Authors Note: Thanks again for all the support and reading this story to the end. I got 8 reviews in less then 24 hours since the last chapter went online. Thanks so much fr everything!
The next morning Harry is once again plastered all over the front page. No surprise there but he's glad that Skeeter actually wrote the truth and pictures him as rather competent and focused on his goals, which clearly are to bring the school to it's former glory. Harry sighs after reading it. It's in her usual style and includes about as much about his relationship with Draco as about the outcome of the meeting but Harry is rather amused that she is wondering in the article why the board of Governors never questioned Dumbledore more. Are they simply less intelligent than the 15 year old Harry Potter or did Dumbledore pay them to look the other way by giving their children some kind of advantage? She also wrote down that rather a lot of their children became prefects or head boy or girl. Harry does wonder if that is the case but either way, at least he doesn't have to deal with those morons anymore. And since she also already mentioned that Harry disbanded the board of Governors, she wonders if Harry assumes the same she did and simply didn't mention since he doesn't have proof.
He puts the newspaper down. Fawkes stayed with him all day the previous day and is still with him. He's growing and starts to fly a little but not a lot, so maybe he still needs someone to look after him from an emotional point, since Harry doesn't really have to do anything. Either way Harry enjoys his first truly peaceful day at the school at the fullest and spends as much time as he can with Draco and his two best friends and is surprised when Pansy and Blaise join them but talks with them amiably and orders Ron to stop being mean whenever he tries something. Draco actually has to do the same with Pansy much to Harry's amusement. Blaise is more like Hermione, he acts cautious but polite.
During the Saturday afternoon Severus found them and drawls, glaring at the group with his usual glare, he asks Harry to talk to him privately and after leaving the group he says "Professor McGonagall asked me to inform you that we already have some applications for the open defense job and since we are in urgent need of a replacement we should look at it tomorrow. We'll meet after breakfast and since you are the owner and insist on participating anyway, she would like you to let us use the headmaster's office again."
"Sure, why not?" Harry says, "I'll set a password for all of you to use it for other meetings as well."
"That's probably a good choice, especially for meetings with parents." Severus replies, "Teachers meetings are traditionally elsewhere. But there is something else." He looks towards his brother, "Your father managed to get false papers and changed his appearance with some charms and sent his application as well. I'm sure you'll notice quickly. He isn't trying to keep it from you but I thought I should warn you."
"Great." Harry grumbles, "You want me to consider the dark Lord himself? I'm trying to do better choices than Dumbledork, who hired someone who was possessed by the dark Lord and you want me to hire the real deal?"
"I would like you to at least consider him, yes, but that is all." Severus replies, "It is your decision. I won't push it."
"Will he be mad if I don't choose him?" Harry questions.
"Upset a little maybe, but he isn't sure you'll do to begin with." Severus replies, "He'll accept it and won't hold it against you, especially since you are not making the decision on your own."
Harry thinks about it for the rest of the day and shortly before dinner goes to the headmaster's office alone, well nearly, Fawkes is with him again. He tells his friends that he needs to check on something alone. Once there he calls Dobby and asks him to go find Minister Fudge and ask him if he can meet him now or some other time this weekend and to tell him that he could floo right into the headmaster's office.
Harry waits for a moment and then Dobby tells him that the Minister said he could come in two hours. Harry nods and just asks for some dinner to be brought there. He wants to be alone for a moment to think. He knew the Minister wouldn't come right away, showing that he's the one in charge and not going to come at a child's back and call. He is already surprised that the Minister comes at all and that soon. Harry sighs, hoping that this works. To get what he wants he either has to fight the ministry or work with it. The later would be faster and the first option is still open if working together fails. He has to plan carefully though. He has to ask the minister in a way that it looks like Harry is meeting him halfway. Throwing the man some crumbs will make it much easier to get what he really wants and he has to get on his good side fist so he'll have to talk about things he doesn't really care about first. With a sigh Harry asks the little Phoenix chick on his shoulder to thrill occasionally especially whenever Harry has to remind the fool that he is powerful enough to take what he wants.
