Disclaimer: We own only Margot, Lierin,
micro-microwaves, The Seer’s Folly, and various passing character
names. All other people, places, and objects are the property of J.K. Rowling.
Arya’s Note: Arya has given up her right to a
note by choosing to be at the movies while notes were being written. I’m sure
that, were she here, she would thank Whimsy and make a joke at my
Bea’s Note: As always, thanks to Whimsy,
our fantastic beta. In addition to brit-picking, he tells us when our writing
makes no sense, which happens all too often. I’d also like to thank the
real-life Kirsten, for her information on lacrosse.
Margot tapped her foot against the
leg of the chair and looked at the clock. Uncle Harry had been gone for
nearly 20 minutes, and for twenty minutes, she had sat in his cubicle waiting
like a good little girl. In her mind, she could almost hear Fred and George
yelling at her. If they were in her position, they’d take a quick
search around the Auror area and see what sorts of things Aurors kept in their
offices. For twenty minutes, Margot had resisted listening to her fathers, but
now she was bored. She wanted something to do, and it seemed ridiculous to
simply sit and wait.
A quick search of Lierin Holly's
side of the room revealed that most of her books were in foreign languages –
some weren't even human languages. The few books that were in English
were about palmistry and sewing. She even found one lying under a cold mug of
coffee that seemed to be Lierin’s own sketchbook. Margot thumbed through it,
impressed at the design of some of the cloaks and dresses within.
Setting down the book, Margot
wandered out of the cubicle. The Auror headquarters was rather empty and
desolate at the moment, like when she went back to an empty classroom after
class to get a quill she'd dropped. Margot supposed that most of the
Aurors were battling Bellatrix Lestrange. She almost felt as though she
shouldn’t be there, but where was she supposed to go? At the very least, there
would be fewer people to tell her to stop nosing about in places she shouldn't.
Giving in to her curiosity, Margot
walked in between the cubicles, her eyes carefully watching for anyone who
might yell at her. Tonks’s cubicle was nearest Uncle Harry’s, so Margot dipped
her head inside and grinned. A small mirror was pinned to the wall, and surrounding
it were pictures of various witches. Tonks’s side of the cubicle was quite
messy, and Margot wondered how she managed to get in without knocking something
over. Her partner, on the other hand, seemed to be almost obsessively clean.
Margot imagined they had an interesting relationship.
Moving on, Margot saw that on one
of the outer walls of the Auror office, it looked as if names were floating
around. Curious, Margot took a closer look. The wall itself seemed
to be made of black marble, while the names were written in scripted gold
lettering. At the top of the wall, perhaps two feet above her head, giant
stationary purple letters proclaimed:
The Great Terrors
In honor of
those willing to die to end the tragedy.
closer to read the names. There was Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody, whom she had
heard her uncles and aunts mention a few times. And she was quite sure
that Orrick Paradime was a relative of Verity's -- something like a cousin once
removed. Most of the names, though, were meaningless to her; she hadn't
the slightest clue who Mildred Warren or Delphus Crosby were.
When she grew tired
of tracking the names' progress along the wall, Margot strolled down the
corridor, reading the names on cubicles and peeking inside whenever one struck
her fancy. John Dawlish's workspace was filled with pictures of him with
various famous witches and wizards – Margot noticed Gwenog Jones and Hyperion
Faraday (of the Wimbourne Wasps) at a quick glance. Miranda Lysander
seemed to have an obsession with Muggle lacrosse. Margot only knew what
it was because of patient explanations from Kirsten (Emerson didn't like it and
Pepita had never learned the rules). Various lacrosse posters that had
obviously been tampered with, as the players moved, hung from the walls, and
lacrosse sticks of all different head-shapes and colors (including some that
whistled and two that were standing on their ends, casually tossing a ball
between them) overwhelmed the cubicle. Emily Langford and Merriweather
Whitehead, who shared a cubicle, seemed also to share a love of genealogy, and
Margot spent quite some time staring at an awe-inspiring collection of family
photographs, both wizarding and Muggle, that appeared to date back to the invention
of the camera.
Fascinating as the
Aurors' workspaces were, they weren't endless, and some of them were quite
boring. Soon, Margot was just as bored as she had been before. She
remembered, though, from the time Grandpa had brought her to the Ministry, that
the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office was nearby. He hadn't worked there
at the time, but he'd told Margot that he still liked to drop in from time to
time for old time's sake.
After a few wrong
turns, Margot found the dead-end hallway that housed the office. She
knocked politely on the door, and heard scuffling from inside; moments later, a
stooped, wizened old wizard opened the door.
"And who are
you, my dear?" he asked, taking off his glasses and cleaning them on the
sleeve of his robes.
Weasley. My grandpa, Arthur Weasley, brought me here a few years
ago. He used to work here..."
granddaughter. Yes, yes, I remember you now. Justinian Perkins, at
your service." Perkins extended a hand, which Margot shook gingerly;
he seemed very fragile. Now she remembered him more clearly. The
last time she'd been here, Perkins had given her stale ginger snaps.
in!" said Perkins, backing up slowly to allow Margot room to enter the
office. Sunlight streamed through an artificial window on the wall that
hadn't been there during her last visit. "Sit down! What can I
do for you?"
