Harry was slowly getting used to being both a Professor and a member of the Order, which under normal circumstances; he would not be permitted to be either for at least another year. Meanwhile, the Death Eaters had lifted the frequency and severity of their attacks and Harry was on minimal sleep as he was constantly called to fight against them. When the mood at Hogwarts reached an all-time low and even the first years were behaving like adults, Harry snapped. He decided that Hogwarts needed a morale-booster, although he refused to call it that, remembering Lockhart. Soon after, every time the Death Eaters performed a publicised attack, the entire school was pranked. No one suspected Harry except for Snape- who, to Harry's utter disbelief, joined in on the pranking after hearing Harry's motives.
It was a week until the mid-year exams, and Harry was exhausted. He had just come back from a Death Eater attack and this time it had been on Diagon Alley. The alley was a mess. They had hit at 4pm in the afternoon, when the alley was at its most busy. They had hundreds of dementors sweeping through the alley and terrorised anyone they could. When the Order finally arrived on the scene, the Death Eaters were slowly driven back but there was a huge amount of injury, and Harry was the only one that seemed to be able to do any real damage to Voldemort's followers as Dumbledore had not joined in on the fight. What Harry didn't realise, was that Dumbledore had in fact been there, spying on Harry to make sure he was pulling his weight and not joining forces with the people wearing black and silver masks. The old man was pleased with Harry's conduct during the battle.
When Harry returned to Hogwarts, he wanted nothing more than to collapse on his bed and sleep but he knew that this was going to be heavily publicised and warranted a large prank. He decided that he would have to prank the students rather than the teachers, as was customary. The students seemed to find amusement in seeing their all-powerful headmaster stuck to the ceiling wearing bright pink robes. He wasn't going to tell Snape about this prank, but set to work quickly, and after an hour fell asleep with a large smile on his face.
Over the next few days, the students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry were pranked several times daily. No one was quite sure who the culprit was except for the man himself who was very pleased with himself and Snape who had a very firm hunch. The pranks did have the desired effect as the students were so concentrated on being on the lookout for pranks that no one was brooding over the Diagon Alley attack.
In no time at all, it was Harry's first real test as a teacher- the mid-year exams. Harry thought that the majority of his students were doing really well, despite the disrupted teaching methods they had been exposed to and there were only a few students he was really worried about.
It was nearing the end of Harry's final exam- 7th year DADA. This was the exam he had been most nervous about. The students all respected him as their teacher- except for Ron- but he was dreading marking the exams as he was almost certain that the people he had once called his friends had failed. Indeed- as he looked over at the pair of them, Hermione was scowling at the test paper, and Ron had a frown on his face, staring at the paper- but neither his quill nor his eyes moved in over 10 minutes. Harry sighed. He really was not going to enjoy this.
"5 minutes remaining, everyone," he called, looking at the clock he had hung on the back wall for the exam period. Harry sat for the next 5 minutes thinking about how much his ex-friends had changed.
"Quills down now, everyone. You as well, Ms. Granger. Thank you. Accio parchment!" Harry quickly decided that he needed to get the 7th years over and done with, so he spent the remainder of the day marking those exams. He was disappointed when he saw that Ron and Hermione had indeed failed. He was talking to Minerva at diner when he remembered and brought it up with her.
"Ron and Hermione have changed so much," he whispered, "They both failed my exam and don't pay any attention in class. If the old Hermione saw herself… what happened to them?"
"You," replied Minerva, "They both tried hard to beat you at everything. Mr. Weasley wanted to prove that he could be as good as the famous boy-who-lived. When you left they lost focus. The teachers had to be bribed into letting them into 7th year," she said crossly. Harry was annoyed.
"Why? Surely they would be better off in 6th year, instead of falling behind their classmates. They're a joke to the people in the classroom! Repeating a year would be good for both of their overly inflated egos, too."
"They didn't spy for free, you know. One of the privileges they received was passing grades," she said. It was only then when they realised that Flitwick had overheard part of their conversation, and Harry knew he was going to have to explain everything to the Ravenclaw Head before he brought the conversation to the attention of Dumbledore.
"Filius, can I speak to you later, please?" he asked nervously.
"Of course, Harold. Your office, mine's a mess!" he squeaked. Harry was relieved, as he showed no signs of having connected the dots between Harold Emmeris and Harry Potter, but he knew it was only a matter of time.
After dinner, Harry took Flitwick up to his quarters and gave him the full tour, which impressed the man no end due to the high level charm work that went into some of the rooms, especially the crafting room. Once the tour was over, Harry explained the situation to him, and Flitwick was stunned that 'Professor Emmeris, Master of Every Subject and the man-who-defeated-Dumbledore-in-a-duel' was actually 17 year old Harry Potter, boy-who-lived and presumed deceased man. However, when Flitwick left his quarters hours later, Harry was confident that his secret was safe for the time being.
