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Chapter 6: The Guessing Game.
Harry woke up to a clicking sound.
“Okay, okay,” he grumbled rubbing his eyes, and stumbling blindly across Ron’s room without his glasses on. He opened the window, and received the letter from its beak. He fished through his pockets to pay it, but it was already flying into the cold, rainy morning. Harry yawned as he sat on the edge of the bed, tore open the envelope, and put on his glasses. There was a small, neatly folded bit of parchment inside. It was written in black cursive, and read;
Dear Mr. Harry James Potter,
Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt has requested your presence in his office, at 4:00 p.m., July 27th. No reply is necessary.
Hope you are well,
Kimberly Grinant, Under Secretary to the Minister of Magic.
“Is it time for breakfast already?” Ron asked groggily from his tower of blankets.
“Nah, Ron, go back to sleep,” Harry replied his eyes still on the letter. It was July 27th that day, which meant that he would have to leave later. He rubbed his eyes and padded to the bathroom where he showered, shaved, and brushed the morning taste out of his mouth. By then it was around seven a.m., so he pulled on a t-shirt and jeans, and padded quietly down the stairs.
“You’re up early, dear,” Mrs. Weasley commented, tying an apron on. “Are your nightmares getting worse?” she asked worriedly. Harry smiled tiredly.
“They’re not any worse then usual. I got a letter from the Ministry… I’ll help you with that, Mrs. Weasley” he added, cracking an egg into the frying pan.
“Oh, but dear I can manage perfectly fine on my own,” she sighed, but sat down in a chair nearby. “Arthur and I have been talking…” she droned off. Harry looked back at her, realizing that the sizzling from the pan was filling the silence.
“Harry, you are like a son to us,” she started again and smiled as Harry blushed. “And I know that you may not think of us as your parents… but we would like us to call us Mum and Dad.” Harry turned back to the frying pan, and flipped the egg, his head down and his and his eyes hidden by his wild black hair. “But we completely understand if you—“ she stopped as Harry had made one quick movement, and was hugging her tightly.
“Oh!” she exclaimed, and patted Harry clumsily on the cheek.
“Thank you so, so much,” he whispered, “for everything.” Mrs. Weasley- his surrogate mother- smiled at him, and brushed something away from her cheek.
“Any family would be lucky to have you, Harry,” she said sincerely. Harry didn’t have any reply he could think of, as his mind was blank in surprise, so he went back to the eggs. After another long silence, she continued. “And don’t blame your aunt too much.” Harry turned back a bit and smiled.
“So you’ve warmed up to her?” Harry inquired lightly. Mrs. Weasley considered this.
“Well, after I heard her story, I couldn’t judge her too harshly. But what she did to you wasn’t right. The first summer you came here, you looked as though you were half-starved. But we should still give people the chance to make up for their actions, no matter how terrible.” Mrs. Weasley replied grimly. “Anyway,” she added, wanting to change the subject, “What time do you have to arrive at the Ministry?”
“This afternoon at four,” Harry answered.
“What do you have to do?” a groggy voice asked from the stairway. It was Ginny, her hair pulled into a messy bun, and her eyes puffy with sleep. Even like this, she looked beautiful.
“Go to the Ministry,” Harry replied, placing sausages on another pan. “Kingsley wants to see me for some reason.”
“You aren’t in trouble, are you?” Ginny asked, sitting down by her mother. Harry shook his head.
“Nah, you know me… I behave all of the time.” Ginny rolled her eyes at this and smiled a little.
“Harry’s volunteered to make us breakfast, isn’t that nice of him, Ginny?” Mrs. Weasley inquired, trying to make conversation.
“I didn’t know that you could cook,” Ginny grumbled accusingly. She stood up and walked around the table to the counter, and looked at the eggs, sunny side up, that Harry had placed on a plate.
“I’m actually really good at cooking. It took years of practice, though,” he turned over the sizzling sausages.
“I’ll be the judge of that,” Ginny took a plate and placed a few eggs on it, then took a bite and chew gingerly. Then she nodded. “I’d give it an eight out of ten.” Harry’s eyes widened and he gasped teasingly.
“Okay, your mothers are ten times better, but I should at least deserve a nine. What’s so bad about them?” Harry asked.
“They’re not scrambled.” Ginny answered, taking another bite grudgingly.
