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Chapter 10: The Ministry
A/N All Harry Potter books and characters belong to Joanne, and so do the titles. :D Also, a huge cheer for the amazing staff who've managed to get the queue down from seven days to three in the last few days! You guys are truly underappreciated.
The three of us arrived directly into Harry’s office.
“Aside from Kingsley, I’m the only one who can Apparate in and out of the Ministry,” Harry told us, opening a filing cabinet and riffling through.
“Being the Chosen One has its perks,” he shrugged, a slight twinkle in his eyes, before turning back to his draw and pulling out a thick file to walk to the door. “Now, you two stay close to me. Understand?”
I nodded, and James grabbed my hand, squeezing it. I was glad he had come; he was braver than me.
Harry strode purposefully down the halls and we followed after him, James occasionally smiling at colleagues he recognised and I keeping my eyes to the floor, concentrating on keeping up with Harry’s furious pace. He didn’t bother knocking- he simply walked into a meeting Kingsley was having, despite the weak squawks of protest his assistant let out (again, being the Chosen One meant she was silenced pretty quickly by one of his Serious Faces).
“Yes, Harry?” Kingsley asked, frowning and sweeping to the door.
Ever so slightly, he nodded his head to me, who he was shielding from being seen by the men in the room. The moment Kingsley saw me, he told the solemn and calm men to leave, who did after few moments of confusion.
Harry rushed us in, and they passed us.
“What’s happened?” he asked as soon as the door closed, swiftly sitting behind his grand mahogany desk and Vanishing several chairs.
Sitting opposite him, I noticed the fine wrinkles he had, yet he seemed to look the same as he had done when he visited my parents so many years ago. There was no outward appearance of aging at all.
“Eliana has received two letters,” Harry said, handing them over, “and both are very clear.”
“Yes, they are.”
James had no idea what was going on, I could see it in his eyes, but he said nothing. He watched his father and held my hand.
“What do you suggest? She can’t miss school, it would arise suspicion and alert the public to it. We want this to be as quiet as possible, even draw the killer out.”
Kingsley nodded slowly, narrowing his eyes curiously. “Yes, I can see. She will attend school and go by the Hogwarts Express, there’s no doubt about that- with her aunt’s express permission, of course. And I think, however, certain implements will have to be put in place-“
“Not missing Hogsmeade,” I cut in quickly. “I want to be able to be normal. I want to stay the same.”
“Not possible, I’m afraid,” Kingsley told me. “Your life is more valuable than your social gatherings.”
“Debatable,” I muttered.
He chuckled. “You’re very like your mother. She had an answer for everything.”
“Is that a bad thing?”
“Debatable,” he answered, still smiling.
For a moment, I held his gaze, then back to my knees. I wasn’t entirely sure how I’d behaved was acceptable. This was the ex-Minister of Magic, after all.
“Harry, which of your Aurors do you trust most?”
“I trust them all,” he answered, after a pause. “Why?”
“I fear there is someone amongst us that is betraying us,” he sighed heavily. “And whilst I can accept a lost file here and there, on transportation and deceased Death Eaters without an investigation, when it is the matter of the life of a child I do not feel I can trust the information with all. In fact, Harry, do not tell anyone. Go to Hogwarts with Ron, increase security as much as possible- do not allow any owls that haven’t had permission through the barrier. Make everything tighter. Keep me up to date on your progress- it should take you no more than a few hours, and these two will stay here until we think of our next move.”
“So what? We’re just going to sit here like two lemons?” James asked.
“Not even lemons. More like peaches,” I commented.
“Does it matter what fruit?”
He rolled his eyes and shut me out. “Make up your mind now. Can’t we just go back to Aunt Hermione’s? I’m sure we’d be more than safe there, there are all sorts of wards and enchantments around it.”
“And we’d have Teddy. He’s a qualified Auror,” I added hopefully. “He just chooses to be a teacher.”
Harry and Kingsley exchanged a look for a moment. The first took a breath. “Ellie, it’d be far too dangerous. You’re going to have to stay in a safe house until you go back to Hogwarts.”
“But you’re Harry Potter!” I exclaimed. “How can your home be at all breakable?”
“Your parents had the same protection we have, Ellie. Whoever this is broke through that and then killed them. We can’t guarantee the safety of anyone.
“I may be Harry Potter, Ellie,” he smiled gently, “but I’m not invincible, and I’m not perfect.”
Bang goes that theory.
Harry left, and Kingsley locked the door behind him.
