(Two weeks later)
While the kids had enjoyed exploring their new home and spent a lot of time being taught by Inachis on all stuff concerning magic as well as all the other subjects and being tortured by Faith with all the physical stuff, Xander used the time to learn more about the British magical world. He also met with several people from the magical as well as the mundane world and finally he entered Hogwarts for the first time. He was quite impressed by the castle itself so far and saw no reason to deny that. Now he only hoped that they could change a few things to make what happened inside the castle as impressive as the building.
He smiled at the housekeeper who had introduced himself as Mr. Filch and with a nod he told him to lead the way. He enjoyed the walk through the castle and all the little magical things that went with it. Finally, after a not too short walk, they reached the room in which the Board would hold the meeting. "Thank you Mr. Filch for showing me the way," he said, clearly dismissing the man with his tone of voice.
After the man sulked away Xander opened the door without knocking. As he entered the room he saw elven people sitting at a large table, who all stopped their discussion at his entrance.
Most of the people in the room he had never seen before, but he recognized them all from the files Augusta had given to him. There was Augusta Longbottom herself, who he had come to know quite well since Neville had joined Harry and the others. Then there was Marvin Baddock, a former Slytherin, Musidora Barbary, an elderly woman who once upon a time was a Hufflepuff. Paul Dagworth, a Ravenclaw who made his money as a supplier for the Auror Force. Giselle Ellerby, the owner of a small apothecary in Hogsmead. Steve Hooper, a former Auror who taught at their Academy now. Jonathan Greengrass, whose family earned their living as the biggest potions supplier in Europe. Amelia Bones, who was the heading the DLE or something, Xander had forgotten the strange name of the department. Maria Malkin, the owner of Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions shop in Diagon Alley, and Charles Montague, the current owner of the Nimbus company.
These were the current members of the Board of Governors for the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and at the head of the table sat the Headmaster of the school, Albus Dumbledore, who looked like he wasn't too happy to see Xander here. "Mr. Harris," he said in surprise. "We're currently in the middle of a meeting here. What can I do for you?"
Xander smiled at him as he replied, "First off Headmaster, that would be Lord Black to you and second, nothing. I'm not here for you. I'm here for this board meeting and to take my place as a member of the Board of Governors."
"Your place, Mr. Harris?" Dumbledore asked. "You don't have a place here," he continued.
"On the contrary Albus, as Lord Black this young man has a place on this board," Augusta intervened for Xander.
"I can't allow this," Dumbledore said and just as he wanted to say more he was interrupted by Lord Greengrass.
"You can't allow this? I think you're overstepping your authority here, Headmaster. You are here as a courtesy and you have no voice on this board," the former Slytherin said.
Smiling to herself and surprised by the unexpected help from the young Lord Greengrass, Lady Longbottom said, "Albus, the Board has some internal matters to discuss now before we come to our questions regarding your report about the last school year and our decisions for the new year. As such, the board asks you to leave until we summon you again."
"I'm the Headmaster of this school and have a right to be here," Dumbledore insisted.
With a smile Mr. Montague spoke up this time. "Mr. Dumbledore, this is a Board meeting and you were asked to leave. You can go now or the Board will have to ask the castle to remove you from this room."
A seething Dumbledore got up and left the room without another word.
Smiling, Augusta pulled her wand and after a short swish, she put it back again. "Now that we are under a privacy charm, let us welcome Lord Black into our midst."
After the welcome and introductions were over and Xander had taken his place at the table, Augusta continued. "Lord Black and I have met several times over the summer since my grandson is currently enjoying his holidays with Lord Black's ward. We've had quite a few talks, which were quite shocking to me. You all are quite familiar with the reports about the happenings in the school in the last few years?"
As they all nodded Xander stood up and pulled out several files out of a bag, which he then distributed among his fellow Board members. "In those files you'll find several reports from different students of this school about the things that truly have happened here, as well as a few reports about how our fine school is rated outside of Britain. If you would read them now we could then start to discuss some much needed changes."