Harry is still calmly sitting in the headmasters chair in his best robe when the Phoenix thrills and a moment later Fudge steps out of the flames. "You wanted to discuss something, Potter?"
"I do, Minister Fudge." Harry says with a sigh noticing that the man sounds angry, "I think you noticed that I'm rather upset with the Ministry as a whole at the moment, and if you read the newspaper you might know why. Since I assume that some at least former employees of yours sent their application I'd like to settle it, so I can choose without disregarding anything due to my emotions towards the ministry as a whole, please don't take it personally. You're by far not the only one that caused me to feel this way. I also believe that the school shouldn't work against the ministry and rather work with you and be able to at least consider your advice with an open mind. None of that will work if I'm upset with the ministry nor can it work if you are upset with me for what I say in front of the press. Which is why I think that now that I inherited the school, we have to settle the disagreements that stand between us, preferably as soon as possible."
"And how would you suggest we settle it?" Fudge drawls, eyeing Harry like he's trying to find out what he's planning but isn't really using legilimens. Still the Minister clearly doesn't trust Harry and assumes that he'll try and force Fudge to do as he pleases or will continue to talk bad about the Ministry.
"I'd simply like us to discuss some points and see if we are able to agree." Harry speaks calmly, petting the Phoenix that moved on his lap. "Since I assume we won't on most, at least not right away, I hope that we can find a solution for the problem we disagree about. Of course it would have to be one that we both can live with."
"What would the first thing you'd like to discuss be?" The Minster questions with a frown and clearly still doesn't trust Harry.
"Why did Dumbledore become my magical guardian?" Harry asks. "I know there were plenty of other choices."
"I wasn't the Minister at the time." Fudge promptly says in his defense.
"I'm aware of that." Harry still sounds calm and probably thanks to Fawkes really feels that way. "I just hoped that you know why it was handled that way at the time and could tell me and as I said before, you aren't the only one to cause my mistrust with the Ministry and I don't blame you for everything and want to try an understand what you or others did. Now, do you know anything about that topic?"
"I know that the Minister at the time was just elected because the one before him was a death eater and there was a lot going on. From what I heard someone that just started to work in the Ministry and just left Hogwarts the year before had overseen the group that was to decide your placement and he was already the most experienced one in that bunch. Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall were the only ones there. Others weren't even informed that they might become your guardian due to the chaos at the time."
"Do you already know who my new one will be now?" Harry questions.
"It is already being discussed and from what I heard the people choosing are waiting on the ruling of another committee that is to decide if you can be granted to be emancipated already. It sometimes is granted to children that are orphaned at the age of 16, meaning they are already close to being of age." Fudge explains, "You are a little young but there is no rule on when it can be granted. They are still waiting to see how you'll deal with the new responsibility before choosing. Some think you handled yourself well enough to be granted it and some believe your temper to be too unstable. Don't misunderstand me please, they don't want to punish you, but they consider it a sign that you are still in need of emotional guidance."
"Who will be named if I'm not emancipated?" Harry questions.
"There is also an argument on that front," Fudge replies, "Some want Professor Snape, because he was there for you but some say that due to the fact that he was abused himself and is rather cold towards most that he would be unable to help with some emotional problems, others see Professor McGonagall more qualified but it was pointed out that you don't seem to have a particularly close relationship that would be helpful, either seeing that you only see her as your teacher. Mrs. Weasley was considered but there are some that say that she wouldn't be able to understand all of your needs, since you are rather troubled from your past as shown with your temper, and she has a lot of other kids to help at times. The final decision isn't made yet and I'm not personally involved in the process either."
