Disclaimer: Anything affiliated with the Harry Potter universe all belongs to JK Rowling.
They say good things come to those who wait…
The gray clouds above billowed over the once blue sky. The sun no longer wanted to shine, so it bowed to the harsh colors of an on-coming storm. The trees swayed as a small, yet harsh wind came upon the Scottish land. Slowly, little drops of rain descended from the gray above, washing the sin from Earth and man.
Clutching the necklace that lay on her chest, Ginevra Molly Weasley stared out into the land. Through the window, which gave the once lush earth a grimy look, she saw the trees blow by the ocean wind. The dark clouds floated in and out of her sight, and owl after owl flew back and forth from Merlin only knew where. Giving a small sigh, she turned her sight from the window to the people sitting in Albus Dumbledore's small office.
Silence filled the small space, as twelve people sat waiting. No words were dared spoken. Every once and a while a small cough or word of encouragement was shared; other wise, silence. Every so often, looks would be shared between a few people, followed by looks around the office, finally landing on some one slumped in a chair.
Harry Potter sat in that chair, hand and head in bandages, cuts and bruises on his face. His body illustrated fatigue, his eyes portrayed sadness. No one spoke to him from the time he joined the family at the entrance to Hogwarts. Too many emotions came with talking to The Boy Who Lived; he had too much to explain. However, no matter how angry Ginny was with him, she couldn't help but feel the need to comfort him. Slowly, she left her spot by the window and sat next to Harry.
He looked up at her with alarm; his eyes glistening, hints of fear and adoration etched in his deep green eyes. Her face gave no emotion away; she simply wrapped her arms around his neck, and placed her head gently on his shoulder. Ginny felt him stiffen for a moment, and then slowly, very slowly, did he ease into her touch. Harry took a bandaged hand and placed it gently on the side of her head, basking in the feeling of her against him once more. The family looked from one to another, questioning each other with looks. Molly sat up in her chair, and opened her mouth to say something about Ginny's choice when the door silenced them.
The handle jiggled, and slowly it was pushed open from an outside source. All twelve looked up to see if Albus had finally returned. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Draco Malfoy entered the office and took a look around. The party showed their disappointment with him walking through the door and not Albus, and went back to the earlier activity of silence. He took their disappointment with a grain of salt and looked for a particular redhead. His eyes turned stony when he saw her get up from Potter's arms and walk toward him. He looked at her with icy eyes, yet, when she wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a firm kiss on the lips he knew he had nothing to worry about. Ginny gently led him to where she was sitting and placed a chair next to hers. So, in front of the Headmaster's table sat Harry, Ginny, and Draco.
The waiting continued. Hands ran through hair, legs shook impatiently, and tension was running high. The moments ticked by with out a word, even the paintings of old Headmasters were afraid of speaking. This was a moment none of them would forget. Soon enough Arthur Weasley was fed up. He, most of all, needed an answer and needed it now. He stood up quickly, having all twelve pairs of eyes stare at him. Opening his mouth, he attempted to tell the others of his plans when the grand door flew open.
Albus Dumbledore walked sullenly in; his long pale face showed weariness. His white beard was tangled with bits of dirt mixed in. He said nothing to the party, only walked quietly over to his desk and sat down, all eyes on him. He took off his half-moon glasses and wiped them with his once elegant robe. Soberly, he placed them back on his face and sighed. Looking up, he met the expectant group of thirteen and nodded.
"It is done. Harry has rid the world of Voldemort at last."
There was a stunned silence and then, like a title wave, cheers erupted all through the small office. Hugs and tears were shared, as words of encouragement and a new life was passed from one to another. Ginny turned to Harry; who had a stunned look on his face, as if what the Headmaster had just said wasn't true. She touched his shoulder slightly, causing him to jump a bit and look at her. She smiled softly at him and enveloped him into a hug.
"I knew you could," she whispered softly. He closed his eyes and felt the heat radiate from her body, but all too soon the heat was gone as she pulled away. She gave him another quick smile and turned to a scowling Malfoy. She squealed something incoherent and kissed him passionately on the lips.
"Please," Albus' interrupted, holding his hand up to silence the joyous bunch. "Harry may have won the battle." The crowd went silent. "But a war still needs to be won."
Twelve people looked at each other in question. How could a war still need to be won? Harry's victory was the final battle! With Voldemort's destruction, was supposed to come peace, unity, and a new life for all those who had suffered under his rule. A war? That was the war; there should be no more sorrow if Harry had done what he was supposed to.
