Picking up the pieces
This is for Rhetor, who correctly predicted that Neville's wand wouldn't turn out to be a Horcrux. He requested Kingsley's first day in office.
He didn’t know who had first shouted it out, nor quite how it had been so quickly acknowledged. He remembered the moment when Arthur Weasley had caught his eye and nodded meaningfully. Kingsley had responded in kind and raised his hand to quiet the crowd. He had no idea what he had said but in the wild euphoria of victory it hadn’t mattered. Those who were left only wanted someone to look to; they needed a Minister whom they could trust, and it seemed they had elected him.
Things looked different today. Now that Voldemort – Kingsley took savage pleasure in spitting the name aloud – was gone, finally and forever, there was more to do than merely survive. There was a world to rebuild out of the broken mess left behind after the battle. And somehow it had become his job to work out how to start.
He’d arrived ridiculously early without any clear sense of what he was going to do. Flushing himself in, Kingsley made a mental note to put finding a replacement entry system near the top of his to do list. He brushed his robes down and walked out into the centre of the dimly lit Atrium, forcing himself to turn and confront the grotesque monstrosity that dominated the room.
The witch and wizard who sat enthroned high above Kingsley’s head were motionless this morning. The woman’s hair looked limp and dull and Kingsley could just make out lines of worry creased into her granite forehead. She lay wearily against the high chair back and held her wand feebly in her lap. Her partner appeared to be sleeping, his own wand resting along the arm of the chair. As Kingsley watched, one black eyelid opened slowly. He met the stony gaze boldly until the carved wizard gave a slight shrug and closed his eyes, slumping further down into his seat.
That seat. Kingsley didn’t know who had made it nor how they had been… persuaded… to do so. The thought of craftsmen meticulously forming each squashed limb, each blank face and each twisted torso revolted him. He breathed deeply, calming the rush of nausea that had threatened to overwhelm. Had they made each body separately, he wondered, and crushed them together into the inhuman form they now took?
It was too much. All the pent up fury of the last year and the grief of the last thirty-six hours spilled over into action. Kingsley rushed towards the massive granite block, beating his fists against the hateful words carved into its base. For a moment he revelled in the pain, glad to be able to feel, to know that it made him human. Then sense reasserted itself and he drew out his wand, unleashing spell after spell and curse after curse at the abomination.
The magical statue held firm at first. Kingsley redoubled his efforts, channeling his rage through his wand. At last, small chippings started to fly from the corners. He began to work more steadily now, focussing on the points of weakness, piling his efforts into the tiny cracks that were starting to form.
He had no idea how long he had been working when he stepped back, craning his neck as he urgently aimed his wand high, desperate to pull down the domineering figures who embodied the ugly vision of the magical supremacists. Before he could utter his spell, he heard a loud crack and saw the wizard’s head tumbling to the ground where it smashed into tiny pieces. Kingsley looked round in surprise to find a number of witches and wizards were standing around him. More were coming to join them, drawing their wands with an expression of fierce determination as they blasted the graven image they had been obliged to walk past every working day for the last year.
Under the growing volley of spells, the statue was breaking faster. The thrones were beginning to crack and hideous pieces of stone flesh were falling to the ground. Kingsley could see a fissure starting in the centre of the great plinth.
With a voice growing hoarse, he yelled ‘Reducto!’
An almighty noise like a thunderbolt reverberated around the Atrium. Someone was pulling Kingsley back. Then there was dust and stone and he couldn’t breathe for a moment.
‘Sir? Sir, are you all right?’ Kingsley blinked his eyes open. An impressively square-shouldered man with teal blue eyes was looking down at him anxiously.
‘Give me a hand.’ The man helped him to his feet, his eyes darting about in mingled shock and awe.
Kingsley turned back to where the statue had once stood, looking with relief at the sea of black rubble which now filled the huge space.
His rescuer was still standing beside him. Kingsley looked at the man curiously. ‘What do you normally do here?’
‘I’m a lawyer,’ the man told him. ‘I used to be in the International Magical Office of Law before…’ His voice trailed off.
Kingsley nodded and made a swift decision. ‘Good. I shall need your help. Come to my office when you’re ready.’ He glanced around, finding the Atrium now filled with Ministry staff, waiting in awed silence for something. This was it, then.
The Minister for Magic climbed up onto a convenient lump of granite and looked out across the room. Wizards and witches looked up to him, needing to be told what was next.
His voice was shaking as he began. ‘Yesterday the victory we have all been longing for was won. Today there are many in the Wizarding world, including no doubt some of you are here now, who need do no more than grieve for their lost heroes and be grateful for those who were spared.’ In the back, Kingsley spotted a clump of red and swallowed hard. Arthur and Percy. ‘But I must ask all of you here in the Ministry to join me in a further task. Already in this act,’ he gestured to the remnants of the statue, ‘we have begun the work of restoring those most precious things that have been stolen from us.
‘Our task will be to build trust where there has been only fear and suspicion; to restore freedom to those who have been oppressed; to renew hope where the future has seemed dark. I cannot achieve these things alone any more than I could have destroyed this statue alone. I call on each of you here now, to work with me to rebuild a better world for us and for our children for generations to come.’ The confidence that had been building as he spoke ended with a resounding cry, answered by the loud cheers of his audience.
Kingsley jumped down from his makeshift podium and bent to grasp a small chunk of rubble, slipping it into the pocket of his robes. He thought he might need to remember, not the evil which had constructed the loathsome monument, but the united strength that had brought it down.
Author's note: I originally thought I might try and do something funny - a press conference with Rita Skeeter and Lee Jordan, or Kingsley explaining to Tony Blair what was going on. But the more I thought about, the more I realised I had no idea what that first day would be like, and nor would anyone else, including Kingsley. And then I remembered that statue. When I read DH that was the moment at which I was almost sick. It reminded me so vividly of the stories of the Nazis making lampshades out of human skin. I knew then that I needed to write the story of it being destroyed, in a Berlin Wall type scenario. Hence this.
Oh, and the impressively square-shouldered lawyer? Rhetor. ;)