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Council and Ministry

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This story is No. 2 in the series "White Knights and Dark Lords". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: They came, they saw, they conquered. Now, can two disparate groups learn from, and to live with, each other? Can the Ministry become something other than an anachronism?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Xander-CenteredSherzaFR151435,3852322088,65811 Jul 119 Jul 13Yes

Beginnings

Beginnings

A/N: Disclaimer's in the first chapter



September 23, The Ministry

Amelia Bones found herself in an unusual position. Her world had been invaded by muggles ... one of the greatest fears of purebloods everywhere, even the ones that weren't bigoted. Just to make things even more fun, they'd torn through the Ministry like it was made of wet parchment. And then, just when she was sure every fear they'd ever had was going to turn out to be true, Rupert Giles had sat her down and explained things, offering to help and cut through the crap she'd had to deal with for so long.

Amelia was rather famous for her impartiality and her no-nonsense attitude. She was also a pretty fair judge of character. She'd been mightily suspicious of this Giles character ... right until he'd offered his people to transport and back up her aurors in an attempt to keep Azkaban populated. That had not been the act of someone with malicious intentions.

And now, with a speed that had been rather stunning, their world was free, forever, of the greatest threat it had faced in the last hundred years or so. Even Grindlewald had not been so troublesome a wizard as Voldemort had become. Better, most of his supporters had been either killed or rooted out and tossed into holding cells.

That was the matter of concern Amelia was wrestling with today. The holes left in their government by the Council's removal of Fudge and marked followers of Voldemort. They would need to have to fill the Minister's position at least temporarily before they could hold trials for those who had been incarcerated.

The partying had died down to the point now where the various departments would respond to normal Ministry business, though perhaps not in the sober mien they normally did. She sent out a memo to everyone, indicating that a temporary Minister would have to be named, and for everyone to put in their nominations. She also asked them to make a note of whether anyone was missing from their department, and if they needed a replacement in order for their department to function smoothly.

She was not unaware of the fact that a good number of people would be inclined to nominate her, both because she was in the next highest seat of power in the Ministry and because, after the initial takeover, Giles and his people had stepped back, allowed her to make the calls and do what needed doing over the last ... sweet Merlin, had it really been less than two weeks? It didn't seem possible somehow. But she'd been the one most everyone looked to, and given a choice, they would likely wish that to continue.

With that in mind, she began to make a long, fairly detailed list of things she'd like to do if she was nominated to the Minister's seat. Trials for the Death Eaters, of course, and Dumbledore, though that one troubled her. She was none too sure the man could be fairly tried. There was entirely too much sentiment where Albus Dumbledore was involved for much of anyone to have a clear, unbiased mind. Repealing (or significantly altering) a number of laws was next on her list, laws that had troubled her from her days as a trainee. Recruiting for practically every department was next on her list, as she knew most of the departments were undermanned even before the Death Eaters among them had been snatched up. Ensuring the existing personnel were competent was next on the agenda.

In the end she had a rather intimidating scroll's worth of ideas and plans. It was enough to give her a headache, and she removed her monocle and rubbed at the bridge of her nose to ease the tension that had been creeping up on her. There was a knock on her door, and she sighed almost gratefully for the interruption. "Come in."

One of the trainees came in with a stack of parchment scraps. "The nominations, Director Bones." There was a small smile at the edges of his face as he handed the scraps over. Amelia leafed through them, and sure enough, she'd been nominated to the Minister chair until an election could be held next month. It was a challenge she looked forward to. And maybe, just maybe, she'd keep the spot. As much as she had loved being an auror, the chance to be Minister and actually fix (or try to) some of the wrongs in her world was a huge opportunity. Fudge had used his power to force some seriously stupid laws into effect ... it was high time someone used that power to fix what was broken. That she would doubtlessly have hardliners that would take a lot of convincing, fooling, or otherwise circumventing went without being said, but that would be half the fun.

