Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: Control Issues :: 07 :: Trapping Tonks

07 • Trapping Tonks

“The most difficult part,” Harry said thoughtfully, “will be getting my hands on her. Once I do, I’m sure I can come up with something interesting in the way of payback.”

“Actually, I might have an idea for capturing her,” Voldemort said with equal thoughtfulness. “There’s something there, I just need to wait for it to filter up. Still, insofar as her actual torture goes, I’m sure you can find plenty of ammunition and inspiration in her memories.”

Harry nodded absently. “Yes, that does help a lot, knowing exactly why they made that decision, each of them. I mean, it’s bad enough they did at all. In some ways, it’s like feeling the knife all over again each time I understand what made them do it, but I need to know, and I need that information in order to devise something appropriate.

“Sometimes, I feel—I feel like I should just not bother, that vengeance is wrong, and weak, but, a part of me won’t be denied. They tried to break me in every way possible, to tear me down and rebuild me into their perfect little soldier. And for what? Money. Jealousy. An opportunity for sadism. Fear, even. Revenge on an innocent. Laziness. Petty little reasons. Idiocy. All of it’s fucking idiocy! Am I going to hell for this, Tom?”

Voldemort blinked slowly at the abrupt change and said, “If so, Harry, I’ll be right there with you.”

“Well then fine! I’ll go, then, if I must. I really have to wonder at times if there’s such a thing as God. If there’s a heaven and a hell. I guess it doesn’t really matter, does it. If you’re with me, Tom, I’ll be okay. I will take my revenge, in the nastiest, most crushing ways I can think of, and be happy in it, until every last one of them is dead by my hand, and then maybe I can live as me. Well, whatever my name is these days. So long as I have you, I’ll be all right. You’ll . . . take care of me.”

He went silent, looking really quite thoughtful, then said, “I wouldn’t mind being able to nail Fudge and a few others as well.”

“Now, Harry, I thought you were only going after those who were in on the plan. What is your justification for someone like Fudge?”

“You mean besides hating that man with a passion? I’m not sure yet, Tom, but I might find a reason. No, I agree, it’s not justified when all I really have at this moment is the knowledge that he tried to get me expelled. That he didn’t keep a leash on his dogs and mouthed off about me at the Ministry so said bitch decided to learn a few new tricks and attempt to get me Kissed, cause brain damage, use crucio. . . . She did use a blood quill. Actually, I suppose that’s Umbridge on my list.”

“I won’t dispute her. Who else are you considering, then, just in theory?”

Harry shrugged a shoulder in an irritated kind of way. “Rita Skeeter. But she’s just a slanderous bitch, I guess. That reminds me, I wonder if she ever registered as an animagus.”

Voldemort tucked that bit of information away for later, just in case, and opted to change the subject a bit. “We need to do something about Moody’s corpse. And later on, your former friends. Do you have any ideas on that?”

Harry inhaled audibly, then let his breath out in a gust. “Don’t do a thing for Ron and Hermione. I get the feeling they’ll come in quite useful a bit down the road. Moody, though. . . .” He summoned some paper and snatched the pencil from the puzzle book he kept on the side table, dashed off a few lines of writing, then handed the page over.

Voldemort was quite curious when he looked down to read.

Dear Minister Fudge,

Please find attached one deceased magical person formerly of the Auror department, and which we are returning to you as per article 14, subsection c, paragraph 6 of the Magical Toxic Waste Disposal Act.

Apparently we played a bit too roughly with our little toy and he expired on us, so he’s simply not of much use to us any longer. Quite a shame, really. Perhaps it had something to do with his age?

We promise to take much better care of our captives in the future as we do need them for training purposes and it’s such a pain to have to keep hunting down new ones when it’s time for us to learn and perfect our torture techniques.

Cheerio,
Death Eater Training Squad #HGF937224

P.S. Oh, and would you be a dear and arrange his funeral? We’re afraid his magical eye and leg were lost at some point so you’ll have to cover that up somehow. Thanks muchly and best wishes on your reelection campaign!

Voldemort burst out laughing. The only question remaining was . . . when?

*

The door opened, someone stepped in, shut it, then prostrated themselves, and Voldemort just about swore out loud or hexed their head off on the spot. All he had wanted was a pleasant little lunch with his mate. Was that so damn much to ask? He had been well aware of the fact that most people still in the compound were presently eating in the dining hall, so what on earth was someone doing bothering him?

