Hi, I finally managed to get chapter 25 done. Sorry for the long wait, but I simply had more inspiration for other stories. Enjoy.
Go to the Future
The aftermath of the attack on Hogsmeade was worse than Harry had suspected. Somehow the press had got pictures of him staking a vampire and using the sword of Gryffindor against another. The Daily Prophet was full of praise for him, though Dumbledore and the Ministry also got their share for working together with him to prepare for the attack. Somehow the fact that the warning had come from a magical vampire who had killed off more of the non-magical vampires that had attacked than any of the other fighters was ignored. Harry was the hero of the day. He had to answer lots of questions and many girls hang to his every word, wanting to hear the story over and over again.
Harry was really thankful for the fact that nobody knew about the Room of Requirement. He used it as his retreat and a chance to get some peace and quiet. While he was trained for situations like these, he needed some time to get away. You simply couldn't be in the spotlight all around the clock.
Like he and the MI6 had suspected Dumbledore wanted to know more about Harry's abilities, but Harry blocked as well as he could. The problem was that Harry got called to the headmaster's office nearly every day. Finally Harry had enough and ignored a summon, telling Professor McGonagall that he had given the headmaster enough of his time already and that he needed to work out new training plans for the Quidditch team, do his duties as head boy and also study for his NEWTs as he planned to graduate with top marks. Dumbledore didn't like it, but thankfully McGonagall managed to give Harry some breathing room. She wanted to see her Quidditch team win the cup again this year and Harry really had humoured the headmaster the last two weeks.
They had all learned years ago that the boy, no young man, couldn't be forced to give up information or do something if he didn't want to. They had blown that chance with how they had treated him in his early years here at school. Since he had been thirteen Harry Potter had rebelled against any kind of control against him. He did his school work exemplarily and stepped in against bullies. He was nearly a model student and if he didn't want to tell his secrets there was nothing they could legally do.
They were busy enough dealing with the concerns of the parents that still came in. Thankfully they could diffuse most of them by pointing out that their strategy to evacuate all students before there was any real danger to them had worked perfectly. They would keep the emergency portkey policy for all following Hogsmeade weekends as it had proven this successful. While they didn't expect anything bad to happen, nobody wanted to take the risk. And the necklaces were nothing the students would be disturbed by.
Harry sat in the debriefing at the office of M. He was asked to comment on a few details from the mission at Hogsmeade and how the aftermath was working out for him. He knew that the wounds of all agents that had participated in the mission were fully healed by now and that the research department was working on even better protective gear that would stand up to attacks from magical and non-magical vampires. Nobody wanted to take any risks and the scientists were more than happy to have this much data on the fighting styles of both types now.
"You did good work again, Agent Potter. I mainly called you here to discuss how we will proceed after your graduation. We can't really contact you for the next few months as we know that Dumbledore is keeping a close eye on you right now. The only times he doesn't, as he simply can't, is outside of Hogwarts. Which means the school breaks." M said.
Harry listened attentively.
"You have proven exemplary skills so far, so we want to improve them even more. Once you graduate the magical world will want to know what kind of profession you have chosen. The best route of action will be telling them that you are doing a tour of the world for a while to see how magic is used in other countries. That's something that many young witches and wizards do as far as we can tell and it was really popular some decades ago. You might set a trend, which would be beneficial for Wizarding Britain as they are a lot behind other countries in their progress." M pointed out.
"The only thing that needs to happen for that cover to work out is that you're seen in some places occasionally. Once you have your NEWTs I want you to enter the specialists' academy for a year." M said.
Harry was surprised, even if he didn't show it. The specialists' academy was the place where all the 00 agents went through once it was determined they had the potential. NO student had been admitted there before he turned at least twenty four so far. And that student had been Sirius who had been the youngest student so far.
"Am I ready for that, ma'am? I mean, normally I would have to take a lot more high class missions before you would allow me entering the academy." Harry asked.
"After seeing the video from your fight in Hogsmeade, it would be a waste of potential to not get you through the academy as soon as possible. Especially as the focus of the magical world will be on you from the time you turn twenty one and can take up the Wizengamot seat your family holds. We need to get as much training into you as soon as we can. You have gone through an unusual kind of training and still became a high class agent before you turned eighteen. The academy will pick up where that training leaves you and drill you to be ready for all kinds of missions. The terrorists of our world won't wait until we are ready to deal with them, they'll strike whenever they think they can get away with it. We need to have answers to their actions and for that our best agents need to have the best training we can give them." M declared.
"I understand, ma'am." Harry replied. "Thank you for your trust in me."
"You have proven that you deserve it, Agent Potter." M said.
Harry soon was allowed to leave. He was looking forward to the rest of his Christmas break.
Harry stood at the Quidditch pitch with all the members of the two Gryffindor teams that wondered why he had set up a test in February. Normally the team wouldn't do something like this.
