Chapter 19 : The Stubborn Truth
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“Level Two did he say?” Scorpius asked me, ducking his head as we crowded into a small lift.
“Yeah, Level Two, are you deaf?”
His response was nothing more than an unintelligible grunt so I turned away from him disgustedly and leaned against the wall of the elevator. The lifts at the Ministry moved slowly so it was a full minute and a half later that we shoved our way off and onto the Second Level.
We were greeted by a long, empty hallway, lined on each side by tall windows framed in the same gold of the gates in the Atrium.
“Where’s the Auror Department?” Scorpius asked, following a few steps behind me, trying to keep up with my furious pace.
“Around here somewhere. Now be quiet,” I instructed leading the way towards a small door at the end of the hallway.
I heard him sigh resignedly and smiled to myself. Back in control, righ where I belong, I thought. Pushing open the door and stepping through, the noise of the room beyond flooded past me into the hallway.
This was the Auror Department: a vast room, filled from wall to wall with cubicles each of which was occupied by an Auror. Far from the organized office that most people imagined it, this room always made me smile – it reminded me of the fun times my family had here at the Ministry, back when life had been normal.
“Who are we looking for?” Scorpius asked, stepping up beside me.
"Who are you, Curious George?" I asked shortly.
"What's curious George?" he inquired.
I sighed and shook my head. "It's a muggle thing. But basically just someone who asks a bunch of questions," I informed him.
He looked puzzled for a minute, then suddenly understood. "Oh!" A blush slowly crawled up his cheeks and I laughed to myself at his discomfort. Serves him right, the bloody traitor!
“And if you simply must know, we're looking for my dad.”
“Wait, isn’t your Dad-”
“Would you shut up?” I cut him off, my impatience setting off the mixed emotions inside me.
His gray eyes remained unreadable and, with just the slightest feeling of guilt, I turned back to the room and my searching.
From the cubicle nearest us, there came a commanding voice, and in an instant a tall black man stepped out from behind the gray cloth wall.
“Minister Kingsley!”I exclaimed, awed by the presence of this great man before me.
“Why look! It’s little Lily Potter! Are you here to see your father?” he asked kindly, walking towards us and taking my shoulder.
“Yes, Minister. Is he here?” I looked up into his kind brown eyes.
“Let’s see now.” He craned his neck, scanning the room quickly. “Even when one is as tall as I am, it is nearly impossible to see anything in this room!” he told us with a laugh.
Suddenly, a short, pudgy man rushed up behind the Minister, a notebook held under one arm, his wand stuck behind his ear. “Minister, there is pressing business to attend to! The Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes is overflowing after the bridge collapsing in Manchester.
“And you wouldn’t believe the mix-ups exploding all through the Department of Transportation. Besides that, there are bills to sign, documents to look over, and several more meetings to attend before you can even turn your attention to the Auror case!” The words exploded from the little man in a rush and his face flushed from chin to brow.
“Mr. Curmudgeon, I understand that there are several catastrophes to which I must attend; it goes this way every day. However, we have a visitor here who is looking for her father. May I do something about that first?” Minister Kingsley asked, bending over this man, who I supposed was his aide.
“Yes, but it’s all most pressing, Minister, most pressing!”
“Ah, no life is ever easy, especially not that of the Minister of Magic.” Though the words could be taken as a complaint, the good-natured tone in which they issued from Kingsley made me sure that he loved his job, even during the craziest of times.
“Have you seen Harry anywhere, Curmudgeon?” he asked the aide.
“Wasn’t he called to Hogwarts on important business?” the short man asked.
“Ah, yes, I believe he was.” Turning back to me, Kingsley continued, “I’m sorry, Lily, your father isn’t here right now.”
So that was what Scorpius had been trying to tell me… Carefully avoiding eye contact with Scorpius, I glanced up at the Minister.
His voice was kind. “Can I help you with whatever you need?”
In a rush of words, the whole story came tumbling out. “She brought the Death Eaters and they attacked us! And then he killed her but they still had them and I don’t know what to do! You see, he’s going there because they have them and so if we don’t go help they’ll kill them all!!!”
The Minister cocked an eyebrow. “I see. Well, maybe your friend here can explain a bit of that to me.”
He’s not my friend! I was about to shout, when I realized how foolish the whole story had sounded. I blushed as Scorpius began retelling the story properly.
“You see, sir, Pansy Parkinson organized the remaining Death Eaters and planned to break into Hogwarts. She was going to hold the three Potter kids hostage so that Mr. Potter could bring the Elder Wand to the school and exchange it and his life to save his kids. Then Draco Malfoy found out that she had just threatened to kill Lily and me and so then he killed her, I mean Pansy. But he couldn’t call the Death Eaters off because they never listened to him – Pansy was the leader. So now they have Lily’s brothers hostage and they’re going to kill Harry and take the Elder Wand.”
