Five Minutes

Chapter 30

Disclaimer; I don't own the wizarding world of Harry Potter or any of the characters in it. I wish I did. But I don't.

Hello reader!

Here's chapter Thirty!

Hope you enjoy it!

Chapter Thirty

On Thursday morning that week, James, Sirius and Peter collected Remus from the hospital wing and, to celebrate the end of the full moon, they all decided to take the day off of school to do nothing. They were successful until the final period of the school day when they were out near their beech tree and Peter and Remus' Care of Magical Creatures professor caught them. Professor Kettleburn told the pair to march over to the game keeper's cabin where he was holding his lesson. Remus and Peter did as they were told and joined there class. James and Sirius, who didn't take the subject, followed and watched the lesson, interrupting at random moments.

'HEY REMUS!' Sirius yelled over to his friend from where he stood at the edge of the forbidden forest, 'WHY DON'T YOU TRY FEEDING A FLOBBERWORM TO THAT THING?'

'Padfoot you don't have to yell!' James laughed, 'He's literally six feet away from you!'

'BUT YELLING IS MORE DISRUPTIVE!' Sirius barked at James with a silly grin on his face.

James laughed but didn't do for long as Professor Kettleburn walked over and gave them both a stern look. 'Come on boys. Can you not disturb my class?' he said, placing his hands on his hips and glancing at the pair in turn.

James and Sirius looked at each other for a couple of seconds before looking back to the tall professors and saying, in unison, 'No.'

Professor Kettleburn shook his head and returned to his class, clapping his hands as he did so to capture their attention.

James and Sirius looked at each other again for a couple of seconds, before, once more in unison, clapped their hands in an imitation of Professor Kettleburn.

The pair stood at the edge of the forbidden forest talking and shouting out interruptions to Professor Kettlburn's class, annoying him and almost bringing him to the end of his tether until the game keeper and his dog, Hagrid and Fang respectively, came out of the forbidden forest. Hagrid was carrying Fang and, seeing this, Remus and Peter left their Care of Magical Creatures class and, along with James and Sirius, rushed over to see what was wrong.

Fang was whimpering which made Sirius, a dog in his Animagus form, cringe in empathy. The great boarhound had a small gash across his side. It was barely a skin wound but the huge dog sounded as if it had been deeply cut by the crudest weapon on the earth.

'Be quiet yeh dozy dog.' Hagrid said to the large animal, shaking him gently in an attempt to comfort him.

'What happened Hagrid?' Remus asked.

Hagrid turned around to face the boy who had spoken to him and his friends. They stood in his huge shadow, all of them craning their necks to look up at the half-giant.

'Daft dog ran in teh some centaurs an', o' course, they defended themselves didn't they!' Hagrid said as he walked to his hut as if the massive weight of dog he was carrying was nothing but a tiny mouse.

James, Remus, Peter and Sirius followed the huge man and dog, Sirius muttering 'That poor dog…could have died…unjustified attack…poor dog…' all the way to Hagrid's hut.

'He wouldn't 'ave died.' Hagrid said, turning to face to boys when they all reached the door to his little cabin. 'Yeh see, 'e was barely grazed with the arrow.' Hagrid continued lowering himself slightly to let the marauders see the flesh wound on his dog. 'It was 'is own fault really. 'e was tryin' teh chase the damn things. Daft dog. Anyway, best get this mutt inside.' Hagrid finished turning back towards his door and entering his residence, leaving the four boys on his doorstep.

After a couple of moments Sirius suddenly turned to Remus and said, 'Did I tell you that Evans and Prongs got cosy in potions the other day.'

James sighed. He hadn't been able to hear the end of this and was getting tired of the topic. 'Why did you have to bring this up again?' James moaned exasperatedly.

'This reminded me of it.' Sirius shrugged.

James' eyes widened slightly and he looked from side to side searchingly. 'How?' he stressed.

