June 30, 2005
Even at the end of his fifth year as a full time educator, the term still was no less familiar to Harry. In fact, it was a running joke among some of the students that calling Professor Potter by any other name would have been an easier way to get his attention.
Turning around, Harry saw a fourth year Hufflepuff approaching him.
"Mr. March, what can I do for you?" Harry asked formally.
"Are the rumors true, Professor?" young Christopher March asked softly. "Is McGonagall stepping down?"
"That is Headmaster McGonagall." Harry said firmly. "As for whether or not she intends to return to Hogwarts, I am not at liberty to discuss that at this time."
Instantly, the look on the young Hufflepuff's face lit up. He turned and sprinted down the hall, screaming "Professor Potter is Headmaster!" Harry smirked shortly at the exuberance of the young man.
Despite the best efforts of the Hogwarts staff, secrets remained impossible to keep within Hogwarts. Within the last week, Minerva had informed the staff of her decision to step down as Headmaster at the end of term. At this point, it was a merely technicality that Harry would be appointed to the post. Whether it was staff, students or the portraits on the walls, the information seemed to be making the rounds.
Harry entered the Great Hall to the murmured hellos of his students. During his time at Hogwarts, Harry hadn't disappointed anyone as a professor. He found that teaching suited his less violent nature and allowed him to train the next generation of Aurors. However, his students had been surprised to learn just how challenging Professor Potter would have been. The knowledge that Harry Potter had not been a particularly good student had been passed around and most students had assumed that Professor Potter would be an easy OWL.
They were quite wrong. While he was no Severus Snape, Harry's demeanor as a Professor was much closer to Minerva McGonagall than Filius Flitwick. Part of it was the subject matter that Harry taught. The rest of it was Harry's desire to fill the ranks of the Aurors with the best students. That meant that only the most devoted of students was eligible to take NEWT level Defense under Harry.
However, Harry was still well known as a great supporter of his students. He gave points to each house's students appropriately, rarely favored one student over another and attended every Quidditch match, regardless of the houses playing.
Harry sat on Minerva's right, a place he had taken over in the three years prior when he officially became Deputy Headmaster. He had been acting in the role since the beginning of his Hogwarts tenure but both Harry and Minerva felt that it was too soon to appoint him.
They only wanted Harry's presence felt when it looked as though she was going to turn the reigns over to him.
"What are you smiling about?" Minerva asked shrewdly.
"I'm laughing because Hogwarts never seems to change. Secrets are just as impossible to keep as ever."
"Who was it today?"
"Christopher March." Harry replied as he took his seat. "Almost didn't even bother waiting for confirmation before he was sprinting down the halls, telling his classmates."
"You told him?"
"I did not." Harry replied. "However, I did not lie to him either much like I told you when you informed me of your plan last week."
"I wish you would have."
"I will not start off my tenure as Headmaster with half the student body thinking I've been lying to them the last month of term."
"I suppose." Minerva replied softly before noticing that Goyle, the replacement for the recently deceased Argus Filch, had closed the Great Hall doors. "It's showtime."
"It seems so." Harry smirked as Minerva stood in her place.
For a moment, Minerva collected herself as she scanned the room. As she began to spoke, Harry noticed for the first time just how heavily she leaned on her cane. It was obviously holding up much of her weight and Harry had to wonder if it hadn't been magically enchanted to aid her.
"Thank you all, once again, for another wonderful year at Hogwarts!" Minerva said joyfully, her eyes tracking around the room. "Before you all board the Hogwarts Express, there are of course several end of the year announcements. Exam results, including the OWL and NEWT, will be sent home at the beginning of July. For incoming sixth year students, please note which OWLs you have earned as that will affect your schedule, which you should receive at the beginning of August. Once again, Mr. Goyle's office will be open for the rest of the evening so that he may return all of his confiscated objects."
Harry smirked at that comment. Last year, two days after the end of term, Goyle had been spotted in the Entrance Hall, playing with some new WWW product that he has confiscated from a second year Hufflepuff. Needless to say, the conversation that Harry had witnessed between him and Minerva had been less than pleasant.
"Finally, I do believe it is time to address the elephant in the room." Minerva said softly, her tone almost sad. "It is true that after nearly fifty years at Hogwarts, I am resigning my position as Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Magic. It has been a long time coming and I am sad that my time here is rapidly coming to an end." Minerva stopped for a moment, tears welling in her eyes. Finally, she gripped her cane and looked up from the floor.
"However, I have held off my retirement so that I could ensure that best for this school. There is no former student of mine that I would trust more with this school that has become my life than Professor Potter." Minerva said, her gaze turning to meet Harry's. "Regardless of your views on Harry's youthful exploits, I believe that Mr. Potter is the best chance for Hogwarts to move forward. You will treat him with the same respect that you have all treated me."
Finally, Minerva reached down and grabbed Harry's hand, pulling him to his feet.
