A/N: Hello, hello, hello! It's been a while. This is my newest story. It is complete so I will upload chapters as often as I can. It's 22 chapters, not including the prologue and the epilogue. Enjoy :)
"Harry James Potter, you cannot possibly be serious," Hermione Granger shouted, jumping out of her seat at the conference table. "We can't do that!"
"Hermione, please," Harry said, rubbing his temples. "Sit down and let's talk about this."
"There is nothing to talk about," Hermione replied, leaning over the conference table and punctuating every word with a smack of her hand on the table. "This is not an option."
"It's the only option left," Harry told her, quietly. "We've tried everything else."
"It's wrong, Harry," Hermione insisted. She leaned back. "Someone else has to agree with me!"
Hermione looked around the conference table at the other members of the Order for support but as she look at each of their expressions, she saw the same resignation she saw on Harry's face.
"Hermione, we've tried everything," Kingsley Shacklebolt said from his seat at the head of the table. "We have tried imprisoning them, rehabilitating them, teaching them, but nothing has changed."
"It's only been four years," Hermione persisted, looking directly at Ginny, Molly, and Arthur Weasley for support. "We just need more time, more options."
"There's no more time," Ron told her. "The Death Eaters are relentless. They believe in their cause, they're willing to die for it, and we can't stop them. We need to act now while we have them all in Azkaban. Before they escape, AGAIN."
"Professor McGonagall," Hermione pleaded to the Hogwarts headmistress. "You can't believe this is what we should do."
"We have to do what's best for the greater good," McGonagall replied. "It's best to eliminate the threat to the safe world that we've worked so hard to build over the last few years."
"I can't be a part of this," Hermione said, moving toward the door of the room. "I won't."
"Hermione, see reason!" Ron said, jumping from his chair and moving in front of her.
He grabbed her hands and said quietly, "I love you but sometimes you can be so stubborn. We have to do this."
"I love you too, Ron," Hermione replied sadly. She squeezed his hands and continued, "But I've never been able to agree with you on this. You're wrong."
With a sound of disgust, Ron dropped her hands and returned to his seat.
Hermione looked around the room, waiting to see if anyone else would speak. Seeing no one move, she placed her hand on the doorknob and turned it but the door did not open.
"You cannot leave until we vote," Kingsley reminded her. "I believe that was your idea when we first put together this council."
With a huff, Hermione turned on her heel and returned to her seat.
"All those opposed?" he asked.
Hermione shot her hand into the air and shook her head sadly when no one else raised their hand.
"This is a mistake," she said. "One we're going to come to regret. This will make us no better than the Death Eaters."
"All those in favor?" Kingsley asked, disregarding Hermione's comment.
Everyone else's hands in the room went into the air.
"The measure passes," Kingsley announced. "At noon tomorrow the memories of all Death Eaters will be wiped and they will be given new lives in a secluded, warded town that will be created on the outskirts of London. No one outside of this office will know of its existence."
Kingsley's announcement was met with murmurs of accord. Kingsley opened his mouth to speak but Hermione shot out of her chair.
"Minister, I have a second motion," she announced. "To be put to a vote immediately."
Everyone at the table looked at her with surprise.
"Yes, Ms. Granger?" Kingsley asked.
"I move that we create a department specifically responsible for monitoring the Death Eaters," Hermione declared.
"That's rubbish," Ron called out. "Why would we waste the resources? Who would even run it?"
"I will," Hermione said firmly. "And if they really are as dangerous as you think, someone should be watching them."
"Ms. Granger, are you certain?" Professor McGonagall asked, looking at Hermione in surprise. "You were just appointed the Chief of the Wizengamot advocates, do you really want to give that up?"
"I need to do this," Hermione replied, looking around the table pleadingly. "If you won't listen to me, at least let me keep an eye on them and let me make sure that they are okay."
"Ms. Granger," Kingsley began but Harry interrupted him.
"I second Hermione's motion," Harry replied. "It makes sense to have oversight and to make sure they adjust. They're going to have questions, they're going to need resources. Hermione is the best person to do it."
"Put it to a vote," Hermione urged. "If the council thinks it is best, let me do this."
Kingsley sighed. "Very well, all in favor of Ms. Granger creating and running an oversight department?"
Harry's hand immediately went into the air. Slowly but surely, every other hand went up except Ron's.
"That motion passes as well, then," Kingsley said, resigned. "Ms. Granger will create and run an oversight department. You are all free to go. I will see you tomorrow morning."
