A.N. Long-time reader, first time writer! Typical disclaimer - don't own anything, just enjoy writing.
"Just give it a chance! I guarantee it will work!" Hermione Granger stated this with what she hoped was a reassuring smile.
"I just don't know, Hermione. I know your intentions are good, but I'm not sure I follow the logic," Kingsley Shacklebolt, the Minister of Magic responded as he walked hurriedly down the hall, Hermione struggling to keep up to him. "When I appointed you head of this committee-
"Co-head" Hermione's partner, Michael Corner, asserted under his breath.
"That doesn't even make sense!" Hermione whispered back, narrowing her eyes.
Kingsley stopped suddenly and turned around, staring down Hermione and Michael, who suddenly looked like guilty children.
"As I was saying," Kingsley continued, trying desperately to ignore the immaturity of his two appointees. "When I appointed you to this committee I encouraged you to think outside the box and get creative with your solutions, but this just seems a little…"
"Crazy?" Michael finished for him. Kingsley made to disagree, but after a moment's pause, nodded his reluctant assent and began walking down the hall again.
"Well I still think we should go with my suggestion and just obliviate their memories - make them start from scratch," declared Corner.
And thus they were stuck in the same debate they had had all morning.
The Problem: What to do with the former Death Eaters after the war. There were the obvious answers: Lucius Malfoy, Fenrir Greyback, Dolohov - all the big names were sent to Azkaban without parole for life. But what about those of the younger generation? Gregory Goyle? Draco Malfoy? Pansy Parkinson? Although all were former Slytherins, there was hardly a way to dock house points, and even if there were, this would do nothing to really reform them. Punishment wasn't enough and wouldn't ensure a safe society. Thus, the Minister had created the Committee on D E Reintroduction - he tried to use the initials to hide the nasty words: Death Eater. Until a permanent solution could be reached, former Death Eaters and sympathizers were being kept in a temporary prison.
In one corner, there was Michael Corner, 6'2, 165 lbs, whose solution for dealing with former (and possibly current) Death Eaters was to obliviate their entire minds - their memories, their sense of self, and all acquired knowledge. They would then be raised in an environment that would educate (Hermione would use the word "brainwash") them into being decent human beings.
In the other corner, there was Hermione Granger, 5'5 when she stood straight up and let her hair poof a little, 125 lbs (well, let's say 120 for her sake), whose solution for dealing with their former enemies was to submit them to some sort of summer camp / new stepsibling bonding ritual by which each Death Eater would be paired with a wizard who had fought on their side of the war and would be forced to live with that wizard for one year, during which they could have no access to magic or any aspects of their former lives, including their bank accounts.
The logic of this approach did not make much sense to anyone but Hermione Granger. When she concocted the plan, her mind was filled with images of Pansy Parkinson and Hannah Abbott painting each other's nails, eating ice cream out of the carton while watching girly movies, and pushing each other on swings while "You've Got a Friend in Me" played in the background. Somehow, her description to Shacklebolt and Corner fell short of her own daydream. She couldn't replicate the soundtrack at all.
So here she was, in the Minister's office, begging him to give her plan a shot. One year was definitely enough time to change someone's ways - to show them that there was life after Voldemort.
"You really think that just by living with wizards like us, Death Eaters would turn around?" Michael asked her skeptically.
"Well, it's more than that," Granger began, choosing her words carefully so as not to sound too idealistic. "They would see our lifestyle - lives filled with doing good and having fun, not with bigotry and hatred. They would see muggles and muggle-born witches and wizards as humans. I think that once they see how possible the alternative is, many will leap at the opportunity-"
"Especially when the alternative is a life in Azkaban," Michael finished for her.
"Yes," Hermione acknowledged, "especially when that is the alternative. I just have a good feeling about this. Please let me give it a shot!" She was practically begging now.
"But if they know that all they have to do is live with someone for a year and then claim to be reformed, won't they get off easy? I mean, is there any way to prove that they are really reformed? How can we judge the effectiveness?"
"Well, to be honest, I'm still working out that last bit," Hermione nervously bit her lip, but then continued quickly "But they won't know the final judgment part - that's part of the plan! All they will know is that they have to live there for a year. That way, their attitude at the end will be candid, and we can judge whether or not they should be allowed to reenter society."
"But that still doesn't answer how we can measure this transformation that you seem to be deluding yourself into believing is possible!"