Before he went to bed that night, Harry thought over the wards he was going to place with Minerva the next day.
It took the two teachers almost a week to finish upgrading the wards on the castle, but with Flitwick's help, they deemed the place near impenetrable. They were glad that both Flitwick and Harry were wards masters as they wouldn't feel half as safe at night if they hadn't had that level of skill going into the new wards. Indeed, many people slept more soundly after the upgrades as the Death Eaters had once again lifted their attacks. The Order was constantly in battle and all of the members were exhausted. Harry had resorted to using the time charm on his bedroom to get extra hours of sleep but he couldn't do the same thing for the others as it was imperative that it stayed secret- the damage someone could do with it was unthinkable.
The attacks were becoming so frequent that Harry's ranks were going off constantly. The benefits of this was the students were always on edge looking around for the elusive prankster that they were becoming extremely alert and spotted almost everything around them. Harry was pleased- the Death Eaters would have their work cut out trying to sneak up on any of them! He made sure to prank himself frequently and left one person from each house un-pranked- except for when he did whole-house pranks, where he made sure to go easy on them. Those 4 students were the main suspects so the rest of the school pranked them frequently and the result was the largest prank-war ever at Hogwarts. (Harry confirmed that with the castle. The only prank war that ever got close was the one in 997-998 Gryffindor and Hufflepuff against Ravenclaw and Slytherin)
Harry also changed the content of his classes. Information was thrown at the students, trying to give them as much information as possible. They focused mainly on spells and curses that would help them in unfair fight and duels as well as different ways to avoid detection and ways to escape unnoticed. This also increased the success of pranks, to Harry's delight. Harry also took several students a week for extra lessons in potions where they brewed basic antidotes and healing potions that the majority of the students carried everywhere and Harry began to make potions belts for those students. Harry was often approached by students for extra lessons in classes they believed they weren't doing as well in, as well as a more battle-focused approach to a subject. (For example transfiguration in battle) Hogwarts was becoming an army.
"Ron," said Hermione nervously, "I know you don't like lessons, but… do you think we should ask Professor Emmeris for some private lessons? It's just… we're failing EVERY subject. We have NEWTs at the end of the year. But the main reason is the Death Eaters will try and take us 'cause we hung around Potter when he was here. With his saving-people thing, they will expect him to come out of hiding when he hears that his best friends have been taken hostage. He gives plenty of students' private lessons, and maybe it's time to put some more effort in…" she was chewing on her lip nervously.
"Are you serious? More lessons? Besides, what could he teach us? He's younger than us!" he exploded.
"I…oh… you're right, of course…" but Hermione didn't look like she agreed with Ron. It was then that the girl spotted a note in front of her and picked it up.
Ron and Hermione-
I am arranging for the two of you to have extra Defence lessons with Professor Emmeris. He is very good at his subject- you may remember him defeating me in a duel. You both need to be able to protect yourselves now more than ever as I believe the two of you will be a large target for many Death Eaters. Be at my office at 9am on Saturday to discuss this thoroughly with both Prof. Emmeris and myself. I must stress this point; do not do anything to anger the man as he is already most displeased with you both.
"Target for Death Eaters," groaned Ron, "Oh… well… alright, I s'posse we'd better see Dumbledore. But extra lessons with a teacher younger than us? I mean, c'mon! Maybe it's a disguise… WE have to teach HIM… yeah… that makes more sense."
"Thank you, Ron, this will really help us," said Hermione delicately. Ron merely grunted ant the subject was dropped until Saturday.
While Ron and Hermione were discussing the extra lessons, Dumbledore approached Harry.
"Harold, my boy! I have some students that I feel would benefit from some extra Defence lessons, and I am asking you to instruct them."
"Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley, I believe they are Death Eater targets due to their old friendship with Potter…"
"You mean; Ron and Hermione because you once thought about getting them to spy on Neville for you as he fits a portion of the prophecy," said Harry sharply. "Headmaster, I know the prophecy. The whole prophecy. I do not believe that Potter is dead; it's his destiny to defeat Voldemort. Stop trying to fit everyone in around the prophecy! You made a mistake with Harry, training his spies rather than him. Do not let Neville suffer his fate without any reason. Even if Harry is gone, Voldemort has already marked me as his equal also. I fit the mould too. I also know that Harry managed to hold the prophecy. Let Neville be a normal kid! However, I will take Weasley and Granger for extra tuition. Heaven knows they need it.
"How do you know the prophecy?"
"Harry's a great person… we trained together for a bit."
The next day, Dumbledore was thinking over Harry's words.
