Taking Charge

A Harry Potter Fanfiction

by Drauchenfyre

A/N: Well, here it is. The final chapter. I want to thank all my readers and reviewers for following this story, but especially TheresaLynne and Dracarot, who gave me food for thought that helped me past occasional roadblocks in my story.

Chapter 30: Epilogue

23 March 2000

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Midafternoon

Minerva McGonagall stood outside her Transfiguration classroom, watching her apprentice teach the first year Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs how to transfigure water into milk. Hermione Granger was a born teacher, good at communicating information in a fun manner that helped even the slowest students catch on quickly. This coming June, the young woman would be taking both her Mastery exam and her wedding vows, officially becoming Mrs. Hermione Potter. She had insisted, however, that she would remain Professor Granger professionally to avoid the confusion of two Professor Potters.

Harry Potter had, with Hermione's encouragement, developed a skill and passion few knew he had- music. Harry had been a prodigy at the violin, and quite talented a singer. He also picked up instruments with a speed and skill that was a little frightening. He had started this past September as the teacher for Magical Music and Dance when the previous instructor, Professor Warbeck, had stepped down. By that time, Harry was sought after as a musician in both Magical and Muggle Europe, not because he was the Boy-Who-Lived, but because he was just that good. If memory served, Harry should be holding individual lessons for some of the fourth years during this period.

Jogging past Minerva were the sixth year students, led by Ravenclaw's Quidditch captain Ophelia Malfoy and her Gryffindor boyfriend, Dennis Creevey. Albus had managed to find a squib by the name of Thomas Dobbs who had recently retired from Her Majesty's Army as a Drill Sergeant. He had had little difficulty talking the man into putting together a Physical Education program for Hogwarts. With that fitness came increased alertness, mental acuity, and energy levels, and students were improving in all classes, something the entire faculty enjoyed.

Turning to walk down the hall, Minerva drank in the heady sounds of children laughing and learning. This was why she became a teacher, the joy of passing knowledge to the next generation. She was so glad to see Albus become once more the great educator he once was, thanks to the extraordinary events of the 1991-92 school year.

This coming year would see a few old faces departing, and new ones taking their place. Colette Delacour, having completed her Master's thesis in Potions by inventing a Potions regimen that had brought Frank and Alice Longbottom out of their comas, would be taking charge of the Potions classes when her mentor, Nicholas Flamel, retired this year. Neville Longbottom had also completed his Mastery exam in Herbology, and would be taking over the courses currently taught by Pomona Sprout when she left in June for her trip to the Amazon basin to study its native magical flora. Nalshay Glyphs would be stepping down from his instructor role in Magical Law and Government and be replaced by his protege, Draco Malfoy.

Minerva snorted at that one. Draco Malfoy had seemed like a Junior-Death-Eater-in-training when he started as a student in 1991, but several wake-up calls that year had changed his entire outlook on life. The final blow to any Pureblood dogma had been when he had met his Muggleborn girlfriend's father. Colonel Lionel de Wolffe had invited the then-fourteen-year-old boy to a weapons demonstration at the British Army base near Nottingham, where Draco saw first-hand the capabilities of a disciplined Muggle Army. His discussions in the Slytherin common room of what he had seen had convinced any lingering Death Eater sympathizers that war with the Muggles was suicide for the wizards.

Minerva arrived at the gargoyle which guarded Dumbledore's office. The gargoyle moved automatically, as Dumbledore, the past three years, had had an open-door policy with the staff, prefects, and Head students, telling the gargoyle that they were to be automatically admitted anytime he was in his office and not in a meeting.

Arriving in Albus's office, Minerva smiled at the laughter within as Albus and the portrait of Samuel Glyphs joked while Albus plowed through the mountain of parchmentwork that went with running a school of this size- but not so much that he stayed in his tower full-time like he once did. Indeed, if one of his teachers was ill or unavailable one day, Albus was usually the first in line for substitute teaching. He so enjoyed being among the students, and helping shape those young minds was adding years to his life.

Which is why Minerva was still having trouble with understanding why he was stepping down and retiring.

Samuel looked over from his portrait and saw his old friend. "Hey, Min!" he greeted. "What brings you to the ivory tower of academia today?"

Minerva playfully scowled at the old professor. "Scamp. If you still had a body, I'd take you over my knee."

"Promises, promises, Min."

Albus chuckled at the banter between the two. He knew, with Samuel taking charge of the building itself and Minerva running the education side, that he was leaving the school in good hands. Hogwarts had once more become what it always claimed to be- the finest school of wizardry in the world. Now was the time to take what time he had left and fulfill a childhood dream- seeing the world. He had been granted an audience with the Lama of Shangri-La in September- a great honour, as he seldom spoke to those outside his hidden city. From there, he would go where the wind took him.

"The new incoming class, Minerva?"

"Yes, Albus. Eighty-five students starting this year- the largest intake class I've seen in decades."

"That's because the rest of Europe finally agrees that we're simply the best, Min. I'll bet a good chunk of those students are from outside Britain."

Minerva flushed. Samuel was right- nearly a third of the incoming first years were from the Continent- and one was even from a wealthy Muggle family in America! Hogwarts had finally started attracting foreign students again in the last five years thanks to the revised curriculum and expanded electives.

"Eighty-five, hmmm? Any Esper-positives, Minerva?"

"Only one, Albus- a girl for Italy named Michelle Marcella."

Six years ago, at Firenze's suggestion, Divination had been taken off the Electives list. Instead, incoming students were given a test, invented in Brazil, that determined whether a witch or wizard had any Divination-related gifts- Seer, Prophet, and so on. Those that tested positive were given individualized instruction by the palomino centaur in how best to access and interpret their gifts. Minerva had whole heartedly approved the change, as most of the students signing up for Divination had been giggly gossip girls or boys looking for an easy grade.

"Well, I am sure you know the procedures better than I at this point, Minerva. I just know I'll be leaving the school in good hands."

"You'll be back, Uncle Al," Samuel piped up, "Maybe not as a teacher, but this castle has been your home for too many years for you not to visit. Don't worry, we'll keep the home fires burning."

"Well," Minerva stated, "I have visitations to schedule. Thirteen of our intake domestically are Muggle-born- I have to meet with their families over the next few weekends."

"Have you chosen your new Deputy, Minerva?"

"Lawrence has consented to take the position when you retire and I step up to Headmistress, Albus. He's a good man."

"I have no doubt, Minerva. I just want this change-over of power to go smoothly. You still need to choose your new Heads of House for Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. You might also want to line up replacements for Ravenclaw and Slytherin- both Filius and Aurora are considering retirement in the next few years."

"Merlin, that's just what I need- four brand-new Heads of House at the same time."

"Exactly the argument I used when I talked them both out of retiring this year."

"And I thank you for that, Albus. Now, I shall leave the list here for you to peruse, and get on with my duties."

With that, Minerva walked out of the Headmaster's office, secure in the knowledge that she would do her old mentor proud when he had her take charge of his school.

STORY END