Declaration: I write for my own pleasure and not for profit. I do not own Harry Potter Universe.
With You by My Side
Chapter 32- Fighting the Good Fight
With all the 'i's dotted and all the 't's crossed from their side, Harry and Hermione along with all the well-wishers in their lives were waiting for the day the registration of 'Harmonian Magiks' as a private corporation would go through and they could start selling their wares. As things were used to in the Wizarding world, nothing that was good was about to happen so quickly and they hit the first stumbling block even before they got their first client.
The Ministry sent a letter addressed to Harry stating that the company they were proposing to establish was in serious breach of various legislation either already present or were going to be formalized in the coming session of the Wizengamot. Harry and Hermione were incensed, they rarely were angered but giving the ruse of legislation that were still not in effect was beyond fair, it was almost as if they studied the application for 'Harmonian Magiks' and then came up with new legislation. When they asked to meet with the concerned department dealing with the application, they were directed to the Minister of Magic instead.
Harry, Hermione, Ted and Andy Tonks were met with the Minister and a lady that looked amazingly like a toad wearing a pink cardigan. Harry and Hermione were advised by Ted that he would handle the matter as he was the attorney and they had the upper hand when it concerned the legalese; the present legislation said that their company was legitimate and that was what they were going to stress on, who cares or would know about the new legislation the Ministry was going to bring about just to stop one company. All of them knew that it was probably an attempt in response to the popularity of the 'Boy-Who-Lived' and nothing to do with the company itself. Harry and Hermione also could not shake the lingering feeling that Dumbledore was somehow behind all of this, in his misguided attempt to control Harry, driven to the brink, 'The Potters' were not going to let the matter slide. They would take out the big guns if needed and that included using Harry's popularity, the one that he hated, to bring down the government if needed. They hoped that it would not go that far, as that would mean that Amelia Bones, soon to be Black would have to take up the mantle, which she was not so willing to do. Everyone felt that keeping Fudge at the top job would allow them to manipulate him to not only their advantage but also to what was truly the best interests of the Wizarding world as a whole.
"Minister, can you tell us why we were meeting you rather than the head of the registrations and magical contracts and why the communication sent to my client instead of to me? I am the registered attorney to Mr. Potter, and so I should have been contacted, were you wishing that he would drop the matter altogether?" Ted asked in a no nonsense manner.
Harry was watching the Minister to try and gauge his emotions but was more than disturbed by the gleam in the woman's eyes. If he was a suspicious man, and he was beginning to turn into, the emotion in the woman was enough to tell him that the Ministry's stance was aimed at him rather than the company he was proposing to establish and that raised his hackles. Now that he was ridden of the horcrux in him and his latent animal awakened, Harry was beginning to feel belligerent against the pro-discriminatory attitude prevalent in the Ministry and was itching to take them head on. Only the presence of Hermione and the confidence in the astute strategy they worked out with the adults in their lives was holding him back.
The woman answered in her sickly sweet voice instead of the minister, "The Ministry had found irregularities in your application…" but before she could say anything more Harry butted in, "… and who are you?"
Harry could detect an undercurrent of anger which she hid well but not well enough for Harry and Hermione to miss, "I am Madam Umbridge, senior undersecretary to the minister."
"That's all well and good, but what business do you have here? Not only were we directed away from the correct department, but then we have to meet someone who obviously does not have any role in the proceedings?" Harry did not give her time to ramble on in an obvious attempt to either intimidate or impress them. Harry and Hermione though had meetings with much more politically and magically powerful individuals and were not impressed or intimidated in the least.
Umbridge bristled but successfully kept her temper in check, "I am the undersecretary to the minister, and of course I have the right to be here."
"Really? Are you here in your capacity to advise the Minister? Are you well versed in contracts and the regulations needed to establish a company?" Harry needled her.
"You insolent whelp, I am a pureblood. I know a lot about contracts" she sputtered indignantly.
Even the minister knew that she crossed a line when she resorted to name calling and therefore gave Harry a legitimate opening to call her up on her insolence. "You may be a pureblood, but I am the heir to an ancient and noble house. You are nothing, not even a minor house; I am well within my rights to censure you for your foul language."