The rest of the day went by quickly. After everyone was done with breakfast, Ron and Harry sat on the living room floor for a competitive match of Wizard Chess, while Hermione and Ginny watched on the couch, making conversations every so often. After lunch, Ron and Hermione went out for a picnic in the orchard, leaving Harry and Ginny sitting in the field, soaking up the warm summer sun, and talking about little things, like school, Quidditch, and music, in which Harry tried to convince Ginny that The Verve was by far the best band there ever was.
“The Verve?” she asked, bewildered. “They can’t be that good… most of the Muggle bands are terrible, from what Mum told me.” Harry rolled onto his side, facing Ginny.
“Okay, how about this. We’ll have a day where we will go to London, and I will buy you an album from The Verve, and an MP3 player.” He offered.
“What’s an MB3 player?” Ginny asked curiously.
“It’s a sort of machine that Muggles play music on. Like the radio, except you can carry it around in your pocket. And it’s called an MP3 not an MB3. And your Mum only thinks that Muggle bands are terrible because all she listens to is Celistina Warbeck.” Harry added, rolling his eyes.
“Ugh, you’re right.” Ginny groaned theoretically falling back into the grass beside Harry. “Alright, you can take me into London one day, and try to convince me that The Verve is the best thing ever. It will be an early birthday present.” Ginny smiled. “And by the way, I don’t know what to get you…”
“No, I don’t want anything,” Harry interrupted. “I have more then enough.”
“Well, Dad is making something for you- repairing, actually- but I can’t tell you.” Ginny smirked mischievously. “I’ll give you one hint.”
“Do you always like to play guessing games?” Harry asked lightly. Ginny laughed quietly.
“My entire life is like a guessing game. Here’s your hint- it has both a little wizard and a little Muggle in it.”
“Hmm… would it by any chance be me?” Harry asked sarcastically. Ginny punched him teasingly on the shoulder.
“Ah, you’re so funny, Potter.” She looked at the time on his wristwatch. “Well, you’d better get going to the Ministry. If you don’t come out in a few hours, can I assume that you’ve been kidnapped by fan girls?” Ginny asked. Harry stood up and brushed off his robes.
“Or you can assume that I just came out at the wrong fireplace.” He smiled. He and Ginny made their way into the house, where Harry grabbed a handful of Floo Powder, and stepped near the fireplace.
“Elbows tucked in,” Ginny stated gently, pushing his elbows to his sides.
“Right,” he said, and stepped into the roaring emerald flames. “The Ministry of Magic!”
The Ministry had changed dramatically since Harry had last seen it. The gruesome statues showing Muggles being crushed under wizards was being taken down, but the security was still tight. When he arrived, there were to Ministry Officials waiting for him, asking him to state his name and business, (Harry James Potter, scheduled appointment with Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt.) and then let him through. He kept his head down a bit, trying not to attract attention, but sure enough, in the first minute, about four people came up to shake his hand and thank him. In about triple the time it would originally get him to reach Kingsley’s office, he finally made it. Outside in a desk was the Kingsley’s under Secretary, looking through papers. She was a severe looking woman, her dull blonde hair in an extremely tight bun, and her squared glasses sitting at the edge of her nose.
“You can go right in,” she said, tapping her wand on a piece of parchment, which folded itself and flew out of the room. Harry nodded, and then opened the door.
“Sorry about the short notice,” Kingsley said gesturing to the seat in front of his desk, which Harry took a seat in, “Things have been terribly busy.”
“Nah, it’s fine.” Harry answered in a carefree tone. Kingsley took out his wand, and shot Harry a reassuring smile.
“I asked you to come here, because we have a few matters to discuss.” He stated in his low, slow voice, “I saw Professor Snape’s memories. I hope that was all right, Dumbledore said it was probably the easiest way to explain everything. And before I discuss more urgent matters, I would think it’s better to test you.”
“To test me?” Harry swallowed, casting a look at Kingsley’s wand.
“Dumbledore notified me that if the horcrux in you was truly destroyed, you would lose your ability to speak Parseltounge. So,” he waved his wand, and a snake materialized out of thin air. It was very large, and looked at Harry as though about to strike.
“Stop.” He stated. His voice didn’t come out as a strangled hiss anymore. It was completely ordinary. He felt a rush of relief and smiled and Kingsley, who grinned back. With a flick of his wand, the snake disappeared.
“Excellent. Now we have another matter to discuss.” He pressed his fingertips together, in the same way Dumbledore used to do when considering something. “Now, Harry, you have achieved many things that even very powerful full grown wizards could not.” Harry opened his mouth to say that he really didn’t, but Kingsley raised a hand to stop him. “Both Minerva and Mad-Eye have told me in the past that your ambition was to become an Auror.” Harry felt taken off guard, so he just nodded. “And I have talked with Savage, who is now the Head of the Auror Department. Both he and I have agreed that you could easily enter training if you wished.”
