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Old September 3rd, 2009, 5:31 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 18
Foreseen and Unforeseen



(Hermione's PoV)

Hermione woke up the next morning, and looked at the clock beside the bed. It read 5:50. She glanced over at Ron, who was still asleep. He wouldn't probably wake up for another hour or so. By then, Hermione figured she could have gotten ready for work and started breakfast by then, even if she stayed in bed for a few minutes longer.

She stared at the ceiling, thinking about the court case from the previous day. She knew that once that case had been revealed to the public, thanks to her notes that were in the Daily Prophet, the story would probably be bigger than Rita Skeeter's imprisonment. Head Judge Herb Morrison had realized this as well, as he told Hermione and Susan, when he had invited them for lunch after the case was finished...

Flashback begins...

Tom, the Leaky Cauldron bar man, delivered two butterbeers and a coffee, wrote down what Herb, Hermione and Susan had ordered, and walked back behind the bar. Herb took a small sip of his coffee, smacked his lips in happiness and looked at Hermione.

“So what did you think of our latest case?” he asked her.

“It was quite... revealing,” Hermione said.

“That it was,” Herb said.

“Sir?” Hermione said, looking at her unopened bottle of butterbeer, “Have you talked to Minister Shacklebolt since he interviewed Mr. Fetcher?”

“Nope,” Herb said, “His assistant brought the letter to me.”

“Oh,” Hermione said.

“I take it you're wondering what he had to say about the memory we witnessed?” Herb asked.

“I can't say I'm not exactly interested,” Hermione said.

Herb chuckled.

“I have a feeling you'll find out before too long,” he said.

Hermione looked at him, questioningly.

“The Daily Prophet, Hermione, remember?” Susan whispered to Hermione.

“Susan is right,” Herb said, “I'm sure the Daily Prophet will be questioning him about it.”

“Speaking of that,” Hermione said, voicing a thought she had had for a while, “The Daily Prophet still doesn't know who is writing the notes for the court cases, do they?”

“Nope,” Herb said, “With Narcissa Malfoy delivering the notes, I don't think you'll have to worry about that. Now, back to the Minister of Magic for a moment. When his secretary gave me that letter, she also gave me another one.”

“About the case, sir?” Hermione asked.

“No,” Herb said, shaking his head.

Hermione looked at Susan. She looked as confused as Hermione was.

“It seems the Wizengamot is the next target on the Minister's list,” Herb said.

Susan almost choked on her butterbeer.

“But, sir!” she exclaimed, “Surely the Minister doesn't believe there is someone in the Wizengamot with connections to Death Eaters. I mean, each and every member of the Wizengamot were questioned directly by the Minister, before they could even be a part of it. Am I right?”

“All were interviewed before Kingsley Shacklebolt went into office, Susan,” Herb said, “Myself and a few others were interviewed by Cornelius Fudge, while the rest were interviewed by the late Rufus Scrimgeour.”

“But you know them well enough,” Susan said, “To know that they don't have any of those types of connections. Right?”

“I could answer that,” Herb said, “But never to the best of my ability. I wouldn't be one-hundred percent positive with my answer.”

“Even if you are a skilled Legilimens?” Hermione asked.

“Even so,” Herb said, and he took another generous sip of his coffee.

“When is Shacklebolt starting the investigations?” Hermione asked, though she felt she already knew the answer.

“Tomorrow,” Herb said, with a sigh, “And he will continue those investigations over the next few days, up until lunchtime each day. We will only have one court case a day, in the afternoons, until the Minister is done with his investigations.”

“What is your opinion of this?” Susan asked.

“If you asked me that before the case today, I would have told you that I am a little peeved with it, Susan,” Herb asked, “But after listening to the case today, I will say that the Minister of Magic could investigate only the Wizengamot for a year, and I would have no objections. I would be ashamed if any of my colleagues turned out to have connections with Death Eaters, or knew anyone, on a personal level, who had connections. Especially when we now know there are enough names to fill a list.”

His expression went grave, and Hermione wondered what Herb was thinking. She shrugged it away and finally opened her butterbeer and took a long swig.

Flashback ends


As Hermione lay in bed, she wondered if Herb was holding anything back from her and Susan yesterday. Even Susan had been surprised to hear that Kingsley Shacklebolt was turning his investigations to the Wizengamot, and as far as Hermione knew, Herb told his assistant anything that had to do with work. She didn't want to admit it, even to herself, but in the back of her mind, she wondered if Herb could possibly have any connections to Death Eaters, however small they may be. If so, the repercussions for that would be large.

