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Old August 8th, 2009, 7:03 pm
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Join Date: 09th October 2004
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 4
Hermione and the Hearing

Author's Note: First off, let me give my sincerest apologies about the delay in my writing. I realize it has been over half a year since my last update, and I know there were many readers who have been waiting and waiting for the next chapter. Over the past few months, I've been sorta busy. Between moving out of state to loss of internet, to other personal matters (and writer's block here and there), along with me trying to write a movie-script, I haven't found time for writing my story. Hopefully I can get back into a normal pace of updating. Though at the moment in time, I am still without internet at home and have to go to the library, though I can still write at home. Anyway, I will try to write more, and hopefully this starts off a long string of chapters. We'll see. This chapter will be in Hermione Point-of-View.

Hermione and Ron left the Burrow early Monday morning and traveled to the Leaky Cauldron via Floo Powder. They ordered a hot breakfast from Tom and sat down in a private corner.

“Are you all prepared for your interview?” Ron asked Hermione.

“Ron, you've asked me that at least a half-dozen times,” Hermione said, impatiently.

“Sorry,” Ron said.

“Yes, Ron,” Hermione said, “I am as prepared as I can be.”

Or at least Hermione hoped she would be. She may have been the smartest witch of her age, and absorbed everything the professors at Hogwarts had taught her, but in the seven years at Hogwarts, and the few years she had in public school before she learned she was a witch, she couldn't remember a time where they had taught her about how to prepare for a day like this. You would think that the Career Advice sessions she had taken with Professor McGonagall, or the number of pamphlets that were given to her would have helped her prepare for it. But she couldn't think of one morsel of information that would have prepared her for this.

Asking advice from her parents didn't help much either. Oh, sure, they could have given her the normal advice, and they actually did in a reply letter after Hermione had told them she was going to apply for a job. That specific part of the letter had read...

... all you have to do is be sure to stay calm. Don't stutter, dear, though that was never a problem with you. Probably due to lack of sugary substances in your diet all those years. You have kept away from sugar lately, haven't you? Be prepared, oh, but don't show up to the interview with a whole notebook of how you prepared. Just the information you need. Too much is sometimes a bad thing, remember that. You will do fine, honey, your father and I are sure of it.

Of course, Hermione knew, the interviews in the wizarding world could be a bit different. And if they were, how were her Muggle parents supposed to help her with that?

Ron didn't need much of an interview when he became an Auror or (as he insisted on being called) Auror-In-Training. He was always saying how it was thanks to Harry that he got the job, but Hermione knew better. Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt knew how well Ron could fight and how brave he was (Gryffindor, true at heart), and Hermione knew it was thanks to that that Ron was now in Auror training.

“Then you'll do fine,” Ron said.

Hermione smiled, so she wouldn't reveal any of her worries.

“Before you know it,” Ron said, “You'll be through with it, and you'll be the newest official member of the Ministry of Magic.”

“It sounds great when you say it,” Hermione said.

“That is because it will be great,” Ron said.

“Okay,” Hermione said, “So, when do you get out of training today?”

“Three-o-clock on the dot,” Ron said, “As always.”

“Okay,” Hermione said, “Then I'll ask the taxi to be here at three-fifteen.”

“Another taxi?” Ron asked, “Why can't we apparate?”

“You told me you didn't know exactly where the house was yet,” Hermione said.

“Right,” Ron said, slowly.

“So we can't apparate there if we don't know where we are going, Ron,” Hermione said.

“Okay,” Ron said, “So why can't we take the Knight Bus? They'll know where it is, and they'll get there quicker than a bloody taxi.”

“Uh-huh,” Hermione said, “And what if the guy we're supposed to meet --”

“Mr. Wycott,” Ron said.

“What if Mr. Wycott were to be there when we arrived on the Knight Bus?” Hermione asked, “Muggles can't see the Knight Bus. How would it look if we just appeared out of nowhere?”

“I didn't think about that,” Ron said.

“Ron,” Hermione said, sighing, “If we want to get this house, we have to make sure we think of everything. Okay?”

