Shattering the Mirror Chapter 29

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Last time:

Ivan lifted his radio again, "All teams this is One. Potter may be here. Let me know immediately if he is spotted."

"We have enemies deploying in the tree…"

"One we have enemies near the pond. They are returning fire and using magic."

Potter! It must be him! "All teams converge on the pond area!" Ivan ordered. Pulling a blackened silver necklace from his pocket he snapped the chain and threw it on the ground and stepped back.

There was a hissing noise and then the silver began to melt before disappearing with a flash of red tinted light.

With a thunderous crack, Lord Voldemort appeared.

Chapter 29

Xavier School for the Gifted

Voldemort gestured for Ivan to approach, 'What is the situation?"

Ivan dropped to one knee and lowered his head, "My Lord we believe that Potter and his people are here. They were on the roof but somehow they escaped the building. At the same time armed muggles and wizards began hitting out perimeter teams."

Voldemort nodded as he fingered his wand, "You believe that Potter and his allies are still here?"

"Da my Lord."

"And the mutants?" asked Voldemort.

"Gone my Lord, it appears that there were wizards on site and they somehow managed to get the freaks out."

Voldemort's face twisted in to a frown, "All of them?"

Ivan flinched, "My men are still searching the building."

Voldemort's silver hand tightened on his wand, "Find me some mutants, my plan calls for mutants. Send half your men to find where they are hiding and the rest can flush Potter and his allies out."

As the Russian began issuing orders Voldemort contemplated his next move. If Potter was here it was likely his group that remained nearby engaging Ivan's thugs to protect the students. If he could drag the cursed boy in to the open where he held the advantage he would be able to finish the wretched creature and end the minor threat the boy posed to his plans.

Ivan returned with eight wizards. Each was an experienced wizard and familiar with muggle weapons. They would do to draw Potter out, "Where are they now?"

"Still assaulting the outer pickets my Lord."

"Lead the way Ivan and remember I want some left alive, relatively undamaged."

"Yes my Lord," acknowledged Ivan as he turned and instructed his men in Russian.

Voldemort hid his sneer of contempt for the mercenary by turning and walking toward the doors.

oOoOoOo

Deathstryke moved so fast that the Russian wizard didn't even have time to react before he was taken out. Moving carefully she dragged the dead wizard around the corner.

"One wizard Severus the others have gone up the stairs looks like they are searching room to room."

"Searching for students?" mused Snape more to himself than his partner as he quickly searched the body pocketing two wands.

Deathstryke shrugged, "Maybe, you up to making sure they don't cause any problems?"

Snape pulled out his wand and nodded, "Lead the way my lady."

oOoOoOo

"No target," reported the well concealed sniper near the wall.

Michael Hayes acknowledged the report and ordered the sniper to hold his position before turning to Harry, "That's it we think. These chaps thought they were smart but I doubt they had ever faced real professionals."

"Still they knew how to use firearms," said Lavender.

"But not effectively Fury," said Michael with a grin, nothing better than an arrogant enemy. "Do we press them?"

Harry studied the school, now lit by several fires through his binoculars. There was movement near the main building. Harry countered the figures that moved from the building before realising who the figure in front was.

"Voldemort is here," he reported to the others.

Hannah hissed as she raised her own rifle looking through the scope, "Right in front…looks like the fuck has a new arm."

Harry studied Voldemort's slow, arrogant advance, "Right Oracle can you get us back to the roof?"

"Yes," replied Luna.

Harry continued studying Voldemort, "Michael at my signal spread out and keep the bastards under sustained cover fire; we'll hit them from the roof and see how they react. Once we've evened things up we'll go after the bastards. He's made a mistake here tonight."

"Maybe," admitted Michael. "But with the wards down he can be reinforced as well. All the students are away safe so be prepared to pull out if this goes bad."

Harry gave a small nod, Michael was right. As tempting as it was Voldemort was still a very dangerous opponent. He'd take a shot if it was on but if not thinning the pricks ranks would be an acceptable outcome.

