Chapter 22

The first few days of summer had gone within the blink of an eye. Meeting after meeting, training regime after training regime were harsh, yet entertaining and productive undoubtedly. Harry Potter had been having the most interesting few days starting with his first day of training, which had been tiring and draining. The push on his body and magic seemed to be welcomed by his enlarged magical core as if he was years behind of practice.

Also a note of great importance was his meeting with Rufus Scrimgeour. He seemed to genuinely like the man, and his political aspirations were quite mild compared to what Percy Weasley might try and do given the support Harry could put behind him. Rufus wanted to bulk up the auror department immediately and open up applications to anyone that had slightly less standard of NEWTs than previously desired. No one was going to kid this man, and he knew the war that was coming would be ugly, and that the Dark Lord Voldemort was going to recruit massive numbers of not just witches and wizards, but several dark creatures that they would have to be prepared to fight. Harry admired the man and his belief that he could do this, but did have to concede to a few of the man's needs beyond just his verbal support. He made the request that Harry dropped in and out of the Ministry a few times a week, and make public appearances that way he would appear to be in full support of the Ministry. Harry agreed to this, but said that he would only do this if Rufus upheld his promises. Gawain Robards even said that he would love to put Harry through the paces when he came in just to give him a benefit to it all.

All this led up to the end of his first week of summer where Harry was fidgeting with his dress robes, and Susan was straightening him up every time he did this. His tie was something he just kept playing with, while the red head smacked his hands this time, "Harry relax love. You are going to be fine. You did brilliant last year with the DA, and now we are going to stand in front of the press and talk about it. I have absolute faith in you, just keep breathing. You may be leading this conference, but the others and I will be right beside you just like we always are."

Hannah chimed in jokingly, "Merlin Suzie just take him back to a room and shag him senseless for a few minutes, that ought to take his mind off of things!"

Harry blushed deeply, while Susan glared at the girl, "Not helping Han."

Harry nodded shaking his head, "This is different. The people that gathered before were willing to fight in the Hogs Head. These people are just gathering for information to gossip, and quarrel with us."

"Don't think of it that way sweetheart. Think of it as recruitment for the Defense Association. We are going in front of witches and wizards who are going to spread the word of resistance, and defiance of Voldemort. Harry…if you convince even one witch or wizard today to stand against them then this is a huge success, and I think you can convince a lot of people." Susan said patiently with her nervous boyfriend.

Nodding his head and sighing in acceptance Harry didn't say anymore as the others slowly began trickling into Ministry of Magic.

Today was the day Harry was holding a press conference with the help of his godfather where they were going to tell the public the truth about the uprising at Hogwarts, the attack on the express, and even about the prophesy that Sirius and Remus helped Harry swipe just a few short days ago. They won't of course be telling the content, but when the inevitable question came up they would answer it carefully.

Neville, Hannah, Ron, Hermione, and Collin Creevy were standing staring expectantly at Harry and Susan, and Harry addressed them, "We are just going to stick with the truth today, and I will try and get us all of this as quick as possible. Thank you everyone for your willingness to help."

Collin smile at his role model and friend, "Of course Harry, here to help!"

Neville agreed with the sentiment, while Ron said, "I am just glad we aren't doing this just the three of us anymore. That would have made this whole thing pretty uncomfortable; at least there are seven of us now days to spread the joy around."

Harry agreed with Ron at this, and squeezed Susan's hand a bit, when Sirius came into the room he looked like all smiles, and said, "Are we all ready?"

Everyone in the group nodded, and Harry led the way behind Sirius into the floor network, where each teenager one at a time flooed into Madame Bone's office as planned. The press conference was going to be held in the auror department section of the Ministry of Magic, and hoped that this would allow them protection, and an escape if they needed it.

Rufus was waiting in the office, as he spoke immediately shaking Harry's hand and talking fast, "Madame Bones is talking to the public, she will be ready for you at my signal, do you have an idea of what you are going to say?"

Harry felt his throat go raw, and was silent for a moment, before Susan said, "Yes Rufus we practiced a speech, my love here is just nervous."

The green eyed boy felt his heart swell a bit, and smiled at the girl, and then nodded at the man, "Yes we have a speech prepared."

Rufus smiled at the teenager very quickly reminded that the boy was still young, and not infallible, "You will be fine lad."

At this the man turned and walked towards the door, and Sirius came over to his godson, "Here take a drink of this, it will help more than a calming draft."

Harry took his dog fathers flask, and took a swig, and immediately new what his guardian had given him, firewhiskey. This caused the man to wink at him and said, "Liquid courage, good luck pup."

