A Final Goodbye
A Cornelius Fudge Fan Fiction
Cornelius Oswald Fudge sat in front of his desk, ruffling through the dozens of papers left there by his secretary over the last hour. He skimmed words and glanced over letters. As he made his way through the stack, the gentle shaking that came with his age became far more pronounced, accentuated by the fear that welled within him.
Every report, every grim message he touched with his hands carried with it the same eerie words: He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has returned.
He fiddled with his reading glasses as he leaned back in his chair. Staring at the ceiling was, rather unfortunately, the best source of stress relief he had available. His wife, Clara, had left him a year ago today with not so much as a goodbye, just a simple note with three hastily scrawled words on a pad of paper: I love you, they said.
She would repeat 'he's back' in his ears – but he would hear none of it. In his foolishness and desperation he clung to the hope, the dream – the illusion – that the Dark Lord had not once again risen to power. That it was not he, Minister For Magic Fudge that was most unfortunate to be the man in power whilst the monster proceeded to once again wreak havoc upon the denizens of Europe and of the world.
Fear. Yes, that was definitely the reason. Not cowardice, he told himself, not really believing it.
He could remember the old days of You-Know-Who; people would lock themselves in their houses at nights with all manners of spells and Muggle means to protect themselves as best as they could but, in the end, nothing was a match for the Dark Lord's power. There was, at least, a legitimate reason for fear.
"Am I interrupting something?" came a smooth voice from the door. There was only the slightest hint of sarcasm in the man's voice, though his every tone truly reeked of its stench.
"Not at all," Fudge replied simply, quickly lowering his eyes to meet those of Lucius Malfoy. "Come in, Lucius. You have information for me?"
Lucius Malfoy took several proud steps toward the minister, uttering not a word but wearing a frighteningly discomforting sneer as he neared.
"Yes, I have information for you, Cornelius," he responded simply, pretending to take interest with a trinket from the desk rather than look at him directly. "It's about your wife."
"You've found her, then?"
"I'm afraid so."
"What do you mean?" Fudge asked, his voice shaking nearly as badly as he was.
"She's dead, Cornelius," he said slowly, almost as if he was trying to draw the greatest reaction possible from his words. "She died shortly after we arrived."
"I'm not sure, exactly, but we suspect the Killing Curse may have been involved."
"Where – where is she?" Fudged managed, taking to his feet.
"The morgue at St. Mungo's," Lucius said at once, directing his hand at the door. Fudge, however, did not bother following its lead. With a horrified looking playing on his face as he fought back the tears in his eyes, Fudge placed his bowler hat upon his head and Disapparated.
He ignored the uncomfortable queasy feeling he got as his feet met the floor just outside the Wizarding hospital, and made his way inside, as quickly as he could. Though it couldn't bring Clara back to him, it would allow his heart a little rest, a little sooner.
"This way, sir," said a Healer. She walked in a brisk pace, but Cornelius, tender and aching joints little more than a memory in his mind as his throat dried, followed swiftly after her, slowing only as she stopped before the room labelled 'Morgue'. "She's right here. I'm sorry for your loss."
He heard little of what the woman said; he heard little more than the sobbing that racked his being. The woman he had loved since before he could tie his laces lay before him, lifeless and cold. He touched her tender palm with the tips of his fingers, remembering the many nights he spent holding that hand in the dim moonlight. He looked up at her eyes that, though closed now, had been a light of happiness in his life.
"Goodbye," he sobbed, tears streaming down his wrinkly face. "Goodbye."
Not until two years later, when Cornelius Fudge saw the Dark Lord in person in the Atrium at the Ministry of Magic would he know what had truly happened to her, who had killed her, and why. For now, however, even with the whispered reassurances of comfort from the healer, all he could do was mourn.
Author's Note: A brief look into the life of an abused and under-appreciated man. Sometimes, I think, we are so quick to judge a person that we don't look at the reasons for their actions, just how it impacts us.