an accusation, she didn't think Dresden would react well to that. Instead she kept her voice soft, her hand staying on Dresden's arm unless he moved it.
"I can see that it's not. What's wrong?"
Milo began to nod his thanks when Dresden interjected and cut Renn off. "Hey!" Milo replied, about to step in when his friend decided to walk off instead. He was about to follow, but Renn went after Dresden. Probably best. If Dresden started yelling at her, then he would do something. But for now, he would use the opportunity to look through his fridge and see if he had anything he could make for the three of them. As suspected, there was only bacon in the fridge and some veggies. Oh, and eggs! He'd make an omelette then. He pulled out the veggies he wanted and the bacon and eggs as well as a block of cheese and set to work. As the veggies cooked, Milo looked into his spice drawer to try to decide what he wanted to season with. Hmm.. Some garlic, naturally, and a bit of salt, pepper. Maybe a dash of cayenne...

Cooking was something Milo enjoyed and thoroughly missed when he was at the castle. He could actually make a decent meal, but Merlin's beard, bacon had sounded very good the last trip to the grocery. He'd bought other meat at the time, but those had been used up in dinners, dinners he had received no thanks for. Unless Orion had eaten some, of course. But the wizard seemed to prefer being a cat, and cats ate kibble and wet food if he was in a particularly generous mood.
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