1994-11-09: Mother May I?

Participants:

Edwin_icon.gif Umbridge_icon.gif

Scene Title Mother May I?
Synopsis Immediately after the incident in the courtroom, Edwin follows Umbridge. The case, the Dark Mark, the meaning of it all is discussed.
Location Ministry of Magic - Umbridge's Office
Date Nov 09, 1994
Watch For Asking permission
Logger Umbridge

Umbridge doesn't make it to her office before she's assaulted and escorted by the experts. Within her office, she's subjected to being checked over for curses, as is her office. She can't even settle into her pink comfy chair with a cuppa because that's being checked too! Despite some of the Aurors and Ministry Cursebreakers not liking her, this is part of their job and the Minister is to be protected. Umbridge is understandably flustered. She doesn't know if the Mark was a warning to her, if that means she was marked somehow, does this mean HE is returning? Clearly out of sorts, she waits for her underlings to finish their job.

Mysteriously absent from the office is Edwin despite the fact that he followed Umbridge and her entourage out of the courtrooms. He chooses this moment to reappear, however, nudging the door open with a highly-polished shoe and a bump from his elbow jut as the curse-checkers start wrapping up their inspection, holding a delicate silver tea tray between his large hands complete with an exquisite china teapot and a small matching pink teacup. Such a shock, after all, requires tea - and the Hit Wizard has correctly guessed that the acting Minister hasn't had the chance to get her own thus far. He really is a good employee, which certainly contributes to why he has such stellar annual reviews. "Minister," he murmurs quietly while edging into the room, eyeballing the other Ministry workers with naked suspicion.

Umbridge can finally settle into a poufy chair that's been deemed safe. "Oh Gifford, you read my mind," she says in a weak and simpering tone. "What horrible, unpleasantness that was!" She doesn't specify the Dark Mark, the trial start or both. Could be both. Soon enough, the others finish their preliminary search and bugger off, leaving Umbridge and her mini.. the hit wizard .. alone..

"Of course it was, Minister." Edwin is using his Soothing Voice right now, reserved for occasions such as this when the higher-ups get rattled by uncontrollable events. He watches the others leave and then makes his way over to the seated woman, lowering the tray to a comfortable enough level for her to serve herself from the pot of steaming tea to her black little heart's content. "This entire trial is a perversion and mockery of our justice system. One can't expect it to be pleasant."

Umbridge does indeed help herself to tea. Liberally sweetening it with sugar of course. Her eyes darken as she frowns before taking a sip of tea. "Indeed it is." Of course, her mind keeps going back to the Dark Mark. Welcoming HIS return would mean she can keep a tight hand on the laws, bending people to her will. "What do you think it means? The Mark?," she asks, keen on getting Edwin's observation.

Time to toe the party line as usual - and truth be told Edwin has no unique Death Eater insight as to what all the Dark Mark business means. He's just as clueless as everyone else, and it bothers him to no end. "I think that it's irrefutable evidence that Black is trying to tamper with the proceedings of his own trial through intimidation of you and the Wizengamot. He has been most unmanageable at the safehouse, and seems intent on accusing me of being a Death Eater at every turn." This last remark is dropped rather bitterly as the man waits patiently for Umbridge to fix tea to her satisfaction, moving to set down the tray only once he's certain that she's done. "Black was clever enough or lucky enough to break out of Azkaban. He shouldn't be underestimated."

The expression Umbridge wears says she's not so sure. "Regardless, we'll have to trace it back to him." If there's no evidence, make it up. "I agree with you completely. We must put a stop to this mockery of justice.. you still have my instructions, correct?" She's careful to avoid details as she takes a lengthy drink of tea. "Snape.. I don't trust his testimony. His answers seemed off. It's not just luck Black escaped Azkaban." No. She doesn't buy the 'not clever enough' argument. Wand out, she gives it a wave and her footstool zooms out from under her desk. Propping her feet up and crossing them neatly at the ankles, she's more relaxed. Still, she's not about to let the Dark Mark topic drop. "The Dark Mark.. Do you think HE sent it, or one of his followers? I suppose it doesn't matter.. I just want to make sure it wasn't meant for me."

"I doubt the servants of You-Know-Who would find the trial of one of their own something to simply ignore. I do fear that it was meant for you - your name was on it, was it not? Between that and the fact that you're overseeing a case that determines the freedom of a known Death Eater I wouldn't imagine they'd want to let you go unintimidated - but you'll doubtless not be swayed, Minister," Edwin adds generously as he moves to lean against the wall closest to Umbridge, folding his arms tightly across his chest. "Those of us who are loyal have the utmost faith in your personal character." As for the 'instructions' he's been given the man simply nods, unwilling to vocalize a real response. Several discreet inter-office memos from him straight to Umbridge should have updated her on the difficulty he's been having getting to the lawyer.

