|Scene Title||Majority Rules|
|Synopsis||Fudge calls an emergency Wizengamot session to discuss how to deal with the American lawyer causing problems. But it doesn't go anywhere like he planned.|
|Date||Sep 28, 1994|
|Watch For||Dissension in the ranks. Fudge caving.|
Inside one of the courtrooms in the Ministry's lowest levels is the main courtroom of the Wizengamot. Today, Fudge has called an immediate meeting of the group to discuss a certain matter that is causing quite a bit of uproar in the community. As the room fills, Fudge glances over the them from his spot at the podium. "Ahem." he starts, tapping a wooden gavel onto the podium's surface. "Let it be entered into the record that today, September 28th, 1994, the Wizengamot was called to an emergency meeting concerning the recent events and request for a trial of mass murderer Sirius Black."
Seated in her place, close to Fudge is Delores Umbridge. She sits there in her plum robes, a look of supreme satisfaction on her face. Not unlike the look a cat gives after eating the canary. Sitting upright and proper, she's still a small figure in the sea of plum robes that makes up the Wizengamot. Briefly, her eyes scan the opposite side of the room, where people are viewing the session. Then? Her eyes are on Fudge.
Among the members of the Wizengamot sits a middle-age man who leans over to whisper to his son. He narrows his eyes as he listens to Fudge, and then whispers something else to the young man beside him. Sir Michael Noble, whose plum robes clash wildly with his quickly-disappearing reddish blond hair, shakes his head, looking frustrated. Liam, on the other hand, looks resolved
His younger son sits on the other side of the room, casual and interested in the proceedings, perhaps more than his father. Jack leans back in his seat, careful not to bump into anyone around him, and props his hands on the bench behind him. His gaze scans the room, then returns his attention to the Minister and those making the decisions.
Madeline files in with some of the others, slipping in between to take a seat high up in the stands, expecting to go unnoticed as she so often does. She slips into the first empty space and takes a careful seat there, legs crossed at the ankle, hands gathered in her lap, as she just silently takes in the proceedings and the rest of the gathered crowd.
Tonks sits with a small contigent of Aurors in the audience who've come down to view things. Kingsley and Dawlish seem to be part of the gaggle of wizard catchers as well. Tonks' hair is currently limp about her shoulders and a dark brown, reflecting the mood she's been in recently.
"As you all know, the Ministry has received a request from Ms…." Fudge pauses to glance at his own notes, "…Holly Maplewood. Ms. Maplewood is a wizarding law specialist from the United States and is requesting a trial on Black's behalf."
Whispers float around the room from the members of the Wizengamot. It's not long before one of them speaks. "Does she have proof, Minister?"
Fudge glances over at the elder woman. "She has yet to present any such evidence to the Ministry. She only has a theory that she presented in a brief with a request to reopen the case. However, I'm told that Madam Under-Secretary has responded to that brief." A nod is given to Umbridge. And a briefly pause should she wish to say something.
"Hem, hem," Umbridge says, clearly to get the interrupting voice to quiet down. Fudge is talking. Delores rises slightly, so that she can be seen as she inclines her head when mentioned by the Minister. "That is correct Ministery," she states primly in her rather girlish voice. "In my response to her request, I stated that based on the evidence from the scene of the crime, Bartemius Crouch Senior found it in his wisdom that Black was indeed guilty. Miss Maplewood's information was missing the critical fact that Black was the Secret-Keeper to the Potters."
Liam starts whispering loudly to his father, tones strident. Michael shushes him and glances across the room, catching Jack's presence. His lips tighten, and he returns back to listening to Madame Umbridge. Something in her comments makes him turn to Liam, and whisper quietly. Liam shakes his head harshly.
Jack watches the whole thing with a smirk. He looks around again, and spots Madeline. Quirking an eyebrow and patting the seat beside him, he silently asks if she wants to sit with him. When he spots Tonks, he lifts a hand in greeting. Umbridge's words are pretty much what he expected.
