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Second Chances

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Amelia stood in the hallway holding two notes. The first was a memo from the Minister for Magic, the formal seal stamped on the outside. The second note she folded carefully, tucking it safely into her pocket.

Amelia walked into the Auror's Headquarters, scanned the cubicle walls and easily spotting Kingsley Shacklebolt.

"Shacklebolt," said said, her voice booming over the chatter. "I need you on a broom to Romania in 10 minutes."

Kingsley gave her a pained expression as the conversations around them faltered briefly, then started up again at a much quieter rumble.

"You'll be back in time for dinner," she said.

"That's a long way to go just for breakfast," Kingsley said, raising an eyebrow. "I hear Amurg's has some excellent Valdostana chicken if you're peckish."

Amelia handed him the Minister's note. "I don't have time for dawdling. Cornelius is sending me out on a snipe hunt and I haven't got the time."

Kingsley unfolded the note and scanned it briefly, glancing back at her.This was why she took him into her confidence; he knew better than to question her. He nodded.




Turning the corner, Amelia nearly ran headlong into Cornelius Fudge, already dressed in his Wizengamot robes.

"Amelia!" Cornelius said with a strangled exclamation. "I -- I would have thought you would already be on your way to Romania."

"Oh that," Amelia said, cocking her head as if she had just thought of it. "Terribly sorry, Cornelius, but there's a bit of an important thing today... I see you're headed there right now. It's most bewildering, you know. I just found out about the Potter boy's trial not more than ten minutes ago."

"It is extremely strange," Cornelius said, pulling urgently at the collar of his robes. "So did I. Quite unexpected, isn't it?"

"So unexpected that you prepared an entire dossier?" Amelia said, gesturing to the sheaf of parchment in Cornelius' hand. He stiffened, clutching the papers to his chest. "Oh my, look at the time and I haven't even changed," Amelia continued, waving to him. "Must hurry!"




Amelia undid the clasp of the heavy plum-coloured robes and hung them on the hook behind the door. Several paper aeroplanes were circling the ceiling light, clearly agitated at the overcrowded in-tray.

A young woman poked her head in the door. "Madam Bones? Your nine o'clock never showed."

"It's all right." Amelia waved her hand impatiently, annoyed once more that Cornelius had yanked her duties right out from under her. "I'm going to be out for the rest of the day."

She waited until the woman had left. She wished she still had the note from Minerva, but once she tried to read it again after leaving Courtroom Ten, it had folded itself back into a bird and flown away. Amelia had not heard from Minerva for nearly two years.




"You've cleaned up everything already," Amelia said. "You wrote that Black tore the boy's bed hangings."

"He did," Minerva said as Amelia crouched down and peered under a bed. "But we couldn't rightly just leave it that way. The children were frightened enough as it was."

"And there are trolls outside the Common Room door." Amelia glared up at her. "Trolls? Don't you think Aurors might be better security?"

"Better security such as your Dementors?" Minerva retorted scathingly. Amelia threw up her hands in exasperation.

"Is that what this is about?" she said. "Is that why you didn't contact the Ministry about Black's appearance until you'd made everything quite tidy? This is why I can't stand Hogwarts, the way you all blatantly take matters into your own hands instead of alerting the Ministry --"

"-- for a very good reason," Minerva interrupted curtly.

"You're impossible," Amelia said, grabbing her briefcase. "There's nothing here for me to investigate, just a bloody waste of time."

"You used to think otherwise."

Amelia stopped in her tracks, her fingers tightening on the handle of the briefcase. Minerva looked at her, her gaze cold.

"I see," Amelia heard her own voice crack and cleared her throat, angry with herself for the show of emotion. "So this isn't about security at all."

"How considerate of you to finally notice," Minerva said. "You've made yourself exceedingly scarce with not a single clue as to why."

"I've been a just a trifle busy," Amelia said. "If you'd ever venture outside your little fortress, you might have an idea why."

"Hogwarts suits me fine," Minerva retorted. "You never come here unless you want to pry at every little negligence, when we have been protecting these children far better than you."

"This castle does suit you fine," Amelia spat. "It's just as frigid."

Minerva's eyes widened in hurt and Amelia was felt the remark sting as if it had been hurled against herself. She stood there gaping, struggling with the apology but Minerva's gaze hardened once again. She didn't have to tell Amelia to leave, the wordless silence rang in her ears.


Amelia sat down heavily in her office chair. Their relationship had been deteriorating slowly even previous to that terrible day, their tempers had been shorter and while Amelia wanted to blame it on the distance, she knew she was mostly responsible

"Oh, you're still here."

Amelia startled as her secretary stuck her head in the door again. "I was just leaving, what is it?"

"Sorry, there's someone here to see you. Do you want me to tell her you've gone?"




Amelia wished there was anywhere for Minerva to sit, but her small office only had the one chair. She rose from her seat when Minerva walked in, but Minerva shook her head curtly.

"Don't bother, I'm not staying. I just wanted to know about the hearing."

"Potter won't be suspended," Amelia said, sitting back down slowly once more. "It was clearly a sham. I could tell that much from what little I could find out beforehand. Cornelius really has it in for the boy, hasn't he?"

Amelia's voice came out sounding strange to her, but she forced herself to be calm. Minerva seemed completely still and unmoved, as if they had just spoken yesterday.

"I told Albus he might make it worse for Potter if he attended the trial, but Albus wouldn't hear it." Minerva glanced toward the window, looking away from her. "I appreciate you attending the trial, I knew you would be fair."

"There were many others in that room who would have spoken up in his defence."

"Of course," Minerva said, going to the window and resting her hand on the sill. The enchanted window had been partly cloudy just moments ago, but the sun was now coming out brightly and it illuminated the silver of Minerva's hair. She turned toward Amelia. "But did they?"

Amelia shook her head. They stood there in silence, Amelia feeling Minerva's presence just over her shoulder. She was half afraid that Minerva would touch her, but then even more afraid that she wouldn't.

Minerva went to the door. "Wait," Amelia said urgently. She stopped.

"Could we -- " Amelia cleared her throat. " -- could I try again?"

Minerva glanced over her shoulder. Amelia's heart leapt into her throat at appearance of Minerva's faint smile, the one that had entranced her years ago.