Day at the Office
Written by ilene
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations
created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not
limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, and Warner Bros., Inc.
No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is
Rufus Scrimgeour finished perusing the latest memo from
Thicknesse, a proposal regarding registration and evacuation of
Muggle-borns, and glanced out his window. It was the only one in the
Ministry not under the control of Magical Maintenance. Instead, the
view out the window was a diligent reproducion of the actual weather
conditions in London. Rufus did not care much for meaningless
illusion. He did, however, have enough sense of aesthetics to choose
for a source location a spot overlooking the Thames, that made for
very pleasant views of sunsets and the like, on the rare occasion he
had time to indulge in the view. This was not such an occasion, not
with dozens more reports and letters to read through, and more on the
way. Although he could likely dispense with reading most of the
Rufus sighed as he looked down at his desk, which was getting much
too cluttered. He knew he should organize it, but he had so many
other pressing things on his mind. Such as the small package stowed
away in his top drawer, containing the last known remains of an old
friend. It was not too hard to...in fact, it was hard not to
imagine Alastor's eye glaring at him through the top of the desk.
The Death Eaters had not even bothered to attach a note.
"Voldemort chased me across three counties, he killed
Potter's words rang in his head, and Rufus felt a surge of anger.
How dare that boy act like he knew more of what was going on in this
war, than the Minister of Magic himself? While Rufus could easily
see his old partner being considered a worthy target for Vol...him
to take out personally, the audacity of Potter in saying that, as if
he had personally seen...
Rufus's gaze fell on one of the many memos littering his desk, and
he sighed again. Regarding Nymphadora Lupin, née
Tonks. At least Alastor had been spared knowing this, that his
was now officially
considered "compromised", with Thicknesse himself signing
the order revoking her security clearance. Odd, how Alastor had
dropped his usual mantra of constant vigilance when it came to Tonks,
even when it became known that she was fraternizing with a known
associate of Fenrir Greyback's.
"Well, Alastor," Rufus found himself speaking aloud, "I
hope history will record it as your only failed project." Well,
that, and the whole sorry business with Crouch's son. Although, from
what had transpired the last time they had spoken, he suspected
Alastor had another name recorded under his list of failures. Most
men would consider it an honor to have mentored a future Minister of
Magic, but Alastor was not "most men".
Rufus looked in the mirror that hung on the door of a closet
across from his desk, and noted that he needed a shave. The mirror
had been modified since the tenure of Cornelius Fudge; the annoying
charms to make it comment on appearances had been removed, and
replaced instead with a secret passage out of the office in case of
emergency. Rufus hoped he would never have to use it. There was the
Floo Network, of course, but there had been enough mysterious
malfunctions lately for him to eschew that mode of transportation.
Rufus now looked at his copy of Albus Dumbledore's will, which he
was sorely tempted to crumple up and throw in the dustbin. What
exactly had Dumbledore seen in that boy? Certainly, enough to
involve him in some kind of scheme, that he had either not had a
chance to discuss before his untimely death, or (more likely) never
meant to mention. Perhaps his mind really had been going. He had
been much more cooperative in the First War, even though he had often
been critical of Crouch's methods.
"I don't like your methods, Minister."
The image of Potter showing the back of his fist rankled Rufus.
Dolores Umbridge was useful at times, but she'd had a serious lapse
in judgment during her tenure at Hogwarts; well, actually, quite a
number of them. Fudge had misjudged her, but he had misjudged many
more important things. He'd had to answer for them, of course, but
sometimes Rufus thought he'd gotten off easy. All Fudge had to worry
about at the Department of Muggle Relations was chatting with the
Muggle Minister every month or so, the worst crisis he had faced was
when that Minister had changed over, too, and he'd had to orient the
new one to what was going on.
Rufus, on the other hand, had a horde of Death Eaters and their
sympathizers to contend with, including the ones who had escaped from
Azkaban recently. He also had to keep the populace from descending
into a state of total panic. Panic meant anarchy, with desperate
wizards willing to do desperate things, from attempting to flee via
transcontinental Apparition ending in Splinching, to attacking their
neighbors in fits of paranoia, to (worst of all) selling out to the
Death Eaters simply to keep their families from harm. The last war
had been rife with such occurrences, and Rufus was determined that
would not happen while he was Minister.
"Excuse me, Minister?"
Along with a knock on the door, there was an unfamiliar voice
that made Rufus suspicious, until he remembered that Percy Weasley
had Flooed in sick today, though he wouldn't be surprised if he was
dropping in on his brother's wedding, instead. It must be Philbert,
who was filling in for the day.
"Mr. Thicknesse is here. He would like to speak to you about
his report on Muggle-borns."
"Well, I suppose I have a few minutes. You may come in."
Rufus expected the door to open, but it did not. Instead, Pius
Thicknesse stepped in through the mirror hanging on the closet door.
His demeanor was quite pleasant, his appearance no different from the
usual...except for the wand in his hand, pointed directly at Rufus's
"Hello, Minister," he said. "I think the time has
come for you to resign."
He had time to cast one spell, Rufus knew. Perhaps two.
Thicknesse crumpled to the ground. Now there was someone banging
on the official door. Possibly Philbert, or other staff members
checking on him...no. Rufus could sense it in the air now, something
almost like a scent, something he had last encountered in his Auror
years, in the battle that had left him lame. He could feel the
malicious energy, knew he was surrounded.
One more spell, then.
Rufus had always prided himself on knowing those around him, their
strengths and weaknesses...and he did not exclude himself from that.
While he had the ability to perform the Killing Curse, he had
absorbed Alastor's teaching on it. A last resort, and not just for
moral reasons either. The power and concentration required often
hampered its effective use in battle. Not to mention it being a
longer incantation than most.
It would be heroic to use it now, he knew, but he was not sure he
could, it went against the instincts that had made him the
second-longest serving Auror...after Alastor. He also knew himself
too well to leave himself to the mercies of the enemy. He had no
innate resistance to the Cruciatus Curse, anymore than Alastor had to
the Imperius Curse.
So Rufus took his wand, pointed it at his head, and uttered his
last words as Minister.