Daily Prophet: 13 April 1999
Harry Potter, who defeated Lord Voldemort to end the Second Wizarding War, has left the Auror Office of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement after less than a year. He, along with several of his classmates including Ronald Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Neville Longbottom, were accepted into the Auror Office without their NEWTs. The Auror Office has largely been focussed on capturing former Death Eaters to bring them to justice, as well as restoring order in wizarding society.
None of Potter’s peers could be reached for comment, but Head Auror Calliope Proudfoot issued a statement: "Although Potter is a valuable asset and a talented Auror, he deserves a break and if he decides to return, his job will remain available to him."
Rumours that he quit over disagreements about the treatment of Death Eaters cannot be confirmed.
Daily Prophet: 25 October 1999
The Ministry have created a new “Prosecution Service” a year after the International Confederation of Wizards’ Report recommended a separation of powers between Aurors and the prosecutors who oversee trials. Norman Bellinger, previously senior in the Canadian Ministry’s Department of Public Prosecutions, was chosen to head it, despite rumours that the new head would come out of the Wizengamot Administration Service. Bellinger, who grew up in Leeds, moved to Canada in 1958.
When asked for comment, the Minister’s Office said, “We wanted someone who was familiar with Britain and British Magical Law, but we also felt like a breath of fresh air was needed. Bellinger is an opportunity to inject some new blood into the Ministry.” Bellinger is seventy years old, throwing into question the Ministry’s definition of “new blood”, but the Prophet has confirmed he has no ties to either side of the War.
The Ministry Prosecution Service is expected to alleviate the bottleneck of the Wizengamot Administration Service, which is running over a year behind since the end of the War.
The work at the Ministry Prosecution Service was rarely predictable, but the people were: on Mondays, Anthony could expect Sassoon to be slightly hungover, Hackett even snippier than usual, and Bellinger to take his sweet time handing out new cases. Bellinger's main characteristic (as seemed to be the case with all Ministry Division Heads) was old — the kind of old where you were pretty sure he’d always been alive, that he had decided to work in government centuries ago and the bureaucracy had been built around him. Behind his back, a favoured adjective by the rest of the Ministry Prosecutors (or ‘minnies’ as they liked to call themselves) was ‘grizzled’.
On this Monday, Hackett had tripped Anthony on the way into the office (he didn't believe for a second that it was an accident), the windows near the lift had malfunctioned and were showing a view of London but all the colours were in negative, and the milk at home had gone off, leaving Anthony no choice but to eat burnt toast for breakfast. He was taking solace in the beautiful milky mug of tea he had in his hands when Bellinger finally arrived.
Bellinger strode into the conference room with his usual sneer and a stack of case folders and began to distribute them. Some days his mouth would twitch at the corners slightly as he handed over a case, foreboding a particularly grim job. Usually a “crime of passion” or something involving an animal. Thankfully, today Anthony couldn’t tell from his boss’ face what kind of case he would get, which was probably a good sign.
"Zhang, you're on assault-and-battery-by-charmed-object case, an old lady's purse beat the living hell out of someone she claims is her mugger and he's suing for assault, saying she dropped it." This was delivered in an almost monotone, but Anthony could definitely hear some slight derision in his voice over the old woman’s claims. He dropped the folder on the desk in front of Zhang instead of handing it to her. “Sassoon, a present from Misuse of Muggle Artefacts — that guy who sold trousers that would get an inch smaller in the waist and leg every time they came in contact with water. You’re working with Rutherford; he should get in from Germany this afternoon. Kaur, Hackett, you've got an assisted suicide, a healer is being charged by the family of one of his patients." Anthony saw Kaur’s face crease in concern, but Hackett just had her resting ‘I have smelt something awful and it’s the fault of one of you’ face. Before he could catch Kaur’s eye to communicate some sympathy, Bellinger appeared before him.
"Goldstein, you're on another my-boyfriend-made-me-do-it tattoo case, should be fun.” He raised his eyebrow and Anthony swallowed, feeling uneasy. He had worked in this office for seven years (five as a trainee and two as a fully fledged solicitor) and in that time had learned to read the miniscule flashes of emotion that Bellinger would let slip. In the past, a raised eyebrow has lead him down winding rabbit holes that ended in anything from multiple life sentences to terrifyingly slight slaps on the wrist. He did not trust that eyebrow.
Anthony watched Bellinger slink away and ran his hand over the gold-embossed, navy blue folder, steeling himself. Usually, my-boyfriend-made-me-do-it cases involved threats or physical violence, so Anthony wasn’t expecting Sassoon, who worked at the desk next to his, to actually chuckle . “The last one of these we got was a woman who claimed her boyfriend Imperiused her to get her to agree to a hyper realistic dick tattooed on her forehead. No one's judgment is that bad, so we had no problem convincing the Wizengamot he was guilty.”