"I know what many of you are thinking," Albus said softly. "The war should be over. The Death Eaters should be fleeing for their lives. This, however, is not the case." The great Wizard then opened his envelope and brought out a sheet of parchment. The party looked at it warily. It was covered with dirt and another dark substance. Albus held it gingerly before them and shook his head.
"This letter came to me personally this morning," he took a moment, "on the body of Hestia Jones." Nymphadora Tonks gave a small cry and Remus Lupin turned to her, wrapping a comforting arm around her. She buried her head into his shoulder as tears leaked down her small face. A good friend and a damn good Auror had just passed. "It is a declaration…of War," he paused, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose, "issued by your father, Mr. Malfoy."
All eyes flew to Draco Malfoy once his father was mentioned. Draco visibly stiffened as he looked at the Head Master. A callous look came over his face as his lips tightened. Molly Weasley, overcome by maternal instincts, went to him, giving his shoulder an affectionate squeeze. Ginny then wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek. He looked over at her and his icy wall melted. She smiled warmly at him and rested her head on his shoulder.
"What the context of the letter was I will not retell; it is far too disturbing, even for the likes of me." He put the parchment face down on the table. "Yet it is simple, the Death Eaters are not affected by their Master's defeat. They think they still have a chance to take over the Wizarding world. Lucius Malfoy has taken the place of Voldemort as their new Lord." Draco gripped Ginny's hand. "He has taken it upon himself to declare war on the Wizarding world. Therefore, we must fight or else many more innocent people will die."
Dumbledore took a deep breath and looked at his friends. All of them wore a forlorn face as the information he gave them sunk in. The party began to look from one to another: a third war? The people filling the office could not take another war. They had already lost so many, including Percy Weasley and his fiancée Penelope Clearwater, Dennis Creevey, Minerva McGonagall, Parvati Patil, Luna Lovegood, and countless others they knew and loved. Not to mention the great Alastor Moody, who had gone missing months ago. Much more destruction would go on if they let another war happen. Arthur Weasley looked up at his family and friends, worry written all over his face. He inquired Dumbledore about the amount of Aurors left.
"I have been meaning to talk to you about that," he started. "I am thinking that not enough people have been enrolling in Auror training; that and the fact that it takes three years and we need people now," he sighed. "If I know Muggle History, I know that in their past wars they encourage people to enlist- or sign up- for wars, and from there those people are taken to camp and taught the needed skills."
Everyone looked at each other with furrowed brows. Just let anyone into Auror training? Small questions were passed between one another, not to mention questions of Dumbledore's sanity. Arthur once again voiced the question plaguing all their minds: that wouldn't be enough time to teach new wizards and witches the necessary stealth and disguise techniques. Not to mention the intensive hand-to-hand combat training and advanced curses.
"I understand your concern Arthur, but if we have all our Commanders and those who have actually been in war and know what it takes at the camps teaching then I think the new wizards and witches would do just fine." He smiled as warmly as he could at his friends as they nodded their acceptance. "Now, if you have no further questions, I think all of us would like to get some sleep, and spend time with our…loved ones." Albus directed his last comment and Ginny and Draco.
"Actually Albus,." came Arthur's voice as his family began to file out, "the Commanders and I would like a word." The elder wizard furrowed his brow and nodded.
"Of course," he replied, beckoning the few men standing at the door. They all nodded and stood in front of the Headmaster's desk. The six Commanders of the Order who stood before him were Ron Weasley, Remus Lupin, Bill Weasley, Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter and the Minister of Magic, Arthur Weasley.
"Albus, we have some concerns," the Minister started uneasily. "We have noticed a few… consistencies with the Death Eaters and their attacks."
Albus pushed his half moon glasses up his nose and nodded. "Which are?"
"Women," Arthur stated plainly. "During these last few years, we have seen an extraordinary amount of women die. Many of them died in ways…ways I dare not speak of; horrible, brutal deaths. They seem to…" he stopped and took a breath. Ron then came to his side, and finished for his father.
"We think that the Death Eaters are targeting Witches, even more so than Muggle women. It has gotten to the point where Tonks, my mum, Hermione, and my sister- who is only in her 2nd year of training- are left. We obviously lost our last female Auror today," he sighed deeply. "It is getting too dangerous; these are the women we love." All the men nodded, each one of them held those women close to heart.
"So what we are proposing," Arthur interjected with a slight apprehension, "is a Woman's Ban."
Nothing was said the moment after his statement. A worried look came over the Headmaster and the six men thought that he might explode with astonishment. Instead, looked at them with confusion and smiled uneasily.
"A Woman's Ban?" he asked and the others nodded "I do not think that to be a fair idea."
