Chapter 7 : 7- The Mugwump
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A green light illuminated from behind the Supreme Mugwump’s figure as he fell dead to the floor revealing the furious pale-faced and curly blond haired woman behind him. She advance, her wand aiming for the heart. Harry ran forwards and charged at her but was hit by a second green light conjured by Felicia Hamnet and he fell lifeless to floor beside Aaron Kirke. Felicia then re-aimed her wand and mouthed the words of the killing curse.
Naomi’s eyes flashed open and she was blinded momentarily by the light that poured in through the open window.
“She’s awake. Quick, Dominique, go and get mummy.” Said what was unmistakably a young girl’s voice and Naomi then heard someone scurry out of the room she was in but her eyes were still too busy adjusting to the light to determine where that was. “Are you okay?” Said the same sweet voice and when Naomi stopped rubbing her eyes, she saw standing over her a young, petit, pale skinned girl of about seven or eight with large deep-blue eyes. She wore a silver shirt and a light blue skirt and her silvery blond hair had been put into a long pony-tail that went down to her waist.
“Yes I’m fi-” Naomi started but as she leaned forward, a sharp, stabbing pain erupted in her side and she fell backwards letting out a gasp of agony.
“Mummy! Uncle Charlie!” The girl screamed in panic and at once Naomi heard the door slam open.
“Naomi, drink this.” Said Charlie Weasley’s voice and though her eyes were tight shut from the pain, Naomi felt him shove a cold glass vial into her hand. Without question, she placed the vial to her lips and drank the contents. The tangy potion seemed to spread a warmth throughout her body that, when came into contact with the affected area, eased the pain and by the time Naomi opened her eyes, the pain had gone completely.
Her breathing eased as she sank into the pillow. “I see you’ve met my niece.” Charlie said as Naomi’s eyes drifted open. “Why don’t you go and check on your dad. He’s awake now. Your mother and sister are waiting for you downstairs.” The girl nodded and smiled sweetly at Naomi before running off out of the door.
“I’m guessing Fleur’s daughter.” Naomi said with a smile before fully realising what Charlie had just said. “Wait, your brother was injured?” Charlie nodded.
“He got hit by some sort of slashing curse that started to show signs of infection last night. He’s fine but the antidote knocked him clear out.” He added with a laugh. “And from what I hear, it’s thanks to you.” Naomi rolled onto her back as he said this and stared up at the pale red ceiling as the memory of what had happened at Saint Mungo’s slipped into mind.
“Aaron Kirke is dead.” She stated. “It was my job to get him out of there and he ended up saving my life by sacrificing his own.” She felt Charlie’s fingers enclose around her own.
“You then ended up taking on about eight Dark Wizards at once allowing for the others to escape with help and provisions saving the lives of all those who barely escaped the Ministry including Kingsley Shaklebolt himself.”
Naomi tilted her head to look at him and despite the guilt dwelling within her, she couldn’t help but grin. Any anger she had felt for him the previous day, had evaporated with her pain. “That does sound cooler when you put it that way. How long was I out for?” Charlie smiled.
“Nearly a full twenty-four hours.” He answered and the smile soon began to fade from his face. “But there is something else we need to talk about.” He said and he squeezed her hand. “You need to come downstairs.” Naomi looked inquisitively at Charlie. If she was honest she would have been quite happy to except the soft bed’s invitation of another twenty-four hours sleep but seeing a seriousness she did not like on Charlie’s face, she begrudgingly got out of bed and walked downstairs with him.
“I take it when you said we..?”
“You, me and the others, yeh.” And, sure enough, when she and Charlie reached the living room, she found George Weasley, Hermione, Tyrus, Phillipa and Minerva McGonagall waiting for them. The suitcase Aaron Kirke had given Naomi before he died was laying on the round coffee-table in front of them surrounded by dirtied dinner plates. However, instead of the golden initials of Aaron Kirke engraved in the material of the case, Naomi was stunned to see the letters now had N. P. engraved on the front instead.
“Naomi, how are you feeling?” Hermione asked. She had bags under her eyes and it was obvious she had not slept since Naomi had last seen her. “Molly left you something to eat in the kitch-”
“Where’s Kory?” Naomi interrupted, staring at the new initials. “And Lance?”
