Chapter VII

The Unsung Heroes of Gryffindor

Dumbledore called Harry, Ron, and Hermione to his office a week later. The Headmaster opened the door for them and they were led in towards the front of his table, where Professor Gargarin, Professor McGonagall, Madam Hooch, and the Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge were already waiting for them.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione looked at each other for they didn't know the purpose of this meeting. Ron was thinking that they would be subjected to the Memory Charm to wipe their minds about the Oarling.

"Hello, Mister Potter, Mister Weasley, and Miss Granger," said Fudge. "Nice to see you, you're all looking good, I say."

"Thanks," they answered in unison.

"We will be having a little awarding ceremony for you, Harry, Ron, and Hermione," announced Dumbledore. "Professor Gargarin, anytime when you're ready."

Gargarin cleared her throat. "I am pleased to announce that the Ministry of Magic has authorized me to award Mister Harry Potter, Mister Ronald Weasley, and Miss Hermione Granger with Order of the Unicorn award for their outstanding bravery that resulted in the extinction of the evil Oarling race." Gargarin went over to Harry, Ron, and Hermione and hung three identical medals around their necks. "Congratulations."

Professor Dumbledore stood up from his chair and clapped his hands in applause, along with everybody else except the three awardees. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were beaming and examining their medallions feeling proud, though they did not know how important the Order of the Unicorn could be, but they felt that maybe it was a great honor. The Gryffindor Head of House, Professor McGonagall, stood proudly as she watched.

"Thank you very much," said Harry. "Cool! Mom would be proud of me," Ron said. Hermione said, "I appreciate it, sir."

Gargarin looked at Dumbledore, who gave her a nod; it looked like she needed Dumbledore's approval about something. "We're proud seeing you wear those medallions, and write your names in the Hall of Fame but, ahem, we would have to ask you to give them back," she said, her face wearing a gentle smile.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione exchanged puzzled looks. Ron couldn't believe that he might be losing the chance to show this off to his brother, Percy, who would certainly turn green. (WHAT?!?)

"All information about the Oarling is a tightly guarded secret," said Fudge. " We would like it to stay that way. You'll have to promise me you won't talk to anyone about the creature and what happened in the dungeons. I'm not threatening you or anything but, you know, if you don't promise, I'll have to subject you to the Memory Charm."

Harry, Ron, and Hermione laughed when they understood what Fudge meant. What's the point of showing off the medallion if you can't talk about it?

"The memory charm will be totally unnecessary, Cornelius," assured Dumbledore. "Won't it, Harry?"

"We promise to keep it a secret, Mr. Fudge," said Harry smiling as he removed his medallion and returned it to Gargarin. "Yeah," said Ron as he sighed and shrugged it off. The memory of that event was very valuable for the three of them. Hermione giggled.

Fudge nodded to Dumbledore, and returned his attention to Harry, Ron, and Hermione. "Your feats will be known only to the people around this room, my successor, and to all of the aurors who have risked their lives to stop the Oarling. You are heroes for us. You have our gratitude." Everybody smiled around the room.

"Good. Very well, then," said Fudge, "shall we have a little celebration?"

Cakes, pastries, tea, juices, and candies appeared on the table over to the side of Dumbledore's office and everybody helped themselves with snacks.

Hagrid went inside Dumbledore's office. "'Lo, there Harry, Hermione, Ron. Nice ter see ya'll in one piece."

"'Lo, Hagrid," Harry, Ron, and Hermione said happily.

Hagrid turned to Dumbledore. "They're ready to cast the spell, Professor Dumbledore," he said. "They're waiting for us in the dungeons."

Harry was pleasantly surprised to see Hagrid holding Mrs. Norris (Filch's cat) by the tail. She was making furious swipes with her front paws on Hagrid's coat, her hair standing on end. Hagrid didn't seem to mind her, though.

"I see, Hagrid," said Dumbledore. "You know where to find Mr. Filch."

Mr. Filch! Harry forgot all about him. He wondered where he was already. Hermione's mouth fell open with unmistakable amusement to see Hagrid open one of Dumbledore's closets and remove a leaden Filch (wide-eyed and sneering) that was standing inside. Hagrid clutched Filch under his large arms and walked off toward the door. "We'll start when yer ready down there, Professor Dumbledore," said Hagrid as he spun around to see the Headmaster, Mr. Filch's leaden head hitting the door frame with a big thud. "Oops, sorry about that, Filch," said Hagrid. "See yer all!"

