"You're not serious, Proudfoot!"
"But Potter trained for only a year! And now you're telling us he's been given a position over our heads?!"
"Look, the order came directly from the Prime Minister's Office," said Proudfoot, current Head of Auror. "There's nothing I can do."
More voices rose against this and Proudfoot had a hard time pacifying the Aurors inside the Conference Room in the Magical Law Enforcement Department. Just then, the door opened and Kingsley walked in.
Kingsley walked over to the front of the room. Proudfoot vacated his seat at the head of the conference table, but Kingsley waved a hand to indicate that it was alright and remained standing in front.
"I heard you're arguing the toss that I appointed Potter as Senior Auror," he said.
"With all due respect Prime Minister," said one Auror. "we went through the Ministry's intense training. Some of us have been waiting for years to be promoted. We understand that Potter saved England, but don't you think this appointment is quite unfair?"
"If we had known that the American Auror Academy has a fast-track program, then we would have jumped over the pond and not bothered with the Auror training here," said another.
Kingsley lifted a hand to silence the room. "The Americans did not give Potter any special treatment nor have I. When he joined their program, it soon became apparent that Harry knew more magic than all of their personnel combined. He'd even bested the Americans' best Aurors in a training exercise. That's why Potter finished their program early. He had more to teach them than they can teach him. Six months into the program, the Americans had already offered Potter a Senior Position in their Auror Department. That's why I sent for him. Yes, me. I ordered him recalled to active duty."
"Still doesn't justify his appointment!" said Savage. "How do we know that the American training program is even comparable to ours? Maybe they threw Potter a doss."
"Look, if you're concerned that Potter is not qualified enough then why don't we put it to a test?" said Kingsley, starting to lose his temper. It took him a while to persuade Harry to come back. "All of you against him, fighting three to one. Or even all of you at the same time."
The Aurors threw each other uncertain looks. Although they didn't like the situation one bit, no one was willing to take their chances against Potter, who defeated the Darkest Wizard of all time with a simple Expelliarmus spell.*
"The truth is, Potter didn't need or even want this appointment. He was planning to get further training as a Mahōtsukai in Japan," added Kingsley. "And mind, he already had some, but not formally. So, you see, Potter is more capable than anyone in this room, and that includes me. I've read the Americans' assessment of Harry's abilities, and they themselves admitted that they barely scratched the surface. That Harry was holding himself back. It is precisely for that reason that the Americans wanted to recruit him. They were even willing to change their own laws just to accommodate Harry in their roster." Kingsley swept the room with his intense glare, daring anyone to speak. When no one did, he turned to leave but then he paused and turned back to the room. "If I hear any more grumblings from any of you whether Potter is qualified or not, I will order a no-holds-barred fight between the complainant or complainants and Potter. We'll see exactly how you'd fare against him."
"Great game, Ginny!"
"Thanks! You, too!" Ginny cried out. She'd only taken a quick shower, tied her still damp hair in a loose ponytail, and was now quickly cramming her stuff willy-nilly into her gym bag. She didn't care. They were all going into the wash anyway – including the gym bag. She had promised Tonks that she'd be there for Teddy's birthday. She looked at the time and was glad that Gwenog Jones did not insist on practicing the Blitzen Ballet until the Chasers perfected the technique.
Then Ginny slammed the door to her locker, and said goodbye to the rest of her teammates. Hopefully, there would be no reporters outside. The Harpies had been steadily increasing security lately while Bill and Percy had added protections of their own. Perhaps the spells would keep for longer this time.
But when she stepped out of the dug-out she got the biggest shock of her life. Hermione stood leaning back against the corridor wall, hugging herself protectively. She was obviously waiting for Ginny. No one seemed to notice her though, except for her. An Emé īgnōrāre spell that exempted her, then. But Ginny acted as if the spell affected her too. She quickly walked past Hermione, acting as if she couldn't see her former friend.
Ginny strode on, cursing her short legs, cursing the security measures they had to put in place so she couldn't Apparate immediately.
Hermione now was running pell-mell after Ginny, her shoes making loud clattering sounds against the corridor's cement floor. She finally reached Ginny, grabbing her by the shoulders. Ginny wheeled around, her wand out in an instant, pointed at Hermione. She didn't much like being touched.
"What are you doing here, Hermione?!" Ginny said, breathing hard from anger. "Who told you that you could come here?!"
"Ginny, please, I just want to talk to you!" Hermione looked around. They were alone in that part of the corridor, but she cast privacy spells around them anyway. Then she turned back to Ginny. "I'm sorry!"
"Sorry for what?!" cried Ginny angrily. "For leaving us behind? For breaking Ron's heart?" There was a pause. "For breaking mine?!"
"Ginny – "
"What excuse did you dream up now that you can show your face to me like this? You knew how I felt about him."
"Ginny, please. I can't tell you everything, not now. But please know that I didn't set out to hurt you. I would never do that to you."
Ginny shook her head. "You broke my heart that day, not just Ron's. I will never forgive you," she said. She then turned and walked away. This time, Hermione knew Ginny won't let her hold her back.
A/N: I know that Harry mentioned the Elder wand while confronting Voldemort, but I'd prefer the rest of the Wizarding world continue to be unaware of the Deathly Hallows. ;D
Mahōtsukai – sorcerer, I meant Harry would formally learn Japanese magic.