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Finding Himself by Ssidget
Chapter 22 : Peeves' Mischief Revealed
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 33

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Peeves’ Mischief Revealed

Harry scowled as he followed after McGonagall into the Great Hall. Umbridge was now standing at the front of the Great Hall giving a speech in a sickly sweet voice, the first years were no longer standing, but were sitting off to the side of the Great Hall. Harry purposefully made his way slowly to the Gryffindor table, Umbridge’s eyes tracking his progress until he found his seat.

“… Of course once I was approached by the Minister and told that Hogwarts was in desperate need of my services as Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher I immediately agreed, after all, the students need to learn to defend themselves in such a time as this, and I am only too happy to know that I made a difference. After all, I am hailed as the best Defense teacher the school has had by the school Governors, and the Ministry OWL and NEWT department…”

“Best teacher my arse,” muttered Dean angrily. “Only reason anyone passed was because of the DA, Harry’s the best teacher we’ve had, not that cow.”

“Toad,” said Harry appraisingly, “Definitely resembles a toad more than a cow.”

The Gryffindor’s sitting around Harry burst into laughter causing Umbridge to turn towards them.

“HEM HEM, Care to share what is so humorous?” She asked sardonically.

Harry smiled, while the other Gryffindors shrank under her gaze, “I was just telling my fellow Gryffindors that you resemble a toad, not a cow, and that your claim as the best Defense teacher is complete crap, considering you didn’t teach us a damn thing.”

“Mr. Potter!” McGonagall exclaimed in a frustrated tone, her hand covering her eyes as if it was all a bad dream, and that Harry couldn’t really be that stupid.

“Oh, you’re right, Professor, she did teach us that the Minister allows Ministry officials to torture and discriminate against those whom are different, and threaten those who disagree with them,” said Harry raising an eyebrow slightly, “definitely a lesson well taught.”

Umbridge smiled in a falsely sweet way, “The NEWTS and OWL test results show that I produced the most passing students last year, than any other Defense teacher in the last 50 years, Mr. Potter.”

“Fat chance of that,” growled Seamus angrily, “only reason I passed was because of Har—“

Harry stopped him with a quick kick to the shin.

“Yes, Mr. Finnigan, what were you saying?” Asked Dumbledore interestedly, a slight twinkling in his eyes.

Seamus sent Harry a quick glance before turning back to the teachers, “Hard studying. Barely slept.” He said gently massaging his shin.

Dumbledore sighed slightly. “Perhaps this discussion can be put off till later; we have yet to finish the Sorting after all.”

“Of course, Headmaster,” Umbridge returned in a falsely innocent voice, “Mr. Potter has interrupted us enough.”

Harry raised an eyebrow slightly seeing the bait for what it was, unlike the rest of his dormmates whom rose to his defense, “Guys, leave it.” He muttered to them. They tapered off of their arguments.

The Sorting progressed allowing 6 first years to join the Gryffindor house.

“Now, before the Feast begins,” a few groaned at this eagerly awaiting the food to appear. “Yes, I shall make it quick. As most of you have noticed several dorm rooms have been enlarged to accommodate more beds for the Slytherins in the other three Houses. The reason for this is that the Slytherin Commonroom and subsequently their dormrooms have been flooded by a prank gone wrong,” at this Peeves Cackle sounded throughout the Great Hall, however, the poltergeist did not appear. “Yes, well, it’s taking longer than expected to fix them to livable conditions, so the Slytherin House will be dispersed throughout the other 3 Houses. 1st and 3rd years are in Hufflepuff. 2nd, 4th and 5th year girls are housed in Ravenclaw, and the 5th year boys, 6th and 7th years are in Gryffindor. As such, I believe, that Four tables are unnecessary,” He clapped his hands together enthusiastically and the Slytherin table melded together with the other three tables seamlessly, Malfoy and his cronies ending up near Harry and his friends, just a stones throw away.

“And with that, let the feast begin.” Dumbledore said sitting down happily.

“I think the old man has finally lost it,” said Harry scowling slightly towards the grouping of Slytherins.

“What kind of damage could have Dumbledore unable to fix?” Asked Neville curiously.

“He didn’t say he couldn’t fix it,” Hermione said knowingly, “He said it just hadn’t been fixed yet.”