"The Potters may be a noble house, but you are tainted with impure blood, consorting with creatures, and now you are allowing muggles to profit from the wizarding world" she ranted with her face going red with exertion.
Harry wanted to lash out and really cause some pain to the woman, but knew that they had the upper hand. Now that the meeting was exposed to what it was, a bullying tactic, Harry was ready with his response, "There was nothing wrong with my application was it? You are nothing but a bully minister. With you keeping silent even when the one who admits to be your advisor was using foul language against the heir of a noble house, you come across as nothing but a weakling. Do not think that I am going to drop this matter, I am going to show your impertinence to the entire world." Even though this was delivered with calm assurance, there was an inherent power in Harry's voice that should have been a warning to the Minister and his lackey. The assurance in their own power and blind prejudice in the dominance of their blood however goaded them on.
Umbridge however was not done, "… and do not think that we are going to let you off scot free. Your attitude against the Minister and your willingness to employ filthy creatures will be brought up in the Wizengamot. You will be punished severely and with your magic bound, you will be sent back to the same muggles your mother came from and you yourself love so much." This was said with a sneer towards Hermione and that was the last straw for Harry.
With his aura flashing outward, Harry's stare turned icy when he fixed the two with his glare, "Very well, let's see who would have the last laugh." With that he strode out of the office purposefully with Hermione and the Tonks barely a second late. They ignored the sputtering call of the minister and Umbridge calling them back amid threats and name calling which was duly ignored.
"That could have gone well" Hermione sighed as soon as they left the Ministry building and entered Diagon alley. She understood the thinly veiled threats directed at her too but was able to ignore most of them.
Andy rebuffed her immediately, "No Hermione that was exactly how it should have been. It would have been much better if Fudge said something rather than leaving the name calling to his toady."
"I am not sure I understand" Hermione was genuinely puzzled. She was of the opinion that they would have been better off without going at it Hammer and Tongs with the Ministry, but she was definitely ticked off with their bigotry.
"We proved to them that we would not take their attempt to intimidate us lightly, we threatened to go to the Wizangemot against them if they continue their high handedness or arm twisting. That would certainly give them pause" Ted opined.
Andy who knew more about pureblood politics however had more direct cause for celebration, "Harry is the heir to the noble house of Potter, he has every right to do what he wants and the other ancient and noble houses would be incensed if they knew how the minister was trying to rough shod over him. His attempt at bringing new ideas for defense of houses and also making the lives of every other Witch and Wizard safer should be welcomed with open arms, not with scathing comments."
Hermione was still unable to understand why that was important. Harry never discussed pureblood politics with her as they were both averse to the caste system that was prevalent in the wizarding world. But now it seemed as if they were going to be immersed in it, and if they wanted to make a change, they would have to be leaders too. Hermione would also have to learn the intricacies and the politicking as she was going to be the next Lady Potter whether she admitted it or not, and so it was left to Harry to explain it to her, "What you have to understand Hermione is that the Ancient and Noble houses have their own pride of place. Whether their status was earned and was it relevant today is immaterial, anyone trying to undermine such a house would unite all other Noble houses against them. An insult to one house and any attempts to undermine its authority would be construed as an attack against all of them."
Ted understood that Hermione had no grounding in the pureblood politics and so elaborated, "The fact that Harry has not reached his majority and is not a head of house as yet does not make any difference. They would all see it as an attempt to take advantage of a gullible future head and that would ruffle quite a few feathers with the traditionalists. There are only twelve ancient houses and almost half of them are already aligned or friendly with House Potter; Black, Bones, Longbottom, Abbott while houses like Greengrass, McKinnon and Macmillan are neutral but will immediately side with Harry if they felt threatened."
"What about Malfoy, wouldn't he oppose Harry?" Hermione wanted to know.
Harry chuckled and was joined by the two Tonks, though Andy's was of a darker shade and she was the one who provided the answer, "The Malfoy family is not an Ancient House. They were not even English noble; they got into the Wizengamot by buying a seat after one of the original holding families died out. It was rumored that a Malfoy actually murdered the last living member of the family just to get into the law making body. No, if Malfoy tries anything against Harry, he would be trodden down by the other Noble families and that is why he never brings forth a resolution or even seconds it. He likes to stay behind the scenes, doling out money like confetti and play people like Umbridge and Fudge for fools."