Harry grinned at the man, and looked at Susan who looked at him unsure, but the young man said, "It's going to be okay."

At this he heard Madame Bone's voice clearly as the door opened, "Harry Potter and his friends as agreed are here to answer some of your questions and tell you just what has been going on at Hogwarts."

Harry led the way out to the open room where dozens of photographers, and reporters were all calling out questions and exclamations, but when Harry shook Madame Bone's hand and stood at the podium with his friends taking seats on each side of him he said, "My name is Harry Potter, and I have news that may change the course of history."

This brought silence to the crowd, "Many times over the years I probably should have attempted to come before all of you to crush rumors, and whispers, but I think my ignorance of this world has cost the people at this table a lot, and now I stand before you with nothing but the truth prepared. I don't want questions until it's over, and after that I promise to do my best."

No one said anything else, and Harry began his tale. He started with the first confrontation he had in Delores Umbridge's defense class, and the detention that he suffered and being forced to using a blood quill. He talked about how his brilliant best friend beside him had suggested that he start a defense group, and that led to the first time he had spoken to people about what had happened in the maze over a year ago now. He was then only partially truthful about how Susan and him had become a couple, and that he visited her on boxing day to talk with her aunt at dinner where he had told the head of the DMLE the truth about Sirius Black, and many other things including the return of Voldemort. He proceeded to talk about the Defense meetings, and the part all the people behind him played in the events that transpired leading up to where Dumbledore fled the school, and the battle that took place in the great hall. The next topic he breached about being hit with the second killing curse led the first eruption of questions, but Susan stepped to Harry's side, "Shut it!"

This caused everyone to stop, and she said, "He said no questions till the end. We will sit here all day if we have too, but let the man finish."

Harry grinned at the girl, as she winked at him and stepped back as he continued with what happened after the battle and his resurrection, and then finally what happened on the express. Then he was finished with the disappearance of the injured Voldemort.

Then the eruption began, and Harry inwardly groaned, but Susan stepped forward to help him, "Mrs. Boot?"

The crowd went quiet, and the women asked, "Thank you Susan, Harry, I am Victoria Boot, with the Wizarding press, you have now faced and survived an encounter with you know who more than perhaps anyone alive, and some people are calling you the chosen one, what is your reaction to this nickname?"

Harry could tell everyone was raptly paying attention to the young man as he said, "Voldemort killed my parents. I believe that one day Voldemort and I are going to face each other, and only one of us is going to walk away. If someone else gets a hold of him before I do, I will of course be ecstatic, but as I get older the more I feel that I will be the one to fight him to the death, and I do not fear that moment. If that makes people want to put their faith in me, and make me a rallying point then I will do my best to kill the bastard one day. At any cost."

This caused Neville to use his mic for the first time, "Here here!"

Then the questions started again, and Susan said, "Lord Greengrass."

The man stood tall, and Harry thought he looked vaguely familiar, "Mr. Potter, Daniel Greengrass chief editor and commentator for the wizarding wireless who are listening to this interview live, and I believe all my listeners are wondering just what makes you special as you believe you can fight the Dark Lord?"

Before Harry could answer Collin Creevy spoke, "What makes him so special you ask? Maybe it's that he has more guts and courage than every wizard in this room combined, that he stood in front of a dozen death eaters and then their master prepared to die just so that they wouldn't attack the Hogwarts express. Maybe it's that he could teach 14, 15, 16, and 17 year olds the patronus charm, maybe it's that he is a beast of a duelist. Maybe because fate ordained it when that monster gave him the scar, does it really matter though Mr. Greengrass? He is brave enough to rise to the challenge which is more than I hear of anyone else doing since I stepped foot into this world, and it is why I stand at his side today, because I have faith."

Harry gave the boy a grateful nod, and thought that his 15th birthday present was going to be something pretty spectacular to Colin this year, and waited for Susan to let the next question come in, "Ms. Bones, do you feel that you have placed yourself in more danger than before by placing yourself at Mr. Potter's side?"

Susan merely shrugged, "My friend Hermione over here said that to me just after school started back after the Christmas break, and I will tell you all the same thing I told her. Voldemort attacked my family in the first war. The Bones have always been a light family, and nothing is ever going to change that as long as I am alive. I believe myself the safest witch in this room, because I know for a fact if Voldemort came in this room right now my boyfriend would duel him to keep me safe, and give me time to run if I want to, but I would not. I will say it now, and I hope it gets to that creeps ears, if he is going to kill Harry he is going to have to kill me too."