"Marauders, everyone reload and prepare your gear for an insertion," ordered Harry.

oOoOoOo

The Marauders appeared each touching the other kneeling in an outward facing circle.

Two silenced shots sounded as Hannah fired and a figure slumped to the ground almost immediately Harry fired as well and another figure slumped to the ground still unaware of his 'friends' demise.

"Oracle, Fury sweep the roof, Flame let's line the bastards up."

"Clear, roof is clear," reported Oracle.

"Right let's do this right, Flame, Fury can you hit them from here?" asked Raptor.

"They're in range, barely," replied Flame.

Raptor turned his head to look at his team, "Okay well when Oracle and I open fire I want you two to hit them with whatever you can. They'll be caught between Michael and us. Even Voldemort can only shield for so long."

Oracle knelt and took aim and Raptor moved to her right before doing the same. As he took aim a huge boom sounded on the western edge of the school grounds. An explosion sent debris flying.

"Our reinforcements have arrived," reported Michael over the radio. "They have death eaters pinned down and under control."

"Now," ordered Raptor.

oOoOoOo

Voldemort shielded himself against the muggles weapons fire with little thought even as two of his men fell. Potter's tactics were predictable, the boy obviously failed to learn from his previous failures.

He scanned the trees searching for the boy when he saw a fireball heading straight toward him. With a twirl of his cloak he apparated; appearing only to be struck by something that his shield barely managed to stop. Whatever it was it vaporized the ground around him.

Reinforcing his shield as more bullets struck he cursed as another trail of fire flew in his direction.

One of his men was not as lucky as he was caught in the fireball's detonation. Another was struck by another spell and reduced to a red smear on the grass.

However effective his unseen opponent's spells were they had made the mistake of exposing their position on the roof. Without regard to the last of the Russians being cut down behind him he turned on the spot and apparated to the roof.

Raptor watched through his scope as Voldemort apparated away and immediately began sweeping the grounds looking for him when he heard a muted crack behind him without hesitation he threw himself to the side and dropped his rifle as he drew his wand.

Flame saw the shape appear on the far side of the roof and immediately launched a stream of fire toward the figure.

Voldemort gestured and both Fury and Flame were hurled backward, skidding across the roof. Oracle raised her rifle and emptied the clip toward Voldemort as Raptor raised his wand and sent an explosive hex toward Voldemort as he launched himself forward.

For a brief moment Voldemort was distracted by the hits on his shield in that moment Raptor barreled into him. Decades of dueling allowed Voldemort to develop excellent reflexes and so he managed to twist out of the grip of Potter and banish him back several steps.

As Oracle reloaded she watched Raptor go fully Feral and launch himself at Voldemort. With practiced speed she brought her rifle to her shoulder and waited looking for an opportunity to aid her team mate. In her peripheral vision she could see Fury climbing to her feet and approaching with her hands raised.

Raptor danced away from a spell and lashed out with a one handed blow as he cast a cutting hex at Voldemort. His left hand struck tearing into Voldemort's left shoulder even as the wizards dueling shield deflected the spell away.

Voldemort hissed in pain, apparating away to appear on the other side of the roof. He immediately sent a stream of flame toward the marauders only to have Fury's shield deflect the flames.

"Come here coward," hissed Raptor as he advanced toward the wizard.

Voldemort sent a killing curse toward Raptor who avoided the spell.

"Still having others fight your battles for you Harry," taunted Voldemort as he reinforced his kinetic shield to deflect Lovegood's bullets.

"Canis almost got you, how's the arm?" growled out Raptor as he stalked closer.

Voldemort snarled and released a stream of magic toward Raptor.

It took all of Raptor's skill to avoid or deflect Voldemort's attacks even with his team throwing everything at the wizard.

Then suddenly the storm of magic stopped. Voldemort screamed as his arm was bent almost in half.

Magneto appeared floating over the roof his hand extended, his cloak billowing behind him. "It appears that your arm is truly metallic. Perhaps it was a mistake to replicate your nerve endings so precisely."

With another gesture the master of magnetism bent Voldemort's arm further, the wizards arm was almost completely bent back on itself.