They trained together… Emmeris believes that Potter's still alive. There's something that he's not telling me, I just wish I knew what! If they trained together… Potter is dangerous. I'll have to check at Gringotts, they always know if a person is alive or not. Can't believe I didn't think of this earlier! If he's alive, Harold has an alarmingly good argument for Potter being the Chosen One. Longbottom was never marked… or maybe Harold is the one? He's right; he certainly is more likely than Longbottom. I need to think about this… none of them are turning into my ideal weapon! Hmmm…
Half an hour later, a thoroughly confused Dumbledore exited Gringotts. Yes, Potter was alive, yes, he was making regular withdrawals, yes, he was living in Scotland, yes, he had a job, and no; he wasn't in hiding. The goblins actually looked amused- amused! When he complained about being unable to find the boy. They obviously knew where he was and by their reactions, he was close by. Sometimes the best place to hide is in plain sight… But where?
Harry was snickering. He had just been to Gringotts, and the goblins had told him of Dumbledore's meeting to the amusement of everyone in the room. At least it would keep him off Neville's back. And speaking of Neville…
"Sorry I'm late, Albus, I had a meeting with the goblins."
"Don't worry, Harold, and take a seat, Weasley and Granger will be here in a moment. Lemon Drop?"
"No thank you, Albus, I don't need a calming drought." They both sat in silence, each remembering their latest encounter with the goblins- Harry with a small smirk on his face and Dumbledore looking thoroughly annoyed and confused, when there was a knock on the door.
"Come in!" called Dumbledore jovially.
"Good Morning, Professor Dumbledore," said Hermione sweetly. Ron just grunted.
"Good Morning, Ron, Hermione!" said Dumbledore cheerfully, while Harry said in a cool voice;
"Emmeris," sneered Ron. Harry ignored him.
"I have been… requested to take the two of you for extra tuition in the subject of Defence Against the Dark Arts. I will warn you now; I have accepted, but I will not go easy on you. Starting next term, you will be in my duelling classroom at 5pm every Friday night. You will not be late, and you will be dressed in comfortable clothing that does not restrict movement. Any other subject you want tuition for will be scheduled for a different time. If you slack off, you will not be permitted in my classroom again. Do not let this be a mistake to teach you. If you do not manage to improve on the Troll both of you earned in the mid-year exams, I will be most… displeased." Ron sneered at him.
"What could you teach us? We're older than you, and Hermione's the best in our year," he said smugly.
"Really?" Harry asked coolly, and Ron nodded.
"Your grades tell a different story, as do the discussions I have had with your teachers. Do not test me, Weasley. You have proven yourself unworthy of my respect and form now on you will address me as Master or sir. If you earn a detention… from any teacher, you will serve it duelling me," said Harry shortly, as Ron was really getting on his nerves. He was behaving worse than Malfoy! 10 minutes later, Harry was allowed to leave and he sighed in relief. Ron and Hermione had been asked to stay, and Harry had no doubt as to what they were discussing. Harry went to each of Ron's teachers and told them what Ron would be doing if he ever earned a detention from any of them. They were all little too pleased when he told them. Ron was clearly not very popular amongst the staff.
The next morning was Sunday and Harry was so preoccupied with the lessons he would be giving his ex-friends next term that he forgot to put his Harold Emmeris disguise on when he went for his morning run. Thankfully, only Sprout was on the grounds.
"Harry Potter?" she asked incredulously.
"Professor Sprout! Please don't tell Dumbledore," he said, out of breath, and raising his disguise.
"Of course not! You're Harold? Who else knows?"
"Apart from you, Filius and Minerva are the only Professors, but Remus, Moody, Kingsley and Tonks all know as well. You spotted me without my disguise, I told Filius when I returned, Remus, Moody, Kingsley and Tonks I left a way for them to communicate with me while I was gone and they told Minerva halfway through last year."
A few days before the end of term, Harry was sitting in his office, silently conversing with Hogwarts, Merlin and the Founders when an alarm went off in his head. Hogsmeade was under attack! His teaching robes were quickly switched for his best duelling robes; weapons were added to his belt and holsters. His staff shrunk down and placed in his spare wand holster and he quickly drank down a Pepper Up and other strength and energising potions before using elvin teleportation to bypass the wards and get straight to Hogsmeade.
It was a massacre! There was over a hundred Death Eaters and the villagers were too frightened to attack them. Harry was the only Order member there. He sighed. This is going to be one long, hard fight. Thank Merlin I remembered to drink those potions before I left! He sent all the elements rushing towards the Death Eaters before leaping into battle. He started picking off the Death Eaters, one by one, stunning and binding them together with an advanced stunner that only he could undo. By the time Voldemort's followers realised that he was the biggest- and only- threat, he had already taken out three quarters of their ranks. The remaining 30 or so closed in on him and the villagers stopped to watch. He was exhausted by now. 25 left… there was a tempting Pepper Up potion in his belt… 20… the potion would be nice about now… 15… a break would also be nice about now… 10… his quarters were more welcoming than ever before, now… 5… where was the Order, anyway?... 1… blood replenishing potion would be nice, too… 0… finally! Now for those potions… wait… Voldemort? Harry looked around. Over a hundred Death Eaters were stunned and bound in the centre of the village and the Order was yet to show up. The villagers were all cowering in their homes and shops and it was just him and Voldemort out on the street. He sighed again.
