Title: Civil Duties
Author: flutterby AKA Scooby Wannabe
Disclaimer: Buffy belongs to Joss Whedon, blah, blah, Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling, blah, blah, and London belongs to England.
Rating: R, mostly for crude humor (this is a comedy, folks)
Summary: The Ministry passes a new law…which changes everyones lives…for better or worse…till death do they part…based on WIKTT Challenge The Marriage Law
Notes: This is a blatant rip-off of the WIKTT Challenge The Marriage Law. I really wanted to do it by the challenge (because I’ve never been able to), but it mutated into this. It does not meet the challenge requirements (WIKTT=Snape/Hrm), but it is a pseudo response to the challenge. That plotline is not mine and I make no claim to it.
The pairings are listed in the sixth chapter. Please remember that this is a comedy and not to be taken seriously in any way. I do not advocate government control of marriages in any way shape or form. This is just suppose to be fun.
Spoilers: BtVS Season 7, AtS Season 4, and OotP
Timeline: A year after OotP and a few months after Chosen. I pushed Chosen back to March. I guess we technically don't know when it happened so I gave it a date.
They had done it. They had beaten the First Evil. They had spent months toiling, bleeding, dieing. They had given all of themselves against the threat of darkness. They had sacrificed. They had lost so much. Yet they had won.
They defeated the First Evil on a warm, windy day in March. That night a busload of exhausted warriors arrived at the Hyperion Hotel. Rupert Giles, now Head of the non-existent Watcher’s Council, went straight to work. While the Slayers, who were now many instead of one, and their friends took some much-deserved rest, he started the task of reforming the Council.
Reforming the Council proved more difficult than even Giles had expected. There were scant few fully trained Watchers who had survived the First’s attempted eradication of the Council. And there was now a greater demand for Watchers, with hundreds, possibly thousands of Slayers now fully Activated and out in the world. It was a paradox. Watchers, trained Watchers were in great need. The Council’s funds were still, thankfully, in order, but their vast network of resources had been severely limited. Trustworthy young minds were in scarce supply all over the world.
The answer was simple. The Council’s resources were few. But Rupert Giles still had his own special brand of resources. Resources that most people in the natural world were not allowed to know. A simple letter. That was all it took.
It could help his young friends. That he knew. They had given up too much already. Willow was still very drained from her massive spell. Xander still mourned the loss of Anya. Faith felt the weight of sins long past. Dawn felt everyone’s burdens and even more of her own. Buffy carried the weight of Spike. Yes, they were weary. A simple letter. That was all it took to help ease their strife.
He did not want to write that letter. He had turned his back on that life. He had left it far behind him. He hated going back, now, when he knew his return would be highly criticized. He hated the thought of begging for help on bended knee from people he had abandoned when they had needed him most. He hated the fact that his infamy had long ago been established and would only be that much more raised. But it was the only way. Writing the letter would help the world. Writing the letter would bring about a new era in the fight against the dark. But, most importantly, writing the letter would bring peace to those he thought deserved it more than anyone else who had ever been or would be.
It was done. The letter was written.
“So, what’s the what, G-Man?”
Giles turned back towards the five young people gathered in his room at the Hyperion. They were seated about the room, all leaning back, relaxed. They watched him, eyes shining with perfect trust. He allowed himself a small smile. He felt he had earned that perfect trust. “I’m heading back for England.”
The perfect trust in each one of their eyes vanished, replaced with varying degrees of shock and anger. Buffy Summers sat up in the recliner she had moments ago been molded to, anger and confusion apparent in her expression. “But--”
“Let me finish,” he interrupted, raising a hand to call for continued silence. “I am going to head a new Watcher’s Council. Several of my friends and colleagues have agreed to aid me in this. It is for the best. The Council will be stronger and better than it was before, I believe. It is a huge undertaking, one that I feel is my purpose for existing on this earth.”
They all started nodded slowly, Willow Rosenberg first, the others taking their cues from her. Their eyes seemed defeated, their expressions glum.
His smile widened playfully. “I would like for all of you to come with me.”
