|Sirius Black (padds) wrote in thequest,|
@ 2019-05-21 07:06:00
|Entry tags:||!: log/thread, c: frank longbottom, c: sirius black|
Who: Sirius Black and Frank Longbottom
Where: The DMLE
When: May 18th 2019, morning (before this.)
Warnings: None of significance.
Sirius had been aware for quite a while that he was likely to be pulled in by the DMLE for questioning at some point. He’d never exactly made a secret of his opinions or his loyalties, after all- had in fact shouted them from the rooftops whenever possible- and it was such a short hop from ‘hates all purists in general and followers of Voldemort in particular with a perhaps-troubling passion’ to ‘probable member of the Order of the Phoenix’ that even the Ministry of Magic could manage it given time to do so. And besides, that final battle had taken place at his surrogate brother’s home. When he’d been over for supper. It had always only been a matter of time before he was officially investigated. Especially once that horrid “article” trying to implicate him in Regulus’s disappearance had come out.
But did it bloody well have to be today?
He’d been cooling his heels (and what a strange phrase that was, he’d been trying to puzzle it out for half the time he’d been sitting here,) in some office on the second floor of the Ministry for somewhere between an hour and six hours now- he did not trust the clock above the door, surely time was not moving that slowly- and he was starting to consider walking out. He was reasonably certain that the door wasn’t locked, and he wasn’t actually under arrest- yet- and he had places to be. The flight test, for one, not to mention the bloody moon. It would look suspicious, sure, leaving in a huff before they could question him, but that was seeming less and less important by the minute.
In fact, Sirius was staring so hard at the door as he weighed his options that he almost shot out of his chair in surprise when it clicked open. For a brief moment of confusion he thought maybe he’d willed it to do so with the sheer power of his impatience, but no, someone was actually coming in.
It was no accident that Frank had gotten assigned this particular investigation, of course. Sirius Black had done very little (or, rather, nothing) to keep himself out of the anti-purist limelight, and after the battle of Godric's Hollow things were finally starting to implicate him in more drastic ways. His presence at Godric's Hollow hadn't gone unnoticed, and March's Prophet article had all but outright accused him of murder.
(The Ministry didn't always work very fast. That, or would-be murderers just didn't have to worry about their crimes for two months after the fact.)
Frank shut and locked the door behind him, crossing to the small table where Sirius was sitting. He set a case file on the table and took a seat opposite Sirius, proceeding with formalities because, well, that was what would be expected of him, professionally. A self-writing quill removed itself from the case file and started writing as Frank spoke, the words transcribed verbatim.
"Auror Frank Longbottom interviewing Sirius Alphard Black. 18 May 2019. Beginning time 1:45 PM." A glance to the quill, verifying that this information had been recorded, then Frank shuffled out a few more papers before continuing. "Mr Black. Please provide a detailed account of your whereabouts and actions on the 31st of January, 2019."
“Well, good afternoon to you, too,” Sirius said dryly, glancing between the quill and Frank and squashing the urge to wink at his fellow Order member. Just because Longbottom was the only one in here didn’t mean no one else was watching. “No, I don’t need a glass of water, I’m just fine, thanks for asking.”
He sat back in his chair, folding arms over his chest like he had all the time in the world. Which he emphatically did not, but if he seemed in too much of a rush to get out of here, someone might get suspicious. Not Frank, surely, but someone.
“You want the whole day, not just the evening? I had the day off. Late shift the night before, so I slept in. I don’t really remember much of the afternoon, it was pretty unremarkable. I expect I ran some errands, picked up a bottle for supper, that sort of thing. With me so far?”
Frank knew, of course, that Sirius was amping up his (already high) sarcasm level just to get under his skin- and he'd surely have done the same no matter what auror had been assigned to the questioning. Now, at least, Frank could brush it off. He'd cuff Sirius' shoulder later on.
"A bottle?" he prompted, curiously. If Sirius had been under the influence later that night, that sort of thing needed to be known- not that Frank expected that a bottle really had much bearing on anything else that had happened in Godric's Hollow.
“Wine,” Sirius clarified, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. “That’s the sort of thing you do when your friends are feeding you for the hundredth time this month, yeah? Sometimes I manage to be classy. Didn’t drink much,” he added, eyebrows arching. “Not a big fan of wine. Not that classy. Nobody did, as I recall, it was still pretty bloody early when we got interrupted by, you know, murderous terrorists.”
There was a part of him that was doubly tempted to ask Sirius for the year and vintage of the wine, but he refrained for now. Instead, after a bit of quick math in his head, he remarked, "A hundred meals in a month is more than three meals in a day. Those are quite generous friends you have, Mr Black."
Frank's lips pressed together, and he continued more levelly. "About that… interruption. Please go on."
Sirius sighed, long and exaggerated. “That was hyperbole,” he explained dryly. “They feed me a lot, is my point. Sometimes I bring something to make up for it.”
He shifted in his seat at the more serious question, leaning forward a little to better focus on Frank. “A bunch of arseholes showed to try to murder us.” Though Frank, of course, knew more detail than that, including that they’d had a bit of warning after Peter went out for a smoke; whether the Ministry actually knew that was questionable, and Sirius didn’t want to let on anything that might even vaguely point to the lot of them being vigilantes unless it was already known. He figured Frank would indicate it if the DMLE knew that detail. “We fought back to defend ourselves, and most importantly let Lily get out with the baby. You lot took your sweet time coming to help us.”