"Thank you all for coming." Harry said. "I know you're wondering why I put the notice of this meeting at the notice board in our common room. As you all know, I'll graduate at the end of the year. Next year one of the younger members of our current team will take over from me as captain." Everybody listened attentively.
"But not only will I graduate, the same holds true for Ron and Dean. That means this team will be short three main players. I don't want that Gryffindor falls into a hole until that can be caught up in practice of the new starting team. Especially not as the first match against Slytherin is always one of the hardest each season." Harry continued. "Therefore I have set up a new training plan that will include practices where the probable starting team for next year will be up against the rest of the team. I'll train with Dennis to let him take over the seeker position from me and Ron and Dean will also train with their possible replacements. This way next year's captain should have a much easier time to get the team into a position to secure the cup for Gryffindor again. After all, we don't want to disappoint Professor McGonagall after she likes seeing the cup in her office so much."
Everybody laughed at that last comment. They knew it was only too true.
"Alright, the next few weeks until the match against Ravenclaw we will work on drills that will ensure that all players can play in any match up. Get into the air, take two quaffles with you and let's get to work." Harry commanded and the fourteen players shot up.
Harry had to say his NEWTs were demanding, but not as bad as others that had taken them before had made them out to be. Of course he knew that few were as prepared as he was. He knew that none of the practical demonstrations he would be asked to give posed any challenge to him. He was far past NEWT level casting. The theory required some concentration as you could easily forget mentioning a detail. Where in the OWLs you had to describe the effect of a spell, in the NEWTs you had to describe the way a spell worked. The transfiguration models, the ingredient reactions, the reason for certain laws of magic and so on.
It took a lot of time and Harry really wished for a pen to write with. But for some stupid reason the wizarding world was stuck with quills. He had tried convincing them of the easier to use writing utensils, but that was one part where more time was needed. While the teachers allowed the alternates in taking notes and doing homework, for tests they insisted on the especially charmed quills that prevented cheating. Well, this exam would be his last major one in the wizarding world. He would deal with it and perhaps in the future he could subtly manage to get people to see that they could charm a fountain pen like a quill.
Harry's examiners couldn't believe their eyes seeing the ease with which he breezed through his exams. And to think he was taking more subjects than any other student. The only ones he didn't take were Divination and Astronomy. While he didn't take the classes for Muggle Studies and History of Magic, he had sat the NEWTs. Now he was demonstrating perfection in Charms and needing barely a flick of his wand to summon a cushion from the other side of the hall, not to mention that it zoomed at him at high speed. Any other charm, from the simple colour changing charm to making a group of instruments play a perfect version of Mozart's 'The Bird Catcher' from 'The Magic Flute'. All without a word and barely any wand movements.
Harry grinned when he was told that he was done. He knew that he had scored a perfect mark again. He walked out of the hall, chuckling seeing Malfoy struggling to make the trumpet in front of him play a proper song instead of simply producing horrible sounds.
Harry looked down upon his robes. They were still black, but different to his normal Hogwarts school uniform. These robes held the Potter crest on his left chest and the Black crest on his right arm. On his right breast was the Hogwarts crest with the Gryffindor part being slightly larger than the other three. All graduates had to wear this kind of robes for the graduation ceremony. They had all got the information which subjects they had passed and which not. The examination department of the Ministry had again made sure that the NEWT results were ready for the students to get them the last day of school. Contrary to the six lower years the seventh years would have the choice to return by train or go home today after the ceremony. Most decided to leave a day early to celebrate with their families.
Harry knew that Sirius and Remus were waiting for him to join them for a massive celebration. Both had taken a week off to spend it with Harry before all of them would be busy with their jobs again. Sirius had a new mission lined up in Australia from next week on and Remus would travel to Florida to meet a contact. Harry would start at the academy. This week would also allow him to celebrate with his friends from school before they would go on to start their respective careers. He had talked to Hermione and had been pleased to hear that she had decided to take up the job at MI6. She had thought long about it, but in the end she decided that she would have a much better future while being able to combine both sides of her heritage.
Her cover for the time being would be that she wanted to study at a muggle university for a while and then finally decide what to do. While Ron couldn't understand her decision, most of the others had suspected that Hermione would want to continue studying in some way. And sadly the best magical universities only took students from magical families. One was connected to Durmstrang, which didn't even allow muggleborns in and the other served for four Mediterranean Countries which meant that any student from outside didn't have a chance. Wizarding families from Spain, France, Greece and Italy sponsored the university and the places there were limited. So the students from those countries had absolute preference and especially the magical families that financed them. It was unfair, but somewhat understandable.
At MI6 Hermione would be able to study to her heart's desire and still keep in contact with her best friend. Ron hadn't made any move on Hermione and instead had given in to the flirtations of Lavender Brown. Harry wasn't sure if the relationship would hold, but it had been one of the key factors for Hermione to decide to choose the MI6. Harry had noticed that Hermione seemed torn between whom of her two best friends she fancied, but in the end it seemed she had chosen Harry over Ron. Harry was happy about that, but also saddened as he knew that even if they hooked up with each other, his job would entail that he seduced women other than Hermione.