"A…nother time Potter," hissed Voldemort as he gestured, severing his arm and apparating away.

Magneto nodded to Raptor as he lowered himself to the roof.

Raptor saw Fury stumble and Oracle move to support her.

"Are you injured?" asked Oracle.

"I…hit my head on the ledge, I think I blacked out for a few seconds," said Fury. As she stepped in to the light they could see that her blond hair had a red streak in it.

"Where's Flame?" asked Oracle.

oOoOoOo

Flame felt her head slam into the stonework before going over the edge of the building. She tried to apparate but her world was spinning.

Then she hit the tree, hard.

Then came the ground.

The pain was agonizing and all encompassing and grew worse as someone grabbed her by the hair. At the edge of her awareness she could hear someone talking but she couldn't understand.

"…It's one of the freaks…she's finished."

"Bring her anyway…"

"What's that?"

Hannah couldn't make out what the voices were saying as a roaring filled her ears and everything went black.

oOoOoOo

Japanese Embassy – Magical/Medical Wing

Harry grimaced as the Healer shook her head. "She's lucky to be alive Mister Potter. Her injuries were quite severe if we had got to here a few minutes later she may not have survived." The healer sounded sincere and looked professional.

'She'll recover?" asked Harry.

The small Japanese woman nodded, "Yes, she needs to regrow quite a few bones and the potions need time to work on the internal injuries. I'll need to put her on an extensive regime of potions but yes she will recover," the healer said reassuringly. "Perhaps you should get some rest she won't be allowed to wake up until tomorrow morning at the earliest."

Harry nodded, "Thank you."

The healer nodded and walked off returning to her work.

The room allocated to the Marauders had two additional guests, Magneto and Sabretooth. The large feral had found Hannah, dealt with the three Russian wizards and alerted the marauders to her predicament. Luna had insisted that both he and Magneto accompany them to the embassy.

'"She'll make it," said a tired sounding Harry as he walked in. Spotting Sabretooth he walked over and pulled the larger man to his feet before taking his hand, "Thank you brother."

Sabretooth grinned exposing his elongated canines, "No problem Raptor, I half wish I'd kept the pricks alive for you but…well."

Harry looked Sabretooth in the eye, "I mean it, I owe you." Meeting Magneto's eyes he nodded, "I owe you both."

Magneto gave Harry a nod, "You are welcome Harry."

"Luna can take you home if you like," offered Harry.

Sabretooth stood and rolled his neck and sniffed, "I need a shower."

Luna smiled and reached out to touch Sabretooth disappearing with the large mutant.

Magneto raised an eyebrow at Harry who shrugged.

"'I'm not sure I want to know."

oOoOoOo

Newton falls

The sheer number of federal agents involved was making it difficult to mask that something was happening. There was worldwide interest in the takedown of Stryker and his organization and there were a number of governments demanding access to the ongoing investigation demanding to know how Stryker had managed to operate. Who his supporters were, who was funding his work?

All of this led to a large build of forces and materials.

There was a lot of pressure on the field commanders to move quickly to prevent Stryker relocating again or even worse releasing one of the biological agents the powers that be feared he was close to perfecting. However it had only been twelve hours ago that they had received confirmation that Stryker was still onsite.

At 0400 the President contacted the Director of the FBI and gave the order. Officially the clock was now ticking.

0730 Two FBI helicopters with armed agents aboard lift off and circle ready to give air support if it was required. At the same time four vans depart a local government warehouse each one holding a strike team.

Beneath Newton Falls a sewer worker led a dozen FBI agents toward a metal hatch that had been identified two days previously.

Sheriff's department staff set up roadblocks having just been informed of the Federal operation.

At 0815 the FBI agents on direct surveillance gave visual confirmation that Stryker had entered the premises.

0826 The federal agents entered the building within forty-five seconds of the vans hitting the pavement.

By 0847 Stryker was being loaded in to a van and a Federal agent was handing a metal briefcase to a Senior Field Agent of the FBI who was immediately taken to a Helicopter that lifted off flying toward Youngstown Airport where an Air force C-21 was waiting to take off.

oOoOoOo

Colonel (Ret) William Stryker brooded silently not bothering to converse with the four armed agents sharing the van with him.

