This fic is a collaboration between LeighaGreene and inwardtransience. It's also a kinda-sorta sequel to All According to Plan, so if you haven't read that you'll be very confused.
Holding in her exasperation at the door being opened for her, Síomha stepped up out of the car, took a glance at her surroundings.
And jerked to a halt. "You're kidding me."
The man still holding the door open — a boy, really, looking almost uncomfortable in the stiff suit he'd been stuffed into, had to be an intern or something — blinked at her for a second. "I'm sorry, ma'am?"
Ugh, English, right. "That's the Government Buildings," she said, gesturing around at the sprawling edifice of marble and iron in all directions. She'd been driven right into the courtyard in the middle, so she really was surrounded, tall walls of off-white stone, complete with Roman-style pillars because of course there were, carvings of who even knew what every few metres, the courtyard itself with trees and parked government cars, a few people wandering across here and there, a great bloody fountain, echoing in the relative silence of the courtyard, the wings of the structure enough to cut out the usual noise of Dublin somewhat.
Didn't do much to cut out the noise in her head, of course, but she felt that was bloody well called for! What the fuck was she doing here?
The boy gave her a baffled sort of look. "Did...nobody tell you where to they were bringing you?"
"No, I had fun with her, sure." That was Donnacha, coming around the intimidating black monstrosity she'd been brought here in to shoot her a crooked smirk. "Can't blame me for that — it's a drudgerous thing, government work, you take what pleasure you can."
Síomha couldn't help glaring at the irritating muggle a little. Falling back into Gaelic, "You're a cunt, Donnacha, you know that." Also, she was pretty sure drudgerous wasn't even a real word.
It had been a peculiar, unnecessarily mysterious process all told, this whole thing, whatever it was. Which wasn't too much of a surprise, anything to do with how the muggles and mages of Ireland interacted always got a little peculiar. Technically, the Ministry in London was supposed to handle whatever official liaising with the muggle government was necessary, but the Republic of Ireland splitting off from the United Kingdom some decades ago now had...complicated matters, to say the least. While they'd already had laws and procedure in place to deal with the British Crown and the French Republic from practically the beginning, a new state appearing in the middle of their territory was a new one. Given how recent a development it was, by magical standards, and...
While, technically, the magical government recognised the independence of muggle Ireland, and thus technically had the same responsibilities to them they had to the Crown...practically speaking, it was a bit of a mess. The Ministry tended to completely ignore the Republic, acted throughout the island as though the national border didn't exist.
Which complicated things, somewhat, especially when it came to legal issues involving people actually living in Éire. Especially, say, purebloods, who wanted anything to do with muggle society for whatever reason, so needed some way to legitimise their existence — with, say, official documents, birth certificates and passports and such. A cousin of Síomha's had been arrested by muggle Italian authorities because, in their infinite stupidity, the Ministry had arranged papers issued by the British government for a woman born in Corcaigh in the fifties. Bloody idiots.
These days, Saoirse Ghaelach stepped in to fill the gaps, whenever they could get away with it. They had a few contacts in the government, mostly in the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of the Gaeltacht — the Irish government sort of considered the magical community within their territory to be one big Gaeltacht — through which they helped people settle whatever issues they had...again, whenever they could get away with it. What they were doing was, technically, illegal, both under British law and international Secrecy. But until the Ministry got their heads out of their collective arses, Síomha really didn't see how Gaelic mages could be expected to do any differently.
That they were slowly creating parallel institutions that didn't involve the British Ministry at all was really just a side benefit.
Anyway, a letter had come for her, passing through several hands — someone in Foreign Affairs to a muggle in the know in Cárna, to his contact in Saoirse, to Clíodhna, and finally to Síomha. The letter itself had been rather vague, boiling down to Foreign Affairs wanting a consultation on...something, if she'd please show up at such-and-such place at this time a driver will pick her up and bring her to the meeting, blah blah. It hadn't said who she'd be meeting with, or where. Some low-level diplomats, she'd assumed, maybe one of the Ministers of State.
She hadn't thought it was out of the question that she'd be being dragged to Iveagh House and shoved into a meeting with the Tánaiste, but that was the most extreme possibility, the thought was a bit absurd. After all, the Republic of Ireland should probably avoid holding high-level meetings with Gaelic nationalist separatists, even magical ones. Might give the English the wrong idea, what with the...situation in the North right now, you see.