The cup slips a bit in Umbridge's stubby fingers, light dancing off her tacky rings. "A case that never should have been reopened," she says in sour tones. "The trial has started, and I could pull rank and stop proceedings, but that is not a favorable option." She doesn't care about being liked, it could simply create problems she doesn't need or want. "Your instructions still stand Gifford, I trust you are making every effort. We may just have to tip the scales a bit more." Forcefully. While she may be an ignorant bigot, she's no moron. What she remembers of the trials of the first war, nothing makes sense about Black's behavior if he is indeed a Death Eater. Not that it matters. His notoriety is something to be used and abused, and he makes for an excellent scapegoat.

"Yes, Minister." It's a good old line that Edwin's been using for ages, and it'll never wear out. He may have gone from vicious Death Eater to obedient Ministry pet, but he's always been good at his jobs. "I believe it would simply be better to end this charade quickly, and with the desired results. Black is obviously guilty, no matter what his little friends testify about what a good fellow he is." Perhaps that issue needs a little help with tipping the scales too. Maybe the weaker-willed members of the Wizengamot should be visited and.. convinced.. of the right course to take. The Hit Wizard tips his head a bit and purses his lips thoughtfully, watching Umbridge and her tea intently. "I'm still on Black's guard," he offers abruptly. "He's come near to attacking me."

"Good. We'll call you, we'll also want to question Snape at length. There's also a Sechnall Swancoate we can call forth. We'll want to exploit the fact that he is from a family of Dark Wizards." Umbridge takes another drink of tea before sending the mug back to the tray to rest. She pushes up from her chair and relocates to her desk to start making notes. Oh how she loves to write things down. It makes things look so official. She's already one step ahead of Edwin. She will bully and threaten the weaker members of the Wizengamot the best way she knows how. Starting with an attempt to have that Michael Noble ousted as payback for his son putting Black into a positive light.

There's an uncharacteristic moment of silence borne of surprise during which the wizard stares at Umbridge, one eyebrow arching high. "You'll call me, Minister? As a witness?" That's a surprise. Edwin isn't usually used in that sort of capacity. But Umbridge is the highest-ranking official in the government right now, so who is Edwin to refuse her so simple a request? "As you wish. I'll prepare myself for the trial at your convenience."

"We'll use the fact that he's come close to attacking you. What stopped him from attacking you? What measures were taken after the fact as punishment and to see to it that it doesn't happen again." For now, it seems the Dark Mark is forgotten. Umbridge has a task at hand. If this did come Voldemort because she's letting this case proceed, then it's best to bring things to a halt. For now, several irons are prepared for the fire. So to speak. Her own list of witnesses, exploitation, and as final or desperate measures.. sabotage.

"Just a little chit-chat between us. He's an unstable element and reacted poorly to some things I said, I supposeā€¦ I confiscated the door to his room, but it doesn't seem to have affected his attitude at all. It's a shame we haven't been cleared to use more effective methods of controlling the prisoner." Hint, hint. Edwin would love nothing more than to Crucio the convict into a sobbing ball of failure. The wizard unfolds one arm so that he can scratch absently at his goatee, even going so far as to stroke it. Only a tiny bit sinisterly. "If there's anything I can do to assist you, Minister, you need only mention it."

"For now.. conventional methods only. We mustn't resort to harsher methods. Yet." No.. Umbridge is not stupid. She knows crossing that line won't do her any favors. "I however, will not discount their usage should it become necessary. Say.. in the event he becomes completely unmanageable.. I think.. Yes. We shall simply wait and see for now. You will get your chance to put the monster in his proper place," she assures. "Oh I will Gifford. You share my views and are a valued asset to this Ministry." A honeyed smile forms, "Return to the safehouse if you are due for your shift. Keep me appraised of the goings on there. I think /some/ of those assigned are withholding information. I will let you know when you are authorized for extreme measures."

Saying that Edwin isn't the slightest bit put out by not being immediately cleared for violence would be a lie, but he's a far-thinking sort and the promise that he might eventually be permitted to have some one-on-one time with Black is enough to please him for the time being. He smiles and pushes easily off the wall, dipping a short and respectful bow to Umbridge before folding his cloak back to give him a better range of movement. He knows when he's been dismissed and sees no reason to drag things out - Umbridge is a busy lady these days. "Be well, Minister. Don't let this little setback bring you down." And then the man is gone without a sound, shutting the office door behind him quietly.


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