A/N: This was just a random thought I had. What would happen if someone put Cornelius Fudge toward a different path when he became the Minister for Magic …. This will be two chapters. Not enough for it's own thread but not a blurb either.
The Greatest Minister for Magic in History
"The Lone Traveler: Young man who tried to change the past and save those he loved… plan failed and became the Lone Traveler, wandering through time and reality, making a difference wherever he went… very powerful… defeated a powerful Dark wizard styling himself a Lord… swept along the path he walked by a spectacular aura of blue light."
'Legends & Myths of the Wizarding World' by Gertrude Yolanda
FF St ID 2673584 – Chap 9 – The Professional Modified FF St ID – Chap 58 - Dunuelos
Cornelius Fudge sat within his new office, basking in the feel of victory.
He had come a long way from the Department of Magical Maintenance. He knew that he was not the favorite candidate for most anyone, but he was the best compromised between the pureblood factions and the "light" side.
He sighed. Neither one of the sides seemed to hold much expectation of him. He was also not that good of an administrator – preferring for others to do the actual work.
Now that he was Minister for Magic, he had to ask himself: What would he do now?
Suddenly, in front of him, a bright light appeared. He was so shocked that he didn't even consider calling for the protective detail that was always on call.
The blue light changed into the form of a man and then suddenly winked out. Before him stood a man in muggle clothes – he looked vaguely familiar. "Who are you?"
The man looked around and then at him and said, "I'm known in many times and places as the Lone Traveler. Have you ever heard of me?"
Cornelis gasped. "That's a legend! A fairytale!"
The man grinned. "Consider me a legend come to life then." The man paused, "What exactly is the date and what exactly were you doing?"
"It's July 2, 1990. I was elected to the position of Minister for Magic during the election held at the Summer Solstice and took my oath today. I'm trying to decide what to do next."
The man sighed. "I see. Well, I should probably tell you that you have heard my name: Harry Potter. And if you make the same cock-ups that you did in my world, you'll end up being forced out in disgrace in a few years. But, since I usually appear pretty close to whomever I'm supposed to help, I guess the Universe has decided that it needs change. Are you willing to accept my advice?"
Cornelius considered that. He had learned about the tale of the Lone Traveler as a child. According to everything he knew, the man was a force of good and whomever had dealings with him usually came out ahead. It wasn't a hard decision. "Where should I start?"
Cornelius Fudge sat within the Wizengamot chambers and listened to the various arguments for and against the different people that were named to different posts. The Ministry Elections often brought vast reorganization and this one was no different.
The Traveler's first advice was to listen and to learn. The first problem with most magicals, he was told, was that they had no common sense. The ability to do magic seemed to engender the inability to follow logic.
And the truth of that was very obvious in a number of arguments made. Finally he stood up and, upon the Chief Warlock getting control of the chamber and giving him the floor, Cornelius Fudge finally spoke. "Before the Wizenmagot completes the final naming of new directors and officers or the upholding of the previous ones, I would like to speak to a matter which has become more apparent as I learn more and more of my new position as Minister.
"The matter at hand is this: The Ministry for Magic is extremely complicated and confusing." There were murmurs of agreement and disagreement throughout the chamber. These still when the Minister started talking again. "The problem that I have seen is that the Wizengamot and the Ministers before me have seemed to make arrangements on the basis of one crisis or another, tacking on this office or that to handle the problem at hand. While this has fixed the immediate issues or at least brought them under a semblance of control, it makes the whole Ministry structure … unstable.
"Now, I am a traditionalist. While I recognize that we need a government in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of our citizenry, I also think that we try far, far too hard to control the actions of said citizenry. A wizard or a witch should be able to live unencumbered by unnecessary control. The Ministry for Magic is charged, at its base, to ensure the smooth working of our society and to ensure that we do not allow problems which might infringe upon the lives of our people. The Statute of Secrecy, in a way, is the overriding purpose for much of what we do.
