A/N: Why hello, dear readers, and welcome to The Muggle-Born Protection Act! To all the readers of my other story, Pensieve, don't worry-that is still in progress and will take precedence over this story. This just popped into my head and seemed too fun to not write! Yes, it's a frivolous idea...but you know you secretly like it. Don't try to deny it. I know you love those guilty-pleasure gimmick-y stories where authors use plot devices such as James and Lily being handcuffed together to get them married...so why don't you not-so-secretly read and review? I would really, truly appreciate the feedback. Anyways, enough of my ramblings; let's get this party started!
This story takes place just after the Marauder's fifth year, during the summer before their sixth year, in the aftermath of Snape's Worst Memory.
Chapter One: The Muggle-Born Protection Act
Are they kidding me? Please tell me this is a joke. Is this another Marauder prank? Yes, yes it must be. I don't think I've ever been happier to find out about a prank, to be honest. If someone told me this was a prank, right now, I probably wouldn't even yell. Or call anyone names. I might even laugh. Just a little bit, though, because let's not get carried away.
This has got to be the worst idea the Ministry has ever had. Are they out to get me? They must be; why else would they assign me to—oh, I can't even say it. Of all the pureblood families in England, they had to go with his.
I bet it was his idea. He would do this, just to mess with me. That's what happened; he faked this notice, right down to the Ministry seal and the signature at the bottom. Which brings us back to this being another Marauder prank. His dad works for the Ministry, it wouldn't be too difficult. I need to calm down; if I'm not careful, I'm sure I'm going to give myself an ulcer. I would never forgive James Potter if he made me give myself an ulcer. I hear those hurt and stuff. Although he'd probably think it was brilliant. He loves it when I'm uncomfortable.
Okay, Lily, breathe. You're okay. This new Muggle-Born Protection Act is clearly just a joke. Of course you don't have to live with the Potters so they can protect you. You're going to stay right here, in your own house, with your own family. It's not like you need Potter's protection, anyways. Oh, he'd never let you live that down. He probably thinks he's such a hero—just what we all need. Something else to inflate his enormous ego. I bet he has to buy extra-large shirts because the regular-sized ones don't even fit over his gigantic head. I bet that soon, he won't be able to stay on top of his broomstick because the weight of his ego will weigh him down. I bet…I bet…okay I'm out.
I thought you were going to relax, Lily! You really are a stress ball. Calm down. Stop thinking about Potter. Nothing good ever comes of it, anyways. Just think of the positives! It's the first day of the summer holidays, Petunia has a new boyfriend so she'll be too distracted to remember to hate me, for the first time in a year I have no bloody homework, and my OWL scores are coming next week—
Oh no. My OWL scores.
Why didn't I study more? Oh, I knew I would regret not studying more. I've been kicking myself for weeks. I need top marks to become an Auror, but Transfiguration and Arithmancy were just no good at all. And Defense Against the Dark Arts? Complete rubbish. Complete and total rubbish. I told myself to relax during the examinations, but now that I look back on it, I shouldn't have relaxed! I should have worked my slacker arse off! Oh no, oh no, oh no. If Potter beats me in marks, I'll never live it down. Of course, OWL scores are private, but I just know he's going to brag about his. If he beats me, I might actually have to kill myself. Or him. Which is a very likely possibility, seeing as I have to spend the next two months in his company.
No, Lily, we decided this was a prank, didn't we? So you can just unpack that trunk, because you're not going anywhere. Yes, take out those books, there's a good girl. Someone should have that boy arrested for murder because he's going to be the death of me.
It's a good thing I'm not staying at his house this summer.
Oh good. There's mum to distract me from this torment.
"Lily, come downstairs and get your clean laundry!"
"Yes, mum!" I say. I go downstairs, where what appears to be every piece of clothing I own is folded on the couch.
"Wow, someone's a little laundry crazy today," I remark. I'll have to take multiple trips up the stairs. Damn. That is going to be tiring. I hate stairs. I hate physical activity, period. That's why I read books, you know. Oh, I can't wait until I can use magic outside of school! Then I can be as lazy as I want. Oooh, I'm going to get so fat…
"Well, I wanted to make sure you had everything you needed for the summer," Mum says. Her voice shakes. Oh no, she's been crying. Damn you, Potter. Your stupid prank made Mum cry. I hope you're happy now. Actually, I don't. I don't hope you're happy. I hope you're miserable.
"Mum, I'm not going anywhere," I say, patting her awkwardly on the shoulder.
"I wish you didn't have to," Mum chokes, "but your father and I want what's best for you. We've started subscribing to The Daily Prophet, you know, to keep in the loop and all these killings…they're all people like you, sweetie. And we don't want you to…to…"
"Mum, stop being silly," I tell her, but my heart is sinking as my eyes fall on the most recent issue of the Prophet, which is conveniently lying on the couch by my clothes. There are teardrops on the article about the announcement of the Muggle Born Protection Act. It's in the Daily Prophet. Damn, Potter's good. He even got the newspaper to write an article about his fake act, complete with interviews with the Ministress of Magic…
Oh, sod it. It's real, isn't it? I'm actually going to have to live with the Potters.
"Lily, we're going to miss you ever so much," Mum says, and she's actually crying now. Oh, I wish she wouldn't cry, I'm so bad at comforting people. I wish I wasn't so awkward.
"Mum, it's okay," I try. That doesn't help. She just cries harder. "I'm going to miss you, too."
But this is the wrong thing to say, because now she's thrown her arms around me. She's completely hysterical. Someone should give her a sedative. And while they're at it, they can give me a magic pill that makes me slightly more sensitive. Why am I such a reject?