Harry frowns for a moment. "I have to say that they all do have a point." Harry smiles a little, seeing the Ministers eyebrow rise. He clearly had assumed another tantrum from the teen and that worked perfectly for Harry. "I'd still prefer Professor Snape since I can see Molly anytime and I'm sure should I need something Professor Snape can't help with, like give a motherly hug or such I can go to her. But he does understand me better and I'm not sure I'd feel as comfortable bothering him should I live with Molly and Arthur. Maybe you can just pass that on to them, so that they are able to consider the point but as long as no one else is suggested I don't mind either outcome. Just to be frank, I'd rather not be emancipated. There is so much going on right now that I would like to have someone to turn to and I agree that my temper is a little unstable at times and I believe that I need someone to lean on every now and then. I really don't feel mature enough to live on my own with no one to turn to for advice, I also wouldn't mind it being Siri, who is also always there for me anyway. Which is why I'd still prefer Professor Snape."
"Siri?" The Minister asks surprised, clearly not knowing who he means.
"Yes," Harry sighs and looks a little worried, "That would be the next point I'd like to talk about. "Sirius Black."
"He said it was his fault when we found him." Fudge insists, already assuming where this is going.
"I'm aware of that." Harry smiles a little, hearing the Phoenix give another thrill and cuddle against him before he spreads his wings and flies on his shoulder. "He blamed himself because he had suggested to switch the secret keeper. He feared that Voldemort would catch him if he didn't and that he might force it out of him. If no one knew that it was the least brave one of the bunch, then their secret would be safer since Voldemort would be after Sirius to get it. But apart from all that, what, Minister Fudge, made you think that I would lie to you to protect my parents murderer?"
The Minister looks at the somber looking boy with a rather sad smile on his face and says, "I never thought you were lying, but I was nearby when he was brought to the Ministry after killing Pettigrew, or according to you, after we thought he had either way, I saw him that day. I saw how crazy he seemed, I was and to be frank still am convinced that he is guilty. I assume that he tricked you somehow. However, now that I came to know you a little more and see that at least by now you are no easily impressed little boy with little family and none in the magical world where he might rather be, I believe that it would be hard for him to still trick you. I admit that your words might be enough to at least investigate again and give him a proper trial. Back then I saw neither the need nor did I feel like I had the time with the uproar his escape had caused and the worry that he might escape again like he did."
"What if I bring him here and have him questioned under Veritaserum?" Harry asks. "I know he'd come if I'd call for him. That way you can be sure. But I want your word of honor that he's not harmed and will leave this room the way he came, no matter what."
"I'm afraid I can't promise that." Fudge argues, "I will however promise that should we not need to catch him and he'll come freely, I'll arrange that he will be in a holding cell with as much comfort as possible and only until a trial is set and I'll try to get it set as fast as possible. Being questioned under Veritaserum will of course be an option that would be helpful in proving his innocence. I can't however just set someone free that was judged by the whole Wizengamot, no matter what he says to me under Veritaserum."
"Of course Minister, that actually sounds more than reasonable and I will see if I can get Siri to agree. I think it would be best if you'd send Aurors to meet him somewhere rather than having him walk into the Ministry and cause a panic. But we can discuss the details when I talked to him and know that he's agreeable." Harry replies, he had assumed as much as was much happier with this anyway. No one would believe Sirius to be rightfully freed if Fudge had decided it on his own. "I'm glad we can find some common ground that quickly."
"I must say that I'm too." Fudge replies, "I must admit that I feared that you'd get upset the second I don't do as you wish."
"Yeah," Harry agrees calmly, "I mean, no offence, but I must admit that I feared the same. Simply because you do seem like a man that is used to things going his way."
Both smile a little and Harry is glad that maybe, he can get the last thing he really wants about as much as Sirius being freed. "Anything else you wish to discuss?" Fudge asks.
"Yes, actually I do. And it will probably be the hardest part since I myself aren't sure what to do about it." Harry replies. "It is about Voldemort. Or lets call him Tom Riddle. I think you saw or at least heard of what Dumbledore did to him in his youth?"
