REVISION: A couple of alert followers caught a couple of errors. I've corrected them and reposted. I forgot (since I'm working several different fics at once) that I'd resorted Hermione to Ravenclaw and killed off Ron. Thanks for the ever vigilant reviews since I have no beta.
Hermione inhaled softly as she connected – truly connected – to her magic for the first time. The warmth coursing through her body, tingling just under her skin…the eagerness to do her bidding was amazing. A tear slipped down her cheek. She had been denied this for six years because of the Light's bias kept the dark purebloods from sharing these rituals and methods of meditation from muggleborn because of resentment. Dark because the light purebloods didn't use them anymore.
She opened her eyes and stared at the silvery eyed blonde watching her intently. "I'm finally starting to feel like a witch instead of just a muggle that can do magic. Thank you."
"You're welcome." Draco held up a book, smirking when her eyes lit with hunger. "History of the time before the statue of secrecy. The ways that we can no longer practice because muggles feared them. Practices we can still not perform even though muggles aren't even aware of us any longer. You want to correct wrongs, Ms. Granger. Here." Draco thrust the book at her.
Hermione flushed as she took the book. Draco, Daphne and several other purebloods had finally after four heated debates made her understand that house elves would die without the bond between them and wizards. Yes, their conditions could be improved, but setting them free was genocide.
Draco stood and offered her a hand up releasing her hand as soon as she was on her feet. Hermione shifted uneasily. She knew he didn't like her and was only trying to educate her so there was one less person against the Dark. "Is it okay for me to teach other muggleborn how to connect to their core?"
He shrugged. "Sure. It will help if any of you want to try a personal meditation at Samhain."
Hermione bit her lip. "Can we? Will we connect to anyone or is that connection for those with magical ancestors?"
Draco fought back his sneer. She was being sincere. It wasn't her fault this information had been kept from her. "Somewhere in the past you most likely have magical ancestors. Has anything been said about when you're scheduled to go to Gringotts for Inheritance testing?"
"No. I imagine the furor over the werewolf issue, You Know Who dying and the rumors of no confidence on the minister has taken precedence." She shook her head. "I really can't believe Fudge was so stupid. If you are going to take bribes, don't keep records and don't talk about it over the public floo system."
Draco snorted. "Don't forget the tawdry affairs." The Daily Prophet had posted all of Fudges indiscretions this morning. Bribes, affairs, shady deals – it was all it black and white. The Dark Lord and Hari along with Lord Black and Draco's father were in the hastily called Wizengamot meeting for the no-confidence vote on the minister.
"I'll ask." He offered as he opened the door. "If you know your ancestors' names it is easier to connect to them."
Hermione nodded her gratitude and hurried off down the corridor. This term had already been full of upheaval and shocking revelations. Her intrinsic belief in authority had been shattered; friends had turned out to be malicious self-centered people willing to kill; the Dark had turned out to be not so evil after all.
Her entire world and system of beliefs turned upside down. She was actually glad NEWTS had been postponed. Not that she didn't have plenty of time now to study. Hari not talking to her because she had betrayed her. Ron was dead and Ginny had her magic bound and was expelled. Ravenclaw was a very lonely place right now as no one was talking to her as they assumed she had been a part of the plotting and had just not got caught.
Tom listened to Lord Jones speaking and decided that he was glad they hadn't managed to kill the man. He had been a surprise during the werewolf session and now he was very adamantly declaiming Fudge.
"No wonder our Ministry is in such a fouled up, twisted mess! Our minister is more interested in lining his own pockets and indulging in his own private pleasures and perversions than in running our society! Apparently, he could care less if criminals are free and innocents are locked away as long as the galleons fall into his pockets and the doxies remain available. I vote for a motion of no confidence on the current minister, Cornelius Fudge."
"I second the motion!" Ceville Roulat declared.
Tom smirked. The motion called for by a Light and Light neutral. Excellent. He shifted his attention to young Theodore Nott, newly vested in his title after the death of his father. He was pale, but composed. He had sworn two days ago to the Dark Lord that he held no animosity toward Lady Slytherin.