But to be brought here... "I swear, Donnacha, if the Taoiseach is at this meeting and you didn't tell me..."
"What, you'll curse me?" The aggravating man shrugged, drawled, "Like I haven't heard that before. Besides, what would you have done differently?"
"I would have worn something else, for one thing!"
"And I'm supposedly to believe you care?"
"It's generally not considered appropriate to be having meetings with heads of government in jeans!" Honestly, it would have taken her five minutes to apparate back and dress properly...
"Calm down, I didn't say anything about the Taoiseach being there." That sort of condescension on Donnacha's voice would have been annoying on anyone, but from some muggle paper-pusher it was just insufferable. Luckily, the boy's blank look of confusion (he clearly didn't speak Gaelic) was amusing enough of a distraction — she really shouldn't go hexing muggles in public. "If you're quite done already, we do have somewhere to be."
Síomha forced out a sigh, trying to vent her building irritation and wariness with her breath. It didn't work very well. "All right, fine. Let's go, then."
Going inside the building wasn't making Síomha any less uncomfortable. She just... Okay, it was a nice building, that wasn't in doubt — it was the last public building commissioned in Éire by the Empire, she recalled (as a university? she thought?), and currently hosted the main offices of the head of government of an entire bloody country, it'd be weird if it wasn't pretty. On the inside everything was clean and bright, old marble and pale polished wood contrasted with gleaming modern furnishings, paintings bloody everywhere, there was fucking stained glass over the stairs at the entry. The inside was weirdly quiet, actually — there were a few people bustling about, but far fewer than she would think. It was getting on in the afternoon, true, but there should still be...
Anyway, the feeling she couldn't shake, that she shouldn't be here, it only got stronger the deeper she was led into the lavish building. Not necessarily because of the extravagance, though that was sort of foreign itself. Gaelic society wasn't prone to the pointless luxury the English often were — probably the closest things to this sort of physical wealth on the magical side of Éire or Alba she could think of were Hogwarts (which had been built by Britons in the first place) and the seat of the Inghams (which was actually somewhat modest, compared to other Ancient Houses). But no, that wasn't it, not really. Her concerns were largely political.
She was well aware the current situation between the Gaels and the Brits of the Celtic Nations was...complicated. And by complicated, she meant it was all too possible tensions could explode into civil war, if things go just the right kind of badly. And a civil war between the two major constituent cultures in their little magical nation would be very messy. Especially given the intermarriage and general cultural diffusion that had been going on increasingly over the last few centuries — there were areas of the country where the distinction between Gael and Brit simply wasn't so clear as it seemed in Éire. It was...fuzzy, and if it did break out into general war — which she didn't think likely, she feared the Ministry would just crush Saoirse, who were handily outnumbered by even just DLE officers, and call it done with — nobody could be entirely certain where the lines would be drawn.
People thought Voldemort's war had been bad — families splitting apart, brother fighting brother and so forth. But the Death Eaters had mostly been nobility, pulling from a comparatively small number of families. In a true war between the Gaels and the Brits, they could see much the same dynamic, but far more extensive, spreading all through the commons. It would be nothing short of a disaster.
And if the Ministry knew Saoirse was meeting with muggle officials in the bloody Government Buildings...
And that wasn't even getting in to things on the muggle side, which were perhaps equally complicated. When the Republic had split off, a few of the northern counties, about two-thirds of Ulaidh, had elected to remain with the Empire. To put it mildly, the drawing of a national border across Éire had been a controversial decision since the moment pen was put to paper. Things had been relatively quiet at first, but tensions had gradually escalated over the decades, until there were riots and shoot-outs in the streets, snipers and bombings. Hell, the nationalists even tried to assassinate the English Prime Minister which...was insane, but had to admire the stones those boys had, she guessed.
The violence in the North wasn't overwhelming, but it was certainly... She meant, London had to be watching Dublin for signs that they were supporting the nationalists in Ulaidh, waiting for any sign that this was more than a domestic conflict. Tensions between the English and Irish governments hadn't been this fragile since shortly after independence. Saoirse wasn't...directly involved with muggle republicans in Ulaidh — at least, if they were Síomha didn't know about it — but it wasn't out of the question that London would take the Republic meeting with Gaelic nationalists very, very badly.
