A/N: Hello, all! Despite having loved Harry Potter since I was young, this is the first piece of fanfic I've ever completed for the series. This story is AU in that Remus survives, and there was never any romantic relationship between Hermione and Ron, nor between Remus and Tonks. And a few other details, which should emerge as the story continues.
Disclaimer: All of these wonderful characters, and the events of Harry Potter, are the invention of the wonderful Ms. Rowling. They are not my own, and I make no profit from this piece of fanfiction.
Chapter 1: The Umbridge-Rand Act
Hermione didn't hear about it until a memo floated over to her desk about midday, just before lunchtime. She didn't open it immediately; she finished writing her own memo first, addressing the comparative regulation of potions ingredients in Germany, before putting down her quill. Then she stretched and swallowed a yawn before unfolding the note. She saw, with interest, that it was from Arthur Weasley. But that interest soon became disbelief when she turned to the body of the memo.
I've just heard that Umbridge and Rand have just pushed through a major piece of legislation. It sounds like it will have grave consequences for werewolves. Two of my colleagues found out this morning. (They don't know any werewolves, you see.)
You might be able to get more information, but then again, if this note is the first you're hearing of the matter, maybe not. Still, you may find something.
A thrill of dread stole through her. In the Post-War reconstruction of the Ministry, Dolores Umbridge had found an ally in Nyrian Rand, a wizard who shared her intolerant views. There had been rumours that the two of them were holed up preparing some new bigotry, a law to banish those non-Wizards they found so distasteful.
The battle may have been won, Voldemort may have been vanquished, but for some, the war was still being fought. And this, Hermione thought, this meant the war was still being fought for all. Discrimination remained. It was not just Umbridge and Rand. Prejudice ran rampant and, importantly, unchallenged, in the Wizarding world.
Hermione stood, thinking. The Ministry had kept the news from her and from Arthur. No doubt they knew of the Order, and they knew (and greatly disapproved) of Remus' friendship with its members. But she could find someone who knew. Someone she wasn't close with, someone the Ministry wouldn't think she spoke to.
She took the elevator up one floor and walked down the corridor until she reached the Magical Laws department and its customarily deserted front desk. Picking up the singular small piece of parchment that lay on the desk, she tapped it once and said, quietly, "Geminus Pickette." It swiftly rolled itself up and shot like a dart down the internal corridor, where she knew it would find Geminus' office.
A moment later, the parchment whizzed back to the front desk and flopped down. She unfurled it and read: One Minute.
A minute later Geminus appeared. He was a tall, plump wizard and he smiled at the sight of her, and she let out a breath she hadn't known she'd been holding. Somehow she had thought perhaps he'd been told not to speak with her.
"How're you, Hermione?"
"Fine, thanks," she said, returning his smile. "How are you?"
"I'm great. What do you need me for?"
Hermione glanced around. "Could we use your office?"
When she was seated across from Geminus, his work desk between them, Hermione discreetly pointed her wand at the door and thought, muffliato. Then she said, "I was writing a memo to Johnson and I just wanted to ask if you'd heard anything about a new law."
"Well, there are lots of new laws," Geminus said. "It's the nature of my work, you see."
She hesitated, unsure whether to read the joke as deliberate evasion. "Are there any particularly important ones? Only I heard there might be one and I don't want any project we're working on to become redundant."
The wizard frowned slightly. "How new are we talking?"
"Um – quite new. Perhaps today, or yesterday."
Geminus said, "Well, they've just submitted the new Umbridge-Rand Bill for voting this morning…" and Hermione's heart skipped a beat.
"Oh? That might be it." She added, casually, "What's it about?"
"Dangerous Magical Creatures, I think." Geminus shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "And, actually, I do think they told us not to discuss it yet. Sorry, Hermione."
"Oh, that's alright." Hermione forced a smile. "If that's the law, it doesn't affect our project at all."
Back at her own desk, she wrote,
What you heard is true. It was submitted to the chamber this morning. They've probably voted it through by now.
She didn't have to wait long before she was confronted by confirmation of the Act. Special Ministry editions of the Daily Prophet were available in thick stacks in the entrance hall when she left work at six. On the cover page was Fenrir Greyback, snarling and straining at his shackles, and the headline read, rather simply: MINISTRY PASSES NEW SECURITY ACT. Hermione picked up a copy and scanned it: the author of the article had written a rosy puff piece detailing the protection the new law would provide to the Wizarding community, especially the children. When she had read the phrase "feral werewolves" for the third time, she had to stop, her stomach turning. They had to tell Remus. They had to find out what the law said.
"Hermione," came a voice. She jumped slightly, turning; it was Percy Weasley. "Dad says to come to the Burrow tonight."
"Oh," she said, puzzled. Although he had long since made up with his family, Percy did not live at the Burrow these days.
Percy added, in a low voice, "Remus'll be there."
When they arrived Remus was already there, as were Harry and Ginny, Ron, Arthur, and Molly. They were all sitting at the dining table. There was an envelope and several pages of official-looking parchment in front of Harry. Remus looked tired and slightly ill. Hermione felt a rush of anger at Umbridge and the Ministry even as she greeted them.
"I've just got the letter," Remus said, quietly, when she and Percy had sat down. Harry pushed the letter over to Hermione.
To Werewolves of the British Isles:
The Ministry of Magic has today passed the Dangerous Magical Creatures and Security Act 1998 ('DMCSA'), also known as the Umbridge-Rand Act. This Act contains mandates that affect your legal status. You must read the entire Act. Nonetheless, we attach below the most relevant sections.
DANGEROUS MAGICAL CREATURES AND SECURITY ACT 1998
The purpose of this Act is to protect Wizarding society and especially underage Wizards and Witches from the real perils posed by a multitude of Dangerous Magical Creatures, including but not limited to Werewolves, Vampires, and Giants.
[ … ]
PART 1 Containment and Management of Dangerous Magical Creatures
s. 1 General.
(1) All Dangerous Magical Creatures will be contained in specialised internment facilities until such time as the Ministry deems each individual Creature safe to be returned to the community.
(2) All Dangerous Magical Creatures must give up any magical items including but not limited to wands, regardless of the source of the items.
(3) Refusal by any Dangerous Magical Creature or Wizard or Witch to comply with any Ministry orders issued pursuant to this Act shall result in a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in Azkaban.
[ … ]
PART 2 Regulation of Dangerous Magical Creatures Proven Responsible
s. 17 Werewolves.
(1) A Werewolf may be shown to be responsible upon satisfying the Ministry with evidence of one of the following:
(a) That the Werewolf has at least one biological child who has been in his sole or joint care and custody for a minimum of five (5) years, or the entire lifetime of the child, whichever is the lower;
(b) That the Werewolf is presently married to a Witch or Wizard; or
(c) That the Werewolf has been continuously in the employ of a Witch or Wizard for a period of not less than three (3) years.
(2) The terms Witch or Wizard denotes a member of the Wizarding community who does not fall under any of the categories of Dangerous Magical Creatures.
[ … ]
This Act is to come into effect on January 1, 1999.
Notwithstanding the above, by Special Decree of the Minister for Magic, the Ministry is hereby vested with the power to begin investigations into any Dangerous Magical Creature to ensure their compliance with this Act.
It is so declared.
Hermione looked up from the parchment, a sickened, nauseous feeling settling on her. Beside her, Harry's expression was furious, and Ron was looking down at the letter with a deep scowl.
"They're mad," Ron said, finally. "It's more than mad – it's evil."