Margot sat down at
one of the desks. "I'm just here with my uncle, visiting for the
day, and I thought I might stop by... I don't know, see what was going
hugely. "Ah, it's always nice to see young people getting interested
in Muggle artifacts, it's a very under appreciated field, you know. So under
appreciated, in fact, that we only got that window from Magical Maintenance two
months ago, and we’ve been requesting one for decades.” He pointed proudly at
the window, which took up most of the wall.
nodded. "I noticed! It's very nice."
that's my new assistant -- he's out on call, something about a
is a Muggle cooking device, a bit like a Heating Charm only slower.
Anyway, we've been getting calls about Muggles putting food into cook, starting
the machine, and then coming back to find that their food has disappeared.
Rutherford did some looking, and it seems that the food’s actually shrinking.
lack of a better word, we're calling them micro-microwaves, for now."
Margot didn't quite
know how to respond, so she merely coughed. "What have you got in
Perkins lit up
again, after the somewhat depressing story he'd just told. "This,
well, it's not malicious at all, it's rather ingenious actually, unfortunately
it just shatters the Statute of Secrecy... Where did I put
it? Aha!" Perkins pulled something from underneath a stack of
papers, making the stack topple onto the floor. Ignoring the mess, he
handed what he'd found to Margot.
It appeared to be
an ordinary rag doll, in a pink dress and ballet slippers. Margot smiled
at the small toy and fingered the satin slippers. An image flashed into her
mind from nowhere, of a soft rag doll in a blue dress and an apron, with the
most amazing blonde hair... She remembered how soft the doll’s hair had
been, as if she had stroked it many times. But the image faded, leaving Margot
almost missing it. She’s had the memory before, when she and Nahid had played
dolls, and she never knew why. She'd never had dolls as a kid with Fred and
George, preferring instead to play with the endless supply of Pygmy Puffs and
fireworks. It had occurred to her that it might be from before she was
adopted, but she pushed the thought out of her mind – anyway, she'd have been
too young to remember anything.
"Set her on
the table and press her stomach," Perkins instructed.
Margot did as he
said, and to her delight, the doll leaped to life and began dancing what
appeared to be real ballet moves. A famous wizarding ballet, The
Seer's Folly, played in small, tinkling notes. Margot hummed along to
the most famous snatches. It had just reached its climactic moment when an
alarm sounded outside the room, followed by shouts and clatters
Margot rushed to
see what was going on, but Perkins stayed behind. “It’s only a prisoner being
brought in by the Aurors. Best to stay away.” He was probably right, but
Margot couldn’t fight down her curiosity. She ran from the Muggle Artifacts
office and arrived at the source of the noise within seconds. Right in
the middle of Auror headquarters, being marched down the central row of
cubicles by five Aurors with their wands trained on her, was Bellatrix
Lestrange. She was putting up quite a resistance, it seemed. Her eyes and
hair were wild as she struggled against the invisible bonds the Aurors had
placed on her. Behind the small knot of Aurors restraining Lestrange were a
good deal more – Margot didn’t bother to count – all with their wands out and
on high alert. Uncle Harry was one of the five closest to Lestrange, and
Lierin was somewhere in the crowd behind him.
Margot fought the
urge to run away. After all, she told herself, she was off to the side;
there was no way Lestrange would see her. And the curiosity that seemed
to come with living with Fred and George was nagging at her again; Margot really
wanted to see what would happen.
By the time
Lestrange was brought near to where Margot stood, she seemed to have calmed
down, more interested in calling out insults to those who stood nearby than
fighting against her captors.
ignorant,” she called out to no one in particular. “You'll know that you
were wrong when-”
As the Aurors
marched her past, Lestrange turned her head and looked straight at
Margot. Margot gasped. Lestrange's eyes, which had looked merely
crazed the last time she and Margot had met, were now filled with hate.
And Margot could tell the hate was directed at her, at Margot.
shouted Lestrange, kicking and flailing once more. "It's you!
You dare to look at me?"
Uncle Harry turned
urgently to Margot. "Margot! Go away, get out of
here!" It was an utterly sensible course of action, one that Margot
agreed with whole-heartedly; unfortunately, her feet didn't seem to be working
at the moment.
"I know who
you are!" screamed Lestrange, struggling desperately against whatever invisible
bonds were holding her, trying to stay near Margot. "You stand
there, pretending to be so innocent, but you're just as bad, you're
worse! You bastard child, you can't fool me, I know who you
"Get her out
of here!" shouted Uncle Harry, giving up on his wand and physically
pushing Lestrange toward the end of the corridor. "Get her to an
interrogation room, can't you see..." He trailed off as the other
four Aurors pushed Lestrange around the corner and disappeared. As soon
as they were gone, he rushed back to Margot.
"Are you all
right?" he asked. "I'm so sorry about that; we can't Apparate
or Disapparate in the interrogation rooms, so we normally Apparate into
headquarters and take them from there…" He put a tentative hand on
Margot's shoulder. "Hey. Are you all right?"
That was all it
took. Margot collapsed against him – had she been a crying kind of girl,
she would have been sobbing, but as it was, she merely shook as Uncle Harry
awkwardly patted her back.
Lestrange said she
knew who Margot was. Did she mean she knew who Margot's parents
were? How? Or had she been talking about something Margot,
specifically, had done? But that couldn't be it, could it? Margot
would have remembered something like that.
As Uncle Harry
tried desperately to calm her down, Margot could only think of one thing: if
Bellatrix Lestrange knew her, what kind of person must she be?