She didn't think something so small would be enough to spark off a war. But it could certainly escalate into the sort of diplomatic crisis the muggles of Éire hadn't seen since...well, ever, really.
Síomha couldn't help the feeling somebody was making a terrible mistake.
That feeling only got worse when Donnacha lead her into a conference room. It was a rather nice place, all deep blue carpets and gleaming polished wood, despite the modern muggle trend toward simplicity still far richer than...well, most anywhere she'd ever been. There were far fewer people than one might expect would call for meeting in a room this size — excluding her and Donnacha, they only numbered five. Even at a glance, most of the faces in the room were familiar, but one stuck out immediately: an older man, hair thinning and greyed, but face comparatively smooth and round, would seem almost...jolly, if not for the idle frown. She'd never met the man, but she didn't need to be told who it was to recognise him.
Barnie Craig, the bloody Taoiseach of the fucking Republic.
Before introductions could even get going, Síomha jerked to a halt in the doorway. "Oh, you're kidding me, this is a terrible idea."
She got a scattering of confused looks from the dignitaries in the room — she also spotted the Tánaiste, the Minister for Arts, Culture, and the Gaeltacht, and Síomha was pretty sure that was the ambassador to England, for some reason. Likely, most of them didn't speak Gaelic, it was rare among muggles these days, so it was Donnacha who spoke first. "Come, Síomha, don't make a scene now."
Turning to glare at him, she hissed, "You explicitly told me two minutes ago that the Taoiseach wouldn't be at this meeting!"
Donnacha shrugged. "I lied."
One day, she was going to murder this man. She just knew it. Forcing out a heavy sigh for a moment, Síomha's eyes tipped up to the ceiling, trying to gather herself before turning back to the bloody Taoiseach. Switching to English, "I apologise, a Thaoisigh, I'm..." Síomha flailed for a moment, grasping for an appropriate word. "...flattered, but, I really shouldn't be here."
The bloody Taoiseach cocked an eyebrow at her. "I can't imagine why not, but you'll go on telling me, sure."
"With the difficulties in the North right now, you probably don't want the fact that you're meeting with anyone from the leadership of Saoirse to get back to the English. Or the Ministry, for that matter."
"That's funny, and here I thought you're an Irish citizen. Mike, am I having another moment," he said, turning toward Mícheál Ó Caoimháin, the bloody Tánaiste, "or am I still allowed to talk to my own damn people?"
A rather younger man, thinner and taller, dressed rather more casually, forsaking the standard suit muggles usually stuck with for what looked like a bloody polo shirt — it couldn't possibly be, they were in the bloody Government Buildings in a meeting with the fucking Taoiseach, Síomha might just be behind on muggle fashion — Mícheál's sharp face pulled into a crooked smirk. "Last I checked in, there's no law against that."
"It's not really about whether it's legal or—"
"Oh, quit you that whinging and sit your arse down, will you? We have too much talk about to waste time arguing over whether we should talk at all."
Did... Did the Taoiseach just tell her to stop whinging? She didn't...
Oh, this was a terrible idea.
A quick round of introductions followed. The Minister of Arts was the only person in the room (besides Donnacha, of course) whom she'd actually met before — Máire Ní Súileabháin, a dark-haired woman in her forties, whose soft smile and naturally sardonic drawl invariably put Síomha in mind of her more entertaining great-aunt. She'd correctly identified the older gentleman — the word felt appropriate, the well-dressed man had a sort of calm, noble gravity to him, it was hard to explain — as the Republic's ambassador to England, Jack Nerry. (Síomha was slightly dumbfounded at the peculiar name, but nobody corrected Donnacha, must be right.) Nerry also doubled as their primary contact with the Ministry, since he spent most of his time in London anyway. The last person present, a younger man sitting in the corner prodding at...a PDA, Síomha thought those were called, and scribbling on a notebook was presumably an assistant of some kind, he wasn't introduced.
