A/N: To all the people with amazing patience and some form of forgiveness: here's part two. All errors are on my part since a majority of this lacked my beta's perusal.
Chapter Sixteen, Part Two
Lily sat quietly in her seat listening to her peers rant about the impossibility of merging the magical and non-magical parts of the world. So far, none of the comments being said had anything remotely significant other than a review of lessons from her History of Magic course, except with a global perspective. With the Western history dominating, everyone repeated how horrifying the past had been when Muggles found out about the existence of magic.
Initially, she was rather excited about discussing muggle-wizard relations. Being the only Muggleborn witch, she was certain she could make some important contribution; however, with the history lovers dominating the speaker's position, all of those who spoke recited narrations of the past and their predictions for the future.
"We've suffered under numerous witch hunts, burning and drowning threats – why take that chance?" Kevin Griffiths from Canada contested. "Should people's lives be endangered just to see if Muggles and wizards get along?"
Other representatives murmured in agreement. Lily heard the enthusiastic "Yes!" from Lisa Pomben. Suddenly, she felt less and less like a citizen of the wizarding world. Certainly she had magical powers, but she lacked their culture. The fact that nearly all descendants of prominent wizarding families refused direct association with muggles whereas she felt connected to them forced a gulf the length of the Mediterranean between them.
"Why, let's also factor in jealousy," Fabrice added. "When even wizards cannot stand the difference in magical potential among themselves, how will Muggles handle the fact that we can control things that they can't and that we also live a longer and usually healthier life?"
Brendan, the American representative with the Muggleborn mother who was standing by Lily's side groaned.
"Have you no faith in humanity? Sure, jealousies are bound to happen, but that's present anywhere! One can't hide for fear of some ugly human emo—"
"We'll also consider fear then," Kevin cut in. "Fear and jealousy caused the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union." The boy smiled viciously. "Oh yes, nuclear weapons that could destroy the entire planet. . . but those Muggles are still manufacturing them. And this resulted from competition between only two nations with two sorts of governments."
Murmurs of confusion spread across the room. Lily had to give her respect to the Canadian pureblood. He must have done quite a lot of research on the supposed inferiorities of the non-magical population. After all, how many wizards knew about the silent war brewing among their next-door neighbours?
With Brandon stuttering beside her, Lily felt she had let the opposition say enough after they interrupted her proposition for a partial integration between the two societies. Of course, they didn't even let her get to the "partial" part. Hence, the debate was currently focused on the fear of all Muggles finding out about magic.
"Are you saying that the Muggle society is inferior because of events sparked by human inadequacy?" Lily questioned. The room became silent and though she couldn't actually see, she could feel everyone's eyes on her.
"I have to say, living almost full time in the magical world has shown me that people truly aren't different," she continued, ignoring the prickling feeling of having all the attention and the queasy sensation of having everyone stare at her partially gauzed face. "The differences between the magical society and the Muggle society are very much the same as differences between two different countries. Each society or country has its own set of traditions and its own set of rules that discriminate against a particular group. The conflicts in the muggle world also have equivalents in the magical world. Wars are wars. Violence has no political boundaries. Why can't the Cold War be compared to certain purebloods' quest for dominance in their own world?"
The room rumbled with whispered comments, grunts, light applause, and the sound of someone clearing his throat. While the group of girls that were overly interested in fashion seemed to always be together, their point of views on issues temporarily separated them. Nicola wasn't as enthusiastic about pureblood domination but she wasn't very inclined about merging with Muggles either.
"Because we are too different," the girl emphasized. "When muggle countries could barely get along with each other, who can guarantee they'll welcome a society that is more different than just culture?"
Lily had to accede to her point. The problem of integration wasn't just on the magical side; muggles weren't the most accepting population either, but when one side had to take the initiative, why not the wizards?
"Equivalents do exist," Kevin added, "but just being equivalent doesn't mean they are parallel societies. Let's say magic is the equivalent of muggle science; both of them are key elements of everyday life. Now the fork in this equivalency:
"From muggle science, nuclear power is discovered and is used to create explosives that could destroy the planet. In magic, where is that power to destroy?"
Lily snorted at the boy's arrogance and overconfidence of the little bubble he lives in.
"I'd say the curse that took away my ability to see is destructive," she answered.
"Oh Miss Evans, does being blind mean the entire planet is at its end?" Lisa questioned. "I have to say you are quite confidence of your place in society."
From the malice in the tone, Lily could hear the silent end of the sentence. She had announced her muggle background in a room of pureblood heirs, some of which, like the person that made the assumption, were quite disrespectful of anyone with impure bloodlines.
"Oh no," Lily acquiesced modestly with what she hoped with a saccharine smile. "I can't possible elevate my station seeing as I'm an outcast for both worlds. No, I'm not delusional. However, you must be if you don't think curses like the ones I received along with the other Unforgivable curses won't destroy the world. How is wreaking havoc across the globe not destroying it?"
