And Then There Were
Trelawney…announced…that Harry was not going to suffer an early death
after all, but would live to a ripe old age, become Minister of Magic, and have
twelve children.” (OotP, pp 582-583, US)
This story takes place on the way to
fulfilling that prediction…
Chapter 2 – The
Department of Orphaned Magical Children
Apparated into the atrium of the Ministry of Magic with little Bridget McFadden
still clinging to his torso like a baby monkey.
Various arriving and departing witches and wizards, more than he would
have expected for a Sunday, gave him second and third glances. It wasn’t unusual to see the great Harry Potter striding through the halls of the Ministry,
but not with a child who didn’t have either black or red hair.
adjusted his hold on the little girl, supporting her bottom with his left
forearm and covering her right ear with his right hand as her left ear was
pressed into his chest. He hoped she
wouldn’t waken as he walked quickly to the lifts, nodding at the security
wizard. He took an empty lift to the
fifth level. Stepping out, he made his
way down the corridor to the Department of Orphaned Magical Children.
had risen out of the last Dark War against Voldemort. The number of underage witches and wizards
left orphaned by the Death Eaters’ brutality had reached staggering
proportions, and the department had been formed to organize the independent efforts
of several witches, Andromeda Tonks and Molly Weasley among them. The department’s principle purpose was to
immediately place orphans with foster wizarding families, then determine if the
child had any relatives capable of caring for them. If none were identified, then the child would
be adopted into a wizard family. The
process didn’t stop there, however.
Ongoing counseling services were provided, both to the adoptive parents
and the adopted child. The department
also sponsored a big-brother, big-sister program, “borrowed” from the Muggles
by Lavender Thomas, the current Head of Department. Even though the influx of orphans had greatly
decreased since the war ended, the other services kept the entire staff busy.
the office, Harry was greeted by a reception area done in soothing neutral
tones. Off to the side was a glass-paneled
door leading into a playroom, filled with squashy child-sized chairs in primary
colors, and balls, toys, and games organized in large blue, red, and yellow
bins. Bright blue plush carpet mats
covered the floor. Fluffy white clouds scuttled
across the charmed sky-blue ceiling.
Ministry deemed the Department of Orphaned Magical Children to be “essential”
Harry knew that there would be someone on duty there today. The front desk was vacant, however. He bent down and pushed the bell with his
elbow, and heard a faint chime sound deeper in the office.
breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the witch coming toward him. Parvati Finch-Fletchley had officially been Lavender’s
assistant for the past five years, but for all practical purposes she was
essentially the co-director. They worked
brilliantly in tandem and the department thrived under their untiring work with
the orphans. She was still as beautiful
as ever, her dark exotic features set off magnificently against her red and
gold sari-styled robes. Gold bangles
tinkled pleasantly from her wrists, and gold tear drops twinkled from her ear
she exclaimed in surprise. He rarely
ventured into her department but she knew he made regular contributions to
their emergency funds, although he thought he was being anonymous. Her gaze quickly fell on the little girl,
still clutching Harry tightly to her.
am I glad you’re on this weekend!” Harry breathed relievedly. “This little girl’s parents were killed by a
rampaging mountain troll on the Orkney Isles, of all places. She won’t let go of me but will need to be
walked around the desk and touched the little girl’s head, stroking the soft
hair. “Poor little thing. Let me see if I can take her,” she said,
taking Bridget’s hand in her own. Thoughts
of available foster families filled her mind as she gently tried to prise open the
little girl’s clutching fingers from Harry’s robes.
Bridget began to struggle awake. “No, no, no,” she muttered.
darling,” coaxed Parvati. “Don’t you
want a nice lie down with a soft furry bunny to sleep with? Or some hot chocolate?”
started screaming, clutching Harry just as tightly as she had when Smythe
attempted to take her. Jiggling her as
he had last time, Harry sat in one of the arm chairs and rocked her back and
forth, chanting soft nonsense rhymes and rubbing her quivering back until she
calmed. “Da! Da!” the child whimpered.
Parvati looked on in pity. “Harry, you have a problem,” she understated
when Bridget had calmed down. “I’ve seen
this before, just not this severe. When
children go through such a catastrophic event, sometimes they bond or, in your
case, latch on to the first kind parental figure they find. The younger they are the tighter the bond,
and she’s very young. If I were to force
her to come with me she’d be even more traumatized than she is now, and may
forever lose trust in adults or authority figures. Is there any way you and Ginny could foster
her for a while?”
thought about it. He already had ten
children, six at Hogwarts and four at home who attended a local magical nursery
school. Ginny was four months pregnant
with their eleventh child. How could he
ask her to take on another? Then again,
what was one more? On the other hand,
what if Bridget never let him go? And
how much would adding Bridget upset the other children? His youngest, Hannah, had just turned five so
she would be closest in age and they could become friends and share a
room. But what if another wizarding
family that didn’t already have children wanted to adopt Bridget? That thought gave Harry a sinking sensation
in his stomach that was interrupted by a soft watery hiccup from Bridget. It all came down to the child, he
thought. There really wasn’t any other
take her to Ginny.”
have to fill out some paperwork, but you can do it at home and bring it back
with you, along with any birth documents.”
them in my pocket, would you?” he asked.
Once both his pockets were filled with parchment forms and information,
Harry made his way back to the atrium and the departure fireplaces. After enlisting the aid of a passing witch to
toss in the Floo powder, he stated “Potter’s Folly,” stepped into the green
flames and felt the rush of wind as he and Bridget were whisked home.