This caused quick scribbles to be jotted down by everyone, and Ron added, "Me too, and I doubt anyone at this table is going to let Harry walk into that battle alone."

Neville added, "Just a few days ago Harry did what no one has ever done before, and that includes Dumbledore, he injured the man behind the monster, and it proves that the devil does bleed."

Collin added in excitement, "And I got a bloody picture of it!"

This caused uproar, and a demand to see the picture, and Harry merely smiled at all his friends as they had clearly riled the press up into a frenzy, "Mr. Potter who are you going to support for Minister now that you have ousted Fudge?"

Harry spoke calmly feeling his courage well up with all his friends standing beside him, "I am under the impression that my friend Rufus Scrimgeour is running for the office, and as he was an old family friend, and even my dad's senior auror commander, I will be supporting him in the coming election. I have high hopes that he will do the most for our country in the fight against Voldemort."

This caused some interesting reactions, as some looked disappointed, while others looked thrilled by the news. Someone that Harry recognized as Elphias Dodge asked loudly, "Harry what do you comment about the special Hitwizard training you are receiving from the America's and the continent?"

Harry wasn't sure just who leaked that bit of information, but he shrugged, "I will only say that if you find out the Darkest Wizard in history is after you and your family, and you don't take some extra defense lessons from some people who have made their careers out of hunting Dark Lords then you are crazy. I am training with many people currently, and not to fight, but to defend my loved ones if the Dark Bastard comes calling again."

Harry calling Voldemort a dark bastard seemed to shock many people, but left others with a huge smile on their faces as they wrote their reports down even faster. Susan said, "More questions?"

Instantly half the room raised their hands and Harry sighed, "Ms. Skeeter, please make it good or Hermione will be making a public service announcement here and now."

The women shivered a bit in fear and looked down at her notebook as if she was searching for a different question, "You said you survived a second killing curse, and that there were dozens of witnesses for this obviously, why do you believe this happened?"

Harry cleared his throat saying, "No one in the history of our world has ever survived the curse once, and of course that means no one has ever survived it twice either. We are unsure why the curse does not affect me, but we understand now that my mum was a Rune's prodigy, and have not discounted the fact that she did something for me at birth that made the first curse rebound, and the second one I absorbed, so the honest answer is…we have no idea. I definitely won't be jumping in front of the curse just in case, but anything is a possibility at this point."

"What about your business you conducted in the Department of Mysteries the other day? Would you care to give more insight perhaps on your title as the chosen one?"

This caused silence to ring throughout the room, while Susan asked, "Who are you, and where do you get your information."

The women grinned maliciously, "Sadie Parkinson, and my informants are merely some old friends that may or may not have work in certain areas of the Ministry, are you going to answer my question?"

Everyone stared at Harry for a moment, while he thought on his answer, "We agreed on the truth when we arrived, and that is what we will give. In October of 1981 there was a prophesy made, and I am not going to tell you who gave it, or who received it, but I will say that the Dark Lord believes this prophesy to be true, and that he only knows half of it. It was the reason his Death Eaters came for me first in matter of fact. He wanted them to kidnap me, and take me to the Department of Mysteries to retrieve the prophesy for him, but obviously, that did not work out. This is the part he knows, and the only part I am going to share, The power to vanquish the dark lord approaches. Born to those who have thrice have defied him, born as the seventh month dies…and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not…"

Silence was like an explosion in the room as clearly, he had shocked everyone that was in front of him. Those of which were behind him merely grimaced a bit, clearly thinking of the rest of prophesy in which mostly they knew. Harry spoke from the heart, "I am the chosen one. At least per the prophesy. The ending is not of much importance, but Voldemort does not know it, and I will keep it that way. I am the only one alive that knows it in its entirety, and that will not change until he is dead. I don't know why, and I don't necessarily like it that fate has ordained this death match, but I have accepted it, and I will do everything in my power to stop him from destroying anymore families. Or from taking any more loved ones from us, but I can't and won't do it alone. Every witch and wizard in this room has a wand, and I say this now, if you are not with us then you are against us. If you cross us out there from this day forward then I will only say we duel to kill."

Sirius Black came forward, and said, "No more questions…Harry."

At his pause the man reached out for him to gesture his way out of the room, and Harry wasn't sure who started it, but somewhere in the press someone started the applause, and Harry didn't turn around to see that some were even pulling their wands out. It didn't matter to him anymore, he just hoped he convinced some people to fight, because he and his friends were more than prepared for such a thing to happen. Harry grabbed his girlfriend's hand with a smile, and one by one he and his friends left the Ministry, and returned to his home.