Ficlet: Something's Happened
The Prime Minister could feel it from the moment he woke that June morning. Everything he saw and heard made him worry that perhaps ... that other world was about to collide with his own again. There was just something indefinable in the air. More of that damned mist, perhaps.
On the first radio news bulletin of the morning, there had been a report of hikers seeing a strange green glow over an old ruin in the Highlands. The announcer had joked about aliens landing. The story had disappeared from the second bulletin. By the third, the announcer was discounting it in emphatic tones.
By now, this pattern made him suspicious.
Oh bloody hell, he thought in horror as an idea struck him, I hope the papers don't think we suppressed it! The very last thing he needed right now was a rumour that aliens really had landed.
It wasn't as if he could tell people the truth, after all.
His suspicions were reinforced when he arrived at his office. As he passed through the outer reception room, he could see that the tall bloke with the ridiculous earring that ... the other Minister had planted on him looked unusually sombre, almost miserable.
Something's happened. And he knows.
And I don't, the Prime Minister thought with a trace of annoyance.
And I'm not sure I even want to, he realised.
As he sat down at his desk, he glanced involuntarily into the far corner of the room. His heart sank. The man in the little portrait wasn't there. That surely couldn't be a good sign.
He sat down to read through the latest report from the European Parliament, who seemed to be obsessed with the necessity of standardising the thickness of commercial cooking implements. It wouldn't have been something that was easy to concentrate on under the best of circumstances, and today it was just plain impossible.
I don't suppose my ... counterpart ever has to worry about things like this.
With a sigh, he picked up the report again. And then from the corner he heard the cough, and the voice, that he'd been dreading.
"To the Prime Minister of Muggles ..."
"Yes, yes, all right!" he snapped, tensing up. "I know the routine by now. Who's coming? Fudge? Senalgore?"
The portrait glared at him. "Minister Scrimgeour will be with you shortly." And sure enough, a mere moment later the fireplace flared, and the Lion Man (as he'd come to think of him) stepped out.
"Something's happened, I take it," he said tartly.
"Yes," said his visitor in his usual brusque manner, sealing the room with a wave of his wand. The Prime Minister listened with increasing confusion as Scrimgeour proceeded to tell a long, rambling tale of a fight at a school in a castle up in Scotland. That explained the news bulletin, at least, but little else he had to say made any sense.
"But ..." said the Prime Minister plaintively as his wizarding equivalent rose to leave. "It's regrettable, I'm sure, but why is the murder of a Headmaster so important that you had to come and see me?"
The other Minister scowled at him. "Because he was more than just a Headmaster. The man was the titular head of our legislature, but more importantly, he was the only one You-Know-Who ever feared. With him out of the way, who knows what he may feel free to do?"
The Prime Minister swallowed. Given the events of the previous year, this was not an encouraging thought. "You ... are winning this war, aren't you?" he asked, stumbling over the words.
"You'd better hope we do," said his visitor enigmatically -- and thoroughly unhelpfully -- as he left.
The Prime Minister looked around his office, not really taking in his surroundings. He had a chill in his heart.
Yes, something's happened. It looks like more things will happen.
And it doesn't look like there's a damn thing that I can do about it.