AN: Thank you all for the support! It is deeply appreciated!
Percy Weasley Arrested!
At approximately 10:30 this morning, aurors captured the dastardly fugitive Percy Weasley. He was nabbed while trying to visit his father, Arthur, at St. Mungo's, the same place where his mother was arrested two days earlier. Unbeknownst to the minister candidate though, it was a trap set by his father, his brother George Weasley, and his sister, Ginevra Malfoy nee Weasley. Arthur Weasley was never ill, though his act convinced quite a few Healers that he was suffering from a serious respiratory illness. According to our sources, the Healers were so thrilled that Percy has been caught that they will not hold Arthur faking an illness against him!
It is unclear what is to become of Percy Weasley now. If he wins the election today he will most certainly be pardoned and be our new minister. It is likely that there will be charges of slander and libel leveled against Draco Malfoy and his campaign managers as well. If he loses today, however, Draco Malfoy has vowed to make him pay for all his misdeeds.
A statement released by the Malfoy campaign reads: "The people of Wizarding Britain deserve justice for the government coverup orchestrated in part by my brother-in-law. I will ensure that Percy receives the appropriate sentence for his crimes. Then, my administration will put in safeguards to prevent a travesty like this from ever occurring again."
Will Draco Malfoy prove triumphant? Will Percy be exonerated by virtue of becoming the next Minister of Magic? Only tonight's election results will tell. Stay tuned for more coverage!
"Why didn't you tell me?"
Rose watched Severus step out of the fireplace, his scowl etched upon his face.
She gulped. "Hello Dad."
Severus folded his arms over his chest.
"What is troubling you?"
"Do not behave as if I have no reason to be upset with you."
Severus brushed a piece of soot from his arm. "Did you not think I would find out?"
"What did you just find out?"
"That your sister plans to spend the next few weeks in the Forest of Dean."
"She finally told you then."
"Indeed she did." He wiped the last of the ashes off of his sleeves.
"I am glad she told you goodbye," Rose whispered.
"Yes she did, and she also told me you approved and encouraged this endeavor."
He locked eyes with her. "When did you approve your sister's little excursion in the Forest of Dean?"
Rose shook. He was staring her down just like the time she had eaten his last African red pepper despite knowing it was a valuable potions ingredient. At the time his expression only softened when she began crying because her tummy hurt and her mouth was burning. While her stomach was in knots now, it was doubtful that he would appreciate her bursting into tears.
Severus tapped his foot and furrowed his eyebrows.
"Violet told me of her plans over Christmas Break. By then she and Hagrid were well into their planning."
"So you approved this excursion even after knowing of your mother's condition?"
She bowed her head.
"Do you have any idea how devastated your mother is?"
"I can only imagine the distress she is in."
"She has every reason to be distressed."
She bit her lower lip until she could taste copper on her tongue.
"Did you pay no attention to your mother's stories about the Forest of Dean?"
"I remember them."
"Then you would know how many wild beasts roam the place, how easy it is to develop hypothermia, and how easy it is to starve."
Rose raised her head. "In Violet's defense, Hagrid is well aware of those risks too."
"Hagrid is a nearly century old giant. He can defend himself. Your sister though…"
"Would have found a way to search for Fawkes whether or not I gave my permission for her trip."
"How certain are you of that?"
"As certain as I am that Violet is my younger sister who seems to always get her way with little effort."
Severus' expression softened. "She always was too headstrong for her own good."
"Indeed she is."
Severus uncrossed his arms.
Rose straightened her posture. "I know Violet. She has been determined to find that phoenix from the moment Mum hummed the tune of his lament. Somehow, someway, she was going to search for Fawkes. I figured as long as she had capable people supervising this expedition, I should allow her to go on it."
"I know," Severus put a hand on her shoulder. "You thought of this situation as an older sister would. The only error in judgment you made was believing Violet would tell us about this search before today."
"I never intended for you to discover the truth in the way you did," Rose choked. "I had hoped she would tell you sooner."
