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Ficlet: Something's Happened

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Jul. 21st, 2005 | 06:22 pm

My attempt at the FictionAlley challenge "Write a fic of 500 words or less that takes place the day after the book ends, from the perspective of any character in the Potterverse, except Harry". It's from the POV of "the Prime Minister of Muggles", is posted here at FA and also archived below (in slightly expanded form).



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.

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Comments {9}

lazy_neutrino

(no subject)

from: lazy_neutrino
date: Jul. 21st, 2005 05:27 pm (UTC)
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Lovely! Excellent atmosphere - something you're really good at. Nice Kingsley.

He sat down to work through the latest report from the European Parliament, who seemed to be obsessed with the necessity of standardising the thickness of commercial cooking implements.

Percy would have been proud.

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snorkackcatcher

(no subject)

from: snorkackcatcher
date: Jul. 23rd, 2005 01:46 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! I couldn't resist the Percy reference. :)

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kennahijja

(no subject)

from: kennahijja
date: Sep. 11th, 2005 07:36 pm (UTC)
Link

Greetings from the One-Shot Exchange (and I swear I did not pick this because it was the shortest, but because I enjoyed the 'The Other Minister' chapter so much).

I absolutely loved how this story took up the theme and atmosphere of HBP's first chapter. All the beautiful little details and references – to the mist, the painting, the 'Lion Man', the 'old ruin in the Highlands'... The Prime Minister himself just fit with his canon self, as if they were speaking with the very same voice, and engaged in the same narrow-minded politicking likee when he wonders about accusations about suppressing press news. Wonderful writing there – it reads like a missing scene (or missing sequel?) from HBP.

My very favourite bit was "Who's coming? Fudge? Senalgore?" – I laughed my poor little head off at that! Well, that and "the latest report from the European Parliament, who seemed to be obsessed with the necessity of standardising the thickness of commercial cooking implements". At least poor Percy has been in excellent company there :).

And I loved the little glimpse at Kingsley Shacklebolt, right down to the earring detail – yes, he *would* look sombre...

Subjectively, I felt the force of the ficlet petered out a little at the end, which might call for a bit of a bigger 'bang' than it got – not sure, but it might have had more effect if it stopped after 'left' without the last three lines? But well, that's really just subjective, and very minor.

I had great fun reading this, and am thoroughly glad you put it up on the Exchange – wonderful, canonical ficlet.

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snorkackcatcher

(no subject)

from: snorkackcatcher
date: Sep. 13th, 2005 08:00 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! This was just a quick short story because I thought I'd better have a go at the HBP challenge. Glad you liked it, and that you thought the voice was right. I agree with you that it does peter out a bit in the last few lines - I might tweak them at some point.

My very favourite bit was "Who's coming? Fudge? Senalgore?"

Excellent. I'm always ridiculously pleased when people get my throwaway jokes. :)

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(no subject)

from: anonymous
date: Oct. 11th, 2005 08:24 pm (UTC)
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Impressive, especially the cauldron bottoms. Had you thought of giving him a bit more of John Major's personality? He's basically a specialist in mediocrity, marginally competent and, whilst on the whole a decent bloke, pitifully out of his depth and to some extent dependent on an ancient, unpopular and barmy mentor. Sounds a bit like Fudge, don't you think? JKR's well-known loathing of politicians is showing through more and more; I think you may be making him uncanonically sympathetic.

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dreamer_marie

(no subject)

from: dreamer_marie
date: May. 29th, 2006 06:19 pm (UTC)
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That was a great cookie. I loved the opening chapter of HBP, and this was a nice reminder of it. It was dark (I mean, how could it not be?) but there were still some nice jokes. I didn't know that Percy worked at the European Parliament now!

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snorkackcatcher

(no subject)

from: snorkackcatcher
date: May. 29th, 2006 06:37 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! I couldn't resist the Percy-joke. :D

(*beats down plot bunny which has the Ministry appointing him British Wizarding Commissioner to the European Union to get him out from under their feet*)

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dreamer_marie

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from: dreamer_marie
date: May. 29th, 2006 06:52 pm (UTC)
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I just finished reading "Second Thoughts" and had to suppress a novel-length fic about the foundation of Hogwarts! I recced it on my LJ, because this is really the kind of fic that I like to share.
It scares me to think of it, but I'm turning into your total fangirl.

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snorkackcatcher

(no subject)

from: snorkackcatcher
date: May. 29th, 2006 07:00 pm (UTC)
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Aw shucks. *blushes* :)

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