"We spend Galleon after Galleon to fix this problem or that and do not set up the organization to effectively manage the issues without eating up more and more resources. My god, the amount that we spend on just parchment is staggering. While I am certain that the parchment providers quite enjoy the profit we give them, I'd like to be a little more reasonable about the funds that we collect in taxes and fees. I'm certain that most of you don't enjoy paying so much in taxes for every little thing." The humor in the Minister's statement did engender a few chuckles here and there.
"To that end, I would like to begin to propose changes to the structure of the Ministry so that we can ensure a more stable, efficient, and – dare I hope – cost effective structure without the place falling apart at the seams. The first step is to start up the top: What are the main purposes or sections the Ministry – or at least what should they be? In my understanding, they are 1) Internal Governmental structure, 2) National Magical Laws and Regulations, and 3) International Law and Cooperation. Is there anything that we are supposed to do that isn't included in these three categories?" Cornelius paused and said, "Oh – and we'll put the Department of Mysteries away from this. Long standing tradition gives them autonomy to ensure that they can handle the magical cockups that our normal government ignores, creates accidentally, or can't handle in the normal course of business. We aren't likely to reorganize THAT can of nifflers so I am going to leave it alone. Anyway – as I asked: Is there anything that doesn't fall under these three areas?"
There were murmurs and small discussions, but, in the end, there was no one who could disagree with the Minister's analysis. "Very good then. I am having the clerk distribute my immediate proposal. While he hands out the parchment – Merlin, there's always parchment – I will explain my basic proposal: The Ministry of Magic will reorganize as follows: There shall be three main sections within the Ministry.
"Section 1 will be the Ministry Management controlled by an Undersecretary for the Ministry. I have no name for this position as of this moment and, therefore, I shall have to do this myself until one is named - although Augusta Longbottom IS a witch of good standing and long lineage who I am certain would love to get the place under control. Anyway, this overdivision, if you will, would include the Wizengamot, Wizengamot Services, Department of Magical Maintenance, Department of Finance – someone's got to control the money – and any other office, division, or section which has to do with the internal workings of the Ministry.
The second overdivision would be Magical Law and Regulation, the position of Director of Magical Law Enforcement would be relabeled as the Undersecretary for Magical Law. This would include the Auror Office, regular law enforcement, licensing offices, Magical Creatures, Improper Use of Magic, Magical Transportation, and anything which basically affects the average wizard on the street or has to do with enforcement. So Azkaban would be in this overdivision. This is, as the Department of Magical Law Enforcement is currently, the beefy part of the Ministry – handling the reasons we actually exist in the first place. Amelia Bones as the new Director of Magical Law Enforcement would be installed as the new Undersecretary.
"And finally, the last overdivision would be International Law and Cooperation with two Departments: The Department of the Exterior for dealing with foreign governments, trade, coordination, etc. The Director of the Exterior could be Bartemeous Crouch, currently named as Director of International Relations. The International Magical Trading Standards Body, International Magical Office of Law, International Confederation of Wizards, British Seats – these would all be in that Department so there is no real change from now.
The second Department would be the Department of the Interior. By the way – these are quite similar to the Muggle government agencies. So if anyone every slips up and a muggle hears the names – no problem with the Statute. Anyway, the Director of the Interior would handle all matters which have to do with foreign governments within Great Britain and Ireland. This is mostly the muggles – he'd be the Liason to the Prime Minister instead of myself. This department would deal with accidental magic, Muggleworthy excuse committee, Obliviator Headquarters – with a liaison from the Magical Law area to coordinate. Misuse of Muggle artifacts would be under Magical Law as this has to do with magicals mucking around with the Statute – something we want to avoid. The Interior would also hold the Goblin and Centaur Liaison Offices."
There were immediate protests. Finally one overriding one came out, "They are magical creatures and should fall under that area as they do now."
Cornelius sighed. He knew this one was going to be one of the hard ones. "I know. And the reason is, of course, is Clause 73 of the International Statute of Secrecy: 'Each wizarding governing body will be responsible for the concealment, care and control of all magical beasts, beings, and spirits dwelling within its territory's borders. Should any such creature cause harm to, or draw the notice of, the Muggle community, that nation's wizarding governing body will be subject to discipline by the International Confederation of Wizards.' Have I got that right?"