Harry nicely summed it up for them, "This attempt was probably a ploy by Malfoy to try and stump me. I am afraid that this was just a prelude to something serious, something to do with Voldemort and his death eaters. I know it in my bones" he sighed regretfully.
Just how serious the situation was, was evident a few days later. Sirius got a summons for the Wizengamot session that was to discuss the introduction of a new bill and that was to declare Werewolves as creatures and impose restrictions on them. Though there was no indication on who was proposing the bill, it would only be known in the session once it was tabled; it definitely had Dolores Umbridge written all over it. That fact was blatantly obvious when Harry, as an heir to the Potter family did not get one and that meant either it was an attempt to exclude him or that there was someone else holding the seat in proxy. Amelia told him that Dumbledore indeed had the voting rights for the Potter seat in proxy, a situation that Harry was eager to rectify.
So for the first time, a congregation of all those related to Harry and Hermione either by friendship, family, or by business association was taking place in the Grangers backyard. They made it a picnic inviting even the youngsters, though only Susan was the one not directly involved and by association, her best friend Hannah. Surprisingly, once the word got out regarding the discussion the elder Abbotts also invited themselves as did Neville and his grandmother, the formidable Augusta Longbottom.
Susan, Hannah, and Neville were encouraged to participate in the discussion as they were the next in line to be the head of their respective houses and this would turn out to be a good training for them. Most of them were hoping that it would be some more time before that but for Susan it would be sooner than later as she would be the next Lady Bones as soon as Amelia would be a Black at the end of the year.
The discussion was mainly centered on the way to counter the legislation, as there was no other thought but to repel it. Though everyone knew that Remus would be directly affected by the law if it came thorough, Harry was more concerned about the long term implications. Harry and Hermione were quite sure that they could get Remus to accept an unofficial position in their company or even in taking care of the vast number of Black and Potter properties and thus keep him employed, but just the thought of bowing down to injustice was unacceptable to them.
"This is not about Remus" Harry nearly shouted at Sirius when the discussion began going out of hand and was turning into a show of favouritism. Thankfully Remus was not present as he was busy with contacting a few of the werewolves that were blasé about their affliction and not keen on hurting others. It was an attempt to get them donating blood and if possible some tissue samples for their impending study on werewolf physiology and improving the 'Wolfsbane' potion. Everyone was hoping that the news of the possible legislation would not have reached the different Werewolf clans making things difficult for them.
Everyone was quite perplexed at that but still unable to comprehend his thoughts and so Hermione elaborated, "Why doesn't everyone accept that the legislation was not in the best interests of the progress of the wizarding world? Why do you have to think that it was meant to be only against Harry or our company? Can't you see that if this law comes into force, peace in this world is going to be very difficult to achieve?" Hermione ranted much to the amusement of her parents.
"I for one am convinced that the legislation was not the idea of the Umbridge woman but more an attempt to undermine the 'light' side so to speak" Harry spoke with conviction that was hard to miss.
Amelia was still not convinced though, "Why would say someone like Lucius Malfoy have to do anything to ban Werewolves from holding jobs?"
Harry and Hermione shared a look that would have meant 'how thick can these get?' but refrained from showing any other emotion on their face. They were exasperated that the adults in their lives were still allowing things to take their course rather than doing something constructive. Even Amelia, the head of the law enforcement was content to let sleeping dogs lie rather than calling up Minister Fudge and Umbridge on their blatant disregard for those who were not purebloods. In a tone that would not have been missed even by a toddler Harry asked, "What would be the first inclination of anyone that has been backed into a corner be?"
Thankfully Susan caught on very quickly, "They would rebel" she exclaimed with wide eyes.
Hermione thanked her with a grateful smile, "… and who do we know that is a definite threat to peace and stability and has been more or less active these past two years after more than ten years of being silent?" That was like being fed with a spoon and hard to miss by anyone.
"Do you think that some of You-Know-Who's followers were behind this?" Neville asked with palpable fear in his voice.