He couldn't believe it. He, the great Albus Dumbledore, dismissed from the Board meeting like a mere student. 'Who do they think they are?' he thought. He grumbled a few moments longer while he made several plans on how to use his contacts to make them pay for this and then a sinister smile formed on his face as his gaze went over to the table where he had all his small gizmos he used for spying. Feeling a bit better he turned on the device he could use to listen in on the board meeting. After a few minutes of listening he stared at the device in rage and disbelief. 'They threw him out and after a small greeting to that newcomer they were only talking about everyday things that had nothing to do with the school?' He couldn't believe it. After listening to their talk a few moments longer he left his office to have a talk with his Potions Master.
Several hours and quite a few long and hot discussions about what had really been happening at the school the last few years and about what to do about Hogwarts future later, the Board finally came to an agreement on all points.
Lady Longbottom let out a heavy sigh and with a smile she canceled the spell she had cast after Dumbledore had left the room. "Good, those points of our meeting are all done. We should enjoy a small break before we continue."
After all nodded in agreement, she called out, "Miry?" and with a small plop a young female house elf dressed in the colors of house Longbottom appeared.
"Yes, Mistress?" the young elf asked.
"Would you be so kind to bring us some refreshments?" she asked of her house elf.
"Of course Mistress," the elf replied and vanished with another plop. Only moments later refreshments appeared before everyone.
After they had all enjoyed their meal, Xander spoke up. "That was a nice meal. Please give my thanks to your elf Augusta. Shall we continue then?" After they all agreed he called, "Dinkly?"
"Yes Sir?" an older elf said after he appeared.
"Would you please summon Mr. Bins for us and after that get the other people on this list and ask them to wait outside until we call them in," Xander said.
"Yes master," the elf said and then disappeared again.
Only a few minutes later Mr. Bins was led into the room by Dinkly.
"Greetings Professor Bins," Lady Longbottom said and then continued, "We have asked you to this meeting to thank you for your long years of service to Hogwarts and for teaching our children. Because Hogwarts will change quite a lot in the future and the class you currently teach won't be offered any longer in its current form, we are asking you to take your retirement with full honors."
The ghost of the old professor looked at the board members for quite a while and then after a few minutes he nodded and simply faded away without saying a word.
"That went quite well," Lord Greengrass said. Knowing what was coming next he grinned and said, "Dinkly, please bring in the next one on the list."
The elf just nodded and a few moments later he came back in with Professor Snape, who was dressed in his usual black robes with an arrogant smile on his face.
Lord Greengrass stood up this time with a smile on his own. "Mr. Snape, thank you for coming," he said in a tone that sounded quite forced.
"What can I do for the Board?" Snape asked.
"Oh that is easy Mr. Snape. You can go pack your things and leave the castle. You are fired without further notice," Lord Greengrass replied, sounding quite satisfied.
"WHAT?" Snape yelled. "You can't do this. Dumbledore won't allow this."
"Luckily for this school, Dumbledore has no say in this. Until now Dumbledore always kept his protective hand over you and those of us who have children here always dismissed their complaints about you, because we all thought it just children not liking their teacher. After reviewing your performance over the last decade we were shocked. Since you took over as Potions teacher the overall rate of OWL's and NEWT's has dropped by 75%. Until now this Board had always taken the easy way and believed Mr. Dumbledore's reports without asking too many questions. This attitude ended this year after Lord Black and Lady Longbottom showed us the true performance figures on OWL's and NEWT's as well as a few memories from children who took your classes. Now you can accept your dismissal and go quietly or not. The choice is yours," Lord Greengrass finished.
Seething Snape looked at the new Lord Black. The hatred in his eyes was visible to all. "I knew that damn Potter brat was behind this and I will…"
Before Snape could continue Xander stood up and said in a calm tone, "If I ever hear you berating my ward again and blaming your own faults on him, I will see to it you will never be able to do so again. Now go without further delay or I will put you down like I would a rapid dog."
