Chapter 9 : The Werewolf Registry
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Albus found himself with no free time and part of him regretted agreeing to take on an internship again, but he wouldn’t admit it to anyone (he did not want to give Rose the satisfaction of being right, again) and still planned on going through with it when it started up in the middle of the month. His evenings were spent at Quidditch or dueling practice or roaming the halls while on patrol.
He had gotten so far behind on his homework that when the first Wednesday of the month brought temperatures normally reserved for December, he even considered skiving off Care of Magical Creatures in favor of the warm common room and his neglected Transfiguration essay that was due later that day. But when Rose figured out what he was up to, she gave him a scolding worthy of Nana Molly and he reluctantly bundled up in his warmest cloak and set off for Hagrid’s hut with Matt and John.
“Should you even be out in this?” John asked Matt as they shielded their faces against the wind crossing the grounds.
Matt had developed a cold the previous day and it was less than a week before the full moon. If he didn’t shake it by Sunday, the full moon would be worse than normal. “Probably not,” he said. “But I’ll be missing it Monday due to the moon. I don’t want to miss it today, too.”
Luckily, Hagrid was waiting for them with the news that class would be held inside his hut, where he had a roaring fire going. Albus had never had Care of Magical Creatures in Hagrid’s hut before, but he supposed since the class was now down to eight students, it was doable.
“I haven’t got much for yeh today,” Hagrid explained once all eight students were assembled in front of the fire. Albus, John, and Matt, having gotten there early, were on Hagrid’s massive couch. To Albus’s delight, Emily Rhodes had joined them. Justin Brink stood behind them, with Olivia Price and Scorpius Malfoy.
“It’s too cold to go into the forest, so instead I’m going to tell yeh about a trip we’ll be taking in the spring, once the weather thaws.”
Albus looked at Matt and John, who both shrugged. He’d never heard of any of the Care of Magical Creatures classes taking trips before.
“It’ll be overnigh’, so yeh will be missing a few of yer other classes,” Hagrid explained. “We’ll be goin’ to one of my favorite places. Newt Scamander’s Magical Creature Reserve in Ireland.”
Albus’s jaw dropped. “Seriously?”
Hagrid grinned. “Newt’s an old friend, so he’s goin’ to give us a tour and let yeh take care of some of the animals.”
Albus nodded. He didn’t know much about Newt Scamander’s Magical Creature Reserve, but he did know that it wasn’t generally open to the public. Albus’s uncle Charlie had been there a few times, but only for work related purposes. Newt had provided consulting services on dragons on more than one occasion. He didn’t have any actual dragons at the reserve, however.
“I haven’t picked exact dates yet,” Hagrid went on. “Newt will get back to me about that. It won’t interfere with your exams.”
Albus wouldn’t even care if it did. Going to Newt Scamander’s reserve would be amazing. Albus turned to John and Matt. John looked equally excited, Matt not nearly as much.
They spent the rest of the class discussing what sort of creatures Newt had in his reserve. There were a lot of creatures that weren’t native to the British isles, ones that Albus and his classmates wouldn’t have ever seen before.
“So, you were quiet during that,” John said to Matt as they walked back to the castle. “You’ve always liked Care of Magical Creatures.”
“I do,” Matt said. “It’s not the creatures. It’s just…Newt Scamander used to work for the Ministry. He created the Werewolf Registry.”
Albus stopped walking, suddenly unable to feel the sleet hitting his face. “Wait, he did?”
Matt nodded. “I mean, it wasn’t only him, but it was mostly him. Right after lycanthropes were reclassified as beasts. The registry is why the classification changed. You can’t make a registry of anyone classified as a being.”
“Bloody hell,” John whispered.
“I always thought Newt Scamander was this eclectic magical creature loving bloke,” Albus said. “Not someone involved with Ministry policies.”
Matt shrugged. “Well, he was then. Maybe he’s changed. Have you ever met him?”
“No, but my parents are good friends with his grandson’s wife, Luna Lovegood-Scamander,” Albus explained. “I’ve heard stories. Once, he set a niffler lose in New York City and had to go chasing after it. That’s actually how he met his wife.”
