Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor do I own any related materials.
Remus had little else on his mind—well except for the memories of his past (and possible future) that was plaguing his dreams each night. However, it hadn't been too difficult to locate the residence of the Gaunt family. With Sirius's connections at the Ministry it had been a little too easy. But, perhaps Voldemort hadn't expected anyone to go looking to begin with—seeing that that would involve not only someone bothering to look at his humble beginnings, but also tracing them to a notorious wizarding family, guessing he had made horcruxes and realizing that Voldemort was careful with the unstated significance of his actions. Voldemort would not have made just anything into a horcrux and hidden it just anywhere.
It was only a few days after his meeting with Dumbledore. Harry was already back at school, dealing with Umbridge. Remus was feeling more confident with the boy (he had made sure to warn him that Voldemort could use their connection to bring him into danger). Remus was now alone again for the most part, researching Voldemort the best he could. Remus sighed as he flipped through some only records that Dumbledore had sent him. Remus figured out very little from them except that Tom Riddle was particularly adept at transfiguration and potions. He was about to give up on them when he heard a pop from the hall.
"In the kitchen, no need to yell," said Remus. Sirius was never one for 'indoor voices.'
"I got you those records," said Sirius, walking into the kitchen and slamming a thick folder onto the table in front of Remus.
"Wonderful, thank you. I will go to the Gaunt house tomorrow," yawned Remus.
"Actually, you won't," answered Sirius. "I took a letter for you off Christina Daly in the outgoing mail office today."
"For me?" Remus was puzzled.
"Yes. It is time for your check-in the Ministry." Sirius made a face. Remus was still puzzled. "You know, because of Umbridge's law."
Understanding (and horror) washed over Remus's face. He had completely and entirely forgotten about Umbridge's law. It hadn't affected him when he was under probation, but now that he wasn't the law required him to check in monthly with the Ministry, with the Dark Creature Control office. Remus almost skipped out on it all together seeing that he didn't have a job that was affected by this task. However, Sirius reminded him that as a wizard who had just gotten off probation, Umbridge could make things particularly difficult for him, not to mention Charice.
Resigned, he went to the Ministry the next morning. Sirius apparated at the same time as he had to be at the Auror's office at a similar time. As the great atrium of the Ministry Magic appeared Remus felt foreboding. He had not been at the Ministry in a long time and his strongest memory of the place was the night in which Sirius disappeared beyond the veil.
"You look a bit peaky, mate," said Sirius, appearing beside him.
"This place just holds some memories," replied Remus, scanning the atrium.
"I wish I could say that you'll make new, better ones," said Sirius, catching that these were not pleasant memories for Remus, "but I unfortunately know better. I have to be off, but best of luck not cursing Charice or Umbridge if you come across them."
Remus nodded. He then went to the main desk to have his wand checked. A woman with a severe bun took his wand carefully and then handed it back. "Name."
"Dark Creature Control."
"Here's you badge. Sixth floor. Number 603," said the woman automatically. "Have a lovely visit."
Remus didn't have any trouble finding the office, but he took his time doing so. He really didn't want to do this. Aside from being insulting and degrading it was an utter waste of his time. Part of his thought, if they are going to waste my time, I might as well waste theirs.
Entering the office he approached the receptionist's desk. A young man regarded him with a cold expression. "Name."
"Yes, Mr. Lupin. We have been expecting you. Class?"
"Class?" asked Remus.
"Classification of dark species."
"Human," said Remus, affronted.
"It says here…"
"I am well aware of what it says there," interrupted Remus testily. The young man looked irritated, but moved on.
"As a werewolf," the receptionist continued, spitting the 'classification', "you are subject to an interview, a wand check, a medical examination and several other tests during your first visit."
Remus burned. "I have not intention of completing most of those requirements. I also would like to see the law requiring me to complete them. I was aware of the registry and the monthly check-ins, but a medical examination and these other 'tests" are beyond that."
"But it is required," pressed the receptionist.
"Required by who?"
"That would be the Ministry, Mr. Lupin. You understand this is for the good of our society. You do want what is best for our society, don't you, Mr. Lupin?" A sickly sweet voice slithered out from an office doorway. Remus turned to see Dolores Umbridge.
"I expected you to be at Hogwarts, Secretary Umbridge. Or do you prefer 'Professor' now?" said Remus pleasantly, suppressing his urge to send several nasty curses toward the toadish woman.