This caught all their attention. Dawn Summers actually appeared to have almost swallowed her tongue. Once she had had the subsequent coughing fit and gotten her breath back, she met Giles gaze wide-eyed. “To England?”
“I have procured a lovely home in a rather nice part of London,” Giles told the group taking a picture from his pocket. He had to admit, it was a nice place. Two stories. Five bedrooms. Three full baths. A small private garden in the rear. Right within a nice walk to Kensington Gardens. “There’s more than enough room for all of you.”
Buffy bit her lip, taking the photo from Giles and examining it closely. After a moment she looked up at him, eyes serious. “You want us to be a part of the Council?”
“No,” Giles replied in a very final tone, even though he was smiling. “It would actually please me more than anything if you never become involved with the Council. No, I want you to…take a vacation, as it were. Live your lives. Do whatever would make you happiest.”
Faith Wilkins sat up, eyes flashing in concern. “But--”
“I realize that whatever makes you two happy will involve nightly Patrols of the city,” Giles interrupted smoothly, directing himself to Faith and Buffy. “I would be lying if I said London didn’t need it. But I doubt you’ll find many serious threats in London.”
“What about Cleveland?” Willow asked worriedly.
But then again, Willow had the right to be slightly worried. Even though their relationship had ended on a fairly bad note, Willow still maintained a strong friendship with Kennedy. When she left with several other Activated Slayers under the command of Robin Wood to take charge of the volatile Cleveland Hellmouth, Willow had nearly had a panic attack.
Giles nodded to her, prepared for this question. “They’re doing splendidly. I think they’ve all now learned how to work best together. Something which is not easy to do, if you’ll recall. It would only be a step back to interfere now. Robin has his girls quite under control.”
“Angel?” Xander Harris suggested, a reluctant note to his voice.
“Doesn’t need us,” Giles finished for him. “Can anyone honestly say they’ve done anything productive for this team in the few weeks we’ve been here?”
No one said anything. They didn’t need to. The only thing they had done to help Angel and his coworkers was babysitting the hotel while they were at their newly acquired law firm, Wolfram and Hart. “I didn’t think so. No, Angel gives us his blessing and his full support. He and Wesley have agreed that Angel Investigations and Wolfram and Hart will gladly partner with the Watchers Council in all that we do.”
“So…England?” Willow said slowly, as if trying the idea out in her mind. “Don’t we need…passports?”
“Actually, I had thought to change the status of your citizenship.” At this they all sat up straighter. Giles allowed himself a small chuckle. They were and always would be Americans to the core. “Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to come back and live in America without any trouble at all.”
Buffy relaxed, though still looked a bit doubtful. “Do we need to send in papers?”
“Already done,” Giles replied, picking up a small file folder from the bed behind him. “I just need you to sign these forms, if you’re willing.”
Xander took the folder from him, opening it and rifling through the forms until he found the one with his name on it. He scanned the page as he handed the folder off to Dawn, then glanced back up at Giles. “So, you’ll want to leave soon?”
“As soon as possible,” the older man confirmed. “I was hoping before the end of the week.”
Faith took the folder from Dawn, taking her own form out before handing it off to Willow. “You sure you want me with you?”
Giles smiled widely at this. “More than anything, Faith.”
Willow handed Buffy the remaining page and they all sat in silence for several moments. Giles nerves slowly became more and more aware of the passing time as he watched the young women and man that he’d come to look upon as his own children decide whether or not to follow.
Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, Buffy looked up. “Anybody got a pen?”
Willow Rosenberg was in love with London. Seriously. She was totally and completely in love with the old city. She loved its old world feel. She loved the crisp, if not completely clean air that seemed to have an invigorating scent (though Xander said nauseous stench) all its own. She loved the fun double-decker buses. She loved the Underground and the variety of life it contained in its secret little world. She loved Kensington Gardens, its hidden fairyland that made the bustling city around it seem so far away. She loved the Tower, how without doing anything it could transport her to another world. She loved the theaters, where the unsurpassable British dramatists performed in the only true real form of acting. She loved the pubs, where a drink shared with strangers instantly made you family. She loved everything about it, right down to the wonderful cobblestone streets. She never wanted to leave.