Somehow he had been compromised and now his research and all his samples were in the hands of the authorities. His work was at risk and his plan to save humanity was spiraling toward failure.

The van slowed and Stryker considered just where he might be taken to be interrogated. Most likely a military base. The Government would want to control what information got out after all.

Perhaps he could cut a deal…

CRUMP

…Dazed Stryker found himself hanging partly suspended by the chains securing him to the wall of the van as the rear door was torn open and a canister thrown in. He was dimply aware of the sounds of gunfire outside as he tried to make sense….

When Stryker's awareness returned he was sitting on a chair in what appeared to be a barn.

"Ah Colonel Stryker back with us I see," said a voice with an odd accent.

He turned his head to see a middle aged man in a suit sitting on a folding chair, "What…where am I?"

"Right now Colonel we are in a barn in some godforsaken town, the name doesn't matter as I shall soon be departing. The question is if you shall be accompanying me."

"Who are you?" asked Stryker as he found his mind clearing.

"Have you heard of Gene-Corp Colonel?" countered the man.

Stryker nodded and the man sat forward, "We, as you know are a genetics research company. I've been following your work Colonel…It's so disappointing to see the short sighted stance being taken by most governments. Gene-Corp is taking a more realistic view of the dangers posed by mutants and the others allied with them."

"What do you want?"

"Ah, straight to the point Colonel, very well I want you to continue your work Colonel; I shall see you safely to one of our offshore facilities where you can perfect your work."

"They have all my samples without them…" The man waved away Stryker's words.

'We can always get you new samples Colonel however we are taking a slightly different stance toward the mutant threat. However that is a discussion for another time and place. The question for now is will you be accompanying me out the door." Stryker noted that he didn't say what would happen if he refused.

William Stryker realized that he was far from finished, his work would go on.

At his nod he was taken to a SUV parked outside the barn.

Once the car had driven off a figure entered from the rear of the barn, "He didn't ask many questions."

The figure shrugged, "He had no choices left. He will serve and help us achieve our goals."

The newcomer smirked, "And then?"

"And then I believe that that there are any number of people looking to end the good Colonel, Hail Hydra."

oOoOoOo

By the time the ravaged convoy was found and the attackers tracked back to a farm off the main road there was no sign of William Stryker. Twenty four agents were killed along with a family that must have witnessed the ambush.

The investigation kicked into overdrive as the Director of the FBI was walking in to the oval office to deliver the bad news personally.

oOoOoOo

Direction Générale de la Sécurité Magique Offices – Paris

Alain Delacour snorted in disgust as he considered the report he had just received. There were far too many things happening and if you tried hard enough you could join the dots between things that really were unrelated.

His eyes went back to Aimée Le Prince de Beaumont's report but he didn't bother reading it again.

He knew what it said, he had known what it would say even before he opened it.

Once more he found his mind going back to the hand written, eyes only report that had been hand delivered to him by a Canadian Auror. What it contained was frightening.

Between them Stryker and Voldemort would doom millions to pointless deaths.

"Roland?"

"Yes Director?"

"Summon Henri if you would and please begin the preparations to initiate operation Nettoyer le soc."

oOoOoOo

Harry had finally relaxed when Hannah was back in her own bed and sleeping peacefully. With a final check he left the room and headed to the dining room.

"How is she?" asked Michael as he passed Harry a cup of tea. Michael had been up most of the night having taken on the briefing for Thames House and their other allies.

"Sleeping but otherwise good, the healer did a good job," replied Harry as he took a sip of his tea. "What is the latest?"

Michael shrugged tiredly; he had maybe three hours sleep in the last forty eight hours "Whoever it was that ambushed the convoy were professionals. The yanks fear that Stryker is out of the country by now although Thames house reports that they are still conducting their investigation as there's a real risk that there has been a leak at the highest levels. They are just starting to interrogate Stryker's men," Michael looked at his watch and adjusted to the right time zone. "Although I suspect it will probably be tomorrow before we hear anything about that."

