Chapter 14 – It's NOT My Job
What if Harry refused the moniker of "Chosen One" by the Daily Prophet?
Hermione Granger shook her head and sighed in misery after reading the latest story in the Daily Prophet about a series of attacks on the homes of Muggleborn students. She folded and laid the newspaper down by her plate in the Great Hall of Hogwarts, depressed with the report.
"How bad is it," Harry Potter asked in response to her unhappy sigh. He refused to read that publication himself. They had spent the previous year slandering him as a lying arrogant delusional teen because he had divulged seeing the evil wizard Voldemort resurrected. After the same dark wizard was seen publicly in the Ministry at the end of the last school year, they suddenly changed their reporting, but never once offered him an apology for the year-long defamation and vilification of his character. Instead, they suddenly began lauding him as the "Chosen One", implying that he was the one that would save them all. He considered the Prophet nothing more than a Ministry propaganda tool and despised it. They certainly didn't do anything to make him want to put his life on the line for them.
"Three families attacked," Hermione replied sadly. "Out of seven in the homes, only one survived, and that was a toddler that was hidden under his mother's body."
"If Fudge hadn't been bought by Malfoy," Ron grumbled, "then maybe the DMLE could have trained better, had better equipment, and been prepared for war."
Both Harry and Ron muttered together, "Bloody arse", followed by an almost unconscious "Language" rebuke from their female best friend.
"Well, you have to admit that it's true, Hermione," griped Ron. "Fudge spent an entire year trying to prove Dumbledore was trying to take over the Ministry, while Umbridge bloody tortured the students here, but do you see anything happening? No, they got away with everything! I don't know how Dad can find the motivation to go to work at the Ministry every day." He firmly believed his father was one of the few truly honest employees in the Ministry, along with Amelia Bones.
"Excuse me, Harry," a hesitant voice asked from a few seats down the table. The Gryffindor recognized the voice of his zealous fan, Colin Creevey. It was unusual for the normally animated boy to speak so timidly to him.
"Yeah, Colin, what is it," he replied, looking at the younger Gryffindor who was clutching his own copy of the Daily Prophet.
The younger teen took a deep breath and looked at his House mate with pleading eyes. "Are you going to stop him soon, Harry?"
Conversation around the Trio quieted as everyone who heard the question paused to hear Harry's answer. The question was repeated to those that didn't hear it, and soon almost the entire Great Hall was looking towards Harry.
"Am I going to stop who, Colin?" Harry asked, trying to keep his voice calm. "Our next Quidditch match is with the Ravenclaws, and Cho Chang is their seeker and a she, if you hadn't noticed." He tried to smile, but knew it was forced.
Colin Creevey shook his head. "No, I mean…You-Know-Who. Are you going to stop him before he kills my parents?"
"Colin!" Hermione exclaimed in outrage. "Harry is a student, not an auror. Stopping terrorists is something the DMLE is there to do. Why would you even think of suggesting that Harry should stop him?"
"But…he's Harry Potter," the boy gasped. "The Prophet says he's the 'Chosen One', the one who will stop You-Know-Who."
Harry shook his head in exasperation. "The Prophet is also the paper that swore that I was a delusional liar when I said Voldemort was back. You know, it's interesting, but I don't see any of them stepping up and taking a stand against Voldie, yet they're perfectly willing to think that after calling me every insulting name in the book, including a dark wizard and potential Death Eater, they can turn around without even an apology and demand that I somehow save their sorry arses." He ignored Hermione's poke for his language.
A voice from the Hufflepuff table called out, "But you have to! You stopped him last time. It's your job!"
Harry stared at the Hufflepuff table in bewilderment. "My job? That's odd, I don't remember applying for any job and I guarantee that no one is paying me anything. I'm just a student, the same as the rest of you. And as for stopping him last time, who told you that fairy tale? There were only four of us in the house that night, three of them died, and no one ever interviewed me about it. Someone, probably Rita Skeeter or her predecessor, made up yet another story, and once again everyone believed it, without a shred of proof."
