Chapter 1 - Once more from the Beginning

Hermione Jane Granger Weasley, ex Head of Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures - which during her work there had been renamed to Department of Inter-Species Relations; current Head of the Department of Magical Law Regulation; Order of Merlin First Class since November 1998 for immeasurable services towards humanity during the Second Wizarding War; founder of S.P.E.W. (today one of the most influential worldwide organizations of cooperation between humans and other magical species); many times quoted as the most brilliant mind in the field of research and study of Magical Transequeses in Other Species since Rowena Ravenclaw and Albus Brian Percival Dumbledore - yes, that Hermione Weasley, bearer of many titles here and now irrelevant… was not in very good mood as she walked down the corridor that would lead her into her office.

In fact, to say that she was fuming was an understatement. If she had been only an ounce more enraged than she was, she would be spouting off fire from her nostrils. Judging by the way the usually lively corridor was now empty of any signs of life, it meant that all the workers of her department were already familiar with the finer details of the preliminary polls of Wizgamot legislative hearings.

How the hell did people in this building find out about things like this so fast? She had taught them a little too well for their own sakes, Hermione thought grumpily. She had picked up the newly issued results not 5 minutes ago, and by the time she traveled from the ninth floor to the fifth, everyone already knew the results! Why couldn’t her coworkers and subordinates have this kind of efficiency when she asked for the calculations of the projected budgets for the department, or figuring in a padding area should things run higher than planned?

What Hermione didn’t factor into the equation however, was the fact that even her most dedicated assistant or coworker did not work on the draft of HGCC-1300 requisition form as if their life depended on it. But all those who worked in the Department of Magical Law Regulation knew that when their boss was this close to blowing a gasket, their good health very much depended on their ability to stay out of her way.

And there was nothing that made Hermione more livid that getting unfavorable results from preliminary hearings of Wizgamot on the laws that were particularly close to her heart and sense of morals… especially if she had been working on a particular project for a really long time. Namely, in this case, a good 10 years… It was no wonder that Hermione practically had ‘biohazard’ written all over her forehead right now.

So in the end, the matter of the lifeless corridor could very easily be put down to survival instinct.

Hermione got into her office and it was all she could do not to slam the door hard just for the simple pleasure of hearing the glass crack… and giving her slightly jumpy assistant a case of cold sweat. Getting so worked up about Wizgamot’s hesitance was not and the logical approach to the problem, Hermione recognized that. But damit! She had worked too hard on this project to watch it transform into an instrument for political blackmail. The grand court was holding out on the vote so that the Minister of Magic would stop vetoing their newest crime bill – which it just so happened to be backed by the runner up for the Ministerial chair, Mr. Frayard Goldsmith.

But if that pufferfish thought that Dean Robinson Thomas, current – and very capable so far - Minister of Magic was going to relent on silly games like that, he was supremely underestimating the young man. Dean may be new to the job, but he had been under Shacklebot’s wing for a long time, learning from the retired minister for years…

Still, that didn’t stop Goldsmith from trying.

Hermione groaned as one of her hands massaged her temples.

I hate politics… she thought with a whimper. Which was odd, considering she had been working for the Ministry for almost… what was it, fourteen years now? Yes,  that was about it, give or take.

What was most infuriating was that Hermione’s newest project – or oldest, depending on the angle you looked at it – was never meant to be Ministerial business. She had been freelancing, so to speak, for Minerva on this one. It was a revolutionary approach to education and Hermione realized that fully. She had never had any sugarcoated dreams that this would have been easy. No matter how much S.P.E.W had grown, living as equals between human and other magic creatures had never been an easy feat to accomplish… but she had not expected this kind of blowback.

As soon as the Governors of Hogwarts had gotten a whiff of the Headmistress’ and Hermione’s project to extend the educational system towards all magical creatures that wished to benefit from it, word had broken out like the bubonic plague… and seeing that the Governors were no ordinary stewards, it had become Wizgamot matter before the two women (and everyone else involved in this) could even blink twice.