"Mum, mum stop," I say, because now my eyes are stinging with tears, and I hate crying. "Everything is going to be okay. Like you said, this is for the best. I'll be safe with this family, and you'll be safe under Ministry protection. It's just dangerous for me to stay here, it puts you in the line of fire."
"I know," says Mum, and to my relief she lets me go. She's wiping her tears from her eyes. Phew. "I know it's for the best. But I'm still going to miss my little Lily."
"I'm not that little," I grumble. I'm sixteen, for crying out loud. I wish people would stop calling me "little."
"I know you're not," Mum says, giving me a watery smile. "You're almost grown up. And your father and I are so proud of you. Maybe that's why this is so hard…" Oh no. She's going to cry again…oh good. She takes a deep breath instead and pushes her hair out of her face. "Come on," she says, picking up a stack of clothes. "I'll help you pack."
Turns out, there's more to the notice than just the letter itself. I must have become so distracted by the news that I would have to live with Potter, of all people, that I neglected to read the rest of the instructions.
Besides the notice announcing the Muggle-Born Protection Act, a set of instructions accompanies the letter. I have to dye my hair dark brown to fit in with the rest of the Potters. Well, that's easy enough; I'll just go down to the store in a bit and buy some dye. And my eyes will have to change color, as well. A Ministry official will come by my home later to transfigure my appearance. Oh. So I guess I won't have to go to the store after all.
I look in the mirror, and sigh. I'm not even going to look like me anymore, I can tell. I try to imagine myself with dark hair and dark eyes, and it's weird. Whenever I look in the mirror, I'm going to see a stranger. That's going to take some getting used to.
I read on.
When the Ministry official comes, he will take my parents with him. Oh. I didn't know I had such a short amount of time with them. My stomach is starting to churn uncomfortably again. The letter doesn't mention the specifics of where they are to be taken. What if I never see my family again? I brush off that horrible thought and continue to read. There are more rules: I'm not allowed to send owls to my family. And I'm not to tell anyone where I'm assigned to go. Great, now I can't even rant to Mary about how unfair this all is. Attached to the rules is a new birth certificate. I've been given a whole new identity. And a new name.
"Melina Potter," I say, trying it on for size. It feels weird. I'm not a Melina, I'm a Lily. "My name is Melina Potter, nice to meet you." I try again, introducing myself to my reflection. Damn. That is going to take some getting used to. I have a new birthday, too: 22 March, 1960. And then there's a notice stating that all my school records have been changed to reflect that Melina Potter, not Lily Evans, has been attending Hogwarts for the past five years. My new parents are Francis and Victor Potter. And my new brother is James Potter.
This is weird.
There's a knock at the door, and I drop the parchment on my bed. I know who that is—it's the Ministry official. My breath is caught in my throat. Okay, Lily, you can do this. No, no I can't do this. I "can't go through with this. This is all too scary…but I know I have to. Maybe Lily can't do this…but Melina can.
I go downstairs, and the Ministry official has already let himself in. He introduces himself, but I don't pay any attention. My mother and father are in the kitchen, offering him some tea. He refuses.
"And you must be…" he consults a paper. "Melina." I nod. It's weird to hear someone talking to me as Melina, not as Lily. But I need to get used to it. I take it that he as already debriefed my parents, because neither of them look surprised by my sudden name change. "Are you ready?" asks the official, and I feel myself nod.
He takes out his wand and waves it over my head, muttering. My head feels warm, and I reach up to touch my hair, but the official catches my hand and replaces it down by my side.
"I don't want to transfigure your hand as well," he explains. "Now, close your eyes." I take a look at my parents, who are looking on with interest and fear. They've never seen magic before. I turn back to the official and close my eyes. I feel him prodding my forehead and eyes with his wand, and then, my eyes feel warm as well. I try to open them, but the Ministry official says, "No. You'll need to keep them shut for the next five minutes or so, to make sure the color stays." I nod. I reach up to touch my hair, and this time, he doesn't stop me. It doesn't feel any different, so at least I can take comfort in that.
"Your transfiguration is finished," the Ministry official says to me. "In another three minutes, you can open your eyes. Mr. Evans, Ms. Evans, are you ready?"
Ready for what?
"Yes," I hear Mum say.
"Come over here," says the Ministry official.
"What are you doing?" I ask blindly.
"Haven't you read your letter?"
"I'm not quite done with it yet," I explain.
"I have to modify your parent's memories," says the Ministry official, "to ensure that your position is never given away. Then, they will be taken to another home, where they will live in moderate comfort until the danger has passed."
He speaks as though he's reading off a note card.
"Oh," I say simply, because I don't know how to react. I'm probably not allowed to cry, which is too bad, because for the first time all day, I really, really want to. It's one thing to have my parents taken away from me, but it's another completely to have them forget I ever existed.
I hear him muttering. The memory modification is already underway. I feel a rush of anger to that Ministry official. That man is taking away all of their memories of me, and there's nothing I can do to stop them.
"I love you," I say to my parents, but there is no answer. They must have already forgotten about me.
"Come along," says the Ministry official to my parents. I hear their footsteps. They don't speak. "Your new family will be here to pick you up in one hour," says the Ministry official to me. I nod. "You can open your eyes now."
But I don't want to open my eyes. I don't want to look into my parent's eyes and see that they don't recognize me. I don't want to look around my house and realize that I may never see it again. I don't want to look at the Ministry official who has taken my life away from me in the span of ten minutes. So I keep them closed.
I hear my parents picking up their bags, and three sets of footsteps going towards the door. And then it shuts.
I open my eyes, and I see that I'm alone.