“How long do you think we’ll be stuck with the Slytherins?” Asked Lavender whom had claimed the seat next to Harry aggressively before the Sorting had begun, leaving Pavarti to take a seat near Dean, and causing Hermione to sit across from Harry in between Ginny and Dean, and Ron to claim his right side, next to Neville.

“Before or after Harry kills Malfoy for sitting on his bed,” Seamus laughed. He had taken the seat next to Lavender.

Ron smirked, “So Harry, ready to tell us where and what you were up to this summer?”

Harry Laughed, “Well as to where, I was in California, on vacation.”

“An unauthorized vacation,” said Neville smiling slightly.

“Eh, a vacation all the same, well until the deatheaters showed up,” shrugged Harry taking a bite out of his food.

“Deatheaters?” Asked Ron gaping like a fish out of water.

“Yeah, but that was on the night before I left,” smiled Harry. “So they merely ruined my departure.”

“Er, Harry, not to be rude, but why do you sound different?” Asked Ginny curiously.

“I sound different?” Asked Harry taking a sip of pumpkin juice.

“Yeah, kind of muffled,” said Dean thoughtfully.

“I don’t hear anything,” said Seamus.

Harry laughed sheepishly, “Oh.” He smiled shyly before sticking out his tongue. A chorus of “Bleeding Hells” and “Why would you do that” came from his friends, and a disappointed frown crossed Hermione’s face.

“Didn’t that hurt mate?” came Ron’s voice, he was slightly paler than he had been not a few seconds earlier.

Harry shrugged. “Don’t really remember, the tattoo’s hurt worse.”

“Tattoo’s!?” Came both Ron and Ginny’s voices Ron was indignant, while Ginny’s was questioning. Hermione was oddly enough silent, instead she was avoiding looking at Harry, and instead was focusing on her food.

“Yeah,” Lavender said giddily, “He’s got one right… here,” she said running her fingers flirtatiously across his sleeve. “It’s amazing what these robes hide.”

Harry raised an eyebrow slightly, “Er- Right,” he replied uncertainly. He wasn’t sure why Lavender was suddenly so touchy with him.

“So Harry,” Ginny said in a bubbly voice, although the scowl she sent towards Lavender sort of betrayed her annoyance, “Did you finally get your eyes magically fixed?”

“Hrm? Oh, no, I have contacts in,” replied Harry.

“Contacts?” Asked Neville uncertainly.

Harry tried to explain what muggle contacts were, but had to be saved by Hermione, who after explaining it returned to staring at her plate.

“You put it on your eye, that’s insane,” muttered Neville shaking his head.

“Mr. Potter,” McGonagall called over the milling crowds of the students waiting to exit the Great Hall, “The Headmaster would like a word.”

Harry moved away from his friends and made his way towards McGonagall whom lead him into the room off to the side of the Great Hall. Once he entered it she issued him into a seat, she taking one next to him. Dumbledore and Snape were sitting across from them. Snape had a large scowl across his face.

“Ah, Harry, glad you could join us,” Dumbledore said cheerfully.

“Is this about the phone, or Umbridge?” Asked Harry uncertainly.

“I was under the impression that you confiscated that muggle contraption, Minerva,” scowled Snape evilly.

“So Umbridge then?” Asked Harry quickly not allowing McGonagall to answer, “I’m not going to apologize, last year I held my tongue; for the most part,” he said at their disbelieving looks, “I didn’t hex her at least,” he shrugged, “and she would have deserved it. I won’t be taking it again this year, I’ve got nothing to lose, She can’t ask me where Sirius is, nor does she have the power to expel me, Nor do I really care what they say about me in the papers, the wizarding world is a bunch of sheep, believing whatever the Ministry prints.” Harry crossed his arms defiantly.

“Actually Harry, we’re here to talk about your classes,” Dumbledore said happily, his eyes twinkling merrily.

“Oh, well forget what I just said then,” Harry replied uncrossing his arms. “What’s wrong with my classes?”

“You still wish to proceed with the course of an auror, correct?” Asked Dumbledore seriously at Harry’s nod he continued, “Therefore, I have discussed this with Professor Snape,” he nodded politely towards a scowling Snape, “and he has agreed to let you into his class on a probationary period, considering you received an E in the OWLS.” Dumbledore smiled proudly.

“Only if you abide by these rules Potter: You treat me with respect; you will be paired with one of my best students, Mister Malfoy; and you will keep a standard of E or better work,” Snape practically spat.