'Oh, the cut on fang.' Sirius nodded, 'It reminded me of the cuts on that death eater wannabe. Anyway, so Evans flung herself at our Jimmy-boy here and-'

'What cuts?' Remus asked curiously, cutting Sirius off half way through his sentence. Remus looked at James questioningly, knowing that he would give him a straight answer. Peter peered around him with a similar expression on his face.

'Well, Snivellus did this odd spell, never seen anything like it and, basically, that prat Avery ended up on the floor.' James said, shaking his head in a serious and grave fashion. 'He had cuts all over him. And not skin ones like Fangs.' he continued, 'Really deep ones. I think he could have died if Slughorn hadn't been there. I mean, I hate the guy but I wouldn't wish that on him.' James finished before quickly adding, 'You know, unless he does actually become a death eater.'

'So is Snape gonna be punished?' Remus asked as they all walked back towards the Care of Magical Creatures lesson that he and Peter had just casually strolled in and out of for the past forty-five minutes.

'He's got a detention.' James said shaking his head in annoyance. The punishment was too soft.

'What?' Remus blurted out, sharing the same annoyance that James was feeling, 'He should be expelled for that.'

'I know.' James sighed, 'But Slughorn was the one giving the punishment and you know that he has his favourites. He won't expel him.'

'Shame.' Sirius shrugged, rolling his eyes and pausing for a moment before carrying on with what he originally wanted to talk about. 'So Evans flings herself in to Prongs' arms and Prongs shields her from the devastation before her.' Sirius continued doing over large and dramatic gestures as he described what he thought had happened. He continued, 'Meanwhile, I stood by and watched Prongs-'

'Shut up Padfoot!' James laughed, pushing his best friend, 'You know that's not what happened!' He turned to Remus, 'She was in shock and turned away from the bleeding. I just happened to be behind her and she bumped into me.'

'And stayed there?' Remus asked with raised eyebrows.

James smiled and chuckled, shaking his head. 'Think what you want.' he smiled, 'I'm sticking to my story.'

'No, you see, I think you just don't want to read too much into it.' Remus said.

James rolled his eyes. 'So what?' he questioned.

'So,' Remus said, 'she likes you. You know that now. Plus, you still like her-'

'We're just friends.'

'-and to be perfectly honest it seems as if you've kinda given up.' Remus finished. He carried on talking even when James had tried to interject.

James looked at Remus impatiently. 'What do you mean?'

'I mean,' Remus said, taking a step forwards and lowering his voice, 'you have liked this girl since you first met her six years ago. You've annoyed us morning till night talking about her and asking her out every five minutes. You finally find out she feels the same way and you decide to do nothing about it. If you were going to do that then why put us through the torture of coping with you for the past six years?'

James stayed silent, a neutral expression on his face. He looked down at his feet and folded his arms in thought. After a few seconds he looked back up to Remus who hadn't moved. 'It's not that Idon't want to do anything about it. It's that she doesn't.' he concluded before walking off towards the castle.

Remus, Sirius and Peter watched him go although Peter was totally oblivious as to the possible reasons behind his departure. As James neared the doors of the castle, Peter turned around and trotted off back to his Care of Magical Creatures class which was nearly over leaving Sirius and Remus looking at each other deflated. This happened every time they had any kind of confrontation with James about Lily. James would just walk off.

'Where do you think he's going?' Remus asked Sirius.

'To get lucky.' Sirius insinuated turning to wiggle his eyebrows as Remus who looked disgusted. 'I meant the potion.' Sirius said, 'You know, Felix Felicis?'

'Sirius?' Remus sighed.

'Yeah?' Sirius responded.

'Shut up.'

Lily closed her eyes in frustration. She swore he had been doing this all lesson. Ancient runes were bad enough without his eyes boring into the back of her head for a whole hour. She hated this subject now. She had love it in previous years, when she had taken it for her Ordinary Wizarding Level's but now, many things contributed to her new found loathing of the three hours she spent in this class room every week.

She didn't know why, but when she had returned from the summer holidays, at the beginning of the school year, her Ancient Runes Professor had, all of a sudden, taken a strong dislike to her. Every opportunity she had, she told Lily off or found an excuse to give her a hard time even though Lily was, by far, the best in the class. Even if Lily was the only one who had finished the work, Professor Babbling would find it unsatisfactory in one way or another. The strangest thing was, invariably, Lily answers were always correct. She hated handing anything in that was wrong.

