Chapter 1 : The Aftermath
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In the back of the hall she saw Grawp, Hagrid's half brother, standing outside of the window. As a half giant, he was taller than all those around him. Hagrid was half giant too, but nowhere near as tall as Grawp, who was 16 feet tall, compared to 10 feet for Hagrid. Grawp had a huge bowl that he was drinking from. It was big enough you could take a bath in it. "All right Grawpy?" asked Hagrid. Grawp was grinning, his mouth full from all the food everyone was tossing him.
Up at the front, at a small side table, sat three blonde haired wizards. The Malfoys. 3 Aurors stood guard over them. They were under house arrest here in the castle. They weren't sure why they weren't locked up in the wizard prison Azkaban. Lucius, the father, was a convicted death eater, and an escaped prisoner. Narcissa, his wife, did not bear the dark mark, but Lord Voldemort had used their home as his headquarters. Draco, their son, would have been in his seventh year at Hogworts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. He was the source of many problems for Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley. Most of the Syltherins, being purebloods, hated those who were not. Hexes, jinxes, and physical assaults were typical of them, especially from Crabbe, Goyle, and Pansy Parkinson. They were Draco's main henchmen.
The Headmistress looked up. She saw Harry sitting with Luna. She saw Luna point at something, then there was a shimmer as Harry disappeared. 'He is probably using his invisibility cloak' she thought. Then , Hermione & Ron got up and left. Her eyes followed them. She guessed they were off to see the previous headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. What did they go through this last year? What did they have to do to survive? She felt very sorry for them, and hoped eventually they would be OK. They were her favorite students. Back in their fourth year, she asked them "why is it that when there is any trouble you three are always in the middle of it?" Ron told her that he had been asking himself that same question for the last four years.
Minerva closed her eyes. As an animagus, she had the ability to turn into an animal and back. Hers was a tabby cat. Because of this, her senses were much sharper than normal. When she closes her eyes, she can use the cat-like senses to be able to feel the emotions of those around her. 'Sadness. Much sadness.' Especially near the front where the Weasleys sat. Molly & Arthur had lost their son Fred. The rest of their children, Charlie, who was a dragon keeper, Bill and his wife Fleur, who worked at the Wizard bank Gringotts, Percy, who worked at the Ministry, George, who owned Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes with his twin brother Fred, Ron, who had just left with Hermione, and the youngest, Ginny. She was the first girl born to the Weasleys in seven generations. Throughout the room there was a mixture of joy and sadness. Some of the students were celebrating their victory, but if they got too loud, one of the DA would come by to shush them.
Minerva felt a hand on hers. "Are you OK?" asked Kingsley Shacklebolt, the newly appointed Minister of Magic. He saw tears running down her cheeks. "I - I think we'll all be OK. We've all been through so much this last year. But I am really worried about those three." She nodded to the retreating Hermione & Ron as they left the Great Hall. "I'm concerned too" said Kingsley. "I'm glad they were there for each other. Minerva, do you know what Albus had them doing this last year?" Minerva shook her head "Not really. All I know is that Albus sent them on a mission together. He made them promise not to discuss it with anyone, not even me. Now that it is over I hope they can tell us." Kingsley turned to her "Do you think it is wise for them to be walking around the castle alone? I mean, there may still be some Death Eaters or other dark wizards in the halls waiting to ambush one of us."
"You're right Kingsley. Constant vigilance, isn't that what we were always told?" She smiled at the memory of Mad Eye Moody. He was always paranoid, and for good reason. Over his many years as an Auror, he had caught many dark wizards. "We need to make sure the 'Golden Trio' are OK, and to search the castle to make sure there are no hidden traps or dark creatures there. This sounds like a job for the DA. And the Aurors. Maybe they could work together to search the castle & the grounds."
Minerva stood up. "Mr. Longbottom? Could you come here please?" Neville jumped up and came over to her. "How can I help you?" He carried the sword of Gryffindor with him, in addition to his wand. He had probably changed more than anyone here. If you were to look at their class photo from the first year, you would see a small scared boy with no self confidence. He had grown into a leader. He, along with Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood, had led the student resistance here this year. "Neville, we need to begin a search of the castle & the grounds. Before we can start repairing the castle, we need to make sure that all our enemies are accounted for. I don't want to see anyone get hurt. Also, we need to start inspecting the castle for damages." Neville looked around. Everywhere he looked he saw damage. In some places, there were scorch marks from spells. In others, he saw dark stains. "It sounds like a job for the DA" he said. "My thoughts exactly" said Kingsley. "We would like you to work with the Aurors and the Order of the Phoenix. Can you do it?" Neville pulled a gold galleon out of his pocket. "Leave it to me." The coin had been charmed by Hermione so that it could be used to communicate with the other members of the DA. He rubbed it between his fingers and it began to glow. He saw each of the members of the DA reach into their pockets, look at the coin, and then look up at Neville. They all walked up to him, awaiting instructions. Kingsley was impressed. His Aurors needed some help. Maybe these people could be the ones?
"We have a job to do" Neville said. "We are going to help the Aurors and the Order to search the castle for any unwanted guests. Also, we are to help assessing the damages. We will break up into teams of 3, 2 of which will be DA. We don't know what is out there waiting for us, so be careful." He saw them divide themselves up. Hannah & Luna, Justin & Michael, Padma & Parvati, until they were all done. He saw Ginny look around for someone to pair up with. "Ginny can I have a word?" he asked. "How are you doing?" he asked. "OK" she said. Neville shook his head. "No you're not. You need to take care of your parents. And be there for George. Bill and Charlie are going to help with the search. Please tell your parents how sorry I am about Fred." Ginny looked up at Neville, gave him a hug & whispered thank you to him. Ginny's brother Fred and been killed during the battle.
"Thank you Mr. Longbottom. Now I have a different job for you. Harry, Hermione, and Ron have gone to talk the Headmaster. I would like you to go and check up on them to make sure they are OK." Neville looked around. "Dean, Seamus you are with me." They nodded at McGonagall and left the room. Kingsley turned to her and said "they really are amazing. And Harry, Hermione, and Ron trained them all?" She nodded, turning to look at them. She remembered back to their fifth year, and the reign of Dolores Umbridge. She told Kingsley with pride about how the 'Golden Trio' formed the group to resist "Umbitch" as she was fondly called. She and Albus used to talk about them. You could see them growing and maturing right before their eyes. As their self confidence grew, they began to work with the younger ones. And last year, with the terror of the Carrows, and their inquisitorial squads, they became the leaders of the student rebellion. If not for them, she thought that she probably would have lost many of her students. She looked up at Kingsley. "They really are our future. I think they could be the foundation of the new ministry." Kingsley was thinking the same thing. He envisioned the first of the new Aurors here. And he saw others who would become leaders in teaching and administration. For the first time since the battle ended, Kingsley felt good about the future.
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