"These are the times that try men's souls." Thomas Paine
She took one last glance in the mirror before taking her place in the queue. Given what had taken place two days ago, physically, she was holding up rather well. Her light brown hair was neatly pulled back and the bruise on her cheek concealed. If someone who hadn't known her walked past, they would simply think the woman was in need of a few extra hours of sleep.
She opened an empty stall door and stepped into the toilet bowl. With a quick tug, she was spinning down and then calmly walked into Ministry of Magic's atrium. She nodded at a few coworkers who eyed her curiously or nodded with sympathy. She bit her lip and went to the lifts.
"Roaghnailt," Jamie Cornish greeted as she came up beside him. "Surprised to see you, er, up and about."
He looked down at her curiously, holding the lift open for her as she stepped in. He stood directly behind her, and she could feel his hot breath on the back of her neck. Unfortunately, she couldn't move.
With a sudden lurch, Raoghnailt stumbled backwards and Jamie snaked an arm around her waist. Disgusted, she quickly righted herself, plucked his hand from her person, and dropped it. He chuckled behind her.
"You're too difficult," he breathed in her ear.
The lift came to a stop and the door slid open. She turned to face him, hissing, "And you can't take no for an answer."
With that, she marched away, her heels clicking on the cool stone floor.
"Ms Scrimgeour? Ms Scrimgeour. Ms Scrimgeour," a soft, feminine voice said. Raoghnailt had her head resting on her desk, absentmindedly staring off at the wall to her right.
"Ms Scrimgeour, ma'am, um, Dolores Umbridge requests your presence in her office."
Raoghnailt sat up quickly, rapping her fingers on the edge of her desk before pushing back her chair and standing. She quickly straightened her robes and her collar, attempting to look presentable for the senior undersecretary who, no doubt, had a few choice words for her.
She took notice of the young girl standing in front of her, dressed in a pink skirt that clung too tightly to her hips and a blouse with a plunging neckline. The older woman snorted, eyebrows raised.
"You think that's an appropriate look, do you?"
The woman opposite Raoghnailt flushed, nervously pushing a lock of blonde hair behind her ear. "If you want to be taken seriously, I suggest a change of wardrobe. Or would you rather be bent over, on your knees for the rest of your career?"
If it was possible, the woman flushed an even deeper shade of scarlet before giving an awkward curtsy and stumbling out of Raoghnailt's office.
She shook her head.
Raoghnailt slowed her pace as she approached the door of Dolores Umbridge's office. She saw Moody's eye affixed to it, darting around. It settled briefly on her for a moment before carrying on with its frenzy. She hesitantly knocked, praying that Dolores was elsewhere. After the interrogation two days ago, Raoghnailt was not entirely sure she would be able to keep calm and professional in front of this woman and her cohorts.
The door opened, Yaxley standing in its place. She bowed her head briefly.
"Miss Scrimgeour, nice of you to join us," he said, his voice low and gravelly.
She hummed a response before stepping in. Dolores sat behind her desk, and Yaxley took his place standing next to a man, or beast rather, who she recognised as Fenrir Greyback.
Dolores looked up at her expectantly, a small smile on her lips. "Oh, do sit down, Raoghnailt," she said kindly.
With three long strides, she crossed the room and took a seat.
"Ah, no, thank you," she said, warily eying the two men to her left.
"Very well," Dolores remarked chirpily.
Keep calm, don't do anything rash, keep calm...
Raoghnailt took a deep breath, determined to maintain an indifferent and cool exterior. Their...misdeeds, for all they knew, hadn't gotten to her. Just another day on the job, an occupational hazard. She could handle the death of her father, the Cruciatus curse, Veritaserum forced down her throat. For all they knew, she had experienced worse.
"Now, Raoghnailt, your record," Dolores began, pulling out a manilla file and flipping it open with her short wand, "is actually very good. You completed your training at twenty-two and helped your father in capturing several extremely dangerous criminals shortly thereafter, correct?"
She nodded, "Yes."
Dolores studied her for a moment before shuffling through some papers. "Since, you have climbed quite high through the ranks and you are, currently," she paused to take a sip of tea, "a deputy of the department under Robards."
"That's what the door to my office says," Roaghnailt said simply.
Dolores' eyes darted to Yaxley and Greyback. "And," she continued, "aside from a few personal misdemeanors, shall we call them, you are one of the best aurors in the department, and, as such, you deserve to be rewarded."
Raoghnailt's eyebrows knit together.
"The Minister has authorised Snatchers to capture muggle-borns," she said shortly. "Given your record, and your lack of suspicious loyalties elsewhere, we appoint you as their coordinator and overseer."
Roaghnailt could feel all eyes land on her expectantly. This wasn't a job offer, she knew. She couldn't refuse it. So she simply sat in her seat, calmly folding her hands in her lap and waiting for further instruction from the plump woman sitting on the other side of the desk.
The office was tensely quiet until a whistle was heard outside. The door was brusquely knocked upon and, before Yaxley could reach it, was thrown open. Raoghnailt cringed as the door slammed shut but didn't turn in her seat. For some reason, she couldn't trust Dolores enough to turn her back to her.
"What 'ave I missed, nuf'ing too important, I presume?"
Raoghnailt felt her stomach drop. That voice.
Dolores had straightened in her seat, her eyebrows raised and a look of disapproval on her face. "You were supposed to be here ten minutes ago."
"Duty calls, ma'am," he said flippantly, stopping just beside Raoghnailt's chair. She remained frozen, but out of the corner of her eye she saw plaid trousers that had seen better days and a smooth, black leather coat.
She knew that voice.
"This is equally important, Scabior, I assure you. You have just been appointed a superior," Dolores said airily, confirming Raoghnailt's suspicions.
"Oh, yeah, and 'oo'd that be?"
Dolores gestured across her desk, "Raoghnailt Scrimgeour."
She could feel his eyes on her. She hated it.
"Is that all, then?" she asked, feeling very much like a bit of steak thrown into a lion's den.
"Yes, that is all, Raoghnailt. I congratulate you on this appointment," Dolores said sweetly. "You're expected to start immediately."
"Thank you," Raoghnailt bowed her head before standing and exiting Dolores Umbridge's office. She knew he was trailing right behind her, followed by Greyback who had been dismissed from the room as she opened the door.
"Well, well," he said, coming up beside her, easily matching her strides. "Never thought I'd be seein' you again, love, let alone 'ave ta answer to ya."
"Me neither," Raoghnailt grumbled, quickly turning the corner, racing into a crowded lift, and pulling the gate closed.
"Mee'ing in five, then?" he called.
"Make it ten," she replied mockingly.
"Your office?" Fenrir Greyback asked, standing beside him.
She nodded curtly before the lift rushed backwards. She squeezed her eyes shut and pinched the bridge of her long nose. It was not a good day.
Sorry to those who are patiently awaiting a new Wee Birdies Sing chapter- I just had to get this out! All things you recognize from the books and movies belong to J.K. Rowling, that which you do not is mine. Please humor me with a review. I've been itching to start this story, and, now that I am, I would love some feedback. Yours.