"Headmaster, I believe you wanted to say a few words."
The fact that Minerva had publicly referred to him as Headmaster did not go unnoticed by Harry. Neither did the fact that when Harry stood, he was able to see someone very familiar in the back of the Great Hall, smiling and applauding along with the rest of the students.
Having this moment alongside friends like Neville and Luna was great but having Hermione there meant the world.
"Thank you." Harry said softly before clearing his throat to speak up a bit. "I don't want to hold up any more of the festivities. Suffice it to say, that I am honored to take this position, following such great examples as Minerva McGonagall and Albus Dumbledore. I look forward to the next school year and hope that you all have a wonderful summer holiday."
With that, Harry took his seat to a smattering of polite applause. With a smirk, Minerva waved her hands and like it had for centuries, the food once again appeared on the plates in front of them. Quickly, Harry excused himself from the dinner and made his way to the back of the room where Hermione stood.
"I didn't know that you were going to be here." Harry said with a smile as he kissed her politely. A more personal greeting would have to wait until they were out of the sight of children.
"I couldn't miss you being named Headmaster." Hermione grinned. "So, I managed to convince Amos that he didn't need me for an hour and slipped away."
"I'm amazed that you were able to wrangle a half hour out of him."
"I asked for an hour. He countered with ten minutes. We...compromised at thirty minutes."
Amos Diggory was the Minister of Magic. One year after Draco Malfoy's attempted coup of the Ministry, Kingsley Shacklebolt resigned as Minister. While most of the wizarding fought for him to change his mind, he refused.
He believed that the Minister of Magic needed to be elected, not appointed; something that never happened for him. He had done great work in his two years as Minister but after that time, he felt that it was his time to move on.
For the first true election in the history of British magical politics, dozens of candidates emerged, Ministry and non-Ministry alike. In the end, however, there were only three true candidates and one noticeable absence.
The first person to declare his candidacy was Percy Weasley. Despite the fact that he was moving with his wife to Spain, he believed that it was his duty as Kingsley's Senior Undersecretary to run. Ultimately, it was believed that the distance created by Penelope living in Spain meant that he spent considerably less time on the campaign than the other candidates.
The second true contender to come forward was Tiberius Ogden. Ogden had long been a fixture of the Wizengamot, sitting on the court for nearly thirty years. He was one of the most respected lawmakers in the country and considered to be the frontrunner by most.
However, that was until the dark horse candidate, Amos Diggory, entered the picture. Having worked in the Ministry for just as long as Ogden, he was initially considered to be a flash in the pan. But, when he was able to point to a number of policy decisions that he had been essential in making as a Department Head while Ogden had none, the tide began to change. After that, Diggory vigorously went after Percy, labeling him as nothing more than a retread of Kingsley, an unelected official. That fact, which Percy could never seem to shake, coupled with the years of experience that Amos had on Percy led to a nearly runaway win.
But throughout the entire three month election season, one question remained above all else: Where is Hermione Granger? The Junior Undersecretary to the Minister was considered to be the most popular candidate by a landslide. In fact, there were rumors that had Hermione entered the race, the other candidates would have bowed out rather than attempt to run against her.
Still, she refused to run. Publicly, she maintained that she felt that she had more work to do as a lawmaker before she began working in administration. Privately, she struggled with the thought of someone like Amos winning, someone she barely respected as a Ministry official and someone she had gone toe-to-toe with several times over the years.
In the end, Amos Diggory won by a wide margin. The next day, Hermione received an owl asking her to be the next Head of Magical Law Enforcement. It would mean becoming the second most powerful person in the Ministry and the person most responsible for new lawmaking.
She had thought about it carefully….for about thirty seconds before sending an affirmative reply.
However, it had meant being directly responsible to a man that was less than respectful to her. This was mostly due to her rather public relationship with Harry Potter who he still blamed for his son's death.
Needless to say, their working relationship was contentious at best.
"Well, that's better than most days, I suppose." Harry mused.
"Yes." Hermione said shortly before grabbing Harry by the arm and pulling him out of the room. "There was another incident."
"Another?" Harry growled. "Where?"
"Essex." Hermione replied breathlessly. "Two witches, one wizard: shot in the head with a pistol."
"That's the third one in less than a year."
"Yes. But this was different, Harry. These people had wards around their home."
"Were they tampered with?" Harry asked.
"They were gone."
Over the last two years, the number of incidents between Muggles and magical people had slowly begun to rise. With the ever improving of technology in the Muggle world, the Ministry was working overtime at covering up their presence to the Muggles. Already, the British Prime Minister had authorized several "black sites" where satellite and drone surveillance wasn't allowed.
It just happened that those sites lined up with Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley and several all magical towns across Britain.
"You're saying that you believe that someone magical perpetrated this?"
"Or that they're helping Muggles."
"To what end?" Harry asked the empty space around them.
"We're not certain. There are a number of groups across the world that the Ministry has been keeping our eyes on."