“Okay, Hermione!” Ron said, a little loudly, “Bloody hell, you're acting like this is the Ministry Heist all over again.”

Hermione was about to retort, but a response fell short. Ron was right. She was being a bit over-the-top about all of this.

“I'm sorry, Ron,” she said, finally, “I just want us to get this house so badly.”

“I know,” Ron said, “Don't worry. I think we'll do fine. And if we don't, we always have a Confundus charm handy.”

“Ronald!” Hermione said, shocked.

“I'm joking, Hermione,” Ron said, “Bloody hell.”

“Breakfast!” Tom announced, as he walked over to their table.

Tom served the plates (which were floating next to him) to Hermione and Ron.

“Will that be all?” Tom asked.

“Yep,” Ron said.

“Looks wonderful, Tom,” Hermione said.

Tom chuckled.

“Enjoy,” he said, and walked away from the table.

Ron grinned and immediately started on his stack of pancakes. Hermione just smiled and watched him. She may have been known to criticize him about his food habits, but it was just a part of him that he would probably live with all of his life. If he did, it wouldn't matter to her. After all, it may be a little disgusting, but it was just one of those cute things he did. Ron looked at her and gulped down a piece of pancake, then frowned at her.

“Something wrong?” Ron asked.

Hermione noticed that a small bit of syrup was on his chin.

“No,” she said, smiling at him, “Nothing at all.”


Twenty minutes later, Hermione and Ron arrived at the Ministry of Magic via Floo Powder. They walked over to one of the lifts together. To their enormous relief, it was almost empty. Only an elder witch, and a wizard who looked only a few years older than Hermione were standing there.

“Another day, another galleon,” the elderly witch muttered, as the lifts closed.

“Weasley,” the young man at the back of the lifts said.

Ron and Hermione turned around.

“Billingsly,” Ron said, “How are you this morning?”

“Not too well,” Billingsly said, “Thorpe resigned.”

“Really?” Ron asked, “Why?”

“Apparently there is an investigation going on with the new recruits,” Billingsly said, “If there is anything fishy about your past...”

Billingsly moved a thumb across his neck.

“Then you're out of the Aurors,” he said.

“What was wrong with Thorpe?” Ron asked.

“You know those late recruits the Death Eaters were rounding up in the last few months before their defeat?” Billingsly asked.

Ron nodded.

“Apparently Thorpe's father was one of 'em,” Billingsly said, “Yeah, he went to Azkaban after some crime, and the Death Eaters who were locked up apparently got to talking to him. The rest, as they say, is history.”

“But what does that have to do with Thorpe?” Ron asked.

“Come on, Weasley,” Billingsly said, “You should know better than any of us. Well, other than Potter.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” Ron asked.

“Minister Shacklebolt, himself, is the one who is leading the investigation,” Billingsly said, “He wants to make sure that none of the new Auror recruits are here for other purposes than Auror training. Everyone knows Potter is an Auror-in-Training, it ain't no secret. So wouldn't you think that if the Death Eaters were going to try to come back into power, it would be through their kids? I mean, the Death Eaters themselves are locked up or worse. Of course, Thorpe says that wasn't his intention. But the 'powers-that-be' say that Thorpe could have been easily influenced. I don't know what they told Thorpe, but he resigned just this morning. I'm just coming back from seeing him out of the Ministry.”

“So what's Thorpe going to do now?” Ron asked.

“Dunno,” Billingsly scoffed, “But they aren't going to let him get a job in this building, are they?”

“Not likely,” Ron said.

Suddenly, the cool voice overhead announced the floor with the Auror's Department. The lifts opened and Billingsly forced his way past Ron and Hermione.

“Well, see you later,” Ron said to Hermione, “Good luck.”

Hermione kissed Ron's cheek, and Ron walked out of the lifts. He waved back to her, and she waved to him as the lifts closed.

“Aw,” the elderly witch said with a sigh, “young love.”

“Excuse me?” Hermione asked.

“Did you say something, young lady?” the elderly witch said.

