Chapter 11 : In a Name
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And okay so I totes stole the title from Shakespeare. Shakespeare was awesome; I’m studying Measure for Measure right now and dayuuum the innuendos are hysterical. Also I went and saw Twelfth Night last night (Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, go see it!) and it’s honestly the most fantastic modernised interpretation of Shakespeare. It was so much fun!
In a Name
The Quibbler was an interesting read the next morning.
HARRY POTTER SUPPORTS THE SUPERHERO
By Alitia Fisher
To the surprise of no one here at the Quibbler, Head Auror Harry Potter agreed to an interview with us and talks exclusively about the muggle superhero, the positive effect she’s having on the muggle world, and his disagreements with the Ministry.
Question: So, Harry, why did you agree to this interview?
Harry Potter: I thought it was time that the wizarding world showed some support for this girl. She’s doing an exceptional thing.
Q: Some of the statistics based on her have been impressive. What’s so important about her to you?
H: The superhero is providing a symbol for the muggles to admire and aspire to become- she’s saving lives, and according to several independent muggle crime reports, wherever she appears crime in the area drops significantly for a few weeks, and there are long term effects as well. Overall, London’s crime has dropped massively. She’s pursuing a life where her morals are her main concern, and how can we fault her for doing that?
Q: She is a lot like you in her bravery and compassion. What do you think about the accusations a few weeks ago that she’s just copying you?
H: I think it’s all fabricated by the media to get a story. My situation was very different and a long time ago- this girl, here, now, is making her own choices and they’re morally right ones. I like to think that my own decisions were morally right, but it’s quite sad if that’s our similarity.
H: I’d like to think people other than the ‘heroes’ make decisions based on their morals, rather than what suits them.
Q: Are you going to resign as Head Auror?
H: Of course not! Even if I don’t agree with every decision the Ministry has made, I’m going to remain professional.
Q: What have you disagreed with?
H: No comment.
Q: Who do you think she is?
H: I think she’s some ordinary girl- I imagine her to be something like my daughter. Full of attitude, extremely clever, and fiercely loyal to herself. But she could be anyone, and I think that’s the beauty of the image of her. Because she could be anyone, she is everyone- she’s our daughters, our wives, our sisters. She’s convincing them, too, to fight for what they believe in. Like I said, she’s an inspiration.
Q: Do you think she should keep doing what she’s doing?
H: I think the Ministry should extend an arm to her- offer a peace deal, negotiate- until both parties are happy. I think a longstanding arrangement with her would be beneficial to everyone.
Q: Thank you for coming; it was fascinating talking to you. I hope the readers enjoy it!
H: You’re welcome. I hope they do too.
I was itching to steal quotes from the article and post them onto the internet, but I didn’t have time in the morning. The Department was in chaos again when I arrived; it was as though the original chaos of the day I was promoted had been combined with the day I had been cornered by Bonnie Lawrence- the Ministry was oozing gossiping workers and had an infestation of journalists. I decided to completely ignore anyone who approached me, and kept my head down as I found the nearest elevator to squeeze into.
“Rebecca!” a voice said excitedly, “I was hoping to see you-“
I turned, and rolled my eyes.
“Bonnie, right?” I asked flatly, turning forwards again. “You’re not supposed to be in here anymore.”
She was wearing a red suit today, and had her chunky gold necklace and bracelet again. She shuffled next to me, and put an assuring hand on my shoulder.
“I know we didn’t get off to the best start, Rebecca, but I’d like to be friends with you.”
“Please. I know I should have explained myself sooner, but I deserve to be heard out-“
“I don’t agree that you do.”
“Well, at least allies-“
“What do you think about the superhero now? Harry Potter seems pretty keen.”
“You do have a comment, I know you do.”
“Okay, here’s a comment; the weather’s quite nice, isn’t it?”
“I’m just trying to make polite conversation. Do you not want to make polite conversation?”
“Of course I do-“
“Oh, here’s my floor. Cheerio!”
I waved my fingers and stepped out before she could say another world, working into a stride and going the busier and faster way to my office, although not the way I usually frequented any more.