Tom glanced at McNair. That man looked nervous. Very nervous. Sweat beaded his brow as he resolutely did not look in their direction. He winced and rubbed his forearm surreptitiously. Yes, he was well aware that his lord was furious with him.
Chief Witch March called for a vote. She counted quickly. "For 43; 5 Against. Cornelius Fudge you are no longer Minister."
Fudge looked gutted. Red faced and deflated he nodded silently and left the chamber.
Chief March looked around the room. "Nominations for Minister?"
Goyle rose. "I nominate Lord Greengrass."
"I second the nomination." Crabbe called out.
Roulat stood. "I nominate Madame Bones."
Madame Bones looked at Roulat, startled. "I'm sorry, but no. I do not want to be minister. I am perfectly happy as head of the DMLE."
March frowned slightly. "Any other nominations?" She hoped so otherwise a known Dark wizard was going to be Minister.
Lord Abbott stood. "I nominate Arthur Weasley."
"I second the nomination." Lord Black called out clearly informing everyone that neither he nor his goddaughter held Arthur responsible for what Ronald and Ginevra had done.
"Any others?" March looked around. "No? Nominations are closed. Cast your ballots for either Lord Greengrass or Arthur Weasley."
March counted the ballots. "Lord Greengrass – 10; Arthur Weasley – 38. Mr. Weasley please stand to take the oath of office."
Arthur looked a bit shell shocked that it had actually happened. He stood and squared his shoulders.
"Do you, Arthur Weasley, solemnly promise and swear to govern without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and to faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on you, according to the best of your abilities and understanding?"
Do you, Arthur Weasley, swear to use your power for Law and Justice, in Mercy, to be executed in all your judgments?"
"Do you, Arthur Weasley, swear to be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to the treaty signed by our ancestors?"
Magic wrapped around Arthur and sank into him.
"Then I present to the Wizengamot our new Minister of Magic, Arthur Weasley." Chief Witch March stated.
Brody, Filsmer, Albertson and Vane all converged on him clapping him on the back and shaking his hand.
March banged for order. "The session is now closed."
Augusta Longbottom, Amelia Bones and Joshua Jones made their way over to Arthur as did Tom, Hari and Sirius.
Tom shook his hand. "Congratulations Arthur. I can't think of a better man to lead our society."
"Thank you, Lord Slytherin."
Hari wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug. Arthur stilled then hugged her back. Hari stepped back. "You deserve this, Arthur."
"Thank you, Hari."
It was another half hour before they got out of the chambers. Amelia immediately took control of Arthur. "Minister, if you'll come with me to your office. I'll try not to overwhelm you, but only introduce you to your staff and ensure the office has been cleared. There is also the matter of housing…"
"Housing? The Burrow is my home."
"The Burrow does not have the wards the Minister of Magic needs."
"Then…then put them up! I won't leave my home."
Amelia smiled gently. "Alright, Arthur." Sweet Merlin the Minister of Magic living in the ramshackle Burrow. The citizenry won't know how to take Arthur Weasley.
Amelia paused. "You do know that your son, Percy, is the Minister's secretary?"
Arthur gave her a grim nod. "Yes. I hope still to mend fences." He rubbed his neck self-consciously. "I'm still not certain what we did to alienate him."
"Well, perhaps he'll open up to you now." Amelia murmured.
The lift opened and they stepped out into the Minister's suite. The staff of three looked up as they entered. They had been notified of Fudge's dismissal and were looking to see who the new minister would be.
Shock showed on their faces as Arthur Weasley stepped in with Madame Bones.
"Mr. Weasley, Miss Arnette, Mrs. Preston, our new minister, Mr. Arthur Weasley."
Arthur nodded cordially. "Hello everyone. I hope I can count on your good nature and your experience in the coming weeks as we all adjust to my new position. I know I'll make mistakes and only hope that you will guide me around any obvious pitfalls as I learn my way around."