"Voldemort" ignoring the flinch at the name, Harry forged ahead, "was the one to offer the Werewolves a chance to fill their feral appetites by giving a free run on non-magicals and muggleborns. If I am not mistaken, the last time he was nearly in power was the time when the number of newly bitten people increased astronomically. Their activities almost came to a halt after Halloween 1981 telling us that it was the influence of Voldemort that caused a massive surge in attacks."
"At present almost no one is willing to believe that the threat of his return still exists" Hermione took up the explanation, "… and if the werewolves are pushed to desperation and Voldemort comes along promising them free reign or even retribution against those who forced them into hiding, so to speak, wouldn't they flock to his banner immediately?"
Madam Longbottom sighed and summed up everyone's thoughts, "We all know that Lucius Malfoy is a staunch supporter of You-Know-Who, and if he knew that his master was trying to get back, he would do everything in his power to ensure that."
Though Harry loathed going before the public, especially those who he considered were spineless and unwilling to bring forth stricter rules to curb the death eater menace, he had to go to the Wizengamot to name Sirius as the proxy for the Potter seat. His anxiousness was increased by the fact that Hermione would not be beside him for this, she would only be able to watch the proceedings from the public gallery. Both the Black and Potter seats were being held by Dumbledore and unsurprisingly, he used those votes to almost always stalemate the session before any meaningful laws could be passed. No major changes in the legislation was able to take place in more than ten years that Sirius was incarcerated and that was almost always due to the fact that Dumbledore was not proactive in bringing about a change. That was also the reason why the Auror force was struggling with budget issues and why the death eaters and their sympathizers were allowed to go scot free with their discriminatory attitude. One upside of the stalemate though was that nothing that was detrimental to the general population was also passed but that was going to change due to the anti-Werewolf bill that was being brought forward by Madam Umbridge.
Even though the proposed bill was just a proclamation or rather an intent of change in the existing laws for now, it was already being touted as a sure fire law guaranteed to curtail the freedom of Werewolves, even before ratification by the Wizengamot. Most of the supporters of the Dark Lord Voldemort were openly supportive while the traditionalists, who formed a large bloc, were undecided. The traditionalists led by Dumbledore and often supported by Madam Longbottom, did not want gross changes in the way of life and saw any revolutionary bills as detrimental to their values. Even though some of the laws would be for the benefit of the general public, they usually remained silent or helped pass the less drastic changes through. It was clearly evident that there were two major groups in the Wizengamot and since both comprised a large section of votes, the small number of voices that actively sought progress and change were usually drowned out.
That was all about to change though as one boy sought to bring forth a much needed revolution in the way of life to the wizarding world and even managed to change the stance of the staunchest of Dumbledore's supporters, Madam Longbottom. With her lead the rest of the traditionalists could be made to see reason and bring about much needed modernization to the stagnant world, but first, the ulterior motives of people like Fudge, Umbridge, and Malfoy that could play into the hands of Voldemort should be repelled and quickly.
As members began shifting in, many cast curious glances at not only Sirius but also at Harry. The presence of Sirius was easily explained but the presence of a minor raised a few eyebrows, but sitting among a group consisting of Madam Bones, Madam Longbottom, Lord Abbott and Lord Black, no one dared to protest. The only one who even came close to raise an objection was Madam Umbridge but a quick whispered word from Minister Fudge shut her up and she only resorted to sneering at Harry.
As the court scribe began calling roll, it was clearly evident to Dumbledore and the others that a major shift in the political scene was about to take place. Sirius was duly admitted without a peep and administered the oath, but the real ruckus started when the Potter seat was called. Dumbledore announced himself as the proxy to the seat and Harry stood to contradict the claim and name Sirius as the proxy to his family seat. As Harry rose to speak, Dumbledore tried to steam roll through the names of the members present but none of the other members were prepared to respond to the roll call and were themselves waiting for Harry to be acknowledged. Some of them were really sympathetic to the Werewolves and against the general bigotry in their world, while the others were enamored by the fame of the 'Boy-Who-Lived' yet others were merely waiting to see him make a fool of himself. Not getting the responses he wanted, Dumbledore finally acknowledged defeat and had to allow Harry to speak.