“Er, no thanks,” said Harry shaking his head, “I don’t want special treatment, Headmaster.”

Dumbledore frowned, “You need a NEWT in Potions to be accepted into the British Auror Program, Harry.”

“I’m aware of the requirements, sir,” Harry replied somewhat insulted. “But I have other options, I plan to study independently and take the NEWT without taking the class.”

“Potter, don’t be stupid, the NEWT course load is far too great to study on your own, especially with you dismal lack of skill, swallow your pride and accept the terms,” snapped Snape.

“I never claimed that I would be studying on my own,” Harry replied coolly. “Besides, the chances of me being accepted in the British Auror program are next to none, I already have a meeting scheduled with Professor McGonagall,” here he nodded politely towards her—as she had remained silent during this whole exchange, “to discuss other career options, it wouldn’t be wise to hinge all of my hopes on my potion making skills.”

“Miss Granger will be far to busy to hold your hand with her own course load,” Snape replied coolly.

“Good thing I have a friend whom is a Potion Master, and has agreed to help me if I become stuck,” Harry replied just as coolly.

“Who?” replied Snape masking all curiosity and somehow made the question sound insulting.

“Am I to assume it is Miss Parker?” Dumbledore asked pensively.

“Yes,” replied McGonagall brightly. “That is who called Potter earlier, she is joining us tomorrow to assure me in person that she is going to help with his dreams of becoming an auror. You have to admit Severus, Miss Parker is an excellent potions master.”

Snape scowled, “I disagree with her latest articles, but she does know the craft. Although, she’ll hit the same stalemate as I have with teaching Potter the art, he’s not of Potion Master Skills.”

“Good thing I don’t want to be a Potions Master,” replied Harry sardonically.

“I dare you to… sing the school song while imitating Professor Snape!” Laughed an unknown girl as Harry entered the commonroom. It seemed that all of the Slytherin and Gryffindor Girls that were currently residing in the Gryffindor Tower were gathered in the commonroom, all were clad in their pajamas resting on pillows and the couches, Hermione was surprisingly among them, Lavender and Ginny talking animatedly to her, no boys were currently about.

The loud giggling and conversations ended abruptly when the door closed behind him, Harry raised an eyebrow at Hermione, taking in her clothes, “Hermione, are you wearing my clothes?”

A pretty blush appeared on her cheeks as a tremulous wave of giggles erupted. “It was a dare,” she replied embarrassed.

“You’re playing Truth-or-Dare?” Asked Harry uncertainly.

“Yes, what’s wrong with that,” she asked looking slightly insulted.

“Nothing, just thought you were above such a childish game,” shrugged Harry. “Mind giving them back when you’re done?” Harry was about to head up to his dorm room when a thought entered his mind, “Anyone else have something of mine?”

Nervous giggles erupted as a few Slytherins’ produced some random items of his, “I’d appreciate those back as well. However,” he started seeing a third year Gryffindor holding a small black zippered bag, which held his contact case, solution, and glasses, “I will be needing these.” She laughed nervously handing it to him.

“Good night, ladies,” He said rolling his eyes before heading up the stairs. As he crossed the threshold of the first landing he noticed a flesh colored rope hanging haphazardly off the railing. He laughed to himself as he noticed it was coming from the 6th year boys dormitory.

Ascending the stairs quickly Harry entered the room to find the extendable ear connected to a small triangular box sitting on the floor in the middle of the room.

“New product from the twins?” Asked Harry curiously as he opened his wardrobe and began removing his contacts.

“Shhh…,” replied Ron hurriedly as voices began filtering into the room.

“Well, he was rather understanding,” pouted a female voice.

“What did you want him to do, scream at us for taking his stuff?” Asked what sounded like Ginny.

“Well no, obviously, but he didn’t even seem surprised,” Another voice said.

“And what did he mean childish game? And why is Granger the only one he thought above it,” Parkinson’s voice whined.

“Oh forget Harry’s opinion, he’s a guy after all,” Ginny said happily. “A guy who grew up nicely if I might add, I am absolutely in love with the blue in his hair.”

“I’m not,” that was Hermione’s voice, “It looks ridiculous, he won’t be accepted in the Auror program with that in his hair.”

“Tonk’s constantly has Pink hair, Hermione,” Ginny replied incredulously, “and she’s an auror. You’re just mad about those pictures on his bedside, I noticed you and Ron weren’t there.”