“Now, do you know where the box is?” Kingsley asked me as he sat, opening the file Harry had taken from his office.
“The one with mum’s things in?”
“Yes. Ginny has told you, I presume?”
“That’s why I told her about the notes. To be honest, I thought the first one was a joke when I got it. Well, I hoped. And it’s on the kitchen table.”
“That’s understandable,” Kingsley smiled, and waved his wand. It appeared in front of us, and I dived on it instantly, pulling out the copy of ‘the Children of Voldemort’.
“What is all this?” James asked, gingerly examining ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’.
“Books my mum wrote, and all the paperwork on it,” I told him, cracking the unused book open to the first page. “There’s one of those on each of your dad’s years at school- I think the smallest is the first.”
“Dad’s already told me everything,” he shrugged, moving them aside.
After twenty minutes or so, we were spread out on the floor, reading and throwing quotes at each other whilst Kingsley sat in silence to read and write.
“Teddy’s in here,” I mumbled, looking at the contents after reading about Luna Lovegood and her capture. I hadn’t realised she’d been taken by the Death Eaters, although it came across as though the experience hadn’t changed her at all.
I flicked to the back, where there were only three pages- they outlined his parent’s lives, their deaths, and Harry had made a statement about Teddy’s future. It added at the end that my mum had express permission from both Harry and Andromeda to write the piece, and that she wished Teddy the best.
It was odd to know Teddy was barely two years old when it was written, and he was now twenty five and newly engaged.
“Listen to this conclusion,” I told James, who was well and truly buried in ‘the First Fight’- a close look at the lives such as James’ grandparents, Frank and Alice Longbottom, Sirius, Remus, Peter Pettigrew, Lucius Malfoy and even Bellatrix Lestrange.
“Go on,” he said, after he’d finished the page.
“ ‘Of all the monsters in the world, none have been more destructive and cruel than that of Tom Riddle. His work has torn apart lives, destroyed families, and brought us all into wars that have changed us. We will never be the people we were meant to be- we lost our childhood to war, and in so doing lost our innocence. We were never children, but much less the children of Voldemort. We are Dumbledore’s Army.’ ”
I glanced up from the page, and James looked slightly stunned. “Bloody hell.”
“I know, right?”
“Your mum was an amazing writer.”
“That was so... blunt.”
“The title is Children of Voldemort, right?”
“Irony. Oh, your mum was brilliant. The title was meant ironically.”
Smiling down at the page, I wondered if mum had believed all the trouble this little book caused was justified in the knowledge it gave.
I considered Draco Malfoy for a moment, and skimmed through his pages once again.
I met with Draco Malfoy four times in his cell, and the last in his home. The arrogant child I had known at Hogwarts, the one who swaggered with the air of a king who had been given the Divine Rights of the world, was no more. Had the iconic blonde hair and name not been before me, I could not have told you who the man I saw was.
And yes, he was broken, but he was also a man. Only a man would take full responsibility for what they’d done- he admitted several things to me in the first few minutes that would undoubtedly incriminate him for the rest of his life. “I helped get the Death Eaters into Hogwarts when Dumbledore died,” he told me. His hands were shaking slightly. “I was a Death Eater too. The Dark Lord told me I had to kill him, that it was my first job for him, and if I didn’t-“
For several moments, he had to take several deep breaths. He, above all, had to keep composure. I could see that in his eyes.
“If I didn’t, then I’d watch him kill my mother, and my father, before he killed me.”
I asked him why he did not, in the end, do it.
“I was going to,” he told me, frowning. I told him of a conversation I had recently had with Harry Potter himself, who was present at Dumbledore’s death, and had assured me that Draco had been lowering his wand when Severus Snape, a man we now know to be innocent, made the final blow that ended his life.
Draco admitted to me that he didn’t remember doing so, but agreed that his subconscious may have acted before his conscious.
“I didn’t want to kill him,” Draco said, his voice the strongest I had heard. “I just... wanted my family to die less.”
The soothing way she wrote about him, quite in contrast to a few chapters later with Luna, was so capturing. My mum truly had a gift.
I pulled the box to me, carefully replacing the immaculate copy of her book back (I noted that they were all signed first editions) and pulled out the battered pile of paper that was a manuscript.
There were lines and notes and random words scribbled into the margins, many of which weren’t legible or didn’t make sense. I absently studied the writing- it looked absolutely right, the slant and the curve of her y’s and g’s, the flourish in a crossing of a t. It was as though nothing had changed.
Of course, everything had.
James was frowning, only a few pages now from the end of his book, and held it towards me.
