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October 22nd, 2004

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06:33 pm
Since I don't really use this journal for anything else...

Percy drabble. Ministry.

Percy oftened wondered why Anecitus Mulciber still served as a glorified secretary to the Minister. Sure, Percy did the same, but Anecitus had children Percy's age, and anyway, he was a Slytherin. Wasn't he supposed to be ambitious?

"Things are never quite that simple," said Anecitus on the very first day they met. "It's just a hat. It's not God. It's not even Dumbledore." He smiled, thin lips stretched across sharp teeth. "I've had assistants too lazy to last a day, some Hufflepuffs. And the last one was real daft, and she was a Ravenclaw."

"So it's never quite that simple."

Percy's title was Junior Assistant to the Minister, but really, he just helped Anecitus. Writing letters and filing, setting up appointments and sometimes actually meeting with those considered unimportant enough to risk on a boy two years out of Hogwarts. He was also sent to get tea from the cafeteria pretty often, which he didn't actually mind, unless he saw his father, in which case he went back to the office with an empty tea cup and a vague excuse about having run into some influential figure or other. Anecitus always seemed to know he was lying, but then Anecitus always seemed to know everything.

Percy worshipped Anecitus nearly as much as he worshipped Fudge. He knew that the Minister couldn't last the day without his senior assistant. Anecitus let Fudge do what he did best - lead.

And no, it wasn't really ever quite that simple, but for Percy, it was usually close enough.

Anecitus opened a paper airplane with long, thing fingers and read the message inside. Then he folded it back up and sent it whistling across the room to Percy. "Put this in the Minister's calendar," he instructed.

Percy got out his quill, dipping it in ink so that it glistened. There was a pile of unused Muggle pens in his desk drawer that Anecitus had gotten for him - "They're about a thousand times more efficient. Most Muggle things are." - but he prefered the quill.

He opened the calender to that week, and unfolded the parchment, preparing to record the appropriate dates and names and reasons for visiting. Friday, August 13th he wrote. Two o'clock. Lucius Malf -

His hand jerked a bit in surprise, and ink splashed across the neat writing. He cursed, a little too loudly, and Anecitus looked at him reprovingly. "Is something wrong, Percy?"

"No," he said, taking out his wand and casting a charm to erase the mess he'd made. He put that down, picked up the quill again, and scheduled an appointment for Lucius Malfoy, right between the Head of Law Enforcement at one and the Canadian Ambassador at three. "No, just misspelled something."

Anecitus gave him that look again, then returned to writing some notes for Fudge's next speech. Percy was about to ask to be given something to do when the door to the office flew open and a stout, stockinged lady walked in.

"Dolores," said Anecitus, rising to meet her.

Percy looked at her with renewed interest. This was the person he had replaced - Dolores Umbridge was taking a teaching job at Hogwarts and had been given a couple of months to prepare. She was technically still attached

"Anecitus," she greeted him, and seemed about to burst forth with whatever it was that was flushing her thick cheeks, when she noticed Percy. "Found my replacement already, have you?"

"With all the vital work you did around here, how could we function without one?" Anecitus replied smoothly.

"Clever boy," chuckled Dolores, despite the fact that she was not much younger than the old secretary. "And is he up to snuff?" She cast a critical eye over Percy, who sat up straighter.

"You're to be the new Defense professor, isn't that right?" said Percy, stiffly, eager to please her. "I'm sure your presence at Hogwarts will be muched appreciated - after all, the position was poorly filled when I was there. A man possessed, an utter incompetent, a werewolf - "

Dolores nodded approvingly. "At least he's sensible."

"I wouldn't have had any other. But Dolores, why are you here?" She turned to him, and just like that, they'd both forgotten Percy was there. Percy shrugged and went back to booking appointments, trying not to look like he was listening in.

"There's a hearing of the Wizengamot on the twelfth. I want a seat next to Cornelius."

"There's only room for two aides," said Anecitus. "Those chambers are small, you know."

Dolores tapped her foot impatiently. "Yes, well, I want one of those two seats."

"I had planned to bring Percy - "

"Can't the boy go to his first hearing some other time? This isn't a day care center, you know."

Anecitus smiled, sensing the irony in that. "I'll tell you what. You take him. I've got better things to do than watch half the government fawn over Harry Potter."

And there the ink went again. Percy dabbed it up with the sleeve of his robe, blushing.

"What's wrong now?" asked Anecitus.

"Nothing," he said. "... Harry Potter, was that?"

Dolores nodded. "Indeed. Underage magic, again. The Boy Who Lived may very well become The Boy Who Got Expelled From Hogwarts." She grinned at her own cleverness, then let faded back down to a frown. "Not that it will actually happen. Why the interest?"

"Oh, you know," said Percy, nervously. "I doubt there's a wizard in England who doesn't care about Harry Potter."

Doloroes eyed him. "And your family has befriended him, haven't they?"

Why had she asked, if she'd already known? "They have," he said, through gritted teeth. "Of course, I never had the time to play about with my brothers' little friends. Harry Potter is no exception."

She murmured something, which might very well have been "what a shame", and turned back to Anecitus. "I'll stop by before the hearing on Thursday, then. Cornelius and the boy and I can all go down together."

Anecitus nodded and gestured for Percy to put it in the calendar. Frustrated, Percy reached into the drawer and pulled out one of the Muggle pens to write it down with.

Thursday, August 12, eight o'clock. Wizengamot hearing. Minister, Umbridge, Weasley.

Percy hoped that Harry would be all right, but if he'd broken the rules - well, then he deserved this trial. Justice would be done. Even the Boy Who Lived wasn't above justice.

Of course, it was never quite that simple.

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