- CHAPTER TWO –

- CHAPTER TWO –

The Ministry

As Harry appeared in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic he had to pull Ginny out of the way to avoid getting trampled by a herd of reporters. When they saw Harry they stopped following the wizard they'd been chasing and turned to him. He blinked as several cameras flashed in his face. "Would you mind talking to us Mr Potter?" one journalist asked, shoving a magical microphone in his face. "No comment" Harry said, dodging past the photographers with Ginny at his side. "Are you going back to Hogwarts?" a second journalist cried. They couldn't find Ron and Hermione in the mass of witches and wizards. They ducked into the elevator just before the doors closed to avoid the flock of hungry journalists. Unfortunately, it wasn't much better in the elevator. He shook hands with a group of witches from the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes and reluctantly signed an autograph for an obliviator. When the witches saw him signing it they eagerly rummaged in their bags for parchment and quills. The doors opened at Level 1 so he dragged Ginny out of the elevator with him to dodge them. They quickly found Kingsley's office and knocked on the door. A pretty blonde witch opened the door and let them through before anymore reporters, photographers or adoring fans could see them. Kingsley was dictating a memo to his quill. "...could you please make sure the obliviators caught everyone in the vicinity? Hello Harry!" he said looking up. He took the balancing quill and scratched the last part off the memo. "Away Monique" he said, waving away his blonde assistant. She disappeared through a door to the side and they were quite alone. "Congratulations on becoming Minister" Harry said. "Thankyou, it is quite fun having the top job. I just wanted to catch up with you after everything that has happened. You also need to pop down to the Apparition Office to take your test. Apparently you've been apparating without a license for about a year now" Kingsley said. Harry grinned sheepishly. "I'll go there next then" he replied. "Let's see, what did I need to talk to you about? Oh yes, did you want Number Twelve Grimmauld Place to remain connected to the Floo Network?" Kingsley asked. Harry nodded. "I thought so. Also, would you mind signing an autograph? I promised one of the obliviators that I would get it for him when I told him I was meeting with you" Kingsley added. Harry took the quill Kingsley offered him and scrawled his name across the piece of parchment. "Thanks Harry. I wouldn't normally ask but Harper is a big fan of yours" Kingsley said grinning. "Now I've had several requests from The Daily Prophet to secure an interview with you but I've declined them all. I didn't think you'd be interested" Kingsley continued. "We were followed by them in the Atrium" Ginny piped up. "Yes, I'll put somebody on that" Kingsley said. He got up from his chair and walked over to a filing cabinet. It looked similar to the Muggle kind except it was bright purple. It zoomed open when Kingsley approached and one file popped out. Her caught it in his free hand and handed it to Harry. "That's Remus' will. He left you all of his possessions and you are allowed visitation rights to Teddy because you're his godfather. Tonks left her possessions to her mother Andromeda. Its a very sad loss to the Auror squad that she's gone but hopefully that spot will be filled by you when you start you're training next year" Kingsley said. Harry nodded. He stuffed the will in his pocket without looking at it. "Well you better get going. You might have to come back tomorrow and do your test because it's getting rather late" Kingsley said, looking at his watch. The side door opened and Monique poked her head in. "You're seven thirty is waiting Mr Shacklebolt" she said. "Ok, I'll be with them in five" Kingsley said. He shook hands with Harry and the two left the office. They apparated back to the Burrow. Ron and Hermione had taken up their positions from before they'd left. Harry and Ginny sat down on one of the couches as Ron stood. He pulled out his wand and levitated the chocolate cake in from the kitchen. It fell onto the table with an almighty crash. The cake broke into lots of little bits. Ron muttered "Reparo!" as Harry and Ginny burst out laughing. "You lot shut up or you're not getting any" he grumbled as he conjured a knife. The two stopped laughing as Ron levitated two plates of cake towards them with his wand. They dug in eagerly. Hermione had a book balanced on the armchair and was scribbling with her quill on a piece of parchment in her lap. "It's not even the start of term yet, what on earth can you be writing?" Ron asked in between mouthfuls. Hermione paused; her quill poised on the parchment, and looked up. "I wrote to Professor McGonagall and asked for some extension work since I haven't been to school in a year. I'm going to be so behind when we go back" Hermione said fretfully. Ron shook his head incredulously. "How can you want to do work on vacation?" he asked. Hermione was about to answer when Ron waved at her to stop. "It was a rhetorical question" he said. There was a loud crack and Mr Weasley appeared in the room. The sound woke Mrs Weasley in the next room, who was slumbering with her head on the table. She brushed her hair out of her eyes and shuffled out of the kitchen and up the stairs. "You lot best be off to bed" Mr Weasley said. He followed his wife upstairs as Ron cleared up the cake. Hermione put her books, parchment and quills in her bag and followed Ginny upstairs to her room. Ron scarfed down one last mouthful of cake before following the girls. They kept going up to Ron's attic bedroom where a camp bed had been set up. They quietly changed into their pyjamas and went to bed without another word. The next few weeks passed without anything interesting happening. They spent the hot summer days playing Quidditch in the yard and, in Hermione's case, reading. On Harry's birthday they spent the day in Diagon Alley. Florean Fortescue gave them free ice cream sundaes with extra topping. Ron bought Harry a cool book called Greatest Moments in Quidditch History- A Complete Guide. It had moving photographs to match all the information. Ginny bought him a silver ring with both their initials engraved on it. Hermione got him, you guessed it, books. The first was titled Great Seekers of the Nineteenth Century. The other one was called Advanced Defensive Spells, Charms, Hexes and Jinxes. He liked the look of it. The front cover showed someone flying through the air after being stunned, and then flashed to someone using the Disarming Charm and a wand flying through the air. Before they knew it, it was August 25th and they had only