Hermione raised an eyebrow, confused, but then shook her head.

“No ma'am,” she said, “Nothing.”

The elderly witch just smiled. Hermione turned around and ignored the witch. But she couldn't ignore the feeling that there was something familiar about the witch. She just didn't know what...

A minute later, the lifts stopped at the very bottom and opened. Hermione walked out. She then turned and looked back into the lifts. The elderly witch was still there.

“Are you getting out, ma'am?” Hermione asked.

“Hmm?” the witch said.

She looked around.

“Oh, phooey!” she said, “I missed my floor.”

“Oh, okay,” Hermione said.

The lifts closed and Hermione turned and walked down the hallway toward the courtrooms. Her interview would be in one of the smaller courtrooms, Courtroom B, reserved for small cases. She walked toward the courtroom, and knocked on the door.

“Come in,” said a voice.

The voice sounded a little familiar to Hermione. She opened the door and walked in. The courtroom was so dark, she was positive she had entered the wrong courtroom. But then again, there was that welcoming voice...

“Hermione!” the voice said.

Hermione got her first shock of the day at that moment. Her old classmate, Susan Bones, was sitting on the bottom row of benches. A clipboard was in her hand.

“Susan?” Hermione asked, as she walked forward .

Though, at that moment, she wasn't sure if it was Susan or not. She looked different then when Hermione usually saw her at Hogwarts. Her hair, which was normally down to her shoulders, was pulled back into a tight bun. She was wearing a very official-looking business dress. As Hermione got into the middle of the room, she looked around. She couldn't see most of the room, only just past the first half-dozen rows or so.

“What are you doing here?” Hermione asked, “I thought I was supposed to be meeting the head --”

“Head Judge Morrison is a little busy at the moment,” Susan said, “I am his assistant.”

“Oh?” Hermione said, “Well... congratulations.”

“Thanks,” Susan said, “Though I don't think I'd have this job if it wasn't for my late Auntie Amelia.”

Hermione smiled.

“Anyway, I will be conducting this interview with you today,” Susan said, “Would you take a seat over here?”

Hermione nodded and walked over to the bench where Susan sat. She sat down near Susan.

“I believe you want to be Court Scribe, Hermione?” Susan asked.

“Well... yes,” Hermione said.

“I am a little surprised at this, Hermione,” Susan said, “I mean, it is no secret that you had one of the highest NEWT scores in our year. You could easily be in my position, even without a famous relative. Hell, you could have almost any job in the Ministry if you wanted it.”

Hermione blushed.

“I guess you want to start off small,” Susan said.

“Well,” Hermione said, “Unless you think --”

“I'll tell you what, Hermione,” Susan said, “Let's just see how well you do as a Court Scribe. Now, don't take this as a bad thing, but if I don't think you look well-fit in the job, we'll move you somewhere else. Just to see where you are more comfortable.”

“Does that mean I have a job?” Hermione asked.

Susan just smiled.

“We'll see,” she said.

“But I haven't even shown you any papers,” Hermione said.

“Hermione, I must admit something,” Susan said, “I kind of lied earlier. Judge Morrison isn't busy. When I heard your name, I volunteered for the job. I knew how well you might be able to do with this job. When I heard your name, the cogs started going around in my brain. They were saying 'Hermione Granger could have any job she wanted, and yet she wants to be down in these dark, cramped courtrooms, eight hours a day, except for lunch breaks. What are you going to do about it, Susan?' Hermione, let me admit another thing. I kind of admired you in Hogwarts. You always seemed to be in the shadow of Harry, and you didn't mind the darkness.”

“Well,” Hermione began, “It wasn't really like --”

“With your brains, I thought the Sorting Hat was bonkers not to have put you in Ravenclaw,” Susan interrupted her.

“Well, I could have been,” Hermione said, “But --”

“Hermione, believe me,” Susan interrupted her once again, “You don't have to try to impress me. You already have in Hogwarts. The only reason you'd have to show me those papers is for official reasons. I want to see what you can do.”