The others shared Willow’s opinion that London was wonderful, even if they weren’t as exuberant about it as she was. Every night, the friends would go out and enjoy a night on the town, having been compensated by the Council (Giles) for all their years of hard work and suffering. It was a time of healing, and they were loving every moment.
They had been there for over three months, and they were still having the time of their lives.
Giles attempt at rebuilding the Council and been a huge success. He and several of his colleagues were up to their necks teaching what Giles said was a very promising group of potential Watchers the ins and outs of training their Slayers. The first group of over forty Watchers were preparing to take on their first Slayers at the end of July, something Giles was immensely proud of. They came from far and wide, these potential Watchers, all wanting to be a part of what looked to be the turning point in the war against evil. And Giles was proud.
But the Council was work. The nightlife was play. The real wonder of this time was the fact that they could gather together in the evenings and rest, much like they were that warm late July night.
They always spent their evenings in the parlor. Granted, it was usually fairly late when they’d gather together, but there hadn’t been a day gone by that they didn’t find the time to spend at least an hour of the night in that old parlor. Faith and Xander would fight for control of the remote, though they usually agreed on whatever program was picked, then they’d both sprawl out in front of it and submit to the power of the TV. Dawn always took over Giles’ desktop computer, surfing the Net while swiveling in the cushioned desk chair. Willow would lean back against the sofa, consumed with either a laptop or a good book. Buffy would dominate the couch, switching her attention from whatever was on the television to whatever Willow had with her. Giles always sat in his recliner, using the time to catch up on his pleasure reading. None would worry about the dangerous night that had for years surrounded their lives.
They were at peace.
That particular night, though, was to be their last spent in peace together in that parlor. The room was silent, the only noises breaking the calm being the click of Dawn’s mouse, the sounds of the Matrix, or the rustling of another turned page. Then came the sound that would change their lives forever.
Click. Click. Click.
Willow looked up sharply at the noise, though she was the only one who did. Faith and Xander were both too consumed in the epic tale of Neo to notice. Buffy had dozed off behind her. Dawn was watching what looked like an animated puppet beat on yet another animated puppet on the computer. Giles was deeply embroiled in The Da Vinci Code too much care.
She blinked, then shrugged off the experience, attributing it to Dawn’s mouse. She redirected her attention to the Tale of Beren and Luthien and promptly forgot all about it.
Click. Click. Click.
Willow looked up again. Once again, her careful scan of the room, showed no object capable of clicking in sight. She was about to once again surrender to Tolkien when something caught her eye.
There was movement at the window that opened to their small back garden. Whatever it was, it was fairly large, probably the size of a basketball. And it was gray.
Willow watched whatever it was move up and down in front of the window. After a few moments, what looked to be a talon extended from the gray mass and started tapping on the windowpane.
Click. Click. Click.
Willow blinked hard. But, no she wasn’t seeing things. Ever so reluctantly, she loudly cleared her throat. “Hey, Giles, what is that?”
Everyone in the room jumped. Faith and Xander turned to scowl at her for interrupting their movie. Buffy snorted as she woke. Dawn’s chair squeaked as she swiveled around in it. Giles book was slowly closed, a single finger marking his place. They all saw Willow’s outstretched index finger then slowly turned to look where she was pointing.
Giles instantly rose to his feet, book tumbling to the floor. “Post? At this time of the evening?”
They all frowned at Giles, watching carefully as he unlatched the window and leaned outside.
“It’s finally happened,” Xander said with a dramatic sigh. He turned to Buffy who was blinking quickly as she watched her Watcher’s torso disappear out the window. “Buffy, you got him knocked unconscious too many times!”
Giles came back inside, closing the window with one hand behind him. On his other hand was perched on a large gray owl. Buffy blinked even faster, trying to take in what she was seeing. “Giles, that’s an owl. Not a wackily dressed person being chased by dogs.”
Giles muttered something unintelligible before directing his attention to something that was gasped tightly in the owl’s talons.
Dawn scowled from her vantage point across the room. “Is that a letter?”