"Of course, Minister Weasley," Mrs. Preston smiled. "I manage your schedule. Miss Arnette runs messages and errands for you and Mr. Weasley, is your secretary and research assistant."
Arthur's eyes landed on his son who was staring at him stunned. "Thank you, Mrs. Preston. Please see me before you leave today so I know what to expect tomorrow. Percy…"
"Congratulations, Father. I'll organize all the messages ex-Minister Fudge has yet to respond to and have them ready at your convenience."
Arthur sighed. "Very well."
Madame Bones prompted Arthur into the Minister's office and shut the door. She watched the gentle, good man look around in a bewildered manner. "Was this completely unexpected, Minister?"
"Mmmm, no not totally." Arthur murmured. "I knew I would be nominated. I did not honestly expect to win."
Madame Bones grinned. "That was obvious."
Arthur grinned back sheepishly. "I'm not a politician."
Arthur moved to sit behind the desk. He rubbed his hands over the surface absently. "I have to become one, at least a little though."
Amelia sighed. "Why do you think I turned it down?"
Arthur gave a shaky laugh. He inhaled and centered himself. "Like I said this wasn't completely without warning. I do have a fair idea of the direction I want to move the ministry in. First, I need to know what is currently in progress."
Amelia nodded. "I know that there are talks going on with Norway and Tasmania. Percy most likely has the details. You will no doubt be visited by the ones that were donating to Cornelius."
Amelia winced slightly then nodded. "Yes." She paused. "You can't stay at the Burrow until the wards are redone."
"I'll stay at Westmoor Keep."
"Lord Slytherin's home?" Amelia spluttered in shock.
Arthur chuckled. "Yes. I am friends with Sirius, Remus, Tom, Hari and others in their group."
She frowned. "Malfoy."
"Yes, I am friends with Lucius. We have had several conversations since we've been thrown together by Hari. I have made it quite clear to him and everyone else in that group that I will not give up my morals and side with them if I think they are wrong."
Madame Bones studied him intently before nodding. "Alright. I've always thought you to be a good man and I won't toss that opinion away without sufficient cause." She stood. "I should go so you can be inundated by Mrs. Preston and Mr. Weasley."
Arthur groaned good-naturedly and waved her out the door.
Sure enough Mrs. Preston was in the door before in shut. "Minister," she murmured politely. "I have the outline of what ex-minister Fudge was working on in this folder." She handed him a 3 inch thick folder. "It includes his position, who sided with him, who was against his stance, etc. I also have tomorrow's itinerary. Please take a minute to look it over and let me know what to cancel or postpone."
Arthur took the parchment breaking down his day and scanned it. "Umm…well, I'm certain Ms. Delilah's personal appointment can be canceled." He flushed slightly thinking of the 'female entertainment' Fudge had routinely scheduled.
Mrs. Preston sniffed. "I should think so." She leaned over and tapped the appointment and it disappeared. "I shall send her notice immediately."
"Thank you." Arthur scanned it. "Postpone the meeting with the Apothecary Guild. Tell them I need a day or two to familiarize myself with the topic."
"A sound decision, Minister."
"What are these two – Mr. Bathsine and Mr. Hoffenapfer?"
She shifted then straightened. "Those two meet Fudge several times a month at Venusian Delights. He always came back quite pleased and their import issues became non-issues."
"Cancel the appointment. They can work their import issues out just like everyone else."
Mrs. Preston felt a heavy weight lift from her. Perhaps this Minister wouldn't be quite as corrupt.
Arthur leaned back. "Ms. Arnette researches correct?"
"Is there anything she is researching at the moment that can't be postponed?"
"Not at the moment."
"Good. I want her to take the next week and focus on the employees of every department. Who they are. How they got their position. Their work performance. I also want the laws on hiring, performance reviews and firing."
"Mr. Weasley would be more apt for that."