"At the Ministry 'Secretary' will be just fine. I was called away from my post briefly to take care if some matters here. I am inducting the new assistant head of department for the DCC." Umbridge beckoned someone inside her office. "This is Charice Hipple, and as the Assistant Head of the DCC, he will be conducting your interview."
Remus and Charice glared daggers at each other for several moments. Finally Remus spoke. "Yes, Mr. Hipple and I are already acquainted. Congratulations on your new post, Charice."
Charice didn't say anything, but turned a peculiar shade of red. Umbridge did not notice this and continued. "Well, then, this should be a pleasant experience for all. It does help the process along…now Mr. Lupin , if you will just follow the receptionist, Mr. Wilkis to the examination room. You can leave your wand in the tray to your left and someone will examine it shortly."
"Ah, see, we have a slight snag there, Secretary Umbridge."
"And what might that be?" asked Umbridge tilting her head slightly
"I have no intention of submitting to a medical examination. And you have yet to show me the law that authorizes this blatant trespass of witches, wizards and other magical creatures."
"You are being selfish, Mr. Lupin. Don't you care about the good of the magical world?"
"Certainly. I would risk my life a thousand times over for the good of the magical world. But, I will not support systematic discrimination, degradation and general prejudice against good people."
Just as Charice had done, Umbridge became extremely red, but seemed to be unable to say anything. "I have the support of the minister in this!" she finally blurted out.
"I am sure you do. But I am looking for the law, Secretary Umbridge."
Umbridge sputtered, but she finally turned to Charice. "Complete his interview. The medical exam will wait until he has come to reason," she barked.
Charice nodded. "This way," he said harshly. "Wand in the tray outside the door." Remus deposited his wand and followed Charice into a small room in the back. It looked like an interrogation room in truth. "Sit," ordered Charice.
Remus sat in a hard metal chair as Charice set up some papers, a quill and ink in front of him.
"Remus J. Lupin. Born 1960 to John Lupin and Meriam Platt. Correct?" Remus nodded and Charice continued, not looking up from his papers. "And what year did you become a werewolf?"
"1965," said Remus.
"And who bit you and how did it happen."
"I don't remember," said Remus. He did know and remember exactly what happened. While it was seemingly harmless information, Remus knew that Umbridge and Charice would find a way to use it against him, especially seeing his connection to Greyback.
"You don't remember?" asked Charice incredulously.
"I was five years old. That was quite some time ago. My parents never seemed inclined to explain to me exactly what happened. They claimed that they did not want me to 'relive that traumatic event.'"
Charice scribbled. "Have you ever bitten anyone?"
Remus flashed back to the moment he tore into Peter Pettigrew the night he smashed through the mirror into this reality. "Not in this world," said Remus quietly.
"And your tranformations are normal?"
"If by normal you mean painful and draining, then yes."
"Do you take wolfsbane?"
"What do you mean by 'usually'?"
"I am currently, but Azkaban preferred transformations to be au natural."
"And how were your transformation there?"
"Mr. Lupin, if you do not cooperate I have the full authority of the Ministry to either detain you, charge you a large fine, break your wand or some combination of these consequences," Charice said in an annoyed tone, with an undertone of glee. Remus decided that he really did not want more trouble than was necessary and slowly answered Charice's question.
"In Azkaban, all your fears are used against you. They used the worst I could think of myself to make me afraid of myself, afraid of what I might do. Given that and the natural restlessness of werewolves, I was quite…self-destructive during that time."
"No less than you deserve," mumbled Charice, his quill jotting quickly along his parchment.
"Pardon?" questioned Remus, looking sternly at Charice.
"You went to Azkaban because you were guilty."
"Yes, guilty of having books in my possession—books you and your former bosses loaned to me. Yes, the guilt I bear is most excruciating."
"Do not take that tone with me. I am the authority here," demanded Charice.
"I wonder what you have to be guilty of," Remus tapped his fingers against the table. "Everyone has something." Charice ignored Remus's comment and wrote another comment on his parchment instead of meeting Remus's gaze.
"She saw through your façade, didn't she? She saw the real you and fled!" said Charice with glee.
"Do not bring her into this." Remus was growing weary of this. He was sure Charice would use whatever he could against Remus. Tonks was an easy shot, but one that Remus was trying not to use against Charice. Then again, Charice was the one to bring her up in the first place.
"I do not know why you could ever think you could have a chance with her. Someone like you—"
"If you are quite finished, I would like to move this along. I have other things to do."
"Like what? You do not have any job to speak of. You hardly lasted four months as a professor and you lost your job as a curse-breaker for not disclosing that you are a werewolf."