“Ohh, the Scamander twins’s parents,” John said. “I should’ve put that together. Scamander isn’t a common name. Still, it’ll be cool to visit this place. Did you see how excited Hagrid was? If this is a bloke Hagrid adores, can you imagine what sort of creatures he’s got?”
“Hagrid already said he hasn’t got any dragons,” Matt pointed out.
“I wonder if he regrets it,” Albus mused. “Creating the registry and all.”
“I suppose we could ask him,” John said. “I bet he does, though. Doesn’t seem like the sort of person to keep a bunch of random beasts safe would the the sort to be proud of creating a permanent registry of people based off a medical condition.”
“Permanent?” Albus asked. “Did they put some sort of charm on it? Couldn’t they just set fire to it if they decided to abolish it?”
“Not really,” Matt said quietly, absentmindedly rubbing his left wrist. “I could tell you the whole history, but we’d probably have to skip lunch. Although, I’m not very hungry.”
Albus and John exchanged looks. Albus was starving, but now his curiosity had gotten the better of him and he couldn’t wait until the evening to find out what had happened with the werewolf registry.
Ten minutes later Albus, Matt, and John were in the Marauders’ Den, joined by Rose, Amanda, and Kaden, whom they had collected from the Great Hall after returning to the castle. John also had the foresight to grab sandwiches, which he had distributed once they were all seated. Matt didn’t take one.
Albus suspected both Rose and Amanda already knew the history about the werewolf registry and were merely skipping lunch to hear Matt’s take on it. Rose in particular looked worried.
“Most wizards don’t know a whole lot about what it means to not be classified as a being by the Ministry,” Matt began, not meeting anyone’s gaze. “Most wizards don’t have to think about it. Essentially, being classified as a being secures your basic rights and gives you a say in government. Any creature classified as a being has the same basic rights as a wizard. Hags and goblins are classified as beings. Vampires are beings right now, but they go back and forth more than lycanthropes do. Merpeople and centaurs have consistently refused being status, but if they wanted it, they’d be granted it. House elves now have being status as well, thanks to the work Rose’s mum did a while back. As beings, all those creatures have the same rights as wizards in terms of employment and housing and the like. Most vampires and goblins don’t want to apply for the same jobs as wizards, but that’s not really relevant to this. The only right not guaranteed is a wand-“
“But you’ve got a wand,” Kaden interrupted.
Matt sighed. “I haven’t finished. If a hag walked into Ollivander’s and tried to buy a wand, they’d never convince the salesperson they were a witch. And that brings me to my main point. Werewolves are wizards 28 days and 27 nights out of every moon cycle. It’s just a single night that we aren’t. And that’s the big difference between lycanthropes and every other creature on that list. Even a vampire is a vampire every day of its life and needs blood every day.
“So, it was very easy for me to walk into Ollivander’s and buy a wand. Just like it’s very easy for me to go to Hogwarts and learn magic. So long as no one sees me during full moons and no one keeps too close a watch on me,” he paused, looking significantly at Albus and Rose, “no one is going to know.”
“Theoretically,” Albus said, smirking.
“If I didn’t have you lot as friends, it would probably still be as secret,” Matt muttered. “Anyway, because of all that, no one can decide where lycanthropes belong. Or at least, no one can agree. Hence we’ve been shuffled around a lot.
“Then, in the 1940s, Newt Scamander came up with the brilliant idea to keep track of werewolves. He thought it would help pinpoint attacks and figure out how best to minimize them. But it’s illegal to keep a list of anyone classified as a being based off their species. At the time, werewolves were classified as beings. Within a year, they’d been reclassified as beasts, under the guise that it would allow ministries all over the world to better keep track of werewolves and minimize attacks. The reclassification happened in 1946 and the registry was created two months later in 1947. It hasn’t changed since. People have petitioned, but it always comes back to the registry. It would be deemed illegal if we got being status.”
Albus set down his sandwich, suddenly unable to eat. “Did it minimize attacks?”
“No,” Rose answered. “Werewolf attacks are public record and quite a few wizards have compiled the data. Werewolf attacks per year remained almost exactly the same until the creation of the Wolfsbane Potion in the 80s. Since then they’ve steadily declined.”