Anthony was taken aback at the casual mention of the Imperius Curse, but managed to recover enough to say, “Imperius?”
“Well, yeah. Granted, he was sentenced to life in Azkaban since it’s an Unforgivable, so this kind of thing doesn’t happen often, but you’ve seen the odd Imperius case, haven’t you? That one must have been before your time,” he finished smugly.
Anthony chose not to respond, opening the folder instead. Sassoon was, he’d guess, about ten years his senior and never seemed to miss an opportunity to flaunt his superiority. The office had only been created two years before Anthony had joined, so Sassoon was full of shit. At least once a week he found an excuse to lord the fact that he’d been working in ministry law enforcement since before Anthony owned a wand, as though the precursor to the Ministry Prosecution Service wasn’t ineffectual and corrupt.
The first page was a standard Magical Law Enforcement report. Anthony would read it, of course, but he flicked past it to see if there was a photo of the tattoo — perhaps it would be similarly hilarious to dick-on-face. Perhaps—
He must have knocked his mug off the table, because it shattered, splashing tea all over his shoes, though he didn’t hear it hit the ground. He must have stood up abruptly, reaching, panicked, into his robes for the wand he hadn’t carried since he learnt wandless magic on shnat during his gap year in Israel. The world narrowed down, Anthony heard a roaring in his ears and a Dark Mark glared up at him from the photograph. Someone put a hand on his shoulder and he spun around, hands raised to defend Hogwarts, until — until the person standing in front of him was Kaur, and she was holding her hands out, her robes’ sleeves pushed up to reveal brown arms completely free of tattoos. She didn’t have a Dark Mark; she wasn’t a Death Eater. Hogwarts was safe. His friends were safe.
“Goldstein. Goldstein. You’re in the Ministry. You’re in the Prosecution Service, you’re a minnie now, it’s 2008. It’s okay, you’re safe.” Kaur’s voice was calm and quiet and comforting, and Anthony concentrated on her instead of everything around him. Her turban was hot pink today, matching the necklace she had over her black robes, and the colour was so bright and so unlike anything in Hogwarts that year with the Carrows that Anthony clung to it like a life raft.
“Sorry,” he said, his voice sounding not quite like his — his body didn’t quite feel like his either.
“Hey, no, it’s okay, I promise. Sassoon, can you stop standing there and clean up the mug, please? Before someone steps on it and hurts themself?” Kaur turned her attention back to Anthony as she directed him to sit down. Sassoon had been standing, his chair knocked over as if he had been in a hurry but got stuck, but waved his hand to repair the mug, pieces zooming back together with a clink. Anthony remembered the swoop of his stomach when he went to reach for his wand that wasn’t there; neither he nor Sassoon carried a wand, since it was technically forbidden by Jewish law, and diaspora Jews learnt wandless magic after they graduated school. His wand had sat in a drawer since 2000, but in the moment it had been 1997 and he had felt naked and defenceless.
“I’m usually — I can look at Dark Marks, usually,” Anthony said, unable to look her in the face. “I usually know they’re coming though, and I don’t know, I was just caught off guard, and—”
“You’re okay. Do you want to swap with me and work with Hackett? I don’t think assisted suicide is going to be cheery, it’s probably going to be utterly brutal, but I’m pretty sure there won’t be Death Eaters involved. Nothing about the War.”
Anthony looked in the direction of Bellinger’s office and shook his head. Bellinger’s assignments were set in stone, and he was sure he would be fine, now that he knew Death Eaters were involved. He was no stranger to the remnants of Voldemort’s followers that remained — he still occasionally met up with the DA for some fash bashing, and back during his trainee days, most of the MPS’s work had to do with Death Eaters.
“No, I’ll be fine.” He let out a sharp breath. “Thanks for — for what you just did.” He wasn’t sure what else to say — he felt there should be something else, but as he began to feel like his body belonged to him again, he began to also be more aware of the fact that he’d just made an utter fool of himself in front of the entire office.
“I’ll get you another tea. Builder’s?”
“Yeah, thanks,” Anthony said, unable to refuse Kaur’s relentless kindness. He looked down at the file to see the Dark Mark again. It wasn’t quite as he remembered it from the arms of the Carrows; this one was black as if it had just been used to summon Voldemort, and the snake was solid, unlike the patterned one in real Dark Marks. The snake in the photograph moved, looking threateningly at the camera, even though the real ones had been static. He didn’t know what was more disturbing: the idea that the differences were because they had never seen a real one, or that they thought they were “improving” it.