While the other board members looked a bit shocked because of Xander's threat, Snape flushed and his hand went to his wand. He pulled it out and started to yell, "Sec.." but before he could finish the spell he was hit by a stunning spell shot by Madam Bones.
Xander nodded his thanks to her and smiled, "Thank you Madam Bones. It would have been a bit of a hassle to explain why I killed him." After he looked at the stunned form of the former Professor he smiled and then called the house elf Dinkly back to them.
"Dinkly, would you please dispose of this trash outside of the Hogwarts wards? And then bring him all the stuff that belongs to him and not to the school. Thank you," Xander said.
After Dinkly had vanished with Snape Xander got up and went over to the door. He opened it and called in the next one. They talked with each teacher that was currently employed at the school. A few were asked to leave and a few others to stay after they had agreed quite enthusiastically to the changes the board had planned for the school. That took quite a while and after another short break they all looked quite relived that only three more names stood on their list. Dinkly, who had reappeared a while ago after he completed his last task, opened the door and said, "Misses McGonagall, please."
This time it was Madam Bones who took over the talk. "Professor McGonagall, please sit down," she said while pointing at a chair before the board's table. She waited a moment until the Professor had sat down and then continued. "Professor… First of let the board thank you for your work here, but sadly there came a few things to our attention the board didn't like. Your performance as a teacher is flawless as it always has been, but sadly we can't say the same about your work as Head of the House of Gryffindor and as Deputy Headmistress."
While McGonagall looked a bit shocked, but not too surprised at Madam Bones, the same listed all the points the board had in that regard. To mention just one point was the fact that she ignored or dismissed her Gryffindors as they tried to tell her about being tortured by Miss Umbridge by the means of a Blood Quill.
After Madam Bones was finally finished she took a deep breath. "Now Minerva, all those points would be more than enough to sack you and this was discussed here, you can be sure of that. In the end Lord Black and Lady Longbottom spoke for you and because no one can say anything against you being one of the best Transfiguration teachers in the world, we came to the decision that we have to do something, but will leave the final solution to you. Currently you are fulfilling three posts here at the school, which are teaching Transfiguration, being Head of the House of Gryffindor and acting as the Deputy Headmistress. At least one of those posts will have to go, which one is up to you."
After Madam Bones was finished there was a moment of silence until McGonagall took a deep breath. Then she stood up from her chair and walked to the table. She pulled an envelope out of her robe and laid it on the table. "You know, hearing this is kind of amusing. I came here today to give this letter to you. It contains my resignation from all of my posts here at Hogwarts. Because, if I may be frank, I didn't feel able to fulfill my duties here any longer what with always being blocked from the side by the Headmaster or being ignored or shot down by the board if I complained about how the school has been run in the last couple of years."
"Complaints?" Lady Longbottom asked in a surprised tone. "There are no records of any complaints made by you in the last ten years, Professor."
At this McGonagall looked annoyed and the cursed loudly. "That utter bastard, damn why am I even surprised about this, the damn snake?" She took a deep breath and then continued in a calmer tone. "As is customary, I gave all my complaints to the Board representative, but it looks like the former Mr. Malfoy didn't see it fit to bring those up at your board meetings?"
"No surprise there," Xander muttered. "I met that idiot only once, but that was enough. Please tell us Professor, what were those complaints about exactly?"
"Actually quite a lot of the points you listed here and some others as well. If you want, I can provide you with copies of those complaints," McGonagall said.
Xander nodded and quickly called Dinkly, who hurried to get those copies after McGonagall explained where she had kept them.
After Dinkly reappeared with the copies, she gave them to Xander. He looked over them quickly and nodded to his colleagues on the board. Then he turned to McGonagall and said, "In light of this we can't accept your letter of resignation yet. Give us a day to check these over and we will talk again the day after tomorrow. Then we can decide together if you still want to be here and what duties you will fulfill in the future if you do decide to stay." He nodded at the professor and then sat down again, while Augusta stood up.