Harry raised an eyebrow at this, donning his new glasses he went over to inspect his bedside table. He frowned pensively before he began searching for his trunk. He had shrunk it down, and hadn’t been willing to enlarge it upon discovering the Slytherins in his dorm since the trunk held his most valuable possessions. (I.E. his invisibility cloak, photo album, marauder’s map, his guitar, the weird trophy, his guns/ammo, etc…) He finally found his shrunken trunk at the bottom of his duffle bag, and enlarged it, before pulling out a picture of him, Hermione, and Ron that Colin had given him last year.

“He hasn’t fully unpacked yet!” Hermione said in an irritated voice Harry thought she only reserved for Ron.

“He didn’t seem to have any problems putting out the other pictures,” Ginny said in a somewhat triumphant voice.

Harry scowled slightly towards the triangle as he placed the picture at the forefront of the others, making it prominent among the other photos.

“He stopped unpacking to find out why I had screamed, and to accompany me to Diagon Alley,” said Hermione in a less than convinced voice.

“Of course he hasn’t full unpacked yet,” replied Lavender soothingly surprising Harry. “I’m sure he’ll have a picture of you and Ron by tomorrow.”

“Hate to interrupt this… moment,” Parkinson said snidely, “but weren’t we playing a game?” The girls broke into giggles as an unknown girl began to sing the school song imitating Snape.

Harry looked around the room. Neville, Dean, Ron, and Seamus were avidly listening to the girl through the unknown device, while the Slytherin guys were pretending not to. Malfoy whom had smirked widely as Harry rooted around for the picture of Ron and Hermione was currently leafing through what looked like his potions text, but was constantly glancing towards what Harry was doing.

Harry whom had repaired his black belt frame had hung it on the wall, was currently trying to decide where his final poster would go, it was an auror poster from America that Karen had given him, it was reminiscent of one of the muggle Navy posters, only instead of a sword the auror was holding his wand erect and was decked out in Battle Robes with the auror symbol embellished on the back. The auror was shooting off random spells into the black background showing off different opponents, and the words “Are you ready to battle the darkness?” would flash randomly at the top.

A sudden uproar of squeals were heard from the girls made Harry turn away from his poster that he had hung on his wardrobe door, and look towards the small triangle.

“Mouse!!” a girl shouted.

“Who’s cat was that!” another said angrily.

“That would be Harry’s,” laughed Hermione. As her voice flittered into the room Meg came running into the room, bearing a large white mouse gripped in her teeth struggling to be free. She jumped onto Harry’s bed proudly depositing the mouse before him.

The mouse tried to escape but Meg quickly re-caught it. “What am I suppose to do with that?” Asked Harry after a few seconds before he realized she wanted him to take it. A meow escaped her mouth, blocked by the mouse she held. Harry frowned, “Fine.” He grabbed the mouse by the tail, Meg quickly letting it go before curling up in a ball, a slight purring coming from her.

“Stupid cat,” Harry said watching the mouse struggle in the air. He looked towards the snake whom was following the mouse with her eyes hypnotically. Harry crossed the room quickly and lifted the glass cage, despite Nott’s protest, and put the mouse in with her. Harry heard what he guessed was a joyful squeal before she began playing with it.

“Er… isn’t there a school rule that you can only have one pet?” asked Neville looking away from the snake quickly looking sick.

Harry shrugged, “Picked her up over the summer, couldn’t exactly leave her there, and I wouldn’t trust my relatives with a plant, let alone a living creature. Besides Dumbledore is trying to get me to like him again, he’s probably found me a loophole.” He said Crossing the room towards his bed and began changing into his night clothes.

“How is he trying to get you to like him again?” Asked Ron curiously.

“He strong-armed Snape into allowing me into his NEWT potion’s class even though I only got an E on the OWLS,” Harry scowled pulling on his night shirt.

“Snape agreed to that?” Asked Dean incredulously.

“He had terms,” laughed Harry.

“What were the terms?” Asked Ron a note of jealously in his voice.

“Hmm? Oh, treat him with respect,” here the Gryffindor’s snorted with laughter, “Yeah, I’d be out of the class with in the first five minutes, let’s see, I would have had to keep E or better work, and…” Harry laughed here and shot a look towards Malfoy whom was staring intently at his book, “He was going to permanently pair me with ferret boy over there. But like I told him, thanks but no thanks, I’m going to study on my own and sit the Newt.”

