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Omniocular spring-clean fic, 'The ringing grooves of change' - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
Omniocular spring-clean fic, 'The ringing grooves of change'

For May of 2008, omniocular cleverly threw open all the past challenges for a good spring-clean.  Having already looked at the ways in which Muggles PMs have reacted to the revelation that the Wizarding world exists, I took on also:


August 2007 omnioculars DH prompt

172. Kingsley's first day as the new Minister of Magic



The ringing grooves of change


‘Number One, Madam Speaker.’


‘Before I respond, Madam Speaker, I should like to ask the Moot to join me in condoling with the family of Auror-Cadet Œnone Milecastle, who was killed on detached duty in the Crimea yesterday.  She was an ornament to the Royal Corps of Aurors, and we are all diminished by her loss.


‘In response to my hon. and learned Friend, I may say, This morning, I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others.  In addition to my duties in the Moot, I shall have further such meetings later today.  Further to the list of my engagements, I am commanded to an audience of Her Majesty later today.’


Kingsley thought back, in a sudden, dizzying rush of memory, to his first day as Minister for Magic.  Odd, how the pattern recursively repeated itself in infinite, subtle variation….


‘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.’


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

‘Ma’am, I’m not really –’

Minister, I cannot, truly, allow you to decline.  I make no stipulation that the government be a “national government” in character, I leave that to your judgement, 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.’


What a formidable old lady she was – and remained: true as steel, and as steely as the ring of truth.  She reminded him a trifle of Augusta Longbottom, rather more of Minerva, and in some ways of Harry: and why not?  Her own childhood had been spent in war, steadfast as London burned about her.


‘May I add my condolences to those the Minister has expressed, to the family – and the official family, the Corps – of the fallen Auror-Cadet, Miss Milecastle?  Does my right hon. Friend agree that greater efforts must be undertaken to secure the cooperation of, and real action by, the relevant foreign ministries in the current Crimean crisis, without exposing this country to the unnecessary expenditure of further blood and treasure?’


Yes; what had been, was, and would ever be, just as on his first day as HM Principal Secretary of State for Magical Affairs.


‘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 o’ the deid, ye ken.’

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

‘Poppies and war graves,’ said Hermione.


‘I can only say to my hon. Friend that I have taken advice of my ministerial colleagues, the Magical Privy Council, and the Chief of the Magical General Staff, in this matter.  Ongoing representations have been made to foreign ministries with a view towards better cooperation and a firmer commitment of their resources in seeking to resolve the current threat.  I cannot, however, accede to the proposition that this country does not have fundamental national interests in imposing peace upon the factional fighting in the Crimea before it can spread into the Muggle world and endanger all of us by exposing the Wizarding world to the non-magical.  In that interest, however grievous the loss of those who serve us in arms, we cannot stint our efforts.  It is further the professional opinion of my advisors and specifically of the Chief of the Magical General Staff, the right hon. the Field-Auror Marshal and member for Quantock and Brandon, that our present level of commitment in the Crimea, which is primarily that of a force of observation coupled with advisors seconded to the relevant foreign ministries – and I remind this Moot that Auror-Cadet Milecastle was serving in the latter capacity, only, when she was killed – our present level of commitment is appropriately calculated to our interests in the conflict.  This government intend to see the matter through.’


That, also, had been a pattern that established itself upon his first day.


‘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 –’


And so there had been.  The Corps of Aurors and the DMLE had been decimated – or, rather, whatever the converse of decimation was: they’d lost some nine-tenths of their effective strength.  And the traitorous shambles to which the Ministry had been reduced … well, it hardly bore thinking upon.  HMQ had made him her General Monck, had she, for the Restoration?  Then, by God, it fell to him to hand out a few commissions in the field.


‘Right, Potter.  Yes, you as well, Weasley – Ron, not the lot of you.  You’re coming along with me.’


‘Yes – Minister?’


‘Don’t cheek me, Potter.  Arthur, I’ll stay in touch, this won’t take more than an hour, I think.  Molly, you’ve five minutes to smarten these two up, insofar as that’s ever possible.’


‘Not quite so fast, Kingsley.’  Already, in the span of hours, Harry, freed of Tom Riddle’s parasitic drain and having fulfilled his destiny, had perceptibly grown to manhood.  ‘What, precisely, is all this in aid of?’