At the minute she was translating some runes that had been found on a crypt in Transylvania. She was positive that they were all correct. She had tripled checked them again and again to be sure. It didn't stop Professor Babbling looking over Lily shoulder and tutting at her work before moving away to look at what the rest of the class was doing. As she went Lily heaved a sigh causing Babbling to turn back, walk over to Lily's desk and leant on it to talk quietly to her.

'Miss Evans,' she began in a whisper, 'I don't care much for your attitude. You have been rather rude lately and I don't appreciate it. Now, if you carry on like this I'll have no choice but to put you in a detention.'

Lily looked down at her desk and she drew around the natural ridges of the wood with her finger as she usually did. She avoided eye contact with her teacher but was unable to stop herself from speaking.

'With all due respect Professor, I don't think I've been rude at all. I think that, for some reason, you've taken a disliking to me and you aren't satisfied with my work even though I know all my answers are right.' Lily said, still not looking at her professor and already regretting what she had said.

Professor Babbling stood up straight and said simply, 'Detention Miss Evans. Eight o'clock tomorrow night. My office.'

She then left leaving Lily with her thoughts, no longer continuing with the work she had been set. She held in a sigh and put her head in her hands in exasperation. Her hands gripped her hair, frustrated. She glanced at the great clock which hung on the wall above the door and prayed for time to move quicker. She couldn't stand this class anymore but it was too late to drop it or transfer to something else. Well, it wasn't really, she could just have left if she wanted too but she didn't want to be seen as a quitter and, no matter how anyone span it, that would be the next piece of gossip that circulated the school; Lily Evans quits Ancient Runes

Unable to find any sort of motivation to get back to her work, Lily began to pack her things away slowly and decided to just sit and think for the last five minutes of the lesson. It was hard for to drift off to that place where she was absorbed in thought as she could still feel Severus' eyes boring into the back of her, what was now, undoubtedly messy hair. However, she didn't know if it was just paranoia. So, under the pretext of rummaging through her back, Lily looked behind her to find out whether or not what she felt happening was true. It was.

She sat back up and shook her head. Why was he still doing this? She wondered yet again if it had anything to do with him warning her to watch herself. She hadn't really taken the alleged warning seriously until after her potions lesson on Monday. She didn't believe that Severus was capable of any kind of serious damage until then. If he could attack one of his friends, (and the term was loose), so brutally, without feeling, what was to stop him from doing that to her. Was that what he was warning her about? Himself? She had no idea. The Severus she had known wouldn't be able to seriously harm anyone. But then again, the Severus she knew was obviously long gone.

She looked at the clock again. There was now only three minutes left of her Ancient Runes lesson and yet, she was quite absorbed with her potions lesson from Monday. It was a shocking lesson, that was true, and the rumours about what had happened were still circulating the school. In some of the tales she had heard, Avery wasn't even the victim. In some stories it was Sirius Black. In others it was James Potter who had taken the blow, people bouncing off of the idea of the everlasting feud between the marauders and Severus and, even more prominently, Gryffindor and Slytherin. But Lily knew the truth. James wasn't the victim because she was next to him and, at one point, hugging him.

She smiled at that part of her memory and remembered his scent. He smelt like beech wood, as if he had been handling a brand new broomstick. It was an intoxicating fragrance with a hint of sweetness in the nature. She sniffed hoping to catch a whiff of that scent again only to quickly snap herself out of it. She wondered what was wrong with her. She sounded as if she was addicted which wasn't good. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath to clear her mind.

Upon opening her eyes she glanced at the clock for the last time and saw that it was finally the end of the lesson. Hurriedly, she grabbed her already packed school bag and her three Ancient Runes textbooks that would never fit in her bag, and headed toward the door. Hestia would be waiting for her. She was behind a couple of slow walking Slytherin girls and exited the classroom after they had. She had taken one step out of the door when she suddenly found that the books she had been holding had been taken out of her arms. She stopped, holding up the class behind her, to see who had taken them and saw James leaning against the wall in his usual fashion holding all three.