Harry rose with his knees almost shaking with the weight of not making a fool of himself heavily on his mind. He took a deep breath but one glance at the eyes of his best friend and future wife that were full of pride for him was enough to steady him. Putting his best foot forward, figuratively speaking, and standing tall, Harry intoned in a formal tone, "My name is Harry James Potter, heir to the Ancient and Noble house of Potter…" he was interrupted by loud gasps coming from almost everyone in the chamber. Harry was a little perplexed at that reaction, 'Surely they knew that' he thought but he was distracted by the awe of Hermione's face and her subtle nod of head that meant for him to look at himself.
Harry looked down and was shocked to see that he was glowing a bright golden in colour and it lasted for about ten seconds. When the glow ended he was startled to feel the weight of a solid gold ring with what he knew as the Potter crest settle on his left ring finger; and looking up he caught Hermione furtively covering her left ring finger too but with an amused and a little mischievous smile. Though he could not guess what happened and how Hermione was affected by the events that happened, he guessed that some such ring which identified her as his intended appeared on her finger too; magic was strange some times. Though it was shocking to say the least, no one was prepared to voice their displeasure; it was old magic choosing to declare Harry James Potter as the head of the house Potter instead of its Heir.
Glancing at Sirius, Harry could see his beaming smile which was the same expression on Amelia's face which was in contrast to Dumbledore, Fudge and a few people like Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle. Dumbledore was not a happy camper, and if Harry had to describe the emotion on his face, it was like that of a petulant child. The most amusing to look at however was that of Umbridge who looked as if she swallowed a particularly distasteful bug.
Before anyone could say anything, the court scribe read out of the parchment that appeared on her desk, "I have the duty to inform this august body that there is a new addition to the members of the Wizengamot. Lord Harry James Potter has been accepted by the magic of his house as the head of the house and emancipated fully as a recognized adult."
This time the murmurs were subdued as most of the members recognized this as ancient magic at work; they neither had the right to contest the choice nor the inclination to do so. That proclamation alone allowed some of the fence sitters to sit up and take notice of Harry Potter in a favourable light. Most of them now had a chance to form an alliance with house Potter if they could entice him to marry the daughters in their house, not that they would succeed as most of them still considered Hermione to be his friend only. Neither the couple concerned nor the adults in their lives tried to correct their mistake, but those who caught or would catch a glimpse of the ring on Hermione's finger would understand how futile those attempts would be.
Hearing the confirmation of what he gathered by the appearance of the head of house ring on his finger, Harry let out a frustrated sigh, 'why was his life so complicated?' he thought, but on the bright side he was deliriously happy that the magic of his ancestors accepted Hermione as his future wife, and now they were betrothed he supposed. Gathering his thoughts and since he was still expected to speak Harry continued where he let off, "… I thank you all for recognizing me as the head of the House Potter, but I would like to announce that since I am still at school, I would not be able to attend the sessions of this august body. I therefore appoint my godfather, the Lord Black as my proxy for voting."
At Harry's gesture which was his cue, Sirius stood up and intoned, "I Sirius Black, Head of the Ancient and Noble house of Black, accept the responsibility bestowed by Lord Potter. I also solemnly state that I would dispense my duties to the best of my abilities and be truthful to House Potter."
Dumbledore was frustrated, this was not how the events were supposed to go, and he was losing more and more control of Harry. Till date he at least had the proxy for voting but now he had lost that vote too; on the bright side, Lucius Malfoy who was hoping that the anti-werewolf bill would be passed without contest now lost control of the Wizengamot and judging by the reactions of a few of the neutral members in the house, Dumbledore expected them to side with House Potter and maybe this was the impetus needed to wrest control of the Wizengamot toward the 'light' side?
He banged the gravel which demanded the attention of the house, "Thank you Lord Black and Lord Potter. Your declarations have been noted. Now if you would take your seats we will move on to the topic of today's discussion." He then turned to the person sitting beside the Minister of Magic and addressed her, "Madam Umbridge, as the one who wished to introduce the bill, the onus is on you to convince the members to vote on your behalf. As this is a bill and not a law, there need not be a unanimous vote, just a majority would do." With that Dumbledore gestured for the woman to take the floor.