He broke his kiss with Harry and glanced over to see a head of white blond hair. His jaw clenched so hard he thought his teeth might shatter, then he realized it was not actually Draco, but instead his father. Voldemort could vaguely recall having sent the man on an extended mission to Bulgaria and Lucius had probably only just returned, which would explain why he hadn’t been seen lately, such as at the demonstration.

Oddly enough, Malfoy did not appear to be other than normal, which made Voldemort idly wonder if Harry only broadcast if he knew there were others present, in sort of a sadistic power play, or possibly to ensure that he would not be interrupted in his feeding.

Voldemort heaved an inward sigh and raised a finger to his lips, then stilled his movements abruptly, waiting until Harry opened his eyes and looked at him in needy confusion. Keeping his motion for silence, Voldemort jerked his head toward Malfoy, and after Harry had looked, winked at him and barked, “Malfoy! You will not so much as twitch until I’m ready to deal with you unless you feel like today is a good day to die.”

“Yes, my lord,” Lucius whispered.

Voldemort leaned in close to whisper directly in his mate’s ear, “Harry, my sweet, please try not to broadcast, all right? Keep a firm grip on your thrall. I would like for Lucius to be sober after we’re done with lunch.”

Harry nodded slightly so Voldemort went back on the attack, beginning by nipping his mate’s earlobe and provoking a deep moan, then swallowing his renewed cries of pleasure with another kiss as he began thrusting again into the sweet warmth of his mate.

And, apparently, the fact that there was another person present had a definite effect on his mate. Harry became a bit more wild against him, more frantic, and Voldemort did his level best to urge his mate toward completion so that he could let go his own restraint and properly feed him.

When that moment came Harry broke free of the kiss and tossed back his head, black hair spilling out in graceful arcs, and his mate once again bit his lip hard enough to draw blood. Voldemort suspected, though, even as he lost control and emptied himself into his lover, that Harry was actually trying to be quiet.

Several minutes later Voldemort was more than ready to deal with his errant minion. Harry chose, once he had dressed, to perch on the corner of Voldemort’s desk. But before he did so, he sidled up to Voldemort, went up on his toes so he could be a skosh closer to his lover’s ear, then whispered teasingly, “And you know damn well I had nothing to do with it this time.”

“Malfoy!” Voldemort barked. “Take a seat.”

“Yes, my lord,” Lucius said quietly, then rose and settled himself in a chair, not quite raising his gaze high enough to ever meet the eyes of either of them.

Voldemort leaned forward, hands on his desk, and said in a deadly quiet tone, “Lucius, my dear friend, I am truly hoping you can explain something for me. You see, it seems that lately you and your son keep popping up at very discourteous moments and seriously testing my patience and temper. Is there some curse your family line suffers from, Lucius, that I should be aware of? Do tell me, because if there is, we will simply have to take care of this little problem, even if it means separating your heads from your bodies!”

He rolled his head from side to side, several sharp retorts echoing strangely through the room as tendons released their tension, then lowered himself to his seat. He continued in a far more normal tone, “I presume you have just now returned from Bulgaria, Lucius?”

“Yes, my lord.”

“Splendid. Now, as you were unable to be here during the general assembly not long ago, there is something you need to be aware of. Raise your eyes, Lucius,” he ordered, “and look upon the face of your other master, Lord Thanatos. He is my ally, my co-ruler, and you will treat him as you do me, with every possible courtesy. Am I making myself clear, Lucius?”

“Always, my lord,” Lucius said, keeping his gaze on Harry. “It is an honor to meet you, my lord. I hope I may be of service to you in the future.”

Harry inclined his head slowly to the side and stared at Lucius with slightly wide eyes; Voldemort thought the effect was quite creepy. “Greetings, Lucius Malfoy,” Harry finally said, “and I’m sure . . . you will be.” Then he slid his gaze over to Voldemort and asked, “This one belongs to you?”

“Yes, politics mainly. He has very little to do with training,” Voldemort explained briefly, even though he knew Harry was simply speaking to talk.

“As you say,” Harry said. “Do you wish me to remain?”

“If you desire,” Voldemort responded.

“I do desire,” Harry said, then flipped back his hair and went still.

“Lucius, report.”

Malfoy flicked his gaze over to Voldemort and began to speak, detailing his mission and the results in clear, concise speech, never once letting his attention or eyes stray from his first master. It was getting quite close to the end of the usual lunch hour when he wound up his report and indicated that he would have a written version ready as quickly as possible.