“Mummy and daddy are fighting outside.” Tyrus said sardonically, showing more interest in the chicken bone she was gnawing on, to McGonagall’s disgust, then in Naomi.
“What about?” Naomi asked, looking between Hermione, Phillipa, McGonagall and Charlie.
“Kory’s not all too happy that Lance put you in charge of the Supreme Mugwump.” Phillipa answered and Naomi could tell she was uncomfortable telling her. “Especially considering the circumstance it seems to have resulted in.”
“What circumstances?” Naomi pressed but before anyone could answer, the front door burst open and she heard Kory’s enraged voice.
“About bloody time you got up!” He shouted at Naomi. “What the hell were you thinking? Excepting to take charge of the Supreme Mugwump. You’re a Junior rank Auror-”
“A Junior rank Auror who was trained by Harry Potter himself and was able to fend off more than half a dozen Dark Wizards at once.” Lance intervened as he ran in from behind Kory.
“Shortly after getting Aaron Kirke killed of course, and now look what’s happened. What was that man thinking?”
“Probably that he had not much choice.” McGonagall stated boldly.
“Not much choice in what? Will somebody answer me?” Naomi exclaimed and everyone turned to face her.
“You mean you haven’t told her yet?” Kory accused the room in general.
“We were about-” Hermione started but Kory pointed a finger at her.
“No! You don’t talk to me, I’m angry enough with you as it is!”
“She saved Olivander!” Lance retorted as Hermione slumped back. She looked weaker somehow, as though she had fought the Ministry invasion a hundred times over since its conclusion.
“She and that husband of hers took off with Potter’s wife without telling a single solitary soul where they were going! Can you imagine what the Dark Wizards would’ve done if-”
“We were just about to talk to Naomi before you came bolting in.” Phillipa intervened calmly with a side glance at Kory. “George, why don’t you explain.”
George, who had been staring at the case silently all this time, looked up at Naomi before taking a deep breath.
“What people know,” He started. “Is when a Supreme Mugwump is, for whatever reason, unable to continue being so, he or she has the full power of the choice for who succeeds them.” He then pulled the suitcase close to him and ran his finger through the engraved letters. “What most people don’t know is when Aaron Kirke took control of the Confederation after You-Know-Who fell from power, he asked me personally to make a few changes to the Mugwump.”
“Wait,” Naomi interrupted. “The what?”
“The Mugwump,” George repeated. “A special rod that is given to the Supreme Mugwump to… Well… Signify his position. Only that’s all it did when Aaron came to take the position so, to help prevent the Confederation to fall into dismay he asked me to… improve it.” George said, slowing down on the last two words. “Now, the staff itself provides as a binding magical contract for the post. Only the true Supreme Mugwump can actually open its case and pick it up, it can send a message to any or all Ministers of Ministries that are a part of the Confederation, it has the power to destroy unwanted or unneeded Ministerial papers, it can silence the whole room when in a meeting and…” George took another deep breath. “In times of a true emergency the Supreme Mugwump of the present time can pass it on to his or her successor without notifying the Confederation with a certain phrase. Unless, of course, he or she dies first, in which case, the Ministers of the Confederation must vote on-”
“What’s the phrase?” Naomi interrupted again and George looked up at her.
“Protect us with your strength.” George answered and Naomi’s heartbeat thundered inside of her. “It’s derived from the slogan the Confederation gave itself when it was first formed. To protect with all our strength.”
“So I’m… I’m…” She stammered, barley listening to George’s history lesson. But she couldn’t bring herself to say what everybody in the room already knew.
George then put his whole hand on the case and pushed it towards Naomi. “Open it.” He said quietly and, to Naomi’s disbelief, he was giving her a small grin.
Naomi put her hand out and touched the leather-bound case. It was as though an electric charge had surged through her hand and arm from the case and into her body. She lifted the lid of the case and, as easily as though the lid was glued to her hand, it opened.
The short staff was pure gold with rubies, emeralds and sapphires decorating the spherical head of it. The handle was in the middle of the rod and Naomi nervously reached out towards it and gripped it tightly. It was smooth to the touch and nowhere near as heavy as it looked and, as she removed it from the case, the gems that were encrusted in the large round head glowed brightly.
“Oh yeh, I forgot it that.” George laughed as Naomi suddenly became aware that everyone, including Tyrus, was now looking at her. On closer examination, Naomi noticed the letters I. C. W. engraved on the handle, though this did nothing to discomfort her hand when holding it.
