The Minister of Magic strode into the atrium with assured purpose at 7:30 AM sharp on an uninspiring Tuesday morning. Clutching the Daily Prophet, they made their way across the expanse of black tile and marble. Murmurs, nods, and flurries of hastened shuffling created a wake of movement behind them as the figure strode through the expanse of magical people dallying in their morning routines. It seemed as though nothing could stop the Minister’s concentration as said figure made their way into the most peculiar elevator, resolutely scanning article after article of the newspaper in hand. The Minister was far too focused on what they were reading to look around. This had always been an issue; remembering their surroundings. But they weren’t a childish bookworm anymore, so the figure sighed and tucked the paper under an arm before the lift dinged at the top floor.
The frantic pace of heels clicking and Oxford’s scuffing was giving them a little more energy on this foggy London morning. There was something special about being here. It was something they had always dreamed of, though distantly as if it were a romanticised daydream. Almost too big to reach for, realistically. But the Minister never felt comfortable with that thought. Maybe it was the Gryffindor in them, maybe it was something else. They couldn’t not try, right? The Minister had always been smart and resourceful. Progressive and compassionate. Aggressive, yet calculative. With an entire country under them, though, there was always something that could be ruined, but the powerful figure knew they would not be the one to screw it up.
No, Hermione Granger was the Minister of Magic and she was going to be a damn good one.
She passed by a desk occupied by two men speaking animatedly.
“Look, I know you think the Spanish are a decent team this year, but there is just no way they have the same depth as the Irish. The Leprechaun's are weaker, maybe, but one injury on The Toros and they will be--Minister!”
The one with sandy blonde hair and hazel eyes straightened like he was struck with a whip. Hermione didn’t stop her stride - she knew he would catch up.
Not a moment later, her personal assistant Caden was striding in step with her, rattling off her daily tasks and commitments:
“Good morning, Minister Granger. Today you have a range of calls and meetings with various departments. At 8:30 you are expected on a phone call with the Muggle Prime Minister and Chancellor. Nothing strenuous, hopefully, but you should be on to listen and provide input on magical and non-magical immigration. The file is on your desk.”
This is what Hermione loved. Caden was tall, charismatic, handsome, and exceptionally good at his job. He knew the brunette’s schedule down to the second, and he was so proactive it was almost disarming, as if he knew her every thought before she thought it herself. He would always give her a rundown of her upcoming day, as well as any paperwork and research she might be in need of to do her job well. He stacked each item neatly on her desk in order of time and importance, making sure to annotate small notes like, “Meeting will be with Julia Schwausch/German MoM present - she has four boys and no time for messing around” and “Charles Panait will be attending - head researcher for renowned blood replenishing potion, but a patriarchal dick.”
Hermione thought she would likely get by without Caden, but with much, much less sleep. He was her right-hand man, literally, as he passed her a few folders while they continued the long walk to her office at the end of the hall.
“Good morning Minister!”
“Morning, Minister Granger!”
She made sure to at least nod and smile at all the staff going out of their way to say hello.
“This afternoon you have a few hours blocked off for a meeting with the Magical Creatures Department and the Magical Creatures liaison from Europe. Apparently there has been some issue with our department’s policies and the issue has been escalated by multiple teams in Europe. The European clan leader, as well as yourself, were asked to sit into the meeting to supervise and assist with moving this forward - they are at a standstill,” he said clearly, passing a meeting agenda over to her. It read:
Meeting Objective: Introduce all parties of negotiation, and focus on listening to concerns and bettering the communities we hold dear for a brighter future.
3:30 PM - Introductions
3:35 PM - United Kingdom Veela territory policy & history
4:00 PM - United Kingdom Veela rights policy & history
4:25 PM - Possible solutions
5:00 PM - Conclusions and follow up meeting
“Hm. Insightful,” she said, placing the paper to the back of the pile. What a useless agenda.
“Yes, quite. Sorry, it was created by our froggy friends,” Caden replied dryly, still sifting through his stack of papers for her.
They finally reached her office, and Hermione shrugged out of her blue blazer to hang it up on the coat hanger by the door. Caden still hadn’t missed a beat.
“You have two interviews today; one with Samuel Renault from the Haitian Sun, and one with Tomás Enriquez from El Colombiano. Both want to speak with you about expanding admissions and scholarship opportunities for acclaimed wizarding schools to foreign nations,” he rattled off, handing her copies of their most recent publications.
She took the papers and walked around her desk. A cup of coffee was already placed at the corner, steam still rising in winding patterns, indicating it was still blistering hot from a warming charm her assistant would have placed on it.
“At 11:30, you have a meeting with the Department of Magical Transportation briefly to discuss their solution for the Knight Bus. Apparently they found a way to reduce the catastrophic hurricane between stops.”
Hermione snorted, “About time. How hard is it to bolt a bed down?” she murmured, picking up one of the newspapers Caden left on her desk.