"But you survived the Killing Curse," came a voice from the Ravenclaw table. "Your scar proves it."
Harry pinched the bridge of his nose in exasperation. With a deep breath, he stood up and frowned at the students in the Great Hall. "Yes, I have a scar on my forehead. Now think about everything you learned about the Killing Curse. It kills instantly, there is no magical shield that works against it, and…" He looked around, obviously waiting for an answer.
"It leaves no mark on the victim," responded Luna Lovegood from the Ravenclaw table with a small smile.
"Exactly! I would give you ten points, Luna, if I could." He looked around the Great Hall again. "I bear a curse scar, but the Killing Curse can't be stopped and leaves no mark. What does that imply?"
After several seconds, Terry Boot answered from his seat near Luna, "That you were probably hit with another curse?"
Harry raised his hands and looked towards the ceiling. "Hallelujah, someone gets it!" He lowered his hands and looked around the Hall again. "Someone decided that Voldie came for me. Both of my parents were dead. I had a bleeding mark on my forehead. Voldie's robes were there, but no body and no wand. And what did the oh-so-brilliant reporters deduce? Why that even though it was contrary to everything known about the curse, I must have been hit with it and I must have miraculously survived it while also inexplicably destroying Voldie's body, even though there wasn't a shred of evidence to support that story! The public lapped it up and never questioned that account, but just started celebrating."
He paused and his voice became colder. "While the rest of your families were celebrating, I was abandoned on the doorstep of magic-hating muggles and forsaken by the rest of the wizarding world. A decade later, I'm brought out of the muggle world with no knowledge of magic and find out that 'everyone' knows I'm the so-called Boy-Who-Lived and everyone had expectations of me that no eleven year old could ever hope to meet."
"What do you think happened that night, Potter," asked Tracy Davis. It was an unexpected question to come from the Slytherin table.
Harry looked at the young woman. "Honestly? I think my parents did something. They laid some type of magical trap, and when he cast a lethal spell at me, it rebounded and destroyed his body, leaving him a wraith." His voice became both amused and mocking. "I was a toddler in nappies; what was I going to do? Throw a rattle at him?"
He turned back to Colin and answered with a little more kindness than he actually felt. "I will do just as much as everyone else, Colin. If I'm attacked, I'll fight back. We're all given a deadly weapon when we're only eleven years old." There were gasps and denials at this. Harry sighed and drew out his wand and held it up. "We all learn how to slow opponents, lock their tongues, trip them, and incarcerate them. We also learn how to cast cutting curses, banishing hexes, and shields. We learn spells that can be used to summon an object to interrupt a curse when a magical shield won't help. I will do the same as you and your brother, Colin." He nodded towards Dennis Creevey at the Gryffindor table. "I will fight back and try to survive, but it's up to trained aurors, who are fully qualified witches and wizards to take down terrorists. Not adolescent students, regardless of what rubbish unreliable newspapers declare."
"Well said, Mister Potter," Minerva McGonagall said as she moved next to him. She had come down from the staff table when the entire Hall became involved in the discussion, but stayed out of it to see what her Gryffindor would say. She cast a stern gaze around the Hall and added, "It is not a student's responsibility to stop dark wizards and their followers. That is the role of the DMLE." She knew that the Headmaster would chastise her for her comments, but he wasn't there and she didn't care if her comments upset him. Children shouldn't be expected to overcome terrorists! She continued, "However, it is all of our responsibility to help protect our homes, businesses, and friends. That is why Defense is offered and why is it so important that you pay attention. Besides Defense Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Charms, Potions and even Herbology can help protect your homes and families."
She cast another severe gaze at each House table. "Now, I do believe breakfast is done, and you have classes to attend. I strongly suggest that you apply yourselves in those classes."
The students gathered their items and began heading out to their first class of the day, avidly discussing the comments made that morning. "Ten points to Gryffindor," Minerva murmured as she watched Harry exit the room.