Flicking back to the MLE report, he finally read what the case was about: a woman claimed that her boyfriend had Imperiused her into getting a Dark Mark tattoo. After some prodding, she admitted that the choice of tattoo wasn’t just a case of an abusive boyfriend marking her with something illegal and inflammatory, but that both of them had been involved in some kind of neo-Death Eater group, though the report indicated they had no ties to known Death Eaters.
The Death Eater sympathies had automatically transferred it to the Auror division, and apart from the initial complaint, the rest of the file was handled by some Auror named Hudnall. He would definitely need to get more information about the group, as well as do his own interviews about how the woman was willing to testify and possibly get contacts for other witnesses, but he couldn’t stop thinking about the Imperius element. She had been cagey about the pureblood supremacy stuff, but her story about the Imperius Curse had remained the same.
The final recommendation from the Aurors had requested that Bellinger run the case; Anthony had no idea whether Bellinger knew and hadn’t mentioned it so that Anthony wouldn’t realise the gravity of the case or if he had only skimmed the first page of the file. They both seemed equally likely.
Kaur came by with his newly-repaired mug (it had “Yiddishe Cup” on it; he had no idea where his mother found it), and he smiled at her before standing up. “Thanks, Kaur, I’m just going to the archives.” Instead of looking Kaur in the face and facing the inevitable kindness mixed with pity, Anthony grabbed his parchment, a refillable quill, and his mug and walked past the MLE office and the Auror division to the end of the corridor to get to the archives, just past the Wizengamot Administration Services.
It was an enormous room full of narrow shelving, thankfully with a map near the door. He knew vaguely what he wanted — records of past cases — but didn’t have any idea of the specifics. First he searched for “Knights of Walpurgis”, the name of the group, but all that came up was that it was an early name for the Death Eaters themselves. Next he searched for the Imperius Curse, and was glad he had magic: doing this by hand would be all but impossible. As it was, he ended up covering two of the three small tables in files, discarding any during the wars. Death Eaters controlling people for their own ends during the wars seemed routine; anyone doing it outside of wartime — whether it was jealous boyfriends or wannabe neo-Death Eaters — spooked Anthony in a way he couldn’t quite articulate yet, not even to himself.
He began to sift through cases looking for something that would justify his gut feeling of wrongness and was rewarded with an uptick in cases in the last few years. They were always by people with no Death Eater ties, and it never had to do with serious attempts to overthrow society or harm Muggles. Half of them were horrible, stupid pranks where one party made the other commit a crime and had no defence other than they were just ‘mucking around’. A quarter were business corruption or issues with inheritance.
The last quarter, however, were much stranger and didn’t make sense to Anthony: in multiple cases with little else to connect them, the defence always claimed that the victim had consented to the curse beforehand. In what were some very surreal court transcripts, Anthony read that the argument then became what the victim had consented to before the Imperius was cast, even though the very fact that Imperius was cast in the first place was a compulsory life sentence. Those cases had only happened since the end of the First War, although there were far more in the last decade than the previous one. Imperius hadn’t changed — so why were these crimes so new? Why didn’t they have records of similar things going back to 1717?
He was immersed in the transcripts for one of these weird cases when Kaur came in, walking loudly and coming into his line of sight before speaking, as if he were some wild animal she shouldn’t startle.
“Goldstein? It’s five o’clock — don’t stay here too much longer, alright?”
He had no idea where the time had gone; she was saying he’d been in the archives for hours. He...did feel a bit hungry, now that she mentioned it. “Yeah,” he said, leaning back and rubbing his eyes. He went to take a sip of tea but it was stone cold and he grimaced.
“And — you’ve got someone at home, right?” Kaur said.
“I mean, you’re not going to go back to an empty flat and just stew in what happened, are you? You’ve got someone to pull you out of your head?”
He had Zacharias, but him working nights and Anthony working during the day meant they rarely saw each other. The queer gang was meeting that night, though — he hadn’t even been to the last few, but perhaps Kaur was right, perhaps he shouldn’t be alone with his thoughts.
“Yeah, I’ll — I’ll meet some mates at the pub. Thanks, Kaur,” he said, hoping she could tell how much he meant it.
“No worries. I’ll see you tomorrow, Goldstein.” She offered him another smile and seemed to raise her arms as if to go in for a hug, but stopped herself. Anthony felt disappointed; he was sure she would give excellent hugs.
“See you,” he said, nodding, and she left. He wrote down all the case numbers he hadn’t yet looked at and, with a flick of his wrist, sent them all back to the stacks.