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Chapter 15 : Summoned
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Albus took his letter and read it out loud so that Rose and Dillon could hear too. “'Dear Mr A. Potter, You have been summoned to a hearing at the Ministry on Sunday the twenty-first of January at seven-thirty PM. The hearing will concern the actions of Professor Andrew Keane against Daegan Black. Sincerely, Mrs H. Weasley-Granger, Head of the Department for Magical Law Enforcement.’ Daegan, did you know about this?”
“No,” said Daegan, frowning. Albus looked up to see Neville coming towards them.
“Hello boys. I see you got your letters.” Neville clasped his hands together. “Are you alright? Albus, you especially… That was some nasty magic he did.”
Albus nodded. “How come Keane is getting charged and Alpha isn’t?”
“Didn’t Harry and Ron tell you? Alpha got away. You can’t charge a man when he’s not there to hear his sentence.” Neville glanced towards the doors to the Great Hall. Albus saw them open, but he didn’t see who walked in.
“Aha!” said Neville, beaming. “Daegan, your lawyer is here.”
“Lawyer?” exclaimed Daegan. “What do you mean?”
“Well, for the hearing both you and Keane will have lawyers to present each case, question witnesses, examine evidence-”
“I know what a lawyer does, sir, I’ve seen all those crime films. Who’s going to be my lawyer?”
“I am!” said a cheery voice from behind Albus. Albus twisted around and saw someone very familiar.
It was his least favourite uncle, Percy Weasley.
The end of the day came quickly and at last Daegan re-appeared. “Well?” asked Rose immediately. “What did Uncle Percy say?”
“He said not to worry, that he would do most of the talking and all I have to do is answer the questions honestly.” Daegan flopped into an armchair and slumped, closing his eyes.
“Is that all?” asked Dillon. “That took a long time for him to say.”
“He also went through the entire procedure and the reasoning behind it,” said Daegan with his eyes still closed. “I will now get an O on any test on the history of the Wizengamot and the Department for Magical Law Enforcement.”
Dillon sucked in air through her teeth and made an ‘oooh’ sound. Rose, Severus and Albus glanced at each other, grinning. “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt,” said Severus. “In case you didn’t realise, Percy Weasley happens to be our uncle.”
“One of them,” said Rose.
“He’s the most boring-”
“I think I get the picture!” Daegan exclaimed, raising his hands and laughing. “I can testify to the boringness of Percy Weasley.”
“Aw, I feel like I’ve missed out now,” said Dillon. “Maybe I’ll get into a court case just so I can meet this renowned Percy.”
“That is not something you want to do,” Daegan said. “Get yourself into a court case, I mean. The paperwork would fill three of your cauldrons.”
“I’ll say,” laughed Rose.
The twenty-first of January arrived, and it was suddenly time for Albus, Severus and Daegan to leave. The three of them changed into formal black robes that didn’t have the Hogwarts crest on them and plodded to Neville’s study in silence. They would be Flooing to the Ministry via Neville’s fireplace and meeting up with Percy, who would take them to the courtroom and sit them in their places, tell them the procedure, take them through their answers.
“Hello, boys, in you come.” Neville opened the door and hurried them inside his study. Albus looked around eagerly, having never seen the inside of Neville’s private room before.
On the wall was a collection of pictures, each featuring Neville and Hannah in some way. The first showed the two of them standing in a large empty room, with Hannah laughing and Neville looking worried. Next was a picture of Hannah outside the Leaky Cauldron, and one of her inside the Leaky Cauldron. Neville stood outside Hogwarts in his red-and-black teacher robes in the fourth picture, waving a hand and gesturing at the large castle behind him. The fifth picture contained an old woman who looked a bit like Neville (Augusta Longbottom?) who had her hand on Neville’s shoulder beside a man who looked vaguely like Hannah. Neville and Hannah stood in the middle, both of them beaming. Neville held a small baby close to his chest.
“Is that Eddie?” Albus asked, pointing to the photo.
Neville glanced at it and smiled. “Yes, that’s him when we first took him home. That woman there is my grandmother and that’s Hannah’s dad. We’ll be leaving soon, but first Scorpius Malfoy needs to get here.”
“Malfoy? Why does he need to come?” groaned Severus.