"Well, what about the pollution caused by factories and cars? Muggle creations have long been hindering the natural balance of things!"
"At least muggles are smart enough to adapt to changes in their lives whereas wizards are sometimes more xenophobic than the most traditional and conservative of muggles!" Lily shouted in return.
"We are not xenophobes," Fabrice retorted evenly with a slap to the table. The murmurs and side conversations building up since Lily's participation stopped instantly.
"I think we're moving off topic," Feng interrupted smoothly. "We are discussing the pros and cons of integration, not the best and worst of each world."
With the stubborn merely stating his or her position with a simple yes or no, the group decided to split into little groups to work on propositions for muggle-wizard relations.
Brandon expectedly joined Lily as they brainstormed their plan for integration. Since she never found the chance to explain her idea of having the governments work together, she made another speech during their partnership teaching Brandon the way her idea worked.
"Isn't this surrendering?" the boy asked after she finished speaking. "I mean, can't we just push for total integration?"
Lily wished she had full uses of her facial expression so Brandon could understand her message of disbelief rather the harsh verbal reply of, "Haven't you been paying attention to what everyone has been saying? There are too many differences and emphasizing total integration is like forcing food down someone's throat with his mouth taped shut. It's totally pointless."
"So you are conceding to a compromise?"
"Actually, this is my plan," Lily replied flippantly. "I just never got to explain it before those fervent traditionalists ran off with their fear."
"I liked it," Feng's quiet but reasonable voice interrupted their small meeting. "The others are too attached to status quo. I think they are too lazy to write an actual proposal though. Besides, a compromise isn't a concession. It's a sign of strength since you'll just seem more reasonable than everyone else." The boys laughed with Lily smiling into space.
"So, let's write this proposal!" Lily pushed with a shrug. "Someone who knows the format of a proposal should do the writing though." There was a moment of silence. Lily sincerely hoped one of the boys knew something about writing in this conference.
"Rather, someone who can write legibly should do the writing," Brandon remarked dryly. "I, for one, have the most miserable handwriting on earth."
Someone sniffed. "I can't write English very well."
Lily winced at her group's situation. Brandon can do chicken scratch while Feng really couldn't write at all.
"Well, I'd write if I could see what I was doing," she mused. The boys immediately made a sound of pity that Lily waved off. She was more concerned about getting her ideas on paper at the moment. "Why don't someone just take notes on the ideas and we can find someone to write it for us – either getting another Hogwarts student, another nice representative that would help despite the possibility to disagreeing with us, or just try and gather more people to our little coalition."
"I can ask Andrea," Brandon volunteered. "She's got the stereotypical girl's handwriting. It's all neat, rotund, and one'd expect to smell perfume on her paper because it looks like the writing on fragrance bottles. I think she would agree with us, and even if she doesn't, I don't think she would refuse to help a fellow representative."
Just as their dilemma was solved, the moderator during the debate signalled it was time for lunch. Despite being dismissed, the trio continued analyzing their plan with Brandon and Feng taking notes while walking towards their lunch room.
"Working hard?" the accented English belonging to Mei inquired. "We've been at lunch for ten minutes and you have just arrived!"
"And still working, I see," James added. "Brandon's obviously got notes and it seems Feng's notes are in what I assume to be Chinese characters."
"How did your debate go?" Lily asked.
"Easy," James answered. "Isabella, one of Lisa's acquaintances, demonstrated the typical pureblood lady's skill to articulate and gather supporters. With her on our side, most of the room is agreeing with her."
"Of course, the girls look up to her and the boys just like looking at her didn't affect her performance at all . . ." Mei muttered softly to Lily. To their chagrin James did hear the side comment.
"I don't like her idea of beauty but she was very persuasive." Lily altered her body language to doubt. After all, the word "persuasive" wasn't helping James with his point. "Besides, she was agreeing with me!"
Brandon followed with his teasing comment, and James found himself in the middle of a poking-fun session. When she could hear his flustered and frustration grunts, Lily decided to take pity on James since she was the only one in the group who knew James's dislike for that group of girls.
"So what's your proposal about?"
The daily debate sessions continued for the rest of the week. In between, the representatives met with their counterparts to consolidate their country's position. James was wholeheartedly supportive of Lily's proposal and only made slight changes that made the idea more alluring. On the other hand, the fervent traditionalist, as Lily became fond of calling them, was also growing in popularity and reason. Never in her dreams would she have imagined the justified negative attitudes about muggles. Even those who could be considered muggle lovers were hesitant on sharing one small aspect, the political aspect, of their magical lives with the other peoples in the world.