a week before they returned to school. Harry rooted in his trunk until he found the pair of jeans he was looking for. He put his hand in the pocket and pulled out his Hogwarts letter and badges, along with Lupins' will that Kingsley had given him. He'd completely forgotten all about it and had never gone back to take his Apparition test. He'd ask the others if they wouldn't mind going to the Ministry before Diagon Alley so he could take his test. He dropped the jeans in his trunk with Lupin's will and put his Hogwarts letter in his pocket. He held his badges in his hand for a moment before putting them back. Ginny was waiting downstairs by the fireplace. They'd gotten permission from George to come out of his fireplace. "I have to take my apparition test so can we go to the Ministry first?" he asked. "Sure" Ginny replied. She shifted her bag on her shoulder and stepped into the fireplace. "Ministry of Magic, London" she said clearly, dropping the Floo powder in the grate. The green flames engulfed her and she was gone. Harry followed her and felt the warm flames as he moved through the different wizarding fireplaces. He coughed as he stepped out of the fireplace in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic. Ginny was waiting for him a few metres away. Together they navigated their way through the busy Ministry workers until they got to the lift. Ginny pressed the button for Level Six as a familiar dark brown-haired boy pressed the button for Level Four. "Harry!" Neville cried. He clapped Harry on the shoulder with a wide grin on his face. "Hey Neville, how've you been?" Harry asked. Ginny flashed a small smile. "I've been good. Gran asked me to deliver this parcel to a friend of hers in Goblin Liason so here I am. Are you going back to Hogwarts this year then?" Neville asked. "Yes I am. Are you going back to repeat seventh year?" Harry asked. Neville's grin grew wider. "Gran wanted me to apply for a position at the Ministry but I wanted to repeat because you can't really call what the Carrows taught an education" Neville said. He still had scars on his face from the previous year. The number on the lift glowed four so Neville waved goodbye. "See you next week at King's Cross" he said cheerfully before walking out of the elevator. Ginny and Harry waved as the doors closed. They got off next at Level Six and walked down the hallway until they found a door marked "Apparition Test Centre." It opened before Harry could turn the handle. A tall boy with curly brown hair and eyes slipped out of the office. He so resembled Cedric Diggory, the seventh year Harry had watched being murdered by Voldemort four years ago, that Harry said "Cedric" before he knew what he was saying. The boy looked up, a lock of his hair falling in his eyes. He brushed it away before turning to Harry. "Excuse me?" he asked. Harry covered his mouth with his hand. He removed it and looked up. "Sorry, you just look like Cedric Diggory" Harry replied. The boy smiled. "You're close, I'm his cousin. The name is Dylan" he said, holding his hand out. Harry shook it. "So how did you know Cedric?" he asked. Harry cleared his throat uncertainly. "Well I uh... I competed with him in the Triwizard Tournament" he said. Dylan's eyes clouded. "You're Harry Potter then?" he asked. Harry nodded. "I'm sorry..." he said. Dylan brushed him off. "Its ok, I know it's not your fault. You're very brave" Dylan said. "Thanks" Harry mumbled. "It was nice meeting you anyway" Dylan said before walking off. Harry and Ginny continued into the Apparition Test Centre. The waiting room was empty except for an all too familiar girl with black hair. At the moment though, with Ginny, she was the last person that Harry wanted to see. Unfortunately, he had to speak to her so he could take his test. She looked up and recognised him immediately. Even if she hadn't known him, she would have recognised him. Who hadn't heard of Harry Potter, the Chosen One? "Harry!" she cried. As he walked up to the desk she leaned over and hugged him. "Nice to see you Cho" he said through her iron grip. Ginny stood next to him uncomfortably. He managed to pry himself away and took Ginny's hand. He looked at her reassuringly. "Ginny" Cho said flatly. "Cho" Ginny replied in the same bored tone. Harry stood there, practically drowning in the tension in the room. "Here's your form" Cho said in a monotone, shoving a clipboard and a quill across the desk at him. He grabbed it just before it fell of the desk. Him and Ginny went and sat down in seats by the wall. Even as he filled out the form he could feel Cho's eyes on him. As if she had something to prove, Ginny was sitting as close to Harry as possible and even leant her head on his shoulder. He didn't mind the attention but he knew she was mainly just putting it on for Cho. He scribbled his signature, something he'd grown all too accustomed to, and handed Cho back the form. She buzzed them through to the next room where a portly man was waiting. "I'm Mr Newman, your examiner. You know the drill so just stand behind the line" the man said in the same bored tone. Ginny stepped over to the side as Harry stood behind the white line Mr Newman had indicated. He wasn't nervous. He'd been apparating illegally for a year. He was pretty sure he knew how to it by now. Mr Newman didn't need to know that though. "When you're ready" Mr Newman said. Harry shrugged and turned on the spot. Because he was apparating such a short distance the uncomfortable feeling didn't last long. He was over the other side of the room in a matter of seconds. Mr Newman pulled a magnifying glass out of his pocket and walked over to the line, looking for splinching. He finally looked up after studying every inch of the space Harry had been standing. "Pass" he said. "Congratulations" Ginny said walking over to him. Mr Newman opened the door and went back into the waiting room as Ginny kissed Harry on the cheek. Now that the room was empty her lips moved onto his and they kissed. They were so absorbed in each other that they didn't hear the door open again. They didn't notice Cho's presence until she cleared her throat loudly. The broke apart and looked at her. "You're license" Cho said abruptly, handing him a laminated card. He shoved it in his pocket as she stalked out of the room. Ginny burst out laughing as the door slammed. Their lips met again as Harry turned on the spot. As he was being sucked through the narrow tube their lips slowly broke apart. They were in Diagon Alley and almost got trampled by the witches and wizards going about their shopping. Harry steered Ginny over to the side next to a display of owl cages at Eeylops Owl Emporium. He pulled the list out of his pocket and unfolded it. Seventh Year Book and Equipment List