Voldemort nodded absently, then shot a look at Harry before turning back to Malfoy. “You are dismissed for the moment, Lucius, but don’t wander off too far. I might need you again shortly.”

“As you wish, my lord,” the man said, then rose and bowed to them both.

Just before Lucius went to step through the door Harry asked quietly, “And does this one know how to be discreet, cosire?”

Lucius faltered for a split second before continuing on and closing the door quietly behind him.

Voldemort turned to his mate with a questioning gaze. “Cosire?”

Harry arched a brow and smiled slightly. “I’m not about to trip over my tongue constantly saying Lord Voldemort. I can’t imagine you’d want to handle Lord Thanatos frequently. So why not a generic term bastardized from co-ruler strictly for our use? Besides, it also implies that we’re such good friends.”

“Interesting.” Voldemort thought about for a few minutes, then nodded. “Why not? Now, about Lucius. His return has solidified that idea I was sitting on as regards your desire to bring in Tonks.”

“Oh? How’s that?”

“Fudge is known to be a bit . . . lazy when it comes to his power.” He smiled when Harry snorted rudely. “Lucius can generally talk him into whatever we need at any given time, either with words or coin. It seems to me that we could use him to accompany you to the Ministry and have Fudge sign documents transferring Tonks to the Department of Mysteries, in the care of the Unspeakables. After all, she is known to be a clumsy girl, is she not?”

Harry furrowed his brow and nodded slowly.

“Not a very good thing for an auror, now is that. She is ostensibly transferred on his order, into your care. His signature will override any objections Bones has to the appropriation of one of her people. We can easily fake credentials for you as an Unspeakable. You head off to the auror department and pick her up. Invite her to lunch, possibly, to discuss her new situation.”

“Except, of course, she won’t be going to a restaurant,” Harry said.

“Of course.”

Harry flashed him a quick grin and nodded. “I do like the way your mind works, Tom. Shall we call blondie back, then?”

*

Harry was ushered into the domain of the minister with Lucius at his side. He was, in appearance, an extremely nondescript sort, with the type of face that was utterly forgettable about ten seconds after one lost sight of it. He was mildly surprised to note that Percy was nowhere to be seen, but mentally shrugged it off as they stepped through the door into the minister’s office.

He gave Fudge a blandly cordial smile and bowed slightly, then took the seat he was waved into without a word. As Lucius dazzled Fudge with his usual flair for social graces, Harry unobtrusively slipped one hand into his pocket, waited until he felt a slight pressure, then carefully pulled it back out; sitting on his hand was a small beetle. By the time Lucius had taken a seat of his own the beetle had disappeared from view.

“So, Lucius,” Fudge said jovially. “What brings you here today?”

Lucius unleashed one of the chilly smiles he seemed to be famous for and replied urbanely, “I was in the neighborhood, and as it has been quite some time since we’ve visited, I thought I would drop by to see you so we can catch up. As it happens, I was on my way here when I ran across my companion and came to understand that he wished to speak with you on a trifling matter, so naturally I brought him along. I knew you wouldn’t mind, Cornelius, as it’s rather a worthwhile request.”

Fudge paused for a moment, his gaze starting to slide sideways, then looked over at Harry and said, “Your name again?”

Harry let one corner of his mouth curl up slightly; it wasn’t like it had been mentioned to begin with. “Justus Bane, minister, at your service. An Unspeakable within the Department of Mysteries.”

“Bane you say? Are you any relation to Balfour Bane?”

“Yes, sir. I’m very flattered that you recognize my family line,” Harry said smoothly. “It is not everyone who would.”

“Yes, yes.” Fudge paused again, his eyes half closing for a moment, then said, “What was it you wanted, then? We’ll just get that out of the way first so Lucius and I can have a nice chat.”

“Certainly, sir,” he replied. “It has come to our attention that one of the aurors presently on staff, a Miss Nymphadora Tonks, happens to have two rather unusual qualities. She is, for one, a metamorphmagus, and that is something that interests us greatly within our group. Also, she is reportedly an exceptionally clumsy girl, which we find a peculiar trait for someone employed in that position.

“We would like, sir, with your gracious permission, to have the young lady transferred to our department so that we may . . . investigate more deeply her very rare talent, and see how that might benefit us all.” Harry paused, nearly frowning when Fudge again looked almost like he was about to doze off, then continued on as smoothly as he could.