"Thank you for your time Minerva. If you want, you can leave now, but as I always respect you, I offer you the chance to witness our next talk, if you care to. Maybe it will help you in making your decision regarding your future," she said.
Dumbledore had paced and paced for most of the day, waiting to be called back in front of the board. He had already heard of the sacking of Severus as the rumor hit the staff almost as soon as it happened. He had slammed his fist down on the desk at this piece of news. He cursed Black for ruining all of his plans which required Severus to remain at his post. After that thought he had heard nothing, the portraits had refused to tell him what was going on, which galled him. Finally a house elf arrived and reported the board wished to see him. Standing up he stalked back to the meeting room, intent on putting Black and the other board members in their place.
'How dare they try and do this to me?' he thought bitterly. 'I am Albus Dumbledore, the man who defeated Grindelwald and helped stop Voldemort from conquering this country,' he continued to vent internally, ignoring the looks he got from his fellow Professors as he passed. 'They should be on bended knee, begging me to forgive them,' his more prideful side whispered.
He stopped at the door and glared at it for a few minutes as he tried to refocus his thoughts and put on his usual happy and calm façade. It wouldn't do to show these idiots just how angry he was. Finally he felt ready to face them once more. Opening the door he stepped inside and immediately wished he could glare at Black. This boy had been nothing but trouble since he had arrived. He had ruined everything. Sitting down he waited a few seconds as he was again forced to calm himself down. This was going to be harder than he thought.
"I was told you wished to see me again?" he finally stated, gaining the boards attention.
"Yes Dumbledore we did, because we have reached our official conclusion to this hearing," Madam Bones responded calmly, guessing the old man wouldn't be going to take this well. "I'm afraid that after going through all the records and testimonies we, the board, have no choice but to fire you as headmaster, effective immediately," she told him, much to his horror. "You have lost your sight of what it means to be the headmaster of this school Albus. You've forgotten that the parents of the students have trusted you with the safe keeping of their children," she informed him.
"HOW DARE YOU," Dumbledore roared, unable to keep himself from erupting in outrage.
"SILENCE!" Xander ordered with a glare at Dumbledore which was returned. Xander could see the hatred that the old man held towards him. "You can try and argue all you want, but in the past fifteen years your decisions concerning this school have led to nothing but disaster," he stated. "That says nothing for the last six years. Ever since Harry Potter returned to this world and came to this school, your choices have almost resulted in his death nearly every year and harm has come to other students as a result of those same choices," he added.
"That is a lie," Dumbledore growled in response.
"Is it?" Augusta inquired in a dark tone. "You chose to bring the Philosopher's Stone into this castle, knowing it is a highly dangerous and sought after artifact," she reminded him. "That choice nearly cost Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley their lives," she spat. "Your choice to have a Cerberus guard the trap door on the third floor almost got them killed earlier, along with my grandson, and when they tried to alert the faculty to the danger of someone trying to steal the stone, you conveniently vanished, supposedly recalled to the Ministry. There is no evidence of such a recall. You knew your deputy would ignore the children because her faith in you was absolute," she continued as her anger built. "It was at that point the children almost died going through the traps you'd set up and when she began to question your choices. You laid enough clues through Hagrid, as well as giving Harry his father's invisibility cloak, knowing they would get involved because you planned it to happen," she finished.
Dumbledore opened and shut his mouth a few times, but found he couldn't say anything in response, because Augusta was correct, he had planned it to happen as it did. It was all a test to see what kind of wizard Harry was, whether he would be capable of fighting Voldemort. But they weren't supposed to find that out, which raised the question of how they knew.