Giles ignored her question and proceeded to open the window and release the bird into the night. As he closed the window, he examined the piece of post more closely, his only words being the lowly muttered, “Ministry? What the devil do they want?”
Xander rolled his eyes at the Watcher’s actions and took it upon himself to answer the younger Summers question. “Why, yes, Dawn, that is correct!” He turned to Faith and gestured to her with an elaborate flourish of his arms. “Vanna, why don’t you tell her about the prize that she’s won?”
Faith stared at Xander icily for several moments before stating in a very clear tone, “Go away.”
Then Giles started swearing.
The kind of swearing that made Faith blush.
He gestured emphatically to Willow. “Willow! Floo powder!”
“Flu?” Buffy repeated, looking down at her hands.
Willow shook her head as she handed Giles a large velvet bag from the table beside the couch. “No, the magic fire powder. He uses it to talk with Wesley. I’ve seen him do it before. It’s neat.”
Giles dipped his hand into the bag and came up with a handful of silvery dust. None too carefully he threw it in the general direction of the fireplace. The room was enveloped in a silver cloud as most of the powder in Giles’ hand ended up not making it to the fireplace. Giles, though, took no notice and stepped towards the fireplace. “Arthur Weasley!”
Willow watched with anticipation. She had seen Giles do this only once before. It had been rather comical watch Wesley’s head bob around amidst the rolling flames of their fire, but she had to admit, it was a practical way of speaking to those far away. She also was a bit anxious at Giles’ very Ripper-esque tone. Whoever this Arthur Weasley was, she did not want to be him.
It didn’t take long for the head to appear. She smiled to herself as Buffy, Faith, Dawn, and Xander each began to look extremely confused. They were taking it much better than she had at least. She had screamed when she first saw Wesley’s head in their fire.
The man whose head was currently being kissed by hot-looking flames was a complete stranger to Willow. She figured he must have been a Council member, though Giles scarcely allowed work to come home with him. This man, though, had a very kind look about him. He appeared to be Giles’ age. His hair seemed to be red, the little he had of it, though whether or not that was caused by the fire, she had no clue. He also had a long, thin face and a large nose. Upon his nose set a pair of glasses which hid a pair of warm, happy blue eyes. He glanced around the room quickly, searching for something. “Yes?”
Giles, though, was not calmed by the appearance of this man. In fact, he seemed to become even angrier. He stepped closer to the fire, looking almost feral. “Arthur, you unbelievable little bastard!”
The man blinked, turning to Giles in shock. “Rupert?”
Willow almost felt sorry for him. His seemed quite hurt by Giles’ tone, though she knew that he must have done something horribly wrong to bring out this side in Giles. Giles himself ignored the hurt in the man’s eyes and became even wilder. “I’ve trusted your people with the well-being of my charges and this is the payment required? Petitions of Union?”
Arthur’s expression immediately turned to one of understanding. He nodded seriously at Giles. “Step back, I’ll be right there.”
Giles sighed, visibly relaxing quite a bit. He took several long strides away from the fire. A moment later it blazed a brilliant green and the head, now attached to a tall, thin body, came strolling into their parlor.
This caused Willow’s eyebrows to go right up into her hair. She had seen heads, but she had never seen people walk through fire like that. Apparently neither had the others, because they looked just as shocked as she felt. It didn’t help matters that the man was wearing what seemed to be a full red robe instead of jeans and a shirt.
“It’s Santa Claus,” Xander muttered, bemused. “Only younger…and thinner…and with red hair…”
The man went straight to Giles, who shook his letter angrily before the stranger. “Arthur, I demand an explanation!”
“Rupert, please,” Arthur replied, unfazed by Giles ranting. He just held his hand out calmly. “May I please see that?”
Giles handed the paper over then started to pace slightly as Arthur examined it. “What kind of barbarism is your Ministry endorsing these days?”
“It’s your Ministry as well, Rupert,” Arthur murmured in a pointed tone as his eyes swept over the piece of what appeared to be parchment instead of paper. “And you know well the value of tradition.”
“Fuck tradition,” Giles replied simply.
Buffy’s eyes went wide. “Giles!”