"Well, we know it sounds bad- not to mention sexist- but you have to understand, Albus,." said Arthur, leaning on the Headmaster's desk. "All of them have been used by Death Eaters. My wife still has trouble sleeping; all she sees is the dead bodies that surrounded her. Hermione has put extensive charms not only around our home but hers, thinking that someone will try and kidnap her again. Tonks is unable to go to Diagon Alley with out one of us going with her. And, our Ginny still can't sleep due to her harsh nightmares."
"I understand your concern," began Albus, "but I cannot let them be excluded from the war…"
"Many of the women have already died," voiced Draco. "I know the Death Eaters only keep women for their own…" he cleared his throat, "personal enjoyment."
"Yes, but this has always been the case. Women have been a target because they are seen as inferior, and it will stay this way if you don't let them fight" the Headmaster argued, looking each of them in the eyes causing them to turn away in shame.
"I know it doesn't sound good now, but the witches will see that we are doing this for their own protection," the Minister sighed. "I have talked to Hermione, Tonks, and my wife about this and they completely agree. They figure the women of the Wizarding world have gone though enough and that this time they will stay out."
"What about medical needs?"
"Huh?" Arthur replied.
"Well, will witches be able to work as Medi-witches?"
"We have talked about that and we think if the Death Eaters catch on that there is a Woman's Ban then get word that there are Medi-witches, they may get the idea to capture them, trying to make a point."
"You all have given this a lot of thought haven't you?" questioned Dumbledore. The other men looked at each other and nodded.
"Yes, we have. We also think that this is the best way to keep our girls safe. We know it is sexist, but we also know that they will be fine with it."
"If I remember correctly you have talked to Molly, Miss Granger, and Miss Tonks, correct?"
"That is so."
"What about Ginevra Weasley?" Albus inquired with a raised brow. The men, excluding Harry, looked at each other with guilty faces. "Mr. Malfoy?" Draco looked down at the ground for a moment, then back up at the Headmaster.
"I have not…that is…we haven't really gotten around to talking to Ginevra about this," he bit his lip, "yet."
"Ah. Do I sense apprehension in bringing this up to the future Mrs. Malfoy?" Harry looked up at Malfoy with alarm. He saw Malfoy glance at him from the corner of his eye and then back to Albus. "I will take your silence as a yes."
"Ginny will understand," Ron said, filling the silence with his booming voice. "It's not that we are afraid of telling her… exactly. It's just that we know she won't take the news lightly. It will take a lot persuasion but she will eventually understand."
Albus smiled knowingly. "But as I understand it she has wanted to be an Auror since her first year. How can you deny her the chance of being something she has always wanted to be?"
"This is a different time Albus. There aren't enough Aurors to keep her safe! She will do much better staying home with Molly and the others!" exclaimed Mr. Weasley, going red in the face from Albus' instigating.
"Yes but who will protect you if she isn't out there?" The men looked at Albus, dumbstruck. Oh, they hated his way with words! "I do not agree with this Woman's Ban. You wanted my opinion and that is it. It is unfair and there are many witches out there who can hold their own."
The Minster fumed. This was not how it was supposed to go! Albus was supposed to agree with him, sign the law, and it was to be settled. Who was to protect him and his boys? No one, they could do it themselves!
"I am the Minster of Magic," Arthur started with tight lips. "I brought this to you in hopes that you would agree with me
"Arthur, I do not."
"But it does not matter. I just wanted your opinion on the matter. The Commanders and I all agree, and if you do not sign this law" he said, taking out some parchment, "it doesn't really matter. It will be passed. Our girls will stay home and not go into war." With a cold look, he placed the decree on the desk. Taking a quill he scribbled his name on it, passing it to Ron, Bill, Draco, and Harry. Remus was the last to take it. He looked down at the parchment for a long time, then at Albus.
"Go on Remus," coaxed Arthur. Remus gave a sigh and shook his head as he signed . He was doing it to keep Tonks safe.
"I assure you Arthur," said Albus with a smile, "there will be one to get it. Women will fight in this war."
"If they do…Albus…then those women will make an appearance in front of the Wizengamot and have their wand broken in two." He smiled uneasily at Albus and then turned on his heel to head out the door.
"We will see!" called the Headmaster with a grin. "Yes…we will just have to see."
A/n: Hi All, this is Yvette S and I am reposting this story, I have a GREAT new beta now that is helping me with grammar and spelling errors! THANKS MELINDA! I hope you all enjoy my work! I wrote this story over two years ago and I thought I should give it another chance to prove itself without all the mistakes it had before! I hope you all enjoy and I will be posting about once a week till it is finished!
Thank you all!