‘Tell me, young Potter.  What were you planning to do, now the war’s over?  Play Quidditch?  Get your NEWTs?  Take a gap year?  Perhaps you were planning on spending your fortune in frivoling.’


‘Hardly.  NEWTs first, I suppose, whether I like or not, and then – which is why I’d want the NEWTs – I was still intending to “go for an Auror”.’


‘I thought as much.  Sod the NEWTs, Harry: you’ve demonstrated mastery of the elements.  You can get them later, and, if Domdaniel reopens now that all this is done and dusted, as Minerva intends that it do, you’ve time ahead of you to go to university as well.  Right now, we’ve not time to stand overmuch upon bloody ceremony, and we’ve a peace to secure and a job of restoring order to do.  If you and Ron wish to be Aurors, Aurors you shall be.  I’d ask Hermione, only that I know main well she wants to retrieve her parents and then to complete her studies.  I’ll extend the same offer to any DA member and anyone you three – and Longbottom – nominate, so they’re of age.


‘Now.  Do you want to faff about here, or go be presented to Her Maj to receive your commissions?  Yes, I thought as much.  Luna, do have your dad Floo Arthur: Xeno’s now the acting publisher of the Gazette.  We can’t commission Aurors or MLEs until they’re gazetted, damn it: go on, time’s draining away as we wait.’


‘I join the Minister in paying tribute to Auror-Cadet Milecastle: her sacrifice and that of all her comrades must ever be honoured.


‘May I turn once more to a matter alluded to in the Minister’s list of engagements?  Can the Minister advise the Moot as to what progress he has made in obtaining Her Majesty’s gracious permission to set aside a portion of the Sandringham grounds for Ministry use?’


‘I thank the Leader of the Opposition for engaging a substantive issue.  The Wizarding Verderer-Royal, Professor Rubeus Hagrid, has been engaged in final negotiations with his non-magical counterparts, in assuring that no magical diseases or threats would pass on to the estate or any stock or animals there.  Further to that issue, on the subject of Crup distemper, I would inform the right hon. Gentleman that a Written Ministerial Statement from the Minister for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures is to be expected by no later than Thursday week.’


Even that brought back memories of his first day in office – and a memory less grim than many from that day.


He had, in those days, and particularly upon that first, memorable day, been very much upon his dignity with HMQ and with the responsibilities of his new office, the seals of which he had so recently received.


He had – with Molly’s formidable assistance, and the still sterner assistance of Minerva – seen that young Potter and young Weasley R had been presentable and fit for parade before apparating them to have audience of the Queen and be directly commissioned by her: he was, after all, beginning as he meant to go on, and her words of the morning were still very much in his mind: ‘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’.  It was his firm intention that Ministerial business, government, Wizarding honours, and Wizarding appointments, be henceforward undertaken by the Crown in Moot, be carried on in deference to HM’s right to be consulted, to encourage, and to warn – and not be embarked upon, as formerly, without so much as a reference to his Sovereign Lady.


And so they had been ushered in, by the Squib equerry and the Squib Page of the Presence, to that exquisite, cream-and-blue room in which HM met with her Ministers, Potter and Weasley properly subdued and curried to within an inch of their lives, he determined upon the most correct of behaviour – and the royal corgis, who had taken an accountable liking to him that morning (rumour had it that they’d gone for Bagnold and torn into Fudge, as well as lifting a leg on the hem of his robes), had mobbed him, barking joyously, and tripping him up.  His second audience of that first day as Minister for Magic, then, had begun with his looking up, dazed and winded, from a priceless Turkey carpet – with a grinning corgi on his back and another licking his face – to see HM, torn between concern and amusement, bending to help him up.


‘Rise, Minister Shacklebolt,’ she’d said, suppressing a grandmotherly snigger.  ‘They do seem taken with you.  Or is one to understand that you are, perhaps, a Crup animagus?’


That Potter and Weasley had managed to keep their faces wooden throughout was either dumb insolence or masterful self-command, and even now, all these years after, he wasn’t quite sure which it had been.


‘I wish the Minister well with his efforts, and I thank him and the Government for keeping us regularly updated on this issue in the House.


‘I shall turn, if it may, to an issue of foreign policy.  Does the Minister accept that the mission to the Crimea should be treated rather as a policing issue than as a military one?’