There was a bit of awkwardness around the names, because Irish muggles didn't actually use Gaelic anymore. The Tánaiste actually went by Mike Cavan — which, that wasn't how Caomhán was supposed to be pronounced, but okay — and Síomha did a double-take when Máire was introduced as Mary O'Sullivan — that was closer to correct, never mind that it made her sound like a man. At least Síomha's name was relatively easy to pronounce, from an English perspective, but she couldn't quite hold in a wince when Nerry called her "Madam Ailbhe" — that was just bloody weird.
Gaelic mages never had quite caught on to the surname thing, at least not in the commons; she did technically have one, of course, but it was more accurately a clanname, it wasn't something that was used in direct address, that just felt strange. (Not to mention, the ní was sort of important, and he'd also pronounced Ailbhe wrong.) Everyone just called her Síomha, even in formal situations, maybe Síomha Raghnaill if there was another Síomha around and they needed to be more specific. As uncomfortable as she already was with everything about this, calling her strange things was just making her more anxious.
(This wasn't right, she shouldn't be here.)
It took repeating it a couple times, but she did manage to convince them all that, yes, it really was appropriate to just call her by her first name. She'd have to try to remember to properly use titles and such, she'd probably slip if she didn't. English was so damn annoying sometimes.
"So, we're all friends now, how nice. If we can get to the bloody point sometime today, I do have places to be." It sounded bitter enough, but there was the hint of a smirk in the Taoiseach's eyes. Apparently he just talked like this, which...Síomha had heard, she just hadn't realised people were serious about that. Okay then. "Mike, you have it on you?"
"I have." The Tánaiste reached into a pocket, and pulled out...a sheet of parchment. "This letter here was sent to the President, a couple months ago now — a bloody owl brought it, because sure, why not. His wife hadn't even known about magic, I'm told, he had some uncomfortable explaining there. Anyway, we here have all read it now, and we called you in to answer some questions." He unfolded the parchment, and tossed it across the table to fall in front of her. Throwing a confused glance back at Donnacha, Síomha spun it around rightside-up, started reading.
And stopped immediately. "This is in Gaelic."
"They noticed, Síomha," Máire said, smiling a little. "Go on, read."
Okay, sure, they obviously would have noticed it was written in Gaelic, but she was going to go out on a limb and guess she was the only person in the room who had any idea how strange that was. Gaelic was still far more common on the magical side than it was in muggle Éire — it was the dominant language in Éire and most of Alba, in fact — but it was hardly used for official purposes anymore. And not usually by the sort of people who still used bloody parchment. The idea of somebody writing a letter to the President of the Republic in Gaelic on parchment was just strange.
Though, it quickly became clear the author didn't actually speak Gaelic. It was passable, but awkward, accomplished either through liberal use of references or an advanced translation charm. Which wasn't a surprise — the Blacks weren't a Gaelic family, it was very possible this Lady Black, or whoever had written this in her name, would have been more comfortable in British. (Síomha spoke British — that is, Cymraeg — too, but this hadn't been written for her.) She would think it a little odd that she'd put the effort in to use Gaelic when they could have used English just as well, but maybe they simply thought it was the proper thing to do.
She did use the proper address and everything, a Shoilse dotted here and there across the page. Most actual Gaels didn't bother, even the muggles. Which was weird, but, judging from the very little she'd heard of this Lyra Black girl, weird was simply to be expected.
Of course, that wasn't even getting into the contents, which were another whole level of absurd. "You have confirmed this invitation is legitimate with the British Ministry? Only, this Lady Black is just fourteen, I think." Síomha didn't point out that that didn't actually matter — she was a Lady of the Wizengamot, she had the power to invite dignitaries to state-sponsored events if she wanted to. But Celtic law was bloody strange sometimes, there was no point talking about it.
"I did, naturally, first thing after I was informed." This was Nerry — his voice was a low, smooth rumble, without the hint of Gaelic on his accent the other muggles in the room had, sounding very English. "In fact, I spoke to their Director of International Cooperation directly, at his office in London. According to Crouch, it had not originally occurred to them that, under the terms of the Nineteen-Thirteen Treaty of Anglesey, our magical counterparts are required to at the very least offer us the opportunity to represent ourselves at such diplomatic events as this Tournament. They might have forgotten entirely if Lady Black hadn't taken it upon herself to invite us. The Queen received an identical letter, I'm told — though, hers was in English, of course."