“But I haven’t even taken N.E.W.T.S,” Harry considered quietly.
“You haven’t had any need to. This job is being offered to anyone of age who took part in the battle. You, however, were the first to be told, as you took the largest part. I know it’s a quick decision to make at first, so you have a few options.
“One- you could begin Auror training in September with whoever else takes the offer. Two- you could refuse the offer, or wait until you’re older. Or three- you could go back to Hogwarts for your school year and train part time there. Your attendance there will count for one year of training, but this option is only available if we have enough people interested.” Harry thought for a moment.
“Well, I would like to be an Auror… but not so soon. I want to finish my last year at Hogwarts, so I think that I will go with the third option, and if that doesn’t work out, I’ll start training in September.” Harry replied carefully. Kingsley smiled.
“Good. Now, here is the necessary paperwork for entering training, whether at Hogwarts or regular training. Am I right in saying that Ron already had a job for this year?”
“Yeah. Ron is working with George in the shop for at least a year.” Harry said, nodding.
“And Mrs. Granger, I’ve been told, is going back to Hogwarts, and does not want to work in the Auror Department, correct?” Harry nodded. “Alright. Well, these forms must be in by the fifteenth of August,” Kingsley, confirmed, handing him a large envelope thick with papers. “Oh, and Harry,” he added, as Harry stood up to leave. “Happy early Birthday,”
Once Harry arrived back at the Burrow, Ginny was sprawled out on the couch, reading a book.
“Oh, you’re back, thank god.” She sighed, straightening up. “Ron and Hermione just got back a few minutes ago, but they’re outside and probably still making out,” she shook her head as though disgusted. “Anyway, what happened?” Ginny asked. Harry sat down near her, and smiled sarcastically.
“Well, there were so many fan girls there, I could hardly escape,” Ginny rolled her eyes and smiled. “But when I finally got to his office, he tested to see if I was still a Parseltounge.”
“Are you?” Ginny asked worriedly. Harry’s grin grew larger. He looked extremely relieved.
“No, not anymore. Then he offered me a chance to start training to be an Auror.” There was a long span of silence.
“Are you taking the offer?” Ginny asked, looking at the large envelope in his hand. Harry tapped his index finger against the paper a few times.
“I said that I’d take one of the three offers. I could go to Hogwarts for another year, and train part time there, or I could not go to Hogwarts and begin training in September. I’d rather go to Hogwarts for another year, but it depends on who else is going in the program, too.”
“Are you going back to Hogwarts if you have the chance then?”
“Yeah. Why?” Ginny squirmed uncomfortably. She started to play with a stray lock of curly hair, which distracted Harry a bit.
“Well… after everything that’s happened, at Hogwarts I mean. The battle and everything.” She sighed. “I didn’t know if you wanted to go back.” Harry thought about this for a moment.
“It won’t be the same, and I know that. But it’s still like a home to me. Besides, I would have to be nagged by Hermione non-stop if I didn’t go.” Ginny smiled.
“True. And then you’d have my mother on your back as well.”
“But why do you care if I go back or not?” Harry asked teasingly. Ginny blushed, and rubbed her arm.
“Don’t be so thick, Harry. You’re one of my best friends.” Harry looked hurt.
“One of your best friend’s? Aw, Ginny, that’s not fair.” He smirked sarcastically. He did that a lot these days. He was turning back into the Harry who was seventeen years old. Ginny smiled back
“I’m going a good job,” she sighed. “You’re acting like you used to…”
“Like I used to?” Harry inquired. “What do you mean?” Ginny leaned back into the couch cushions and crossed her arms behind her head.
“Like you used to.” She repeated. “How do I put this?” Ginny paused for a moment. “You’re acting like you did before all the horcrux nonsense, and when we were dating. You’re acting like… you.”
A/N: Okay, so first of all, if anyone read this thank you. My writing on this story is a bit rusty, but at least this was a long chapter! Anyways, I deleted several chapters because I didn’t want the plot twist that was there. I kept the one ahead of this because it was one of my favorite chapters that I wrote, and you guys seemed to have a very positive opinion on that particular chapter. Hope you liked this one, and please review! Also do you think that Harry should join the Auror department? ~Magicalis Writer