She sent out yet more memos, informing the people that needed to know that the Death Eater trials would begin tomorrow. Dumbledore ... that one would wait until after the Death Eaters. He was, by all reports, safely contained where he was, which was more than she could honestly say for anywhere else that they could put him, thanks to his 'pet'. She very much wanted to know how the Council people had managed to arrange it so Fawkes could not rescue his master! So they could afford to leave him there and strike the Death Eaters while the iron was hot.

Giles knocked on her door a few minutes later, his memo in hand. "I see you've been appointed emergency Minister." He said. "Congratulations, and I hope you retain the position when it comes to a vote."

"Thank you, Mr. Giles. There is much to be done."

"Indeed. If you need my assistance with anything, do let me know, but otherwise, I and my people shall be staying to the shadows as much as we can."

That made Amelia laugh outright. "I sincerely doubt that, with that young man of yours being the man of the hour. Everyone will be wanting to seek you out and talk to you."

Giles sighed. "I was afraid of that. Xander has already been hiding from your press as much as he can. We are not much used to widespread notoriety anywhere but the demon world." Thankfully, most of the people in the Ministry building had been too scared to approach Giles and the girls, having seen what they were capable of directly, so they'd missed out on most of the chaos. Giles did not envy Xander one bit.

Amelia nodded. "So I'd heard. And too, some of us are going to be less than thrilled to let you hide because we're interested in some of your ... toys ... for lack of a better word. You and your people have some interesting skills that I for one have never seen before."

It went against everything Giles had been taught as a young Watcher to have an open information exchange with ... anyone. Have a contract that said they could come in and stomp anyone they needed to in the name of saving the world? Fine. Sharing information and secrets, no. But then, Giles was not your typical Watcher, and he'd seen where the old attitudes had gotten them.

"I'm sure something can be worked out, Madam Bones. I know several of my girls have been most impressed with some of your Aurors. Perhaps an exchange program of some kind?"

"Definitely a possibility. I'd have to talk to my people, and at least for now they'd have to remain available to us, since the aurors are still thin on the ground, but as you say, I'm sure something can be worked out." Amelia agreed.

September 23, Malfoy Manor

Narcissa Malfoy found herself in a most distressing position. Her husband was in jail, having been defeated while fighting in the name of Voldemort. This time, Narcissa knew, the chances of Lucius talking his way out of real trouble were nil. He would be jailed at the very least, possibly killed. She took small comfort indeed from the fact that he could not be Kissed.

Her own options were few. Stand with her husband and suffer his fate, or divorce herself from him as utterly as she could. It was fortunate indeed that she had never taken part in any of Lucius' manipulations in Voldemort's name. Oh, she had been aware of them, no mistake, but at the strata of society the Malfoys (and Blacks) inhabited, wives were more trophies to be possessed than they were people in their own right.

Except, of course, when they were Slytherins. And Blacks. Narcissa had, even as a young girl, too much pride and ambition to be an arm ornament, despite that her social standing demanded it. It had been an exercise in cunning, since she came of age, to act independently of her family's (and later Lucius') will.

Oh, she believed sincerely in the superiority of purebloods, make no mistake. But Blacks were slaves to no man, and the thought of becoming Voldemort's servant, even in name, had been abhorrent. Even more so as he got more and more unpredictable and deranged in the months before he attempted to kill Harry Potter for the first time. But she had kept her silence because Lucius had yoked himself to the man, and to speak out against him was to court death.

So, unable to speak out, she had gone behind Lucius' back and gotten her own vault. That had been the easy part. Filling the vault had taken a great deal more cunning and guile, as to be seen working would have blown her plans apart and invited Lucius' wrath. Fortunately, she had some small skill in potion-making, and as Lucius had benefited from her ability, had not gainsaid her when she continued to brew after they married. He was never allowed to discover that much of what she produced was sold in Knockturne Alley by an old friend of the family. Still, it had taken time for money to accumulate, given that she could not spend all the hours of the day brewing.

