darkravenwrote: (rose)
[personal profile] darkravenwrote
Author: [livejournal.com profile] darkravenwrote
Title: This Too Shall Pass
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairings: Gen
Word Count: 623
Rating: T
Warnings: Off-screen murders with vague but really not nice descriptions.
Prompt: For my ‘Responsible’ tile on GYWO Bingo.
Author’s Notes: Need to keep doing wordsssss. Writing is hard.
Summary: After a mission gone disastrously wrong, Harry gets called into Head Auror Robards’ office. He goes with his head held high.

"Potter?" Frazzlehorn yaps as she marches past Harry's cubicle one Friday evening. "Robards wants to see you."

Harry flicks his pencil onto his desk and watches her auburn bun bob along his low wall. "Now?" He casts a quick tempus; Hermione's expecting him to be sitting at her dining table in half an hour.

"Now!" Frazzlehorn echoes sternly. She isn't technically the department secretary - she's a qualified auror like the rest of them - rather she's an admin perfectionist that seems to enjoy inflicting misery on people. For example, she knows - along with everyone else on the floor - that Robards want to see Harry about the Garland case. She also knows it won't be a pleasant meeting. Harry does too.

His short trip to Robards' office winds through dozens of other cubicles. Every step feels like a step towards his doom.

The door stands open when. Usually in the daytime, with a stream of light filtering merrily through from Robards' main window, this would be a good sign. Now with the sun long set and only flicker of candle light burning inside, it looks very much like how Harry imagines the gate to hell.

"Head Auror Robards?" Harry calls quietly.

"Potter." Robards has a soft voice; it always surprises the new recruits when he appears with his rough beard and mane of black hair and ruddy cheeks. It is especially soft now. Disappointed. No mutually respectful title. No friendly first name.

"You asked to see me, sir," Harry murmurs as he slides in.

Robards stares up at him across the room from under his heavy eyebrows. There's no glimmer in his hazel eyes. "Shut the door, son."
There's a resounding click, thick with finality, when Harry does so.

Robards doesn't offer him a seat.

"There's going to be an inquest, of course," he says instead, dropping a file on Harry's side of his pristine desk. He gestures vaguely to it. Harry takes it as an invitation to pick it up and browse, but he can't quite make himself open the front cover. "And I'd suggest you go over your official report with your lawyer before issuing your statement." Even in this, with his mouth tense in disapproval and his eyes sad, he's protecting Harry. Even though Harry is so clearly in the wrong.

"Yes, sir."

"I expected you to be a little more vocal."

"You've read the report, sir. It's all there."

Harry finally peeks inside the file. Sees flashes of blood and artery strewn across an acid-soaked tile floor. He shuts it again as casually as he can manage.

Sympathy softens Robards in a way it doesn't most people. His features don't untense and he doesn't reach to reassure with physical contact. Instead, he sits back in his chair and studies Harry. "I'm sorry this happened to you, Harry." He pries the folder back from Harry's cold fingers. "I'm not thick. I know whoever I sent would have followed the same procedure as you. This...unfortunate incident-"
"Massacre. Head Auror, it was a...massacre."

Robards pauses and leaves Harry in an awkward, lingering silence for several, torturous moments. "I admire how maturely you're handling this, Harry."

"It was my fault, sir. No matter that the outcome would've been the same no matter what, even if there had been a whole squad. I need to take responsibility."

Robards nods gravely and stands, his palms gently slapping his desk. "Go home, Harry," he says gently. "Be at the courts early tomorrow morning; it's going to be a long day. Start time is 9am sharp."

Harry dips his chin respectfully before he leaves. He ignores the way Robards' red wallpaper makes him think of that room, blood dripping from the ceiling and trickling down the walls.
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