There were murmurs of agreement. "Well, I'm sorry to burst your bubble but the goblins, according to treaties we have had with them for centuries, do not fall within our legal borders. According to treaty, Gringotts and the areas that goblins control are separate. And they stay strictly away from muggles anyway – as do the Centaurs. Try to tell a Centaur or a Goblin what to do – I'm certain the arrow or knife you get in your gullet will be most educational. The Centaurs don't care and the goblins don't care. Why should they? They don't violate the treaties. Why are we spending gold on trying to deal with something that isn't even a problem? And if you DO have a problem with Gringotts, wouldn't you like a person with a bit more pull to help you sort it out rather than the worker in a sub-sub department of Magical Law Enforcement? And, IF they violate the International Statute of Secrecy – THEY can pay the penalty, and not the Ministry."
There were a number of small conversations and comments around the chamber, but no one could refute the Minister's position. "Anyway – we have to talk about this before we vote on it. I want to give us … 40 days. By then we can work out any issues with this. Oh, and my suggestion for Director of the Interior is Arthur Weasley. The man, according to reports, loves muggles. I say: Let him deal with them. He'll take them off the plate of Magical Law which should be helping our citizens. Anyway, once we approve – IF it gets approval – I'd then propose the new Undersecretaries to put forward a proposed structure for their areas so that we don't have to spend all of our time in these chambers arguing things that are rather below our station. So, here's my proposal. Do I have a second?"
The Chief Warlock moved forward and said, "We have a proposal for the Ministry Restructuring Bill to be voted on in 40 days. Do we have a second?"
There were several wands lit about the chamber. The new Minister's proposal was interesting enough that many wanted to see where it went.
Amelia Bones, recently names as Director of Magical Law Enforcement, was sitting with the new Minister for Magic. "Minister, your proposal came out of nowhere."
Cornelius smiled. "I know. Mostly this is about clear lines of structure, chain of command and all that. Want to know a secret?"
Amelia looked at the new Minister. "Certainly."
"Mostly it's to contain Dumbledore."
"Yes. While I admire the man greatly and he has done great service for our people, it's a little disconcerting when I noticed exactly how much control that one man had of our society. While I am just as likely as anyone to get advice from the man, he's only ONE man. I can't have the entirety of the Ministry beholden to one man when he's also supposed to be teaching our children AND to deal with foreign politics. So, while the position of Chief Warlock is mightily important, I don't want it to have undue influence in all areas of life."
Amelia considered that and nodded. "Taking the Wizengamot out from under the Director of Magical Law Enforcement creates problems."
Cornelius asked, "Who will hear criminal cases?"
"If my proposal goes through, we're going to have to make up judicial panels to hear crimes separate from the Wizengamot. We name five Wizengamot members as the Judiciary for criminal cases; five members for a Civil Law panel – lawsuits and disagreements and all of that; individual members to run preliminary hearings; a nine-member panel as an appeals panel – the Chief Warlock can run that panel – and, finally, if a situation isn't resolved with that structure, the entire Wizengamot can be petitioned to hear a case. This way the Wizengamot as a whole doesn't get bogged down hearing about petty theft, but the average citizen can be assured of his rights if he's arrested. There will be a section for prosecutors so that you don't have to do all the work on that – your position is too valuable for that as well and Aurors should be out catching criminals, not speaking to the Wizengamot."
Amelia gave Cornelius a thoughtful look. "You've actually considered these things."
"I received … inspiration, let's just say. Anyway, as to why you're here …"
Amelia nodded. "Yes. According to law, the Ministry has to do an annual inspection of Azkaban. And that's traditionally mid-July. I wanted to coordinate the schedule."
Cornelius sighed. "Not an experience I'm looking forward to."
"I should think not."
