Chapter 4 : Sweet Disposition
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Unattractive bosses and co-workers 15 odd, Moral qualms (couple, though should be more,) weight 11.07 stone (looks large on paper, though rather svelte in practise), money spent on gym this year 0 (love Veela genes)
10.34 a.m. Unreasonably cramped cubicle of office, level five, Ministry of Magic.
“Okay, okay, so as much as I’m happy that we’ve got the photos and all – are you sure it’s, you know, right?”
Dominique looked at self strangely “Umm…yeah.”
“Oh, well, good then. Was just mildly concerned. Taking pictures of our cousin seemed mildly dodgy is all. And I really hate wizard photos you know? I mean – do they have to move quite so enthusiastically?”
“Harden up Louis. It’s only Molly, and nothing you’ve never seen before.”
“Easy for you to say,” I grumbled. Quite frankly some of the things Mol had been doing to that poor Ambassador were things my pure and innocent mind had never considered possible. Think….bendy. Wish Sam wasn’t such good photographer. Although grateful Dom hadn’t forced self into taking them, maybe some semblance of a conscience. Seems unlikely though. “Anyway, what’s your excuse for being here?”
Again, Dom looked at self strangely. “Why would I need an excuse?”
“Because Harry just might kill you otherwise?”
As I spoke one of those little paper-planes we use for messages flew in through (locked) door. Not sure how managed that actually. Handy bit of magic anyway. Plane unfolded and lay on desk waiting to be read.
Swung away from Domi on amazing swivel chair of amazing swivel-ness. Leant over to read note. Scrawled in a rather bold and demonstrative hand were the words:
Louis, tell Dominique to stop plotting and to get back here immediately – Harry
Paled slightly at Scary Harry Knowledge. “You might want to read this.”
With an elegantly sharp and pointed toe she shoved self and chair out of her way and swiped the note.
After reading she definitely did not look as fearful or inspired by awe as she should have. Harry Potter implying knowledge of coup definitely cause for concern in own book. Dominique is a rather special case however.
“Meh, he’s just trying to scare me.”
“And did it work?”
“Nothing scares me,” she winked. “Anyway, I probably should get back – he does sound a bit annoyed doesn’t he?”
Nodded weakly, then gaped senselessly when she spun on an obscenely high heel and whipped away. Moments later boss marched in – sweat glistening rather unpleasantly on appallingly bald head.
“Get in here Louis, we’ve got a problem.”
Tony, while paranoid idiot, possessed significant amounts of political rat-cunning and was therefore often worth listening to. As such, followed him into open-plan office.
“Yeah? What is it?”
Position at job slightly ambiguous. Job description consists mainly of research, policy advice and pretty Veela face. While it means have very little work to do for large parts of the day (and often week,) is frustrating in that place in office hierarchy undefined.
For some projects superior to nearly all. Other projects have about as much in the way of human rights as a House Elf. Not v. many if wondering.
“Do you remember that deal we did with the Transylvanians last year?” Ton’ asked, looking rather more worried than usual.
“The one where we stopped them killing all their vampires because it was like, completely fascist and brutal?”
“Yeah – that’s the one,” he nodded. “Anyway, one of those vampires has gone off and killed someone.”
While obviously felt sorry for this individual, found it rather hard to see the relevance to particular situation. When voiced this thought, was shot irritated glare and swift riposte.
“It was a British tourist.”
“Ahh – well… that’s not good at all.”
“What is it about the Welsh?” he muttered angrily. Settled in for what appeared set to be top quality rant. “I mean seriously – they’ve already got mountains. Why do they need to see different ones? Especially ones with vampires. What do they even know about vampires? I mean - make up your mind… sheep, or you know, vampires. Not a difficult choice is it? It’s just selfish is what it is. You just wait mate, any minute now that Free Wales lot will be all over the place. Probably did it deliberately the bastard.”
At this point, he appeared to run out of steam as kicked metal filing cabinet and instantly grimaced a fairly horrible grimace – looking up at the ceiling. “I hate my life.”
Looked at him with rather worried expression on face. He had made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Not even a semblance of the thing. “Err…right. So what is it you want me to do exactly?”
“Well I’ve scheduled a press conference for fifteen minutes, then could you just talk to a few journos – give ‘em a couple of hints, they love all that inside info stuff. Then when you’ve got ‘em, just fog the issue a bit.”
“What’s the issue Tony? I haven’t even been briefed. What’s going on?” Realised voice was getting rather high-pitched and squeaky, never a good sign.
“What do you mean you haven’t been briefed? I just did!”
“Get me a briefing now or I won’t do it.”
There can be seen job ambiguity. Surely not normal to make demands of own boss. Rather handy situation though. Ooh, looks like he’s back with briefing.
11.05. a.m. Wall of Heroes, level one, Ministry of Magic.
Hate press conferences. Way too much pressure. Especially when in front of Wall. While good and often moving way to remember all those who fought against Voldemort and Death Eaters – does not do one any favours when female journalists and photographers can be found grinning lasciviously at portrait of Sirius Black that can be found behind self. Don’t care if essentially martyr, steals from limelight and makes job all-around difficult. Bloody prat. Winking just plain uncalled for.
Casting a weak Sonorus Charm on self, stood up behind lectern that had been set up.
“Hey everyone. All here? All ready?” Nods, muttered ascensions. “Questions at the end if that’s okay.” More nods – although slightly more grudging. Cleared throat, as is important to do before starting.
