He cut across the street, hoping no one would hit him on his way. It
was a gorgeous August day, though quite cool for summer. Dressed in his
Muggle clothes--dark blue jeans, a black shirt and a battered leather
bomber jacket tied around his waist--he knew he blended in perfectly.
For some reason, he was always paranoid that someone would be able to
tell at a glance. He imagined some random Muggle walking up to him and
saying, "Hey, you're a wizard!"
A smile played across the young man's handsome features, making his brown
eyes light up a little. As if Muggles were that smart.
He was indeed a young man, twenty years old at a glance. He stood about
six feet tall, with a slightly muscular build. His reddish-brown hair
was a bit too long, and barely brushed the collar of his jacket.
He stopped in front of an old, abandoned-looking building. Who would
have guessed that inside this falling-apart structure was the Ministry
of Magic Headquarters?
He pulled out his wand, making sure no one was watching, and tapped it
against the door. Once, twice, three times.
The door swung open, and Anthony McKinnon stepped inside.
An explosion of light and color met his eyes. The floor was finished
with white marble, and the main desk looked as though it had been carved
from the same. Witches, wizards, hags and ogres waited in dark wooden
chairs. High-ranking officials stood off to one side talking, gesturing
as they did.
Anthony forced himself to fight through the crowd and make his way to
the main desk. A harried-looking witch in spectacles glared at him. "Do
you have an appointment?"
"Yes," he replied.
"Name?" she asked irritably.
"Anthony McKinnon," he answered.
The witch sighed, obviously disappointed to see he really did have an
appointment. "Fine. Mr. Fudge will see you now. Up that set of stairs,
go down the hallway on your right, first doorway on your left."
Anthony nodded. "Thank you."
He left the witch to deal with a rather nasty-looking vampire and made
his way up the stairs. His adoptive family, the Revels, were one of Europe's
richest and most influential families. That was probably the only reason
the Minister of Magic would consent to see him.
He'd come to London for one reason and one reason alone: to find out
who killed his parents and bring them to justice. Fudge might be able
to open the files from his parents' murder if he asked in the right manner.
He was so lost in his thoughts that he almost missed Fudge's door--how,
he didn't now, as it had a gigantic "MINISTER OF MAGIC" brass plaque on
the front. He reached up and knocked.
The door swung open. Cornelius Fudge sat at his desk, reading the latest
issue of the Daily Prophet, sipping a cup of tea. He didn't appear
to notice the newcomer.
Fudge jumped, nearly spilling tea on his violently purple pinstriped
robes. "Ah! Mr...McKinnon, is it? Come inside."
Anthony stepped in the office. It was less imposing than he'd first imagined.
Shelves lined the walls, packed with books. On the desk were several more
books and a clutter of paperwork, which, judging by the lumps underneath,
buried several family photographs and their frames.
"Well, now, boy sit, down, sit down," Cornelius Fudge said, literally
drawing him a chair out of thin air. It dropped to the ground in front
of his desk. Anthony took a seat.
"I must say I was surprised to hear you were coming by, Mr. McKinnon."
Fudge said, setting aside his tea and newspaper. "I thought you were still
Anthony shook his head. "I've secured a flat in London temporarily."
He'd worked for two years for the Dark Arts Defense League where it was
headquartered in Paris, as an intern after his graduation from Beauxbatons.
"I see," Fudge said. "And your family? The Revels? How are they?"
"They're fine, sir," Anthony responded. Marguerite and Henri Revel had
adopted him when he was eight and moved him to France, where Henri was
originally from. Marguerite herself was from Kent. They had always treated
him as though he were their own, but no amount of kindness could ever
make the horrors of his past disappear. He wondered briefly if Fudge was
going to let him get down to business or just chatter inanely all day.
As if reading his mind, Fudge clapped his hands. "Now, then. What did
you want to see me about?"
"Well, sir," Anthony said, "I came here in the hope of reopening the case
of my parents' murder."