"Tom!" he cried, "Good to see you again! You know, you really need to pick your followers more carefully. Seriously? Over 100 of them couldn't even take out their only opponent. Tsk tsk, Tom, you're clearly a terrible teacher."
"Who are you?" sneered Voldemort, trying and failing to hide his shock.
"Tom! I'm shocked, how could you not remember me? You called me your guest of honour at your rebirth!" Harry mock-whined.
"Potter? You're dead, though," he said nervously.
"Clearly," Harry drawled. "Stupefy!" and the duel began.
The two of them traded spell and curses at an incredible pace, neither of them gaining the upper hand. Harry could tell that Voldemort, unused to long duels, was tiring quickly, but not quickly enough as Harry was beginning to feel light-headed from the blood loss. By now, there was a huge number of spectators- somehow, the villagers had got the message through, but Harry knew that he had to finish the duel now- or lose. He saw Voldemort cast another killing curse and Harry quickly conjured a solid shield and sent a stunner around it. He watched in slow-motion as his stunner collided with the green light- and reflected it back into its caser. Voldemort's eyes widened a fraction just before the curse hit him and he fell to the ground, dead. There was a moment's silence, before Harry yelled an incendio. The burnt body knocked everyone out of their shock and they all began to cheer. Harry sat down quickly and healed the worst injuries and downed a blood-replenishing and pepper up potions before the questions began. Apparently, in all the excitement, no one had noticed the large pile of bound bodies in the middle of the village. There was even reporters on the scene, and no one wanted to hear that Harry was tired or injured- they all had to thank him personally for defeating Voldemort. Finally, he managed to raise his voice just enough to be heard.
"Hey! I know it's exciting, but I'm exhausted! I've just duelled over 100 Death Eaters and then Voldemort. I need to rest, so can someone else please deal with them-" Harry waved his hand in the direction of the captured Death Eaters and the crowd gasped. Harry almost rolled his eyes. Really? What on earth had the villagers been doing? "…and I will answer questions at a later date! Thank you!" With that, Harry quickly teleported himself straight o his quarters and began to heal himself properly- as he had only managed 'on-the-battlefield' healing as Helga called it when he was in the village- it was not a substitute for proper healing, just a way to delay the time when you finally had to get your injuries healed properly. While he began the healing, he got the house elves to begin preparing him a large dinner. It took him a few hours, but finally he managed to reduce all of the cuts (apart from one which refused to heal) to almost invisible scars and the multiple bruises were almost gone. The skele-gro was doing its job, as was the blood replenishing, strengthening, energy, anti-scarring and all the other potions he had consumed. The meal the house elves had brought him was eaten in record time, despite the fact it was 3 times larger than normal. He was suffering from magical exhaustion, but that would only heal with sleep, so he activated the time charm in his bedroom before going to bed, asleep before his head hit the pillow. When Harry finally woke, he was glad he had activated the time charm- he had slept for over 36 hours! It was 7am outside and he was starving so he made his way to kitchen to make a huge breakfast. At 8 he got out of the shower and noticed that someone had visited whilst he was in there and left a note on the table.
Congratulations on your duel! You were incredible to watch- errr… I might have to explain that to you. You see, I have good and bad news for you. Good first- classes are cancelled for the rest of term! Somehow, I doubt you have the energy to teach- Harry snickered. He was back to normal thanks to the time charm! The bad news- there was muggle recording cameras in the village, so we're spending the day watching you duel the Death Eaters and Voldemort. Sorry! It's your fault, though. What were you thinking? Over a hundred DE? Single handed! You are going to get yourself killed one day, young man. I've asked everyone to leave you alone today, I think you need it.
P.S. Alastor's here, and he's impressed! Congratulations!
Harry groaned. Muggle recording cameras! He then noticed a letter from the Ministry on the table. He detected a portkey inside of it, so he quickly switched out of his bathrobe and into a formal robe before opening the letter.
Master Harold Emmeris.
We, at the Ministry, would like to commend you on your outstanding effort and bravery displayed at Hogsmeade Village last night. As such, we are going to upgrade your Order of Merlin (achieved after your effort and dedication you put into creating the Wolfscure potion) to a First class. This is a huge honour, and you will be transported to the Ministry at the conclusion of this letter to receive it. Thank you again, for your efforts,
Minister for Magic
Harry almost snarled. Now? It was a day after the battle! By rights he should still be exhausted! Before he could finish those thoughts, he felt a familiar jerk behind his navel and suddenly he was not in his quarters, but rather in an opulent office at the Ministry. Harry was glad he thought to change out of his bathrobes before opening the letter.
