AN: Thank you all so much for the support! It is deeply appreciated.
Pinky raised, Percy sipped his coffee. Any day which began with a perfectly roasted French Vanilla promised to be an excellent day indeed.
He glanced down at his newspaper. Squib Births at Lowest Rate In Recorded History: New Ministry Water Initiatives to Thank.
A smile crept upon Percy's face. Great coffee and great news. What else could go right today?
Michael tiptoed into the room. "There's something you need to see."
"It will have to wait until I finish my coffee."
"I think you need to see it now."
Percy took another sip of coffee before gesturing for Michael to come closer. The secretary went over and set the parchment in Percy's hands.
Percy frowned. "What is this?"
"The worst news possible," Michael replied.
Percy bit his tongue. So help him if this was a report about Aaron Cobb's blistered toe or Jordy Driver's bad hair day.
Fellow Citizens of Britain:
For the last three nights our country has been plagued by a terrible illness. Many of our citizens believe themselves to be in the middle of the Second Wizarding War, and have acted accordingly. The origin of their condition is unknown, but its devastating effects are immediately felt. Instead of restful nights, we are forced to watch our loved ones agonize over a war which has long since ended. This has led to a collective feeling of helplessness, which if left unchecked, could deteriorate into hopelessness.
I doubt any of this is news to you. Still, the press has been silent on this important issue. Reading The Daily Prophet, you would assume that the most pressing issue is the rising price of firewhiskey.
On the face of it, this failure to report such a massive issue is baffling. If there is a crisis, it only makes sense that our newspaper reports on it. Yet one must remember that The Daily Prophet is owned and operated by the Ministry. Thus it is not only the press which is silent on the issue, but the government is as well.
The Ministry's behavior is unacceptable. We cannot tolerate a government which takes such little interest in its own citizens. It is time that we made our voices heard. We need change in the Ministry, and we need it now.
That my fellow citizens is why I, Draco Malfoy, have decided to run for Minister of Magic.
At the moment, my two campaign promises are simple. First, I will assemble a team which will research and discover the cure for what is ailing our loved ones. We will restore their health so the Wizarding World can finally sleep peacefully in the knowledge that our families are safe. My second promise is to create a more transparent Ministry. I will allow our media outlets more freedom to report on the news we need to hear while passing laws demanding accuracy. Then I will help pass laws which are intended to decrease corruption and increase transparency. We will have a Ministry which is meant to serve the people, not one which only exists to be served.
Many may find it odd that a Malfoy is promising increased transparency. In order to prove how seriously I take these vows, I will discuss my time amongst the Death Eaters. As the history books record, I did take the Dark Mark, and I was selected to kill Albus Dumbledore. Although I have never murdered anyone, I will admit to casting hexes on muggleborns and supporting prejudicial laws against them. I deeply regret my actions during the Second Wizarding War, and will not patronize you with excuses.
After the war, I learned firsthand what it was like to be at the mercy of a frivolous Ministry investigation. T wenty-five years ago, I was investigated for the murder of Harry Potter. Despite there being little evidence against me, my house was raided on numerous occasions, I was interviewed several times, and lived under the constant threat of imprisonment. Had I been sent to Azkaban, I would have missed out on raising my oldest son, and would not know the happiness that I do today. We all know the result of the Ministry's investigation of me: Fenrir was given the time to launch several attacks on the Wizarding World. As a victim of corruption and a gross oversight, I understand the importance of having a transparent Ministry. That is one of the many reasons I promise all of you a more transparent Ministry.
In the coming months, I look forward to meeting all of you, hearing your concerns, and hopefully, gaining your trust. The road ahead of us is not easy, but I know together we can begin the long process of creating a Ministry which answers only to the people. Thank you for your attention, and regardless of your affiliation, remember to vote!
Percy slammed the document on his desk. "That bastard!"
Michael leapt and yelped.
"He…" the veins in Percy's neck were bulging, "he thinks he can just take this from me, doesn't he?"
"Okay," Percy took a deep breath. "There is nothing about which to worry. Perhaps only I am the only one who has seen this. Yes, it is tradition to send one's notice of a candidacy to his opponents. It's doubtful he could disseminate this quickly. My position as the next Minister should be quite safe."
"I'm pretty sure everyone has seen this" Michael replied.
Michael cleared his throat. "When I opened the window to let his owl inside, I saw a parliament of well over a hundred owls flying overhead, all with similar parchments."
Michael raised his hands, as if to shield himself.
"Yes, there were at least one hundred owls."
Percy's face was redder than his hair. "Draco is not going to ruin this for me. This is my time, not his."
"Mr. Weasley, perhaps a little competition is a good thing. It will make your victory all the more sweeter if you can defeat your brother in law."
"Don't you hear me?" Percy snapped. "I've worked my whole like for this. Everything I have done has been leading up to this moment. Nobody, especially not some ex-Death Eater prat, is going to ruin this for me. Nobody is going to destroy my dream."
"I'm sure Draco won't win," Michael squeaked.
"It does not change the fact that he is spoiling my moment."
Michael twisted his lips.
"My path to the Ministry was supposed to be clear. I'm so close I can almost touch it. This was supposed to be my moment of glory."
"It still could be…"
"Do you hear me?" Percy shouted. "This is my time! Nobody, I mean nobody, is going to ruin this for me."
Michael nodded, knowing Percy had just made a promise, not a threat.
"I cannot believe that tart!"
"Molly, don't talk about our daughter like that."
"Well, I think that's actually a compliment after all she's done," Molly shouted.
"Damnit she's still your daughter. Can't you show her an ounce of respect?" Arthur demanded.
"My daughter?" Molly huffed. "My daughter would never support her husband in destroying her brother's most cherished dream."
Arthur buried his head in his hands.
Molly punched the dining table. "Really, I don't know what we expected. If Fred were here he'd be so disappointed in her."
Molly leapt up.
"I will not have you insulting our daughter in the name of our dead son in my presence."
"I'm not insulting her," Molly argued. "I'm simply pointing out what a traitorous bitch she has become."
Arthur stood up and stormed out of the kitchen.
"Where are you going?" Molly called.
"To my office."
The door slammed behind him.
"I must say," Lucius chuckled. "Renting out every owl from the post office was a stroke of genius."
Draco smirked as an owl pecked at the window. "I thought so anyway."
"I'm impressed with you. Not many people would've found a way to prevent their words from being twisted by The Daily Prophet. Very well done," Lucius answered.
Draco let the owl in. "Thank you."
Lucius frowned, though the spark remained in his eyes. "Now, all you need to do is to find a way to go about keeping your promises."
"I have already started on that," Draco opened the window.
Draco removed the parchment from the owl's leg. "One of the first things I did this morning was contact Uncle Severus asking for help on researching the cure."
"Have you heard back from him?" Lucius asked.
Draco put the parchment up to his face.
Draco's smile widened. "Hermione just agreed to be our head researcher. If anyone can find the cure within a matter of months, it would be her and Uncle Severus."
Lucius grinned. "Excellent."