He looked at his appearance one last time and then walked down to the Great Hall to get his diploma and hold his speech as head boy.
"We started at Hogwarts seven years ago as curious, excited and of course, slightly frightened children." Harry started his speech.
The Great Hall was filled with single chairs seating the families and graduates, plus the majority of the teachers. The four house tables were gone for now and the hall was sparkling clean.
"We were hopeful to learn to use our magic properly, to find good friends, and have fun at this famous school. I think for most of us these hopes have come true. We spent seven years that were marked by incredible events, personal successes and failures and a wild mix of emotions. I can speak from personal experience that our year was probably the one most touched by things that are unusual for being at a school, even if that school is Hogwarts."
Some chuckled at those words, knowing that they were too true. The Philosopher's Stone, the Chamber of Secrets, Sirius Black's escape, the Triwizard Tournament, then the vampire attack on Slughorn's Christmas party in their fifth year and the attack on Hogsmeade this year. Indeed, they had a number of strange years at Hogwarts and Harry Potter had been in the centre of each of them.
"We grew in magical skill and power and learned more about ourselves. We learned to work on our strengths and some decided that sixth year, when we could decide which subjects we wanted to pursue for our careers, couldn't come early enough to not have to worry about our weaker subjects."
That got open laughs. Many had quit Potions, History of Magic and Divination as soon as they could.
"We have experienced a great number of teachers in our subjects, some were wonderful in helping us understand the material, others not so much. I won't give names here, you'll know who I mean." Harry said diplomatically and saw many nods.
"Now we are about to enter the lives of adult witches and wizards. Our lives just start and we will face many challenges. The things we learned at Hogwarts will accompany us while we make our way in the world of adults. Some of us have detailed plans of what they want to do, others, like me, aren't as sure. But no matter what, we will face the world we were born into knowing that we all have the chance to leave a distinct impression. The graduation year of 1998 has already gone through many difficult times, I think whatever the world throws at us will not make us break. We will show the world our courage, our loyalty, our intelligence and our ambition."
That got cheers from all graduates. Harry knew that appealing to all the positive traits of the four houses was necessary.
"I speak as representative four our year when I thank our teachers for putting up with us for so long and supporting us on the way. We will show the world that you didn't waste your time teaching us magic and how to responsibly use it. We have got our NEWT results and now we go out into the world. None of us will ever forget our time here at Hogwarts. We may have been divided into Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Gryffindor, but we all are united as graduates of Hogwarts now. Watch while we go out to change the world. Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Hogwarts graduation class of 1998." Harry ended his speech and cheers and applause greeted his words.
Dumbledore looked at the celebrating group of graduates. They had been here for seven years now and were moving out in the world. He had hoped that he could have had a closer relationship with Harry Potter, the head boy and top student of his year. But the boy had blocked him off for anything outside school concerns that couldn't be dealt with by another teacher or his head of house. There was absolutely no trust in the boy towards any of the teachers, which was really sad. Remembering how Harry's parents had graduated twenty years ago it was completely different. James and Lily had trusted him and had immediately joined the Order of the Phoenix as very important members.
Harry would never even consider something like that. While there was no war going on now, he would have liked to have the boy's trust. He didn't know what had happened to Voldemort or the known Death Eaters. Only Severus was free and he was busy doing his own thing. Far away from Britain which he couldn't care about less. It saddened Dumbledore that the man couldn't get over his past and that Harry also wasn't willing to put it behind him. From what he knew the boy planned to travel the world for a while as he didn't completely know which profession he wanted to take up. He had some years until he could take up his Wizengamot seat, which he suspected Harry wanted to take.
He couldn't be completely sure. The Ministry was less predictable these days for him than in the past. Many players had disappeared and their heirs were mostly Harry's age or younger. Proxies had been installed, but none of them was as dark aligned as the former holders of the seats. He wished he knew the reason behind the events after the third task of the Triwizard Tournament, but he didn't, despite having investigated extensively. Harry had only told him that Voldemort wasn't a problem anymore. Just what had Harry done? Had he really fulfilled the prophecy?
Albus Dumbledore felt old. He was used to holding all the cards of the game, but now he was realising that he had been replaced. He was forced to watch from the outside how things happened. The Ministry was acting more and more towards forcing him to take certain actions to increase the level of the material covered at Hogwarts in all classes. Percy Weasley was leading in changing how things were done at Hogwarts. This last year his suggestions had been started to be implemented. He couldn't say that they were really bad, but they showed that a massive change was about to happen. The younger generation was about to make their mark on their world. He had fought for a long time, trying to do what's best. And still, his plans seemed to have been thwarted again and again. He just didn't find out why and how. But the one thing he knew was that Harry Potter was in the centre of things.
So, this chapter is done. I'm currently thinking how I'm going to continue this story. There will be more, but i'm not sure yet if I'll set it up as a sequel or continue here. So if there is another longer period of waiting that's due to that.