"I cannot believe this," Lily moaned into her hands after another one of Lisa's biting remarks about muggles. Feng and Brandon each patted her back in comfort. Despite having lobbied for nearly a week, their supporters were still unsure of whether or not they would completely sponsor the conditional plan.
"This shouldn't be about defending muggles to these people," she continued. "Why can't they see that muggles are as human as wizards and vice versa? We are all people, aren't we?"
"We need to be on the offensive," Brandon exclaimed after a moment of silence. "We can't let those traditionalists dominate the floor by talking about muggle inferiorities. We have to present a case in which we show the possibility of us being dependant on muggles. Maybe present some muggle technology that could be helpful – the radio was invented by a muggle and is now adapted today by wizards."
"Yes!" Feng agreed enthusiastically. "Ancient medicine in China has always combined magical and nonmagical remedies because the existence of plants is not exactly debatable. If one has the ingredients, one could make the potion."
"So who's ready to talk about this?" Lily asked in exhaustion.
"You," the two boys agreed instantaneously.
"Because they actually listen to you," Feng explained. "Although you hate being singled out by what happened during New Years, the fact that you were a victim gives you more sympathy and respect than us. You're a victim of dark magic, and in this twisted way, everyone look up to you."
"I survived by pure luck," Lily pointed out blankly. "And with the lovely distraction of the Minister of Magic's son rushing to my aid."
"Well, the fact that you have James Potter's undivided attention is a great plus to our cause," Brandon continued. "Negotiations get dirty and well, we're going to have to sacrifice some of Mr Potter's comfort zone for the sake of garnering support. In nearly all of the delegations, the male representative is quite afraid of the female."
Lily wrinkled her nose at Brandon's reminder of her situation. James was getting obsessive about her. She was grateful for all he was trying to do about her disability, but it was getting annoying. Sure she was blind but she did have her own personal bubble!
Although, using James as bait seemed like the perfect plan to put some distance between them. He couldn't possibly be her caretaker if he had to lobby for support. Besides, with Isabella's social skills making the economic debate nearly unanimously on James's side, he could give his attentions elsewhere. If possible, Isabella could possibly utilize her skills for their muggle relations debate.
"Sure, James as bait it is," Lily answered. "I hope he'll at least get Lisa Pomben off my back. Goodness, all of her comments seem to be directed at me! But," she pleaded, "could we please to use 'dirty' lobbying as little as possible? I'd like to use our actual verbal skills instead of threat-making or award-giving talents for garnering support."
With Brandon mumbling about her naiveté in such ministerial functions, the three of them went around to different subgroups in their debate hoping to convince the larger groups of agreeing to a compromise. Perhaps to their fortunes, while at the misfortunes of others, a special edition Daily Prophet interrupted their session.
"More Dark Magic and Muggle Attacks: are they related?" became the subject of discussion. Having the respected newspaper report the rise in dark magic and its proliferating presence in Europe built a case for the plan of using muggle connections as an extra route of monitoring dark magic. Combined with the confirmation of innocent muggles dying because they were caught in the middle of attacks on nearby wizarding families, Lily, Brandon, and Feng could use human sympathy and concern for each other to convince the other representatives of the need to also care about their non-magical neighbours. With Brandon's unofficial speech – everyone miraculously became silent during his loud comment on the current events. – Lily felt quite secure in that most people's conscience were being pulled by each person's responsibility for his or her peers.
And with confidence in people's change of hearts, Lily found herself escorted by Brandon and Feng to her part of the hospital wing with excited whispers of changing history. Even when the healers took care of Lily's eyes, she didn't mind the little details that depressed her only a few days before. With her eyes unusable, she was still fully capable of using her brain, which proved she could most definitely live life semi-normally.
As Lily drifted off to sleep, she vaguely heard one of the healers murmur, "It's been more than the prescribed time for recovery, and we haven't noticed anything different." Somehow, this conversation caught her attention and all inklings of exhaustion flew out the window as Lily's mind focused on the soft-spoken words about her condition. Considering the healers were pretty much ordered to stay at Hogwarts to take care of her, as an apology of sorts by the Ministry, she was positive the healer was talking about her recovery.
"Time isn't always exact when it comes to healing," another corrected with an optimistic tone. "You should know that since it was your patient that awoke from a poorly made sleeping draught five years after the expected time of coherency."
Lily heard an annoyed huff and assumed it was from the first voice.
"We ought to face the realities though," someone else interrupted. "The blinding curse is usually permanent after two weeks."
"The keyword is usually," the optimistic healer corrected.
Lily blocked her mind from comprehending the rest of the healers' discussion about her. The chances of her remaining blind are pretty much of the percentages of what is considered normal wizard or witch's response. Unless she was abnormally special, she was doomed to never see ever again. Since she wasn't especially gifted in whatever caused magic – because she did have to work hard to learn her craft – she probably should start learning to walk by herself without anyone to lead her.
This is it for now . . .