NPC's: McKlellan and Ministry Stooges
|Scene Title||The Inquisition, Here We Go!|
|Synopsis||The Ministry comes to interrogate Harry and Siobhan. It does not go well.|
|Location||Hogwarts - Waiting Room|
|Date||Dec 17, 1994|
|Watch For||Wow. All?|
|Logger||Shiny Happy Shield Charm|
Despite the fact that Christmas is lurking around the corner, a small group from the Ministry show no mercy. Armed with a decree from the Minister, they have bullied their way into Hogwarts to see a pair of students. The small group led by McKlellan have set up camp in the Waiting Room off of the Great Hall. Notices have been sent to one Harry Potter and to one Siobhan Noble to meet them in this particular room. If their heads of house or the headmaster have thrown a fit, it's fallen on deaf ears. They can do this the easy way, or the hard way, with a summons to the Ministry courtrooms. The notices instruct the two students to come into the waiting room directly after their lunch period.
An official notice. And it's from the Ministry. Harry can't possibly imagine what this is about. </sarcasm> At least they allowed him to get lunch first before making the short walk across the entrance hall to the waiting room. Opening the door, he doesn't even bother looking before entering the room. If they wanted privacy, the notice would have said to knock first.
No sooner had Siobhan seen her notice than butterflies had taken up residence in her gut. She should have known this was coming - did strongly suspect it might - but might is quite different from certainty. Despite the new bit of parchment in her pocket, it is the thought of quite a different notice entirely that turns her stomach and leaves her unable to stomach more than a cup of tea. They say eavesdroppers will hear only the things they wish they didn't; in this case, that holds true for snoops as well. And the daughters of snoops. Palms sweaty, she finally gathers up the courage deep inside and decides to just get this over with. So she's a little early showing up, sue her. At least she's here. She follows Harry in and - wait, Harry? Oh, bugger… "You wanted to see me?" It's only sheer force of will that keeps her voice from shaking. Her trembling hands she hides by crossing her arms over her chest.
Count your blessings children, there's no sign of Umbridge, otherwise, this could have gotten very bad. McKlellan and his group don't seem to mind the lack of knocking and promptly direct Potter to have a seat. When Siobhan enters, she's directed to a seat as well. McKlellan adjusts his glasses and looks a bit bored to be here, unimpressed with Potter and a school champion. "I've both been asked to ask the pair of you a few questions. I'll be asking them in turn, please speak only when spoken to and this unpleasantness will be over all the quicker."
Harry watches the group with a bit of interest as the rules of the 'inquisition' are laid out. Right, so not adhering to the 'speak when spoken to' rule. Each person is given a sharp, piercing gaze in turn that could easily convey the young man is not at all happy with this. "Until the next round…" he mutters under his breath.
Eyeing her offered seat as if it may suddenly grow fangs - or shackles - Siobhan shakes her head. "I'll stand, thanks." Oh boy. A scared Sio is a mouthy Sio and that… could really spell trouble here. Harry's muttered comment earns a snort from the older girl and a quick glance his way. "I thought we gave up on rounds when we gave up on rules." She flashes her schoolmate a wicked - if weak - smile. "My mistake." Nope, that 'speak when spoken to' is not going to fly with this bunch, it seems.
"Quiet," McKlellan says in a manner that suggests that's the first and only warning. Seeing as Potter is the godson of the more dangerous fugitives, he gets to go first. Lucky boy, that. Quill out, poised over parchment and ready for notetaking, his prepared questions are glanced over before he proceeds, "Potter. When was the last time you had contact with the criminal Sirius Black? Owl post, face to face, floo or similar? We know he's been desperate to speak with you while in our custody. He explicitly asked for permission to write to you and it was denied." Clearing his throat, he continues, "This is for your own safety, since he attempted to get to you several times throughout 1993 and into this year. His attempts to contact you could be innocent, but his history shows us otherwise. He's a violent criminal and unpredictable."
"Are we counting imaginary contact as well?" Harry counters, answering the question with his own question. "Because, I've imagined him contacting me quite often as he's the closest thing left to a family that I have." Sarcasm and discontent just drip off his words as he talks. Sio's comment earns her a quick smile, before he continues. "Though, I can't really say the last time I've heard from my godfather. My memory isn't exactly the greatest. Bludger hits, you know." He reaches up with a finger and taps the side of his head while a sly grin forms on his face. Though it's quickly erased by the last thing said. "He is /not/ a criminal! If your lot had actually bothered to hold a proper trial you'd know this."