“Before we begin today, I would like – on behalf of everyone here at the Ministry – to express our deepest sorrow over yesterday’s incident. It is nothing short of a national tragedy to see a young man’s life cut so short over so little. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family, his wife Emily and his young daughter Jordan. We will assist them in any way we possibly can through this hardest of times.
For those of you who are as yet unaware, Stephen Jones was an up-and-coming Quidditch player for Caerphilly. Yesterday he lost his life to a vampire while on a team-bonding exercise through the Vrancea Mountains of Transylvania. The circumstances surrounding the attack remain unclear to date, although a team of Hit Wizards has been sent over to assist the Transylvanians with their investigation.
Further, we are sending over a delegation of our Vampire Liason Squad members to work with the vampires of Transylvania. For all that we are a progressive, forward-thinking government, we will not be dictated to. Our citizens must be free to travel. To travel free from fear.
This incident highlights the growing need for strong diplomatic ties in these uncertain times. We must now work with the Transylvanian government and with the vampires in that country in order to ascertain what must now be done. Until we can reach a binding solution we are recommending that British tourists do not travel to Transylvania. While we will not block the Apparation points, we strongly recommend that in the interests of their own safety – that the people wait until the situation is once again secure.”
Came to the end and stopped, somewhat in awe of self. Rather impressed looks from massed ranks of journalists as well, clearly had done alright. “Any questions?”
“Mr. Weasley.” A greasy, pockmarked man stood up. “What exactly is the government doing to stamp out the vampire threat? All sounded very pretty what you were sayin’ up there, didn’ exactly mean anything though did it?”
I hate tabloids.
“As I said before, we’re working closely with the Transylvanian government to reach a solution in order to ensure a tragedy such as yesterday’s never again impacts on the lives of innocent British people.”
“What abou’ other countries' citizens though, hey? What abou’ them.”
I mean seriously. The most annoyingly persistent bastards…ever.
“I fail to see your point Mr…?”
“Stevens. Glenn Stevens from the Star. My point is righ’, you aren’t actually doing anything abou’ ‘em are you? They’ve gone and bloody killed someone and you’re just standing there tellin’ me you’re sendin’ a delegation. S’not good enough, where’s the Vampire Killers ‘ey?”
Oh for Merlin’s sake, he did not just suggest that.
“You can’t actually be serious, I mean, you do remember why we banned them right?”
“We’re goin’ soft is why!”
“I suggest you look through the Throckmorton Report – the advice of which the Government took on the matter Mr. Stevens. There are more than enough reasons to reject any of the pathetic arguments you care to dream up. Anyone else?”
“Mr. Weasley –“
12.40 p.m. The Leaky Cauldron, A Private Booth.
Brilliant and cunning plan devised by self to get out to lunch. Sam is journalist, well cadet-ish journalist for the Daily Prophet – therefore looking to make her name. Talked to Tony, pointed out that it might be handy to start giving a young up-and-comer some inside stuff. Therefore, when successful, deeply indebted to us and all. Plan considered genius. Fact that said journalist rather well known to self deftly avoided.
“I hate press conferences.”
We were camped in one of the magically protected booths to the back of the Leaky. As always, knowing the ownership has its benefits.
“Yeah, you might have mentioned that once or twice.”
“No, like, I really, really hate them”
“Do you want to order?”
Looked up at her, distracted from rant by blasé pragmatism. Diversionary tactics not appreciated. She rung the little hand-bell that sat on the table and not 30 seconds later Neville ambled in with his familiar, easy smile.
“Heya Louis, how’s it going mate? And I’m sorry I don’t you…”
“Oh I’m Samantha, Samantha Jenkins. You can call me Sam though, most everyone does. I’m an old, old friend of Louis.”
She’s got a natural, easy charm about her Sam. One of those smiles that makes everyone around her smile, even if they aren’t quite sure why. Still a sense of wide-eyed wonder about the world, might just be the whole Muggle-born thing though.
“Well Sam Jenkins, it’s a pleasure to meet you – any friend of Louis is a friend of mine.”
I grinned at Neville. Possibly the nicest guy on the face of the earth. Ridiculous amounts of nicety. No idea how Hannah conned him into marrying her, feminine wiles or some-such I imagine. She’s alright I suppose – just wish she wasn't quite so... shrill.
“Now, what can I get you?” he continued.
“Just the salad thanks,” she said politely. Looked at her in abject horror.
“You’ve been hanging out with Dom and Annah too much,” I tell her bluntly. “Neville – it’s the middle of winter, get her some proper food – and can you just get me some chips? All I really feel like.”
“Sure thing guys, just stay here and I’ll be right back,” Neville said, backing out.
“Actually,” I said, standing up, “reckon I might get a drink – do you want anything?”
“Umm…” she started, biting her lip. “We need to talk…”
Unprecedented territory this. Isn’t that what you said in a break up? Seeing as we’d never been together hard to see how a break-up would be possible. Okay sure, had kissed once. Ended with both in hysterical laughter – Sam and self not exactly the high point of romance.
“Umm... alright? Now?”
Sam playing with her hair. Twirling it round and round her finger – shifting nervously on the bench. All v. strange. She nodded – then her face tightened, clearly steeling herself for something.
“I’ve got a job offer…”
Felt face burst into huge smile, this was fantastic news. No idea what she was so stressed about. When mentioned this to her, the story continued.
“It’s in Melbourne.”
Frowned slightly, place sounded familiar, couldn’t quite place it though. She noticed the confusion.
“Melbourne’s in Australia, Louis.”
A/N: Dun, dun, dunnn. So what did we all think? Fairly boring chapter I know, but I had to actually introduce his work properly somehow didn't I? Anyway - hope you managed to drag yourselves through it!
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