"Well, alright then. I'd suggest 16 July – that's two weeks from yesterday. That should give you time to make preparations. Oh – and it should also give you time to get together a list of prisoners and their dates of conviction and whatnot."
Amelia cocked her head. "What do you mean?"
"Well, if I'm going to be checking to see if prisoners are being properly controlled and all of that, I want to know what exactly they were convicted of, when the Wizengamot sent them, when their time is up, are they being housed in the correct section – minimum vs. maximum security – and whatever else is relevant. I don't want to find a muggleborn witch given 90 days for apparating without a license being exposed to dementors 24 hours a day and I don't want to see someone like Rebastian Lestrange being served tea and crumpets by his personal house elf. I have a responsibility that criminals are properly punished but I have responsibility to the convicts that they aren't being needlessly tortured."
Amelia looked surprised. "I don't think the previous Ministers ever even thought about that."
"Well, Amelia, I'm the Minister now. And I'll do the job as I think is appropriate."
Amelia gave the Minister a respectful nod of acknowledgement.
Cornelius Fudge made his way into his home via the floo. He exited into his study – only his office had this connection and it was new. He wondered where his wife was at the moment.
Cornelius jumped and then caught his breath. "Potter, I just got to the post of Minister. I'd rather you not assassinate me with fright."
"Sorry. I've been keeping out of sight as we agreed. How did things go?"
"Well, the reorganization vote is scheduled. I confided in Amelia the reason behind it. She didn't seem to disagree," the Minister said while sitting at his desk. He poured a brandy for himself and his guest.
"Amelia always does seem to have a good head on her shoulders. I've not met any who were venal and stupid." Harry accepted the glass provided.
Cornelius took a sip and said, "By the way – that matter about Black has been started."
Cornelius nodded. "Amelia came to schedule my annual visit. I told her to get the records together of the various prisoners, dates of conviction, and scheduled release dates. She seems bright enough to run across what we need her to find without further prompting."
Harry sighed. "We can always hope. Oh, and I happened to be in Gringotts when word of your proposal filtered in through gossip."
Cornelius couldn't contain his curiosity. "And what was the general reaction?"
"They seemed to realize that your comment about them violating the Statute and paying the fines for it was political maneuvering. Your suggestion to have a wizard trying to order them about and getting knife in their gullet for their trouble made them very amused. Overall, they seemed quite thoughtful about it all."
Cornelius sighed in relief. "As long as I'm not about to precipitate another Goblin rebellion, I can live with it."
Harry chuckled. "You're likely to be preventing the next one actually."
Cornelius held his cup out for Harry to toast with him. "Here's to calm goblins."
Harry clinked his glass. "I can agree with that." They both drank.
Cornelius said, "I'll have to stop in when I visit the shops this week."
"So you're taking that suggestion as well?"
"Yes." Cornelius paused with a thoughtful look. "I've never really considered what would happen to the economy without the muggleborn entering every year. Or realized how poorly it affects us to have them disappear after leaving Hogwarts."
"The only way to increase the economy is to increase the number of people spending money. I've never understood the pureblood mantra about getting rid of the new entries for that reason alone."
Cornelius Fudge found himself at the Leaky Cauldron. It was Thursday morning about 10:00 and there were a few patrons. Two bodyguards stood ready if needed, but it was unlikely.
Tom, the barkeep, called out, "Minister! What can I do for you today?"
Fudge walked over and said, "Well, I'll have what they're having." He pointed to two run of the mill wizards who were having a tankard.
Surprised, Tom filled the order. "On the house," he said as he pushed the tankard over.
Cornelius chuckled and dropped a Galleon on the table. "Not today, Tom. Today I'm going to taking some of your valuable time. I'll accept another time." Cornelius took a sip. It took him back to when he first started working at the Ministry and ale was all he could afford. "Now, a question: How's business?"
It was noticed by many in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade that Cornelius Fudge did not disdain getting out and talking to the average wizard or witch. Many shops saw the new Minister come in and look around. Some saw him pay for small things for his wife, children, and grandchildren. Every proprietor spent a few minutes with the Minister taking an interest in their store.