"But..." Okay, now that she thought about it, that was probably true — the sovereignty question when it came to parallel magical and muggle states occupying the same land had been complicated from the beginning, and the Statute had only made the situation more fraught with contradictions and technicalities and pitfalls than it'd been before. It very well might be that they'd simply forgotten at some point that they were obligated to invite each other to major diplomatic events. As small and isolated as the Celtic Nations were, the Triwizard Tournament qualified. (Which might seem silly to muggle eyes, but it was what it was.) "But the Republic didn't even exist in Nineteen-Thirteen."
"No, but the treaty was renegotiated under the old Free State in 'Thirty-Three, shortly after the Statute of Westminster 'Thirty-One. The Ministry do often forget about us over here, but they have the same diplomatic obligations to us they do the United Kingdom. According to Crouch, the invitation is both legitimate and, in fact, statutory necessity."
"It's not the legitimacy of the invitation that's the problem now." The Tánaiste gave her a crooked, almost rueful smile. "We feel it possible the event might present an opportunity. Not so much where our relations to the magical government are concerned — though, sure, we should use any chance we get to remind the Wizengamot and the Ministry that we exist. As much as we do appreciate the efforts of organisations like yours, and sympathise with your goals, strengthening ties with the official magical government is in our best interests."
"Oh, I don't disagree, a Thánaiste, you do what you have to." If the Republic did switch entirely to proper legal channels with the Ministry it would weaken the position of Saoirse, Síomha knew that, but she couldn't reasonably expect them to prioritise the health of a subversive separatist group they technically had nothing to do with over their own national interests. Not that she thought it likely they'd ever succeed in getting the Wizengamot to take them seriously — from what she could tell, most of the Lords thought the whole of Éire was still a British colony, it was frustrating — but she couldn't blame them for trying.
The Taoiseach snorted. "So happy we have your approval."
"Yes, well, that aside," the Tánaiste said, shooting his superior a slightly exasperated look, "the opportunity is more than that. We've gotten word already that Downing Street intends to send their own delegation. We don't yet know who exactly will be in it, sure, but I think it could be a good opportunity to have talks under the table, so to speak."
"I understand." He meant so they could frankly address the Northern Ireland situation somewhere they didn't have to worry about appearances or politics — whatever they said, or even that they were meeting at all, was hardly likely to get back to the muggle population in Ireland or Britain. The magical press probably wouldn't even think to comment on it. Things had only gotten more difficult, with nationalists nearly assassinating the bloody Prime Minister, and trust between the muggle governments was low, what with select members of the Dáil caught funnelling arms to nationalists militias, the Department of Defence's emergency plans to invade the North if deemed necessary leaked, accusations of British security forces collaborating with loyalist militias, and...
Well, it was very possible being able to figure some things out where the muggle press couldn't barge in and make a nuisance of themselves might prove critical in any peace process. That wouldn't be impossible to pull off on their own, but hiding away behind the wards of Hogwarts was a neat trick.
"Yes, I can see why that might be useful. What did you want to hear from me?" As the Taoiseach had pointed out a moment ago, they hardly needed her advice to put that idea together themselves.
The Tánaiste smirked. "Frankly put, Síomha, we need to know how likely it is our people will be murdered during their stay with the mages."
...Síomha would like to be able to say there was absolutely no risk of that, but she'd be lying.
This whole blood purity thing, no matter how much the so-called purebloods would protest, was a relatively new concept in their sociopolitical culture. It hadn't really existed at all before the Statute, at the end of the Seventeenth Century — at least, not in any form modern people would recognise it — and it hadn't developed to a point it was generating racial discrimination and even violence until... Well, the first blood laws against muggleborns (or halfbloods, sometimes) holding certain offices in the Ministry weren't passed until the 1820s, and while there had been the occasional hate crime here and there, the Death Eaters truly were the first organised campaign of violence against those declared impure.
There was a reason the Death Eaters had been opposed by most legitimate conservative voices in Celtic magical society: the golden age they claimed they were attempting to restore, their vision of a pure Britain, was a complete fantasy, something that had never existed before and likely never would. When they'd been the Knights of Walpurgis, they'd had far better luck finding like-thinking people among the Dark, but once they'd started drifting into pureblood nationalist insanity...