“Well, what do you want me to do?” Hermione said.

“I was hoping you'd ask me that,” Susan said, with a grin.

She looked up, and Hermione looked up too, wondering what Susan could possibly be doing. Suddenly, the room went much lighter. Hermione's eyes went wide, and her jaw almost dropped to the floor. About a dozen rows up, a number of very official-looking witches and wizards were sitting in a long row.

“Er...” Hermione said, completely in awe.

“I hope you don't mind that your interview will be mainly in the hands-on approach,” Susan said.

Hermione gave a timid little laugh and shook her head.

“Good,” Susan said, smiling, “Follow me.”

Susan started walking up the steps toward the bench where the witches and wizards were. Hermione followed her up and toward the middle of the row. The most official-looking was the wizard in the middle of the row. Hermione only recognized him from a picture she vaguely remembered seeing in the Daily Prophet at one point or another.

“Head Judge Morrison,” Susan said, “This is Hermione Granger.”

“Nice to meet you, Miss Granger,” Morrison said.

“It's an honor, your honor,” she said, then blushed, realizing what she said.

The other witches and wizards s******ed, and Morrison gave them all stern looks. He then looked back at Hermione and chuckled.

“Please, Miss Granger,” Morrison said, “Everyone who works for me calls me Herb.”

“Of course,” Hermione said.

“I hope this isn't too much of a shock for you,” Morrison said.

Hermione looked for a response, but couldn't find one good enough. Morrison chuckled again.

“Well, once you are out of that shock,” Morrison said, “I'd like you to take a seat at the end.”

He pointed to Hermione's left.

“You are about to participate in a small matter,” Morrison said, “Though, if I remember my history, it might be wise to say that you may have a little interest in this case.”

Hermione wasn't sure what he meant, but she had to say something anyway.

“I hope that doesn't prove to be a problem,” Hermione said.

“Oh, Court Scribes don't have a vote in a case,” Morrison said, “But if I heard right, you might not be on that job for long, will you?”

Morrison smiled at her.

“Um, well,” Hermione said, not sure what to say.

“We'll get to that later,” Morrison said, still smiling, “Please take a seat.”

“Yes, your Honor,” Hermione said, then caught herself, “I mean Herb.”

Morrison chuckled. Hermione walked down to the end of the row, and sat in one of the two empty seats. In front of her were a set of quills, ink a large stack of parchment. Susan took the seat next to her.

“I usually sit next to the judge,” Susan said, “But since part of this is your interview, I've been asked to sit with you in case you have a question.”

Hermione nodded. She looked down the row. Morrison put his wand to his throat.

“Will the members of the defense please come in?” he asked, his voice raised from the Sonorous spell.

The doors opened. A moment later, an elderly woman stepped into the middle of the courtroom. Hermione recognized her as the elderly witch who was with her in the lifts. If this was who Morrison spoke of, she wasn't sure what interest Hermione had in her. They had only met (if you could call it that) in the lifts not thirty minutes ago.

“Er... ma'am?” Morrison said, “I think you might be in the wrong courtroom.”

“I wouldn't be so sure of that, your honor,” the elderly witch said.

Suddenly, she took out her wand.

“What in the blazes?” Morrison asked, loudly.

“Oh, don't get your knickers in a twist, Morrison,” the witch said, in a voice that Hermione was only too familiar with.

The witch tapped her head with the wand, and suddenly, a plume of smoke appeared where she was standing. Confused murmurs were heard among the witches and wizards.

“Er... sir?” Susan asked Morrison.

Morrison waved a hand to silence Susan. His only concentration was on the now disappearing plume of smoke. The smoke disappeared and Hermione silently swore. Standing where the smoke had been a second before... was Rita Skeeter.

“How dare you walk into this courtroom,” Morrison yelled, “and play this game of charades, Miss Skeeter! Just who do you think you are?”

“Do you want me to start writing?” Hermione whispered to Susan.

“I don't know,” Susan whispered, “I guess so.”

