Sarah remains a part of Voldemort's life--but now she is exposed to the Wizarding World in full. Or has it been exposed to her?
Disclaimer: I own nothing. However, if I really wanted to, I could just skip this disclaimer and imperius all the lawyers off my back, but then the ministry would send me nasty letters again. Also, J.K. Rowling wrote the newspaper article, so don't start praising me about how well written it is.
"Master," Wormtail said weakly. "Why is the girl still here?"
"Because I doubt you could think of a way to get rid of her." Voldemort said flatly.
"Basically," Sarah agreed, chewing merrily on a piece of bubble gum.
"As for you," Voldemort said, turning to the girl. He was met with a large pink bubble, which burst in his face. Sarah sucked in her gum again, and blew several more bubbles, all of which popped with a satisfying smack. "Stop that! Why are you following me?" The girl blew one last bubble, this one inflating until it was roughly the size of her head, which burst with a loud bang, getting pink goo all over her face.
"Cuz you're cool." She said with a big grin as she began peeling the bubble gum off her skin.
"What?" the wizard said, confused.
"You know, cool. Rippin', savvy, nifty, hip, groovy, tubular," she leaned really close to him, her eyes narrowed. "What decade do you come from, anyway?"
"It is rude to ask one's age," Voldemort said dryly.
"Nah. That's just for women. Self conscious, you know," she said knowingly. Then, in a sudden change of character, she straightened and looked around. "Where are we?" she said.
"We are heading for Diagon alley." Voldemort said.
"Diagonally? What's diagonal? Diagonally what? I see horizontal stuff. Vertical too. But nothing's diagonal here," she looked around again. "And what's with the hood, Volders?" somewhere under the shrouding hood, Voldemort rolled his eyes.
"I am not welcome here," he said irritably. "And do not address me as Volders."
"Well what am I supposed to call you?"
"Voldemort. Lord Voldemort."
"All righty, Lord Voldemor-,"
"Do not call me that here! If anyone hears that name, the Ministry will be on me in an instant!"
"Right... which brings me back to square one. What do ya want me to call ya, Volders?"
"...Tom. If you need to address me, call me Tom."
"Tom..." Sarah repeated, calm and serious for a moment before returning to her normal bubbly self. "Okay, Tommy-boy!" Voldemort heaved an exasperated sigh and walked into an alley next to some strange shop that looked faintly like an old style bar. Of course, Wormtail and Sarah followed him obediently, though Sarah was skipping and humming, while Wormtail was fidgeting with his cloak and hood and whimpering about something indiscernible. A moment later, the three had reached the end of the alley.
"Um... Tommy-boy... I don't see anything diagonal here." Sarah said. In response, Voldemort took out his wand and pointed it at her.
"Stupefy." He said tiredly.
"Stupefy yourself, Tommy-boy," the girl said, laughing. Voldemort turned away from her and began tapping bricks on the wall with his wand. Suddenly, a small hole appeared in the stone. It widened until it was tall enough for someone to step through. "COOL!" Sarah shouted. "I wanna try!" she snatched the wand out of his hand and ran through the hole.
"COME BACK HERE!" Voldemort shouted, chasing after her.
A half hour later, Voldemort, his side aching, crashed into Sarah, who had stopped short. She was staring at one of the shop windows, transfixed.
"That's a broom," she said dazedly.
"Yes it is. Give me my wand." Voldemort panted, cursing her mentally for making him look so ridiculous, despite the fact that no one recognized him.
"But... it's floating. It's... flying... It's a flying broomstick."
"Clearly. Most wizards use them. Now give me back my wand."
"You mean people ride those?"
"They certainly don't sweep floors with them. Give me my wand."
"Wow... I still don't see anything diagonal, though."
"What? Oh. Nothing is diagonal. This street is called Diagon Alley. It is an alley called Diagon. Now give me my wand."
"Oh. That explains a lot. What are we doing here?"
"I'm waiting for you to give me my wand."
"Eventually. But why did we come to Diagon Alley?"
"I need a copy of the Daily Prophet. Now give me my wand."
"A prophet? Like Moses and Muhammad and all them?"
"No. It is a newspaper. Give me my wand."
"How are you going to get the newspaper if you're not supposed to be here?"
"Tommy-Boy! You're not going to STEAL one, are you?" Several heads turned toward the two.
"Give me my wand."
"No wonder you're not popular here! Tell you what. How much are those newspapers? I'll go in and get you one."
"They will not accept muggle money."
"Wizards use different money?"
"Hmm... Do you have any?" Sarah made her eyes wide and did her best to look irresistibly cute.
