Chapter 19 : Auttumn at Hogwarts & the start of Auror Training
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As the train was filling up students kept asking Hermione if she would sign their Chocolate Frog cards, and a lot of them asked where Harry and Ginny were. So they had a steady stream of visitors asking her to sign their cards, both Ginny Weasley cards and Ginny Potter cards. Some of them, when they realized that Hanna was married to Neville, wanted Hanna to sign the Neville Longbottom card too, something totally unexpected to Hanna.
“Have you ever had anyone ask for your autograph, or look at you like you were some sort of celebrity?” asked Hanna of Ginny when Harry was out talking to one of the Aurors.
“No, I don’t think so” Ginny mused, pondering the question. “I know Harry has had people looking at him since he started at Hogwarts. He isn’t very fond of it. I’m not sure I like it either.”
“Harry likes to pretend he’s not important” Luna said. “He’s wrong, of course. He has always been very important, and he will continue to be very important. Harry just does not know how to handle it.”
“It was kind of fun being a celebrity right after the Battle of Hogwarts” Neville said. “I sure wouldn’t want to be like Harry and have to deal with that all of the time.”
Luna was always asked to sign her card, and as people gushed over her she started out visibly shaken. By the fourth or fifth time she started to take it in stride, however. “I guess when you have a Chocolate Frog card of your own people feel free to talk to you” Luna said “Although some of the younger ones seem a little scared of us. I don’t know why.
The opening feast did not start out a lot different. Minerva McGonagall was headmistress. There was a new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher, Sidney Stanford, tall, black hair with the slightest touch of gray around the temples, from the U.S. Sidney Stanford was according to the rumors single. There were several additional new teachers, including a new Muggle Studies teacher. The sorting had more people in Gryffindor and fewer people in Slytherin, and there were more students than the years before. Some of them had been kept out of the school or even the country because of the troubles, so there were 12 and even a couple of 13 year old first years, and a similar mixture of ages in all 7 classes.
Everything went without a hitch until the sorting. When the sorting hat came to David Jones Harry gripped Ginny’s hand especially hard. Ginny took one hard look at his face and silently mouthed “Nora.” Harry squeezed Ginny’s hand again but did not say anything. Nora Jones was still missing.
At the end of the meal Ms. McGonagall got up to give the opening speech. She said “Welcome back, Hogwarts students. Last year was a most difficult year for most of you, for a variety of reasons. This year we have more students than we have had in years, and more unusual students. Because students could not or did not want to come to Hogwarts last year and because some students went into hiding or left the country when Tom Riddle was back we have students 1 or 2 or even 3 years older than normal. We have 4 married couples, 2 that are both attending school, and Mrs. Ginny Weasley Potter and Mrs. Hanna Abbot Longbottom, both of whom have husbands training to be Aurors.
“We also have a number of students that were hurt, some very seriously, last year. Two are in wheelchairs, not just due to their injuries but in one case because the Carrow’s did not allow him to be treated in time, and in the other case because of an injury that one of the Muggle born healers at St. Mungo’s could have healed but that healer had to run for his life and there was no one else to help. Other students have less obvious physical problems, but please make allowances. It may take them longer to get someplace.
There are other students that the events of the last year have left them emotionally fragile.” McGonagall took off her glasses and wiped her eyes. You could see her trying to get control of her own emotions. “I have to say that all of us are probably a little emotionally fragile. Last year was such a difficult year for everyone. We talked to all the students we thought were the most fragile, the most at risk. We have six students wearing a yellow “E” to indicate that they are especially emotionally fragile. The six students wearing the yellow “E” are to be accompanied by one or two students from their house at all time. Their house Prefects are going to be working with other students in their house and the staff to protect these and a number of other students who were tortured or otherwise suffered greatly last year.
It was not an easy decision to single out these six students, but if you knew their stories you would understand why we felt we had to warn everybody to be exceptionally careful around them. You are all warned that the usual jokes and play, if directed at a student that has a problem, can get you severe punishment! I think we ought to be very careful with everyone for a while.
For all of you, there are specialists available in the infirmary if the events of the last couple of years or anything else are causing you problems.”
Ms. McGonagall then proceeded to introduce all the teachers and give a more normal first of the year speech.
Ginny had noticed the younger of the two students in a wheelchair. She seemed to be determined to make the best of the situation, and was animatedly talking to her friends. The older boy was wearing and “E” just looked fragile, not only physically but also emotionally. A couple of other students were around him fiercely protecting him. Sometimes he seemed OK, but at other times you could tell there was some terror in his face.
Several of the Gryffindor students approached the couples and asked if they could talk to them in the Gryffindor common room. Harry explained “I would love to go into the Gryffindor common room, but Ministry employees are strictly forbidden from going into the common rooms or dorm rooms. It’s actually a good thing. That rule was never violated until, I understand, last year.” Ginny and several other students nodded at this; almost every rule made to protect the students was violated the previous school year. Harry continued “We can talk in public areas, and Ginny or I are allowed to invite you into our private quarters. Neville and I are not Gryffindor students any more. It’s really irregular having Neville and me living here.
