Chapter 11 : 11- History Repeated
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“I’m teelin’ ya, Italy’ll be the first Ministry Elfrin goes for. He still owes those Gold Hounds what Selwyn promised ‘em and they are nothing if not impatient.” Turl insisted during the lunch break. As the sound of the still broken fountain’s water thundered behind them, Arabag shook his shaggy haired head violently while Marietta rolled her eyes as she nibbled at the sandwich in front of her.
“No, he won’t need to invade them. You’ve heard how that Naldo bloke has talked about that Minister of theirs. She’ll give the moment Mosby makes a move.”
Marietta would’ve given the world to change the subject but she knew the less attention there was on how she felt about the matter, the better. She’d had enough of the topic during her encounter with Potter three days previous and the constant fear that someone might find out what she had told him continued to loom over her. But the topics of what Mosby was planning, where Meng had led his men and why Akrahn and Marius had not returned were the main subjects of most conversations within the Ministry.
As the two began taking out drawstring pouches from their pockets to bet their sickles away she attempted to finish off the lunch she had bought from the Ministry Lunch Kart. Or what was left of it in the Atrium.
Unfortunately, the chef that had run the kart had perished during the invasion and had been replaced by a man who looked as though he had never so much as touched a slice of bread since his imprisonment.
“What do you think, Miss Edgecombe?” Arabag asked after Marietta realised that her sandwich solely contained a thin slice of aged tomato and a piece of lettuce. She jerked her head up and looked up at her two employees.
“What?” She said in such a brisk voice the two flinched away from her.
“Uh, well, I just assumed that as you were a Head you’d know some… thing…” His voice trailed away as he saw the glare she was giving him.
“You know perfectly well that I am not on Mosby’s war council. If you want to know what’s happening, well then ask him yourself.” She snapped as she threw her pitiful sandwich on to the table and stood up. “Now, if you’ll excuse me as I am not afraid to make eye contact with Mosby, I have a meeting with the Minister to prepare for.” She walked away wishing that were true but it sounded an impressive reason to leave her employees to their babbling.
She made it to the lift just as the golden gates were about to close when a thick fingered hand caught the edge of one of the gates and prised it open.
“Ah, Miss Edgecombe. How are you today?” Dolores Umbridge asked with a wide ugly smile as she pressed the button for the ground floor. “I must say, I haven’t seen very much of you lately.”
“No, well I must admit I’ve had my work cut out for me of late. We’ve now exhausted all we have on where the survivors of our invasion could be hiding and have been forced to conclude that they found a way out of the country.” Marietta said. Mosby had not been happy to find that out especially when Kristain’s men had returned covered in black soot after leaving Kristain himself at Saint Mungo’s.
“It vas Harry Potter, I svear it!” One man had said. “Von of his men blasted me off my broom ven they attacked but I saw them.” Those had been his final words before Mosby had punched a number of his teeth out.
Umbridge shook her head slowly. “Well, rest assured, they’re only prolonging the inevitable.” She said with a knowing glint in her eye. “I guess we’ll just have to wait a little longer for rightful justice to be done.”
Marietta was relieved when the lift reached her floor but when she made to leave, Umbridge held out a short stubby arm to stop her. “Miss Edgecombe, I would like for you to come and have a drink with me. Now, if it suits you.” It did not suit her. The thought of being in Umbridge’s company for longer than she had to be repulsed her. The girlish smirk that was now permanently etched on her hollowed sagging face was enough to intimidate any of the Leaders that were on the war council and the thought of why she would want to invite Marietta for a drink was beyond her. Unless…
“For any reason in particular, Dolores. As I’ve said before, I’m quite busy.” Marietta said politely.
“Oh, I’m sure you are.” Umbridge said with horrible cheeky grin. “But I’m sure you must have time for one little drink.”
A horrible flashback hit Marietta and the memory of having this exact same conversation at Hogwarts over a decade previously flashed before her eyes. Umbridge’s arm remained in front of Marietta, stopping her from leaving. “I’m afraid I must insist, Miss Edgecombe.”
What information do you want out of me this time you vile toad, Marietta thought as she returned Umbridge’s smile. “Well, if you insist.”
The golden Gates of the lift jingled to a close as Umbridge lowered her arm.
When they reached the first floor, they found it as empty as it usually was since Mosby had sent everyone on this floor to replace those who were injured during the destruction of the Auror Office. If it weren’t for the round, black haired man that stood in front of Umbridge’s Office, the floor would have been deserted. “Ah, Gregory, good. Would you mind collecting what we picked up earlier this morning? I feel I’ll be having need of it.” Gregory Goyle nodded his glum face before walking off and leaving Umbridge and Marietta to the office.
Marietta started to wonder if she had Parkinson working for her as well as Umbridge indicated her to take a seat.