"I am a Dark Lord-"
"I'll give you your wand back." Voldemort's shoulders slumped slightly in defeat.
"Fine," he said, digging into his pocket. He dropped a handful of change into Sarah's outstretched hand. "Now give me my-"
"In a second," she said. "I gotta make sure you don't run off on my while I'm shopping. Where'm I gonna find this 'Daily Prophet?'"
"Come with me." Too exhausted to fight her logic, Voldemort trudged to the nearest bookshop, Sarah bouncing merrily at his heels.
"Wow," Sarah said as she wandered along the shelves of . Voldemort, for the sake of anonymity, had stayed outside. There were thousands of books, none of which she could recognize. She passed by a shelf that had been devoted to one author, Gilderoy Lockheart. All of them had a picture of Lockheart (she guessed it was him, anyway,) winking and smiling. He looked like an idiot. He was handsome, to be sure, but his eyes looked empty. Stupid.
Sarah scolded herself for making the assumption. She picked up one of the book and read the blurb on the back cover. Unsatisfied, she picked up another title, and another.
"Why do people buy this trash?" she muttered to herself in disgust. She knew better than to trust a handsome face and an oversized resume. "No one's that good." She walked away from the shelves. Several more covers gestured and winked at her, and she waved back, the serious mood disappearing instantly.
"Can I help you?" a voice said from behind her.
"Oh! Hello!" she turned around to face a man who appeared to be the shopkeeper. "How do they do that?" she asked, her reason for coming into the shop almost forgotten.
"What? Oh, yes. You're a muggle born, aren't you?" Muggle... Voldemort had explained it to her earlier. It meant non-wizard.
"Yup." She said, nodding proudly.
"Well then," the shopkeeper said, laughing merrily. "All the pictures here are enchanted so that the subjects in them are basically alive. It's like that all over the wizarding world."
"Wow. Sounds dizzy."
"You get used to it after a while. But tell me, do you need help with anything?"
"Oh, yeah. Where can I find the newspapers?"
"Right this way, miss," the shopkeeper led Sarah past several more shelves, to a series of stacked newspapers. She picked up one that was headed The Daily Prophet.
"Will that be all?"
"Yes, thanks. Where do I pay?"
"I can take care of that right here. Let's see... that'll be a sickle and two knuts." Sarah raised her eyebrow in confusion.
"...I don't usually carry nuts with me," she said.
"What do you have?" the shopkeeper asked, amused.
"These," Sarah pulled a few of the strange coins out of her pocket.
"That's right, you're muggle born. See these silver coins? They're sickles. And the little bronze ones are knuts. Two of those and a sickle and you're all clear."
"Oh," Sarah said, handing the shopkeeper the money. "Thank you."
"No problem," he said. "By the way, how did you get into Diagon Alley in the first place? You seem a little lost, no offense."
"My friend helped me," Sarah said, turning back to the window where Voldemort was waiting for her. "That's Tommy-Boy. And Rizzo's here too." She said, pointing at the two hooded figures waiting at the entrance. "He's one of Tommy-Boy's friends. They were out running errands, so I offered to get them the paper," She added before the shopkeeper could ask any awkward questions. "Thank you for your help. Have a nice day!" She skipped back to the two wizards.
"Got it!" she grinned. "And it's perfectly legal, too!"
"Very well," Voldemort said from under his hood. "What about my wand?"
"Oh, that," Sarah laughed. She pulled it out of her pocket and gave it to him. "Here you go."
A few minutes later, two wizards and a girl were sitting at a table in one of Diagon Alley's many restaurant.
"I call funnies," Sarah said.
"What?" Wormtail asked.
"Funnies. Funny pages. Comics. The pages in the middle that you give to kids to amuse themselves or clip so you can tack them up on bulletin boards. Those."
"Oh. Those," Wormtail said, understanding slightly.
"There, amuse yourself." Voldemort said, handing Sarah the middle pages. The illustrations weren't much like the ones in the Sunday paper. They were comics, to be sure, but the pictures moved, making it more like watching dozens of little captioned movies than reading the paper. She focused on one doodle. It showed a boy with scruffy black hair and a lightning bolt in the middle of his head rolling on the floor, and a bunch of people running away from him, saying stuff like 'he's crazy'. The next panel showed him get up and start shouting at the crowd 'I was having a seizure, you maniacs!' Sarah put down the paper, one eyebrow raised. She shook her head and examined the rest of the cartoons.
"Um, Tommy-boy," she said, tapping Voldemort on the shoulder. "I don't get it." Voldemort glanced down from the newspaper to the comics Sarah was pointing at.
