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Batch 48 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Batch 48
The new British PM gets his magic briefing from Minister Granger-Weasley, or whomever you imagine being MoM during Geoffrey's uprising days...
for Shloz

Jamila Grant had barely got over the experience of being spoken to by the small, dirty portrait when the fireplace flared to life--with green flames. She backed into her desk chair and it nearly spilled her out onto the floor... not an auspicious beginning. She thought of the smug, pinched little face of her predecessor when she'd taken the office, and wondered if he'd been imagining her making this particular discovery.

Bloody idiot.

The thought of him braced her, and she sat up straight in her chair, squaring her shoulders and staring directly at the fire. She tried not to wince or show any fear at all when a form appeared, swirling, among the flames, and stepped out onto the carpet, brushing ash from a set of tweed robes. She was a tall, thin woman, somewhere in an unidentifiable middle age.

The woman came to a full stop and seemed to decide that her robes were clean enough, then strode across the office and offered her hand to be shaken. "Madam Grant," she said, "I've been watching the elections with great interest, and am happy to welcome you in this office."

"Thank you," Jamila said warily.

The woman checked the windows absently, then raised her arm and twirled a wand a few times. "That ought to do it," she said. "Can't be too careful, though." She put her wand decisively into a holster, and turned around, smiling crisply. "Charity Weasley," she announced. "Minister for Magic."

Jamila frowned. "The portrait"--she pointed to it--"told me to expect a Charity Jordan."

"Well, I was born Charity Jordan, but I haven't been for a good twenty years. I think my husband Fred must have found some new and novel way to offend our friend." She pointed at the little portrait, then smiled and pointed to a chair across from the desk. "May I?"

"Be my guest," Jamila said.

"Thank you. I've been on my feet a good deal lately. I imagine you're still somewhat in shock?"

"About...?" Jamila pointed to the fireplace and the portrait, then, vaguely, at Charity.

"I meant about the election, but I imagine this is something of a shock as well. I should tell you that you're reacting considerably more calmly than your predecessor, who tried to jump out a window." She smiled.

Anyone who was willing to admit dislike of Jamila's predessor, who had been quite drunk on his own popularity with the masses, was at least provisionally all right with her. She set down a pen she'd been fiddling with and said, "Very well. It seems I have a good deal ot learn about this... wizarding community."

"Oh, think of us as just one more social group. I don't imagine you've met all of them yet."

"I don't imagine I have, either."

"There's always been a wizarding community in Britain. Until the 1700s and the International Statute of Secrecy, it was even fairly open. There's a reason British Muggles write the best fantasy, you know." Jamila didn't answer, so Charity Weasley simply went on. "Not that there were never any troubles. The witch trials were quite a nuisance, and I'm afraid it caused a real schism, and a lot of distrust of the Muggle world." She sighed. "And that evolved--de-evolved would perhaps be a better word--into... well, I'm sure you can imagine."

"Not especially fond of us, are they?" Jamila asked, raising an eyebrow.

"It's more complicated than that. There are a lot of Muggle-born wizards, and a lot of intermarriage. We'd have died out, otherwise; there aren't enough of us."

Jamila sighed. "Let me guess. The families with fewer... Muggle, did you say?" Charity nodded; Jamila went on. "The families with fewer Muggle relatives considered themselves superior. They started thinking that these interlopers were--"

"Ruining native culture," Charity finished. "Just so."

"In other words, it's like every other community."

"More than you imagine. We finally ended up fighting a war over it. It's not acceptable any more."

"I'm sure that cured it entirely."

"It did better than you'd think. I think the Death Eaters were the last gasp of the real hate." She apparently noticed Jamila's blank look, because she shook her head and tapped the desk. A drawer opened, revealing a thick book by one Hermione Weasley, called A Brief History of Wizarding Britain. "That will give you background," Charity said. "That's my father-in-law's sister-in-law. Quite smart; Muggle-born herself."

"I see."

Charity sighed. "Unfortunately, we're like any other community in another way. The pendulum, I'm afraid, tends to swing. At present, we're dealing with a rather nasty movement of Muggle-borns who've been attacking our institutions, accusing all of them of being Death Eater training grounds or whatnot. Quite annoying."