The ceremony was quick, but everyone wanted to speak to him afterwards. He grabbed his award and the sack of one million galleons the Ministry had decided to award him and teleported as quickly as he could to Gringotts where he deposited the gold and returned to Hogwarts. Harry spent the rest of the day in his crafting room, the familiar movements and space calming him down. It wasn't until 5 that he realised he had a staff meeting in two hours. He slowly put his things away and had dinner before sticking the latest certificate on his wall and making his way towards the staff room. Halfway there, he realised that he should have come under the invisibility cloak- he was feeling extremely claustrophobic with everyone crowding around him. He mentally called to Hogwarts for help and chuckled when the staircase he just stepped off changed immediately afterwards. The mob was stuck on the other side of the tower.
Harry finally made it to the staff room and began to complain to Minerva that her warning hadn't been sufficient- and began to explain the day's events to her. Snape joined her in placing all the blame on him. Harry huffed. They were being extremely unfair, in his opinion.
The meeting was incredible boring with nothing of interest mentioned until the end, when Harry stood up.
"I have a… small… confession to make... My name is not, nor has it ever been, Harold Emmeris. There was never a person with that name- My master invented it as a good disguise."
"WHAT?" all of the teachers that did not know of his masquerade cried, whilst they looked smug.
"I can see the other Heads of House already knew of this. Would you mind… enlightening us to your true identity?" Harry gulped, and instead of answering, he dropped his disguise before looking directly at Snape.
"Potter." Snape fainted, and the staff (minus Dumbledore) snickered.
After the staff meeting, Dumbledore quickly made his way up to his office in deep thought.
Potter was in the Order. He knew all of my plans… all the manipulations- well, some of them, at any rate… When this gets out, he'll have all the influence! Tom was worse than Grindelwald, and Potter didn't hesitate, rather took him on at the earliest he could and was actively fighting for a year beforehand… Potter was the one that informed the world of his rebirth! I need to keep my titles safe, though… How? Discredit him… claim I did it? No, too many witnesses… and those cameras… Obliviate and destroy the evidence? No… it's too late, I'd miss someone… Claim he's Dark? Hmmm… maybe… Only works if he doesn't reveal himself… Duel? He's already beaten me… and Tom… but there's no other options! This plan has too many flaws in it! If he reveals himself, it's done for. Not to mention most people would be more than happy to excuse a few Dar curses if they were sent at Voldemort… and he didn't use any! Tom was killed by a simple fourth year stunner… I think… the incantation was different… what was it? Potens Perturbo… I'm getting off track; it was a new type of stunner. Hmmm… maybe he could use Dark rituals… which ones… It could have been a set-up! That's much better! Let's see… He was the only one to respond to the attack… that could work in our favour! Hmmm… Okay… 'Harold Emmeris' is a Death Eater… want him well placed in the light as a spy… plan an attack on Hogsmeade for him to respond to… he 'defeats' the Death Eaters and Tom turns up… they duel before Harold makes his lucky escape… Harold got jealous of Tom… decides to duel to the death without informing Tom… Tom continues to accidentally-on-purpose miss Harold until it's too late and he's dead… Harold now well placed to take up his 'rightful' position as the next Dark Lord… That's a big lie to tell… everyone will believe it though, I am Albus Dumbledore with all the fancy titles… I am the Leader of the Light! Not Potter! He will never be… but if I don't pull this off I'm in hot water… such a big lie to discredit Potter would not look good if they realise that it is a lie…
Severus Snape was also brooding, but his thoughts were entirely different. He couldn't care less whom the Leader of the Light was… he was more worried about the fact that he had let his guard down around a POTTER.
…My only friend on the staff, Master Harold Emmeris, the one that fixed my classroom… takes some of my younger classes for me even though I know the DADA teacher always has a fuller schedule than me… takes some of the homesick Slytherins when I can't deal with them… let me help him prank the school to lift morale after Death Eater attacks… made that wonderful belt for me… That I OWE A LIFE DEBT TO… that was the spawn of my worst enemy? That was the Gryffindor Golden Boy? POTTER? No… it couldn't have been… Potter was an arrogant brat. Potter could never obtain a potions mastery ever… let alone in a year… alongside other subjects! Potter cannot do Occlumency! Potter could never defeat the Dark Lord! Emmeris could… Harold was… understanding. Funny! He was smart, too… not an arrogant brat! Maybe Harold is still there… it's an extremely elaborate prank… Harold can't be Potter. But… it fits, his story fits. The Harold I knew would never play a prank that involved him pretending to be the lost Golden Boy… and Minerva knew… she was his Head of House. And Harold and Potter share the same teaching style… Albus said that Harold and Potter had trained together… Harold told Albus that himself… Well, he would've, if he is Potter… I'm being foolish. Harold really is Potter. I've been friendly to Potter for half a year! I told Potter about my childhood! Wait- wasn't his similar? He told me… it sounded… worse? This begs thinking about… Golden Boy abused? POTTER abused?
