wand_wavers: (Daily Prophet)
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At some point, during a very brief lull in the steady stream of depressing, shocking and downright horrific reports from across the country...someone in the Minister's office realises that no one has contacted the Muggle Prime Minister yet.

Even the Minister looks a little ill at the thought of having to do so, but there's no getting round it.


........................


Nestled in the gently rolling Chiltern hills of the Buckinghamshire countryside is a grand country house known as Chequers. Built sometime in the late 16th century, given to the nation through an Act of Parliament in 1917, Chequers has served as the Prime Minister's official country residence since the 1920s.

The communication portrait, however, is only a recent installation. It was put in sometime in the late 1970s -- a time when both the Muggle and wizarding governments were having a very difficult time of it for vastly different reasons. In all the years since its installation, it has been used exactly twice: once to inform the Prime Minister that the Death Eaters were not responsible for the assassination of Lord Mountbatten, and once to bear the news of Voldemort's demise (and the Right Honourable Lady had not been as thrilled to hear the news as she might have been, since the then Minister for Magic had interrupted a very important dinner conversation with the Foreign Secretary concerning recent developments in the Falklands). After over a decade without use, the Chequers portrait has been called into service again -- and this time, the news to be relayed is anything but reassuring.

The Prime Minister looks understandably agitated when Scrimgeour steps out of the Floo fire. He fiddles with the top button of his shirt, tugging at the collar, but quickly clasps his hands behind his back as Scrimgeour dusts himself off.

'What's going on?' No greetings, no social niceties.

'Sit down,' Scrimgeour says, and he can't keep it from sounding like anything but a command. 'I have a lot to explain and very little time in which to explain it.'

The Prime Minister does sit, thankfully. He sits, and he listens to the Minister for Magic talk. By the time Scrimgeour finishes the colour has drained out of the Prime Minister's face, giving his summer tan an unhealthy chalk-like consistency.

'...so what happens now?' he finally manages to say.

'We have every available Ministry official working to minimise the damage.' That statement sounds false even to Scrimgeour's war-weary ears. 'Call it whatever you like -- something to do with those Irish Muggles or whoever has been giving you trouble recently, blame it on the hot weather, whatever you think will work. But at all costs, you must prevent a general panic.'

'"A general panic"!?' The Prime Minister all but launches himself to his feet, clenched fist pounding the palm of his open hand. 'There's no hope of explaining this away! Not to Parliament, not to the country, not even to my own staff! Word of this gets out, and I'll have half of the Cabinet calling for my resignation and the other half demanding my head on a plate! What am I supposed to do -- what do you want from me?'

Silence, for a long moment.

And then Scrimgeour smiles -- a twisted, unpleasant smile.

'I want you to keep the Muggles from making things worse, Prime Minister.' His voice is quiet and level, but the force behind it has the strength of an Imperius Curse. 'I have enough to deal with as it stands without a Muggle-led witch-hunt on my hands.'

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July 2010

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