“You’re not serious?” Malfoy asked glaring at Harry. Not sure what part Malfoy was referring to Harry smirked and replied to the one he thought made more sense.

“He’s your head of House, don’t know why he’d want to torture you,” Harry laughed.

Malfoy frowned at that and returned to his book. “Harry, the NEWT course load…” started Ron, “if you have a chance to become an Auror by joining in Snape’s class, take it.”

“Ron, I’m meeting with McGonagall tomorrow to discuss other career options, besides I have a few things in the works, don’t worry about me,” Harry laughed, “Besides who even says I’ll live long enough to get a job, let alone graduate, why spend any more time with Snape than necessary.”

The room was silent at that, “Mate that’s’…” Ron began hotly.

“The truth?” Harry laughed shaking his head, “Hey, you want to meet Karen? She’s stopping by tomorrow.”

“The hot auror!?” Asked Dean excitedly. “oooh can’t wait, I better get my beauty sleep.”

“She’s coming tomorrow, you’ll have to sleep longer than that to make you beautiful,” said Seamus teasingly.

Dean replied by throwing his pillow at him.

The Great Hall was noisy with the preamble before the first classes, schedules were being passed out, first years were being given directions (and then correct directions depending on whom they asked), the ghosts were noisily chattering away about past students, and the teachers were whispering among themselves.

Harry was sitting at the Gryffindor table, currently eating his eggs, and having to explain numerous times why he hadn’t received a schedule when McGonagall had passed by earlier.

It was just as the first students were heading towards their classes that the doors swung open, Two large men were leading Karen in by wand point, she was frustratingly talking to them, an irate look on her face. The Great Hall silenced.

“This is absolutely unnecessary, I am a guest of Professor Minerva McGonagall and Harry Potter, I insist you remove your hands from my person before I am reduced to removing it for you,” Karen said in her most diplomatic voice.

“I don’t care if you claim to be Merlin’s guest of honor,” the bigger of the two said in an intimidating manner, “No one gets past without surrendering their wand, you’ll get it back when you leave.”

“That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, I will not surrender my wand, you have no jurisdiction over it or me,” she said glaring at him. Harry, whom had stood at her arrival, was quickly making his way over, just barely beating McGonagall, Snape, and Dumbledore.

“Your Supreme Mugwump, am I to assume all of your guests are treated in such a manner? Or only those who have diplomatic ties to a neutral government in regards to your countries war?” Karen asked in an affronted tone.

“I assure you Miss Parker this is not of my doing, Gentleman unhand our guest this moment,” Dumbledore said without so much as a twinkle in his eye.

“I quite agree, Miss Parker is an invited guest, she in no way is perceived as a threat,” McGonagall said crossly.

“Minister Fudge placed us here to ensure the safety of Undersecretary Umbridge, and that nothing similar to last year happens,” the smaller of the two men stated in a firm voice, “And to do that all guests must surrender their wands.”

“You’re hand is still upon my person, this is your last warning,” Karen said in a warning tone.

“And this is yours, surrender your wand, or be forced to leave,” the larger man stated.

“You have no authority over whom may visit Hogwarts gentlemen,” Dumbledore said frowning slightly. “I think—“

Whatever Dumbledore was about to say was cut off as Karen suddenly twisted her arm to the side, and brought her left arm careening down onto the crook of the guard’s arm currently holding her. He let out a painful moan as his arm was forcefully removed from her’s; His right arm nursing his left to his chest.

“Why you little—“ started the guard angrily.

“She warned you,” Harry stated plaintively. “You really should listen to an auror when they tell you to let go of them.”

“Auror?” Came a sickly sweet voice from the doorway. “Might I inquire why Mr. Potter has an auror visiting him?”

Harry turned towards the sardonically smiling form of Umbridge and scowled, “You may inquire, but that doesn’t mean you’ll receive an answer,” replied Karen dusting the arm of her auror robe as if the large man had left some unknown dirt that wouldn’t come off. Umbridge’s smile fell slightly at Karen’s mocking tone.

“HEM, HEM, Now young lady, your impudence is unwelcome, I am Senior Undersecretary Dolores Umbridge to Minister Fudge, and therefore entitled to an answer,” Umbridge puffed out slightly at this. “Do I make myself clear?”

“Umbitch?” Asked Karen uncertainly, her eyes locking onto the toad’s quickly.