"So for all we know he could still be able to attack us?" asked Lavender.

Michael shook his head, "Maybe but the Americans are reporting that they have his samples and all his computer work. Without those he nearly needs to start again. We've bought time."

"What about Voldemort?" asked Luna as she slurped and ran her straw around her Styrofoam cup. Seeing the looks she was receiving she put the cup down. "Sorry it was really nice."

Harry grinned at the blond before returning his attention to Michael.

"Our contact at the ICW has been trying to get some decent intelligence but the Ministry is still rather isolated and that's working against them getting a reliable source in place. Whitebear thinks that the changes in leadership haven't had much effect on the majority of the ministry."

Lavender frowned, "Will he be forced to lie low now? I mean Magneto tore his new arm off."

Severus shook his head, "He's probably already replaced it magically. Clearing out the Death Eaters has probably done more damage to his cause."

"We can't afford to let up the pressure on Voldemort," insisted Harry. "The bastard slips away every time we look like getting on top of him."

Michael drained the last of his tea and set his mug down, "When we hit him all at once we've hurt him. We need to find a way to negate his options and force him to face us. From what I've heard from Arthur the Weasley's are getting marvellously creative with their research."

"I'm worried about Stryker being loose he's as much a danger as Voldemort," insisted Luna. "The clock is still ticking and I haven't had any of my twin's report that things have changed anywhere. We still have to make sure he's stopped."

"Even if we have to slit the bastard's throat," said Harry.

Michael almost shuddered at the cold way Harry said it, "I'll set up a meeting with Arthur and the others."

oOoOoOo

Royal Air force Base - RAF Brize Norton

It was an odd sequence of events that raised a few eyebrows among the squad of RAF Police that were guarding the half dozen buildings that had until recently been disused housing. First to arrive had been a SAS squadron followed by a group of Royal Military Police. Then the civilians began arriving.

The Group Captain had however been very clear. They were to stay well clear and keep a strong protective perimeter around the buildings until their guests established their own security protocols.

oOoOoOo

To say that the people in the room who were new to the magical world were shocked by their briefing would be a gross understatement. However their expressions quickly shifted as the leader of the SAS M-Squadron explained what they had dealt with.

The clincher however had been a representative from Thames house and the presentation he had given. In the end not one of the gathered professionals had turned away from the mission that they were being offered.

Within twenty four hours twenty specialists were sifting through the intelligence and three strike teams were had already begun training with M squadron and a team of government affiliated mutants brought in for the purpose.

The British government's search for Voldemort had begun.

oOoOoOo

South West Wales - United Kingdom

On the orders of the Dark Lord the inner circle of Death Eaters had moved their base of operations again. Only two of them had seen their Lord's return the previous evening and neither had the courage to repeat to anyone what they had seen.

Now their orders were to escalate their operations. Their kill teams were to target mutants who were to be killed and if possible have their deaths lain at the feet of the ministry of magic. The rest were ordered to use what resources they had to find and kill Potter.

oOoOoOo

Arthur Weasley smiled as he stood up from behind his desk to welcome Harry, "How is Hannah?"

"Recovering well, hopefully thanks to Severus she'll be up and around in the morning."

Arthur nodded and relaxed a bit gesturing for Harry to take a seat, "That is a relief. Ah well back to business I suppose. The boys and Ginny wanted me to give you this." He passed a folder to Harry.

Harry opened the folder and after a few moments whistled softly, "They've tested these?"

"The boys claim that they'd already begun testing some of the theory while at Hogwarts."

"Bloody maniacs…can I take this?"

Arthur nodded, "Of course."

"I want to show this to Michael."

oOoOoOo

The marauders including a fully recovered Hannah and Michael's SAS squad were back the next day to see just how well the Weasley inventions and innovations worked.

The range demo had been an eye opening experience.

"How in God's name did you come up with that idea?" asked Michael.