Jamila, who had a mad cousin in Jamaica who ranted about the British non-stop, had some idea what Charity was talking about. "Go on. How much damage have they caused?"

"They've burned down shops in our business district. Not ours, yet, but there've been threats. We suspect them in several disappearances."

"Are they any danger outside of your community?"

Charity frowned. "I don't know. I've met the man who founded the movement, and... he concerns me. There are any number of witches and wizards who've opposed the Statute of Secrecy, some with idealistic notions, others... less so. Geoffrey Phillips strikes all the acceptable ideological poses, but I've a sense, and I'm not the only one, that..."

"That what, Minister?"

"That he feels he was underappreciated in the Muggle world as well as the Magical world. He's Muggle-born himself. I think that his eventual notion is to reveal himself as a powerful wizard, gain power in the Muggle world, and use magic to keep it in line."

Jamila rubbed her temples. "All right," she said. "I'll expect monthly updates. If things start moving more quickly, we'll move to weekly reports. We'll do what's necessary to deal with this."

How about something with Rose and Hugo, and how they're the absolute epitome of loving and caring sibling-ship. (How far the tongue is inserted into the cheek in this sentence is completely up to you.)
for aeterna13

"Would you get out of there?" Hugo yelled, pounding on the bathroom door.

"I'm not finished!" Rose yelled back. "It's a big business tonight, and I can't go with my hair sticking out in three different directions."

Hugo, whose brown hair stood straight up in frizzy curls, but who'd never been bothered by it, rolled his eyes. "Come on, Rose. If you don't get out, I'll tell everyone you use Sleek-Eezy at school."

The door opened. "You wouldn't."

"Oh, yes, I would."

Her nostrils narrowed to slits and she said, "Fine. Then I'll tell the whole Quidditch team--the whole school--that you got full marks in Potions and History of Magic."

Hugo's jaw dropped at the enormity of this potential betrayal. "You promised you'd never let on about that! You said that as long as I got the marks, you'd never tell my mates about them."

"All's fair in school and grooming," Rose said, and disappeared back into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.

Hugo fumed. He'd been getting whiskers on his chin, and all he needed to do was take a couple of seconds to shave them. She'd been in for twenty minutes! He turned and pounded on the door again. "I'll tell Scops you like him!"

"I think he's noticed!" she called back.

Hugo thought more deeply. "I'll tell Dad you like Scops."

"I'll pull your tonsils out through the hole where your balls used to be."

He shook his head. "Why are girls allowed to say things like that? It's ridiculous. What if I said that about some bit of girl things? How would you like it if I threatened to cut your toenails through your"--he made a motion in front of his chest.

"Through my what?" Rose asked through the door. "If you can't say it, you can't threaten it."

"Your... you know. Your... er... bosoms."

From Rose's side of the door, he heard mad laughter. "That loses something in translation, Hugo," she said when it stopped. "And there are worse places you could have picked."

Hugo wrinkled his nose, not wanting to contemplate such places in regard to his sister, though still thinking it quite unfair that she was allowed to threaten such places on him without anyone looking at it askance. He decided to try reason instead. "Come on, Rose. You've been in forever. I have to go to Mum's speech as well, and I haven't shaved yet."

"Who'd notice?"

"Mum, for one," Hugo said. "Gran, for another."

"Only if they have magnifying glasses with them," Rose said.

"How long does it take you, anyway? Is your hair really that bad?"

There was no answer, which was an answer. Until school, Rose's hair had been all right--big waves instead of little curls, and dark-ish red. But about the time she'd started to get curves and spots, it had gone completely off the rails. The family knew about it, but Rose was determined that people at school wouldn't. Hair potions were the major gifts the family gave her at Christmas and birthdays. Without them, she looked like a shredded tomato.

In other words, like a red-headed version of Hugo. When he thought about it, it was sort of insulting that she felt a need to cover it up all the time.

He pounded on the door again. "I'll bring a camera next Christmas morning and put the picture up in the Great Hall!"