"I'm afraid I did." Fudge says with a frown. "I also heard that apparently the boy tried to get a job with the Ministry in his youth but Dumbledore said that he was dangerous during school and always causing trouble. He warned us from it and I fear with that the Ministry actually sealed his fate."
"I fear that could be true." Harry confirms sadly. "I know for a fact that he is scared of muggles for the way he was raised. He also hates abuse and wants to protect children. That is his main goal and was from the start, he also wanted to bring Dumbledore down to protect others from experiencing the same and only plays on the pure blood supremacy to get followers. What he really dislikes about muggleborn is their connection to the muggle world. He's afraid they will let too many muggles find out about us, and as I said before, fears their general reaction to it. But his main goals aren't bad. Most of the mayhem he caused was to fight Dumbledore who had wronged him greatly and I really doubt anyone would have believed it even if he tried to tell someone."
"You sound like you forgive him for killing your parents." The Minister says.
With a sigh Harry admits, "I tried not to at first but yeah, I guess after seeing that one memory, I did. Especially since I know a reason he had to be very angry with them at the time he killed them, and that one has nothing to do with Dumbledore, or not directly."
"And why would that be?" The Minister asks curious.
"James Potter was part of a raid against the so called dark, but with Dumbledore leading the so called light I find the terminology a little off. Anyway, this raid I just mentioned was organized by Dumbledore who used this order of his. During that raid they took a child." Harry explains. "It just so happens that they didn't take just any child, they stole his child. That is also the reason for Bellatrix torturing two others that had been in the order, she was told the boy was killed but refused to believe it and tried to find out where he could be. Tom Riddle had already feared his son dead. Just imagine how he must have felt. An orphan with no family left, abandoned by all and when his wife died giving birth to his only child said child was stolen from him. He also knew Dumbledore in a way no one else did at the time. With his experience with the man, how could he not think his infant son had been tortured to death?"
"I see how you'd feel sorry for him and trust me, I'm starting to too." Fudge sighs, "But there isn't anything that can be done about it now that the man is dead."
"There is a way, since he isn't dead." Harry replies, "Dumbledore was right with one thing, Tom Riddle is back. And I happen to know that he got fake papers and wants to have a new start. He wants to try again to get the changes he wanted back then, just this time without a war. Now that Dumbledore isn't there to make it impossible any other way. And I think he wants his son back who turned out to be alive. I know who both are. I'm not sure what to do with that knowledge however. I don't feel comfortable keeping it from you but I'd rather not see him having to run from the law. He won't stop trying to protect children and not go to Azkaban without a fight, especially since he might not be send there and more likely than not be killed or get a Dementor's kiss. He'll feel the need to continue to fight for his goals and I'd rather see him do so peacefully then have the war continue."
"Then wait with telling me a few more days while I pretend to never have heard a thing." Fudge suggests after a moment of silence. "Madam Bones is working to clear his name post mortal. Trying to claim him being psychologically too unstable at the time to be made responsible. I will support it of course, especially with the additional info about his kidnapped son and will pass that one to Madam Bones too as well as 'rumors' that he 'might' be back after all. Maybe we can claim that he started to see reason years ago and regrets his past and want to change for years. Once that is done, you'll let me know the name he made for himself and that of his son and I'll make sure that they will be reunited and offer him a job in the Ministry."
"They knew each other by now. I already made sure of that. I also might offer him the defense position, who knows more about the dark arts than him?" Harry says smiling and getting the feeling that the man is actually trying to get Harry to like him, clearly knowing that if Harry praises him, the press and with that the rest of wizarding Britain will too. "But maybe we can sort of share him?"
"What do you mean by that?" Fudge questions.
"Let's try and have him teach defense here and in his free time, which I'll try to keep as high as possible by releasing him of any extra duties like overseeing a detention, even those given by him or help enforce curfew. This time he uses to lead some others that you hire and start a new department called magical child protection. If finances are needed I might be able to help. I still don't really know how much money I have in total since I'm still too unused with Galleons and just buy too little to really have figured out the value of one compared to muggle money. But the way my goblin friends speak, I think I can spare quite a bit to help any way possible."
