A/N: Poor Scrimgeour. It's time for him to tell the Muggles. I do not envy him right now. =( Read on! =]
Rufus Scrimgeour cleared his throat. “Excuse me,” he said in a tentative attempt to get the attention of everyone in the room. But with roughly 150 frantic world leaders and their magical liaisons all talking at once, he might as well have whispered it for all they heard him.
“I didn’t come here to play model UN with the children,” a cranky leader grumbled to his liaison. “You said that national security was at stake, but all I see is a bunch of sods in suits and freaks in long black floppy robes!”
“Please, just listen to him,” pleaded another liaison to her Queen. “I know this comes as quite a great shock, but our whole world—the non-magical world—needs to know of this.”
The Minister of Magic held his wand up to his throat, and tried again. “Excuse me! Could I please have everybody’s attention?”
This time, his voice boomed spectacularly across the room, causing all of the Muggle leaders to twist themselves in his direction and crane their necks to see how he was amplifying his voice.
“It’s really magic!” the King of Morocco exclaimed.
The Bangladeshi leader snorted. “It is only a microphone,” he told the King. “This whole thing is a hoax.” The Nigerian President, who sat one row in front of him, nodded his agreement.
The young man who sat next to him, the Prince of Wales, frowned and pointed out, “But then where are the speakers?”
All three men became quiet as a sudden realization dawned on them. They frowned, perplexed, but none of them wanted to be the first to point out what they had noticed for fear of being laughed at.
“I’m not imagining it…” the Prince of Wales said slowly.
“Neither am I,” the Bangladeshi Prime Minister declared.
“Why are we all able to understand each other?!” the King of Morocco cried loudly, so that most of the room stopped talking to listen to him. “I am speaking in Arabic, and surely you are speaking in Bengali and he is speaking in English…yet we can all hear each other as if we are speaking in our native tongues! It’s some sort of miracle!”
“Actually, it isn't,” the Minister of Magic announced from the front of the room. “It is just the employment of another magical charm that the Ministry has placed on this room today for this express purpose.” He could not help but let a little pride seep through his voice as he watched the Muggle leaders converse, amazed at being able to automatically understand each other without the use of translators.
“So magic really exists?” the King of Belgium asked, still unconvinced, until the man seated next to him answered in perfect Dutch, despite the fact that he was the Portugese-speaking Brazilian President.
“Yes, I believe so,” the Brazilian told the shocked King, “although I am just as surprised as you are.”
Scrimgeour sighed in relief. The reaction the Muggles were exhibiting towards the use (and existence) of magic was less severe than he had initially expected. The reason why the Wizarding world went to such lengths to hide itself was not only because they thought life would be easier if the Muggles didn’t know about them. It was because of a fear rooted deep in history, when it was the Muggle custom to burn witches and wizards at the stake.
But so far, the Muggles of the modern world were proving to be much more open-minded than their predecessors. It could’ve just been because the liaisons had been there to smooth the way, but no matter what the reason was, Scrimgeour was grateful for it. And if all else failed, at least he would have the consolation that it was now considered inhumane to burn people at the stake.
“Why have you brought us all here?” the King of Japan asked Scrimgeour suspiciously. “Surely you magical folk don’t think you will be able to rule the world by luring the world’s leaders into a trap!”
There were murmurs of consent, but Scrimgeour quickly put his hands up for silence. He had expected the Muggles to be difficult. They were, after all, a slightly pompous and arrogant bunch. But surprisingly, the first obstacle had been cleared already. It had only taken a few impressive displays of magic, performed as the Muggles had entered and taken their seats, to convince most of the leaders of its existence. As a whole, even the non-magical community had its share of supernatural and superstitious beliefs, which manifested themselves into religions and religious beliefs.
Ironically, it would not be the magical part that posed the greatest challenge, Scrimgeour thought to himself. Once again, it would be the political part.
“I applaud your cautiousness, all of you, for it is the very mindset we need to face the danger that is upon us,” he began. “But that is the farthest from our intentions. The reason I have called you all here is of dire importance. Your lives, your peoples’ lives, and your way of life—and the world’s existence, actually—are being threatened by an evil wizard. He is skilled in the Dark Arts and has gathered many followers. The very ideal of the society he envisions, and will stop at nothing to achieve, revolves around blood purity. That is to say, he wishes to eliminate all non-magical folk, and all wizards who have non-magical blood in them.”
Scrimgeour took a deep breath and swept the room with his solemn gaze. The Muggles sat quietly, listening. “That means that you would all die.”