The paper people were busy humming around their paper work. There was a young- fresh out of Hogwarts, it seemed- boy sat at my old desk. He looked bored out of his mind, but I flashed a smile at him as I passed. He returned it, a little confused.
Most of the office buried by mounds of work- in particular, I noticed Jess was being harassed by a parliament of ruffled, impatient owls- but Mr Ryland directed me to another emergency meeting with the Hit Wizards.
The room had the same large, oval desk in the middle, but it was being mostly disregarded by all of the people in the room, who were stood around it and arguing loudly. The second we walked in, over the furore of angrily debating politicians, Ms Selwyn barked at Mr Ryland that I leave. He loudly insisted that I stay, as a second pair of ears and to take notes. She glared at us, but My Ryland indicated that I sit down at the desk as spoke to Ms Selwyn, so I did without fuss.
I pulled out parchment, a quill and a small inkwell, and scribbled the date and time of the meeting down.
Ms Selwyn was talking to Mr Ryland furiously, but he remained serene and met everything she said with calmly composed answers. She looked as though she were about to fully yell at him when Harry strode in, unaccompanied and seemingly unruffled.
The room fell devastatingly silent.
“...I take it you all saw the interview,” Harry said, raising his eyebrows as he seated himself next to me.
“Yes. We did,” a man with severe eyebrows and unflattering blue robes answered shortly.
“Well. I won’t appreciate any criticism of my actions. Particularly when I made sure to express they weren’t the views of the ministry, just my own,” he shrugged, settling in the seat next to me. I smiled at him, and he returned it gently. Clearly, the time for hiding was over.
“Mr Potter, you know what power you have over the wizarding world, you know what regard the public has for your opinions-“ Ms Selwyn began, slamming her fist down angrily on the table.
“Yes, I do. It’s a shame they couldn’t just read the Prophet and get a balanced view, isn’t it?” he retorted.
“Never has and never will tell the truth about what that girl does. At the end of the day, she’s saving lives- and there’s a reason the muggles call her a ‘superhero’; they think she’s one of them. I’m not leaving her alone in this,” he told her calmly.
“ It’s your job to catch her before she reveals the wizarding world to the muggles, not worry about the politics of it!” she snapped, running her hands through her hair distractedly. I noticed she had my big report closed in front of her, agitatedly running her fingers over the edge of the pages. “That’s my job.”
“We don’t think you’re doing a very good job of it,” Mr Ryland said, and everyone turned to him, wide eyed.
“You agree with him?!” Ms Selwyn, said almost shrieking.
“I do. I want to make sure I can stand by my own decisions, not just be a puppet to the ministry. And I agree with him- the girl isn’t a threat. The muggles don’t suspect a thing.”
Most of the others were shaking their heads- although a few were watching with interest.
“You are going to do your job, and you are going to do as I say,” she ordered, breathing hard but keeping her voice even. “We are going to coordinate an attack on the girl.”
She nodded. “We’ll ambush her; we’ve found a pattern of sightings of her and I’m fed up of playing her stupid games. Now, are you committed to this, or should I apply for jurisdiction over your men, Mr Potter?” she asked, turning on him.
“That won’t be necessary,” he said. “But I hope you know what you’re getting into.”
I snorted at the suggestion that she could. I froze as she turned on me.
“Do you have something to say?” she asked, clipped and dangerous.
“I- no, sorry, Ms Selwyn,” I stumbled.
“No, really- do you not think I know what I’m doing?” she asked, sitting forward in her chair. “Please, I’m sure we’re all very interested to hear what you have to say.”
“She didn’t mean anything, Rubina-“
“Be quiet, Damien.”
I sat up straighter, and met her eyes. Her grey eyes were blazing with resentment and unadulterated fury.
“I believe that the superhero, despite her apparent lack of care for the Statute of Secrecy, actually cares a great deal about it. She would have mentioned her magic a long time ago if she really didn’t mind the muggles knowing. Instead, she’s painted herself as a ‘superhero’- something muggles can recognise and understand from their past, like the people in their comics and films. They aren’t stupid, but I honestly don’t believe that they see a witch when they look at her.”
She scoffed. “And what evidence do you have of that?”