Harry, Ron, and Hermione were overwhelmed with laughter. Madam Hooch tried to suppress a laugh but failed miserably.

"Oh, Cornelius," Dumbledore called. "We still have one last task to do to put the problem of the Oarling behind us. I'll escort you to the dungeons."

"Ah, yes, Albus," replied Fudge as he replaced his teacup on a saucer on the table. "You reckon they have found the right spell to restore him?"

"I believe so," Dumbledore replied. We can always ask Professor Sprout to start planting Mandrakes. Anyway, we're not in a hurry, are we?" Dumbledore winked at Harry as the Headmaster and Minister of Magic exited the office.

Professor Gargarin approached Hermione and put a gentle hand on her shoulder. "This is where I leave now, Miss Granger," she said. "My work is done here, and I just want to say goodbye to you." Gargarin and Hermione shook hands.

"Why so soon, Professor?" asked Hermione with a "not now" kind of look. "We've hardly even known you yet, and we're really enjoying your potions lessons. "

"Thank you for that kind compliment, Miss Granger," said Gargarin with a wide smile. "Unfortunately, I still have some unfinished business to take care of as an auror. I hope you understand."

Hermione nodded, "I understand," she said, sighing. "If that's so, Professor, thank you for coming here at Hogwarts for me. I will never forget what you've done for me," said Hermione with her eyes now getting teary again.

"You're welcome, Hermione," said Gargarin. She was surprised when Hermione embraced her by the waist. Gargarin sighed and hugged Hermione, too, around the shoulders. "Ohhh, I would give anything I have in the world to have a daughter like you," Gargarin said, closing her eyes as she rested her cheek on Hermione's head. Hermione looked up smiling at Gargarin's face, still hugging her. The beautiful sight was touching Harry and Ron.

"You are very fortunate to have friends like Mister Potter and Mister Weasley, Hermione," said Gargarin as she looked down at her. "Your friendship to them is like magic. Nurture and value it above everything else, and no one, nothing, can take you all apart. You have a part in them, and they have a part in you. You are all one." Gargarin pinched Hermione's cheek and kissed her gently on the forehead. "And I have to admit I'm growing jealous with you, Hermione," joked Gargarin as she glanced at Harry and Ron. Hermione giggled while Harry and Ron blushed.

Gargarin held out a hand to Harry and Ron and they shook hands. "Nice to have known you, Mister Potter and Mister Weasley," she said. "Likewise, Professor," Harry replied. Ron nodded, smiling.

"If you need help from me against You-Know-Who, Harry, just send me an owl," she said, winking an eye and she walked off. Harry suddenly wished she wouldn't have to go so soon. Hermione went off after Gargarin. "Professor!" she called as she stopped inches behind her. Gargarin turned around, smiled and said, "Yes, Hermione?"

Hermione took something out of her bag, and gave a small box to Gargarin with both hands. "I hope you accept this. This is all I can give to you, a simple remembrance from me."

Gargarin gave a very wide smile, and said, "Why, how sweet of you, Hermione…" She opened the box and was very pleased to see a heart-shaped locket with a picture of Hermione inside it. "Thank you, Hermione, it's beautiful. I will cherish this for the rest of my life, thank you." Gargarin wore the necklace and took a look again at Hermione's picture and closed the locket. "I won't forget you." They both hugged once more and said, "Goodbye."

Hermione just stood there watching Gargarin walk out of sight. Harry and Ron went over to her and put their arm over her shoulders, Hermione in between them. She looked at them from side to side and kissed their cheeks. "Thanks, guys!" she said happily.

"Oh, don't mention it," said Harry, blushing. "We just needed someone to annoy us all the time…" When Hermione's eyes began to widen at him, Harry quickly said, "Just kidding!" Ron laughed.

They walked out of Dumbledore's office, arms around shoulders, all laughing and skipping together all the way towards the Gryffindor common room.


The Auror and The Oarling

Written by: Triggy

January 2002

This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.