But, the point was, as much as Dumbledore and his ilk tried to pretend otherwise, the conflict wasn't truly over. If anything, magical society was only more strongly radicalised into the utopian ideology of blood purity than it'd been before — even many prominent figures in Dumbledore's own administration openly displayed their racism, though of course without the genocidal rhetoric. Discriminatory views about muggleborns were now the norm in British government, and increasingly in all relevant social institutions.
Quite honestly, Síomha was worried. Before the rise of Voldemort, a rather chauvinist attitude about muggleborns had been common — annoying, yes, but not particularly dangerous. But he'd managed to tap into visceral fears laid by Grindelwald's revolution on the Continent, tainting Celtic society with the feeling that muggleborns were not only different, but somehow less civilised, less human than the rest of them, and dangerous. Seriously problematic ideas about blood purity were more common than they'd been before, not less, it was everywhere. And the Death Eaters hadn't been dismantled, they still existed. Only a tiny minority had been killed or thrown in Azkaban to rot, the vast majority still walked free, with no real limits on their activities, some even stood in positions of power and influence. When the ceasefire ended — and this was simply a ceasefire, the war wasn't over — these were developments and positions the Death Eaters would exploit.
Síomha hadn't had anything to do with the war last time — she'd been, what, twelve or thirteen when it'd ended, and it'd hardly touched Éire in any case, mostly a British conflict. She had the feeling that she, all of Saoirse, would get drawn into it, and soon. And it would be messy, far worse than last time. There was something viscerally horrifying about racial violence, in a way ordinary war simply couldn't touch, and the renewed conflict would be bigger and bloodier than it'd been in the 70s, she just knew it.
Part of her couldn't help the thought that that wasn't even a bad thing. At least they could eliminate the worst of the British nationalists properly this time, and, well, it was very possible Saoirse could exploit the opportunity to drive a wedge between the Gaels and the Brits, and get their own revolution going. But it was definitely going to be messy, and she was...not scared, exactly, but worried, yes. She was starting to get very worried.
But, getting back to the matter at hand, if British mages were less tolerant of muggleborns than ever before it went without saying they'd react even worse to muggles showing up — especially at bloody Hogwarts, of all places. "There shouldn't be any threat of treachery from the Ministry or the school administration, but... Well, they're Nazis, basically, there are far too many magical Nazis about. I'm not sure I would even trust any security they provide — while the leadership of the Ministry is moderate enough to not be genocidal in their racist idiocy, I can't guarantee the same about whoever they assign to guard you. It might have been a good opportunity but, yes, there is a very real risk of your people being murdered. That's just the state of Britain at the moment, I'm afraid."
"Yes, we thought that might be the case."
Síomha turned to blink at the Taoiseach, taking in the resigned, exasperated, but almost intensely solemn looks on all their faces. "Er... I'm sorry, a Thaoisigh, but if you knew that already, why was I called here?"
It was Máire who answered — though, it wasn't an answer, really, seemed more a change of subject than anything. "As I understand it, Saoirse Ghaelach has been recruiting and training your own security forces for some years now."
"Sure, if you can call it that." The ultimate goal, of course, was to raise a militia for when it finally came time to succede, but they'd already seen some use as police, essentially, neutral arbiters to mediate conflicts between clans who would rather not call in the British, and as a sort of personal security for Saoirse in general and sometimes the leadership...in particular...when they... "Wait a second..."
"I've been lead to believe Saoirse is very liberal, on the whole blood purity issue."
"Well, yes, I suppose." Technically, they didn't take a position on pureblood supremacy at all — they were primarily concerned with the right of the Gaelic people to rule their own lives, whether those Gaels had magical parents and how far back didn't enter into the equation at all. Many of the muggleborn rights activists themselves did take issue with how they simply ignored the subject, but she guessed it was a matter of perspective. But their people certainly weren't about to go murdering muggles for the hell of it, which was what Máire was really asking. "But, no, you can't be asking us to—"
"We sure as hell can." The Taoiseach, somehow, managed to say that flatly and reasonably, as though what he was saying wasn't completely insane.
"But that doesn't— That is a bad idea. That is a terrible idea. Do you have any idea how the Ministry will react when you show up with bodyguards pulled from a nationalist militia? Are you trying to start a huge bloody scandal?"
And the Taoiseach bloody smirked. "Maybe a little bit."