“As it stands, we are aware that Madam Bones may seek to block our efforts for the rather selfish reason of not wishing to train new personnel. That brings me to you, sir, in the hopes that you will exercise your considerable judgment and sign a transfer order to hurry things along, and cut through all the bureaucratic nonsense.” He felt a faint brush against his hand, so he curled his fingers slightly, then waited until he felt the beetle take position. A few seconds later it was back in his pocket.

Fudge had not yet responded so Lucius took up the conversational thread by saying, “My dear Cornelius, it sounds simple enough. Give the man what he wants and then we can get down to business, you and I.”

Fudge shook himself slightly and smiled at Lucius, then turned to Harry and said, “Of course! Where’s the paperwork, young man? Bones can be such a tiresome woman, always yammering on and boring me half to death with her witless chatter. I can certainly understand why you’d want to go over her head.”

Harry nobly refrained from commenting and instead reached into the pocket stitched to the inside breast of his robes and removed a set of papers, then placed them on the desk and pushed them forward. Fudge quickly snatched up a quill and signed with a flourish and dated it, then pushed them back over with a beaming smile.

“There we go!”

Harry retrieved the paperwork and rose to his feet. “My sincere gratitude, minister, and thank you for your time and attention. Mr Malfoy, I do hope we meet again.”

After a quick bow to each man to satisfy social dictates, Harry quietly removed himself from the office and made his way out of the Ministry, then ducked down an alley and found a quiet spot. The beetle was once again removed from his pocket, this time placed on a narrow ledge, and then Harry produced a key and put that right next to the insect. He smiled, arched a brow, the headed back to the Ministry for the second round of fun.

The first place he went was the records office to have an official copy made of the document he carried. They verified the signature as genuine and promptly made a copy for him, then waved him off with a smile. Harry then headed for the auror department and stopped the first person he saw inside. That man, at least, took the time to check credentials before pointing Harry toward where Tonks was situated.

She was seated at a very messy desk, the half walls surrounding her area covered with pinned-up papers and the occasional photograph, not to mention several take-away menus. And at that, Tonks was presently pouring over a menu, causing Harry to believe she was trying to decide what to have for lunch.

“Miss Tonks,” he said quietly, startling a jump out of her. She quickly whirled her chair around to stare at him with wide eyes. “On behalf of the minister and the Department of Mysteries, it is my distinct pleasure to inform you that you have been transferred, and henceforth will be with the Unspeakables.”

“What!?” Her expression was a mixture of several things: dismay, surprise, uncertainty, and even excitement. Harry wondered if part of it was the fact that it was almost unheard of for a person to be transferred into the Department of Mysteries without a year’s worth of paperwork and red tape. It was also true that she might be gobsmacked over mention of the Unspeakables given that information about them was guarded zealously.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “but could you repeat that, please?”

Harry gave her a slight smile and said, “You are no longer an auror, Miss Tonks.”

“Oh. Oh my. I did hear you correctly, then.”

“I can see that this is quite a shock for you, miss, and I understand that it is abrupt. I did notice you were considering your options for the noon meal, so perhaps you will consent to join me for lunch, during which I will attempt to begin easing you into your new circumstances with the least distress.”

She frowned in confusion, then said, “The paperwork is already done?”

“Yes, miss. I have a copy of the transfer order if you wish to see one.”

She shook her head. “Call me Tonks. And yeah, please, can I see a copy?”

Harry nodded and handed it over. They had made sure the wording was appropriately vague on most accounts, but it did clearly state that Tonks belonged to the Unspeakables from that point on.

She skimmed through it quickly, then look back up. “I don’t know if I should feel happy or upset. This is an amazing opportunity, though,” she said as she laid the copy on her desk. “You said something about lunch? I’m starving. I can always come pack up a few things from here later on.”

“Certainly. And after lunch, I will introduce you to your new work area. I know a wonderful little place not far from here, with excellent Thai cuisine, though if you prefer there is a Chinese restaurant I frequent also close by.”

“That sounds brilliant!” she enthused. “Let’s go.”

Harry led her along that same alley, as it could legitimately be used as a shortcut, and before they were halfway along he had knocked her, an auror, completely unconscious and portkeyed her to the dungeon.

*

Lucius stepped in and closed the door, then made the customary obeisance.

“Rise, Lucius, and take a seat.” A few seconds later he said, “Report.”

“My lord, I remained with Fudge and had lunch with the man, then made a few further visits within the Ministry and allowed certain people to overhear my comments on the girl’s new situation. Arthur Weasley was one of them. Once I was sure that word would get around, I returned here immediately.”