This long-winded explanation earns another snort from Siobhan, though she stares harmlessly at the ceiling; studying the ceiling tiles and muttering something about having the unpredictable part right, anyway. She lets Harry speak uninterrupted, impressed in spite of herself at the… well, the Slytherin nature of his responses. She fights hard to suppress the smile at his antics, turning her attention to watching the men in the room, lest one of them try and pull anything in the mean while. His final outburst has her shifting her weight to a more motion-ready stance, but she does nod. "He's got a point there, mate. Sirius Black still hasn't had a verdict of guilty from the Wizengamot." Her Da would have mentioned that. "So maybe you should rethink your wordin' before you use it. Otherwise it's… oh what did Mum call it? Slander." She keeps her words deliberately light, but there's no trace of her usual friendly demeanor left in her expression.
McKlellan is not amused by Harry's outburst, but seems to allow it for now. "You admit to contact with a man who is responsible for the deaths of your parents, the attempt on your life and who came after you last year?" The wizard gives Harry an incredulous expression as he takes notes. Before he can move on, one of the wizards with him leans over and whispers. A word here and there can be heard, things like, 'mental', 'duped', and 'brainwashed'. McKlellan grumps just a little, "So you don't recall the last time you had contact with the criminal?" He shifts a stern gaze to Siobhan, "Child. You were told to speak only when spoken to. The Ministry has a job to do and will not allow children such as yourselves to stand in the way. You can either be detained until your turn, we can silence you or you can do lines." Lines? He's kidding right? Sadly, he's not. There's a list of approved measures on a piece of hideous pink parchment from Umbridge herself.
"Lines?" Harry asks, raising his brow questioningly. Sure, Sio is in his rival house, but she's a fellow student as well. "So the Minister has authorized you to punish students who refuse to give you the answers you want to hear?" Yeah, he's getting more angry each time the group talks. And don't think he didn't hear the whispered words. "I'm not mental. Nor have I been duped or brainwashed. Sirius did not kill my parents, nor did he /attempt/ to kill me. All of YOU…" and as he talks his finger goes to each member of the questioning committee, "…need to get your facts straight before you go any further. Perhaps it's you that have been duped, or brainwashed by the /Acting/ Minister." And yes, emphasis on /Acting/.
Siobhan shrugs. "Your funeral, mate." As if she was just trying to be helpful. Shifting her weight again, she rests her hands on her hips and falls silent; restless and watchful. Turning to Harry, Sio nods, an unholy anger stirring in her dark eyes. "It's not just students, Harry. She's authorized the use of Cruciatus on anyone 'involved' in this. In order to pursue justice, of course." Sarcasm fairly drips.
"Potter, /silence/." The word comes forcefully from McKlellan, as now he's not so tolerant of the student. "You may be the Boy Who Lived, but right now you are being questioned in regards to the escape of a wanted criminal. The Minister has authorized methods to deal with those not cooperating. It isn't a matter of not giving answers we would prefer to have." Why are adults easier to bully than children? Merlin's beard. He gestures to one of his aides who then presents Harry with parchment and a spiky black quill. Impatiently, he snaps, "Be quiet and write 'I will be quiet,' until I am ready to return to you." Without missing a beat, he turns to Siobhan, "Miss Noble? When was the last day you had contact with your brother, Icarus?"
Oooooooooooooo…so Harry's hit a nerve has he? Good. Maybe we'll start to get somewhere with these people then. When he's ordered to do lines, he doesn't even move. Only one word comes out. "No." Flatly said. No emotion. "Curse me if you want to, though I'd like to see you explain to the Wizengamot why you saw fit to use an Unforgivable on a teenager. Expel me if you think you have the authority. But until you get your facts straight, I will not cooperate with this…what the muggle word…oh, /sham/ of a questioning." Sidelong he glances at Sio. If anything, maybe he's bought her a little bit of leeway in the questioning by drawing focus back to him.
Wincing slightly as Harry is doled out lines, Siobhan shoots him a sympathetic look, but at least it's only lines, right? Right? Oh! Sio's turn now. Folding her arms once again over her chest, she arches one eyebrow and shoots the inquisitor a look that is pure Snape. "Dunno. Didn't know I had a brother named Icarus." She ticks off on her fingers. "Lessee… There's Liam, Jack, Mickey - only he's not really my brother so that can't be it - Peter an' Brian. Nope, No Icarus." She grins cheekily at the Ministry men, but there's a definite edge to it. "Maybe you meant one of them?" She catches that sidelong glance and meets it with an unwavering one of her own; they're in this together, then.
Eyes narrowing, McKlellan is most unamused. "Fine. We'll play this your way Mr. Potter. If he wants to defy the Ministry, he will be treated thusly. Silence and restrain him." Oh this is gonna get ugly and fast. His aides step forward, ready with a simple binding and a silencing spell. Assured that his aides will be able to handle a /child/, McKlellan turns his attention to Siobhan, "Miss Noble, this is not a game. Icarus John Noble, aka Jack. He aided and abetted the escape of Sirius Black. When was the last time you had contact with him?"