“Because Mr Gaunt refused to come to the hearing and bear witness. We can’t force him into it, and Mr Malfoy has almost the same amount of information on Alpha as Omega does. Also, he is willing to give it.”
“Oh.” Severus frowned and stared out the window that gave a view of the greenhouses.
The rest of Neville’s study was decorated with a mix of scarlet and gold banners, cuttings from the Daily Prophet about exotic, recently-discovered plants and pictures of the plants themselves. On Neville’s desk sat an odd, cactus-like plant that throbbed gently.
There was a soft, faltering knock at the door. Neville opened it and admitted a suitably self-conscious Scorpius Malfoy, who immediately stood in the corner and played with a loos thread on his cloak. Albus stared at him for a moment and then looked away towards the fireplace, where Neville was pointing. Albus noticed another photo on the mantel, of Neville and Hannah’s wedding day.
“…you go first.” Albus gave a start and frowned at the pot that Neville was holding out to him. It was full to the brim of an ash-grey powder and said FLOOP on the side.
“Floop?” asked Albus, confused. He had ignored all of what Neville told them and had no idea what he was supposed to do with the Floop.
Wordlessly, Neville turned the pot so Albus could see that the lettering went all the way around. Now he could read OWDERF. “Ohhh, Floo powder.”
“To the Ministry,” said Neville as if he was repeating himself. “You’ll end up in the Atrium. You’ll see a big fountain at one end of the room; it has your dad standing with me, Luna, Ron and Hermione. Wait by that.”
“Yes sir.” Albus took a pinch of the Floo powder (Where did ‘Floop’ come from? he wondered) and threw it into the fire, which flared bright green. Daegan gasped and Albus smirked as he stepped forwards into the fire.
“Al! What – is that safe Professor?” yelped Daegan.
Albus climbed into the fire, ignoring Daegan’s stifled squeaks, and called, “Ministry of Magic!” Green flames swirled around him and obscured his view of Neville’s office. He felt a tickling sensation as the flames danced around him. Coughing as the smoke went in his mouth. Albus pulled his arms tight into his chest and tried not to feel sick as he spun around and around and around.
Finally the green flames pushed him out of the fire and he fell forwards onto a polished floor. Pushing his glasses back onto his nose, he stood up, brushed himself off, and walked through the bustling crowd to the fountain.
At the front of the four statues was indeed Harry, with a determined look on his face, wand pointed forward as though he was warding off some Dark wizard or other. Water poured from the wand, ruining the effect slightly. On his sides were Ron and Hermione, each looking slightly nervous. Neville, Ginny and Luna stood behind them, Luna with a dreamy expression that was just so Luna. Neville looked slightly scared, but the sculptor had made it so that it was a determined, brave sort of scared. A little plaque on the side of the fountain read, Harry Potter, Ronald and Ginevra Weasley, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood fought Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort (that part was slightly shaky as though the carver had been scared of even writing ‘Lord Voldemort’) here in 1996. All proceeds go to helping the families affected by the war cope with loss and sickness.
After a few more minutes, Neville appeared with Daegan, Severus and Malfoy in tow. “Al,” said Neville distractedly, “this way, come on, we’ve got to get in…” Albus followed the Professor, who led them to a door with a grumpy-looking wizard seated behind a desk. He asked them where they were going, weighed each of their wands and printed out long receipts covered in symbols and squiggles. The wizard waved them through and Neville bundled them all into an elevator.
“We’ll be meeting Per – Mr Weasley outside the courtroom,” said Neville quietly. “He’ll take you from there and get you back to school safely. Remember, all you need to do is tell the truth. Just be completely honest and nothing will go wrong. Keane can’t get you in there; he’s surrounded by dozens of Ministry workers. You’re perfectly safe.”
Neville smiled at them and then a voice spoke. “Department for Magical Law Enforcement.”
“This is us,” said Neville. The door slid open and they squeezed out of the elevator and into a long, silent corridor. Albus looked around for his uncle and spotted him standing by a door.
“There you are!” called Percy. He strode over to them, emerald, fur-lined robes billowing behind him, horned glasses perched on the end of his nose. “We’ve been waiting. Herm – Mrs Weasley-Granger is all ready to start. I can take the boys from here, Professor.”
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