“Wow, that’s quite a story. So are you here to bring help back to Hogwarts?” Kingsley questioned.
“Yes sir,” Scorpius spoke again.
“Very well. Curmudgeon, organize a group of Aurors, explain what this young man just told us, and I’ll take these two upstairs to my office. When you have everyone together, send them down and I’ll have them Apparate over to the school. Got it?” Kingsley fired off his orders.
“Of course, sir, right away, sir!”
“Now, you two, come with me.” We followed Kingsley back through the long hallway and to the lifts. The moment the occupants of the nearest elevator saw the Minister, they scrambled out of the way to make room for us.
“Plenty of room here for everyone,” Kingsley reassured them. “Don’t worry.”
The ride was shorter this time, as the Minister’s office was only one floor below on Level One. The doors of the lift slid open and Kingsley stepped out into the traffic of the hallway.
“Excuse me, please make way. Urgent business here!” he spoke to everyone around as we walked. “Up here on the left,” he told us, pushing open a large door at the end of the hall.
He gestured for us to step in ahead of him and we did, glancing around at the huge room. By the back wall stood a handsome, chestnut desk on which were several large stacks of papers. Behind the desk was a red plush chair and a tall desk lamp that cast unfailing golden light onto the work space. In front of the desk stood two, small blue chairs, presumably for visitors.
The far wall was set with a tall window, covered in red drapes that hung across the glass panes. The walls were full of various pictures that smiled and waved at us, as if welcoming us to this wonderful world.
“Have a seat, please, while we wait,” the Minister urged us, indicating the two blue chairs. “Oh, and by the way, who are you?” he asked Scorpius.
“Scorpius Malfoy, sir, son of Draco Malfoy and Astoria Greengrass,” Scorpius replied, not seeming at all ashamed of his last name.
“Ah, a Malfoy!” Kingsley exclaimed. “That’s funny, I never thought I’d see the day when a Malfoy and a Potter walked peacefully into my office. But I can’t say I’m unhappy to be proven wrong!”
I squirmed uncomfortably in my chair, itching to tell the Minister that I wasn’t at all peaceful about walking in here with Scorpius. But now wasn’t the time and I was sure the Minister wasn’t interested in my petty problems, so I stayed quiet.
“Now, from what you’ve told me, it seems that the situation at Hogwarts is rather dangerous,” Kingsley spoke up.
Oh no, I thought. I should’ve seen this coming.
“I’m afraid I’ll have to ask both of you to stay here,” the Minister continued, shaking his head regretfully.
“What the bloody hell?” I exclaimed. Damn, I just said that out loud…
A hint of a smile crossed Kingsley's battle-worn face. “I thought that might be your reaction. Your father has told stories of your temper.”
I blushed under his humorous gaze and shifted in the chair again.
“Now I understand that you want to help your brothers but I would feel much better if you were safe here.”
I took a deep breath, prepared to argue my way out of this newest challenge. “Minister, I know it will be dangerous, but they’re my family and I want to help them so much!”
“I know you do, and you already have; you were very brave in coming here to get help. But the Aurors will be able to help them just as well."
His face grew very solemn. “Death Eaters aren’t people to be trifled with, Lily. If you came, I couldn’t say whether or not you’d come back alive and I couldn’t let that happen.”
This was a losing cause, I could tell. But I wasn’t about to give up. I opened my mouth, a newly phrased argument on the tip of my tongue. But I didn’t even have to speak.
“Minister, we really appreciate that you care this much about our safety but we’ve survived a lot today already. Besides, I know Lily would do just about anything to save her family and if she's brave enough, you should let her go.”
Wait a minute! Scorpius is on my side? I thought. There must be something in it for him...
The Minister tilted his head to one side thoughtfully but before he could respond, a knock resounded through the office. “Come in,” Kingsley called, his tone commanding.
The office door flew open and a group of about thirty Aurors entered wands ready at their sides.
“Ah, ready to go?” the Minister of Magic asked, surprised.
“We get ready more quickly than you remember, Kingsley,” Auror Dawlish replied with a smile.
“Indeed you do,” Kingsley replied. Turning back to us, as I waited on the edge of my seat, he added, “Well, you two, your bravery has won you the chance to save your friends.”
Yes! I screamed victoriously in my head, trying not to let myself admit that Scorpius had convinced Kingsley to let us go. It’s true, though, the little voice reminded me. Whatever! I yelled back, he’s still a bloody ignorant prat!
Author's Note: So what do you think... I know it was a filler chapter but I hope you at least got something out of it. Please leave a review - when I get reviews I'm happy and when I'm happy I write and when I write I update and when I update you're happy. So basically, review and we'll all be happy!!!!
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