In response to Dumbledore's summons, Umbridge took the stage, figuratively of course, as she did not move from her position but Harry could see the cleverly disguised venom in her eyes that was directed at him. He could guess that the fact that he was now recognized as the head of house for an Ancient and Noble house might have put a bee in her bonnet. As her attitude against anyone that was not a pureblood was evident during their meeting with the Minister, Harry could guess that now that he was elevated to a position of authority far above her own station, Umbridge had to bite her tongue rather than risk sanction against her for bad mouthing the head of House Potter, even if he was a half-blood. The moment Umbridge started her speech painting Werewolves as monsters, she lost most of the support from lesser known houses and it was evident from their reactions that they considered the tactic as one directed against those who she considered to be lesser than her. It was really unsurprising to Harry or to Hermione sitting in the public gallery, that the rhetoric that Madam Umbridge displayed was nothing new. As she was wont to, her speech was mostly centered on the fact that they were beasts and were not allowed to work or even lead a respectable life. She portrayed them as a menace to the society and that they have to be exterminated rather than corrupt the society with their stench.
Funnily enough, her vitriol actually helped sway some of the more tolerant members away from supporting the bill. They were also keenly aware that the presence of Harry Potter in the house suggested that he was dead set against the bill and that was something for them to digest. Quite a few of them remembered the association of Remus Lupin, a known werewolf with House Potter and also his role as a professor at Hogwarts. Members who had children in the school and were taught by him had to recognize that their kids were never in danger even during the full moon period.
After about 30 minutes of beating a dead horse, Madam Umbridge ran out of fresh material to spew against the werewolves and her allotted time too. Much like in a school debate, now was the time for anyone who opposed the bill to put forward their views and amazingly quite a few were ready too, may be in an attempt to impress the 'Boy-Who-Lived' or out of genuine concern for the society as a whole no one knew. Even before some of the members could put in a request for a chance to speak, the Chief Warlock banged his gravel again and announced, "House Potter put in a formal request to be given a chance to let the Wizengamot know about their position in a public way and I could not find any reason not to grant their request." Dumbledore directed his gaze at Harry, "I yield the floor to Lord Harry James Potter."
After many discussions, Harry and Hermione decided to steer clear of both Voldemort and also their intention of employing Remus in their company. They were more interested in enlightening the members of the real concern and danger to the society as a whole if the potentially dangerous Werewolves were pushed into a corner. There was a big chance for them to retaliate and in a way that would tear their world apart in a deadly way.
Harry grabbed the chance to get on the soap box with eager hands and surprisingly for someone who never wanted to be in the limelight, he felt that it was a chance to change the society for the better. He did not feel nervous or particularly bold either but stood with confidence in his eyes and moved to the cleared area that was at the center of the chambers and used mostly for trying prisoners rather than as a stage for a speech. This was a conscious move as Harry felt that he wanted everyone to see that he was not afraid to stand up for his views and also intended it as a snub to Umbridge who remained standing at her position. He also felt that moving around was a better way to quell his nervousness and drawing a deep breath began countering Madam Umbridge's bill point for point.
Mid-way through his counter argument, Harry gained momentum and launched into the defense of the werewolves with exuberance, "These are not born to their fate unlike some one we know who was born ugly…" he was interrupted by gales of laughter at his obvious dig at Umbridge. She was glowering at him but unable to speak anything at the moment. Most of the members were already swayed by Harry's remarks but this added a new dimension to his argument, yes Werewolves were dangerous but they did not choose to be turned.
Dumbledore in an attempt to reprimand Harry inadvertently flamed the fire, "Lord Potter, please refrain from personal remarks." This increased the shouts of mirth in the chamber much to the consternation of Umbridge and Fudge.
Harry immediately raised his hands in a gesture of surrender, "I am sorry. I am sorry, I did not mean to offend anyone but what I wanted to highlight was that Werewolves were born normal witches or wizards, some of them could have even been purebloods." Murmurs of agreement swept through the assembly; Harry did not want to bring up blood status in his arguments but Umbridge's adamant use of purebloods in almost each of her statements prompted him to counter her using her own arguments.