"Veritaserum!" Hermione shouted. "And other things! I have a whole year to figure that part out. The important thing is to start the process as soon as possible so that we can see if it works and save as many people from a life in Azkaban as we can."
As Corner began to discuss the logistics, Hermione let herself slip once again into her daydreams. Corner mentioned that since it was her plan, it should probably be her who the Death Eater stayed with during the trial run. Ok, well she could deal with that.
Now Hannah Abbott was replaced by Hermione. She and Pansy shopped together, laughed over inside jokes, and iced cupcakes while listening to Alanis Morissette and the Spice Girls. Hermione had to admit… her taste in music was a little dated. Still, images of gossiping with Pansy filled her mind, so much so that it took her a moment to realize the Minister and Michael Corner were waiting for her to respond to something.
"Ummm… I agree?" She had a 50:50 chance. Somehow, she always lost those.
"So you agree that to prove that your plan will be successful, we should start with the most challenging of the remaining Death Eaters. So tomorrow, March 24, Draco Malfoy will move in with you, for the space of one year."
Hermione strode quickly and purposefully back to her office. With her wand she snapped the door shut behind her and muttered a quick silencing charm. She yanked her latest edition of Sellman's Spellery and flipped directly to the index.
Skimming through the S's and T's until she came to the U's, she found exactly what she was looking for.
"Aha! 'Spells to Undo Bad Decisions'" she grinned triumphantly as she flipped to page 837. Now hopefully she could somehow correct her lack of attention to Corner's discussion and propose an… alternate suggestion. She would figure out what to suggest after she handled the bad decision part. One step at a time. Under the heading on page 837, however, she found no instructions for wand movements or magic words. Instead, she found "No such spells exist, but if you discover any, please, by all means, contact me. In the meantime, try a time turner."
Unfortunately, Sellman's Spellery had not been updated since their foray into the ministry in her fifth year. Nevertheless, she figured she ought to at least give it a shot. She made a quick phone call to the Secretary of the Department of Mysteries.
"Thank you for calling the Department of Mysteries, this is Heckathorn. If you have any questions, I most likely cannot answer them, but thank you for calling regardless."
"Hi Heckathorn, this is Hermione Granger in the D E Reintroduction Department." Here was where she needed to be tricky - she decided nonchalance was probably her best tactic. "Could you please have someone bring me the ultra-secret last remaining time turner that no one knows about? Except me, of course. I know about it, because I… deal with things that… deal with time? And because the Minister trusts me - I'm Hermione Granger, you know. So yes, just have someone bring me that until now previously unmentioned time turner and -"
"Miss Granger you know no such time turner exists, and even if it did, we would not lend it out to such new and unproven departments such as the 'D E Reintroduction Department.' In fact, weren't you with the group that destroyed the time turners in the first place?"
"Well, Heckathorn, it's been great chatting but I've simply got to go! If that ultra-secret time turner turns up, please be sure to let me know!" She quickly hung up the phone. Turns up? What a dunce, she thought.
Well, there was no way around it. It looked like she was stuck with Malfoy.
Stuck with Malfoy?! Could she ever imagine a worse fate? Her images of skipping and laughter were replaced by haunting visions of shouting matches, sneers, and constant battles over the single bathroom of her flat. There was no way she could go through with this.
But she didn't have any other options, did she? No, in order to prove that her plan would work, she had to take Malfoy in.
Because if there's one thing Hermione Granger wasn't, it was wrong. As she pondered how grammatically confusing that last thought was, a memo zipped under her office door and landed on her desk.
From the Desk of the Minister of Magic
Dear Miss Granger,
Thank you for agreeing to take part in the first ever test of what I hope will be a successful endeavor. Mr. Malfoy will arrive tomorrow morning (March 24) with his personal effects, at which point you may take him to your home. We will explain his new living situation to him tomorrow. He will have no wand, nor any access to personal possessions, other than basic items of clothing and hygiene. We will set up wards in your home so that he cannot access certain areas or leave without your permission. Similar spells will be placed on your wand so that he cannot use it, should he somehow acquire it. Please report to my office at 10:30 am sharp.
Best of luck,
Well, here it was, for better or for worse. With her last ounce of hope, she flipped again to page 837 and scanned every word, searching for some way to get out of this predicament. Predictably, her effort proved unsuccessful.
It was going to be a long year.