“One of the muggles she saved made a statement to a muggle magazine, actually, three weeks ago- and apparently, the superhero said to her that ‘I’m one of you. I just want to help people.’ And six weeks ago, when one of the muggle press managed to ask her a question, she said something about how ‘I wasn’t born like this. Something happened to me not too long ago, and I was given these powers. They’re a gift, not inherent.’ Magic is inherent; she’s completely disassociating herself from the concept.”
She narrowed her eyes at me. “...and how do you know that, off the top of your head?”
“I read the muggle version of events. It gives me a... er, more balanced view of what we’re dealing with.”
Harry tried not to smile.
“And I suppose you think you know everything this girl has done because of it? Tell me-“
“Don’t disregard my evidence,” I interrupted, startling her. “You asked for evidence of what I said and I gave you two examples. What is your reaction to that? Do you still think I’m wrong?”
“Do not interrupt me!” she spluttered.
“You’ve interrupted Mr Ryland and Mr Potter in this meeting! I suppose you think that’s more acceptable because you have a higher rank than me?”
“You don’t understand, clearly-“
“-don’t even think about questioning my intelligence,” I continued, ploughing through her arguments, “that report you’re holding? I wrote it. I know it off by heart. Ask me anything about it if you seriously think I don’t understand,” I said, finally finished. I dropped my quill and leant back in my seat, arms folded.
It was as though I had challenged a peacock: her feathers ruffled and standing on end, she flipped open the report to a random page and began reading out loud.
“ ‘The night of the fifth of September, I found’-“
“-‘the young man in question, tied to a lamppost. The girl was standing four or five metres away from him, still talking to the operating service, and I barely saw the superhero because he quickly ran away’,” I finished impatiently. “At least choose something more difficult than Jodie Bretnor’s case.”
She stared at me.
“I wouldn’t speak unless I knew what I was speaking about,” I shrugged.
Mr Ryland nodded to me. “Well said.”
“The problem remains,” Awful Eyebrows said, “that we have to deal with this supergirl!”
I frowned. “We just proved that we really, really don’t. “
“I wasn’t talking to you, stupid girl,” he snapped.
Until that moment, I had never been tempted to reveal myself. I had never wanted to give away the game I was playing until he said that condescending, uncalled-for comment: then it took everything in me not to scream in his face ‘how stupid am I? I’m the superhero! I’ve been under your nose, in your meetings, writing your reports this whole time! How stupid am I that you didn’t even realise I was here?’
But I didn’t. Ms Selwyn dived in first.
“Apologize!” she barked.
“Fine, fine!” he said defensively, holding his hands up. “I’m sorry, Miss-“
“Lewis. Rebecca Lewis.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Ms Selwyn recoil in her seat. I kept my gaze on Awful Eyebrows.
“-I’m sorry, Rebecca Lewis. I shouldn’t have called you stupid.”
“Thank you. Apology accepted.”
I turned back to Ms Selwyn, trying to catch her eye. “We really don’t have to hurt the superhero-“
“I need a break,” she said flatly.
“...what? We’ve only just started,” a woman at the back objected.
“We shall meet back here in half an hour.”
Mr Ryland turned to me.
“Catch up on the notes- not a direct transcript, just a general summery of what has been said-“
“Actually, Damien. If you don’t mind...”
Ms Selwyn’s eyes were glittering and inscrutable.
“I’d like a word with Miss Lewis in my office.”
I swallowed, and looked to Mr Ryland. His eyes had widened, but he nodded slightly to me.
“Of course, Ms Selwyn.”
I followed her hesitantly when she strode to her office, although she held herself stiffly and she didn’t look at me once, even when we were stood side by side in the elevators to her floor. She was only an inch taller than me in her heels. When we reached her office, and she let me inside, and I sank into one of the chairs opposite her as she sat.
“Now, Miss Lewis, I do understand that you disagree with my methods regarding this... superhero.”
“I do,” I said. My voice remained level, because I would not become hostile to her, but I only trusted her to keep this conversation civil on the surface. This woman was either going to try to discredit my arguments or intimidate me out of speaking, and I would allow neither to happen. Surreptitiously, I straightened up and crossed my legs precisely.