Giles waved a hand dismissively, not taking his eyes from their guest. “Not now, Buffy.”
Arthur finished his examination of the letter after a few moments. He turned his attention back towards Giles, looking very old and tired. “This law was only put into effect just this night. I never imagined the impact it might have…”
Giles snatched the letter back from the redhead, scowling at him harshly. “No, Arthur, imagining would imply that you used you head!”
The man shook his head, bewildered. “I…I never thought…”
“Well, why didn’t you?” Giles asked, no longer angry, just old sounding. “You should have at least remembered that in your world, these children are just as famous as Harry blasted Potter! Of course they would be highly sought!”
“Sought?” Willow repeated, confused from the conversation that obviously involved her in some fashion. “Sought for what?”
Giles looked up. Over the course of his furious reaction to whatever it was the letter said, the Scoobies had all gotten to their feet and retreated to the other side of the room together. When he looked at them, it was if he were seeing them there for the first time. “Oh, dear lord…”
“Uh oh,” Dawn muttered, her expression becoming fairly nervous. “He’s gone ODL on us.”
Arthur frowned. “ODL?”
“Oh, dear lord,” Xander, Buffy, Faith, and Willow clarified in unison.
Giles, however, continued to look upon them with sorrow. “I’ve done something to all of you…something horrible.”
“Horrible?” Xander repeated uneasily.
“Allow me to introduce myself,” the redheaded man said, gesturing to himself as he gave them a kind look. “I am Arthur Weasley, an old friend of Rupert’s.”
Willow nodded, then pointed to herself. “I’m--”
Arthur cut her off with a wave. “I know exactly who all of you are, Miss Rosenberg.”
“Okay, Mr. Fire,” Buffy said calmly. “What are you?”
Arthur smiled proudly. “I am a wizard.”
“Wizard?” Xander repeated, sitting down on the floor in his accustomed spot near the TV. He thought this over, then shrugged. “Neat. Not to be rude, but I think Giles was saying something about horrible.”
Giles sighed, retreating to his chair and collapsing onto it. “The world we live in today, the natural world…everything is full of tape anymore. You all know that international travel is difficult enough after all this terrorist business but…with Buffy’s record…”
“Giles, so you had to pull some strings to get us this neat setup,” Buffy said softly as she made her way back to her seat on the couch. “So what?”
Giles covered his face with his hands, but not so much that they couldn’t hear his next statement. “I had you all registered as magical beings with the British Ministry of Magic.”
Willow raised an eyebrow as she sat down next to Buffy. They were all familiar with the concept of the underground society of wand-magicians, as Tara had termed them. Giles had explained it to them briefly long ago before opening the Magic Box. They knew no details simply because they couldn’t technically be told at the time. Something to do with some code of secrecy. But they knew that theses wand-users basically existed a part of the everyday world. And that if they suspected a customer of being a wand-user, they were to be referred to Anya or Giles immediately. “Magic?”
Giles sighed again, letting his hands fall back to his sides. “Well, technically, you five are magical. Willow and Xander were born on a Hellmouth, which always produces magically inclined children. Though, those children tend to have unpredictable powers that lean more towards the dark than the light.”
Even though she was sure they didn’t mean anything by it, everyone in the room, Arthur Weasley included, glanced at Willow. She flushed red. “Um…no comment…”
Giles smiled slightly at her. “It is just a tendency, Willow. Some people are predisposed to alcoholism and drug abuse. It does not mean that they will in fact become alcoholics and drug abusers.”
Arthur nodded as he pulled the computer desk chair up between the sofa and Giles’ recliner. “Well, and Miss Wilkins and both Miss Summers, I’d hazard you could guess where your magical talent comes from.”
Buffy scowled at Giles. “You never taught me magic.”
“It’s not encouraged,” he replied easily. “Until I became Head of the Council, the Watchers weren’t exactly inclined to work with witches and wizards.”
Arthur smiled warmly at them. “The Aurors, that is, the magic please-men--”
“Policemen, Arthur,” Giles corrected in an exasperated tone.
“Yes,” Arthur continued as if he had not been interrupted. “Well, there has always been a bit of a rivalry between the Watchers and Aurors.”
