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The Flowers of the Forest - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
wemyss
wemyss
The Flowers of the Forest

 

 

The Flowers of the Forest

 

‘Right, then, Kingsley.  Are you – look, you’re obviously come from the wars, quite literally.  Are you able, er, to –’

 

‘One moment, Prime Minister.’  A few quick charms, a quaff of Pepper-Up – the PM’s eyes widened – and a quick transfiguration of his attire, and Kingsley turned again to the Muggle head of government.  ‘Now, Prime Minister.  You were asking?’

 

‘Right.  You were telling me that your … no, I’ll begin over.  The insurrection is put down.’

 

‘Yes, Prime Minister.’

 

‘That Scrimgeour fellow, came in after Fudge did a bunk.  Why is he not here?’

 

‘Killed in action, Prime Minister, some months ago.  August, I believe.  Defending the Ministry buildings against Riddle’s rabble.’

 

‘His successor, then?’

 

‘Ah.  Pius Thicknesse.  I don’t believe you encountered him.  Currently under arrest.’

 

‘Sorry, what was that?’

 

‘He was bearing arms for Riddle, as an insurgent.’

 

‘Good God.’

 

‘It does appear, Prime Minister, that he was under Imp-, that is to say, he was under a form of magical mind-control.  I anticipate his being acquitted, but he himself says that no man who was so weak of mind as to fall prey to the – to that curse, has any business holding office.  There’s really no one senior to me just at the moment, and thus it is I who am here to brief you.’

 

‘I don’t think, my dear Shacklebolt, that I’m the one who wants briefing.  Not if there’s effectively no government just now for your lot.  My question, then, must be asked: are you capable, at the moment, of an audience with Her Majesty?’

 

Kingsley blinked.  ‘If you think it best, Prime Minister.’

 

‘Mmm.  Necessary, at any rate – but only if you’re able.  You have been in the wars, after all.’

 

‘Prime Minister: if you consider this to be my duty, that duty shall be done, and personal considerations don’t enter into it, thank you.’

 

‘My dear fellow!  I never imagined otherwise, only that you might be injured….’

 

‘Rather tired, Prime Minister, but uninjured.  If we might get on –’

 

‘Of course.  I can’t imagine you care to use magical means of transport at the moment.  I’ll roust out a driver: thank God the Summer Stay doesn’t begin until July, and she’s at least in the country, ruddy State Visits, if it weren’t for the Chelsea Flower Show we shouldn’t see her until the Trooping of the Colour, or perhaps the Derby, most overworked woman in Britain….’

_______________________________________

‘Mr Shacklebolt.’

 

‘Ma’am.’

 

‘I am given to understand that there is no current magical government?’

 

‘There is not, Ma’am.’

 

‘The insurrection is put down?’

 

‘Yes, Ma’am.’

 

‘One sees that you at least have played your part.  Do sit back, Mr Shacklebolt, and take a cup of tea, you’re clearly in want of it.  I shan’t expect you to stand upon ceremony.  Now.  Mr Fudge is gone, one hears, and Mr Scrimgeour dead.  Mr Thicknesse?’

 

‘Ah.  Placed under a form of mind-control, Ma’am, by V-, by Tom Riddle’s forces.’

 

‘One is familiar with the concept: it gives a new meaning to the old phrase, imperium in imperio.  I take it he is not presently capable of resigning the seals of office, not that he bothered, any more than did his predecessors, kissing hands upon his appointment.  Tell me, Mr Shacklebolt: forty years on, are your people now able and willing to give over this interminable state of emergency?  Very well.  You, Mr Shacklebolt, are, one gathers, in effect, not only the senior-most loyal Ministry Wizard, but something akin to the Chief of the General Staff.  I must now ask you to be my General Monck.’

 

‘Ma’am?’

 

‘Mr Shacklebolt, I am asking you to form a government.’

 

‘Ma’am, I’m not really –’

 

Minister, I cannot really allow you to decline.  I make no stipulation that the government be a “national government” in character, I leave that to your judgment, but in addition to what must surely be a massive task of clearing the rubble of all your institutions and ways, my next Minister for Magic simply must be capable of getting matters on a sound footing, free of hole-and-corner “emergency” government and its secrecy regime, and loyal to and responsible to the Crown and the people.  Can you truly suggest anyone else for the task?  Then, Minister Shacklebolt, you have my charge to form a government.  Good luck to you: one rather suspects you shall need it.’

_______________________________________

‘There’s so much to do.

 

‘Don’t whinge, Kingsley.  Or, rather, Minister.  My task is done, it’s your turn.’

 

‘Sod that for a lark, Harry.  I’ve ample tasks for you to do, my boy.  There’s so much to do –’

 

‘That there is.’  Minerva’s voice was incisive.  ‘Beginning with the disposing of the deid, ye ken.’

 

‘And remembering their sacrifice,’ said Arthur Weasley, the new Deputy Minister.

 

‘Poppies and war graves,’ said Hermione.

 

‘Lilies,’ said Harry.  ‘Not for Mum, as such, but to link both wars, and Hogwarts, and for the Easter touch.’

 

‘Oh, that’s brilliant,’ said Hermione.

 

Kingsley looked at them speculatively.  ‘Right.  Your first task, then.  We shall of course be forming a Magical War Graves Commission, and the two of you have just jawed your way onto the ruddy thing.  Who else should we co-opt?’