"I wa—" started Remus before catching himself. It had not occurred to him to check what his life had been like in this world. He remembered once considering such a career path, one that was both exciting, but full of research as well, but that was just a distant memory. "I will be launching a complaint against this department."
"Oh, a complaint! How will we ever survive?" mocked Charice.
Remus had had enough. "I do not know what I or any other werewolf did to you to make you think we deserved this kind of treatment. I can understand you are upset about losing Dora, but I also would have thought you might have learned something for it."
"Do not talk to me about her! It is your fault!"
"You lost her because of your bigotry and for no other reason," said Remus sharply. "You can avoid the truth if you want and throw yourself into working at this tyrannical department, but you will only be reaffirming her decision."
"She never cared before she met you," sputtered Charice, so seemingly angry that he could hardly defend himself.
"You do not understand her very well, do you? She always cared. She just thought that you would come to reason. She had compassion for you, even in your hatred, and you threw it all away."
Remus knew that he may have pushed Charice to far, but it was worth it in more than one way. Besides the wonderful feeling of upsetting the man that had part in sending him to Azkaban, he also had caused Charice to launch across the table and stuck his wand into Remus's neck yelling some jumble of threats and obscenities. However, also at this moment the interrogation room door opened and Umbridge, Minister Fudge and Amelia Bones stood with shocked expressions.
"Mr. Hipple, what is the meaning of this?" demanded Fudge.
Charice sat back down and smoothed his robes. "He tried to hex me, sir."
"You see, Minister?" said Umbridge. "This man is a menace to society. Not only was he hostile when he came in he denied my authority. Now he is threatening a Ministry employee! I recommend a review by Wizengamot. Such a creature should not be allowed loose! You know his criminal history."
Fudge nodded. "Yes, Secretary Umbridge. You just might be right." Fudge paused and Remus had a sneaking suspicion that Fudge was also thinking about Remus's possible connection to Dumbledore. However, Amelia Bones spoke next.
"I beg you pardon, Minister, but I do not see how Mr. Lupin could have attempted to hex Mr. Hipple when I saw his wand in the deposit outside the door. Unless that is someone else's wand?"
Remus shook his head. "That would be my wand, Judge Bones." Everyone's eyes shot to Charice. Charice made to defend himself, but couldn't before Amelia Bones spoke again.
"Minister, may I remind you that the state of this department is tenuous at best. Reports of violence against its visitors and their subjection to exams not passed by Wizengamot might give the people the wrong idea about what the Ministry does. We are already facing many problems due to the Potter boy's accusations and the death of Cedric Diggory last year. The public is divided. It is best that we not have any potential scandals—"
"Amelia! Can we discuss this elsewhere?" said Fudge.
"Of course, Minister."
In the mean time, Umbridge's face had become increasingly toad-like. "Here were clearly have a misunderstanding. Now, Judge Bones, I am sure you have more important things to do than to clear this up. The Minister and I can handle the situation just fine."
"Thank you for your concern about my time, Secretary Umbridge, but I find myself quite interested in this case." Amelia Bones gave Umbridge a stiff smile that Umbridge did not return.
Everyone turned to Fudge, waiting for him to act. He seemed tense, looking between Amelia Bones and Umbridge. Remus thought he looked torn. "Well, Amelia, perhaps we should meet another time to review the DCC's procedures. Secretary Umbridge, as your young employee here seems to have been a bit rattled by this meeting, perhaps it is best that you continue the interview—"
"—with Wizengamot approved procedures," added in Bones.
"Yes, with Wizengamot approved procedures," continued Fudge hesitantly. Remus wondered if he thought that Remus could give them information on Dumbledore. "Well, er…continue on shall we?" Fudge gestured to Amelia Bones.
"I think I would like to review the procedings, if you wouldn't mind," said Bones mildly.
Umbridge's face contorted with anger for a moment before she replied sweetly, "Of course I wouldn't mind, Judge Bones."
From that point forward the interview and the wand check were simple and relatively painless. Umbridge became increasingly vexed throughout the process, but she managed to keep it in with Amelia Bones around. Charice was banished to his desk for paper work and Remus was sure he was in for quite the verbal lashing from Umbridge. The mere thought gave Remus some satisfaction.
Remus began to think as he left the DCC office. There was something he saw there that he just might be able to use to his advantage.
"Remus!" A voice sounded from down the hall. Remus raised his head to see Sirius walking towards him in his official Auror robes. "How did it go?"
"It wasn't a particularly enjoyable experience," said Remus. "But I have an idea. What do you think it would take to discredit Umbridge?"