The Sugar Quill
Author: Ninian Echo  Story: Utter Lunacy: A Foray Into The Department of Mysteries  Chapter: Chapter 2: Ad-minister
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Chapter 2: Ad-minister

Chapter 2: Ad-minister


They Apparated into a run-down part of town Harry vaguely remembered.


Mr. Lovegood began bustling down the street immediately while Harry paused a moment to recover his bearings. Before long they were upon a familiar broken telephone booth Harry would not soon forget.


“Here we are,” Mr. Lovegood announced cheerfully. Luna retained that far-away dreamy gaze she assessed everything with. Harry’s stomach tightened unpleasantly. The last time he had entered that booth he had lost someone very dear and nearly much more. He wasn’t in a hurry to revisit the place.


Mr. Lovegood, sensing Harry’s apprehension, proclaimed “Just here for a pit-stop Harry. Need to verify some facts for the latest issue of The Quibbler.”


This put Harry somewhat at ease. Taking a deep breath he stepped over the phone booth’s threshold and shut the door behind him.


As soon as Mr. Lovegood had keyed in the appropriate number the cool operating voice began its calm interrogation. Moments later he and the Lovegoods were stepping out of the cramped compartment pinning their visitor badges to their chests as they exited.


The Ministry looked quite untouched from the inside, as if someone had taken a picture of it prior to the DA’s raid and restored each minute detail accordingly. The only noticeable difference was the brigades of Aurors swarming about the interior. Aurors guarded the visitor’s entrance, each fireplace, and each Apparition center passing thin wand-like objects carefully over each arrival and departure. Satchel contents were being carefully examined for potentially illicit items before being returned back to their owners and the large entry gate to the ministry held some sort of charmed barrier extending from floor to ceiling that was being crossed one at a time.


Harry was being forcefully pulled from the telephone elevator by a wizened looking Auror who was examining him thoroughly with the wand-like object.


“Bringing anything into the Ministry today?” the Auror clipped at him mechanically.


Er…no sir, just my wand I suppose…” Harry stumbled, taken aback by the new and improved ministry security measures.


“Wands will need to be checked prior to crossing the Concealment Barrier,” the Auror replied curtly “And will be snapped without question should they indicate any recent illicit activity. Have a nice day.” The Auror released Harry abruptly, causing him to stumble backwards slightly.


He followed the Lovegoods to the security desk where not one but five personnel stood waiting to service the incoming and outgoing masses. They did much more than print out the composition of Harry’s wand this time; they examined the wand with extra security and revealing spells. The security person shoved Harry’s wand unceremoniously back into his hand and filed away the extensive paper copy of his wand search.


Harry backed away, queuing into line behind the Lovegoods. He had never seen anything like it. It was hard to believe that this is what their once diplomatic and peaceful community had come to: a relay of necessary evils to ensure peace.


“Excuse me, Mr. Lovegood? What exactly does the Concealment Barrier we’re crossing do?” Harry inquired.


“It checks for use of Polyjuice Potion or other disguise charms. Whilst in the barrier the individual will show up as his or her true self. If the person that enters the barrier isn’t the person within the barrier they are detained immediately by wizarding law enforcement. The barrier continues to work after-hours as well; if for example, an Animagus were to cross the barrier in animal form the barrier would return them to their true form, contain them indefinitely, and sound its alarm.”


“What about people like Tonks then?” Harry blurted.


“People like who?” Mr. Lovegood looked at him quizzically.


Metamorphmagi. People that can change their appearance at will.”


“Ah right you are, Harry. Each Metamorphmagus is registered by the Ministry, and a copy of their registration is held at the barrier. They must present their license before entering and demonstrate a series of specific morphological changes upon exiting.” Seeing Harry’s shocked expression Mr. Lovegood added “Metamorphmagi are so sparse, Harry, that it is a practice scarcely used, but nonetheless a necessity should one enter the Ministry.”


Harry nodded, wondering if these methods would always be in place or if feelings of false security would eventually lead wizards to revert back to their previous way of doing things. As he crossed the barrier he wondered whether these practices were the makings of extreme paranoia or a belated example of the safety precautions wizards should have taken all along. 


A/N: Since we haven’t really seen Mr. Lovegood in action during the books, it was difficult to conceptualize what indeed he might be like. Surely Luna is the way she is for a REASON. I felt that Mr. Lovegood, while eccentric, is also a very powerful and honest wizard. I believe he would answer Harry’s questions truthfully and straightforwardly. After all, despite being eccentric wizards, both Dumbledore and Mr. Weasely are very powerful, honest, and capable wizards who provide guidance to Harry.


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