'How do you understand this stuff?' he asked, opening the cover of the first book and looking at the symbols written inside.

'Practice.' Lily said, moving out of the way of the door which her class was still piling out of, 'What are you doing here?' she asked James curiously, reaching to get her books back.

'I thought we could make a start on that potion.' James replied, holding the books out of her way, still staring confusedly at the first page.

'Err…well…' Lily began, not really in the mood to spend any alone time with James as she had just been reminiscing about the way he smelt and had recently become absorbed in her James filled thoughts. With a person you like, it's not a good place to be when you're with them. She knew that she'd forget herself and probably begin to act weirdly in a way she would regret. Plus, Alice had told her to just see how thing went and if she went to make the Felix Felicis potion with James now, with her thoughts organised the way they were, she'd probably end up saying something she didn't want to, like she did to Professor Babbling.

'Well what?' James questioned, waiting for her answer.

'I have to drop my bags off at the common room and then-'

'Jones will take them for you.' James said, volunteering Hestia for the job.

'Huh?' Hestia grunted at the sound of her name being mentioned. She had been stood in a daydream for five or so minutes waiting for her best friend. She hadn't even noticed that she had come out of her lesson.

'You'll take Lily's bags to the common room so we can go work on our project won't you?' James asked, taking Lily's bag off of her and giving it to Hestia, after which he piled the books into her arms.

'Sure.' Hestia said in the same insinuating voice that Sirius had used before. She smiled at Lily who looked quite worried and desperate not to go. When she looked at Hestia in a plea to get her out of making the potion today, Hestia just wiggled her eyebrows and walked away in the opposite direction.

Lily watched her go and turned back to James, (who was grinning broadly at her), with a nervous smile and an accompanying laugh. Her expression became nervous again when James began to lead her, by placing his hand on the small of her back, down the corridor. When they had turned the corner though, James removed his hand leaving Lily's back tingling where it had been. They walked down to the potions room in a comfortable silence, both working out what to say to each other.

When they arrived at the dungeons, James opened the door for Lily and she entered the room, thanking James as she passed him. She went and stood by the desk that would usually be used by the professor and watched James as he followed her into the room.

James placed his bag on the table, unzipped it, and took out the book that they had borrowed from the restricted section of the library. He then zipped his bag up again and threw it on the floor before opening the book to the page where the ingredients list for their potion was written. He scanned down the list and then, realising Lily was looking at him, turned to look at her.

'You wanna get a cauldron out?' he asked her, gesturing towards the cupboard.

'Oh…' Lily said, standing up straight from where she had been leaning on the desk, '…sure.' she continued, walking away to the store cupboard in a bit of a trance. She hadn't realised she'd been staring at him. She hadn't meant to, she just drifted off into a day dream and her eyes had just landed on James. She was a little bit embarrassed but did, against her mind, emerge out of the cupboard with a large cauldron.

'Here you go.' she said putting the large pewter pot onto the table in front of James.

'Thanks.' James replied, a bit confused as to why she was giving it to him. They were working on the project together. It didn't make sense. Nevertheless, James took the cauldron and put it on heat to warm it through in preparation to make their potion.

'Do you have all the ingredients?' Lily asked him, taking a shaky step towards him and leaning over his arm, breathing in the scent that she had been day dreaming about only a short while ago.

'Just need to get the unicorn hair from the cupboard.' James said, pointing to it on the ingredients page.

'I'll get it.' Lily answered, moving away from James and walking over to the cupboard. She stepped inside and looked along the rows of many potion ingredients. She finally found it in a vile next to a box of bezoars and a jar of boomslang skin. She smiled to herself and shouted out, 'I found the boomslang skin.'

'Oh ha, ha!' she heard James call from the other room, 'Say what you like, I saved us a lot of trouble!' Lily heard him continue.