Ugly. Harry's dealt with it before. Last year. The year before. And the year before that. Bring it! "Not the right choice, I'm afraid." he says, before reaching into his robe pocket. Before the two can get any closer, Harry has his wand out. "Expelliarmus!" he commands, flicking the wand in turn to both the goons approaching him. Can't very well silence and restrain without wands now, can you? Unless you want to do it the muggle way and he's probably quick on his toes.
Definitely not the right choice. Even as Harry disarms the two goons, Siobhan's wrist smacks against her thigh, dropping her tiny wand into her hand. "Petrificus Totalus!" Aimed for the closest goon to Harry. "Incarcerus!" she calls out, sending ropes flying towards the second underling. That done, she turns on their chieftain, fury evident in her flushed face and set jaw. "And you! You're supposed to protect children, not subdue them like criminals." Hmm, now doesn't this rant sound familiar? Maybe a little. "You have no right to dole out punishments in this school. None!" That said, she hisses out an Expecto Patronum, conjuring a ball of white light that coalesces into a Very Angry Ed. "Find the Headmaster, now." And off he runs, leaving Sio with her wand trained on Mcklellan. "Alright, Harry?"
McKlellan is on his feet the moment Harry deigns to ah, resist. "Potter!," he exclaims, but his words are probably lost in the fray that is his aides being disarmed before they know what has hit them. McKlellan's own wand is out and aimed at the boy, "You /will/ drop your wand this instant!" His tone is no different than an angry parent, telling a child what they will and will not do. (No, he has no kids of his own.) Son of a… now the girl too! Both goons, now wandless, pretty much just drop to the floor from the respective spells, "And you Miss Noble! The pair of you, cheeky brats with no respect for authority!" Outwardly, the threat of sending for the Headmaster doesn't bother McKlellan, he has a /decree/ from the Minister! "/Child/, this is for your protection, the pair of you became insolent and refused to cooperate with simple questions, it was the pair of you who chose to make this difficult!"
A soft and gentle, even polite, voice at the door of the room. A tall wizard, wand in hand, but the point is toward the floor (for now). And while the voice was amused, the old wizard's face is not, Siobhan's patronus not having had to travel more than a few feet before finding its target, him.. And standing right behind him in the doorway is Professor McGonagall, most likely equally displeased. "Miss Noble is correct. We do not incarcerate students." His voice remains steady and courteous, but there is no mistaking the fact that this is Dumbledore's place of power, not that he would ever be so crass as to stoop to flaunt that.
Excuse me- is quite right. McGonagall is indeed equally displeased, judging by the tightness on the edges of her face, and the rigid posture she stands near Albus with; though not visible past the headmaster, her own wand is literally up her sleeve. "Nor do we allow fighting on the grounds-" Her eyes sharply turn onto the ministry workers, incidentally likely to be alumni, of course. "-students or not."
"I will do no such thing." Harry retorts, his own wand coming up to level on McKlellan. "I have respect for authority. Authority that works. That isn't corrupt and blind. And until the Headmaster gets here…" he gives a nod to Sio as he sees her patronus, "…I will not lower my wand." Of course, it's not a moment later both the Headmaster and Deputy Headmistress arrive. "Professors." he says quickly, knowing full well he probably already knows what is going on, and lowers his wand.
Siobhan is nowhere near as trusting as Harry is of their Headmaster. Despite his entrance - and a true relief that is - she does not lower her wand. "If it was for our protection," her tone is low and fierce. "I highly doubt you'dve sent two adults to subdue a child." Sorry Harry; even a fantastic fourteen-year-old wizard is still fourteen. There's a quick glance over her shoulder then, and she steps to one side to allow both professors easy entrance, but her wand stays up. Harry's greeting is good enough for the both of them.
"There was to be no incarceration, I was following the Minister's orders in regards to questioning and those who are uncooperative. You'll want to let us do our job Dumbledore." McKlellan's tone is cold, although, he does lower his own wand now that the headmaster and deputy headmistress are here. There is of course, a hint of a threat to his words too. He doesn't cower, but his aides do, or rather the one that's just down in the ropes. Since he can still move. "Dumbledore, is this how you teach your students to act? Discipline was respected in my days here! Potter's head is swollen with fame and self-importance."
"Miss Noble, please lower your wand," Dumbledore states, still in his courteous tones, yet a touch firm. "There is no need for it." He knows well enough that her trust in him is limited, but Harry's immediate lowering of his wand garners the briefest tilt of his head. "The /Acting/ Minister is not the ruling authority for this school," he notes to the Ministry official. "Nor has it been, until recently, Ministry policy to bully school children." He steps into the room to allow Minerva entry. "Now, if the Acting Minister wishes to question… /not/ interrogate… any of my students, and can do it politely and with full respect to the laws of our people and the rules of this school, you are more welcome to continue. And if you wish to speak on the subject of discipline, I invite you to my office, where we can discuss it at great length, where I'm sure you'll come to agree with me that that word does not mean what you think it means. And it's /Professor/," he reminds in a kind tone of voice. "Let's not forget our manners, after all."