Before Síomha could possibly think of how she was supposed to respond to that, the Tánaiste picked it up. "If we do wish to exploit this opportunity to meet with British representatives in secret, your people present the only option. It's unfortunate, but there sure isn't any other group operating on the magical side we've ever heard of that we can trust."
"Well, maybe, but..."
"And it sends a message, now. Even British relations with the mages have broken down some, I've heard, but it's hard to get them to even acknowledge an independent Ireland exists, much of the time."
Nerry gave a solemn sigh. "Every time I go in to see Crouch or one of his people I'm held up at the door by someone who has apparently never heard of the Republic before. Even Crouch, who is a reasonable chap himself, hadn't realised the full extent of the Ministry's treaty obligations to the Crown, much less us. It's a very real problem."
"Showing up with you, Síomha, is a threat, one we mean to make consciously. Take us seriously or, well, maybe we'll just have to deal with these scary nationalists instead. They sure don't want that to happen, do they? It could work the same way for you as well. From what I've heard, the magical government in Britain doesn't represent the interests of Irish mages nearly as much as it should — it is a power play of sorts, displaying a legitimacy through your association with us your government can't ignore. Sure enough, there's the potential among the Irish as well, raising your profile and prestige, which can only help your organisation."
Síomha didn't bother trying to hold in her glare. "Not if it calls down the Aurors on us."
Lifting one shoulder in a light shrug, the Tánaiste said, "So is the risk all revolutionaries take. I'm sure you understood what you were getting into from the beginning."
Honestly, not really — she'd sort of been raised into...sympathy with Saoirse, if not quite Saoirse itself. She had certainly gone much farther into it than her family did, and she hadn't any illusions about what exactly she was doing. But this wasn't at all the same thing, she wanted to tell them all they were bloody insane, but...
Well, everybody in Saoirse was already sort of insane, when it came down to it.
"Oh," she muttered, "this is a terrible idea."
English, Síomha, you're supposed to be speaking English. "I think I might have lost my mind, but... I can't make this kind of decision on my own. I'll have to bring it back to the council, but I suspect it won't take very long — I can't say for certain, but it's safe to assume you'll have your protection. We're all mad here, you see."
The muggle officials chuckled, but Síomha couldn't quite match their good humour. Part of her couldn't help the feeling that this was a horrible idea, and it was going to end very, very badly. She couldn't say how badly, anything from a diplomatic snafu to a bloody civil war, but...
But she'd already accepted the possibility of things going badly when she'd joined the revolution. At a certain point, one simply must embrace the madness.
Fionn was still going to kill her, of course.
Síomha — This is a recurring minor character from my headcanon. The name is pronounced roughly "she-vuh".
Some of the word choices might seem slightly strange in here. When exactly Síomha uses which word has an internal logic to it. But it's not really important to know exactly what that is, just consider it a quirk of the magical Irish nationalists and call it good.
Also, generally speaking, Síomha prefers to use the Irish names for things. "Taoiseach" and "Tánaiste" are the actual titles for the Irish prime minister and deputy prime minister (the spelling is changed in the vocative, "a Thaoisigh" and "a Thánaiste"). The Irish names for Ulster and Cork both showed up at some point. Dublin, however, doesn't get one — she considers it a thoroughly anglicised city, so uses the local name.
[Barnie Craig] — If anyone noticed the similarity to Bertie Ahern, Taoiseach 1997-2008, the reference was intentional. They're not meant to be the same person, I just took Ahern as a sort of perverse inspiration. (Quite a character, that guy.) We'll actually be coming up with OCs for all the people in muggle government, because I'm leery of using real people in fiction, for a whole variety of reasons, but the complicated coalitions and political instability around 1992-1997 were taken as inspiration. For anyone who cares, the current government would be a coalition of Fianna Fáil, Labour, and the Democratic Left (irl a similar coalition existed in this period with Fine Gael instead of FF).
[Cymraeg] — Welsh in Welsh. Welsh in Irish is "Breatnais", literally British, hence the use of the term here.
The chapter title literally means "this is a horrible idea" (at least, assuming I didn't fuck up, I don't actually speak Irish). Which pretty much sums it up, doesn't it? There's no way this is going to end well.
All according to plan. (Mwahaha.)