There was no getting around it: Michael Harrison loved
to visit the Ministry of Magic. Not only did these excursions mean that he got to see his father in between their time apart during these brief stays with other relatives whenever his father's work schedule filled up too much, but they also provided him with a much needed break from the monotony of Muggle life and living. Which was not to say that his extended family were not fine people and everything, but when it came down to it, and despite of his own resolve to try and make the best of these overnight visits, he could not help but feel that compared to the wizarding community, the Muggle world was dreadfully
dull. More importantly, however, every time Michael popped by, there was something new to see; someone new to meet, something new to learn. All right, so the fact that his father worked there did not mean that he could just go wherever he liked, so Michael had yet to see the Committee on Experimental Charms at work with his own eyes yet, but at least he got to meet a lot of interesting people whenever he traversed Level Eight. As ever when he found himself in close proximity to Muggles going about their daily business, however, he had stuck out like a sore thumb and been hard-put to maintain his composure and not taint the quality of his own mischief by laughing along with the people who snickered at the sight of him. In fact; if anyone had stopped him on the street and asked him what it was that had prompted him to act on this whim, or why on Earth he found the reactions from surrounding Muggles to be so funny, he doubted that he could have given a good answer. All he knew was that as a general thing, older witches and wizards were often hopelessly out of touch with fashions in the Muggle world, while magical children, who often mingled freely with their non-magical counterparts and hence typically found dressing like a Muggle to be entirely unproblematic, and that there had been something irresistible about doing the opposite of everyone else just for a lark. It was a bit of juvenile rebellion, one might say.
Whenever he visited Diagon Alley, they were positively surrounded by people whose clothing might be said to be frozen in time, as their style harked back to the seventeenth century, and so Michael, ostensibly in a show of cultural pride, had contrasted his peers by following suit and insisting on wearing threads to match whenever he could get away with it. The result was that Michael, who was a common-faced boy enough, looked like something straight out of Charles Dickens
, and therefore cut a decidedly more odd figure than most other of his kind would do at that age; at least in the Muggle world. And it was a streak of genius too, it would seem, since if a grown wizard had gone around looking like that, he would have seemed like such an eccentric that he might have gotten in trouble with the Ministry for drawing unwanted attention to himself. Michael, however, was still of such tender years that the prevailing views of onlookers seemed to be that he was part of some children's theatre troupe on his way to rehearsal, or else dressing like that on a dare or simply as an antic. Although odd looks and snickering followed him in public when he dressed like this, nobody had asked him to pull a rabbit out of his top hat yet, which meant that while he was not exactly acting in accordance with Wizarding law when it came to adopting an entirely Muggle standard of dress when he was out and about, since there had quite clearly not occurred any significant infractions of the International Statutes of Wizarding Secrecy as a result, he was not outright breaking it either.
As he had expected when he climbed into his grandfather's car, and, as indeed was the general idea, Michael had drawn a fair amount of attention to himself from the moment he set foot back outside it. He had yet to inform his father, however, that the amount thereof had been greater than it should because of how he and his grandfather had somehow gotten it in their heads that their meeting was at The Leaky Cauldron and ended up taking the London Underground from there to Whitehall all on his tod, but as his decision to show up early in order to jokingly lecture his father on being tardy had permitted him to show up at the Ministry on time, he had decided that what his father did not know could not hurt him. His visit had been as delightfully eventful as always; though this time, since he retrieved his wand from the long, square box in his trunk and slipped it taken to carrying it around with him; another thing he did not feel like telling his father about. The consequence of bringing it with him, of course, had been that he had been able to undergo the security check proper for the first time in his life. Thus far, the various watchwizards that sat behind the security desk would glance at him, recognise him as the young son of Chris Harrison and just wave him through without another thought. Now that he had been, but this time, he had presented his wand to Mr. Munch for identification. Fine, so he knew that the latter was clearly indulging him in doing this rather than feeling any particular need
to check him like he did other grownups, but hey, it was still sort of cool to have done it. Luckily, his father had not showed up until Mike had reached the Fountain of Magical Brethren, by which time his wand was once again hidden in an inside pocket of his tailcoat, and fastened with a leather strap so that it would not fall out.
Before they could even find a place to sit to enjoy their packed lunch, however, an interdepartemental memo had arrived to tell his father to come back up to the office, where Michael was told to sit down at his father's cubicle while his father gently questions this dark-haired, clean-shaven wizard Michael had never seen before a bit further down the row. What about, he had no idea; as all questioning of witnesses and interrogation of suspects happened in its own cubicle, which was bewitched with a Imperturbable Charm to prevent people from listening in. In other words, it was an open space; several times his father had turned his way to check on him, and even waved at him a couple of times, but there was no way in which to listen in on their conversation, as the sound within the cubicle came off as all distorted and muffled. Then at last, their meeting ended, and his father and the stranger parted ways, his father to lay claim to those precious thirty minutes he had to eat his launch during midday, and the questioned party to reach another appointment. And so it was that Michael had ended up taking both of their launches and went on ahead to the Ministry All-Purpose Room, as his father had just had to deliver a couple of reports to some colleagues before he joined him. And so, Michael pushed the door to the large, lavishly furnished parlour and, as the back of a head poking slightly up above the back of the leather arm chair nearest to him by the fire place, Michael crossed the length of the room to drop down at the one on the opposite end of the small coffee table that separated them, put down their lunches, which were wrapped up in white kitchen paper, down on it, and yawned. As always, he took his usual moment to let his gaze wander, and to appreciate the place in all its splendour: Then he jumped almost all the way back off the chair. Straight ahead of him sat the last person that Michael had expected to see any more to that day: The wizard that his father had questioned shortly before. Collecting himself and remembering his courtesies, he said: "Good afternoon, sir.