"I think I like the idea but will he be able to manage both?" Fudge questions.
"I think he can. And he most certainly can help spot abused children. Severus Snape has spotted a few abuse cases over his years but I'm living proof that he doesn't spot them all in their first year here." Harry replies "I'm sure Tom Riddle can help to find even more with his experience in the area."
"I understand your reasoning but it is rather pointless to go into details until he is at least present to agree to it. Is there anything else you wanted to discuss, Mister Potter?" Fudge asks and Harry is glad to hear some respect in his voice again.
"Not at the moment." Harry replies, "If you feel the need to discuss anything else feel free to let me know any time." After that they say their goodbyes and Harry is glad to be done with the annoying man and can prepare for the next day.
The next day after breakfast Harry meets with the four head of houses and tries to buy some time by having each of the heads pick a favorite and do a background check on them, he hints towards Severus to pick his father to make sure that this particular check won't be as thorough for now. Harry also says to wait a week to make sure all of them have enough time to find some information on their candidate and don't rush too much, which might make them miss something vital. After they all check out to be what they claimed to be in their application, which he hopes they will, Harry wants each of them to arrange a job interview with that person that they all can attend.
Harry tries to enjoy the next few days and is glad to receive a letter that informs him that Snape is officially his magical guardian from now on and is glad about it. Fudge also keeps his words and two days later, on Monday evening, Sirius meets with Shacklebolt and Tonks and is taken to a holding cell. The trial is taking place the day after. Harry is there for his godfather that day and is very glad when Sirius' name is cleared after that. It even is in the newspaper the next day and Sirius is promised some money to make up for the time he was wrongly imprisoned.
Harry is even more glad when Voldemorts, or rather Tom Riddle's, whole life story is turned into the biggest soap story ever by Miss Skeeter and all over the front page of the Prophet. He is particularly happy to read that it was found out that he is already secretly living in their midst and that he is considered innocent or excused of all the war crimes, seeing as his opponent had hurt him and scared him psychologically and made it seem impossible to get any help or protection form a man nearly everyone thought infallible. Due to that Tom Riddle will not be charged for anything up to the day of his downfall. If he should ever do something else now, he will however be charged more harshly since his past will be considered then.
Since the war is now seen in a different light and the leader of the side that was previously presumed to be all evil and the other all light and innocent, all the death eaters are also pardoned for every crime that was part of the war. Which includes the torture of the Longbottoms. Harry fears that Neville won't be happy about it and even assumes that he'll still try to attack Bellatrix as soon as he sees her somewhere.
Due to that it comes as a huge surprise to him when Neville is running down towards dinner later that day smiling like he won a lottery the next morning, a letter in his hand that he is shaking. Harry is confused about it until the boy opens his mouth and says, "Harry, my parents, they are awake and fine. Well still weak and have to stay at Mungo's for a little longer but they are finally recovering." Neville seems to be moving on clouds in his happiness when he tells Harry and has a hard time sitting still for long enough to eat. The letter in his hand held out for Harry by now. It's from his grandmother with the information Neville is talking about. "Bellatrix has contacted Mungo's after being freed and since her godson is alive after all, she wanted to tell them that she used another spell on them. One that was hidden under the crucio but the real reason for the insanity. She even told them how to reverse it and offered to repay us for the money we had to pay Mungo's but Grandmother said it'd be impolite to accept that because it was a war and they were on different sides and things like that can happen. She also seems to think that Bellatrix had every reason to react the way she did, seeing as her godson was taken and the child's parents both gone at the time, meaning the baby was her responsibility. She said she'd have done the same had I been taken."
To say that Voldemort was shocked to read that particular article that morning is an understatement but during dinner he does go to Hogwarts since his son had send Dobby to ask him to come and many people stare after he arrives and it is McGonagall that sees him first and walks towards him. "Mister Riddle," She says pleasantly. "I'm glad to see you well and alive. How about we go to the headmaster's office and talk there? Away from prying eyes."
