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Chapter 2: The Wife and Family
To his delight, his wife and son obviously thought so too. He had known that they would of course, but nonetheless, he couldn’t help being pleased.
“Is Jovian home yet?” he asked, just as soon as he had greeted his wife.
“Yes, he just arrived about 20 minutes or half an hour ago. Why are you so anxious to know?”
“Because I have some news for you both, and I thought that if he was home, you might as well hear it together. Where is he?”
“In his room. You know how seriously he takes his studies as a Healer. But I’m sure he’ll be down to say hi to you in a moment.”
Sure enough, Jovian descended the stairs just as soon as Alyssa called up, “Jovian, your dad’s home.”
“Hi dad,” he greeted his father. “How was work?”
“Really good,” Cornelius replied. “Today I just got the most fantastic news of the entire 35 years I spent working for the Ministry.”
“Better than the day You-Know-Who was defeated?” Jovian asked. He had been eleven years old when the Dark Lord had been defeated and it had struck him as one of the most exciting days of his life. Having grown-up under the shadow of the Dark Lord’s reign of terror, he could not really imagine what actual changes would occur as a result of his defeat, but the celebrations and general excitement had greatly affected him, particularly as the Dark Lord’s fall had been so unexpected and unexplained.
Now his father struggled to answer his question.
“Good in a different way. More to do with work. What is the best thing you could possibly imagine might have happened today?”
“You’re Minister of Magic, aren’t you?” Alyssa squealed excitedly. Cornelius had never imagined his wife could be so animated. As a general rule, she was very serious and dignified. Now, however, she sounded like an overexcited teenager.
“Oh, I knew you could do it,” she continued as Cornelius nodded confirmation. “Didn’t I always say you were destined for greatness? Oh Jovian, you’ve got a father to be proud of! Isn’t it a pity you didn’t follow him into the Ministry?”
Jovian ignored that comment. It was the one way in which he had disappointed his mother. She was pleased that he had chosen a career as a healer. It was a difficult career and one that required extremely good grades in the N.E.W.Ts and Alyssa enjoyed letting all her friends know that her son was studying to be a healer. The one career he could have pleased her more by taking was a job in the Ministry. That way Alyssa would have had twice the chance of having one of her family become Minister.
Cornelius, on the other hand, appeared just as happy that his son had avoided this career path. He knew that had his son chosen a career in the Ministry, he would be under constant pressure from his wife to use his influence to advance his son’s career. Not that that would be any difficulty now, but until his appointment as Minister, he didn’t really have the degree of influence which his wife appeared to believe he did.
As Minister, however, he would have all the influence that his wife wished him to. Even though Jovian had not decided on a career in the Ministry, having his father as Minister of Magic was bound to be an advantage to him. This, however, was not the real reason for his pleasure. It was just good to see his father achieve success. Jovian knew how hard his father had worked to get this far.
Although Jovian would never have said so, he was well aware that Cornelius did not really have the talent his wife believed he did. He was reasonably good at his job, but it had taken a lot of work and a lot of keeping in with the right people to ensure his rise to his forthcoming position. Jovian sometimes suspected that if it hadn’t been for his mother’s pushing, his father wouldn’t have bothered.
Not that it mattered now. Whatever the reason for Cornelius’ hard work, it had paid off, and Jovian was delighted for his father.
“Mum’s right,” he praised him. “Being appointed Minister is really fantastic. You must be really proud of yourself.”
“Yeah, I am,” Cornelius agreed. “To be honest, I never really expected this. I wouldn’t have applied for the job at all, if you hadn’t said I should, Alyssa. Boy, am I glad I did now.”
“What would you do without me?” Alyssa asked, but her tone was indulgent. “Oh, I almost forgot; we’ll have to send an owl to Romilda immediately. We can’t let her wait to read in the papers that her father has been appointed Minister of Magic.” She managed to make reading the papers sound utterly distasteful, but both her husband and son knew just what she meant. Romilda would be disappointed if her family neglected to tell her such important news.
“It’s a pity you can’t send the official Ministry owl to let her know,” Alyssa commented, almost critically, to her husband. “What a surprise she would get if a Ministry owl came to deliver a message from her father!”
“I won’t get to use them until I actually take over as Minister,” Cornelius explained. “Well, I can use them now, but only if the Minister authorises it. Anyway, she’ll find out as soon as she reads the letter. What does it matter if it’s only Mercury who delivers it?” It was Alyssa who had named the owl and she had chosen to name him after the messenger to the gods from mythology.
Now, Cornelius fetched him and wrote a hurried note to his daughter, who was currently in her 6th year at Hogwarts.
I have some very exciting news for you. Guess who has just been appointed Minister of Magic! That’s right; I have been appointed to the job. I can hardly believe it. Can’t wait until the present Minister retires and I get to start making some changes of my own.
Sorry if this letter is a bit rushed, but I wanted to ensure you got the news before it was announced to the entire wizarding world and you know Mercury can be a bit slow sometimes.
Lots of love, as ever,
Your loving father.
His daughter’s reply arrived the next morning before Cornelius left for work.
That’s fantastic news. Really marvellous. Everybody at school is really jealous.
I can’t wait until the news is announced officially. At the moment, it’s only my own year that know, and some of the other Gryffindors. Once it’s announced, and the whole school knows, I can’t wait to see their reactions. With a bit of luck, it might encourage Snape to be a little less horrible. He can be quite impressed by power. I’ll have to tell him you’ll get him sacked if he doesn’t start being nicer!!!!!!! Only joking. I wouldn’t really do that.
Anyway, everybody is really pleased for you, even though naturally people were disappointed that Dumbledore refused it. Personally I’m quite pleased about that. If McGonagall was headmistress, I think this place might get a lot stricter. But of course, I’m biased. If Dumbledore had been appointed Minister, then you wouldn’t have been.
No news here really. Things are as boring as ever. Got detention from Snape earlier this week. I didn’t do anything honestly. He was just in a mood because we beat the Slytherins at Quidditch last week and you know how he hates Gryffindor. Or do you? After all, I am the first Gryffindor in the family! Still you’ve probably heard me complain about it often enough.
I’ll have to finish up now, as McGonagall is on her rounds to see we’re all in bed. I’ll send this off in the morning.
Lots of love,
Although, he had been just about to leave the house, when the owl arrived, he paused for long enough to skim the letter quickly, then placed it in his briefcase and hurried out the door. It wouldn’t look very good, after all, if the newly-appointed Minister was late for work before he even took over his new position.