The office was surprisingly bland: A combination of browns and beiges with no decorations that Marietta could see. Marietta remembered the bright pink walls of Umbridge’s office at Hogwarts with her cat portraits keeping guard in her absence.
They would’ve all been destroyed, Marietta supposed. Potter would’ve seen to that.
“What kind of drink would you prefer?” Umbridge asked and with a wave of her wand a tray full of a wide variety of beverages appeared on the desk. Marietta noticed that Umbridge wasn’t helping herself to any of them.
So you have managed to find some of your truth serum, Marietta thought. “I’m okay actually, but please don’t send them away on my account. Help yourself, by all means.”
The two witches stared directly into each other’s eyes for a moment before Umbridge sighed. “So, it would appear you are not the stupid little girl I scared information out of all those years ago.”
“Ah, finally cut the crap have you?” Marietta replied. “Now we’re out of ear shot.”
“Well, who knows who you can trust now-a-days.” Umbridge replied with a small shrug.
“Gregory Goyle obviously.” Marietta snapped back. “And Parkinson as well I’m guessing.”
Umbridge smiled widely again. “Manipulable people are usually loyal to those who have them in their pocket.” She said and she waved her wand again, summoning a decorative tray containing a large pink teapot, cup and saucepan and began to pour herself a steaming hot drink. “But let us stay on the topic of trust, shall we.”
Marietta narrowed her eyes. “Okay, let’s.”
“Well,” Umbridge began, sitting up straight with her steaming cup. “As you know, three days ago, Harry Potter broke into this fine establishment and I have it from the word of Mosby Elfrin himself that he knew details that he should not have been able to find out.”
Now Marietta was worried. What had Potter admitted to knowing? Surely he wouldn’t have been stupid enough to admit to knowing everything to Mosby. No, the fact the Minister hadn’t changed his plans, to Marietta’s knowledge, was proof of that.
“So you think someone on the council is a snitch?” Marietta asked curiously but the smile on Umbridge’s face grew wider and thinner and Marietta knew the lie was futile. “You think I gave him that information. And what would I have to gain from leaking information to Potter?” Marietta said in a convincingly angry tone.
“As to that, I do not know.” Umbridge replied sweetly. “I was hoping you could fill me in on that. Trust me, Miss Edgecombe, I have done my research into this and I think Potter did more than just take your wand when he attacked you. I am sorry but after reviewing all the facts, I can only conclude that you are the informant.”
“Oh you can, can you?” Marietta snapped back, her heart racing like a stampede of horses. “And what kind of information would I have to offer anyway? The ideal amount of Floo Powder you’d need for the quickest travel? You know full well I have nothing to do with Mosby’s war plans.”
Umbridge gave a giggle that sent a shiver down Marietta’s spine. “Well, I don’t know about ideal Floo Network speed, but what was known to be leaked to Potter had nothing to do with the Minister’s war plans.”
Marietta had to think for a moment about what else it could have been. The second it hit her, Umbridge continued. “During your work here under Selwyn’s command, I understand that you stole a number of Ministerial files that contain rather crucial information regarding several of the Ministry’s workers including the Minister of Magic himself. Miss Edgecombe, might I ask that you provide me with these documents?”
Marietta froze. She had no more comebacks to answer back with and Umbridge saw it. “Is something wrong, Miss Edgecombe? I asked if you could provide me-”
“I know what you asked!” Marietta shouted back, the panic she was feeling now beginning to show in her voice. “Look, Potter had me in some sort of debt, I couldn’t-”
“I do not care for excuses, Miss Edgecombe.” Umbridge interrupted. “I only care for solutions.”
Marietta’s hand twitched for her new wand but what she would do after she had drawn it, she did not know.
“Luckily for you,” Umbridge continued. “Mosby can be slow on connecting the dots on scenarios like these and he has far more pressing issues to be dealing with. But, when he does finally put two and two together, I’m not sure how long you will last when his anger takes control.”
Marietta was only half listening. If she killed Umbridge here and now, how long would it be before someone noticed and came after her. Goyle had seen her go into Umbridge’s office with her so unless she got to him too…
“And that is something that we must avoid.” That caught Marietta’s attention.
“What?” She asked, still unsure that she had heard.
“Well, I am not sure whether or not you have noticed, but Minister Elfrin tends to express his anger in a much more violent manner than most would deem appropriate and what he would do to you if or when if finds out would spread a large number of unwanted cracks in his authority. Not to mention the uncertainty it would spread throughout our staff if it was learned that a trusted Head of Department was a traitor.”
“So,” Marietta said through gritted teeth. “What’s your plan?”
Umbridge gave another giggle of amusement and the urge to curse her there and then increased tenfold.