“Excellent,” Voldemort said. “Lord Thanatos has informed me that Fudge was acting somewhat strangely during his visit. Are you able to shed any light on this?”

“Not entirely, my lord. Fudge has always been a bit peculiar during our meetings in his office, and that has made it easier for me to talk him around to certain things or prompt him into making the decisions you desire. It was not always like this, however, so he either has done or is doing something to affect his faculties for short periods of time.”

“Such as drugs?”

“I do not know, my lord. I have seen no evidence of anything in particular. It is possible, I suppose.”

Voldemort rubbed his chin and sat back, truly wishing to help Harry if possible, and find a viable excuse for his mate to indulge in his desire to kill the man. Then he nearly laughed at his reasoning; after all, he was advocating seeking justification? He, the—a—dark lord? Still, he did not wish Harry to become a man who killed on whim so it behooved them both for him to keep his mate grounded and as rational as possible. If that meant having to argue against a case for death, so be it.

“For how long has he been like this?”

Lucius glanced off to the right, appearing to consider. A minute or so later he looked back at his master and said, “At least five years, my lord, perhaps a bit more. Certainly not until after the Triwizard Tournament.”

Voldemort sat forward and narrowed his eyes, seriously wishing they had Skeeter’s report already, as she might actually know something of a more concrete nature. “Lucius, you will use that delightfully smooth public persona of yours and find out exactly how often Albus Dumbledore has been to see the minister since the tournament. You will also obtain an accounting of every single decree Fudge has made since that time, especially those pertaining to Harry Potter in some way.”

He was mildly surprised to see a faint look of consternation pass over Lucius’s face.

“My lord, I. . . ?”

“What is it? You do not usually have difficulties when speaking to me. Out with it!”

Lucius looked decidedly uncomfortable for a moment, then straightened up in his chair and lifted his chin. “My lord, I must wonder about your renewed interest in Harry Potter.”

Voldemort sat back again and gave Lucius a considering look. “My dear Lucius, are you trying to intimate that you fear I might be sliding back down that slippery slope of complete obsession? Is that it?” When Malfoy could not seem to bring himself to respond he said, “Do not trouble yourself. Simply obtain the information I require. The matter of Harry Potter has already been decided, so there is no need for you to worry on my behalf.”

Harry chose that moment to slink in through the connecting door and perch on the edge of the desk. He gave Lucius a faint nod and then said, “I believe our guest is ready, cosire. Any time you wish to join me would be splendid.”

“Excellent,” Voldemort said. “I hope you aren’t too attached to your niece, Lucius. I don’t think she’s going to fare too well under our thoughtful care. Get started on that research, and alert me immediately if you learn that Dumbledore has decided to approach Fudge over the reassignment of one of his people.” He pulled open a drawer and removed a set of two small objects, then handed one to Malfoy. “Use that only if he appears unexpectedly while you’re there. Otherwise report to me as usual. You may go.”

“Yes, my lord. I will begin immediately.” Lucius rose and bowed to them both, then quietly slipped out.

Harry looked at him and said, “Is he that useful to you?”

Voldemort took a moment to decipher that, then said, “Yes. He is one of my best operatives, actually. Useful enough, certainly, that I allow him a slight bit of leeway in how he interacts with me. It also helps that he generally has a very firm grip on his temper, and occasionally serves to make me sit back and think about things before I go off on a rampage.”

Harry nodded and replied pertly, “If I were the type I might be jealous. But that’s nice. In any case, I think I’ve hit upon a much more pleasant way to sublimate your temper, my dear Lord Voldemort.”

He smiled broadly and got to his feet. “Far more than merely pleasant, my sweet. Shall we go interrogate our latest guest?”

*

Albus Dumbledore did, as it turned out, decide that a little chat was in order with Minister Fudge, and Lucius had been able to deliver information on when the man would be appearing. Dumbledore had chosen, for whatever reason, to go through the normal channels and set up an appointment with the minister, which was all that much better for them.

Dumbledore was probably annoyed that he now had an Order member he could not call on with little to no notice, which made her value drop drastically in some respects. And her no longer being an auror meant she would not be among those to answer calls requiring them, and therefore not be in a position to report back anything of interest.

Harry had visited the vault he had set up and read through, with Voldemort spying, the report Rita Skeeter had left in place of her payment. They were both surprised and pleased to realize that she had informed them of exactly why Fudge was acting so strangely, though the very idea of it made them both slightly nauseated.