In Harry's quarters, there was a small party going on with Remus, Moody, Kingsley, Tonks, Minerva, Flitwick and Sprout all celebrating Voldemort's downfall with dessert and Firewhisky which Trixy had supplied.
"I've always liked your quarters, Harry!" said Minerva cheerfully. The other Heads of House rolled their eyes.
"Dumbledore didn't look happy at the staff meeting, did anyone else notice? He was looking at me with a very calculated expression throughout the meeting and when I revealed myself, he looked horrified! I think he's going to try something, I just don't know what… or why…" The other staff members agreed, while Moody snorted.
"Of course he's going to try something! You've just challenged the manipulative old coot's position as Leader of the Light… at 17! We knew he was going to set up your battle with him so that the old man could claim the victory as his own, but you've won so publically that he can't do that!" said Moody exasperatedly.
"Dumbledore was going to do that?" asked a very shocked Sprout.
"Yes," replied Minerva tersely.
"What do you think he'll do?" asked Harry anxiously.
"If I was Albus, I'd be claiming you were Dark… don't know how, though…" Kingsley trailed off.
"set-up," grunted Moody.
""Great… 'The Boy-Who-Lived goes Dark!' Skeeter would love it," groaned Harry.
"Worry about it in the morning, Harry, you can't do anything now. Can I have a tour? You've added another classroom and room since I was a teacher," said Remus.
"Sure," replied Harry a little more cheerfully.
Half an hour later the tour was over and the people that hadn't yet seen it before were impressed. The rest of the night was spent celebrating, although thy soon lost Minerva to the portrait of Gryffindor. When the party was almost over, Harry began to send his worry about Dumbledore's plans to Hogwarts… and he discovered that the old man had planned out loud! He spent some time with the others planning his response before they left late into the night.
The next morning, Harry re-joined the school for breakfast, but went down early to escape any students before he was ready for them. This meant that at 6am, Harry was seated at the staff table, finishing off his grading for the term. Once he decided that it was late enough, he put his grading away and had just begun to eat breakfast when Dumbledore strode to the front of the hall and turned to face the students who were almost all there.
"Silence," he called, and the staff members that had been at Harry's party rolled their eyes and groaned, except Flitwick who gave Harry a tiny nod. "I want everyone to hear this. I, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, formally challenge Harold Emmeris to a duel, on the grounds that he is a Dark Wizard…" he then went on to explain the lie that he had dreamt up the night before, not noticing the subtle signals three of the four heads of house were giving their students. When Dumbledore was finished, he turned to smirk at Harry having heard the whispers that had broken out, not realising that they were bad for him and not Harry. Harry sighed, and stood up.
"My family has never backed down from a formal duel, and neither will I. So, I, Harold James Emmeris formally accept a duel from challenger Albus Dumbledore. However, I am also going to debate the ground on which the duel was declared. I swear on my life and on my magic that I am a Light wizard and the duels that took place against Voldemort and his followers were never set up." There was a pause as the Oath was called up. When everyone was satisfied it was in place, Harry continued.
"Expecto Patronum!" he called and a great silvery stag burst out of Harry's wand.
"As you can see, I am still alive and my magic is intact meaning the Oath is true. If anyone still doubts my standing, you are calling into question my phoenix familiar, Älfya-" There was a burst of flame, and the Golden Phoenix was trilling happily on Harry's shoulder.
"As it was Albus Dumbledore who declared this duel, it is my duty to set the rules and adjudicator. No seconds, as there is no one else capable of continuing for either of us. No Unforgivables, but anything else is allowed. Wandless, elemental and staff magic is permitted- however, we do not aim to kill. The duel is won when the other is physically incapable of causing the other harm. Therefore, merely being disarmed does not count. They may be stunned and bound or have been knocked unconscious to lose. A forfeit is called if the person steps- or falls- off the platform. The duel is also forfeit if a rule is broken. Duelling Master Flitwick, would you consent to be our adjudicator?"
"Duelling Master Emmeris, I consent to the position of adjudicator."
"Albus Dumbledore, you are now free to challenge a rule and or set the time and venue of the aforementioned duel," said Harry who promptly sat down.
"This duel shall take place tomorrow noon in this very hall, Duelling Masters Emmeris and Flitwick," Dumbledore ground out.
"Then I shall see you at noon tomorrow," replied Harry.