At this point, her vault had enough in it to support both herself and Draco, should the Malfoy coffers be seized. Better, since Lucius would be out of the picture, she could be more open about her potion-making, perhaps even sell her wares in Diagon Alley where she'd get a better price per vial. But that was only the financial end sorted. She would have to figure out what to do beyond ensuring they had money enough to live. Could she appeal to Sirius? As the sole surviving male Black, he was, by default, Lord Black, unless Orion Black had formally disowned him. She knew that Walburga had done so, but she had not the power to do so formally, as that power lay only with Lord Black, and she had no idea if Orion had done so before he died.

To be honest, appealing to Sirius was probably a very bad idea. He had made no bones in their youth about his extreme dislike for everything the Blacks stood for, and had outright hated Lucius. The chances that he would believe her protestations and allow her and her son the safety of the Black name once more were slim to none.

So that left her with dealing with all of this on her own. Well then. Quite the challenge, and one she relished. Fortunately, from the letter he had sent, Draco had possessed the wit to not involve himself in the battle, which made her position far less shaky. She could claim she had done all she could in her limited situation to protect herself and her son. Yes, done correctly, that would suit well indeed.

She gathered ink and parchment and carefully began to construct a letter. It was time to ensure both her and her son's survival in this mess.

September 23, Hogwarts

Daphne had started on Snape's extra assignment right away. She'd gotten most of her schoolwork done before everything exploded, so had only one fairly short essay to complete before Monday. The four-foot essay, though, would take some doing. She was not unaware of what Snape was trying to accomplish with the exercise. It was both a way to teach those who did not exercise it to use their brains, and to hammer home (yet again) the point that the road they had been traveling was a foolish one.

She wasn't the only one working on the essay, either. Once Snape had brought out the pensieve, practically everyone had gathered 'round, wanting to see the various accounts of the battle. There had been more than a good bit of sneering at 'Gryffindors', though to be fair, Daphne thought they deserved at least some of it. They'd pulled some foolish stunts. Imagine, getting into a fistfight with Bellatrix Lestrange! Or Fenrir Greyback! Of all the stupidities.

There'd been markedly less sneering at the girls ... the Slayers. They had moved with a deadly economy of movement and singularity of purpose, carving a wide swathe through the demonic creatures with seeming ease. For all the girls were muggles, they were rather a bit scary, and Daphne was deeply glad not to be on their bad side. Professor Harris, though, had garnered the most attention. The slayers were, after all, far stronger and faster than a normal muggle, by their own admission. Daphne mentally likened it to them being werewolves, minus the fur. But Professor Harris was an entirely different matter. He was a one-eyed 'pure' muggle, insofar as anyone knew. No enhancements whatever.

And he'd racked up a body count of demons nearly as large as any one Slayer's. No extra speed, no extra strength, no nothing ... just a (apparently) bloody-minded determination to win ... coupled with some truly, beautifully sneaky stunts to overcome his inherent limitations in what was otherwise a very unequal fight. Daphne was not the only one to spot Professor Harris' unique little ploys, not the least of which was managing to sneak up on none other than Voldemort completely unawares, and it generated a lot of discussion. These people, all of them, made it rather hard to dismiss muggles as insignificant beasts. Some of them, at least, possessed remarkable abilities.

That Professor Harris had more than a few of the markings of a true Slytherin, and was managing to be more Slytherin than many of the current House member, was shaking the hardliners badly. That muggles in general had proven themselves equal to magicals in a fight was worse, and even the moderates like herself were finding themselves surprised by it. Muggles had always been weak, stupid, inferior creatures to be pitied and ignored at best or hunted at worst, depending on your family. Here, they were presented with ironclad evidence that not all of them were such piteous creatures. If the thoughtful looks on several faces were anything to go by, Daphne was not the only one wanting to find out what else they'd been led to believe was false.

She shook off her musings and began writing again.
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