The atmosphere of the room, which was the trial room in the Ministry where the Wizengamot usually held their meetings, grew heavy. They had held this gathering here because no other place had been large enough to accommodate so many people, but now Scimgeour was beginning to regret it. When everyone in such a large room held their breath in apprehension, the dead silence that resulted was disconcerting.
The Minister’s blunt statement had no doubt shocked everyone into silence. However, whether the Muggles believed him or not was a completely different question.
Finally, the Prince of Wales spoke up. “And what is this Dark Wizard’s name?”
Scrimgeour sighed. Here came the tough part. If he didn’t make You-Know-Who sound as formidable and threatening as the Wizarding community saw him, the Muggles would never believe him. “His name is He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, or You-Know-Who.”
There was silence no more as each and every Muggle Prime Minister, royal, or elected president burst into loud laughter. “You-Know-Who?!” someone burst out incredulously, sending everyone near him into renewed bouts of laughter.
“Yes, You-Know-Who!” Scrimgeour snapped, irritated. He needed to redirect the focus back towards the issue, but there was nothing he could do except to say the name. “Because this wizard is so widely feared within the Wizarding community, a taboo has developed around saying his name. His real name…his real name is”—here Scrimgeour paused to collect himself—“…Lord—Lord Voldemort.”
This title, which sounded infinitely more impressive than the laughable You-Know-Who, silenced the world leaders’ laughter at once. “What does he look like?” the Argentinean president asked quietly.
Rufus Scrimgeour took his wand away from his throat and conjured up a silver square in the air, which bore resemblance to the surface of a Pensieve.
“Like this,” the Minister of Magic said quietly as an image of the Dark Lord rising, fully formed, from within the cauldron flashed onto the screen. Voldemort’s flat, snake-like face filled the room, his pale skin glowing in translucence from the moonlight. Like all magical pictures, the figures within moved. The Muggles gasped as they saw Peter Pettigrew’s raw stump, gleaming with new blood.
“This image is a memory straight from the mind of Harry Potter, courtesy of Albus Dumbledore’s Pensieve,” Scrimgeour said as the image faded. Immediately after, there came an onslaught of questions.
“Who is Harry Potter?”
“What is an Albus Bumblegore?”
“What is a Pensieve?”
“What happened to that man’s hand?”
Scrimgeour held his hand up for silence again. “Harry Potter is the only wizard known to have survived an attack by the Dark Lord numerous times,” he explained hurriedly. “He was there to witness the Dark Lord’s return, seen here.”
“So why doesn’t Harry defeat the Dark Lord?” somebody asked.
The Minister looked gravely out into his audience and said patiently, “Because Harry Potter is seventeen years old.”
“How could he have defended himself if he is so young?”
“Where is he now?”
“Why hasn’t anyone else been able to survive the Dark Lord’s attacks?”
Scrimgeour waved away the questions, sighing. “You may ask your liaisons for the entire story later. It is somewhat complicated, and we have no time to discuss it here. All I ask now is for you to understand the gravity of this situation and how it affects your world as well as ours. The danger is imminent, so I feel that it is my responsibility to prepare you to protect yourselves.”
“And what exactly are we protecting ourselves against?” the Ethiopian president asked.
“What are you protecting yourselves against, you ask me?” Scrimgeour cried, throwing his hands in the air. “I’ll show you!”
He lashed his wand out toward the screen, and a full scene of a Death Eater using the Imperius Curse on a child played out. Imperio! “The Dark Lord is capable of forcing one to do his bidding,”—and he waved his wand again—Crucio!—“torture of unimaginable pain and suffering,”—and screams began to ring out, echoing on the tall stone walls as the Cruciatus Curse was performed on the screen—“and instant homicide and murder!” he cried as You-Know-Who himself Avada Kedavra-ed a man, killing him instantly.
Silence fell again as ominous echoes of the screams began to subside. The Muggle leaders, shaking and sweating, watched as the life seeped slowly out of the man on the screen.
“So, who will ally themselves with the magical community?” Scrimgeour asked quietly after a moment.
For a second, all were frozen in the room. The Muggles wavered between fear of what they had just seen, and their own human instinct to reject what they did not want to accept as truth. But had Scrimgeour really done enough to convince them?
As the most fearful of the world leaders began to inch their hands up uncertainly, Scrimgeour noticed that some countries’ leaders stared with outright animosity at others. There were even some that only chose to put their hands up or keep them down once they saw how their enemy nation had voted.
Scrimgeour, irritated at the fickleness that the Muggle world leaders were showing, called out again. “Let me remind you that the danger stands equally among all races, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds. Everyone can only be protected if we work together.”
This time a few more hands went up, but there were still a good number which remained down, their leaders adamant and stony-faced.