"And I also. May the best man win," continued Flitwick. Harry then picked up his grades and strode out the door, inwardly smirking at Dumbledore.
Dumbledore was indeed furious. Potter had managed to prove that he was among the lightest wizards in the world- in front of the entire school! The boy had even gone and registered a Wizard's Oath, which he knew full well was registered in the Department of Mysteries, so even if he did Obliviate the school, his story, which he had so carefully constructed, was useless. And how was he supposed to know Potter was a duelling Master? He had forgotten that the boy had been teaching the rules and proper etiquette to his classes, but Potter was a Duelling Master? Since when? He hadn't been counting on Potter knowing the rules; he had planned on setting his own rules and choosing his own adjudicator. This was going to give him a huge disadvantage. He had planned on banning wandless, elemental and staff magic as Potter was clearly proficient at all of them, but he had specifically stated they were allowed! And Flitwick as adjudicator would pose a problem, as he would follow the rules to the letter. That was then he realised that Potter had been expecting the challenge. He had planned this! Flitwick had probably even offered to adjudicate for him. Dumbledore ground his teeth together. This was not working out as well as he had planned. Potter was going to go into the duel with an advantage over him, and he had already proven himself to be quite capable of beating him in a fair duel. Dumbledore gulped. For the first time in an exceptionally long time, he was scared. Very, very scared.
In Harry's quarters, Harry and Minerva were discussing the upcoming duel. Flitwick was unable to be there as when he had accepted the adjudication position, he was not permitted to contact either of the duellers until it was over.
"Albus is going to try something else, isn't he?" said Minerva.
"I think he will… he looked very angry when I set out the rules and even worse when Filius was named as adjudicator. I think I will request for Ministry officials, but I don't want Albus to know. Can you help me write a letter?"
Very soon, the letter was written.
Greetings, Madam Bones,
I am writing to inform you that a formal duel has been called by Albus Dumbledore, stating that I am a Dark Wizard. I called a Wizard's Oath, which I believe is recognise in the Department of Mysteries and called my phoenix familiar Älfya, but the duel still holds. I do not trust the man as he must have spent a long time crafting the lie he told, and would like to call a Ministry Supervision without his knowledge. It would be greatly appreciated. He duel is scheduled for noon tomorrow in the Great Hall of Hogwarts.
Thank you for your time,
Duelling Master Emmeris,
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
They decided to send the note with Älfya, as it would add credibility to his claim as well as speed up the delivery time which was essential, considering the duel was tomorrow. It also made the note impossible for Dumbledore to intercept. A few minutes later, Älfya was back with Madam Bones' reply.
Duelling Master Emmeris-
You are really earning some impressive titles! As I am sure you know, requests such as yours are common and we would be happy to provide Ministry Supervision. Because of the name of the two involved, We have decided that I will come myself, along with Head Auror Shacklebolt, Member of the Minister's Personal Guard Dawlish, Senior Auror Tonks and Ex-Auror and Auror Potential Scout Moody. Here, harry laughed and showed Minerva the people involved in the Ministry Supervision. I do believe your claim- your Oath is indeed registered, and your phoenix- I believe you called her Älfya? She was even nervous around me!
To the less formal point of this letter, I have had many notes from my niece Susan about you, and I would like to congratulate you on being 'the best, nicest and fairest professor we've ever had!' –her words, not mine. She particularly sings the praises of your practical lessons, and I believe many people would be extremely happy if you continued to teach next year.
Good Luck tomorrow,
Head of the DMLE
"Harry! You've got the Head of DMLE on your side, against Albus! Congratulations!"
Noon came entirely too quickly for Harry the next day, although the students were apparently all looking forward to the rematch, which was going to be a proper duel this time- hardly any of them realised how significant it was- or what was at stake. Harry had spent the morning getting his mind and body ready for the duel- and making sure the Ministry officials made it into the school undetected- which, with Hogwarts' help, was relatively easy.
When Harry made it to the Great Hall, it was to see Minerva and Flitwick working together to get the hall big enough to fit both the duelling platform- and the entire school population along with the few members of the public that had heard about the duel. He could also see Dumbledore waiting half concealed in the same wing as the Ministry officials, although he wasn't worried about them being discovered, as he had the school on his side.
In no time at all, the spectators had filed on and were seated, and Flitwick was recapping the rules and what was at stake. Honour for Harry and loss of titles (as he had lied) for Dumbledore. When he announced the opponents. As he was the 'reigning champion' as he heard a muggleborn 3rd year call it, Harry was to be announced last. He therefore watched as Dumbledore stepped up onto the platform confidently- he wasn't even wearing duelling robes! He bowed to the crowd, and then took his place.