“It’s fairly ridiculous, I know. But you should be there to congratulate them,” he said professionally. “Lastly, you have one hour before your Magical Creatures meeting to yourself. So let me know what you’d like to get up to and I will make it happen.”
He finished with a slight nod to his head before tucking the stack of paperwork under his armpit and striding out, closing the door gently behind him.
Hermione sighed. She loved this job, truly, but it was overwhelming sometimes. At 31, she was the youngest Minister of Magic in centuries. It has almost been a year since she was elected in this position. She had run, of course, and the “campaign” was essentially just her giving interviews and speaking to members of various communities. There was no special formula for what she aimed to do as Minister, which she made known from the get-go. She wanted to be a voice for those who were voiceless, and ensure protections, freedoms, and equality for all beings in the magical and non-magical community. Easy enough.
Sometimes she felt as though the job was taking her in the wrong direction, though. She could still sharply remember the first time she was called that nickname, “The brightest witch of her age,” and she felt ashamed she was spending her time in interviews and babysitting meetings since she had done so much more than that to this point.
The past 12 years she had spent in policy. Within her first year after the Battle of Hogwarts, Hermione found a job in the Department for Magical Creatures (she refused to call it the Department of the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, and she was the one to pass the bill to eradicate the name). She then worked in Magical Law after passing the necessary degree requirements in her free time, enjoying the diversity of both departments and appreciating the growth of both. Eventually, the young witch reached the Department Head of Magical Law Enforcement by 27 and there was only one way to go from there.
Perhaps no one thought of her as ambitious, but perception was a tricky thing. She was, really. She was competitive, at the very least. Maybe it was a different thing, but maybe it wasn’t. Hermione honestly didn’t think she knew what competition was until she was about twelve. She rarely played sports growing up, and attributed the sensation to want to dominate others physically. This was not attractive to her. At least, not at the time. She didn’t realise that competition could be academic until Draco Malfoy almost bested her on a Potions exam and she nearly lost it.
So, yes, Hermione Granger was competitive. And a know-it-all. And a damn good lawyer, and a damn good politician, really. She was kind, and she truly listened and cared. So perhaps that is how she got to Upper Echelon, so to speak. Not that she cared. She hated the looks, the money, the publicity. Sometimes it felt like she was giving something of herself away for a piece of what she felt was right. It was like a small blade carving away at an inch of skin. Bellatrix all over again, maybe. But gentler, she supposed. Not as much blood at least, she thought. She would share an article or pose for a photo, and suddenly everything she said in the interview went to shit and everything was photoshopped to show her body and rearrange her points. Every Prophet article with her posed on the front seemed to twist her power into sexual prowess. They made her out to be a….a…...she didn't know. But it was something to do with her being single and in a station of influence, and she truly felt repulsed by it. There was nothing of her real identity anymore.
The solution was to avoid these types of media now, but it sometimes made her out to be a prudish, middle-aged bore sticking only to politics. That was better, she supposed, but it wasn’t. People wanted to see her, and to know her. That was part of the enticement of her running for office - she was attainable and real. These people had grown up with her. They knew her. So, truly, who the hell cared about the Golden girl’s love life? Did it really matter if she was seeing anyone? Ugh . Publicity was a nightmare.
Her 8:30 AM meeting was coming up now. Having briefed herself on her day again and sipped on the black coffee Caden left for her, Hermione felt ready for the day. She donned her blazer again, carefully sorting various crucial items into a neat leather binder before heading out for the busy day.
Jesus Christ, Allah, Buddha, Brahma, Ganesha ...Hermione apologised broadly in advance, but what the actual fuck?
Today was not a good one. Her interviews were fine, fortunately, but she was essentially bombarded afterwards with resistance on many policies she had been advocating for. Politics, politics, politics. She swiftly and professionally assuaged the press with her concise speeches:
“The Ministry works to produce the most accurate and efficient means of communication with the public, but the Daily Prophet is not an entity owned, represented, or influenced by our station anymore, and therefore should not be considered the final official work of any decisions and policies made by this government. Next question.”
“The Ministry believes that the cohabitation and coordination with the Muggle world is a vital part of our lifestyle and prosperity. While we do not condone acts of blatant magical marketability, we understand and respect the feelings of all magical beings that feel frustrated with the idea of “hiding.” We want to hear from you. If you feel this way, please owl us immediately so we can understand more and work towards a solution. Next question.”
“The Ministry stands against any acts of violence toward any sentient and non-sentient being. It is intolerable, outdated, and, frankly, repulsive, to warrant harm on another being. Please reach out to our offices if there are specific inquiries we can answer regarding this. Next question.”
Every day. Every day she has to deal with this. It wasn’t laws and bills anymore, no. She wasn’t hunched over a desk reading twenty thousand pages worth of policy. She had reach now, she knew. Each interview she gave were sharp, concise, and reasonable words slithering into the minds of those at home. That was where the fight was. It wasn't her department or even her government. It was the thousands of witches and wizards across the country that needed to know that equality was worth fighting for, and seeing and hearing someone do something about it.