Head Judge Herb Morrison was reputed to be the best in his job, and there were rumors that, when Amelia Bones was alive, he could have replaced her in a heartbeat. He was well-respected among his peers, and even the Daily Prophet, who followed the Wizengamot like hounds to a fox, seemed to fear him and would dare not cross him even with their right to publish whatever they wanted.

To Hermione's right, Ron emitted a loud snore, and it broke her from her thoughts. She remembered discussing the court case with Ron. How she couldn't wait to reveal it to someone close to her. Of course, Ron had been excited as well, and Hermione had almost forgotten all about Ron's trial exams. After Ron told her all about the written and practical exams with excruciating detail, Hermione told him about the court case. She remembered his reaction as if he had been telling her just that moment...

Flashback begins

“So it looks like this could be the start of the Third War, you think?” Ron asked Hermione after she finished with her story.

Ron was still in shock. His excitement of how well he had done with his exams seemed so distant now.

“I won't go that far,” Hermione said, “But it seems the wizarding world may have something really bad on its hands now.”

“And this Fetcher guy,” Ron said, “He refused to give the list of names?”

“He kept saying that there was no list,” Hermione said.

“You don't believe him, though,” Ron said.

“No,” Hermione said, shaking her head, “And neither does Herb.”

“And you couldn't see who Fetcher was talking to?” Ron asked.

“He was completely blocked from view,” Hermione said, “It was like looking at someone from behind a shower door. Everything was distorted and blurry.”

“But you said that that was all done by Kingsley,” Ron said, “Not by Fetcher himself?”

“Correct,” Hermione said.

“So Shacklebolt knows who he is?” Ron asked.

“Also correct,” Hermione said, “But he probably won't give the name up. He doesn't want the public to react harshly. Doesn't matter anyway. The Death Eater is probably dead.”

“So what is the matter?” Ron asked, “If the Death Eater's dead, and Fetcher's beginning a long stay at Azkaban...”

“I told you, Ron,” Hermione said, “Herb thinks Fetcher probably found everyone on the list by now. Fetcher's probably only the messenger anyway. They wouldn't have let him have too much important information, especially since he worked in the Ministry.”

“Perhaps Kingsley thinks there is a possibility,” Ron said, “that a few names from that list are working in the Ministry.”

“It's what I'd believe if I was in his shoes,” Hermione said, “The question is... what are these people planning?”

“We know it's about revenge, right?” Ron asked.

“Yep,” Hermione said, nodding.

“So they would want to avenge the people behind the Death Eater's deaths,” Ron said, “Most of whom are in the Ministry.”

“They wouldn't attack the Ministry,” Hermione said, “It's already been attempted and failed.”

“Then what could they be planning?” Ron asked.

“That, as the saying goes,” Hermione said, “is a good question.”

Flashback ends


Suddenly, six long bongs from Big Ben, London's famous clock tower, broke Hermione from her thoughts. Six-o-clock. Another long snore from Ron told Hermione that her fiancee was still asleep. Not even Big Ben could wake him. Hermione got up from her bed and started to get ready for work.

-----------------------------
As Hermione was halfway done with preparing breakfast, she heard an owl's long hoot. She looked out the window that stood over the sink. It was a Ministry owl delivering the morning's Daily Prophet. The owl landed on the windowsill, and Hermione opened the window. The owl flew in and dropped the newspaper on the kitchen table, then perched himself on a chair. Hermione inserted a Sickle into the owl's coin-pouch, and the owl flew back out the window. She pointed her wand at the pan that was frying the eggs, and muttered a couple words. The spatula and pan started moving on their own. Hermione sat down and picked up the newspaper. Large bold letters on the front page read:


WIZENGAMOT'S LATEST CASE REVEALS AN INTERESTING
TWIST ON THE MINISTER OF MAGIC'S INVESTIGATION



Hermione started to read the article:


On Monday, in Courtroom Six, the Wizengamot
were up bright and early with their first case.

Ralph Fetcher, a resident of Surrey, who worked
in the Department of Misuse of Muggle Artifacts
was called to present his defense in front of,
what was reported to be, the entire Wizengamot.

There, it was revealed that Fetcher's sister, who
was not present in the Courtroom, and has refused
to speak with the Daily Prophet, was once married
to a Death Eater, though the two had been long
separated. It is unknown where Fetcher's sister
will be questioned by the Ministry. It was also
revealed that Mr. Fetcher had been in contact
with his sister's ex-husband. The Minister of
Magic has refused to identify the Death Eater.