"Then give him the assignment. I am truly depending on you three to help me settle in. I know I'm going to step on toes quickly and hard, Mrs. Preston, but I won't continue to condone Pureblood supremacy. The Ministry needs competent people in it and I could care less about their ancestry."
Mrs. Preston stared at him then gave him a brilliant smile. "Very well, Minister. The three of us will be delighted to help you stomp on some toes."
Arthur smiled then grew serious. "I will tell you as I told Madame Bones. I am friends with Lucius Malfoy. I am not in his pocket. I will oppose his Pureblood dogma and he is quite aware of that fact. So, when you see him visit me do not assume I am taking his gold. I haven't and I won't."
She blinked. "You didn't have to tell me that, sir."
"I did. You are to be my bastion against rumor mongering. I am well aware that Malfoy was bribing Fudge and that most everyone knew it. Therefore, when he is seen visiting me, I will be accused of taking his gold. If I must, I am willing to take an oath that I am not."
"You need take no oath for me, Minister. Your reputation as an honest man precedes you, Arthur Weasley."
"Thank you, Mrs. Preston. Could you send my son in?"
"Of course, sir."
Five minutes passed before his door opened at Percy stepped in stiffly. "Minister."
"Enough Percy. Sit down." Arthur pointed at the chair in front of his desk. "You are going to tell my forthrightly what the bloody hell we did to alienate you!"
Percy scowled and averted his gaze. "I'd rather not."
Arthur felt his eyes glaze. "How much of our family must I lose, Percy?! Your mother, Ron, Ginny! What did I do to make you hate us? Please tell me so I can try to make it right!"
Percy stared at the floor for several minutes. "I don't hate you, Father," he finally whispered. "I don't hate any of you. I just…I'm tired of having to constantly try to be what everyone else wants me to be."
"What? I just want you to be yourself." Arthur murmured.
Percy shrugged. "Perhaps but Mother wants me to be Perfect Percy – Os in all my classes, Prefect, Head Boy, stay at home, kiss arse to rise high in the Ministry. Fred and George wants me to be a bullying prankster and goof off constantly. They belittled me day in and day out for years because I wasn't like them. And you…you might have been fine with me, but you never stood up to any of them on my behalf!" He was panting now unable to stop the flow of words now that the festering wound had been lanced.
Arthur paled. Tears streaked down his face. "I failed you. You're right. I was too busy wanting peace in my home that I let the strong personalities rule it. I'm sorry. I know that doesn't resolve anything, but I am. So sorry, Percy."
Percy glanced up and saw that his father was truly sorry. He swiped at his eyes. "It helps. Just being acknowledged helps."
Arthur stood and crossed the room to gather his middle child into a hug. Percy stiffened then clung to his father. "I'll talk to Fred and George. They tend to think everyone is as thick skinned as they are and that isn't an excuse for their behavior."
Arthur stepped back but held onto Percy's shoulders. "Is this the job you want or is it the job you took to keep from getting howlers?"
Percy gave a watery chuckle. "Both. I took it to stay the howlers, but I do like it. I believe I'll like it even more with someone who will get my name right."
Arthur chuckled. "So…do I call you Mr. Weasley or may I call you Percy."
"Percy is fine."
Arthur nodded and stepped away so they could both gather their composure. "I'm sure we both want to go home tonight and collapse, but I'd like to have dinner sometime this week. I'm staying at Lord Slytherin's home until the wards on the Burrow are upgraded."
Percy's eyes bulged. "Lord Slytherin!" He gasped. "You're familiar enough with him to stay in his home!"
"Yes, only because of Hari though. She may have titles now but she is still the Hari Potter that ate at the Burrow and degnomed the gardens during the summer."
"I've heard so many conflicting things about them that I'm not sure which to believe."
"We'll discuss it over dinner."
Arthur prodded him out of the office. "Now go home. I do believe I heard a rumor of a girlfriend."
Percy blushed. "Penelope Clearwater."
"Go spend time with your girl. I'm going to go wonder what the hell I've got myself into."