"Then there is second year. You hired the most incompetent man imaginable to be the defense teacher, knowing what an idiot he is," Madam Bones took over. "That choice led to the children falling behind in their studies, and it also put them in danger when a damn basilisk got loose," she added. "One, I might add, that you never reported and this was the same beast that killed Myrtle Edmonds fifty years ago," she continued with a glare. "You also failed to report on the fact that several students ended up petrified, which makes me wonder what you would have done had they actually have been killed by this thing's eyes?" she questioned. "By the time the Weasley girl was taken into the Chamber of Secrets there should have been Aurors all over the damn place searching for her and the beast," she growled out. "Instead, yet again it fell to Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger to solve the whole thing. Miss Granger ended up petrified and Harry Potter was almost killed by the basilisk himself when it poisoned him," she went on, doing her best to keep her anger in check. "Thankfully your phoenix healed him. Your great defense teacher turned out to be a fraud who almost wiped the memories of Potter and Weasley completely before wiping his own mind clear," she paused here before locking her glare on him. "As for you, you again conveniently vanished after you allowed Lucius Malfoy to rail road you out of the school on what you knew were faked signatures," she said and this time her tone was flat.
Dumbledore was beginning to sweat as he listened to what was being said. How the hell did they know all this? He had known Lucius had forged the boards' signatures to get him out of the school, but he had thought it was the perfect way to leave to see how Harry and his friends stood up to this new challenge. This was a nightmare, of epic proportions. He had to think and think fast on how to spin this to his own needs, that is if he could.
"Now we move on to 3rd year when you hired Remus Lupin, a known werewolf. Now we understand from our investigations Mr. Lupin was quite popular with the students of all year groups and he taught the most in his classes," Mr. Montague said. "However, as a werewolf Mr. Lupin posed a risk to the students should he ever get loose or fail to take the Wolfsbane potion designed to keep him calm and pliant during his transformations," he added. "Once again you failed to inform the board of the full reasons behind your choice. You didn't hire Lupin because of his skills, but due to his past friendship to Sirius Black and James Potter, as well as his loyalty to you," he spat. "You knew he would help you keep an eye on the boy, which was needed with Dementors stationed around the school," he told him point blank, enjoying putting Dumbledore finally in his place. "Again Potter, Weasley and Granger almost died when they were caught up with the escaped Sirius Black, the still at large Peter Pettigrew and Lupin himself," he paused before continuing. "You knew the students had left the safety of the castle, yet you did nothing to stop them and there is this business of giving Granger a bloody time turner so she could take all the subjects offered, which is insane," he growled.
"Worse, you did not seek or gain Ministry approval for the time turner in the first place," Madam Bones cut in as she leaned forward. "You also encouraged Granger and Potter to use the time turner to go back in time to rescue Sirius Black and a blasted Hippogriff called Buckbeak, again without sanction from the Ministry," she spat in distaste for his actions. "I could go on Albus, I really could, but is there a point?" she asked to her fellow board members.
"I think we can summarise the next two years Madam Bones," Xander assured her. "You helped ensure Potters' name came out of the Goblet of Fire during fourth year, as you knew Mad Eye Moody had been replaced and do not try and say otherwise," he warned. "You and Alistor Moody have been friends for almost thirty years. You knew him down to a tee and thus you knew the moment Crouch Jr. arrived polyjuiced as Moody that it wasn't him," he continued. "You did nothing to try and help Potter get out of the tournament, and there were ways Albus, even if Crouch Senior said otherwise," he pointed out. "No, you wanted him in that tournament, you wanted to test him again for whatever your end goal is," he stated calmly. "Fifth year you ignored all signs of the students being abused by Delores Umbridge, every warning from the school ghosts and portraits was ignored as were the wards which warned you of students in danger," he pressed on. "You ignored your duty to the students of this school Dumbledore, and now you must pay the price for it," he finished. "Of course, another of your choices was assigning Severus Snape to the position of potions teacher, when it is clear that man should never have been allowed near children," he began again.