And who better to accomplish this than one of the Golden Trio? The Brain of the operation to bring down Lord Voldemort? There was an element of idealisation that Hermione thought might be contributing to her quick career movement, but after a brief chat with her old Transfiguration Professor, that thought was quickly disregarded.
“I just think perhaps the heroism element is appealing. I can’t imagine why they would promote me to Department Head so quickly...I don’t…” Hermione mumbled anxiously over a cup of tea in the Headmaster’s office a few years prior.
“That will be enough of that, Ms Granger,” Minerva said sternly, opting to use her old school title, “You were the best student to pass through this school in centuries, possibly ever. You passed all of your exams at the top of your class, you’ve written more beneficial laws in the past five years than I have seen over the course of my lifetime, and you are an exceptionally talented orator and lawyer. You are not just a face of the war, you are walking the walk, and people can recognize that.”
“It’s just...this means I have less time to think about my next career move,” she said shyly, looking down at the dregs in her mug.
Minerva scoffed, “Of course, you are anxious about the next steps already. Well, you know what that is, Hermione. I don’t have to spell it out for you where you are heading. You were a born politician. Thankfully, we might actually get a good one for once.”
The Minister bought another quick cup of coffee on her way to the next meeting. She hadn’t eaten since breakfast, and she was starting to notice. She picked a chair in the corner of the half-empty boardroom and worked on writing up a few notes she had to send out. The room was filling up, she could tell, but she was less inclined to really be a central part of this meeting and would rather be an outlier, however likely that seemed.
“Minister Granger!” a squeaky voice all but shouted from the corner of the conference room. A portly brunette man walked towards her with his hand outstretched for a humorously long length of time before he finally reached her, shaking her hand firmly in his sweaty palm.
“Oh! Mr Owens! Deputy Head of Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Pleased to meet you, Minister Granger,” he nodded jovially.
“Lovely to meet your acquaintance, Mr Owens, but I do hope you consider the revised name for your department,” she continued shaking his hand in a firm grip. “Magical Creatures need support and cooperation, not regulation and control,” she replied with an assertive smile. This man, bursting out of his seams before the meeting even started was already a disgrace to the Department she had to rebuild.
“Ah, yes, of course, Minister Granger, of course,” his jovial smile slipped for a moment before he collected himself. “We are excited to have you in this meeting. It’s been absolute torture trying to negotiate with the French!”
“Mmm, yes, absolute torture, I can only imagine, Mr Owens,” she muttered dryly, resisting an eye roll, but he completely missed her meaning anyway.
It was now public knowledge that Minister Granger had been tortured during the war. The Malfoy trials, which proved Narcissa and Draco’s innocence and sent Lucius straight to Azkaban, had unfortunately given very detailed accounts of the Golden Girl’s abuse at the Manor. It took almost the full year after the war for the Wizengamot to go through all the reports, trials, and interviews. By the time the Malfoy’s were up, Hermione was well into her job in the Magical Creatures Department. The media sitting in on the trials couldn’t wait to divulge her secrets to the wizarding world, and she had been bombarded with press and photographers on a random Thursday morning.
The article released was her on the front page, smiling professionally for her first photo at the Ministry.
“GOLDEN GIRL WAS TORTURED BY BELLATRIX LESTRANGE DURING WAR”
The article was long, specific, and unfortunate, but she was resolved not to talk about it with anyone who hadn’t already known. When coworkers would try, she would politely, but firmly ask that they respect her wishes not to discuss it. Thirteen years later, she had little patience for anyone who tried. By now it was common knowledge that Hermione Granger would absolutely not talk about her torture.
Hermione shook her head to rid herself of the memories. Looking around the room, she noticed most chairs were full now. She put away her notes and ambled around, saying hello to those she knew and introducing herself to those she didn’t.
At 3:30 PM on the dot, the door opened again and Hermione’s breath caught in her throat.
Someone in the room called the meeting to order, and suits shuffled as everyone found their seats, but Hermione was having a difficult time moving her feet. She felt like her blood was made of lead all of a sudden.
Fleur Delacour, in all her glory, was dressed in a tight charcoal grey dress with intricately designed heeled boots. She looked like a runway model had gotten lost. A sudden wave of warmth pulsed through her slowly as Hermione felt the blonde’s thrall enter farther into the room before her. Her hair was a shiny silvery-blonde down past her exposed shoulders, and even though she wore no makeup she looked like she was camera-ready for a model photoshoot. Her bright blue eyes were framed by long, dark lashes. A perfectly manicured eyebrow raised slightly at seeing Hermione, but then she quickly regained composure as she took the empty seat - right across from the brunette.
Hermione took a deep breath, looking away from the radiance of Fleur Bloody Delacour and to the head of the table.
This is going to be interesting, she thought.
“Well, good afternoon everyone! Let’s get started, shall we?”