“Oh Miss Edgecombe, you can’t honestly think that after all of this I’d confide information such as that to you. No, no, no. While I will be keeping an eye on Mosby’s actions where your leak is concerned, the real purpose of your visit here was to make quite sure that it does not happen again. Goyle!”
As Umbridge bellowed out, the door burst open and Gregory Goyle waddled in carrying what looked like a roll of black carpet. When he place what he was carrying on the floor however, Marietta saw the face of a ghostly pale red headed woman whose features were aged versions of her own. Her mother’s head was sticking out from what looked like a full bodied, tightly wrapped, black straightjacket.
“No.” Marietta whispered with a shaking voice. “No, please.”
“Now,” Umbridge continued before casually taking a sip of her tea. “As you are Head for Magical Transportation, you will be in charge of arranging transport for any new allies who place their allegiance with Minister Mosby. I believe the Minister has informed you of this?” Marietta did not answer but it was apparent Umbridge wasn’t looking for one. “These new allies will be essential if we are to prevail over the Confederation. I hope I need not tell you this but, just to be sure, if I find out that you have leaked any more information to our enemies or that you have tampered with our plans even slightly, I fear your mother will lose far more than her job.” And with a wave of her wand, there was a flash of white and Amelia Edgecombe’s eyes flickered open.
“M-Marietta?” Her voice croaked and tears began streaming down her face as she stared up at her daughter. “Marietta, what’s happening?”
Marietta stared back but could not think of anything to say. The words to try and explain herself for what she had done or to tell her that it would all be okay seemed to have left her. The only words that were echoing in Marietta’s mind were those of Lucy Barns. Whatever pain you feel, whatever loss you suffer, you earned it.
“Well, Marietta. Do we have an agreement?” Umbridge asked casually as she placed her now empty cup back on its saucepan. Knowing that doing anything else would have meant a death sentence, Marietta nodded her head.
“Good.” Umbridge said sweetly and, with a second wave of her wand, she sent a jet of red light at Marietta’s mother and she returned to her unconscious state. “Goyle, please return her. Discretely please. I don’t want any unwanted attention on this, understand me?”
“Yes Ma’am.” Goyle replied as he lifted Marietta’s mother into a fireman’s lift and leave the room.
“Well, now that we have a full understanding of one another, unless there is anything more you feel we should discuss, you are free to go.”
Marietta nodded obediently, an empty unfeeling sensation dwelling where her worry of being found out once was. She left Umbridge’s office and began making her way towards the golden lifts when her entire body seemed to give into the grief she couldn’t seem to feel and slump at the corner before the Lift corridor.
Tears fell from her eyes and she began shaking uncontrollably. This was it. One side had branded her as a murderous traitor and the other had taken her mother as a hostage. If she killed Umbridge and by some miracle got away with it, then no one would stop Mosby once he figured out that Marietta was the snitch. But leaving things as they were made her feel as though she had worked this hard just to dig herself deeper into the miserable existence she led. You’ve damned yourself, you stupid girl. Damned yourself. And she had.
Suddenly, from around the corner, she heard a pair of gates clang open as someone arrived on the floor. “…Akrahn claims that it will happen tonight but I have my doubts.” Said a husky Italian accent that she recognised as Naldo Rosario.
“In Akrahn, maybe. But Marius is ze one who will be kidnapping ze girl.” Replied a deep German voice that Marietta could not place. “So unless you zink the nine year old is a match for him, I would not lose hope just yet.”
Marietta frantically clasped her hands to her ears and dug her head into her knees as the two began to laugh. No, no more. I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know, she thought as more tears fell onto her robes. She had had enough. Weather it was the kidnap of little girls or the murder of a thousand men, she wanted nothing more to do with it. She had done her part. She had planted the Erumpent Horns beneath the crowd of the Qudditch Stadium, she had given the Death Eaters safe passage to everywhere they needed to go to kill and kidnap and she had betrayed the only people ever to call her a friend. She had done all of this willingly, some of it enthusiastically, and still she had not received the peace she craved.
After what felt like hours, Marietta raised her head expecting to see the two men looking over her. But they had not passed her. They had gone the opposite way, heading towards the Ministry Meeting Room where Mosby held his Council meetings.
Knowing that her absence would soon be noticed by her staff, she forced herself to stand up despite her shaking. She got into one of the lifts and pressed the button for her floor, the sounds of her mother’s shaking voice, Umbridge’s overly sweet giggle and Lucy Barns’ last words all echoing out loudly in her mind.
AN: Hey Guys and Girls! Firstly I just want to say thank you all sooo much for sticking with my story and I really hope you're enjoying it.
Secondly, this is another one of those chapters that I had a lot of fun writting (Is that morbid in any way?) and would love to hear your thoughts on it.
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by Mr Phoenix