wand_wavers: (Daily Prophet)
[personal profile] wand_wavers

It’s Amelia who wakes first, gasping, in the middle of the night. Her husband is used to the negotiations of having a shared bed after all these years, both consciously and unconsciously, so his reaction is simply to turn his head, and breathe a little differently. But Amelia Bones, Minister for Magic, ignores this and reaches for her bedside table. It wasn’t a dream that woke her, nor the pressing need of her bladder - instead, it was a sound.

Just a sound, that’s it, that’s all. A sound heard half-awake, at that, so that it could just as easily have been the hoot of an owl as the creak of a footstep upon a stair. But Amelia is not the Minister of Magic for nothing, and she is well aware that she is not living in the safest of times. So she makes her movements as quietly as she is able in the inadequate light, holding her wand tight as she pulls on her bathrobe.

There is nothing more as she makes her way to the doorway of her bedroom, nothing save the sound of her own breathing, which she suppresses as well as she is able. She steps carefully, knowing her own home so well by now, able to avoid each fickle floorboard. When she reaches the door she unlocks it with a soft word, silencing the click that would normally come when she turns the handle; these are the benefits that magic gives these days.

And then - a shape. There, on the landing. Someone lurking, dressed in dark robes, and Amelia sees the wand in his hand. She raises her own and is part way through a curse before the young man turns, and in the moonlight she recognizes him.

“Oh. I thought it was...”

“Everything alright, Minister?”

Because that’s what happens when you’re an important person in a time of war: they fill your house with Aurors.

“Yes. It’s nothing. I thought I’d heard something, but it was probably just you on my landing.”

“Sorry, Minister,” he says, and adds, “What did it sound like?”

Amelia gives a half-shrug, and an embarrassed sort of smile. The kinds of things that she would never do during the day. Right now, however, she’s not the Minister for Magic, she’s Amelia Bones, feeling very old and very tired and very silly, standing on her landing on her housecoat in the middle of the night.

“I think it was just -”

But she never finishes the thought. At that moment, from downstairs, there is an aborted scream.

The Auror immediately pushes her back towards her bedroom: “Minister. Stay here. Go inside, lock the door,” and then he runs, down the stairs faster than is strictly safe. Amelia’s mind is frozen, locked in concern and fear. She wants to help but she knows that she’s too important, too valuable; others may die tonight so that she will be safe, that’s why they’re here. It’s noisy downstairs now, and the walls are flickering with reflected spell-light, green and blue and red. Amelia takes a step towards her bedroom and then pauses, looks back, but it’s a mistake. There at the bottom of the stairs, staring up at her, a Death Eater.

His mask, like bone, so bright in the moonlight, hides his eyes, but Amelia knows they’ve spotted her, knows she’s done for. She makes a strangled gasp and pushes at her bedroom door, but even as she does she knows the movement has doomed not just herself, but her husband as well, and guilt clutches at her. Her charms aren’t strong enough to lock them out, and for all of her composure she’s crying, because her husband is awake now, sitting up in bed, asking her what’s going on? and she can’t answer.

And somewhere she hears the hoot of an owl; and somewhere she hears the creak of a footstep upon a stair.

And a minute later, Amelia Bones finds silence.

A special edition of the Daily Prophet is hastily written and rushed out all over Britain, and then over the world, on the wings of tired owls. The front page headline screams:

Horror in Wandsworth

The Minister of Magic, Amelia Bones, along with her husband and security attachment of five, were murdered in the pre-dawn hours at the Minister's home in Wandsworth. The Dark Mark was in plain evidence, and the Ministry has released an official statement that this was, indeed, the work of You-Know-Who and his followers.

The bodies were recovered thanks to prompt action by Aurors alerted by special security wards linked to the Ministry.

It is not known at this time how many Death Eaters were involved or how they entered the residence, as security was stringent and Anti-Apparation charms were placed upon the home to keep anyone from Apparating into the house or onto the grounds.

Rufus Scrimgeour, Head of the Auror Office, has been named acting Minister of Magic, and is personally overseeing the case. "We have nothing more to say at this time," he said at the official press conference. "Know that we are doing everything in our power to track down the perpetrators of this terrible crime. We ask the wizards and witches of Britain to remain calm whilst implementing the security measures we've promoted in the past year."

No word has been released on funeral arrangements.

The rest of this thin newspaper is comprised of security reminders and brief obituaries on all those assassinated.
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July 2010

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