During the case, it was revealed that the Minister
of Magic had questioned Fetcher twice which led
Fetcher to be temporarily imprisoned at the Ministry
until his hearing. It was also revealed, that an Auror
who was skilled in Legilimens, was also present
for questioning. The Auror was able to find one
particularly interesting memory in Fetcher's mind
that hadn't been revealed to the Minister. This
memory was then given to the Minister of
Magic, and when he looked at it, he gave it to
the Wizengamot as evidence in Fetcher's case.

In the memory, Fetcher met with the Death Eater
who will not be named. The Death Eater's identity
was blurred out even from the Wizengamot. The
Minister had edited this memory so the Death
Eater wouldn't be revealed. Fetcher and the
Death Eater started discussing the latter's
possible impending death. The Death Eater told
Fetcher that he would be given a list of names that
Fetcher had to track down. The reason behind this:
those people would be greatly affected if the Death
Eaters were killed. The Death Eater believed
that those people would want their revenge for
the Death Eaters' demise. It was also revealed
that Fetcher and the Death Eater finished
the conversation with the Unbreakable Vow.

When asked by the Wizengamot for the list, Fetcher
denied having any knowledge about this list. Head
Judge Herb Morrison didn't believe him. He sentenced
Fetcher to fifteen years in Azkaban.



Below this article was another one which was just as interesting. Hermione read the header:


LATEST RESULTS FROM MINISTER OF MAGIC'S
INVESTIGATION COULD FORETELL A POSSIBLE ATTACK



Hermione wasn't surprised. It was the same exact thing that she and Ron had been discussing the previous evening. She started reading the article:


With the astounding new evidence in the Minister
of Magic's on-going investigation, it won't be a
surprise if the Minister puts the wizarding world
on high-alert.

Although neither the Minister, nor the
Wizengamot, were successful in retrieving the
important information from Ralph Fetcher, it is
still believed that the contents of the list given
to Mr. Fetcher by an unknown Death Eater could
be anything but good news for the wizarding world.

With revenge on the minds of unknown, possibly
countless, witches and wizards, it is to be believed
that new sparks of violence could be seen before long.
The question on the Ministry's mind: when? And
where will these attacks take place? Unfortunately,
it looks as if an attack could happen before the Ministry
has enough information to stop it.

Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt had this
to say on the matter:

“It is unknown whether an attack is imminent,”
Shacklebolt said, when the Daily Prophet
asked him about an attack, sparking news
of this evidence, “But that does not mean
the Ministry isn't ready for it. As for the public,
if there are riots in result to this information,
all suspects of these riots will be sent
directly in front of the Wizengamot, with
a possibility of time in Azkaban.”

When asked where the Minister's next point
of investigation was going to be, Shacklebolt
declined to answer.




You could have asked me, Hermione thought, then remembered she didn't want anything to do with the contents of the Daily Prophet, other than her annonymous notes.

The bacon in the pan next to the eggs sizzled and Hermione closed the Daily Prophet and returned to preparing breakfast. A moment later, Ron walked into the kitchen. He walked over to Hermione and kissed her on the cheek, then sat down at the table.

“Your notes in the Prophet again?” he asked, glancing at the newspaper.

“Of course,” Hermione said, “They wouldn't pass that one by.”

“Oh, right,” Ron said, as if he had only just remembered what Hermione had told him the night before.

Hermione heard the sound of the newspaper being opened behind her.

“Well, at least they aren't denying a possible attack,” Ron said.

“Nope,” Hermione said.

“It's what Fudge and Scrimgeour would have done,” Ron said, “At least Kingsley's different.”

“Yeah,” Hermione said.

Yeah, Hermione thought, enough to include the Wizengamot, the most trusted group of witches and wizards in the Ministry, in the investigation.

“Are you okay, Hermione?” Ron asked, “You're kind of quiet.”

“Just tired,” Hermione lied.

“No,” Ron said, “It's something else. Something you haven't told me.”

Hermione sighed. She delayed response by serving the bacon and eggs onto two plates and taking them over to the table.

“What is it, Hermione?” Ron asked, “You can tell me.”

Hermione frowned. It looked like even breakfast wasn't going to stop Ron from wanting to know why Hermione was so silent.

“You know these investigations Kingsley is conducting?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah, of course,” Ron said, glancing quickly at the Daily Prophet.

“The Wizengamot is next,” Hermione said.

“What do you mean?” Ron asked.

“Just that!” Hermione said, “Morrison told me that Kingsley's turned his investigation to the Wizengamot.”

“Oh,” Ron said, “Hermione, if you're worried that Kingsley is going to ask you questions, you shouldn't be. You have no connections to Death Eaters, and Kingsley knows that. He knows you too, remember?”

“I'm not worried about me, Ron,” Hermione said, “What if one of the Wizengamot has something to hide? What if it's Head Judge Morrison who has something to hide? He's one of the most respected wizards in the Ministry. I just can't imagine if --”

Ron put a hand on one of hers, which was resting on the table.