Once Albus is in the room, Minerva slips in like a shadow behind him; she stays nearer to the wall, but far enough into the room to beckon both Siobhan and Harry towards her with the hand not hiding a wand up the edge of her long sleeves. If they know what is good for them, they will heed the motion and back away from the Ministry men. Only after Albus is finished does the woman offer her own reprimand. "We teach our students to defend themselves in dangerous situations, mister McKlellan. Obviously, they were convinced moments ago that they needed to do such, as they were being confronted by semi-hostile, full-grown wizards." Shame. As for the rest, the glance to the Headmaster is only an agreement; and partially, a silent 'do I move Noble and Potter out of here'?
Harry can understand Sio's hesitation, for sure. She doesn't know Dumbledore as he does. "It's ok." he says towards her, offering a slight smile of encouragement. After that, he falls silent while the Headmaster and McGonagall do their thing. But his wand isn't stowed, instead held pointing towards the floor just incase things go south again. His eyes maintain an equal timed shift between the professors and the Ministry folk. At least until he's beckoned for, at which he moves towards the back of the room towards the Transfiguration professor.
It takes her a moment, and the movement is slow and hesitant, but Siobhan does lower her wand. It isn't put away yet, though. She turns a wan smile on Harry before following him, backing towards the Transfiguration professor. Even standing with her schoolmate and professor, she's wary; her gaze doesn't leave the official still free and the grip on her wand is still firm. Just in case he does pull something stupid.
McKlellan turns and ends the spells binding his aides. A chastising look is thrown their way as he sets them to cleaning up and gathering their things. "You'll be hearing from the Minister, /Professor/ Dumbledore. Acting or no, she's still the Minister and you're not exempt from the laws and decrees." Bristling, he glares at McGonagall, yes, he dares, "There was never any danger to their person. Clearly you have taught your students to be paranoid, I can't say that I'm surprised. What with hiring Alastor Moody." The name is said with a healthy dose of disdain. "We're finished here, for now." Needless to say, that's a sign he and his goons are leaving. Or intend to.
"That will be quite enough abuse of Hogwarts, my students, and the faculty tonight," Dumbledore states calmly and still politely. "If the Acting Minister wishes to speak to me about the running of Hogwarts, she is more than welcome to come in person from now," he adds with a slight pointedness to his tone, a slight smile on his face. "After all, owls can go astray, and it's always best to handle important matters in person if at all possible." He nods to Minerva, since it doesn't appear the two hooligans don't feel like being courteous and conduct their business politely.
He dares, though the glare that he gets back is practically something not out of place on a gorgon. Minerva is Queen of the Glare, do not even try it. Her hand lifts to herd Harry and Siobhan towards the exit where the professors had come in, light green eyes resting all the while on the ministry 'visitors'. They flicker to Dumbledore only once, and for merely a second- as he explains that perhaps it is best if Umbridge comes here on her own two feet. Fudge always had time to come in person- maybe Delores got her arse stuck in that rickety throne she made herself? Surely that is the only reason! Well, the only satisfying reason Minerva McGonagall can think of.
"You'd be paranoid too if you've seen and been through what I've been through." Harry growls at McKlellan. There's so much more he wants to say, in so many muggle words that are probably lesser known to wizarding ears. But he won't, partly out of respect. And it's the last thing he says before he's herded out of the room by Professor McGonagall, pausing only a moment at the door to toss a glare back at the Ministry goon squad. Maybe Draco's goon squad has a future career choice."
Herded out of the way, the adrenaline rush from the earlier fray is just now starting to taper off in trickles and rivulets. Siobhan's not crashing yet, but it's coming. She looks about to rile up and respond to the Ministry official's accusation, but Harry sums it up pretty nicely at that. "Better paranoid than dead. You could've set Dementors on us too," she snarls - her own little parting shot before sweeping out of the room to the Entrance Hall with the others.
Nothing more is said from the group from the Ministry. It's pointless to stand around and argue with the likes of Dumbledore and McGonagall. Nods are made to the professors, and glowering looks thrown at the two students and the group practically storm from the room to leave the grounds.
"The dementors are not welcome here at Hogwarts, not while I remain headmaster, Miss Noble," Dumbledore remarks almost conversationally, but there's little doubt he's being quite serious. "Now, gentlemen…" And their storming-out coincides with his graceful gesture toward the doors to the grounds, although a knowing look is shot toward McGonagall. Someone will of course monitor their departure.