"Wizard humor," he explained. "Bad wizard humor," he amended, looking distastefully at the cartoon. "I assure you, you are missing out on nothing of value."
"Oh," Sarah said. "Thanks. What are you looking at?"
"Current events," Voldemort said. Sarah looked down at the article.
In a brief statement Friday night, Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge confirmed that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has returned to this country and is active once more.
"'He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,' huh?" Sarah noted. "Now there's a mouthful. Who comes up with this stuff?"
"It is with great regret that I must confirm that the wizard styling himself lord-well, you know who I mean-is still alive and among us again," said Fudge, looking tired and flustered as he addressed reporters.
"It is with almost equal regret that we report the mass revolt of the dementors of Askaban, who have shown themselves averse to continuing in the ministry's employ. We believe that the dementors are currently taking direction from Lord-Thingy."
"'Lord Thingy,'" Sarah repeated. "Very classy. And it's no wonder these demetors revolted. If people went around calling me demented, I'd revolt too."
"We urge the magical population to remain vigilant. The Ministry is currently publishing guides to elementary home and personal defense that will be delivered to all Wizarding homes within the coming month."
"Now there's a way to make sure people get in trouble," the girl laughed. "The only people who ever actually read those pamphlets are nosy kids like me. The same kids, may I add, who nobody in the world seems to listen to."
The minister's statement was met with dismay and alarm from the wizarding community, which as recently as last Wednesday was receiving Ministry assurances that there was 'no truth whatsoever in these persistent rumors that You-Know-Who is operating amongst us once more.'
"No. I don't know who. Who? Enlighten me."
Details of the events that led to the Ministry turnaround are still hazy, though it is believed that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and a select band of followers (known as Death Eaters) gained entry to the Ministry of Magic itself on Thursday evening.
"Nice," Sarah said approvingly. "'Death Eaters'. That would make the coolest name for a rock band. But they'd have to play some real heavy stuff, you know? But Tommy-boy, I don't get this one part. What does it mean by 'gained entry to the Ministry itself'?"
"It means," Voldemort said, unusually surprised, "That they entered the main headquarters."
"Oh." Sarah skimmed over the rest of the article. "You know, this Harry Potter guy doesn't sound right."
"Is that so?" Voldemort asked.
"Yeah. I mean, look at all the stuff they're saying about him-'a lone voice of truth', 'young, tragic hero,' it just sounds too good to be true. Nobody's that great."
"Is that a fact?"
"Yeah. Honestly, Hitler did the same thing: he got everyone to think he was some kind of angel, plastered his praises all over Germany, and then he turned around and started killing all the Jews. I say that anyone with a resume that big can't be doing anything but lying."
"Very perceptive," Voldemort noted.
"And this other guy. It's just like in Spiderman, where everybody trashes the good guy for kicks, just because he runs around in red tights. This guy, they won't even say his name. And they keep going on and on about how terrible he is, but they don't even touch on his background. Really! At least they could try to figure out why he's doing everything he's doing. Maybe someone could try to help him, maybe stop something bad from happening again. But no. All they can think to do is sit around blaming the first person in sight. Isn't there something called 'duty to the people'?"
"B-bravo." Wormtail said quietly.
"Who is that poor guy, anyway?"
"That," Voldemort said, his voice showing a faint trace of amusement, "would be me."
"No wonder you wanted me to call you Tom. These people are complete nut jobs. I bet if they found out who you really are, they'd tar and feather you or something weird like that. I'm surprised you can stand to read this stuff. If I read too many stories like this it would really mess me up."
"Meaning you aren't already?" the Dark Lord asked dryly.
"Very funny." Sarah chuckled, then stood up. "'Scuse me for a second, I've got to go to the bathroom." She got up and moved away from the table, disappearing into the crowd.
Twenty minutes later the girl returned to Voldemort's table, skipping, her hands behind her back.
"I refuse to believe that you spent all that time relieving yourself." Voldemort remarked, glaring at Sarah from under his hood.
"Long line," the girl shrugged, trying to suppress a smile as the Dark Wizard's face shifted into a look of slight horror. "But I took a little detour." A wide grin covered her face as she pulled a large, powder blue shape from behind her back and shoved it into his arms. Closer examination revealed the figure to be a rather fluffy stuffed bear. He searched for something to say, but found himself at a loss for words, left only to stare blankly at Sarah. "I knew you'd like it," she said merrily. "I figured if anyone needed a teddy bear it would be you." Too shocked to act sensibly, Voldemort didn't put down the bear. He almost forgot he was holding it by the time he led his minion and his tagalong out of Diagon Alley.
But not quite.