“Read the acknowledgements.”
I frowned at him. “Why did you bother to read the acknowledgements?”
“I always do. Read.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Kingsley look up in mild interest, so I skimmed through the usual thanks to family and editors and agents to the last few sentences.
-and Ginny, whose excellent humour even in the most hopeless scenarios carried me through; thank you. Lastly, to my weekly writer. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of what I’m doing.
“Isn’t that a bit odd?” James asked impatiently. “What weekly writer? Did she have an avid fan, or was it-“
“The murderer,” I whispered.
I barely noticed Kingsley stride around the desk and sweep the book out of James’ hands.
“When was the book published?” James demanded, taking it back off him.
“Be careful with that,” I murmured quietly.
“ ‘Copyright Kathryn Bell, May 2018’.”
“Two months later they were dead,” Kingsley said quietly.
Peeking around James’ shoulder, I stared down at the words.
Tears slowly rolled down my nose and dripped onto the page, soaking into the paper.
“She practically asked to be killed,” I said faintly, to no one in particular.
It was taunting and sickening and so perfectly formed. She knew exactly what she was doing. She had wanted death. She’d laughed at it one too many times.
I pulled a new book out of the box whipped it at the wall, where it slapped shut and crumpled to the floor. There were the tears on my face and the irregular breathing escaping in strange panting and hands in tight fists and the cruel twist of my stomach.
“She- she did it,” I found myself say. “It’s her fault.”
“It’s no one’s fault, Ellie-“
“SHE PRACTICALLY ASKED FOR IT!” I screeched, suddenly yanking up my book and aiming at the shelves opposite. It fell with a satisfying groan. “SHE KNEW WHAT SHE WAS DOING AND THEY DIED BECAUSE OF HER AND HER FUCKING ARROGANCE!”
My next victim was a lamp; it shattered into a million pieces on the wall above the fireplace.
“Ellie, please, keep calm-“ pleaded James, trying to take hold of my wrists.
“IT’S HER FAULT!” I repeated, throwing him off and taking the nearest book and aiming at his head, but like a true Chaser he dropped to the floor to avoid it, but he looked shocked. I didn’t care; I was seeing the world without my rose-tinted glasses for the first time. “IF SHE HADN’T BEEN SUCH A BITCH THEY WOULDN’T HAVE DIED! I’D STILL HAVE MY PARENTS!” I screamed, launching another book at the wall. “SELFISH- MASOCHISTIC- BITCH!”
“Ellie, I’m sure she didn’t mean to-“
“BUT SHE DID IT! SHE DID AND THEY DIED! SHE DIDN’T CARE ABOUT ME- SHE JUST WANTED A LOW FUCKING BLOW AT HER STALKER!”
Harry, unaware I had another book in my hand, walked into the room defenceless and locked the door, so I threw one at him. It smacked him straight between the eyes, and I jumped over a low sofa and grabbed him by the arms.
“WHY DIDN’T YOU STOP HER?” I roared, shaking him, tears still pouring. “YOU’RE HEAD OF THE AUROR DEPARTMENT, WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL HER NO?”
“WHY DIDN’T SOMEONE SAVE THEM?” I begged, turning to Kingsley. “WHY DID NO ONE DO ANYTHING?”
I was shaking and crumpling and wished for anything other than this life.
James was panicked and upset.
“I can’t understand,” I said, voice cracking and staring at the book. “She wanted to die...?”
“No, Ellie,” James said quickly, walking over and grabbing me by the shoulders. “There’s no way-“
“Or she didn’t want to cope any more. Is that it?” I whispered. “She didn’t want to deal with the letters so she just brought him out into the opening?”
Kingsley finally spoke. “Eliana, I knew your mother. She was brave and-“
I snorted through my tears.
“-and kind and pure in her love for you and your father. She would never have sabotaged herself to escape. There was a reason for this, I can assure you.”
“Are you skilled in occlumency?” I snapped sarcastically.
“Then your opinion counts for shit,” I told him, kicking a discarded book at my feet away and crumpling onto a sofa.
“Fuck off, James,” I bitterly told him, shoving his outstretched hand away. “You don’t understand.”
“When was the last time your parents died because one of them was a dumb shit?”
“You’re tired Ellie,” Harry said slowly, “and this is too much for you to handle, right?”
“Wrong,” I told him. “You don’t know. Your parents died defending you. Teddy’s parents died defending you and Hogwarts and the future. Mine died... because my mum asked for it.”
I whispered the last part, more tears building and falling.