"Yes, Snape is the most volatile man alive, he has berated and bullied hundreds of children in this school over the years he has been here," Madam Bones snapped. "He has favored only the Slytherins and helped them flaunt the rules of this school with your permission. He helped them bully the other students and taught them nothing but hatred for anyone not a Slytherin," she continued. "He is a disgrace to the school and to the title of teacher, and the fact you have allowed all this, is again proof of your inability to do your job, as is the fact that you have allowed this man to wage a campaign of utter hatred against Harry Potter just because he is the son of James and Lily Potter," she growled. "This includes allowing him to mind rape him multiple times Dumbledore," she spat.
"Everything I have done was for the greater good of our world," Dumbledore interrupted, finally having rallied himself. "I always knew Voldemort would return and that Harry would have to face him. For that he needed to be strong and capable and thus I set tests for him to prove his worth," he explained. "It was clear to me the Ministry wasn't going to do anything as they blindly allowed Death Eaters to escape punishment, just for money," he spat, aiming his comment at Bones and Augusta. "Severus was a key helper in preparing Harry for his task of fighting Voldemort. So what if I had to ignore certain things he did, when the safety of our way of life was at stake?" he pressed. "The life of one teenage wizard is nothing compared to the thousands out there under threat from the Dark Lord, any price is worth his destruction," he raged.
"No!" Xander shot back. "It is not. You used all that as an excuse to play your games and control people," he argued. "You had no one's greater good in mind but your own, and the students have paid the price for your pride. Well, no more," he stated.
"Albus Dumbledore, you are hereby stripped of the title of headmaster and ordered to vacate the school by tomorrow morning with all of your belongings and nothing more," Madam Bones formally stated, having had enough and wanting this meeting to end. "Anything left behind will be burned. Good day Albus," she finished.
"I will not let you get away with this. I still have friends in the Ministry and I will be back," Dumbledore vowed before he turned and stormed out of the room.
"That could have gone better," Mr. Montague said.
"At least it is over now and all we have left is one last bit of business which will be far more pleasant," Augusta pointed out, feeling tired and drained from the day's events. She was sure the others felt the same and so the board members took a break for a few minutes before they called in their last 'victim'. All were relieved that this long day was nearly over and that they only had to finish this last bit of business.
Finally the house elf who had served them whole day, brought in Professor Flitwick.
Lady Longbottom stood up this time and said, "Welcome Professor, please sit down as this will take a moment."
The Professor nodded and while he sat down asked in a calm tone, "So now it's my turn to get sacked like Snape and Dumbledore?"
Augusta shook her head in bemusement and replied, "On the contrary, old friend. We have quite the challenge for you if you agree to take it." She came over to him and held a folder out to him. "In this folder you will find all information about the changes we plan for Hogwarts. On the first page you'll find a short table of content and behind that you find the details to each point, including suggested possibilities for new teachers. Please read the summary and then tell us what you think."
Filius nodded and took the folder out of Augusta's hand, opened it and started to read the table of content. As he continued reading his eyes bulged out more and more, finally he was finished and looked with disbelief at the board members before him. "You can't be serious. Those are a lot of changes you plan for the school. Most of those should have happened years ago and they can never be implemented by September 1st."
"We agree and that is why we plan to implant most of those ideas over the school year. Only those highlighted will have to be done in the next two weeks," Augusta replied with a smile.
"I feel sorry for the poor smug who will get saddled with the post as headmaster," Filius muttered.
Augusta's smile widened a bit more and then she said with mirth in her voice. "The board has decided to offer you the post of headmaster as off now."
Filius looked in shock at Augusta and lost his voice for a moment, until he replied, "Me?"
Augusta nodded and said, "Read the folder and then give me your reply tomorrow. Because the school year starts in only two weeks, Lord Black and I will help you in any we can if you take the post."
As the other board members got up she said, "Have a nice evening Filius." Then she got up as well and left the room with her colleagues.
AN: Phew…it is done…..that damn chapter fought me with tooth and nails and just didn't want to be written. I'll hope you enjoy the result and that it isn't too bad. A big thank you to Razial who helped me out with the Board vs. Dumbledore scene, without his weeks that would have took quite a while longer to be finished.
AN: A big thank you to Inachis for going over this chapter.