He nods and both walk off only to have Harry hot on their trail and right behind them soon after. "Would you mind if I join, Professor?" He asks.
"I'm not sure it be a good idea?" She says, looking worried from one to the other and wondering how long they can be peaceful around each other? Considering that Voldemort has killed Harry's parents and they had fought so much during the last years.
Harry just smiles charmingly towards her while Fawkes, for some reason that Harry doesn't understand yet, is once again on his shoulder. "Please, Professor. I want to discuss something with my father which is why I asked him here."
"With your what?" Professor McGonagall stares at the boy, who just grins a little.
"My father, Professor." Harry grins, "Where did you think the Slytherin line came from? Oh and Professor Snape turned out to be my half-brother. We have the same mother."
McGonagall stares at the two in shock for a moment before frowning and before it is replaced by a little grin on her lips, "Please, Mister Potter, do tell me where the Hufflepuff line come from? Since that means either your father or brother must be a descendant of Helga Hufflepuff."
Harry is about to reply when two hands cover his mouth. Once is coming from the side his father stands on and the other from behind him before he hears his brother's drawl from behind him, "I think that his father and I rather not find out, that way we'll be able to assume that it must be from the other side."
"I agree." Harry's father states.
As soon as their hands leave Harry's mouth the boy turns to his father and says, "I get why he doesn't want me to say it but since you're safe you don't need to care!"
Severus just groans while Tom grins a little and Professor McGonagall just asks the sour potions Professor, "Does that mean you'll favor Hufflepuffs now?"
"And Gryffindor, that line comes from my Mom too." Harry replies still grinning. "The Ravenclaw line comes from my paternal grandfather, who is a descendant of a squib from that line. And we all know that the Slytherin comes from my father's mother, right?"
Severus just glowers towards his brother and says, "If you ever speak of this to anyone again, I will make your life hell."
"Sure." Harry just grins, not meaning it at all.
"You're going to be the death of me, aren't you?" Severus grumbles.
"Of course not, Sev." Harry grins, "If I'd let that happen, I couldn't make fun of you."
A little latter all four of them are in the office and discuss the defense job and in the end Harry is the one to hold of a decision, since not all head of house are present and that it needs to be considered in a meeting but already tells his father of what he started to talk to the Minister about. The man seems to be more than interested and promises to talk to the Minister.
Harry is more than happy when a few weeks later everything is starting to settle down. His father is working as defense teacher and is the best they had so far. The public is talking frantically about Harry having that much power in his own school but waits before writing any complaints and later never feel the need to do so. Also it takes some time for most to accept that all the death eater are freed, the same goes for Sirius Black walking around freely, even though he has proven to be innocent. But at least so far no one was attacked and a lot of people also seem to understand that the war wasn't about what they thought and not nearly as clearly about dark against light and more an abused and hurt child against his tormentor and most seem willing to give them a chance, at least until they do anything else that will send them to prison.
Finally Harry can focus on his relationship with Draco and spend more time with him again, only now noticing that Draco has already started to suffer again. Having been constantly together for the whole summer is making it hard to be separated even for a single class and the time Harry occasionally has to leave his side is not making it easier though it is still bearable.
Fawkes also stays with Harry though Harry's father assumes that this time Fawkes just chooses to stay with Harry due to his power and kind soul since Dumbledore is gone and whatever he did to bind the Phoenix is probably broken. They won't know for sure for another two to three years though. If Fawkes doesn't burn for some time then he's clearly free and Harry really hopes that is the case.
Authors Note: And of course Fawkes is free now and just wants to stay with Harry. Anyway, I hope you liked it how Harry played Fudge and got what he wanted. I'm sad the story had to end but my beta just returned chapter 8 and 9 from my time travel fic and as son as she is done with the last few chepters I start uploading it too and hope that at least some of you will enjoy that one as well.