Which was good thing in a way, since Hermione was Head of the Department of Magical Law Regulation and almost every draft of law or bill of legislation had to go through her offices first. She still had some control in this, no matter what happened.

Hermione allowed herself to lay back on her chair and relax her nerves a little, preparing her brain for the next wave of submerging in work. Inevitably, her mind went to the past.

They had all applauded her (some a bit more reluctantly than others) when she had singlehandedly formulated a bill of 24 amendments that would in one sophisticated move, nullify every single legal issue that bound the Ministry into discriminating those who the previous legislation called 'creatures of near human intelligence'. The ‘Granger Bill of Rights’, that’s how it had been called at first and the name had stuck, proclaiming the equality between all creatures that shared magical gifts and the presence of logic to apply it at will. Witches, wizards, werewolves, vampires, centaurs, elves, goblins… all equal. All subjected to the same rights and obligations to keep each other safe and live in peace and harmony with each other.

The draft had had very few difficulties in passing, even though it was so unapologetically radical. After the end of the war, the political climate had been one that demanded change, even the radical ones so at that time, it had been more than appropriate. And the fact that it had been drafted by one third of the golden trio, Hermione Weasley (back then Granger), a war hero and proclaimed genius of her generation... well, that had sped things up quite a bit.

It had taken a long time for the laws to become executive. Even longer for them to be fully accepted within society. Hermione was sure that even if he juridical system changed and equality and fair treatment became the rule, she still couldn’t force people’s hearts or open up their minds. Some prejudice ran deep and nobody could force change… but this time, Hermione knew she had to try. Change had washed over the wizarding world when Happy Potter had finally ended Voldemort. That had been the first of the many obstacles to fall. Other bigotries had to go. Less pronounced ones, yes, but sometimes so deeply rooted in the traditional way of thinking that people didn’t even notice them anymore… But that didn’t made them less dangerous. Some said that the silent torture is the sometimes most violent.

Double standards had to end and Hermione was just the woman for the job.

And she was not alone.

It had been fourteen years since the ‘Granger Bill of Rights’ had become effective. Hermione had left the Department of Inter-Species Relations and had been working for Magical Law Regulation for nine of those years. She was behind some of the most drastic and influential legislative acts that had been produced during that time and had been renewed time and again as the greatest minds to step into the office she now occupied.

And yet, when it came to having her drafts examined and approved by Wizgamot... she was just one of the many, and Hermione was not quite sure whether to be happy about that or not. Every voting session, every meeting was a process of negotiation. Something gotta give, or so they say… But Hermione had hoped that on a matter as delicate as this, the Wizgamot would make an exception.

But apparently she had hoped wrong. It stood to reason after all. A matter as delicate as this could easily go wrong without the proper handling. If Wizgamot sensed even the slightest hesitation from the Minister, her project would be screwed. But, even despite all the political games, Hermione could see the reason for all the hesitation. She didn’t think that everyone who didn’t see the world her way was wrong. People sometimes walked on different paces.

But it had been almost two years since this particular case-file had been dropped on the Wizgamot’s metaphorical lap. They were seriously outdoing themselves with all this waiting! They liked to grill and hesitate, meet and discuss... over and over again, about the same things! Hermione was sure that if a fire were to break out in their main meeting rooms, they would get together to debate over what to do about it.

Hermione took a deep breath, calmed herself down and then, with quick movements of her wrist, she send out calling letters to her main associates and department-heads that were working with her on the Hogwarts project. This had been messy for sure, since she had to work very closely with the Department of Inter-Species Relations, but it had not been impossible. She knew almost everyone and got to know those the new faces fast. This had to be done. Minerva was counting on her, a lot of people – and non-people – were counting on her. This had been what Albus Dumbledore had wanted for the future that he never got to see. It was partially his vision that Hermione had elaborated…

And it was time to find a new strategy...


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