“I don't think you have anything to worry about,” Ron said, “If Morrison is like you say he is, then I bet he will be the least of Kingsley's worries.”

Hermione gave him a reassuring smile, but she was still worried. It was woman's intuition, like she had told Ginny. This time, it was working overtime in her mind.

--------------------------------

With a ding, the lifts opened, and Hermione walked out onto the bottom floor of the Ministry of Magic. Susan Bones was standing by the wall outside of Courtroom Two. She put a finger to her lips and motioned Hermione over.

“Where's Herb?” Hermione whispered.

Susan nodded toward the courtroom in front of her.

“Is he talking to the Minister?” Hermione asked.

“Nope,” Susan said, “He hasn't arrived yet. Guess again.”

“The Daily Prophet,” Hermione said.

“Bingo,” Susan said.

The doors of Courtroom Two opened. Herb walked out surrounded by reporters and camera men.

“Has Ralph Fetcher revealed any more information about the list?” one reporter asked.

“Mr. Fetcher hasn't said a word since he arrived in Azkaban,” Herb said.

“Do you know the identity of the Death Eater Ralph Fetcher talked to at the bar called the Hog's Head?” a second reporter asked.

“No,” Herb said, “But the Minister of Magic does.”

The doors to the lifts opened. Kingsley Shacklebolt walked out.

“In fact, there he is,” Herb said, “Why don't you ask him?”

The reporters all walked over to the Minister, followed by their bumbling camera men.

“Minister!” one reporter said.

“Minister Shacklebolt,” a second reporter said, “What is the --”

“Those camera's flashes are quite blinding, I tell you,” Herb said, “You know, Hermione. I don't blame you for wanting to avoid --”

He nodded to the reporters. Hermione grinned.

“That's all I will say, folks,” Kingsley said, “No. No more. I'm quite busy right now.”

He pushed his way through the reporters and walked over to Hermione, Herb and Susan.

“Excellent,” he said, “Just the person I want to talk to.”

Herb nodded, as if expecting it would be him.

“Miss Granger,” Kingsley continued, “Can you follow me into Courtroom Two?”

Hermione nodded timidly.

“Judge Morrison,” Kingsley said, “When the rest of the Wizengamot come down, please ask them to wait until I call them in.”

“Of course, Minister,” Herb said.

Hermione followed Kingsley into the Courtroom. It was ironic that he had brought her in this room. She felt like one of the many defendants she had written about over the past couple of weeks.

“Before we begin, Miss Granger,” Kingsley said, “I want to assure you that you have nothing to fear. I know for a fact that you have no connections to Death Eaters.”

“Yes, sir,” Hermione said, “And please call me Hermione. We've known each other long before you became Minister.”

Kingsley smiled.

“Of course,” he said, “Actually that is what I was trying to get at. We have known each other since you stayed at Number 12 Grimmauld Place when I was a part of the Order of the Phoenix. I was hoping that little detail would help me with something.”

“Sure,” Hermione said.

“As you know,” Kingsley said, “I have quite the task ahead of me. I was hoping you'd help me a bit with it. I know you've only worked here for a couple of weeks, but I was wondering if you might have heard things. Things that the members of the Wizengamot might have said to you, or their colleagues. Anything would be helpful. Even if, at the time, it seemed small, it might be helpful now.”

“I don't think I know exactly what you are getting at,” Hermione said, although she was more than sure of it.

“Oh, anything that might have raised your suspicions,” Kingsley said, “Perhaps made the hairs on the back of your arms and neck raise. Particularly about Death Eaters, or connections to them.”

“Sir,” Hermione said, “The only thing I've heard concerning Death Eaters since I started this job, is what I've heard from the defendants of the cases I've written notes about.”

“Nothing from your colleagues?” Kingsley asked.

“No,” Hermione said, shaking her head, “And I'm not sticking up for them either. I witnessed Ralph Fetcher's memory scene, and I assure you, Minister, if there was something that could help you, I would tell you. I'm just as worried as you are about the contents of that list, and how many people Mr. Fetcher met before you interrogated him.”

Kingsley stared at her for a moment. He then smiled and nodded.

“Thank you, Hermione,” Kingsley said, “That's all I needed to hear. You may go.”

Hermione nodded and walked toward the door. She stopped a couple feet from the door and turned around.

“Minister?” Hermione asked.

“Yes, Hermione?” Kingsley asked.

“Do you suspect Judge Morrison of anything?” Hermione said.

“Not yet,” Kingsley said.

Hermione frowned. To her, “not yet” sounded a lot like “yes”.