"And now, the Vanquisher of You-Know-Who, 17 year old Master of all Subjects, DADA Professor, Duelling Master Harold Emmeris!" Harry swallowed nervously before squashing all the negative emotions down behind his Occlumency shields. It would not do to show his nerves in front of his students. He smiled at the school before stepping confidently up onto the platform feeling lighter than ever. He had left all his weapons and potions belt in his quarters as he would not need them. He was also wearing his basilisk hide duelling robes as they were the lightest he had- he was not planning on relying on shield charms today! The basilisk hide was also very tough but it didn't look that way, and as a result many people never consider it. Harry took his place and they went through the familiar motions. They saluted- or bowed, in Dumbledore's case- had made their way to their new positions 10ft away from each other and settled into their duelling stances. Harry noticed that Dumbledore had gone for the traditional offensive stance, which would make him weak to attack when they began. Harry himself used a stance taught only to Duelling Masters- which Dumbledore was not. It was designed for easy offence, but was also light making it easy for him to move out of the way of any spells. It also looked impressive, which was an added advantage. Indeed- he had seen a flicker of fear cross Dumbledore's face when he was settled which was incredible considering the man's occlumency. The show of fear gave Harry more confidence.
"3… 2… 1… Begin!" called Flitwick authorotively, and the duel began.
"Stupefy! Impedimenta! Expelliarmus! Incarcerous!" cried Harry.
"Protego! Bombarda! Incendio! Diffindo!" and then they both switched to silent casting. The speed of the duel was intense. Harry could tell that Voldemort was a little more skilled than Dumbledore- and definitely faster, the older man was still a formidable opponent. He knew that he was wasting time showing off, but he had gone almost 6 months without facing a half decent person that was not aiming to kill, and he was enjoying the exercise. Harry flipped out of the way of the curses with ease and sent back twice as much as he got- and maximised his elemental abilities at the same time. Dumbledore on the other hand was getting increasingly frustrated- and it was showing. The older man was covered in minor injuries and was obviously extremely fatigued- but he was yet to cast a curse that would hit Harry. The duel continued on and Harry was enjoying himself so much that he missed the look of rage that was now worn on his opponents face. Dumbledore yelled out a curse and Harry's eyes widened a fraction and he leapt out of the way before sending several stunners at the older man- but he wasn't the only one. Flitwick and all of the Ministry officials had their wands out and mirrored Harry's look of shock. Crucio- Dumbledore had used an unforgivable.
The rest of the day flew by very quickly- Dumbledore was taken away to await a trial and Minerva was appointed Headmistress. Flitwick was given the position of Deputy Headmaster, and Harry was made Head of Gryffindor to his amusement- the students didn't know that he had attended Hogwarts. Minerva had decided to keep her role as the transfiguration professor. Harry's favourite moment of the day was when he went to announce his new position to the Gryffindors. He had asked Hogwarts for a quick entrance to the Gryffindor Common room, and a passageway was created behind the portrait of Godric Gryffindor. When he opened it, he found to his amusement that he was standing right next to the stairs leading to the dormitories. He had chuckled, causing the Gryffindors to jump in shock and he began to laugh outright, which made several of the students send him death glares. He quickly told him of his new position before disappearing back to his quarters, still chuckling, although he still triple checked that the passageway was sealed- no reason to give the Gryffindors free entry into his quarters. He shivered at the thought. That house had too many pranksters.
The next morning, Harry took his new spot at the staff table to see that the Daily Prophet had come early. Dumbledore had been important enough to get a same-day-trial, so the front page had a giant picture of an embarrassed Dumbledore and a headline saying; Disgraced Leader of the Light! Dumbledore sentenced to life in Azkaban! Article on page 2.' Harry quickly flipped to the right page and read about the duel, Dumbledore's use of the Cruciatus, the arrest, trial and finally his sentence. The article made him realise how frustrated he had made Dumbledore, but it also detailed Dumbledore's plans- he had admitted to quite a lot under veritaserum. He still felt bad for the man. He knew he shouldn't have toyed with him so much, but he had been enjoying the duel.
He was quickly pulled out of his musings when he realised that as a Head of House, it was his duty to hand out the grades for the students in his house, and then at 11, he was one of the teachers assigned to escorting the students that were going home for Christmas to the train.
The rest of the year went smoothly for Harry. He met regularly with Remus and the others. The Order disbanded as both Voldemort and Dumbledore were gone.
Harry slowly revealed himself to the public- and had to spend a few days in hiding when the Daily Prophet found out- and discarded the Harold Emmeris disguise. He was now Professor Potter. An added benefit of that was Ron and Hermione worked doubly hard to try and catch up to Potter. Harry snickered when he realised what they were doing. They can try…
Just before his 18th Birthday, Harry claimed Hogwarts as his birth right, giving him the final say in all important decisions and getting rid of the Board of Governors. He stayed on as the DADA Professor- the curse was broken. Harry was- finally- happy.