Harry hid a laugh underneath a cough.

Umbridge frowned, “Um-bridge, dear. Um-BRIDGE.”

“Yes, I’m aware of what your name is,” Karen said waving her off, “I was under the impression you had left the teaching profession.”

Umbridge narrowed her eyes at Karen, “My achievements made me reconsider.”

“Your achievements?” Karen frowned.

“I produced more passing students in NEWTS and OWLS than any past teacher,” she smiled although she had some scrutiny behind her eyes.

Karen sent a glance at Harry, “I was unaware that you were responsible for anything other than torturing students with a bloodquill.” She returned coolly crossing her arms.

Dumbledore started at that, his eyes darting quickly from Harry to Umbridge, “hemhem,” Umbridge cleared her throat hurriedly, “I don’t know what lies young Mr. Potter has been filling your pretty head with dear, but, I wouldn’t put much stock in what he says, he’s quite disturbed.”

Karen laughed a short, mirthless laugh, “I suppose the residual spell traces left upon the scars on the back of his hand are just figments of his imagination?” Karen scowled slightly at her, “I have known Harry for quite sometime and he is hardly distrust worthy, and under normal circumstances I would arrest you for child endangerment, child abuse, use of a dark artifact, assault, from your appearance illegal transmorphication between a human and an amphibian,” Here Harry snorted with laughter at the reference that she looked like a toad, “and anything else I felt like tacking on. However, I have no jurisdiction in this part of the world, consequently, should I here that you’ve made the grave mistake in repeating your form of detention on the students, more specifically on Harry; I will rectify the situation, And by this I mean I will beat you until you are an inch from life, As a renowned Potions Master I can and will force you to survive on the most vial potions in existence in an effort to keep you lucid enough to know exactly what I am doing to you over a course of a week, or longer depending on my mood. And as Head Auror of the American Ministry I have unlimited resources to not only get away with it, but possibly be rewarded for it.” She smiled in just a sickly sweet smile as Umbridge had, “Do I make myself clear?”

She neither cared nor allowed Umbridge to answer, “Harry, I’ve just gotten off a mission and haven’t eaten since yesterday’s breakfast, do I have time to eat before this meeting?”

“Yeah,” Harry smiled, “it’s not for another half hour.”

“You’ll excuse me then, gentlemen,” Karen said to the two large men bowing sarcastically brandishing her wand mockingly at them before sheathing it, and turning to follow Harry to the Gryffindor table. “Oh, and I’ll be sure to inform Minister Charles about the welcome I received from Minister Fudge’s employees, I doubt the International Confederation of Wizards will be very impressed, wouldn’t you agree, Supreme Mugwump?”

Dumbledore’s eyes glittered slightly amused as he replied seriously, “No, I don’t believe they would, considering the Minister’s speech last week concerning international relations.”

Snape raised an eyebrow elegantly as he watched Karen interlope her arm with Harry’s as she was guided to the Gryffindor table, “Not exactly what I expected,” he muttered to Dumbledore.

“She is rather unexpected, and I met her over the summer,” nodded Dumbledore. “Harry’s new attitude seems somewhat reminiscent of hers, I hope it’s not too contagious, I’m having enough trouble with Harry as it is.”

Harry led Karen towards the Gryffindor table as she launched into a story. “So yesterday I’m in my office and I was eating breakfast, it was this great strawberry strudel, I sent one of the interns out to New York last week to get it, and it has this wonderful sugar glaze on it that just melts in your mouth…” she said staring dreamily off into space as she sat down making Ron move down some so she could sit next to Harry whom had retaken his position next to Hermione.

“Karen?” Prodded Harry seeing that she wasn’t about to come back on her own.

“Hrm? Oh yeah, sorry, but I was only able to eat half of it, I bet it’s still on my desk,” she said buttering her toast, “Is that all you’re eating Harry?” She asked putting some more food on his plate, “Any as I’m sitting there enjoying my food, Andy, you met Andy right? The sort of plump, wheezing man, always smells of smoke even though he claims he doesn’t? No?” At Harry’s shake of his head she took a bite of her food and shrugged, “Oh well, it doesn’t matter who he is, just what he does, he’s like the equivalent of Toad Woman over there, Major pain in the ass, always complaining about something, so I didn’t think to pay much attention to him, and well I was right he came in bitching about how someone took is parking space, like it’s my job to patrol the parking lot, so I was basically ignoring him, until he mentioned the kind of car that was there.” Karen filled her cup with Orange Juice before taking a sip.