George grinned and held up a silvery, tennis ball sized sphere, "Well Death Eaters all seem to use Portkeys so we tried to find ways we could use that against them. This baby latches on to the spell and follows, as long as it is touching the target anyway. Three seconds later it detonates. It's got a damage radius of about eight feet."

Fred jumped in, "Combine it with a sticking charm and you've got one unhappy Death Eater when they arrive home."

Ginny was up next, "Susan came up with this one after seeing something on tele…..television." She held up the small device about the size of a marble. "This contains a transmitter that broadcasts a signal we can then track. Stick it on a Death Eater and we can pinpoint their destination. Best of all it's almost totally impervious to ambient magic thanks to the covering."

"Even wards don't affect it too much," added Susan.

"This has the potential to be a game changer," said Michael. "How far off production are you?"

Fred grinned, "We're there now, why how many did you need?"

Harry studied the marble sized device in his hand, "As many as you have, it's time for the marauders to go hunting."

oOoOoOo

While Michael was discussing the logistics of supplying the new equipment with the Weasley twins Harry and Hannah were sitting at another table with Hermione.

"I always underestimate the twins but they truly are brilliant innovators," said Hermione.

"I can't believe that no one has tried it before," said Hannah. "I mean from what we saw in training we know that some wizards worked with the military and it's pretty well known that the ministry can track apparition and port keys if they've set wards up but this…this is something no one has done before."

Hermione shook her head with an almost contrite expression on her face, "I know, I honestly didn't think they would be able to do it, at first anyway."

"Well I'm bloody sure that they will help. It's time to go after Both Voldemort and Stryker and from here in we have to keep up the pressure," Harry's expression grew cold and hard as he spoke.

"A pity the yanks couldn't hold on to Stryker," said Hannah. "We need him safely dead if we want to derail Luna's vision."

Hermione resisted the urge to frown at Hannah's words. She accepted that they were fighting a war of survival here but there was something about the way Hannah and Harry casually accepted the violence that worried her.

"Harry?"

Lavender walked over from the bar dressed in a pair of shorts and a tight T-shirt was carrying a towel. Beside her was a tall brunette who looked vaguely familiar to Harry.

"I'm going to go for a swim with Renee if you don't need me before the briefing."

"Okay we'll be a while yet. I want to catch up with Bill and Rose as well," replied Harry.

Lavender shot him a smile a left with the other woman.

"That seems to be going well," said Hannah.

"Who is she?" asked Harry.

"Renee or she prefers Loviatar she's a mutant and witch with the ICW. She's been here a lot, acting as a liaison," explained Hermione.

"And she likes Lavender," added Hannah.

Harry's serious expression shifted for a moment as he grinned "Let her have her fun, sure as hell there won't be much time for it soon enough."

oOoOoOo

Lavender laughed as Renee's armed flailed wildly before she lost her fight to balance and tumbled into the pool.

"Graceful."

"It was slippery," explained Renee.

"I'm sure," said Lavender as she dived smoothly in to the water. As she surfaced she found Renee treading water next to her.

"So…" prompted Renee.

Lavender smiled and glided closer to kiss Renee on the nose, "I know what you are going to ask."

Renee's arms snaked around Lavender neck, "Really what am I going to ask?"

"I like you, I really do but I'm not ready."

Renee looked in to Lavender's eyes, "You still miss her?"

"Every day but that's only a small part of it," seeing Renee's expression change Lavender smiled reassuringly. "Hey don't be upset I don't want to stop seeing you I'm just worried about...well about the age difference."

Renee's expression went from concern to amusement, "Really? I'm only five years older than you and you're over the age of consent. Five years is nothing to magicals."

"I know, I know but..."

"But nothing Lav don't worry about it right now. I'm not asking you to marry me just to let me in."

Lavender stared into Renee's eyes for a long moment before pulling her into a tight hug. "I do like you Renee."

"I know, now come on let's have an actual swim before we head back in."