She gave me a brief smile, but her eyes were untouched by it. “Now, I would never tell you what to believe. However, I must remind you of the seriousness of the situation with this girl-“
I’d clearly taken her by surprise.
“She’s a woman, not a girl.”
“...you’re right, of course. I apologize. This woman is threatening everything that the Ministry has worked for since the 1600’s, Miss Lewis. You can understand the need for urgent action.”
I nodded, and speaking as I thought made my sentences slower. “Yes, I do understand the need for urgent action. I encourage urgent action. But I will not stand by and watch violent action being condoned by the only people that can stop it, so I’m going to continue saying what I think. Have me banned from the meetings by all means,” I said, shrugging, “but if I’m in there don’t expect me to be passive.”
She leant back in her chair, and examined me for a moment.
“You’re very opinionated, considering you are only Mr Ryland’s assistant.”
“You’re very condescending, considering you aren’t above Mr Ryland in rank,” I threw back calmly. “Yet I’ve never heard him speak to anyone like that.” I held her gaze fiercely and tried to appear as relaxed and confident as I sounded. My limbs were unmoving from their neatly folded position.
“I suppose he’s a far better person than I am.”
I didn’t refute her claim, and she sighed.
“I would like you to know that I don’t appreciate your vocal opposition of my judgements. Particularly as you are only an assistant.”
“I’m glad I know. I will not change my behaviour.”
Her jaw tightened, and I could see her restraining her anger. “Miss Lewis-“
“If you think you can intimidate me into supporting you, you are sorely mistaken,” I said, my own anger pushing me into addressing the main issue with this. “I will not be pushed around, Ms Selwyn, and I will certainly not change my behaviour as a result of any meeting with you. Many in that room agreed with Mr Ryland, Mr Potter and I, and that’s the reason we are having this discussion now- you’re afraid we might ruin your plans,” I told her. “I will not be sorry if we do.”
Many emotions flitted across her face; furious revulsion, anxiousness, fear- but none of them compared to the final one, something I found hard to place- humourless amusement.
“So much fire,” she said, smiling.
“I’ve been told.”
“By your father, I’d imagine?”
Startled, it took me a moment to answer. “Yes.” It was inadequate, but I had so many questions to ask I couldn’t think of any one that would be more important than another.
She’d clearly seen the questions in me, and sighed. “I knew your father through your mother, a long time ago.” Ms Selwyn’s body language relaxed, as though the argument had drained out of her. “He didn’t approve of her magic, did he?”
I didn’t quite know what to say. I fumbled for the words, but the only ones that came didn’t really answer her.
“He doesn’t approve of mine.”
“Do you still talk to him?”
“He talks to me... I try to have little to do with him.”
She took a second. “How is he?”
“He’s... well, I suppose.”
She smiled softly. “Good.”
“Do you know what happened to my mum?” I asked, finally scrambling together the words I needed. “I never heard from her.”
“I did... for a couple of years. I worked with her, here. But then... the war happened, and she changed her name and left. I don’t know what happened to her after that.” She seemed... sad. “You’ve grown up.”
I was leant in eagerly, desperately. “You knew me?”
“I saw you when she worked here.”
“What did she change ‘Riah’ to?”
Ms Selwyn shrugged. “She didn’t change her name after the divorce until the Death Eaters infiltrated the Ministry. As soon as they did... well, breeding with a muggle wasn’t exactly looked upon favourably. She did it to protect you both.”
“Did she go back to her maiden name?”
“I think so, but she didn’t tell anyone what that was. She changed her whole life.”
I took my time, gathering my thoughts. She patiently sat in the silence.
“Is that the reason she left? My dad hating magic?”
“I think it’s one of the reasons, yes.”
I wanted to understand, somehow needed to understand- “why didn’t she take me with her?”
“I don’t know. I wish I could tell you.”
Gingerly, as though my coordination was quite affected by this strange conversation, I rose to my feet. “Is that all?”
“It’s not, no.”
I sat back down.
“I know that your father gave her an ultimatum. That’s why she left.”
“What was it?”
“The marriage or magic. She couldn’t have both. I think he actually expected her to pick the relationship.”