Sensing the positive mood of the assembly he continued, "It is readily apparent that most of them are pushed away by the society and then forced to seek shelter with other people like them. They are almost always shunned and forced to resort to petty crimes or even rent out as trouble makers and assassins. Is that what we want? Is it our intent to drive them to desperation and then lament at their crimes, some of which I would like to point out were of our own forcing?"
Harry saw that most of the people in the gallery and most of the members of the Wizengamot were vigorously nodding their heads at his passionate dialogue, "I would not go out on a limb and say that it is the responsibility of the Ministry to see that the werewolves, at least those that are prepared to go into a decent line of work, are properly employed. I know and agree that it would be virtually impossible for them to coerce each and every werewolf into employment, but it is our responsibility as citizens to actually encourage them to find jobs and if we are in a position to offer them decent work, should we not? That is the only way to take them off the streets and that would also reduce crime and resentment among the werewolves. I believe that they would be more than willing to have a peaceful life, if given a chance. I mean no one is blood thirsty by nature, nurture does play a major role in that."
Drawing a heavy breath, Harry shifted gears, "The Potter family had always supported means to alleviate the needs of the society; but even though a binding will was enacted, it was sealed and because of that most of the donations from the Potter Foundation have dried up." Harry gave a sharp glance at Dumbledore who was the one that sealed his parents' wills away; his subtle anger at the Chief Warlock also drew the attention of most of the neutral families who had a knack of making donations when needed and so stay away from conflict. More and more people began to realize how far their inactivity to oppose constricting laws actually led to a society that was mired in anarchy and nepotism.
"It is the duty of the Ministry to ensure that every citizen lives free and without persecution, but I am willing to take up the costs of providing the 'Wolfsbane' potion to every werewolf." His announcement was unprecedented as most of the rich were only interested in amassing their wealth or use it to further their own agenda, but nevertheless, was met with thunderous applause. They were ashamed by the selfless acts of a teenager who was willing to take up the cause of the downtrodden and try to make a positive impact on the society.
Harry continued speaking which forced the assembly to quieten down quickly, "As a means to do this, I am proud to announce the start of 'Lily Potter Foundation' to not only meet the costs of brewing the potion but also to fund research for a permanent cure or at the least a better treatment option."
This was met with more applause and even the attempts of Dumbledore pleading for silence were ignored. Harry was thankful that the applause allowed him to regain his seat but was also heartened that even though the adulation was more from the public gallery, some of the more traditional members of the Wizengamot were praising his initiative. He just hoped that some of them would actually set an example by breaking down the barriers against not only the werewolves but other races like the Goblins and House elves, not that he believed in it but he could only look forward to it.
Up in the visitors' gallery, Hermione was unobtrusively able to concentrate on the expressions of the few who were known to be death eaters. Their idea that the bill was an attempt to drive the werewolves to desperation and then provide them an avenue by asking them to join Voldemort's ranks proved to be an astute one. Lucius Malfoy who was the one to propose the bill and got Umbridge and Fudge to put it up in the Wizengamot, along with the other death eaters were practically seething at the turn around led mostly by neutral members like Lords Greengrass, Davies, and Macmillan. Needless to say their reactions proved beyond doubt that most of the death eaters were aware that Voldemort was not dead but was just bidding his time to take over the wizarding world. Hermione made sure to focus on each and every one of their targets so that the others could view her memories. It was time to take the offensive to the organization that was the bane of peace in the wizarding world whether its leader was active or not was immaterial at this point.
Needless to say the bill died a premature and horrible death with a ringing majority repealing it; Malfoy and his cronies though abstained to vote which was telling in itself. Harry's presence and his passionate condemnation of the injustices in their world was so groundbreaking that Lady Longbottom managed to gather enough support to censure Madam Umbridge which was a way to prevent her attendance to the Wizengamot in the near future.
A/N: I apologize for the delay in getting this out. I planned for something special to get back at the DEs but Harry and Hermione were having trouble in planning it out to perfection, as they say the devil is in the detail. I hope that I will be able to get the plan in place but in the mean time I plan to finish the remaining few chapters of 'Three to Triumph'. Thanks for your continued support- HH