'You made us sound stupid!' Lily called back with a good natured laugh. She grabbed the vile which contained the single unicorn hair and walked back into the room where James was now taking out his blade to chop some of the roots for the potion. She looked at him with a smile and carried on to stand next to him. She went to hand him the vile. 'Found it.' she said, shaking it in front of James' face.

'Thank you.' James said, taking the vile off of Lily and putting it with the rest of the potion ingredients which were piled on the desk next to the gently heating cauldron.

There was a moments silence and Lily, in an attempt to fill it said, 'I've never seen a unicorn.'

James looked up a little bit confused before realisation spread across his face. 'Of course.' he muttered quietly to himself before reverting back to full volume and saying to Lily, 'You didn't take Care of Magical Creatures did you?'

'No.' Lily sighed, 'But if I'd have known that seeing a unicorn was part of the deal I might have been persuaded to take it.'

James laughed and handed Lily some roots to chop as he started to squash some seeds for the juice inside. 'That's not really a reason to take a subject.' he chuckled with a small wonky smile.

'Maybe not but I don't think it would have stopped me.' she replied, quickly and efficiently dicing the roots like a master chef, as prescribed on the ingredients list.

'That's for sure.' James smirked cheekily. He squashed one of the seeds on the desk with the flat edge of the blade as Lily had shown him to do when they first became potion partners. He still didn't know how she had discovered that it was a quicker and easier way to get the juice out of the seeds. He just assumed she had been experimenting when making potions in the past. With all his intelligence though, it didn't occur to him that she may have picked up the trick from her old potions partner.

'Have you ever seen a unicorn?' Lily asked, measuring out the roots she had just diced on an old scale. She found she still needed a few ounces more and set to chopping more of the dirt-ridden roots.

'Yeah.' James said without thinking.

Lily stopped. 'But you didn't take Care of Magical Creature either.' she stated, curiosity mingled with suspicion appearing on her face.

'Oh…' James said, trying to think quickly. He needed an excuse. He could hardly tell her that he had seen several unicorns on many occasions during his monthly moonlit excursions with a werewolf and two other illegal Animagi. He also couldn't tell her that, as a stag, he had not only seen unicorns but had often raced with them, playing as only animals could together in the woods. He ran a hand through his hair trying to think of something when he remembered that he and Sirius had barged into a Care of Magical Creatures lesson only about an hour ago. He looked Lily dead in the eye, determined that his lie would sound truthful. 'I snuck into the lesson when they were showing the unicorns.' he said confidently.

Lily nodded her head slowly, deciding if she wanted to believe him. She did. It was something he would do. 'Of course.' she said rolling her eyes, once again measuring out the roots and finding she had the amount spot on this time.

After Lily had finished the roots, she reached for some beetle juice, which had been purified and was now sloshing about in a large jar and put the roots into the liquid. She then put a lid on the jar, tightened it and, whilst watching the clock, shook the jar for sixty seconds. For this minute, neither of them talked. Lily was concentrating and James was still breaking seeds. (They needed twenty for the potion)

When Lily had finished shaking the roots and juice, she set the jar down on the table to rest for two minutes before picking it back up and shaking it again for another minute. The whole while she was doing this, she and James didn't pass one word, so Lily had some moments to think. She cleared her head of the day dreams she had had in Ancient Runes and resolved to just continue with the potion and attempt to put any thoughts of her and James out of her head.

She managed to keep this going for another ten minutes, where she and James exchanged nothing but words about their potion. After this time the first part of the potion was finished. Everything had flowed smoothly until James undid the vile containing the unicorn hair.

'Sorry about the other day by the way.' he said, carefully removing the unicorn hair from the fragile vile.

'What do you mean?' Lily asked confused as she passed James a small pair of solid gold goblin made scissors.

'Well…' James hesitated, 'The way that Sirius was going on about you and me. All his…insinuations.'

'Oh.' Lily said, blushing a little as she handed James a tape measure. Their hands brushed as she did so and she quickly withdrew her hand.