Not a helpful answer, no- and likely to get him stuck here longer than he’d like- but Sirius Black was not a man known for being either helpful or particularly friendly to the Ministry in general. If he made it too easy, if he was too forthcoming, it would look suspicious, like he had something to hide or like he was too friendly with Frank for it to look good for either of them. He just had to walk the line of not actually saying anything incriminating and he was pretty sure Frank would be able to send him on his way without anyone looking askance at the Auror.
Frank's lips pressed into a thin line. Of course, he knew that the DMLE wasn't blameless in this or in many other incidents, but being so blatantly called out on it by someone who was, ostensibly, a suspect was… brazen, to say the least. But he wouldn't defend the DMLE or their actions- not that they weren't deserving of such things (at least to a point), but he really didn't want this interview to devolve into semantics and name-calling.
"Just that? No warning, no provocation, no broken wards- just sudden attempted murder?"
Sirius shrugged one-shouldered, eyes flicking toward the door and away again impatiently. “Peter thought something was weird when he went out for a smoke, but I dunno that I’d call that warning. We were all jumpy, living in the middle of a war, especially since- well.. All of Wizard Britain was jumpy, things were always weird. Normally it didn’t lead to pitched battle over dessert, you know?”
A cagey answer, sure, and Sirius met Frank’s gaze just for a moment, a twinkle in his eye. If he thought of this like a puzzle- what to say to keep from incriminating himself and his friends but still give the DMLE what they wanted- it was almost fun.
Frank exhaled, slowly, two fingers pressing at either side of the bridge of his nose. Finally, he looked back to Sirius. "Did you recognize any of the attackers?" They were prone to wearing masks, of course, but it felt necessary to ask all the same.
At that question, Sirius fidgeted, noticeably discomfited. It could have been impatience, of course, but he was counting on Frank to pursue the line of questioning because of it.
After all, why not take this opportunity to...to sew the seeds that ought to be sewed anyway? It wasn’t as if it would be a lie when he did.
“They’re in masks,” he pointed out, unknowingly echoing Frank’s thought. “Damn hard to be absolutely sure of recognizing anybody, with masks. That’s the point of them.”
The implication being, he hoped, that he might not have been absolutely sure, but he was fairly sure of something, and merely hedging.
"Masks can be removed," Frank offered, almost casually, "and there are… other identifiable characteristics that might have been noticed." He watched Sirius with interest, admittedly not entirely certain where he was going, but willing to lead the way. "Anything you might have noticed could be worth following up on."
Again, Sirius shifted, gaze flickering to Frank’s face and away again, the picture of reluctance. It wasn’t even entirely feigned; loyalty to family was a value instilled early and usually well in the Blacks, and while he quite vocally no longer considered those people family, the discomfort of bringing a third party- much less this third party- into a matter between Blacks was still almost instinctive.
In other words, a part of Sirius would have much, much rather gotten Bellatrix at the end of his wand than throw her to the DMLE. She had been at James’s that night, and that was personal, whatever else was also true.
But needs must. And getting her investigated was a nice sort of revenge as well.
“I’d know her voice anywhere, is the thing,” he said finally. “Know her spellwork, too. Bellatrix’s.”
Ah, now that was something he could work with. Frank nodded, once, and glanced aside to make sure that his quill had noted down Sirius' words accurately. "Just to clarify, you are referring to Bellatrix Lestrange, formerly Black?" Crossing t's and dotting i's, such was the DMLE way.
Sirius nodded, looking down, and then added for the quill’s benefit, “Yeah. Yes. It was her, trying to do for me that night. Not surprising, really, after...everything.”
It wasn’t why the Death Eaters had been there, not really, but his presence and their hatred of him made a decent motive to obscure what they knew of the real one.
"Everything being…" Frank flipped through some of Sirius' file, then read of the quote from an earlier Prophet article. "Purism is a horrorshow and as a philosophy needs to be scoured from existence." He wanted to smile. Really, he did. But Frank maintained an even countenance, looking back to Sirius.
“That,” Sirius said just a touch wryly. “And the, y’know, the familial disgrace, disowned heir bit. I don’t exactly have many fans left on the old family tree. Bit surprised that Bella hasn’t tried to take matters into her own hands before this if I’m being honest. Restraint isn’t her most...salient trait.”
There was, of course, no end to the shit he could talk about his cousin if given the opportunity, but under the circumstances Sirius was actually trying to practice restraint of his own. Even if his eyes were sparkling as he watched Frank watch him.
"Right, of course. That." Things that would have been well-known, most likely, but needed to be documented all the same. "Given her purported lack of restraint, is your assumption here that this large-scale attack was just to get at you, Mr Black?"
Sirius shrugged, expansive. “Got a better theory? It makes sense. It’s not exactly a secret, our get-togethers, so they could easily’ve known I’d be there. Attack my family, like Bellatrix thinks I attacked hers leaving, maybe take me out, maybe kill someone I care about instead. Revenge. It’s the way she thinks, anyway, I know it is.”
It seemed almost too easy, but- well, it was a good theory. It was, at least, something that Frank could work with- and something that he felt comfortable starting on and would allow Sirius to leave having given the DMLE 'the upper hand'. (Such a rarity, these days.)
"I think that's enough for today, then." Frank waved a hand toward his quill, which stopped writing. "Thank you for your cooperation, Mr Black."
Sirius resisted the urge to wink- just- and nodded. “Sure, Longbottom. Any time. I’m free to go, then?”
He was already getting up, of course. He had things to do and places to be and the Ministry’s summons had only barely stopped him in the first place.