Dawlish and Kingsley make murmurs around the younger Auror, but Tonks keeps relatively quiet, and invisible (Probably by Kingsley's advice). Though, she does spare a lift of her hand in faint greeting to Jack. Nice to have someone friendly about. Her attention then turns back to Umbridge and Fudge.
Seeing Jack's gesture, Madeline hesitates only a moment, before somewhat uncertainly rising from her chosen spot way in the back to begin edging her way down to sit beside him. Her face has gone a little red, thinking she's created a bit of a disruption, though considering how quietly she does it, it's probably about as small a disruption as is possible from someone relocating.
"Forgive me, Madam Under-Secretary…" A younger member of the council starts, looking Umbridge dead in the eye. "But what I read in the Black file seemed to indicate the evidence was purely…shall we say…circumstantial in nature." Several members around the young woman immediately nudge her trying to quiet her down.
Fudge intercepts that statement and directs his gaze away from the murmuring spectators. "Madam Daleigh. I assure you that I myself also examined the evidence from the scene and there was incontrovertible proof that Black was the perpetrator." There's a smug look on his face, as though he expects her to accept the answer and move on.
Umbridge's eyes narrow at the dissenting voice. Yet that's the only outward sign she gives of displeasure. Settling back into her seat, she looks down her nose at Madam Daleigh, "I too have gone through the case file, as well as the request from Miss Maplewood. Someone felt the need to humor her, in reopening this case. A case that's best left closed. Why, there has been nothing but trouble since she spoke up to the Daily Prophet. Offices have been flooded with reports of incidents across the country of people taking matters into their own hands." Of course she's deflecting, avoiding the point, and making it known that Maplewood is a troublemaker. In so many words.
"Oh, for…" Jack rolls his eyes, and glares at his father. Michael misses the look, but Liam doesn't. Liam glares right back. Michael, however, does interrupt, or at least clear his throat. "Excuse me, Minister." He frowns, the lines beside his eyes deepening with the stress of the situation. "But, isn't that a decision for the whole Wizengamot, not just two or three people?" He seems more worried about the precedent than the actual case itself. Jack smiles tightly. "There ya go, Da." He wispers.
Tonks smirks when the Elder Noble speaks up. Whatever the man may be concerned with, it's working towards the preferred goal in Tonks' eyes, which is getting her cousin what he was due. Which isn't the Dementor's Kiss.
Madeline quickly shrinks down into the seat beside Jack, hunching down even more than usual, as though somehow by being less noticeable now, she'll negate that moving about she just did. As Jack whispers something, she glances over. "Hm?" She's not quite sure if that was meant for her or not.
Fudge quickly turns his eyes on Michael, staring the man down. "It was indeed a decision of the Wizengamot, Mr. Noble." the Minister states, about to continue when a voice pops out from the plum robes.
"That is incorrect, Minister." The voice comes from a gray-bearded wizard sitting next to a pillar at the top row of benches. "If my memory serves, the initial conviction of Black was not a majority verdict of the Wizengamot, but a ruling by Barty Crouch Sr. based on the evidence."
Delores's mouth sets in a fine line, making the jowls of her face more pronounced. Too many voices of doubt, and not enough putting solid faith behind the decisions of the past. Her eyes travel amongst those viewing rather than participating. They settle on Tonks, briefly studying the Auror's reactions before moving on. Jack is equally scrutinized, based on his relationship with the next voice of dissent. "And given the situation, Crouch was well within his rights and power at the time to make the conviction. One that's been held without contestation for thirteen years."
Tonks is busy discussing something with her fellow Aurors. Just basic things that other people are vocalizing. None of them are speaking up, though. It seems the general idea is for the wizard catchers to just keep quiet and let the people who /apparently/ know Wizarding Law to sort it out. Kingsley and Dawlish do have a moment of frowning at each other, as if a point had been disagreed on somewhere.