"Why these groups in particular?"
"Because these are all groups that favor abolishing or circumventing the Statute of Secrecy?"
"They want to reveal magic to the Muggle world?" Harry asked in shock. "Do they realize what that will do? Sure, maybe in fifty years we would make it work but there would a world war the likes of which no one has seen if that happens."
The look that Hermione gave Harry was frightening.
"Maybe that's their goal." Hermione whispered intensely. "These people don't care about blood. They care about power and the fact that they believe they have to hide it."
The thought that there was someone out there working on destabilizing the enter planet by exposing the magical world to the Muggle one terrified Harry. Everything that he had worked for his entire life, the battles against Voldemort and Malfoy, the work they had done on balancing blood relations among the magical population: all of it would be undone.
"Why are you telling me this now?" Harry asked. "You've never told me this quickly before. In fact, the other two times, I found out from the Daily Prophet."
"Because of Diggory's reaction." Hermione growled lightly. "He's meeting with the Prime Minister right now. Regardless of the evidence to the contrary, he still believes that Muggles are at the heart of this. He thinks that some Muggles have figured out a way to blackmail or trick a magical person into helping him."
"Just slightly." Hermione said with a sarcastic grimace. "Anyway, he's going to authorize the Aurors to start investigating those groups I mentioned."
"That's not too bad."
"He's also given ordered me to authorize the Aurors to bring in potential Muggle suspects."
"That does seem much worse." Harry admitted. "Which Muggles is he thinking would do this?"
"Among the Muggles, there are a small portion that believe Magic exist. Most of them are crazy, seeing magic in pieces of bread or lines in the desert. But, there are some who likely have some sort of magical ancestry. They're likely Squibs born to Muggle parents and they can see our world. To the rest of the world, they seem like crackpots but the Ministry has always been very wary of these particular people. If the Muggles would someday start listening to them, we could be in trouble."
"But wouldn't bringing in these people just make the rest of the group louder?"
"Exactly." Hermione said roughly. "And we can't just treat them like this. They're Muggles, not criminals. We can't just start randomly pulling them off the street."
"Does this mean you're reconsidering your stance?"
The next election for Minister of Magic was coming up. Unlike the last time, there were only four candidates currently running. Tiberius Ogden was running as was Amos. The third was a relative unknown by the name of Samantha Lyman, the assistant Head of the Department of Magical Education.
The fourth was Hermione herself. When she entered the race, she had made the personal decision not to publicly condemn any of the other candidates for a few reasons. Firstly, if she lost, she wanted to keep being able to work within the Ministry. Secondly, and more importantly, she felt that being above the fray would give her an advantage of looking cleaner than the others.
So far, that strategy hadn't been working. While Hermione wasn't in last place (that honored belonged to Tiberius Ogden), she didn't seem to be faring all that well. Meanwhile, both Lyman and Diggory were getting much of the positive press after the previous debates, leading to the Daily Prophet referring to it as a two person race.
In the last four years, Hermione's work record hadn't been spotless. Some thought that was the reason why she was falling behind against Diggory and Lyman. Others thought it was her inability to be tough on the other candidates. Personally, Harry fell into the latter camp.
"I'm thinking about it." Hermione replied. "But I can't use this information. The debate is tomorrow and the public won't know about this for at least forty-eight hours."
"Unless someone slipped it to them…"
"No!" Hermione scolded him. "Absolutely not!"
"I didn't mean me!"
"No one!" Hermione roared. "If I win under the thought of being the clean candidate and then it was discovered that I had leaked information to the press to win a debate, that would be the end. I wouldn't lose my job but I would be dead in the water!"
"Fine, fine." Harry muttered, mostly to himself. "It was just an idea."
"I know." Hermione said as she placed a gentle hand on his cheek. "I appreciate it. Go back to your feast."
"I will." Harry said gently. As Hermione went to walk away, Harry grabbed her hand and turned her back towards him and kissed her fiercely. "You never did tell me why you told me this."
"Because I was thinking this was a job for Dumbledore's Army."
"I thought the DA was forcibly retired by the Ministry."
"That may need to change."
"Let me rephrase, I thought that you forcibly retired Dumbledore's Army."
"Yes, I did." Hermione admitted. "Publicly, I retired the DA."
Harry watched as a multitude of different emotions reflected passed Hermione's face. She had been responsible for ending Dumbledore's Army. At the time, it had seemed like a good idea; even Harry had agreed with her.
"Maybe the world could use Dumbledore's Army again?"
A/N: This is the sequel to "Harry Potter: Who Am I?" While it is not necessary that you have read the previous entry in this series, it certainly will help. So you're aware, I have the first five chapters written and am actively working on the sixth. My goal is to produce one chapter a week but I know that will eventually tail off to something like one chapter every few weeks. However, I will do my best to keep writing since that is also when the quality of my work is at its best.
Please let me know what you thought!