Everyone rose from the table except Hermione. Sensing she had more to say, Kingsley remained behind as well. Hermione stared at her hands in her lap as everyone filed out of the room. Once they were alone, Hermione looked up.
"This is wrong," Hermione said, shaking her head. "Kingsley, this is just wrong."
"It's the best option," Kingsley replied. "And the oversight department is a good idea."
"Who is going to wipe all their memories?" Hermione asked. "That's too much to ask of one person."
"I'm going to do it," Kingsley told her. "I'm the Minister of Magic so that responsibility falls to me."
"That's a lot of people whose memories you're going to have to wipe," Hermione exclaimed. "You can't do it by yourself. At least have Ronald help, killing them all was his idea."
"I assure you, Ms. Granger, I am more than capable of doing what I need to do," Kingsley answered. "Is there anything else?"
Realizing she was being dismissed, Hermione rose from her chair. "No," she replied. "Nothing more."
"I will see you tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. for the obliviation," Kingsley said. "I expect you to have a plan for your new department by then."
"Yes, sir," Hermione answered.
Hermione walked out of the room and closed the door behind her. She leaned against it, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath.
Hermione opened her eyes to see Ron standing down the hall from her. He walked up to her and tried to kiss her but she turned her head to the side.
"Hermione, you can't have been serious about what you said in the meeting," Ron said, looking down at her. "I love you and how much you love your little causes but you have to see reason!"
Hermione looked up at him sadly. "I love you, Ron. I do. But I can't agree with you on this, I've never been able to. We have the same argument in this hallway every six months. I'm tired of it. This isn't just some little cause. This is people's lives."
"Hermione, they're Death Eaters," Ron argued. "They're valueless, not worthy of their magic. They're evil."
"That's what they say about people like me," Hermione said quietly. "And they tried to kill Muggleborns. Are you suggesting, yet again, that we do the same? That we're no better than they are?"
"We are superior though," Ron told her. "Look at what they've done to my family, Harry's family, Remus, Tonks, our friends, our classmates. They should die for what they've done. Wiping their memories is too easy."
"Easy?" Hermione replied, incredulously. "You think it will be easy for them to live a life without their memories?"
"You're giving them a fresh start," Ron said angrily. "A nice new home, no recollection of the war, of everything that they did, of everything that happened, of everything that we lost. They don't deserve a new life, Hermione. They deserve no life at all.
Hermione's eyes filled with tears at his words. "And that's where we disagree, Ronald. I think we can save them, we just haven't found a way how yet. I'll remind you that some of them were our classmates as well."
"They can't be saved," Ron replied, nastily. "Not Malfoy, not Parkinson, not Nott, not Zabini, any of them. They are evil. If we can't kill them, the least we can do is make sure they aren't a threat. They don't deserve to have their memories. I still don't understand why you can't see this my way. The right way."
"Murder isn't the right way," Hermione told him, coldly. "It never has been."
"It's the only way," Ron spat back. "When it comes to people like that, it's the only way."
"We'll never agree," Hermione replied, with a sigh and a shake of her head. "Let's just go home."
Hermione moved to walk down the hall but stopped when she realized Ron hadn't followed her. She looked at him questioningly.
"Me or them," he said, quietly.
"What?" Hermione asked, certain she'd heard him wrong.
"Me or them," Ron said again, louder this time. "I'm sick of having this fight, I'm sick of dealing with this at all, so choose, Hermione. Me or them. Right now. Your boyfriend or the group of people who spent years trying to kill people like you."
"Ronald, you cannot be serious-" Hermione started to say but Ron cut her off.
"ME OR THEM, HERMIONE," he shouted, his face turning red and he took a threatening step towards her. "Me or them. You can't have it both ways anymore."
Hermione stared at Ron as tears filled her eyes. She opened her mouth, closed it, opened it again, then closed it once more. They stared at one another for several moments before Ron threw his hands up in defeat.
"So we're done then?" he asked. "Four years together down the drain because you want to save a bunch of useless Death Eaters?"
"Four years down the drain because you want to kill an entire group of people because of who they are and what they believe," Hermione retorted, suddenly angry. "This is an unfair choice for you to force me to make."
"No, Hermione, it's an easy one," Ron replied. "And you chose wrong. We are done."
At that, he walked down the hallway.
Hermione quickly left the Ministry and managed to make it home before she dissolved into tears. As much as it hurt, she knew she had done the right thing. She just hoped that someday, everyone else would see it too.
A/N: Review, favorite, all the good stuff - I love hearing what you think! 3