Fudge stared at him, stunned. "You want to...what? Oh, come now, my boy,
surely you don't want to dredge all that up again."
"I do." It was only two words, but the forcefulness of his tone and the
steely glint his brown eyes took said volumes.
"Those records have been sealed for years. No perpetrator was caught.
The Dark Mark was, if I recall correctly, ablaze above your house--"
Anthony had a sudden flashback, sitting huddled on his bedroom floor,
unable to get out of his room, the shimmering light outside his window.
He looked up and saw that evil skull and snake...his parents dead...he
couldnít seem to rid himself of that cold, clammy feeling.
Quickly he shook himself, hoping Fudge hadn't seen.
He hadn't. "--and it was clearly the work of You-Know-Who and his Death
Eaters. Most of whom we have, either dead or in Azkaban."
"Not all of them," Anthony replied. "Plenty escaped, and we both know
"Even so, Mr. McKinnon, there's no reason to reopen the case-"
"Except to find the truth!" Anthony exclaimed. "Can't you understand
that, Mr. Fudge?"
The Minister of Magic was clearly taken aback. "What I understand is
that it will do no good," he said angrily. "And even if I did have the
power to reopen the case, I wouldn't do it!"
Anthony stood up, his dark eyes blazing. For a moment, he looked as if
he was considering throttling Fudge.
Finally, he swallowed. "Good day, then, Mr. Fudge. I am sorry to have
taken up your time."
With that, he turned and stormed out of the office.
Well, well, well, thought Lucius Malfoy as he watched the auburn-haired
young man exit Fudgeís office. Little Anthony wants to find out what
happened to his parents. How very touching.
There was a tap on his shoulder. He turned, and there stood his assistant,
"Iíve got those papers you needed, sir," Loki said.
"Ah. Thank you, Lestrange," Malfoy replied, taking them from
the dark-haired young man. "Fudge will have to sign these now...but
wait just a moment..."
"What is it, sir?" Loki asked.
Malfoy didnít answer. "Excuse me, Mr. McKinnon?"
McKinnon turned around. He didnít look very much like his father, Lucius
decided. Aside from the same hair color, Anthony resembled his mother.
"What?" he demanded, his tone none too welcoming.
"Allow me to introduce myself. I am Lucius Malfoy," he said
with a slight bow. He waved a hand to his assistant. "And this is
my assistant, Loki Lestrange. We couldnít help overhearing your -- ah
-- discussion with the Minister."
McKinnon crossed his arms over his chest. "What of it?"
Malfoy looked around, then back at McKinnon. "Why donít we step
inside my office for a moment? We can talk there." The papers could
McKinnon considered this. "Fine."
"Follow me, then." Malfoy started down the hall, flanked by
McKinnon and Lestrange.
Anthony once again found himself in a Ministry officialís office. This
one was very different from Fudgeís pleasant clutter. The furniture was
made of dark, polished wood, and everything was in perfect order. Not
even the pictures on the desk, which were mostly of a blonde woman and
a young boy, were out of line. He didnít think they would dare to be.
"Have a seat, Mr. McKinnon," Malfoy said, gesturing toward
one of the chairs in front of his desk.
Anthony pulled up his chair, and sat down, all the while studying Lucius
Malfoy. Like his office, everything about this man was smooth and immaculate.
He was in his mid to late forties, at least. His sleek black hair was
combed back perfectly, and he wore a black cloak over dark green robes.
He seemed to give the air of someone who knew exactly what he wanted and
exactly how to get it.
"Close the door, Lestrange," Malfoy ordered his assistant,
That Lestrange is a funny one, Anthony thought, turning his attention
to the assistant. Loki, Malfoy had called him. Like the Norse god, often
called the ĎSly Oneí or ĎTricksterí. This man definitely looked the part,
with the mischievous glint in his blue-green eyes. He didnít appear to
be any older than Anthony himself. Lokiís black hair was thick and shining,
which made a startling contrast against his pale skin. Though he was dressed
normally in plain gray-and-violet robes, there was something about this
young man that struck Anthony as being wild--like an animal in a cage.