"Hmmm?" Jack turns to face the woman beside him. "Hello, Miss Sagace." He smiles cheekily. "That's my Da." He gestures toward the Elder Noble. "And my brother Liam." The smile disappears, to be replaced with a tight-lipped grimace. "It's pleasant to see you again." He makes his greeting quick, and turns his attention back to the proceedings. Michael nods. "I think you're right sir." He addresses the older man who spoke up. He remembers some of those days, and doesn't want to see them back in any shape. "I think we ought to stick to the procedures.
"Hello Mr. Noble," Madeline replies in kind, though her own smile is about as far from cheeky as it's possible to get. She glances across the room to the men Jack indicates, looking between them and Jack a few times as he explains who they are. "I see," she murmurs quietly in reply. "And yes, it's … good to see you again as well." Her voice fades off there as her own attention returns to what's happening in the courtroom.
The whispering amongst the Wizengamot members seems to be growing steadily louder, and the elder wizard who spoke up gives Michael an approving nod. "Perhaps then it is time it /was/ contested, Madam Under-Secretary. I for one, make the motion that we should at least allow someone who isn't biased about the events that occured to review the evidence and perhaps reopen the case." From across the room another plum-robed witch says, "I second the motion."
Fudge raps the gavel repeatedly on the podium. "Members, please. This meeting was called so that you all could decide on how we should deal with this American who is causing all this trouble. We did not convene to discuss reopening the Black case."
Delores looks at Fudge, and for the first time, there's a wrinkle of disappointment. He's in charge, and he's letting people talk out of turn! This will never do. Not at all. Although, when Fudge starts to try to bring order about again, she smirks in a rather smug fashion. "Minister, if I may?" Smiling sweetly, she continues onward, "Perhaps her stay in this country should be deemed over?" That is the best way of dealing with it. Legally. Behind the scenes? She may have other plans she's not sharing.
"That is one way of dealing with the troublemaker." Jack whispers saucily. "Listen to her." He grins. It seems his father has the same idea, because he smiles, a benign smile full of charm, showing where Jack might've gotten his. "If I may suggest, Minister, there is a motion on the table. We can return to that issue after we've dealt with the motion?" Jack chuckles. "He's a sneaky one sometimes." There is pride in his voice.
"Minister," Kingsley's calm, but firm voice seeks to rise above. He is not a member of the Wizengamot, but perhaps, who he is might have weight, "Perhaps they are one in the same—" He even dare speaks over Umbridge, "Deal with the American /by/ giving her the chance to try Black."
Madeline looks between Jack and the proceedings as he offers the commentary on what's going on. There's a small smile offered in return to the grin before her gaze flickers back over, looking out over Jack's family, Umbridge, and the Minister. It's more than just an idle look, as though she's either trying to puzzle out the power dynamics here, or merely filing away mental notes. "So you … come by it honestly then?" she returns in a quiet undertone, though it may actually be an attempt at some light teasing. In which case she might need more practice at it.
Fudge glances at Umbridge with a small smile. "Perhaps Madam Under-Secretary has a point." he states, considering the other options on the table. But when Kinglsey and Michael speak, his attention shifts. The Minister takes a deep breath and sighs. "Very well then." he says, waving his hand. "Is there a third to the motion?" His eyes move over the members, looking at each and every one of them. "If not, I'm afraid I shall have to deny the motion."
A sour expression settles on Delores's face and doesn't seem about to budge. Too many people are on the /wrong/ side of the situation. This was under control until Maplewood went to Rita Skeeter. Ducking her head some, she takes a few notes. Possibly the names of those in favor of a trial. Then her eyes widen in surprise as Fudge caves. He's taking this to a vote!? Pursing her lips into a thin line, she keeps her hand down.