Dawn raised her eyebrows as she sat down on the sofa on Buffy’s opposite side, the side furthest from Arthur. “Wow, you have your own police?”
The strange man nodded. “We have everything, our own stores, schools, hospitals, government…we’re fully self-sufficient.”
“Interesting,” Faith stated simply as she sat back down on the floor next to Xander. She glanced at Giles. “And you never told us about this because?”
“I, well, I disowned my magical heritage,” Giles answered, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. “I severed most ties I had before I joined the Council.”
Buffy frowned. “I thought your dad told you it was your destiny to be a Watcher and forced you to be one.”
“Old Erasmus,” Arthur chuckled, slapping the closer of Giles’ arms. “Absolute pillock.”
“He was a Watcher, Buffy,” Giles confirmed. “He just hid the fact that he was a wizard from the Council and did not let it be known among wizards that he was a Watcher. Same as my grandmother.”
“Rupert ran away after graduation,” Arthur clarified with a grin. “Said if he would live as a Muggle before he allowed Erasmus to dictate his life.”
“I did the most horrid thing I could to get back at my father,” Giles continued, his own sly grin slowly forming. “I applied to Oxford.”
Arthur laughed loudly at this. “But that didn’t last long, did it…Ripper?”
Giles nodded, his grin fading. “After the incident with…Eyghon, I returned to my father…just in time to be there as he died. His only wish was that I become a Watcher. I honored that request.”
“What about your whole fighter pilot/grocer thing?” Buffy asked.
Giles chuckled. “Remind me to explain the game of Quidditch to you some day.”
“Okay, so, yay magic,” Xander replied impatiently, his hands witching slightly. “Why are you going ODL?”
“I had you registered as Muggle-born, which is what you truly are,” Giles replied, then frowned suddenly. “Except maybe Dawn. But I still registered her as a Muggle-heritage witch.”
Dawn furrowed her brow, raising her hand slightly as if she were in a classroom. “Did that make sense to anyone?”
“The wizarding world is…well, racist, to be blunt,” Giles explained. “But instead of being prejudiced over the color of skin, for example, the prejudice lies on ones ancestry.”
“There are two main modes of ancestry for a witch or wizard,” Arthur continued for him. “A magically inclined individual is either of Pureblood and Muggle descent.”
Willow rolled her eyes. “Clarify, please.”
“A Pureblood is someone who is born of an old magical family, one of pure ancestry with no Muggle, that is, non-magic or what you would call normal taint,” Arthur replied. “A Muggle-born is someone with non-magical parentage.”
Giles snorted in disgust. “The argument is purity.”
“And supremacy,” Arthur added.
“The prejudice is deeply ingrained,” Giles went on. “Most Purebloods have had the philosophy past down to them.”
“Ah,” Faith said with a smile indicating her understanding. “Evil learned.”
“Precisely,” Arthur said, pleased that they all seemed to be following the rather sudden discussion. “The prejudice even extends to those termed mixed-heritage, even though they are by far the largest ‘class’ amongst our kind.”
“It’s a ridiculous argument,” Giles fumed. “Both Muggle-borns and Purebloods have the same power necessary to wield magic. The argument is simply unfounded!”
“So being magical but not having magical parents makes us Muggle-born,” Buffy surmised slowly. “If we’re Muggle-born, then what are you guys?”
Giles smiled again. “The Family of Giles is a very proud Pureblood family, one that subscribed to this ridiculous supremacist theory down to my father’s generation. I was taught that I was better than a lowly Muggle-born, though I know otherwise. The name of Giles will end with the passing of myself. And I say good riddance.”
“I’m also from a Pureblood family, though ours has not historically held to the belief,” Arthur replied proudly. “It seems my ancestors kept finding their matches within the Pureblood community.”
Giles nodded his agreement. “The Weasleys are held as blood traitors within the extremist families.”
“A title I bear with pride!” Arthur exclaimed with glee.
“How big of a problem is this prejudice?” Willow asked.
“Well, that’s the question,” Arthur said, his amusement from a moment before gone instantly. “Now, officially, there is no prejudice against Muggle-borns and mixed-heritage witches and wizards.”