Lestrange stood next to the closed door, while Malfoy sat down at his
"So what do you want?" Anthony asked. He was perfectly aware
that his tone was less than civil.
Malfoy smiled. "My boy, all I want is to help you. As I said, I
heard your discussion with Fudge. He is none too sensitive when it comes
to personal matters."
"So Iíve noticed," Anthony replied, warming a little. "Can
you help me?"
"I believe so," Lucius Malfoy said. "Only...if Fudge does
know, I can understand why he wouldnít want to tell you."
"Because, boy, it concerns the delicate matter of a Death Eater who
Anthony sat up straighter. "What do you mean?"
This is almost too easy, Lucius Malfoy thought as he studied Anthony
McKinnonís determined expression. Heís desperate enough to turn to
me for help, and naive enough to trust me. Little fool--well, they
didnít have that saying Ďlike father, like soní for nothing, did they?
Easy as it was, it would also prove useful.
"Well..." Malfoy did his best to look hesitant and apologetic
as he tested the waters. "Your father, in his work as an Auror, put
several of the Dark Lordís most important Death Eaters in Azkaban. Shortly
before his death, he caught Antonin Dolohov. Dolohov, it appeared, had
information about Dumbledoreís revolt against him. The Death Eaters were
desperate to get to it."
"So they went after my family," Anthony said, suddenly understanding.
His fists clenched at his sides. "Do you know who killed my father?"
"Why, the Death Eaters, of course," Malfoy replied smoothly.
"However, if youíre asking who delivered the killing blow, I have
only a guess there." He had to try hard not to smile. It really was
perfect. Heíd be able to get rid of his rival once and for all, with no
one the wiser. Best of all, he wouldnít have to hire someone to do it.
Good help was, after all, so hard to find these days.
McKinnon leaned forward. "And that guess is --?"
"His name..." Malfoy sighed. "His name is Snape. Severus
Snape. He works at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as the
Anthony sat there in silence. "Do you have proof of this, Mr. Malfoy?"
"All I have, Mr. McKinnon, is the knowledge that Severus Snape was,
and most likely still is, a Death Eater. And a most clever and cunning
one. It was suspected, but there was no concrete evidence. He walked away,
alive and free."
Anthonyís hands gripped the arms of his chair tightly. "If he is
responsible for my fatherís death, he wonít be alive for much longer.
I can promise you that."
Yes, definitely perfect, Malfoy thought, watching the young manís
reaction. Hell bent on revenge, this boy was. "I understand youíre
staying in London. Iíll have the files concerning you parentsí deaths
sent to your flat."
McKinnon nodded. "Thank you, Mr. Malfoy. Youíve been most helpful"
He stood up, and nodded to both Malfoy and Lestrange. "A good day
to you both."
With those words, he left the office.
"Hot-headed, that one," Malfoy remarked. "Impulsive, too.
One of these days thatís going to land him into trouble."
Loki grinned. "I see where this is going. You get McKinnon to kill
"Which he will definitely do when he finds out that Snape canít be
punished by law." Malfoy said. "Dear, dear. My poor old colleague
wonít know what hit him."
"Why donít you just kill him yourself? You know, out while youíre
doing some Death Eater thing, accidentally hit him with the Avada Kedavra
"No, my dear Loki," Lucius said with a smile. "As always,
you are too eager for the kill. Such things have to be done with an artistry--a
finesse, if you will. Otherwise, we are no different than simple animals."
"So youíre going to take advantage of that boyís naivete, then?
Just like that?"
"Just like that," Malfoy replied. "Sometimes, Lestrange,
I amaze even myself. Now, then," he said, standing up. "Let
us go and pay Mr. Fudge a visit."