"Thanks for the warning, I'll do my hair before I come down."

"Come on! What if I needed to... well, use the room for something other than shaving?"

"If it's an emergency, use the one off Mum and Dad's room."

Hugo leaned against the wall, arms crossed over his chest. Rattling Rose had got harder than it used to be. He personally blamed Scops Malfoy, mainly because Scops was handy. There was just no rushing her. "Fine," he said. "Finish up."

"Thank you for your generosity."

"What's Mum's speech about, anyway?"

"I'm not sure," Rose said. Her voice became less strident, now that she'd won. "It's just general thoughts on becoming Chief Witch of the Wizengamot, I think. She was practicing downstairs. Something about moving forward, and not losing the past."

"Political gibberish?"

"Exactly the sort of speech Mum hates," Rose said. She opened to door. Her hair was in large, loose waves that came down to her waist. "Go on in," she said. "I'm finished."

"Why's Mum giving a gibberish speech?"

"It's what people expect," Rose said, and shrugged. "I don't think there's anything pressing that she wants to say today." She frowned and inspected Hugo's chin. "Ah. I see the hairs. I could just pluck them, you know."

Hugo shook his head and ducked into the bathroom before she decided to do it anyway.

14 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 10th, 2009 08:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Haha... Sooner or later, everyone's a Weasley.

LOL, "bosoms". Wow, they really do act like Ron and Hermione's kids, don't they?

- Severely Lupine
amamama From: amamama Date: February 10th, 2009 10:10 am (UTC) (Link)
*sniggers* Oh, great - but I see a problem. I now want to read about Hermione's speech and about Geoffrey. How bad will it become before they manage to take him down? (sodding idiot)

I love your stories Fern, I really do. Cheers!
aeterna13 From: aeterna13 Date: February 10th, 2009 11:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yay! I'd forgotten what I requested, so it was a pleasant surprise to see both my request and your response. Your Rose and Hugo are definitely Ron and Hermione's children. :)
malinbe From: malinbe Date: February 10th, 2009 02:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awesome! I'm glad there's a sensible Prime Minister during those days- and from a Jamaican origin :D

Rose and Hugo are hilarious- quite the spitting image of their parents. This was great fun.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 10th, 2009 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
And you deliberately quoted Umbridge's speech for Hermione, didn't you? Yeah, I'd say hate is too weak a word for how Hermione feels about that sort of thing.

From: kobegrace Date: February 10th, 2009 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
*snickers* Rose and Hugo are just like me and my brother when we were younger.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: February 10th, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wait, Geoffrey's uprising??? Where's that? I thought I had re-read everything!!!
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 10th, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

This is my question, too!

I'm a big fan of your stories, but would love to see a chronological index of all of your stories, both these wonderful short ones and the novel-length ones, linked on your main page.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 11th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: This is my question, too!

I'm actually trying to make a chronological list right now - if I ever manage to finish it (that is, if I manage to keep up with Fern's writing and find the time to (re)read the older stories, I'll be happy to share. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time between working, studying and and writing.

~Hermione Stranger~
petitecrivan From: petitecrivan Date: February 10th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've always wondered what a briefing would be like for a PM who had a sibling who went to Hogwarts. They would hardly blink at the portrait talking, and probably would be expecting it.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: February 11th, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Both very good, as always. I especially enjoyed seeing the Weasley siblings at loggerheads over the loo! Shades of brothers and sisters everywhere.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 11th, 2009 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am so enjoying these little ficlets! Thank you so much for doing them!! I smile each time I see you've added a few more.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 12th, 2009 12:10 pm (UTC) (Link)


Wonderful job on my request, Fern. Thanx a bunch!

Charity married Freddy, eh? So she's relatively young for the MoM job, isn't she?

And the "thick book" titled "A Brief History..." - beautiful off-screen characterization.

Thanx again!

summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: February 12th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like your new prime minister- very sensible, down to business :).

And LOL at the sibilings. That's SO true about girls being able to make threats to guys- its great :). In general they were great. :D
14 comments or Leave a comment