“Isn’t politically correct,” Giles muttered. “But the Shadow of the prejudice is there, even in some of the laws.”
Arthur nodded. “Now, this isn’t the official reason as it were, but we are currently fighting something of a war because of this prejudice.”
“War?” Xander repeated.
“Terrorists,” Giles clarified. “Dealers in the Dark Arts.”
“It’s all terribly complicated,” Arthur said with a sigh. “It first began many years ago. There was a thirteen year peace, but I’m afraid that for the past two years, we’ve very much been at a state of war again.”
Faith shook her head. “I’ve not heard of any new war unless you guys are in Iraq.”
“No, you wouldn’t have known about this,” Giles dismissed quickly. “The only reason I know is because of concerned friends and family.”
Arthur bit his lip and hesitated a moment before continuing. “Because of the uncertainty of the last few years, among other things--”
Giles snorted. “Mostly because Cornelius Fudge is the most idiotic man in the entire history of this earth.”
Arthur paused to think this over, then shrugged before continuing. “There have been a few…laws pushed through the Ministry these last two years, as it were.”
Willow did not like the sound of this. “Laws?”
Giles nodded sadly. “Not many of them would be what you call…fair.”
Arthur sighed again. “The most infamous of these laws would be Civil Union Decree.”
Buffy blinked. “I don’t even understand it, but it sounds bad.”
“You all live as Muggles,” Arthur began, “so I expect you will be able to grasp the…what is it called, Rupert?”
“Science,” Giles said as if speaking to a young child.
“There were few Pureblood families to begin with. And to maintain blood purity, the families could only marry and breed within themselves. After just a few short generations, a startling trend emerged.”
“Inbreeding,” Willow stated.
Dawn grimaced. “Eww.”
Xander nodded knowingly. “Not just for Hobbits and the people of West Virginia.”
“You all realize what the effects of generation after generation of inbreeding are, do you not?” Arthur asked curiously.
“Mutant kids,” Faith replied with a shrug.
Willow nodded. “Sometimes deformed or mentally handicapped children.”
“And magically handicapped,” Arthur added. “More and more children are being born within Pureblood families with no magical ability whatsoever. They’re generally known as Squibs.”
“Can’t inbreeding cause sterility as well?” Buffy asked, face screwed up in thought.
“Indeed,” Arthur replied, looking immensely relieved. “As you can imagine, more and more people are becoming extremely concerned with this unfortunate fact of life.”
“And the Ministry of Magic, in all their bungling stupidity, have decided to force a solution,” Giles said venomously, holding out the letter he’d received to Willow.
She looked from Giles to the letter, then back to Giles. “What?”
“Read it,” he said simply.
She took it, then cleared her throat. “‘Ministry Decree Number 8.563.427’.
“‘Acknowledging the fact that increased intermarriage between the Pureblood families has caused serious detrimental affects to the genetic structure of the recent generations of Pureblood witches and wizards, with severe results such as a noticeable decline of the birth rate of magical children and the increased production of Squibs, the marriage of all Pureblood, mixed-heritage, and Muggle-heritage witches and wizards, whole or in part, will from this date, July 31, 2003, be directly controlled by the Department of Civil Unions at the Ministry of Magic’.”
“Regulation of marriages,” Dawn simplified. “What does that have to do with us?”
“The Department of Civil Unions is calling for, well, unions to be swift,” Arthur replied hesitantly. “It’s almost as if Muggle-borns and mixed-bloods are being put up on auction. The gist is, with your classifications and popularity…”
Willow looked up, finally getting what Arthur and Giles had been trying to delicately explain. Her eyes went wide as she clutched the parchment tightly. “We have to get married?!”
A/N: Okay, it might not look like it now, but I totally plan on making this a comedy. Sorry if parts of this chapter don’t make sense, but in my defense I wrote it at one o’clock in the morning. Plus, I have no beta. Oh, well. It will get funnier. I just took this chapter to set the stage. And no, that isn’t the entire law…that’ll come next chapter…with Harry, Ron, and Hermione…
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