 

Harry took the question to himself.  ‘Minerva.  Filius.  Dean – we need his artist’s eye.  Are there any Wizarding architects?  Ah, of course, charms and transfiguration: well, let Dean design the memorials, and have Minerva and Filius work from those.  A cenotaph in Diagon Alley, a war cemetery at Hogwarts and I suppose one in Wizarding London, I think.  Arthur, would Molly – super.  Percy: we want a wire-puller.  Andromeda Tonks.  Dennis Creevey, he wants the distraction.  Justin, Tony, Blaise.  Charlie and Bill and George.  Seamus, perhaps?  Well, make up your own minds about that, then.  Aberforth.  Padma.  Stan Shunpike, if he’s been cleared – bloody Imperius curses.  He deserves the chance, and represents the people who were made pawns in all this.  Thicknesse?  Perhaps not.  Ginny, if she likes.  Cho.  Hannah, perhaps?  Smith?  Certainly Mr Ollivander.  Dig old Newt Scamander out of his blameless retirement, or Worple, we need a literary bloke.  Ron, of course.  Krum and Fleur to represent the overseas lot.  Luna.  Firenze and Ragnok, Winky and Kreacher.  Hagrid, as vice-chairman, I think.  Oh – and Narcissa Malfoy.’

 

‘Harry?’

 

‘Harry!’

 

‘He’s right,’ said Kingsley.  ‘I detest the woman, but she turned up trumps when it mattered, it’s time for us to put aside these hatreds, she has taste, and she, like Andromeda, knows the traditions.  Besides, it would be best for the two remaining Black Sisters to work together, and it will be a good influence on the Malfoys.  I assume you’re chairing the thing, Harry?’

 

‘God, no,’ said Harry.  ‘There’s only one possible chairman.  And if there’s one thing we – I mean, we British – are known for, it’s our way with war cemeteries and with gardens.  Of course Nev must be chairman.’

_______________________________________

Field madder, round-leaved Fluellen, Babington’s poppy, long-headed poppy, common poppy, spurge, fumitory, field pansy, wild pansy, purple viper’s-bugloss; scented mayweed, changing forget-me-not, hop trefoil, corn buttercup, herb-robert, crane’s-bills, fairy flax; bellflower, mullein, foxglove; harebell, thistle, ivy, traveller’s-joy, snowdrop, meadow saffron, orchid, and celandine; valerian, hart’s-tongue, and tumbling riots of heather.  Gentian, bluebell, butterbur, and tansy; bird-cherry and guelder-rose, rowan, hazel, holly, and the Scottish asphodel; comfrey and campion; the Scots pine and the sessile oak.

 

Trees and flowers, groundcover and lush turf, Scots and English together, in a cemetery adorned with thistle, shamrock, daffodil, and rose, its weather forever charmed to nurture the flora that Neville and Hagrid had chosen and so carefully planted.  And in its verdant midst, the rows of headstones, their inscriptions spare, laconic, headstones uniform and mute, yet speaking of sacrifice and honour and of victory won at terrible cost; the Cross of Sacrifice towering over all against a Highland sky, its upright bearing a bronze sword palewise, point upwards, and its crossbar, a bronze wand.  For the Light shineth: et lux in tenebris lucet et tenebræ eam non conprehenderunt.

 

‘Harry.’

 

‘Neville.  Hagrid.’

 

‘All ri’, then, Harry?’

 

‘All right, Hagrid.  All very right indeed.  “For the sake of Light they went gladly into the darkness”, God rest them all.’

 

‘Aye, Harry-lad.  “We shall remember them” – forevermore.’

 

‘It’s the best day’s work you ever did, the both of you.  And Dean, and all of you.’

 

‘Aye.  Cenotaph in Diagon’s a fine thing, but it’s Hogwarts War Cemetery strikes deepest to t’heart, sithee.’

 

‘And it’s t’ yeh that we owe it, Neville,’ said Hagrid.

 

‘To you both, and the Commission as a whole,’ said Harry.  ‘Well done.  Here’s hoping we need never repeat the task.’

 

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

 

‘That’s your job, now,’ said Nev.  ‘Ready to Floo to Ministry atrium?  We’ve wreaths to lay.’

 

‘Find me a lily for pinning-on, Nev, and we’re off.’  And the three old friends turned from the Hogwarts War Cemetery that slept beside the White Tomb, and faced towards the castle, restored and at peace, whence they would Floo to London and to the Cenotaph, once more to remember, and bear witness.

 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

 

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6 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
leni_jess From: leni_jess Date: November 11th, 2007 10:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you: apposite.

Towards UaDM, I assume. I remember the bit from Harry about the lilies.

Loved HM firmly conscripting Kingsley, and seizing the opportunity to put an end to that abominable state of emergency.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 12th, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you.

Past time, really, that the Wizarding world were reformed.

And this was rather one that bubbled up early on Remembrance Sunday and would not let me rest until I had it written.
themolesmother From: themolesmother Date: November 12th, 2007 07:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Just right for Remembrance Day and very moving.

Thank you.

MM
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 12th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you, m'dear.

Thinking of Lutyens and Jekyll led me to Nev, and thence....
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: November 12th, 2007 09:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Very good and very apposite.

And I did like HM's grim Latin joke.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 12th, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you, domina.

One rather feels that one must write HM, for HM is such a delight to write.
6 comments or Leave a comment