Many positive comments about Cornelius Fudge could be heard around Britain that night.
One visit was very different.
Cornelius Fudge walked into Gringotts Bank and, to the surprise of the other witches and wizards present, got into line. Everyone noted that he left his guards outside, waiting.
The goblins were not slow and very soon a goblin dressed perhaps a little more finely than most approached. "Minister Cornelius Fudge. How can we help you today?"
"Ah, my good banker, I have a few small inquiries to make regarding available services. I had hopes of setting up an appointment for a consultation."
The goblin looked at the man and glanced out to see the wizard's protection detail waiting beyond the bank's doors. "Come this way, please."
Cornelius nodded and followed the goblin.
The goblin led him to an office which was rather stark and sat down at the desk. He invited the Minister to take a seat with a wave of his hand.
"Thank you," the Minister said as he sat down.
"Would you like refreshment?" the goblin asked.
The Minister looked squarely at the goblin and said, "If you are taking refreshment as well, I won't say no. But don't put yourself out on my account."
The goblin looked at him for a moment and, without looking away, called out a word in his own language. From another door, another goblin came in with a small tray. It had a decanter and two glasses.
The new goblin put these down and retreated. The one who had led the minister to the office poured into the two cups and then motioned for the Minister to take one.
The minister did. Murmering his thanks, he took a sip even as his host did. The Minister put down the glass and said, "Good water."
"Yes." The goblin sat his own glass down and asked, "Do you mind if I asked a question before we begin?" The goblin looked as though he couldn't care less, but was being polite.
"Yes, go ahead."
"We have heard rumours as to a restructuring of your Government and who proposed it. Is there a reason we were not consulted?"
Cornelius smiled and replied, "I am certain that your people do not waste your time trying to talk to us when you propose changes in your own organization, even when it deals with magical humans. I didn't think you'd find it necessary for me to do so. And do your people really care what we wizards do outside of your doors?"
The goblin paused for a moment and then nodded. "There is that. Now: How can I help you today?"
"I need to know if certain services are available and their possible costs."
"Can your people ward an area that might contain objects cursed with dark magic in such a way that the taint does not extend past the ward barrier?"
The goblin paused. "It can be done."
"And how much?"
"50 Galleons per square foot for an area less than 20 square feet. 20 Galleons per square foot for an area up between 20 and 100 square feet. 10 galleons per square foot for any area between 100 and 900 square feet."
Cornelius nodded. "So, anywhere from 50 Galleons to several thousand – depending on the area. Now, can your cursebreakers remove any dark magic that might have tainted a child or adult that has spent any time around dark objects?"
"Yes. 200 Galleons."
"Good, good. And can you certify such proceedings when completed?"
"Yes." The goblin paused. "Why do you ask?"
"Throughout Britain there are hundreds and perhaps thousands of items that have, at one time or another, been enchanted. Many enchantments might be dark. I am going to propose an amnesty for ownership of any such item with the caveat that any item that has been cursed must be contained within a ward that prevents dark influences from leeching out. The ward must contain an age line so that underage wizards and witches cannot be exposed. Any child that lives within a home that has contained a dark object must be cleansed so that any negative influences do not seep into their developing magical cores. If this is going to work, however, I must be certain that items can be contained and, if necessary, cleansed of any taint."
"You did not ask about the last."
"Because I know you can do that. Your people retrieve many items from history, some of which were cursed. I know you have the means to clean them as needed."
"It is as you said," the goblin nodded his head.
"Will your people object if we make a law which requires such wardings or cleansings to be certified by your people as completed?"
The goblin's eyebrows rose. "You would accept our word?"
"Whatever can be said of your people – they do not lie about magic."
The goblin considered the man before him. "I will have to ask my leaders."
"That is fine. I will return in thirty days for an answer. I will not propose it without your agreement."
"You honor us," the goblin said.
"Thank you – but it is merely pragmatism that drives me. Now, on to another matter: The economy. Gringotts holds many vaults that have become … you might say, quiet … due to the lack of a current holder?"
