Chapter 18 : Number Ten
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Chapter 18: Number Ten
Hermione smoothed her hand down the tweed skirt and matching jacket. Her hair was perfect for once, not a single curl out of place. It had taken Narcissa hours. She had to use every spell in her repertoire, a whole bottle of Sleekeazy’s, magic, and too many hairpins to count. At the end, Hermione finally looked like a woman to be taken seriously, a person of consequence.
Narcissa had left with a sweetly whispered ‘good luck’ in her ear and Hermione turned to look at Draco who had been watching her from where he was leaning against the marble fireplace.
“Wish me luck,” She murmured nervously. Draco walked up behind her and pulled her body back into his. He met her gaze in the mirror and made a show of appreciating the view, from head to toe. With a smile, he rested his chin in the cradle of her neck and shoulder and dropped little kisses on her neck that made her melt. She leaned into him enjoying the way he touched her.
“I don’t like it. I don’t think you should go alone.” He murmured between kisses, ignoring their reflection.
“I can’t take anyone else with me. I need to appear as a force of nature and I can’t explain away a bodyguard. The idea is to show them that I am too powerful to fight against. It loses the effect if I bring hired muscle.”
“I could come, as your boyfriend.”
“You are being hunted by the muggles more than anyone. The hunters gave over your information, a picture, everything. You can’t walk in there with me and come back out a free man.”
“I could use Polyjuice.”
“I can’t pretend that Tom Riddle is my boyfriend.” She said with a shudder.
“I’ll go as anyone you want.”
“I need to go alone.”
“What if something happens to you.” He whispered fearfully.
“Then you will have to find and save my sorry arse. It is, after all, the least you could do since I pulled you off of the Hogwarts Express.”
“Don’t even joke about that.” He said as he pressed his lips to her shoulder one last time. “Be safe.”
She smiled at his reflection and closed her eyes at the feeling of his lightly stubbled face against the sensitive skin of her shoulder. She stood for a moment longer, not really wanting to go but desperately needing to, before stepping out of his grasp. On the way out of the room, she picked up her small bag from the table, Draco’s fingers threaded with hers.
Walking through the manse was an exercise in perfecting her poker face. All of the workers of Malfoy Manor murmured their hope for her success as she passed and watched as she walked to the gate, and disentangled her hand from Draco’s. With one last look at the man who once was an enemy but was now so much more, Hermione twisted on the balls of her feet with determination. She would not let the world continue to collapse. It was high time someone made a political move against the Muggles.
Hermione appeared in the atrium of Number Ten, Downing St causing guards and workers alike to panic. Guns and security surrounded her but with a wave of her wand, she transfigured all of the weapons to long stem roses.
“I want to see the Prime Minister right now,” Hermione said, appearing supremely unaffected by their weapons in her face. Not that any of them could hurt her. The moment she landed, she had erected a strong protection shield to envelop her in a bubble.
“And who are you?” One particularly built security guard demanded.
“I am Hermione Granger the new Minister of Magic. If you do not take me to the Prime Minister, I will find him on my own but if I am forced to blast my way through this whole building, I will not be in a very forgiving mood.” Hermione stood, chin high, haughty and a fierce expression that dared anyone to go against her.
For a moment, everyone was frozen in a stalemate and then the clicking of heels on the floor grew closer and louder. Hermione turned her head to look at the new arrival, a dark-haired and perfectly coiffed woman with a fake friendly smile.
“Right this way, Minister.” More smiles and white teeth, but Hermione would not back down now. Not for the fake kindness of this woman nor the guns still pointed at her head.
“Thank you.” Hermione walked behind the woman and kept a constant scan around her and pretended to be unaffected by her surroundings. She could not afford to be taken, hostage. The only way to leave alive was to be so powerful that they dared not touch her. Despite being the Minister of Magic only because she said so. It was not actually true but they didn’t know that.
She was led into a room that she had learned about while growing up. Her parents were very patriotic and she had been told of the powerhouses, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. It was a truly remarkable moment to be standing in this office. Not that she showed it.
“Have a seat,” The Prime Minister gestured to the chair in front of his desk. “How can I help you?” They both sat. He folded his hands together and sat back as if she were merely there for a social call. She raised her chin. That’s how he wanted to play it? So be it.
“Redcar is a crime against humanity. Have it shut down.” The best way in her mind was to be blunt and get to the heart of the matter.
“No. My people are scared they want assurances.” He smiled at her as if nothing pressing was being discussed.
“Your people are scared? There are children that are afraid that a sneeze or a cough will end in uncontrollable magic and send them and their families to their deaths. No, Minister. You are going to have to come up with a much better excuse than that.”
“I don’t have to give you an excuse. We are not shutting down the camp. In fact, we may open a second.”
“Do that and your people will be slaughtered because mine are no longer going to sit back and hand you victims.”
“Is that a threat?” He asked, leaning forward and dropped every hint of indolence. Hermione smiled beautifully, sweetly, and raised her hand to inspect her fingernails.
“Yes. I am glad you understood so quickly.”
“Guards!” He yelled but nothing happened.
“I’ve put silencing charms all over this room from the moment I stepped foot inside. It’s just you and me now, Minister.” He turned purple and the vein on his neck started to pulse. The angrier he got, the more amused Hermione got.
“If I shut down Redcar, I will be called a traitor to England, to my people.”
“We live in the U.K. too. We are also citizens even if we belong to the magical side of things.”
“I will be flayed.” He was in a full-blown panic.
“What if I told you I have a solution?’ another sweet smile. She could tell that her smiles were starting to make him afraid. Very afraid.
“What is it?”
“In New York City, 1926 there was a magical parasite called an obscurus that grew in strength and eventually the non-magical community found out about magic. The MACUSA used the combination of the thunderbird and the venom of the swooping evil to obliviate the city. Here is what I propose. We will use the same method to cover this up.”
“The whole world knows. Are you going to Obliviate them too?”
“They know nothing. They have heard things, rumors. It wouldn’t be the first time something like this was breaking news only to revealed as a hoax. Let my people go, then we will release the obliviate into the air and water. Once the entire country had been obliviated, you can release a statement that it was all an elaborate ruse.”
“A ruse?” He asked stupidly.
“I want to take away all the memories of actual magic from non-magical people and claim that it was all a hoax.”
“And this has been done before? It’s safe?” He asked. Hermione’s conscience twanged with the small lie.
“Yes.” It had been done before but not to this degree. Only New York City had been affected in 1926, not a whole country.
“That is all we have really wanted from the beginning. This whole mess could have been avoided if you were able to control your people better. We just want to go back to the way things were. How soon can we carry this out?”
“I have an expert traveling into London tomorrow. He will be overseeing the whole process.”
“Excellent. Is there anything else?”
“You will not be obliviated. There is always communication between the Ministers. If we are both incredibly lucky, we will never see each other again.”
“I will see myself out, Minister,” Hermione smirked and held out her hand. Trembling, he took her hand between his own and nodded. She smoothed her dress and smiled at him, noticing that he flinched at the sight. Good. Maybe his reticence will stop further wars and death.
“And if there is a problem with your plan?”
“Ask the paintings to schedule a meeting with Hermione, the Minister of Magic.” Hermione flicked her wand and canceled the wards, disapparating back to safety.
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