“Supreme Mugwump.” Lance said with a bow of his head and, to her own surprise, Naomi laughed and the nervousness she was feeling had been replaced with hunger.
“If you don’t mind, I think I’ll take up the offer of that plate of food now.” She said to Hermione and even she twitched a smile back at her though her eyes were still half closed from exhaustion.
“Well I’m glad you’re all so cheerful.” Kory snarled. “If you had any sense you’d hand the title over to someone else right now.”
George then made a sound like a gas leak before saying “Yeh, I’m afraid it’s not quite as easy as that.”
“Why? What else did you do?” Kory asked, a hint of exasperation in his voice.
“Well, like I said, the staff acts as a binding magical contract and she can’t hand it over without notifying the Confederation in person without a serious legitimate reason, especially this early on in her position.” Kory stared at George.
“Needs a serious legitimate reason? She’s twenty-one! She’s had about as much political training as that chicken bone!” He ranted pointing from Naomi to Tyrus’ plate.
“He means life threatening, you fool!” Phillipa said standing up. “Now think about it, the Dark Wizards won’t suspect her of taking over. Heck, if George is right, they probably don’t even know of how the Mugwump staff works or if it even exists. Otherwise, I’m sure they would have tried a lot harder to take it from Naomi.” Kory looked around the room, hoping for some backup.
“Minerva, please, you can’t honestly think-”
“Well it would appear we don’t have much choice, Mr Caseman.” McGonagall said sternly. “And now that she’s said it, I agree with Phillipa. The Supreme Mugwump is the Dark Wizard’s prime target right now so the longer the less suspicious they are of who holds the position, the better.” Kory did nothing to pretend that he could not believe what he was hearing.
“Fine. Fine, oh I can’t wait until Kingsley hears about this.”
“Oh, calm down.” Lance snapped. “You’re missing the point. Like Weasley said, Naomi now has the power to send messages to other Ministries. We’ve just solved our little communication problem.” Lance then gave Naomi the same encouraging wink he had given her just the other day when the door to the Burrow burst open and Neville charged in, breathless from running.
“Kory, there are people nearing the Burrow!”
Time seemed to slow down, allowing the entire room to catch each other’s eye before everyone jumped up drawing their wands as Naomi threw the Mugwump staff back in its case and ran out of the house. “Ron’s taken a few others to scout them.” Neville said as they ran towards the small herd now gathering amongst the trees.
“Oh my God, Rose.” Hermione said freezing on the spot.
“Kreacher Appartated Molly, Angelina, Audrey and Ginny to the kids. They’re safe.” Neville shouted and Hermione appeared to force herself to move on.
They forced their way through the crowd to the head of the throng and looked out into the wooded area, wands drawn and ready for a fight.
Moments later they felt the gust of wind that acted as a warning that people were coming through their protective enchantments though whether it was Ron and the others returning or someone more sinister forcing their way through, they could not tell.
“Ready your wands!” Lance bellowed and Naomi could have sworn she saw something rustling the bushes. Seconds later, a young slender woman with silvery blond hair and striking blue eyes came into view that Naomi recognised at once.
“Wait!” She shouted as Gabriel Delacour raised her hands in surrender. Ron and many others came running behind her.
“I told you to slow down.” Ron said in an uncharacteristically bitter voice.
“Gabriel!” Fleur cried as she ran to hug her sister.
“You must zank your sister. She was ze one who suggested that if zere was a place to find out what’d ‘appened, it would be ‘ere.” Said a deep, booming female voice and Minister Bernardine walked past them and gazed at the Burrow defenders. “But we must move fast. I do not know how much time we ‘ave before zey check ‘ere.”
What few of the French Aurors that were there beamed with delight at the sight of their fellows as the two groups melded.
“M-Minister, what are you doing here?” Naomi asked.
“Saving you and my Aurors.” She answered, not looking at her but instead at the dozen men and women out of those she had originally sent to America. “Just gather only ze essentials and get ready to leave for ze French Ministry. Take down as many enchantments as you can but make it so zey cannot track ze Portkeys.” She ordered before turning to Lance and Kory. “And where are Minister Shaklebolt and ze Supreme Mugwump?”