‘The right hon. Gentleman must be aware – and if he is not, there are those, older and wiser heads, who can best instruct him, even on his own benches – that the very concept of separating those functions, domestically and by extension internationally, is the legacy of this party, and its commitment to the new contract and the new covenant in our world.  His attempts to make a party issue of the matter, as much as his confusion of categories in applying the distinction to the current conflict, are as likely to backfire as a broken wand.’


Indeed it had been the work of his ministries in succession that had created that distinction – one that the non-magical world had adopted long before Wizard-dom had done – and it had all begun on that first day.


‘So – Minister.’


‘You’re cheeking me again, Harry.’


‘It’s been a bugger of a week.’


‘Your leeway may last no longer than that.  Go on, though.’


‘Why –.  Look, the Aurors, the Hit Wizards, the MLE.  The Muggles made a distinction between troops – and militia and all that – and the Old Bill, ages ago.  The Riot Act and all that: we did that at my Muggle primary, for God’s sake.  Why are we behind the times?’


‘That answer should be obvious, once you think about it.  The point is, the times have changed.  We have the chance to build our world anew: the very magnitude of the disaster we’ve just been through means we can start all but from the ground up.  Which is why you and Weasley are now on strength: you ask these questions, and you and your generation want to evolve the answers to ’em.  You’ll be heading the Auror Corps, the two of you – the Royal Corps of Aurors, now, by Merlin! – before you’re done, and it’s for the two of you and your contemporaries to make it what it wants to be.’  For indeed, not a quarter hour since, HMQ had bestowed upon the refounded Corps its new designation.


And so Harry and Ron and Hermione, and the Victors, as the generation was after called, had done, making a professional military force of the Aurors and a legitimate police of the MLE.  It had all begun upon that memorable day.  And as Kingsley had known he would be, in time, Harry was now Field-Auror Marshal and Chief of the Magical General Staff, and the whole of Wizard-dom slept the more peaceably for it.


‘Order!  Order!  The Minister for Magic.’


‘I shall look into the matter, and write to the hon. Lady.’


And that, of course, had been the other pattern established on that first day, and persisting ever after: reams of bumph, incessant questions and special pleading, a life of continually answering to the people – and, more annoyingly, the less prepossessing of their representatives.  And Kingsley, reflecting, would not change a moment of it, for this was what they had fought for: a free, open, and democratic government, the Crown in Moot, a loyal and prospering people, domestic tranquillity, and, for all the grave issues that arose abroad from time to time in lands less favoured, a country largely secure and at peace.


Yes, she’d known what she was about, had HM, on that first day.


‘Good luck to you: one rather suspects you shall need it.’


He’d had it, brim-full and overflowing.  He smiled.  Question Time was almost finished, and the Speaker impatient to move on.  ‘Good luck to you,’ had HMQ said; ‘one rather suspects you shall need it.’  Within a few hours, he would be able to report to her that their luck yet held. 




The editing work of my eagle-eyed Tenth Legion at the GIGH Yahoo Group – notably the Notorious AWR and the Sar’-Major(ette) – was as ever indispensable in achieving this result.


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7 comments or Leave a comment
fpb From: fpb Date: May 29th, 2008 04:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
You are setting up an actual history of wizarding Britain, and I like that. It is clever and funny. Keep it up.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 1st, 2008 07:08 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thankee, lad.

And so I shall.
goddessriss From: goddessriss Date: May 29th, 2008 08:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really enjoyed this. The political set-up in canon always frustrated me; your view of post-victory politics is fascinating. Having HMQ in on it was a nice touch, too. Bravo!
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 1st, 2008 07:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Ta, love.

Thank you, vy much indeed.
(Deleted comment)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 1st, 2008 07:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Well, you never know.

Backwards as this lot is - Wizards, I ask you - they may yet vote with potsherds.

I'm greatly honoured by yr kind words.
froganon From: froganon Date: May 31st, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Poppies and War Graves

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

Great stuff. I too bemoan my lack of knowledge of world history, although in the past several years I have hastened to correct my deficits.

The deviant versions of history taught to me in social studies classes (when I was listening which I have to admit wasn't often) also haunt me.

Looking forward to more, more, more!
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 1st, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm greatly obliged.

And shall try to satisfy yr request.
7 comments or Leave a comment