Potions- restock potion ingredients etc

Defence Against the Dark Arts-

Senior Defensive Magic by Gandhi Fletcher

Charms- Advanced Charming by Miranda Goshawk and The Standard Book of Spells Grade Seven by Miranda Goshawk

Herbology- A Herbologist's Guide to Difficult and Dangerous Plants by Newt Scamander

Transfiguration- Transfigured by Albus Dumbledore

"I didn't know Dumbledore wrote a book" Harry said out loud. Ginny looked over his shoulder at the list. "He was a very skilled wizard. He probably did a ton of things you didn't know about" Ginny said. They walked further down the street until they got to Flourish and Blotts. The front window was consumed by a display of purple books covered in silver stars. There was a moving picture of Albus Dumbledore below the word "Transfigured" in the familiar slanting writing that Harry had come to recognise in his sixth year. A sign in the window said "New! Just in today!" Harry looked confusedly at the sign. "How can Dumbledore write book if he's dead?" he asked nobody in particular. A voice behind him answered. "It was published by McGonagall but written by Dumbledore" it said. Harry immediately recognised the voice as Hermione and turned around. She was holding hands with Ron as she stared at Harry. She was carrying no books so he presumed she was about to enter Flourish and Blotts as well. "Huh?" he asked, still confused. "I don't know the full story but apparently McGonagall found it in a bunch of Dumbledore's old stuff and decided to publish it in his memory. It has colour pages with the articles Dumbledore had published in Transfiguration Today as well" Hermione said excitedly. The conversation ended as they entered the shop. The display of Dumbledore's book inside was attracting a lot of attention, and not just from the seventh year Hogwarts students who had to buy it. The majority of the people in queue at the cash register were clutching a copy of the purple book with silver stars. The four first went over to the section dedicated to Defence Against the Dark Arts and took a copy of Senior Defensive Magic. Advanced Charming and The Standard Book of Spells Grade Seven were close by. Hermione got four of the book they needed for Herbology and they walked up to the rapidly decreasing pile of Transfigured. Harry swore he saw the Dumbledore on the cover of his book wink at him with the familiar bright blue eye behind his half-moon spectacles. When he looked back at it though, Dumbledore was staring off into space. They each waited in line and paid for their books, leaving the store laden with their purchases.