Michael speaks up. "I'll third it." He just wants to take care of this. One way or the other. Get back to quibbling about where galleons should go for what purpose. These hot-button topics are frustrating. Liam glares at his father, and then sends one Jack's way. It's all his fault, you know. Jack chuckles softly at Madeline. "Yeah. I do. Rosie, too." He grins. "She's the Slytherin of the family. But we're all a bit…clever at need."
"I imagine that's … useful," Madeline replies with a small, inward smile, her voice kept low. She can't help but notice the glare sent Jack's way and her eyebrows go up just a little. Her light gaze lingers on Liam for a moment before it continues on to take in all those important people seated on that side of the room, and how they're each taking this development.
Kingsley settles himself back down. Dawlish can't believe he'd even suggest just a thing! Tonks is still somewhat neutral about it all. She knows that /she/ is being carefully watched by the hidden Pink Monstrosity over there, so she's not giving that woman any reason to suddenly think /she/ was planting ideas in her coworker's heads or something. Kingsley's a big boy, he can cause his own dissention.
And so it is done. There is a very disappointed look on the Ministers face as the third is made. His hand picks up the gavel, which is evidently shaking in his hand and raps it twice. "Let the record show that by motion of the Wizengamot, Holly Maplewood is hereby granted access to any and all evidence in the case against Sirius Black." As the last word falls, Fudge slumps himself back into his tall chair. This is not going to end well. He can feel it.
Reigning in her fury and disappointment, a few more notes are taken down by Umbridge. The splotches of ugly color on her face are almost as dark as the robes she wears. She throws a piercing look at Fudge for his failure to stop this mockery. There shall be words later, oh yes.
Tonks lets out a slow breath, one that shew asn't realizing she was holding. They're going to do it, they're actually going to let Sirius have his trial. At least, on the surface. Brown eyes shift to give the currently frantic note taking Umbridge a level look, but it doesn't linger.
Speaking of words, Liam is whispering to his father again, protesting his action. Michael just sits there, listening to it, tired of dealing with this situation. He tries to keep out of this stuff, but he realizes he's just stuck himself in the middle just by supporting procedure and fairness. Jack sighs, knowing what his father is thinking, or at least some semblance of it. "Damn," he whispers, watching the interplay between his father and brother. "I probably should go talk to him when they're done." He realizes his language slipped in front of Madeline, and frowns, turning toward her. "Sorry, Madeline."
"What's the matter?" Madeline inquires, drawing her gaze and attention back from the far side of the room to give Jack a curious look. The language seems mostly unnoticed by her, other than a silent shake of her head, as though waving off the apology. "Are they … really going to give him a trial now?" she asks, leaning in to keep her voice even quieter than before.
It seems Umbridge isn't alone in disappointment. There are several other faces amongst the Wizengamot that are equally displeased with this motion.. and will be letting Fudge know about it.
Fudge catches the piercing look from Umbridge and for a moment almost cowers behind the podium. And then there's the others among the members. Great. He can only imagine how many inter-departmental memos he's going to have on his desk by morning. "If that matter is settled…" he speaks, trying to rally up some resemblance of control, "…then I suggest we adjourn. I'm sure you all have other important things to attend to."
Umbridge rises from her seat, her expression nothing short of glowering at the Minister. Oh yes, she dares to do as much. It's lucky that she's more or less on his side, many of those inter-departmental memos and Howlers will be dealt with by her.
Jack stands, and gives a hand to Madeline. "It was good to see you. I've got to go help him sort this out." He nods toward the pair on the other side of the room. There are wizards around him, demanding he explain his actions. "I'll go give him soneone to blame this on." He rolls his eyes.
The Aurors leave without incident, though Kinglsey and Dawlish are still in a discussion.
"I - Of course," Madeline replies, as she takes the hand, managing a hasty, small smile, but clearly a bit confused as to what exactly Jack means. "Good luck," she finally adds simply, nodding just the once. As for her part, she lingers there awkwardly for a moment, not quite sure what to do with herself, and then starts edging towards the exit.