I glanced around her office. It was ornately decorated and well lit, candles flickering to create a warm ambience.
“And she chose magic.”
“Of course she chose magic. She was a pureblood. She couldn’t ignore that. But do you understand now?”
I shook my head. “I understand everything even less than I did before.”
“No- with this superhero. Muggles can’t know about us. She’s threatening the safety of our world, Miss Lewis, and your mother was a victim of it. He hated her magic. Can you imagine the damage if it was on a large scale? If muggles were discover our secret?”
“I can. I just don’t think it will happen.”
“You must understand- you’ve lived with your father-“
“That doesn’t change my opinion of muggles, Ms Selwyn! I live with a muggle now, and she’s wonderful-“
“Does she know?”
“No. But only because I’m not allowed to tell her. I would tell her in a heartbeat if I was allowed.”
She shook her head. “It appears we will never agree.”
“I don’t think we will.”
I bit my lip, and watched her in the glow of her office. Her eyes were dark, piercing, and unwavering. Her expression was blank when she wasn’t speaking. She was still and stiffly upright, looking out of the window; her hands were twisting around each other anxiously in her lap.
“I don’t think you’re telling me everything, Ms Selwyn.”
Her hands paused.
“I thought my mum had left my father for another man, not a job.”
“It wasn’t just a job, Miss Lewis. It was magic itself.”
The gentle ticks of a clock became our only company in the quiet of our thoughts; we listened to each other breathe.
“My mother was a pureblood?”
“Selwyn is a pureblood name.”
I stared at her. She didn’t move, or say a word to contradict me.
“Does my mother want to speak to me?”
Ms Selwyn opened her mouth, then closed it again. She wasn’t looking at me.
“And my mother changed her first name, too?”
“...sometimes... people don’t want to be found.”
I nodded, even though she couldn’t see. As I stood up, she seemed to hug her stomach, trying to find something that wasn’t there anymore. Cradling a little girl that had long grown up.
I walked to the door, went through it, and closed it behind me without looking back.
After work- after avoiding telling the truth to Mr Ryland about why she had called me into her office, after avoiding talking to Jess, after being extremely short and angry with Keiran, after avoiding looking at Ms Selwyn at all- I went straight down into basement floor of the Ministry, and began to look through the archives. It didn’t take long to find what I wanted, because I had a surname now.
Riah Selwyn was an only child. She married Malcolm Lewis in 1991 and divorced five years later, three years after the birth of their daughter, Rebecca Lewis.
Riah Selwyn’s mother was called Rubina, and according to the records, was still alive. My grandmother.
After 1996, there are no more records on Riah Lewis. I imagined, somewhere, there were articles with the name ‘Rubina Selwyn’ but she had been that name for so long that of course no one would question it. She had taken her mother’s name and left her family and no one even remembered Riah Lewis had existed. She started a new life with a career and a fancy office and left her daughter.
Riah Selwyn had become Riah Lewis, who had become Rubina Selwyn in turn.
As I traced the line back, I found more and more pureblood names... Black, Malfoy, Weasley, Prewett, Trelawney...
My mother had been pureblood, all right.
I stared down at the tree for a long time, and eventually rolled the parchment back up, carefully sealed it, and prayed I would never have need to speak to Rubina again.
A/N Uhh... I hope you could follow this, basically Rubina Selwyn the boss, Riah Lewis the mother and Riah Selwyn... are all the same person. Riah Lewis, after divorcing Rebecca’s dad, took on her pureblood surname and her mother’s forename to hide her tracks. :) But if anyone saw this coming I’m gonna puff up like a blowfish (and then probably cry). (Also, I had to create a whole family tree just to figure out the logic of this. So yes, I can actually tell you that Rebecca is related to Harry Potter- by marriage, as far as I’ve calculated. I mean, I don’t know where James Potter’s (Harry’s dad) tree goes, but in relation to the Weasley’s, Rebecca’s second cousin once removed (on her grandma’s side) is Ginny Weasley.
In case you’re interested, which you’re probably not.)
Also, yes; A PARLIAMENT OF OWLS IS THAT NOT THE COOLEST THING YOU’VE EVER HEARD
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