“Then they should abolish the list!” Amanda said.
“They should, but every time it’s mentioned someone brings up public safety and then someone brings children’s safety into the mix and as soon as that’s brought in, that’s it. No amount of data can satisfy them,” Rose said.
“What exactly is this list?” Kaden asked.
“It’s kept at the Ministry,” Matt said quietly. “It’s its own small department within the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. All lycanthropes have to keep that department up to date on their address and their job. It’s sealed if you’re underage and if you’re at Hogwarts. That new bit was something my dad added last year. Anyone can go to the Ministry and ask to see the list.”
“That’s insane,” John said.
“There’s also a number,” Matt added, in barely more than a whisper. He rolled up his left sleeve. “We’re all assigned one as soon as we’re bitten. It’s so if they capture one of us, they can find out who we are after they stun us, but before we transform back. And to prevent anyone from giving a false name.”
“That’s awful,” Amanda said, her face almost as ghostlike as Matt’s.
Matt removed his wand from his robes and pointed it at his left wrist. Without uttering a syllable, black ink materialized on his pale skin.
Albus leaned closer and saw the number ‘64XF2J3847’ across Matt’s wrist. Seeing it made his stomach churn and he had to swallow hard to keep the quarter of sandwich from coming back up. As soon as he leaned away, Matt put his wand away and the number disappeared.
“They’re always on the left wrist,” Matt said. “And they aren’t removable. Even if the list is abolished and lycanthropes are given being status, that number will always be there.”
“And vampires…they didn’t have that registry?” Kaden asked.
Matt shook his head. “Vampires have done a better job at keeping away from wizards. For the most part, they want to be secluded in their covens. They’re vampires 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Lycanthropes aren’t. It’s one night out of 28.”
“I don’t even know what to say,” Amanda said quietly.
“Could your dad abolish the registry without changing the status?” Rose asked.
“Theoretically,” Matt said. “But the Minister would have to sign it into law and she wouldn’t do that.”
“And if the status is changed, the registry would be defunct?” John asked.
“Yes,” Matt confirmed.
“And then you could apply for jobs without having to tell people you have lycanthropy,” Amanda said.
“And I couldn’t be sacked for missing work because of it,” Matt added. “It would be seen as a medical issue.”
“Which it is,” Albus said.
“Then we’ve got to do everything we can to make sure the status is changed,” Rose said, turning to Albus and John, “and you lot can ask Newt Scamander what he thinks of everything that’s going on. If he comes out on record saying he regrets the registry, that’s going to help. You’ll have to try and talk to him away from everyone else.”
Albus nodded. That he could do. And he wanted to do something. In some ways, seventh year was worse than sixth in terms of feeling useless. Here he was, overage, and stuck in school unable to do anything. Never before had he related so much to his father and how he didn’t go back for his seventh year.
Every time Albus saw the date for the first Hogsmeade visit posted on the notice board, his stomach turned and he thought of Emily Rhodes. He knew if he was going to ask her, he would have to do so soon, because as Rose told him, doing it later would seem desperate. Exactly two weeks out, he realized he had to do it then or not at all. He and Emily were patrolling together and he made up his mind to ask her at the end of the patrol. If he did it at the beginning and she said no, the entire patrol would be awkward.
Sunday night patrols tended to be uneventful. Most students were scrambling to finish the homework they’d neglected over the weekend which meant they were holed up in their common rooms or the library. There was always the occasional first or second year who lost track of time in the library and ran to their common room fifteen minutes past curfew, but Albus rarely stopped them. He knew where they were headed.
“How did you do with your Felix the other day?” Emily asked as they rounded a corner on the 7th floor corridor.
Albus winced. The other day they’d been tasked with muddling aconite for Felix Felicis. It was a tricky process and one that wasn’t needed until late in the brewing process, but Clements had wanted them to practice it. Albus had ruined an entire fistful of aconite flowers. His last batch he accidentally spilled all over himself and he’d had to go take a shower and change robes rather than go to his next class, since Matt would’ve had an allergic reaction.
“Before or after I spilled the muddled aconite all over myself?” Albus replied.