"At least you persuaded her to say, 'goodbye.' For that, I am grateful."
Rose sighed "At least she did that."
Severus gestured for the couch. "There is something else she told me that was of great interest."
Rose led her father to the middle of the sitting room. "She told you about the fire then."
"She did." He sat. "It is a very innovative theory, one I wish I had considered earlier."
"I wish I had too," Rose sat beside him. "Yet it is the only theory which makes sense. Its magic could bond the ingredients in a way nothing else could."
"The more I considered it, the more I bought into your reasoning," he scratched his chin. "The ingredient mixture we have today should yield the results we desire, yet despite our best efforts the magic is not bonding as it should. Something more is needed even when our best calculations says nothing further is necessary."
"We need something unknown, something nobody has experimented with before."
"We need the phoenix fire."
"Phoenix fire is exactly what we need. I just know it."
"Perhaps, but phoenix fire is not well researched. This is only compounded by the fact that it is rarer than phoenix tears."
"I have considered that," her eyes lit up. "Which is why I have made preparations."
"What would those be?"
"Last night, I began setting up a station for an eternal flame. We can keep it burning at Hogwarts. If other potions' masters set up stations for one I am more than happy to give them a share in it."
"That is a brilliant idea, but what if the flame is extinguished?"
"Fawkes could have another burning day, assuming he wishes to help us of course."
"Yes," he drawled. The glow in his eyes died.
"There is a chance it might now work…"
"There is a chance he will reject Violet for being my daughter."
Rose closed her mouth.
Severus' expression was distant, as if he was still atop the Astronomy Tower watching Dumbledore plummet to his death. "For all her faults, Violet has a pure heart. She has never searched for Fawkes for her personal advantage, nor does she want to use him for any nefarious ends."
"She is still the daughter of the man who killed Dumbledore." Severus put his face in his hands. "Fawkes could reject her on the basis of her own lineage."
"If that is the truth then Fawkes is not half as brilliant as he is made out to be."
He looked up.
"Dumbledore must have told Fawkes why you killed him. Fawkes must have overheard some conversation, or suspected something was amiss."
"Perhaps, but it does not change the fact that Fawkes left the second I became headmaster."
"He may have been afraid of how the Death Eaters would use him, which would not be a rejection of you but of them."
"Then why did he not return to Hogwarts after the war?"
"I do not know, but he must have had his reasons."
"What reasons could those be?"
"Perhaps he will only return if he is needed."
"We needed him long before today."
"Headmaster Longbottom has not needed a symbol of his authority, in large part because he has been a headmaster through one of the most peaceful periods in Hogwarts' history. Until now nobody has even considered the benefits of phoenix fire. Yes, we missed him, but nobody truly needed him until today."
"Perhaps, but it does not change the fact that he despises me."
"First of all, I think he is more understanding than you give him credit for."
He folded his hands.
"Assuming he despises you and rejects Violet in response though, we will find another phoenix. Fawkes is not the only one in existence."
"Where would we find this other phoenix?"
"I do not know," she admitted. "But we will find it."
"How will you tame this phoenix? They are some of the most difficult animals to tame."
"I am certain you have a youngest daughter more than capable of accomplishing such a feat." Rose winked.
"I would hope so anyway," Severus relaxed.
Rose scooted closer to her father. "Violet is not only your child, but Mum's too. Even if Fawkes detests you, he cares for Mum. If he'll give Violet a chance, he will understand that he would be saving Mum by returning. I am certain he would not forego a chance to save her life."
"If he sees your mother in Violet, then she will have no difficulty in finding him, assuming he is in the Forest of Dean."
"Violet showed me the research she did before she left. I am convinced that he is right where she says he is."
Severus gave her a small grin. "I suppose if anyone would know where Fawkes is, it would be your sister."
Rose held Severus' hand. "She will find Fawkes, and he will save Mum."
"For everyone's sake, I hope so," Severus squeezed her hand.
Rose gave him a soft smile, doing her best to quell the sense of doubt which still lingered in the pit of her stomach.