“Well it turns out I’ve seen that car before, it was in fact the car that—“ she paused here and looked around here at the Gryffindor’s that were around her, “Well you know the Vampire we’re after,” she said throwing a cautious look towards Harry at his nod she continued, “Well it was the one he favored when he was alive, and it hasn’t been seen since a break-in to the ministry Garage nearly 8 months ago, we’re pretty sure one of his lackies stole it to gain some favor, anyway, I gather a few auror’s to search the building to make sure there wasn’t a breach in security, and I go out to investigate the car, well, turns out it was a message, I opened the trunk and found Fenkins and Dagoe, two lower class MLE officers, you’ve met them the night we met, you know the two fan-boys of mine, dead in the trunk, horribly mutilated of course, he likes to do that, but that’s not important,” she said taking a few bite of her food.

“Two people dead aren’t the important part?” Asked Hermione incredulously.

Karen looked up from her plate at Hermione, “Oh, how rude, I’m Karen Parker,” she said extending her hand, “I’ve been looking forward to meeting you Hermione Granger, Harry’s told me a lot about you.” Karen smiled as Hermione shook her hand, “And you too Ronald Weasley,” she said shaking Ron’s hand whom looked dreamily at it, a thought that he’d never wash that hand again entertained Harry’s mind for a few seconds.

“Right, now to answer you’re question, of course their deaths were important, but not really a top priority, we know who killed them, and where they had to of been abducted and why, considering they were on an undercover mission, that was the important part, the mission, MLE screwed up, they were found out, I told them that the Auror department should have handled it,” she said looking up as the table shook, Crabbe had just sat down next to Malfoy, whom by the looks of it was paying close attention to Karen as if she was telling a bedtime story.

“MLE? Auror Department?” Asked Hermione, “What’s the difference, the Auror’s in the British Ministry are often called the MLE.”

Karen snorted, “That’s because they don’t make a distinction, we have different levels of security clearance for different missions, MLE—or Magical Law Enforcement, are low level officers, like street police, or meter maids in the muggle world, they take care of small offences, nothing too dangerous, they rarely go undercover, a lot of people whom wish to be an auror but can’t make the grades will enter their ranks, if you work hard and excel, after 3 years you can take an aptitude test that if passed you can enter the auror school,” she smiled at Harry, “But that’s only if you really can’t make the grades, there are other ways to get accepted that are easier than that, but that’s delving into law loopholes and ministry restrictions, boring stuff,” she shrugged her shoulders, “Anyway, so I’ve had to organize two funerals, draft letters of condolence, reorganize a mission to try and clean up the mess, and on top of that hold a damn press conference explaining why we can’t release specifics to the public, and that they are not in any danger,” she scowled, “So I’ve been unable to eat at all because I knew I had this meeting today, so I had to complete all of this before I traveled all the way here.”

Harry laughed slightly, “Not in any danger?”

Karen smiled, “No more than they usually are, no need to inform the mass public, wouldn’t want to cause a mass panic. People at large are stupid and overreact.”

Harry nodded looking around at a near empty Great Hall, “What time is it?” Karen looked at her watch, Hermione whom was quicker than her let out a shriek before jumping from the table, shoving her books into her bag, and grabbing Ron by the arm, “We’re going to be late for class!”

“So what, it’s only Charms,” Ron replied but followed hurriedly after her anyway. The rest of the people, including the few straggling Slytherins (i.e. Malfoy) making their way quickly away as well.

“What was with the brown-haired guy, he was just staring at me with his mouth slightly open, I swear I saw a fly go in and out without him noticing,” Karen asked drinking the rest of her juice.

Harry snorted, “That was Seamus, he thinks you’re hot.”

“Ah, that’s sweet in a creepy way,” Karen said happily, “So ready for this meeting?”

“Yeah, I guess.” Replied Harry standing up.

“Supreme Mugwump, I was unaware that you would be attending this meeting,” said Karen nodding towards Dumbledore respectfully.

“I wasn’t until it occurred to me that it was rather odd that the Head Auror would so readily volunteer to assist a student in a lengthy process of independent study, when her own schedule leaves little time for personal endeavors,” Dumbledore said serenely.

“Ah, so you’ve found us out,” she said happily. “You’re right, it is odd.”