Emily chortled. “Mine were ruined, too. At least next week we get to actually start the potion.”
“I’m sure I’ll destroy that as well,” Albus said.
“Makes you wonder who would bother going through the effort of making it,” Emily mused. “Seems easier just to work at whatever you need luck for.”
But that’s the thing about luck, isn’t it?” Albus said. “If you need luck, no amount of hard work will get you there.”
“Plus, it’s banned in most things you’d need luck for. Gambling, sports events, exams. Although I feel like if someone were to go through the effort of making it, they’d be the sort of person who wouldn’t care about that. They’d just take it anyway.”
“Not everyone who takes it has sketchy morals,” Albus pointed out. Prior to muddling, or attempting to muddle, aconite, the class had discussed the moral implication of Felix Felicis. Albus thought of his father the entire time, knowing he’d once taken Felix. And he’d used it for the greater good of helping to bring down Voldemort. Albus hadn’t brought that up in class, as he was unsure whether it was something his father wanted spread around.
“Would you take it?” Emily asked.
“If I knew it was brewed right,” Albus muttered. “Not sure I’ll take it if I brew it myself.”
Emily laughed. “But if Rose offered you some that she brewed.”
Rose had been the only one in the class to successfully muddle her aconite. “Yeah, then I might,” Albus said. “Depending on what I needed it for.” He wouldn’t be able to use it for any of his Auror interviews. The Academy required drug tests before every single interview and exam. Plus he had to sign affidavits.
“I wonder if Clements thinks any of us will actually manage to brew it,” Emily said. “Sometimes I think she gets some sort of thrill out of making us brew difficult potions.”
“I bet she does. I think she’s right about us working harder if we want the potion, though. Think about it. Have we ever brewed anything useful? I get that we have to learn the technique, but aren’t there more useful potions than potions on curing boils?”
“That’s useful if you have boils,” Emily pointed out. “But you’re right. Felix Felicis would be useful to anyone.”
The conversation lulled as they rounded another corner. He did like talking to Emily. They could have fun in Hogsmeade together. Assuming Emily would want to go with him….
Emily stopped. “Did you hear that?”
“Hear what?” Albus hadn’t been paying attention to anything other than his own thoughts about Emily.
“That,” Emily said, as there was some sort of shuffling noise coming from nearby.
Albus looked around. They were near an empty classroom, but its door was open and inside was dark. Across the hall was a broom cupboard, however.
Emily groaned. “Seriously? On a Sunday night?”
“At least it’s not the Astronomy Tower,” Albus said as he crossed the hall. Sighing to himself, he put his hand on the doorknob, but it was locked.
“Weird. No one ever remembers to lock broom cupboards,” Emily said as she pointed her wand at the knob. “Alohomora.”
The lock clicked and Albus turned the knob. The cupboard was dark, but there was a gasp, a clang, and the sound of someone tripping over a bucket.
Albus pointed his wand at the light and instantly it turned on, revealing not the third or fourth years Albus expected, but Scorpius Malfoy and a boy Albus did not recognize. Malfoy’s face was pale as a ghost, whereas the other boy’s was a deep red. He was taller than Scorpius, with shaggy brown hair, but he wasn’t in their year.
“Mafloy?” Albus exclaimed, trying to process what he was looking at. Seventh years never hid in broom cupboards to snog. They tended to take advantage of the boys’ dormitories or prefect bathrooms.
Without saying a word, Malfoy stepped out of the broom cupboard and grabbed Albus’s wrist. Albus fumbled in his robes for his wand, unsure how this would go, but Malfoy simply dragged him across the corridor to the empty classroom while the other boy ran toward the nearest staircase and disappeared.
Malfoy shoved Albus into the classroom and shut the door, leaving a bewildered Emily in the corridor. But rather than attempt to duel Albus, which was what he was expecting, Malfoy instead sat down on the nearest desk and put his head in his hands. Albus stood awkwardly for a few minutes, unsure of what he should do.
Finally, Malfoy picked up his head and whispered, “You can’t tell anyone.”
A/N: Sorry about the cliffhanger! And thanks for all the reviews!
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