“Katie wasn’t like that-“
“But she did do it,” I contradicted. “And that did happen.”
“Did my mum really love me?” I finally asked, only voicing the words I had been thinking. My voice was small but the question was sharp.
We were all in various states of confusion: Harry was reading the rest of the acknowledgements, searching for some rhyme or reason to the idiotically smart-arsed comment, but he hadn’t found anything so far; Kingsley had gone to an urgent meeting with my mum’s agent and editor, Lola Mearal, to see if she knew anything; James was wearily watching me and I was looking anywhere but where the books were.
“Ellie, do you-“
“Lovely. Do you want a drink or something?”
“I’d like my parents back, thank you for asking.”
He shook his head slightly and moved over to his father, and began to help him look. Not much later, the ditzy assistant burst in.
“Mr Potter, Mr Potter!” she squeaked.
Harry and James looked up. “Yes?”
“There are three people outside who want to speak to you-“
“How did they know I’m in this office?” Harry asked slowly, drawing his wand.
“They’re claiming to be your wife and children-“
Harry briskly went out. We heard a few low mumbles, a squeak from the bloody secretary, and all four of them strode it. Ginny was no different, but Al had changed out of his Quidditch layers and Lily had lost the dress for jeans and a bright purple hoodie.
Lily practically ran over, and I gave her a half smile. “Are you okay? You must be terrified, mum told us everything and-“
“It’s not that, Lily,” James interrupted quietly. “At least, not really.”
She frowned. “What do you mean? She looks shell shocked, and no wonder-“
I hadn’t noticed Al until he was at Lily’s side. “Why didn’t you tell us about the death threats?” he demanded.
“You were getting death threats, Ellie,” he said impatiently. “Why the hell didn’t you say anything?”
“I thought it was a joke at first.”
“And then it wasn’t your thing to be concerned with,” I shrugged.
He rolled his eyes. “It’s always our business. Got it?”
I shook my head pityingly.
“What’s with the sarcasm?” Lily asked sharply.
“My mum practically waved a banner in front her stalker’s face saying ‘I’m a Mudblood so kill me Voldemort scum’.”
Al and Lily recoiled from the shock of my language, but James simply winced and turned to them.
“Her mum wrote something in her last book, in the acknowledgements, that was quite provocative in the angry sense of the word, and it could be a contributing factor into why her parents died when they did.”
“Basically, she provoked the shit out of her murderer,” I said, and held back the tears.
Lily’s face fell, and Al was horrified.
“But- what did she-“
I leapt up, ran over and snatched the book off the desk, beginning to read loudly and mockingly. “Lastly, to my weekly writer. Thank you for-“
I stopped. Something was happening.
As soon as my fingers touched the pages, handwritten words were beginning to write themselves onto the page, with an arrow pointing to the very quote that I had been reading. Everyone in the room was watching me, but I was too fascinated by the words.
I imagine you’re seventeen now- goodness, that seems an age away- and Ginny has finally given you the box that has all these papers in it. I hope you’re happy with Lily and Ginny, and I’m sure the whole family has welcomed you with opened arms.
You may be pondering the choice of this quote- yes, I’ll admit, it was foolish of me- but it was with reason. Ellie, this past month (it is April) I have been hounded every day by the person who claims to be my death. If you are reading this I am dead, in which case I must explain. I wrote this in order to provoke an attack that will be unplanned and full of revenge, but with no real thought behind it. This way my death will be both painless and without you at my side, and my darling, that is all that matters to me. I will undoubtedly die at this Death Eater’s hand- all I ask is that it is done on my terms. I hope you understand I did this to protect you, and I am so sorry I may never see your beautiful face again, but I hope you now agree it was for the best, because your summer holidays are looming and I do not want to collect you in the knowledge that I will have to lock you in the house without ever allowing you to see your friends or have fun.
I hope you will support your father and your father will support you when you have lost me, but always remember that I died because this person may leave you alone if he gets to me.
All my love,
My mum had done this to protect me. I began to understand.
I wordlessly handed the book to Harry, sat down, and cried.
A/N SO MUCH JUICINESS... or something. Yeah, I’m not exactly nice to my characters, but sacrifice is a big thing in the original books and Katie was a true Gryffindor, so... yeah. She would have done that without a question, really.
Damn I love her. I’m going to have to do a Katie/Oliver spin off.
Also, I love you, blackangelwings. You have reviewed me twice- both gorgeous long paragraphs that made me happy and want to write, so the madness that is this chapter is for you! J
*GingerGenower clicks a Deluminator*