Hermione quickly picked up the quill and wrote what had happened when Rita had first entered. She started writing Morrison's remarks of outrage, when Susan coughed lightly. Hermione looked at her.

“Not a good idea,” she muttered.

Hermione was about to question her, when she realized what she meant. With a quick spell, she made the last line of ink disappear.

“Every one of you know precisely who I am,” Rita said.

She looked up and down the line of wizards and witches, then to Hermione. Hermione looked up. Rita's blue eyes were the only thing brighter than her blonde hair, and they stared through her spectacles, right into Hermione's eyes. She grinned, showing her marvelous teeth.

“Yes,” Rita said, “Every last one of you.”

Hermione ignored her and started writing again. She walked over to the bench and sat down, right where Hermione had been sitting only a few minutes before. Hermione scowled silently. She should have known that old woman was Rita Skeeter in disguise. Hadn't she muttered the words “young love”? Hadn't those words been used by Rita during the Tri-wizard Tournament? Hadn't the words been precisely about her, Hermione? Hermione scowled again at her ignorance.

“I don't know why you say I was playing charades, though, Morrison,” Rita said, “You should know very well why I was in disguise. I mean...”

She laughed her annoying throaty laugh. Hermione wrote some more, trying to ignore Rita.

“I am a celebrity,” she said, “I just can't simply walk into a place like this and not expect to be horded by my lovely fans. It would have been a mob. Innocent bystanders would have been trampled on like flies. Why, you should thank me for having the decency to disguise myself. Hmm?”

Hermione rolled her eyes as she wrote some more.

“That is not the point, Miss Skeeter!” Morrison said.

“Oh?” Rita said, “But isn't that the reason I am here today? To defend my rightful name as a celebrity. Hmm?”

“You could say that,” Morrison said.

“Mmhmm,” Rita said, smiling again.

“The exact reason you are here, today,” Morrison said.

Shuffling of papers were heard. Hermione looked down the row. A witch was going through papers and giving them to Morrison.

“The exact reason you are here today,” Morrison said again, “Is because of some of the content in your new book – 'The Second War: Victory or Vicious?'”

“The book isn't even out yet,” Rita said, “How would you know about its contents?!”

Morrison laughed lightly.

“Miss Skeeter,” he said, “Apparently you don't know me that well at all. You see, I was one of many of Professor Albus Dumbledore's many friends. I read your last book, and would personally have to say that some of the hub-bub in your book was downright rubbish.”

Many of the witches and wizards, including Susan, looked surprisingly at Morrison. Hermione just grinned. Finally Rita had what was coming to her.

“Not to mention,” Morrison continued, “That your manners of extracting information would quite possibly be frowned upon by many of your peers. I believe it was you who said that it isn't hard to get information out of someone if you know how to do it. Miss Skeeter... are you aware that if a person takes too much Veritaserum in a small period of time, the effects of that potion could be harmful to them.”

Rita scowled and stared at Morrison.

“The effects of the potion, Veritaserum,” Morrison said, “Could make a person lose their mind. It could be easily mistaken for the long effects of the Cruciatus Curse, which is just as, if not more, horrible and unspeakable.”

Unforgivable, even, Hermione thought as she wrote down every one of Morrison's words on her parchment, a smile on her face that could outshine even Rita Skeeter's, who wasn't smiling at the moment.

“A while before Bathilda Bagshot was found dead,” Morrison said, “There was a few worrisome comments about her given to some of the Healers at St. Mungo's. Most of them said the same thing: Bathilda Bagshot, as wise as she once was, was not exactly in her right mind at the time-being. 'Off her rocker' one even said. Now, Miss Skeeter, it is widely known that you finished your book roughly a month after Albus Dumbledore died, am I correct?”

“Yes,” Rita simply said.

“Well,” Morrison said, “the first worrisome comment given to the healers at St. Mungo's came just about a week after your book was published.”

“Ol' Batty could have been off her rocker long before Dumbledore kicked the bucket!” Rita said in a very nasty, defensive voice.