“Um, Naomi, why don’t you find those in the house and tell them the situation.” Kory hesitated as Lance walked closer to the Minister to explain what had happened. Naomi nodded and began walking back towards the house watching as the overnight residence of the Burrow began clearing up, helping the injured, packing the potions and ingredients they had taken from Saint Mungo’s and taking down the wooden shelters.
Naomi entered the house and found Molly Weasley, Angelina, Kreacher, Ginny and a slim, short, black haired woman with hazel brown eyes and pointed nose that Naomi assumed to be Percy’s wife, Audrey Weasley. They were surrounded by children including the young girl that Naomi had woken up to who also appeared to be the oldest child gathered around the fireplace, ready to flee if needed.
“What’s happening?” Ginny asked, a black haired baby in one arm and a wand and slightly older dark-red haired boy in the other.
“It’s the French Ministry, they’ve come to help us. We’re leaving for Paris.” The four women looked at each other, relief on their faces though Naomi suspected Ginny’s expression to be forced. Hermione, Ron, George, Percy and Fleur joined them to reunite with their children shortly followed by Gabriel.
“Is it true, are we leaving?” Molly asked and Hermione nodded as she handled her red-haired daughter. The room was full of the conversation of what they would need to bring but Ginny remained silent and stared at Naomi directly in the eye and Naomi had the feeling this was her ‘We need to talk’ look. Naomi also noticed that Ginny, like Hermione, had heavy bags under her eyes and that she had become sickly pale in the short time of their inhabiting the Burrow. As the families began to disperse, Ginny held up her mother.
“Mum, could you just take the kids for me.” Molly dotingly accepted her grandchildren and left to help the others pack.
“What do we do?” Ginny asked, advancing on Naomi and she knew exactly what Ginny was referring to.
“We have to leave, Ginny, it’s too dangerous. You and I both know it’s only a matter of time before the Dark Wizards come here.”
“And if he’s alive it’s only a matter of time before Harry comes here too.” The two stared at each other and Naomi was beginning to think she knew where this conversation was going.
“You can’t stay here.” Naomi stated. “Even if he is alive, which neither of us know for sure, if the Dark Wizards come here before Harry and find you, you’ll be lucky if all they do kill you.” Ginny didn’t reply but instead turned to stare out of the window, watching the Burrow’s inhabitants preparing to leave. “How do you think Harry would feel if you left James and Albus?” Naomi pressed wandering all too late if she might have crossed some line. But Ginny nodded.
“I know.” She said quietly and she turned away from the window and hid her face from Naomi.
“I heard Kory accusing Hermione of leaving with you and Ron.” Naomi said wildly hoping she could divert Ginny’s thoughts off the topic of staying. “Apparently, you saved Olivander.”
Ginny gave a small squeak of a nervous laugh before Naomi pressed “Is it safe? Whatever it was you went to get. Can Akrahn Colby get to it?”
Ginny’s head spun to look at her, sending her red swirling everywhere, and stared at her for a moment before giving a very weak smile. “Yes, it’s safe. We needed Olivander’s help with something though but there were two Dark Wizards already at his shop.”
Something then shifted in her eyes and she turned away from Naomi to look at the vacant portrait above the fireplace. “Sirius,” Ginny said and Naomi could tell she was now forcing herself to be strong. “Sirius!” Ginny shouted after the portrait’s inhabitants did not appear. Sirius came walking in twisting his pinky finger within his ear.
“Sorry, you called?”
“I need you to take a message.” Ginny said but Sirius continued to try and clean his ear.
“Sorry?” Sirius said loudly. “Something happened in the Auror Office. Something loud.” Naomi and Ginny stared inquisitively at Sirius for the second time since arriving at the Burrow.
“What happened?” Naomi asked loudly for Sirius to hear.
“Sounded like a series of explosions.”
“Explosions?” Naomi exclaimed as Tyrus peered in.
“We need to make a move, people, the Portkey’s are timed to leave soon.” And she left to find the others.
“Sirius,” Ginny pressed. “If Harry does come here, tell him we’ll be at the French Ministry and tell him… he shouldn’t keep me waiting.” Sirius grinned at her before bowing his head.
“Stay safe.” He said. “Both of you.” And he glanced at Naomi before she and Ginny turned to leave the Burrow.
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by Mr Phoenix