'I mean,' James continued, a cheeky expression spreading across her face, 'If you'd have wanted to kiss me I wouldn't have objected. It's really-'

'James.' Lily said cutting him off and looking at him with raised eyebrows good naturedly, 'Let's just finish the first part of the potion.' she smiled at him and watched him cut half an inch of the unicorn hair off and drop it into the cauldron, thus completing the first part of the Felix Felicis potion.

Hestia smiled and waved a handsome young man away from the Gryffindor table and back to the Hufflepuff table. She sighed and turned back to her dinner, waiting for her best friend to return from making the first part of the Felix Felicis potion. She taped her nails rhythmically on the table whilst looking at her other hand and the chipped nail polish. She had to redo those. Heaving a big sigh, Hestia looked around the hall getting a bit bored of waiting for Lily. She had promised that she would wait for Lily start eating because whenever she started eating before her best friend she naturally finished before her. However, instead of waiting patiently for Lily to finish, she would annoy her until Lily decided to finish dinner early meaning Lily would be really hungry later on and annoy Hestia. Overall, if Hestia didn't wait for Lily to start eating, they would be arguing all night. But she was taking so long. Surely one bite wouldn't matter.

'Hestia!' Lily said sternly as she walked up behind her best friend.

'I wasn't eating.' Hestia defended quickly, popping the sausage she had just picked up, back on her plate.

'Good.' Lily said sitting down next to Hestia who stared at her pleadingly. 'You can eat now.' Lily said with a smile and a laugh.

They both dug in. Hestia grabbing the sausage she had dropped and spooned some mashed potato onto her plate along with some vegetables. Lily though, not really wanting what her parents would call a proper meal, spooned herself some chips out along with some chicken nuggets. The pair ate hungrily until dessert where there was so much choice they decided to take a couple of moments to see what they fancied.

'Oh that reminds me.' Hestia said suddenly as she overlooked some jelly, ice cream and treacle tart, 'The first Hogsmeade weekend is this week. The notice came out when you were making your potion.'

'Oh cool.' Lily said giving herself a generous portion of the treacle tart, 'What do you want to do?'

'That's the thing.' Hestia muttered as she served herself the treacle tart, ice cream, jelly and almost all of the other deserts she could see, 'I have a date so I kinda need you to make yourself scarce.'

Lily looked at Hestia, unamused. 'Well that's a nice way for you to treat your best friend. Discard her when some guy comes along.'

'Glad you understand.' Hestia said, eating a spoonful of her multitude of deserts.

'I'll find someone else to go into Hogsmeade with then.' Lily continued, looking around Gryffindor table for Alice and Emmeline to see if they wanted to go with her.

'You can't go with them either.' Hestia said through a mouthful of mashed desserts, 'Alice is going with Frank on their first official date outside of Hogwarts and Emmeline is doing some divination rubbish.'

'Great.' Lily said, putting her elbow on the table and cupping her chin in her hand in a fed up way. It was the first Hogsmeade weekend since Dumbledore lifted the ban and she had no one to go with. She sighed. Lily loved Hogsmeade and the visits to the small village always lifted her spirits. The small windows of freedom in that town was always a welcome relief after being cooped up in the castle for every waking moment, and even though their freedom would be slightly restricted when they all made their way to Hogsmeade, it was still a need for most of the students.

'You could always ask the marauders if you could go with them.' Hestia said suddenly, breaking through Lily reverie.

Lily smiled and looked up, taking her hand away from her chin and putting on the table. 'I could couldn't I. We are all friends after all!' she said happily, thinking that there could be a possible chance that it would give the opportunity for something to happen naturally between her and James. She didn't want to force it and by doing this she was still following Alice's sound advice.

She glanced around the table and spotted James who was attempting to balance a spoon on his nose. She took a deep breath and walked over to him. 'James,' she started bravely before retreating into herself a bit and becoming a bit shy, 'can I go to Hogsmeade with you guys on Saturday?' she finished quickly, crossing her fingers behind her back.

James turned to his friends and they all leant in together to discuss their reply. They obviously decided this through facial expressions as Lily couldn't hear a thing that they were saying. Eventually, after a couple of excruciatingly slow minutes, the group came up with a united answer.

