Several days later Harry was still fuming over what Dumbledore had tried to do. Because of his bad mood it took him several minutes after arriving to the Great Hall to notice that it was utterly silent and that most of the occupants were staring at him.
Harry snapped, "WHAT?" And most of the students looked away but Hermione was suddenly beaming at him.
"Oh, Harry, it's wonderful!" She cried.
Harry felt so confused, "What is?"
She simply handed him the Daily Prophet which displayed the bold headline Ministry Declares the Return of You-Know-Who.
Harry felt stunned. He had been trying to work on the smaller issues and hadn't yet even really gotten around to trying to convince people about the truth about Voldemort. He asked, "What brought this on?"
Hermione was too excited to wait for him to read and said, "Madame Bones has been appointed acting Minister and she said that with as clearly incompetent as the previous Minister was she is considering everything he said to be false, including his declaration that you were lying. She also said that though you could be lying, something she says she will determine soon, we really can't afford to take the chance that he really is back and we aren't doing anything about it."
Harry was stunned. People were actually thinking for once! This was incredible! He couldn't help but wonder though, "That's great and all but do they actually intend to do anything about it?"
Ron jumped in now, "Yeah! The auror program is going to be better trained and is going to start preparing for war. Plus since the dementors sided with You-Know-Who last time and can't be trusted this time they're going to increase the security around Azkaban—"
Ron clearly wasn't finished speaking but Hermione cut him off by saying, "Madame Bones is trying to push for trials to prove whether or not the people who got off last time by saying they were under the imperius curse really were or not. She says that she believes it to be fair because the people who have lived with suspicion ever since can finally truly clear their name and there is really only one reason to refuse to testify about whether or not they were forced. This means that all the Death Eaters who got off free will finally pay!"
Harry felt like he had just won the lottery. He didn't think that even someone as competent as Amelia Bones who was clearly brilliant would be enough to convince this stubborn culture that seemed so determined to shoot themselves in the foot.
Malfoy stormed over and shouted, "Look what you've done Potter! You've ruined everything!"
Harry looked at Malfoy coldly, "Actually I think this is the best thing that could possibly have happened."
Malfoy looked ready to interrupt, but Harry didn't give him an opportunity. "This needed to happen. Because so many Death Eaters got off free they were able to teach their bigotry and so-called superiority to a whole new generation. Just look at you. I have yet to hear a single original thought from you in the five years I've known you. It's always "My father" this or "My father" that. I don't think you even know how to think for yourself. You are trying so hard to be like your father and if he had been convicted of his crimes and sent to Azkaban when he should have you might not be such an insufferable child!"
Malfoy turned an ugly shade of red but Harry plowed on, "You want to be a Death Eater like your dad because he has been manipulating you. Did he ever tell you what being a Death Eater was like? I saw him with his followers. He tortured them. Pettigrew cut off his whole hand to personally revive Voldemort and as thanks he left Pettigrew writhing on the ground as he waited for the others to show up. And when they did he tortured them for it"
Several people, including Draco, paled considerably. "Being a Death Eater isn't about glory or even about blood supremacy. Voldemort himself is a half-blood." Harry was forced to pause due to all the gasps and vehement denials. "He looked at the rest of the hall dispassionately. "Look it up. His name is Tom Marvolo Riddle. It's an anagram for 'I Am Lord Voldemort.' He even told his followers that night that they were in the presence of his muggle father's grave. And besides, how does thinking yourself superior due to your blood turn into mass genocide of every other creature in existence? Seriously, you people seem to oppress every other creature that exists and then you wonder why no one is ever on your side. I wonder why centaurs and goblins despise you." He said bitingly sarcastic.
"But that's not even the point. How could denying criminals who never paid for their crimes access to key parts of the Ministry possibly ruin anything? I think this will save the world from plunging into another "dark time" that all the people who were a part of the last war seem so terrified of. Maybe, just maybe, when people realize that it won't pay to be a Death Eater, that they aren't going to get off scott-free by claiming they were forced without any proof to support their claim, maybe they won't support a psychotic Dark Lord bent on genocide.
"And its ridiculous how many people are going to be indignant about this. If you look around and think about it, it seems more and more to me that my innocent godfather was the only one to ever be punished for being a Death Eater. That isn't right. It isn't fair. And don't try and tell me that life isn't fair because I know that all too well. If life was fair my parents would be alive. If life was fair I would have grown up with my godfather who clearly loves me. If life was fair I wouldn't have spent 10 years with magic-hating relatives that were determined to 'squash the nonsense' out of me."
Harry was momentarily taken aback when what sounded almost like a gasp of denial and horror came from Dumbledore of all people but he continued, "If life was fair after the first time the headmaster showed how little he cared about the students' safety he would have been sacked. If life was fair we wouldn't be suffering through a c tradition of incompetent DADA teachers. If life was fair I—a fifteen year old orphan with little real knowledge of the wizarding world—wouldn't be forced to be the one to save the world because no one else wants to get off their arse and do something.
"Nothing about my life is fair. And I've learned to live with it. Your father being outed as the murdering lowlife he is is fair. The Minister being sacked for all-around incompetence is fair. Dumbledore eventually paying for his hand in endangering every student in this castle is fair. Not having the whole wizarding world demand you save them while they all wait in their homes content to praise me when I am a "hero" and ostracize me when they are told I am dark and then love me again when apparently I wasn't quite as evil or crazy or a liar as everyone thought. I am done just accepting all the injustice. It needs to stop. I am not going to be a sacrificial lamb. I am not going to walk to my death so that nobody else has to do anything."
There was a distinctly heavy silence ringing through the entire hall as everyone absorbed the words. Everyone looked at Harry and saw many things in that moment. They saw a great leader that they would be glad to follow. They saw a frightened child that was drowning in other people's expectations. They saw someone their own age who was clearly be thrown to the wolves in the hopes that they may be left alone. Above all though, they saw a soldier, and that disturbed them more than anything else. He was their age! How had this happened? Why didn't anybody do anything? And why did it take a teenager to point out everything that was wrong with their world?
Harry looked at Draco, who now looked thoughtful rather than pissed off, and said, "Before you try and accuse me of anything, next time try and think about it. Forget about your dad, are you satisfied with the person you are right now? Do you really want to be this person? If so than you should prepare yourself because you are not going to get the easy road your father did. I intend to ensure that all Death Eaters have as hard a time as possible. And I intend to make sure that that as few people as possible get hurt this time.
"I am honestly afraid of what's coming. We need to secure our freedom but the price for freedom must always be paid in blood. I don't want anyone to die. But I won't stand by and do nothing. Martin Luther King Jr said it best: "Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." I intend to demand my freedom. And that shouldn't ruin anything other than the bigoted idea that if you are not the ideal standard you should lead as miserable a life as possible as punishment for being born."
Harry glanced at the staff table and met Dumbledore's eyes, "Nothing worth having comes easy. And we won't make it if we don't remove the parts of society that are poisoning the rest. To prevent Voldemort taking over we need to actually do something rather than wait for him to come to us. And after that we need to remove all the corrupt practices and get rid of the people who allowed it to happen the first time and then did nothing when they saw it begin again."
Harry addressed the hall again. "Don't pick a messiah. I am not an almighty savior. Dumbledore has never shown any concern for any of our safety. The Ministry has its own agenda. Voldemort just wants to see the world burn. Try actually finding out what is going on and then decide what you should do about it. You know Voldemort is back. Do something about it. You know I won't fight if everybody expects me to do it alone. Do something about it. You know that you might die. Do something about it."
Harry paused and looked around before he finished, desperation clear in his voice. "Please," he pleaded, tired beyond belief, "just do something."