Lavender smiled and slid one hand down Renee's back, 'We've got plenty of time till the meeting but I think we better head back soon. We'll need a shower after all the exercise."

oOoOoOo

Ministry of Magic - London

There were very few people left in the British Ministry for Magic who were not concerned about the current state of affairs. Many ICW countries were still maintaining their trade restrictions and travel for British magicals was extremely restricted unless they wished to travel as muggles (A dangerous option given that countries like France considered such a breach on the travel bans they had put in place. A British magical found in France faced at best deportation. There were several now locked up in French prisons).

Even the previous Ministers resignation had failed to appease the ICW.

"Surely we can plead our case to our old allies?" suggested Beatrice Culloden. She had only just been appointed as the head of the Muggle Relations Department and what should have been a proud moment for the half-blood witch was now rapidly becoming a nightmare.

"Which ones?" asked Lorham Harrington. "The previous Minister and his stand on mutants have tainted our reputation."

'Quite deservedly," said Rudyard Collins the new head of the department for the control and regulation of dark creatures. "My predecessor's actions were monstrous and I don't say that lightly either. We could have had this mutant situation under control, Merlin we have rules but for some reason we tossed them aside and began what can only be called attempted genocide. If we had only used some common sense we could have brokered a deal with them, now with Potter leading them?"

"They are filthy sub-humans, no better than goblins and werewolves Minister Fudge understood this fact," said Mabel Plumpton-Smyth with clear disgust evident in her voice.

Pius Thicknesse rubbed at his forehead wondering why he had ever wanted this job. The Ministers position was meant to be one of power and privilege not this...this careening from disaster to crisis. Ever since his friend Yaxley had disappeared he had been leaning on his new undersecretary Mabel Plumpton-Smyth but she had proved to be somewhat of a disappointment. A rather well connected but bigoted witch (Which was not uncommon at the ministry) the issue was that she lacked the common sense to keep her less acceptable views to herself. Sometimes it seemed that she was trying to make matters worse.

"Mabel regardless of your views we need to find a way to get theses sanctions lifted before we have riots in the street. The DMLE report that there are hundreds of magical families looking to flee to Ireland, Ireland! We simply cannot allow our country to go down this path! If we do we may as well give He Who Must Not Be Named the keys to the Ministry."

Mabel almost hissed in displeasure as she struggled to compose herself and remember the Dark Lords instructions. However maintaining the Imperius on Thicknesse was proving difficult without the close access Yaxley had. The Minister was acting in a dangerously independent way today an indicator that she would need to renew her spell.

Aimée Le Prince de Beaumont silently cursed her colleague's stupidity. Her cousin had warned her that the British were stupid when he approached her with the opportunity to serve France by being a conduit to the ministry. Had she have known what she would have to deal with she would have left England and returned to her family estate in Normandy. "Perhaps the time has come to contact the ICW and seek a settlement that they will accept."

"Never," yelled Mabel. "You filthy French traitor...your Veela blood is now all too evident."

"You speak as if you are implying that my distant ancestry has relevance to this discussion," replied Aimée with one delicate brow raised in mocking surprise. "Or is it jealousy hmmm alas I do not...how do you say it...ah yes I do not swing that way?"

Mabel stared incredulously at the other woman as her magic flared around her, "'How dare you...the Dark Lord will wipe you filthy half bloods from our shores."

Pius Thicknesse frowned as several others stood and Rudyard Collins drew his wand, "Wait, hold damn it!"

"Minister please look at her left arm," said Rudyard as he continued to hold his wand on a red faced Mabel. "Very few who are not Death Eaters use the term Dark Lord."

"Me a Death Eater be careful who you accuse Rudyard," Mabel Plumpton-Smyth laughed mockingly but there was an edge to it that had Pius studying her through narrowing eyes.

With a quick gesture the Minister of magic's wand fell into his hand. His action surprised those who had forgotten the Minister had once been a respected Auror. "Actually Mabel I think Rudyard has a point please show me your arm."

Mabel was sweating now and her eyes flicked to the door.

"Stupefy"

The portly witch was slammed into the wall by Aimée's stunner.

Pius gave her a nod and summoned his bodyguard. It was time to find just how far the rot went.