“I’m not here to play model UN, Minister,” someone said once again. “We cannot, as you say, set all of our differences aside and place our complete trust in your society. It’s time you saw the reality and learned the true nature of the modern world.”
There were several sounds of assent.
“Yes, and aren’t you lot wizards? Don’t you have magic? Can’t you just bibbidy-boppity-boo away the bad guy?”
“The Dark Lord used to be an extremely talented wizard,” Scrimgeour explained slowly, taking deep breaths to stay his anger. “But as you can see, once he began to dabble into the Dark Arts, they have consumed his magical soul. He has completed magical feats, dangerous, horrible things that the rest of us would never dare try. And that is precisely what has given him power beyond the rest of us.”
Somebody in the back of the room called out. “So exactly why would it be to our advantage to join you in war? What’s in it for us?”
Scrimgeour’s temper slipped to hang on by a mere thread.
“Fools!” he snarled at the Muggles. “Don’t you understand? All of your fates and futures are bound together by your non-magical blood! The Dark Lord cares not for your petty differences. You are all the same to him!” He glared at his audience. “While you sit and bicker amongst yourselves about nothing, his power grows ever stronger and his ranks larger. If you do not act soon, it will be too late!”
The Muggles were quiet for a moment as they struggled to comprehend the magnitude of the problem that Scrimgeour was presenting. They had never had to deal with war on a larger scale than their World Wars. And even then, it had never involved, literally, the entire world.
They had no idea of the consequence and almost not the capacity to understand it. And after several long seconds of struggle, the Muggles had no choice but to revert back to their idea of the world as they recognized it.
“There are a lot more of you good guys than his bad guys, right? So, since you already have the advantage of numbers, with a decent military strategy you should be able to take him down!”
“Yeah, that’s right! He’s only one man. Two shots in the dark and that ought to take care of him, same as any other. Bam! Bam! And he’s gone!”
Scrimgeour laughed grimly, digging his nails into his palms with frustration at the Muggles’ stubborn, hard-headed ignorance. “Are you kidding? You will not be able to take down the Dark Lord with military tactics! You cannot shoot him with your puny guns. He alone could keep a whole regiment of Aurors busy, and kill some of them, too!”
“What are Aurors?”
Scimgeour sighed. He would make one last, desperate attempt. “If you wish to think selfishly, then look at it this way: Your country’s people are looking to you for guidance and protection. In order to do your job and keep your people from dying, you will need to accept the unknown and trust that the people who do know—us Magical folk—will tell you how to minimize the damage done by the Dark Lord. You are doing humanity a service, ladies and gentlemen. You are heroes!”
The clerk who was sitting beside the Minister of Magic, recording the votes, looked up from his Quick-Quotes Quill and parchment and grimaced at him.
“What?” Scrimgeour asked him.
“You’re reverting to pure flattery to get what you want,” the clerk replied, looking a tad amused. “It’s quite sad, not that it’s my place to say, Minister.”
Scrimgeour cleared his throat pointedly as seven more countries’ leaders raised their hands in assent. “You will not laugh at me when it is has done the job. This is the only tactic that will work on these stubborn Muggles, and that is the truly sad part,” he grumbled, though his bad mood was lightened again as four more leaders agreed to join his alliance.
“Has everyone who wishes to join in an alliance with the Wizarding community raised their hand?” Scrimgeour asked his audience. “Are there any last-minute additions?”
A couple more hands went up hastily, and the clerk’s quill recorded them.
“Good! Well, then, our last order of business is to create a name for our alliance. We’ll be meeting here at the Ministry of Magic once a month, or whenever any of us sees fit to call an emergency meeting. Does anyone have any suggestions?”
“The Quest to Save Humankind from Lord Voldy,” someone said with a laugh.
Scrimgeour groaned. This was not a joke, and it seemed that the Muggles were still taking it that way.
“What about the World’s Alliance?” somebody suggested.
“Perfect,” Scrimgeour said quickly before any more silly names could be suggested. It was seriously diminishing from the decorum of the atmosphere in the room, and if the Muggles did not treat this like they do with their other alliances then the entire thing would be useless. As it was, Scrimgeour was having his doubts.
“Have the countries who have agreed file out first,” Scrimgeour told the clerk. “Keep the rest in their seats so we can place a Silencing Spell on them.”
And so the World’s Alliance was born.
A/N: I am SUPREMELY concerned about this chapter. As you can imagine, writing about the Muggle world finding out about magic was no easy feat. I agonized over this chapter for...a while. Please let me know if I did an adequate job, and if I didn't, what could I have done to make it better?
I'd REALLY LOVE reviews. =]