The goblin nodded warily.
"And such can become active again under what circumstances?"
The goblin replied, "If a magical test finds an applicant which qualifies."
"And where do these applicants come from?"
"Claims come from those that your Ministry labels muggleborns and halfbloods; sometimes, a pureblood due to being the last magical relation when a line dies out."
Cornelius sighed. The Potter Traveler had been right. "And how much for such a magical test?"
Cornelius sighed again. "Not immediately, but in the future, I might be looking at making such a test a requirement for any Muggleborn getting a Hogwarts letter. If I mention that I recommend it to current citizens of magical Britain, would Gringotts be offended?"
"I can see no objection from our side."
"Good. Then I have gotten what I came for."
The goblin nodded. He called out another word and the goblin who had brought water returned with another tray. He gathered up the water and put out a bottle of brandy with two snifters. He once again retreated.
As the goblin reached for the bottle, Cornelius said, "Oh! One other matter before we finish." The goblin paused and waited. "You have objections to certain … taints … more than others? I was led to believe it was so from a mutual friend."
"Who is this friend?"
The goblin sat back. "You know this man?"
Cornelius chuckled. "Let us say that magic provided me with the inspiration for many of my recent actions and leave it at that."
The goblin nodded. "I can accept that."
"I asked to be the one to inform you of a certain matter."
"And that matter is?"
Cornelius sighed. "One of your vaults contains a stolen item, tainted with this most objectionable magic. I wish to inform you and allow you to act as you see fit."
The goblin took on a harder face. "What item, what vault, and who stole it from whom?"
"Hufflepuff's chalice, the Lestrange Vault, Tom Riddle aka You-Know-Who, Hebzidah Smith."
The goblin sat back and gave Cornelius a thoughtful look. "You have no objection to us dealing with this?"
"No personal objection. The Ministry has no knowledge of it. And seeing that I would see the man not return? I certainly won't be telling them, if you get my meaning."
The goblin nodded. "Wise." He once again reached out and began pouring the brandy. "You humans do not toast with water."
"Then this will do." The goblin waited for the minister to take the small glass. He reached his own cup out, "To good business."
"To good business!" the Minister replied as he clinked his cup with the goblin's. They both drank.
When they were done, the goblin stood. "I an Slipnose. I will be assigned as your Account Manager. When you come to Gringotts, ask for me and I will help you."
The Minister stood. "Thank you, Slipnose. I look forward to a long and profitable relationship."
The two left the office.
6 July 1990
New Minister Out Amongst the People
Yesterday found a very unusual sight for magical Britain: The Minister of Magic walking along Diagon Alley and visiting Hogsmead without a specific appointment.
The newly elected Minister, formerly Director of Magical Maintenance, spent his time talking to the average witch or wizard on the street as well as the proprietors of the different shops in the area.
Said one witch, "Seeing the new Minister out and about talking to the regular people was a sight I'd never expected in all my life. Usually the ones that run the government act too good for the average magical. It's good to see a Minister who's not afraid to get out amongst us."
Tom Mockenridge, barman at the Leaky Cauldron, agreed: "The Minister sat down and had a tankard. I was going to give it to him but he insisted on paying for it. He asked me about business and was interested in the ways that we could increase the number of customers and the revenue. When I joked about taxes, he chuckled and said that taxes increasing because there was more money around was better than trying to raise the rate on the average wizard. He also said if we could raise revenue high enough, he wouldn't be against dropping it (the rate). Good man, the new Minister."
It was hard to find anyone who had anything bad to say about the man who was actually in the alley. One anonymous Wizengamot member did deride the Minister wasting the taxpayer's time. Asked to comment, the Minister, who was contacted at the end of the day, replied, "Well the taxpayer, in a way, is my employer – at least that's who pays me in the end. I felt it was important to go out and speak to the people who pay me and find out what I could do to help them. Help them, help us all. It's just good business."
We at the Daily Prophet will be watching for further developments.