Minister Fudge, self-proclaimed darling of the Ministry and the media, had a very naughty little secret. His assistant, Percy Weasley, had been situated under the desk thanks to an odd little trap door which allowed him to more or less comfortably stand up. It placed his head in the exact perfect position to be able to fellate the minister, which is exactly what had been going on while Harry was visiting, and explained Fudge’s odd lapses.

They could only imagine that the trap door connected to a tunnel of sorts, allowing Percy to unobtrusively slip in and out to ‘administer’ his little heart out in the course of his duties. Harry’s thoughts on the matter leaned toward wondering if the breakdown that had begun at around the time of the tournament, or just after, had produced a Percy Weasley who was very, very determined to retain his job.

Harry had wanted to laugh hysterically and throw up at the same time over the idea of a Percy that was willing to whore himself to his boss in an effort not to lose what little power he actually held. Then he really felt ill at the idea of a Percy who actively enjoyed it.

“I really need to get her back in there for the odd lunch,” Harry had murmured to himself, then tucked the report into his pocket. He had then returned to the compound and composed a note to Skeeter, instructing her to hold her tongue on that information for the time being, and to be ready at a moment’s notice for another mission, her pay to be the same or even possibly higher. The better behaved she was for them, the better her reward, and the best part was that she could not be 100% positive who she was working for.

And in point of fact, the day before Dumbledore was scheduled to have his meeting, Lucius had gone in shortly before noon to speak with Fudge on a trifling issue and brought her with him, then left a few minutes later with the excuse of a lunch date he could not in good conscience cancel.

The report Harry picked up later that day revealed that Percy was in fact his master’s whore. It seemed that Fudge liked to use Percy as his daily relief from stress, not to mention a distraction from people he couldn’t be bothered to listen to closely enough to understand.

Skeeter detailed that Percy had been called in directly Lucius left, and after locking the door had promptly begun to fellate Fudge to hardness, then dropped his trousers and drawers, bent over the minister’s desk, and allowed the man to vigorously pump his short, fat cock into his ass.

Skeeter seemed to be of the opinion that Percy was very willing and even eager to be of such service, his manner so obsequious that even she was disgusted. Harry had to wonder just how much of a salary Percy made. He left a large stack of gold for her to retrieve, then hastened off back home to send another note, this time telling her to appear at the Ministry the next day at ten in the morning, ready to capture all the details about the events that were sure to coincidentally occur.

So it was that Harry was lounging inconspicuously in the atrium that next day, just another face in the crowd, when Dumbledore made an appearance. The man had not managed to get halfway across the room when Voldemort acted, activating the portkey. Moody’s corpse appeared just in front of the security stand, startling the wits out of a number of people milling around nearby.

Dumbledore hastened forward as the screaming started, but was beaten to the body by the wand registration fellow, who took one close-up look before hastily whirling around and vomiting, dropping to his knees with the strength of his reaction.

Dumbledore stopped just to the side of his long-time friend, simply staring at him, then crouched down long enough to retrieve the envelope pinned to the man’s chest. Fudge arrived, having no doubt been informed of the commotion, and went deathly pale before scurrying over to Dumbledore’s side.

Flashbulbs went off, freshly startling a number of people, as Rita Skeeter and her photographer dashed forward, the very picture of eagerness to get an unexpected story. (When questioned later by suspicious officials, she admitted to being there for a chance to grill Dumbledore about the state of the Light’s efforts against the Forces of Evil, having learned through the grapevine that he would be there that day.)

It was shortly a madhouse, with aurors and other Ministry personnel appearing to contain the crowd and the horde of reporters that had begun showing up and screaming out questions intended for Fudge and Dumbledore to answer. Rita even went so far as to be bold enough to rudely summon the letter from Dumbledore’s hand, hold it up for her photographer to take a snap of, then try to read it personally before it was snatched back. She instantly nudged her companion and hissed for him to get the film to safety, then went right back to yelling out questions and demanding answers.

Fudge looked like he might faint at any moment, and seemed to be relying heavily on Dumbledore to play the front man and make decisions as to the immediate disposition of Moody, so Harry, very well pleased with the turmoil, sauntered off quietly to an outgoing floo and left, idly wondering just how long it would be before Fudge called his assistant in for another round of stress relief.

The last thing Harry did before calling it a day was to leave a very generous bonus in the vault for Skeeter for her actions, and a quick note letting her know to continue holding off on the sex scandal information until further notice.