“Oh, that is correct,” Morrison said, “But if that is true, could you have possibly gotten all that information out of her for your book if she was in that state of mind?”

“Everyone journalist and writer has their secrets of extracting information from somebody,” Rita said.

“I think it was your attempts of extracting information that put her that way,” Morrison said.

“Oh, you do?” Rita said, a large smile returning to her face, “Well, unfortunately, regrettably, Bathilda Bagshot isn't around anymore to give you that information. So, I think we are through.”

Rita stood up.

“We are not!” Morrison yelled, making Rita, Hermione and Susan all jump.

In mid-jump, Hermione had messed up the last line on the parchment. She made it vanish then rewrote it. Meanwhile, Rita sat back down.

“This hearing is not just about your means of extracting information from Bathilda Bagshot,” Morrison said, “It is about information you had received for your latest leather-bound sack of rubbish.”

Rita turned up her lip at the comment.

“As well as the way you have acquired said information,” Morrison said, “Miss Skeeter, you said in one of your interviews, that you had a secret source at the Battle of Hogwarts. Well, it is time for you to give up that secret, right here in this courtroom.”

“That would be... impossible,” Rita said.

“Oh?” Morrison asked, “And why is that?”

“Because the only reason I was able to get that source's information,” Rita said, “Was if I took an Unbreakable Vow that my source would never be revealed. If it was revealed well...”

Rita shuddered slightly. Hermione knew why. If she had broken the Vow, she would have been killed by the spell itself.

Everyone looked at Morrison. There was seemingly no way past this.

“That's it then,” Hermione whispered to Susan, “No way of getting any more evidence, right?”

“Head Judge Morrison is very cunning, Hermione,” Susan whispered, “You see, he is a skilled Legilimens.”

“Ohhh,” Hermione said, grinning.

She looked at Morrison again. He was studying Rita. Could he be using Legilimency on her?

“I don't think so, Miss Skeeter,” he finally said, “Someone like you wouldn't use the Unbreakable Vow. You could break it subconciously, and not even know it. Then poof, the end of Rita Skeeter, killed by her own greed.”

“Ha, shows how much you know,” Rita said, “My source did --”

“Oh, I have no doubts that someone offered you information in trade for the Vow,” Morrison said, “Only you didn't accept their offer... did you? Oh, you had a source. The ultimate source. Much more unbreakable than the Unbreakable Vow. Shatterproof. Spell-proof. You were your own source. I mean, it would have been easy for you to go unnoticed. The Battle of Hogwarts was so hectic, nobody would have noticed a reporter buzzing her away around, getting her own little scoops for her next best-selling novel.”

Hermione grinned. She knew where Morrison was headed. Knew it right when she heard him use the term “buzzing”. The only question was... how did he know? As far as she knew, there weren't many people who knew. She was one of the few, herself.

“Rita Skeeter,” Morrison said, “I know one of the tricks of your trade. Witches and Wizards of the Wizengamot. Sitting below you, staring right up at us with that knowing in her eyes, is none other than... an unregistered Animagus!”

Gasps were heard among the witches and wizards. Rita Skeeter looked as if she was shooting daggers out of her eyes, right at every member of the Wizengamot who had her fate in their hands.

“Miss Skeeter,” Morrison said, “I'm sure you are aware that to be an unregistered Animagus is illegal. I'm sure you know how much trouble you could be in. Am I correct?”

Hermione expected Rita to decline that knowledge.

“Yes, your honor,” Rita said, “Unfortunately for you, once again, you have no proof, Morrison.”

“I can easily get that proof,” Morrison said.

Before Rita could react, Morrison stood up and whipped out his wand. He muttered a spell, and suddenly, Rita disappeared. The witches and wizards were shocked, but Hermione saw a small glass bottle on the floor. She couldn't see it very well up where she was, but Hermione swore there was something moving around in the bottle. Morrison tapped the desk in front of him with his wand. A moment later, two wizards dressed in Auror robes walked into the courtroom.

“Would you please bring that bottle and its contents up here, gentleman?” Morrison asked.