'Yes.' Remus said simply for the group before turning back to his friends and carrying on playing with their cutlery.

Lily beamed to herself and bouncing on the inside, turned around and bobbed along back to Hestia.

Professor Dumbledore was sweeping through the ministry of magic an air of importance about him. His long purple robe trailed behind him as he walked with defiance to the Minister of Magic's office. He was there with a purpose and every ministry employee that passed him could see this plain and clear. This atmosphere just meant that everyone stayed clear of Dumbledore's path as he journeyed to his destination. It was a good job too; he was in no mood to entertain today.

'I'm sorry Professor Dumbledore,' the Ministers assistant said as Dumbledore strode past her, 'the Minister is resting. You can't go in there!'

Dumbledore paid her no heed and marched into the Minister's office, closing the door shut behind him. The Minister was sat in a large chair, not unlike the one in Dumbledore's office, with his hands folded over his plump belly and his eyes closed in rest. He didn't open his eyes or even realise that someone had entered his office. Using this slight window of opportunity where the Minister for Magic wasn't paying attention, Dumbledore approached his desk, the desk which had been offered to him several times in the past, and took a look at the papers that were covering it. There was nothing out of the ordinary. It was just general daily reports which weren't what Dumbledore wanted to see. He wanted to see action.

'Minister.' Dumbledore said gently, startling the Minister into sitting up straight.

Dumbledore was smiling neutrally at the head of the whole of the English wizarding community. He was stood over him, towering due to his height and stature. The Minister was automatically intimidated and began to fiddle the papers around on his desk out of nervousness.

'Dumbledore.' he started, shuffling his papers and sorting them quickly into piles, 'What brings you here?'

Dumbledore sighed and put his hands behind his back. Allowing the Minister to stew for an answer, he walked slowly and casually over to the grand fireplace in his office, and inspected the small ornaments which were lined along the mantle. 'I've always found ornaments to be extremely intriguing.' Dumbledore said serenely, 'They usually have such interesting back stories. It is thoroughly amusing to attempt to decipher what they are.'

The Minister for Magic said nothing. He just sat very uncomfortably watching the legendary wizard who had passed on the position he now held so many times. He was a truly incredible wizard and well respected in the wizarding community. Unfortunately for the Minister, the public valued Dumbledore and his opinions much more than the policies that he was trying to instil. This made it so much harder for him to be a good Minister. How could you be the best you could possibly be at a job which you know, others wish went to someone else? Still, it was his job now and his job came along with the unwanted added bonus of Dumbledore and his opinions. He just had to deal with it.

'What's the story behind this little toad?' Dumbledore asked, handling a small ceramic toad which was painted green and yellow.

'A gift from the muggle Prime Minister.' the Minister of Magic stated plainly before returning to his original question. 'What brings you here Dumbledore?'

Dumbledore looked towards the minister and blinked solemnly. He snatched a quick breath and walked back over to stand in front of the Minister's desk saying, 'Our relationship with the muggle Prime Minister and, by extension, muggles themselves, is very important. Would you say you agree?'

'Well of course.' the Minister replied, curious as to what Dumbledore was getting at and wondering when the other shoe was going to drop, 'That relationship is extremely important in the need for keeping the wizarding world under wraps. Without that relationship...the wizarding world could be exposed and that would put our way of life at risk.'

'Would you say that it is critical to maintaining the wizarding world?' Dumbledore questioned with a tilt of his head, his eyes staring hard and unwavering at the Minister for Magic over the top of his half-moon spectacles.

The Minister for Magic quickly realised where this was going. He took a deep breath and his eyes narrowed. He had no idea how Dumbledore knew about this but, somehow he did and the Minister now had to deal with this difficult situation. He now had to explain why and that was not going to be easy. He knew, and Dumbledore knew, that Dumbledore was right on this occasion and trying to describe his reasons on the subject would be most uncomfortable. If he was going to have this discussion, a discussion which he couldn't avoid, (he was sure of that), he'd need to even the levels.