“In fact, I'll be more assured of my answer when I speak to him,” Kingsley said, “Can you send him in, please?”

Hermione nodded. She walked out of the courtroom and over to Susan and Herb. She noticed that more Wizengamot members had arrived.

“Kingsley wants to see you, next, Herb,” Hermione said, trying to keep the worry away from her voice.

Herb smiled and walked past her and into the courtroom. Susan looked at her.

“What did he ask you?” she asked her.

Hermione wondered if she should lie or not.

“Nothing, really,” Hermione said, shrugging, “He asked me if I had any connections to Death Eaters. I said no, and he seemed happy with that answer.”

“That's all?” Susan asked.

“Yeah,” Hermione said.

“Wow,” Susan said, “I just expected more, I guess. I mean, everything we've heard about the investigation makes you think that the Minister's really laying the questions down thick with everyone he talks to. Doesn't it seem that way to you?”

“I guess so,” Hermione said.

“I guess he really trusts you,” Susan said, “I mean, I'm not saying he should. It's clear you have nothing to be worry about.”

Hermione nodded, but she frowned as she looked at the courtroom door. Susan was wrong. She had a lot to worry about. And every bit of it had to do with what was happening behind those closed doors.

-----------------------------------
Thirty minutes passed by and Herb still hadn't walked out of the courtroom. Though, ten minutes after Herb had walked in, two Aurors walked out of the lifts and into Courtroom two.

“That was Alex Macaulay,” Susan said.

“Who?” Hermione asked.

“The same Legilimens who had discovered Ralph Fetcher's hidden secret,” Susan said, “What could the Minister want with him?”

“You don't think it has anything to do with Herb?” Hermione asked.

“I don't know,” Susan said, “But I have a strange feeling it does.”

Hermione didn't need to ask where that feeling came from. She knew what it was: good ol' woman's intuition, sometimes more powerful than magic itself.

Another twenty minutes passed by, totaling nearly an hour since Herb had walked into the courtroom. Hermione and Susan were now sitting against the wall, staring at the door.

“What I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall in there,” a Wizengamot member, a woman, on the other side of Susan said.

“I agree with you, Bea,” Susan said, “What is taking them so –?”

Before she could finish, the courtroom doors opened. Herb walked out followed by the Minister. Hermione looked at Herb, hoping to ask how the whole thing went, but there was no expression on the Judge's face. He walked over to where Hermione and Susan were standing, then looked at Bea.

“You're next, Bea,” he said, then looked at Hermione, “Hermione, it doesn't look like there is going to be a case today. You can go home early.”

“What happened in there?” Susan asked.

“I've been asked not to talk about it,” Herb said, “The only thing I can say is that Kingsley wants to see me again later today.”

Susan looked at Hermione. Hermione could tell that Susan looked really worried. She didn't blame her.

---------------------------
At home, Hermione spent most of the day watching TV while she waited for Ron to get off work. It was the only thing that kept her mind off the morning's events. She wondered if she would hear anything before the day was through, but nothing had come when Hermione and Ron sat down for dinner: pork ribs and Orzo pasta.

“You're still not worrying about that discussion you had with Kingsley, are you?” Ron asked her.

Hermione shrugged, sliding her fork through her helping of pasta.

“You told me he didn't suspect you of anything,” Ron said.

“He didn't,” Hermione said, “He practically asked me if I was spying on the Wizengamot. You know what that means, right? He suspects something.”

“Come, now,” Ron said, “The Wizengamot?”

“Yes, Ron!” Hermione said, a little louder than she wanted to be, “If Kingsley didn't suspect anything, why do you think he's conducting these investigations?”

“Because if he didn't,” Ron said, “the public, not to mention the Daily Prophet, would want to know why.”

“No,” Hermione said, “I don't believe that. Something's up. I know it.”

Suddenly, there was a tapping noise on the kitchen window. Hermione turned around.

“It's a Ministry owl,” Hermione said, standing up.

“We don't get the Evening Prophet, do we?” Ron asked.

Hermione shook her head, walked over to the window and opened it. The owl had a small piece of parchment in it's mouth. He dropped it into Hermione's open hand and flew off.

“Who's it from?” Ron asked.

Hermione shrugged and read the piece of parchment:


Hermione,

I thought I'd tell you before you found out in the Daily Prophet. Herb's been arrested. All court cases have been cancelled for tomorrow. No need to come in.

Susan


------------------------------
Cliffhanger! Whew, well I didn't think of this new twist until I started on this chapter. What repercussions will happen in light of it? Is the Head Judge really connected to Death Eaters? You'll find that out very soon!

Feedback would be welcomed.


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