One of the Aurors went to the center of the room and picked up the bottle. He then walked up to where Hermione and the others were sitting, and put the bottle on the desk in front of Morrison. Hermione could now clearly see the beetle in the bottle, as well as the marks on its eyes that looked to be in the shape of Rita Skeeter's glasses. The bottle shook as the beetle buzzed around angrily.

“Ladies and gentleman,” Morrison said, with sheer glee, “Rita Skeeter.”

Murmurs were heard among the witches and wizards.

“What say you?” Morrison asked, “Have we been given enough evidence to lock Rita Skeeter up for reasons that she is an unregistered Animagus?”

“Aye”s were heard among the Wizengamot. Morrison looked at the bottle.

“Rita Skeeter,” he said, “You are hereby sentenced to a period no shorter than three years, no longer than five years at Azkaban prison for illegally practicing the art of the Animagus. How do you plead?”

The beetle buzzed more angrily around the jar.

“Aurors,” Morrison said, “Take Miss Skeeter to Azkaban.”

The Aurors nodded and walked down the row, passed Hermione, then down the steps and out of the courtroom.

“Miss Bones,” Morrison said, “Please go to the Daily Prophet office. I think they will be happy to know of the breaking news about one Rita Skeeter. Tell them that the detailed story will be given to them as soon as possible.”

“Yes, sir,” Susan said.

She got up from her seat and walked down the stairs and left the courtroom.

“Miss Granger?” Morrison said, “Would you please come over here? Bring your notes as well.”

Hermione smiled and nodded then got up from her seat and walked over in front of Morrison. She handed her notes to Morrison, who quickly read through them. He then looked at her and grinned.

“This is very good, Miss Granger,” he said.

“Thank you,” Hermione said.

“This is too good for Court Scribe,” he said, “So, I tell you what. The Daily Prophet is looking for a Court Respondent.”

“Sir, I don't think I'm meant to be a journalist,” Hermione said.

“Oh, then you'll be perfect for this,” Morrison said, “You see, as Court Respondent, you'll be overseeing each and everyone of my cases. The Daily Prophet is always wanting the inside information on the cases I judge over. That will be your job.”

“I thought that was what a Court Scribe did,” Hermione said.

“Court Scribes are only the authors of the records,” Morrison said, “And between you and me, they are very busy. It is the bottom of the metaphorical judicial food chain. You deserve better than that. This job may only be temporary, Miss Granger. You never know. Before too long, you may be up where Susan is.”

He lowered his voice to a whisper.

“And between you and me,” he said softly, “I think you'd deserve it more.”

He grinned and Hermione just smiled.

“So what do you say?” Morrison asked.

Hermione considered it for a moment.

“I'll do it,” she said.

“Wonderful!” Morrison said, “As for when you work, you don't really have a strict schedule. You will just be with me during my cases. While it is true I may have a few cases on one day, I may not have any for a few days on end. Right now, you have your first assignment. Once Susan tells the Daily Prophet about this breaking news, I'm sure they'll be buzzing themselves. I need you to perfect these wonderful notes and give them to the Daily Prophet. While they will have the job of making sure the rest of the information is right, none of your words will be touched. Over the years, of course, the Daily Prophet has been known to alter the truth in the paper. But recently, they stick to the truth. So whatever you decide to give them, will be in the paper. As I said, your name doesn't have to be in the paper unless you want it to be. Is that all right for you?”

“Yeah,” Hermione said.

“Wonderful,” Morrison said, “It will be a pleasure to work with you, then. You may go.”

Hermione smiled and walked down to the courtroom floor. She sat on one of the benches, and looked over her notes. Thirty minutes later, she walked out of the room, as the new Court Respondent for the Wizengamot.

End of chapter! Yes, I know I promised the house would be in this chapter, but it will be in the next one. As I started writing this, I planned that the interview would be very short, and then it would go straight to the house, but then all of this came to mind as I wrote, and I surprised myself with the Rita Skeeter idea.

Hope you liked it. More to come, I promise!

Feedback would be wonderful!

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