Harry shook his head, “You’re a Potions Master, so it’s not that odd.”

“It is when I live in another country,” she laughed. “So time to come clean?”

Harry sighed as he looked over the career pamphlets McGonagall had given him as he sat down for lunch, Karen, whom after assuring Dumbledore of Harry’s safety in her training and them planning out a schedule that seemed to leave no time for sleep let alone fun, had made a vague comment about observing the talents of a fellow scholar and skipped off towards the dungeons.

Harry was currently looking into healing classes, several courses were taught by Madam Pompfrey, a fact Harry hadn’t known, and found himself rather interested considering his track record with injuries, while he didn’t think himself ever capable of becoming a healer the courses would benefit him.

“So you want to be a healer?” Voiced Ron as he sat down across from Harry, he looked up from the pamphlet as Ron picked up the few that were on the table.

“Healer, Professor, Defense Master, Dragons, Gringotts,” Ron shook his head, “Kind of jumping around, not exactly along the same lines are they?”

Harry shrugged, “Auror’s my first choice, but I think I’m going to take some of these healing classes. The other careers need what I’m already taking, except Gringotts, I’d have to take these curse breaker classes, and they’re taught at Gringotts in 7th year.”

“Yeah, Bill said they’re brutal, not for the weak hearted, or stomach,” shrugged Ron.

Hermione suddenly plopped down next to him, her books slamming onto the table with a loud thump, “So Karen turned up in Potions, Snape was not Happy with her constantly asking questions, or suggesting other methods, I swear he was close to yelling, and he never yells, just insults in that menacing way.”

Harry smiled, “Sorry I missed that,” he glanced towards the doors as they opened, Snape stalked angrily towards the head table, while Karen flounced after him talking animatedly as she struggled to keep up with his long gait.

Hermione snorted slightly, “Last I heard she was trying to convince him that the muggle spice Ginger had the same magical effects on potions as wormwood, and made them taste better.”

Harry laughed, “Really. That must not have gone over well with him.”

“Well, no because it’s not true, I’ve read quite a few texts on wormwood, and it’s not mentioned anywhere,” Hermione said huffily.

“If Karen says it’s true, then it is, Hermione,” Harry said coming to Karen’s defense right away.

Hermione frowned at that, “Why is her word worth more than mine?”

“Because, she’s a Potions Master, and you’re not,” shrugged Harry.

“Well that man is insufferable,” Karen said plopping down across from him crossing her arms, “Completely refuses to see reason.”

“I could and have told you that Karen, Snape’s never wrong in his mind, despite all proof to the contrary,” Harry said putting down his pamphlets and turning to the Quibbler that Luna had given him earlier that day, he pulled out a muggle pen and began to do the crossword puzzle, apparently if you solved it and crossed you’re eyes you could see a prewentledooble—whatever that was.

“What’s another word for thrift,” asked Harry.

“Saving?” suggested Hermione as she began to eat.

“No, it’s not long enough,” replied Harry.

“Frugality.” Said Karen distractedly.

“Mmm, thanks.” Harry said filling it in.

He studied the paper a while longer before sighing, “How do you spell, entrepreneur?”

Hermione opened her mouth to reply but Karen beat her to it, “E-N-T-R-E-P-R-E-N-E-U-R.”

Harry missed the slight angry expression Hermione sent her way, but Karen didn’t. She smiled slightly condescendingly at her, before returning to her food.

“Proclamation 873 Article 7 in British Law was passed in 15 what?” Harry asked, he was on the last question.

“32,” Hermione answer promptly.

“Actually,” Karen said, “It was proposed in 1532, but due to the 5th Goblin War, it was tabled until 1536 and wasn’t passed into law until the summer of that year.”

Harry nodded to that and filled in the answer, however, he didn’t miss the angry frustrated growl Hermione issued, or her storming away from the table.

“What’s her problem?” Asked Harry as Karen took the paper from him.

“Huh, kinda looks like a cat,” said Karen crossing her eyes. “And you’re rather clueless when it comes to girls Harry.” She said smiling standing up. “I’ll see you later, I have a Potions Master to annoy.” At that she flounced off towards Snape, whom was about to leave the Great Hall.

“Ron, what’s wrong with Hermione?” He asked turning to his friend, whom was shoveling food into his mouth.

Ron shrugged, “I don’t know, I didn’t do it.” Harry frowned at that. Why was she angry?

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