'Please sit down Dumbledore.' he said, motioning to the leather green seat in front of his desk.

'No thank you.' Dumbledore responded looking at his watch, observing the stars whizzing around it, 'I shan't be here for long. I have a school to run. Now, would you say that maintaining a relationship built on mutual trust between the muggle Prime Minister and you is crucial in the process of maintaining the wizarding world?' he asked again, reiterating his question from before.

'Would you like a drink-'


'-or a biscuit.'

'Minister. Do you mean to tell me that you do not believe that your relationship with the muggle Prime Minister matters in the conservation of the wizarding world?' Dumbledore asked, interrupting a very nervous Minister for Magic.

The Minister sighed, finally realising that prolonging the subject any further was useless, His resistance was futile and he conclusively had to submit to the discussion. 'Of course the relationship between the muggle world and the wizarding world is important Dumbledore.'

'Than why, pray tell, have you not warned the muggle Prime Minister about Voldemort?' Dumbledore asked.

'Please don't say his name.' the Minister asked, closing his eyes in recoil at the mention of Lord Voldemort's name. Like many other wizards in the wizarding world, the majority of them, he couldn't stand the name; he could neither speak it nor hear it.

'Why have you kept this from the Prime Minister?' Dumbledore asked, 'He deserves to know the delicate state of our social economy, the war we are fighting. He deserves to know what's happening so he can warn the muggle community.'

'And what exactly is he supposed to tell them?' the Minister asked with a raised voice, finally standing up and walking around to Dumbledore, 'How is he supposed to explain that a wizard in a community the muggle world does not know exists, is gathering a following? Explain that to me Dumbledore.'

'Surely Minister, you know that he is capable of much more than simply gathering a following.' Dumbledore said softly.

'That is all he is doing though.' the Minister replied, 'He will soon realise that there is nothing more he can do and all of this tedious business will be behind us.'

'Do you really believe that Minister?' Dumbledore said, shaking his head, 'If all he is doing is just tedious business than why can't you say his name? Why is half of the wizarding world sick with worry about the future social economic climate? If all he is doing is gathering a following, than why are people missing? Why are people dying? Why are muggles dead at his hands?'

'That is merely speculation Dumbledore.' the Minister shrugged, 'There is no evidence for these accusations-'

'There is plenty of evidence!' Dumbledore raged, 'Two of my students were hospitalised for several weeks after the attacks he put in motion during January. You may not want to accept it minister but Voldemort's power is growing and we will soon be in the middle of a much more dangerous war than the one we are in. Soon it will be too late to prevent this from happening and it will be your fault. We need to put precautions in place now for the safety of the wizarding world and, perhaps more importantly, for the protection of the muggle world. If this doesn't happen soon, you will be as responsible as him for the loss of muggle and magical lives.'

The Minister said nothing. Yes he should have kept the muggle Prime Minister informed about the movements of Voldemort and his collection of followers but he fully believed that Dumbledore was exaggerating the situation. Voldemort and his gatherers would soon fade and no one would think twice about them anymore. It was just a simple matter of waiting out the rough period.

The Minister took a deep breath. 'With all due respect Dumbledore, I am the Minister for Magic not you and I believe that I am doing the right thing in this situation. I would appreciate it if you were to respect my policies rather than challenge them and just accept that someone else knows what is best for the wizarding world. There is no need for any precautions, You-Know-Who's threat will pass and nobody will think none the less about it anymore. Now, if you would please excuse me, I have a lot of work to do.'

'You are putting, every muggle, muggleborn, half blood and protestor at risk.' Dumbledore said.

'I do not believe that.' the Minister replied, 'Now please leave. I have a lot of work to do.'

With one last disappointed look at the young Minister for Magic who thought he knew best, Dumbledore left his office, knowing that things would worsen and the Minister would soon regret not taking action sooner. If the Minister for Magic wouldn't do anything to prevent the inevitable, Dumbledore would have to. He couldn't stand by and watch his world crumble at the hands of a seriously disturbed man. He had to fight back. He had to protect the students at his school and the wizarding community. He had to resist.

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