We really need to go to our rooms right now, but we will try and make time to talk with you this week.”
Harry and Neville arrived at the Ministry at 8:00 AM September 2 for the start of Auror training. Most of the DA, Harry, Ron, Neville, Terry Boot, Justin Finch-Flechley, Seamus Finnigan, Anthony Goldstein, Ernie Macmillan, Padma and Parvati Patil , Cho Chang and Zacharias Smith were in the class. Lavender Brown was still healing, spending half or more of her time at St. Mungo’s and the rest at home recuperating. Theodore Nott, a Slytherin in Harry’s year, had somehow gotten acceptable grades in all his classes and had avoided taking part in the tortures and other activities that would keep him from joining the Aurors. His uncle was a death eater, but his father had kept a low profile and could not be accused of anything.
They were led down to the personnel office, where Harry was beckoned in to fill out an application. The rest of the recruits were standing around waiting when Al Van Lente walked in and said “What are you doing?”
“Waiting to fill out an application” Ron said. “They are making us do it one at a time.”
“What the hell!” Al exclaimed. “Where are the damn applications? Where is Harry?”
“He’s behind that door filling out his application” said Ron.
Harry was sitting before an older man with glasses, answering questions as the man filled in the form, when Al stormed into the room. “What the hell do you think you’re doing sitting here making all those people wait.”
“I need to fill in the forms” the nervous wizard said.
“Why can’t they fill out the forms themselves?” a glowering Al asked.
“We’ve never done it that way” the wizard meekly said. “I don’t have the authority to change anything.”
“Stupid squinty eyed bureaucrats, shit heads, damn it to hell” Al fumed. “Who does have the authority?”
“I don’t know.” the wizard replied, visibly shrinking away as Al pushed his face into his.
“Your name is?” asked Al, inches from his face.
“Roger Hoffman, sir” the wizard said.
“Kingsley’s going to hear about this one” Al muttered as he stormed out of the room.
A short time later Al came storming into the waiting area, followed by Kingsley Shacklebolt and Gawain Robards. Al threw open the door to the little application office and said “Tell me again why you need to keep these valuable people waiting why you sit there and fill in the damn forms for them. I assume since they have all been accepted as Aurors in training they can all write!”
“It’s always been done this way” the man replied.
“Where are the other applications?” Kingsley asked. The little wizard pointed to a pile on a desk just a short way away. “Get them and bring them here.”
The little wizard just stared at Kingsley. As the wizard bureaucrat sat there paralyzed with fear Al glowered at him, turned to the desk, and quietly said “Accio applications.” When the applications landed in his hand he gave them to Robards, and Robards said “I’ll get our Auror candidate started” as he headed out of the room.
“How can we speed up this process?” Al asked the wizard. “Do they need identification? Uniforms? Do you stand there with your thumb up your ass wasting the valuable time of our Aurors, doing these things one person at a time, or is there a way we can speed up the process?”
The wizard was shaking at this point. He handed Al a checklist he had made up, and Al and Kingsley looked over it.
“My application is done” Harry said. While Al was fighting with Rodger Hoffman Harry had finished filling out the form.
The room was a modest sized room in the Ministry, with four desks spaced apart. One desk was obviously Rodger’s, and there were two witches at two of the other desks. Kingsley asked “Who is responsible for generating the identification?” A witch indicated she was. “I always do it with Rodger” she said.
“Are you capable of making the identification on your own?” Kingsley asked.
“I could try” the witch said.
“Don’t try, do” Kingsley said.
“But the application needs to be reviewed first” the witch said.
Kingsley looked over the application quickly. “I’ve reviewed it, and it looks good to me. Get Harry his identification!” Then Kingsley turned to Rodger. “I will have the Auror candidates in here one at a time. Look over the applications for any missing information. You have ten minutes max per candidate, unless there is something seriously wrong. Then pass the candidate on to, Miss?”
“Applebee, sir” the witch said. “Mrs.”
Kingsley said “Misses Applebee, you need to have identifications made as fast as Rodger gets our new Aurors processed. When everything is done they can all go and get their uniforms together. If all this is not done by eleven I expect Mr. VanLente will be very mad, and that will make me very mad. Do I make myself clear?”
“But” Rodger said. “Some of the steps are missing. We have to record them and give the information to payroll and, all that takes time.”
“And AFTER the Aurors are done you will take all the information to payroll in one trip, by yourselves, and not make these valuable people wait any longer. Anything else you have to do will be done efficiently, without bothering our Auror candidates unless it is absolutely necessary, and it will all be done tonight!” Kingsley almost shouted. “If there are minor issues we can take them up tomorrow, and you tell me before you get one of these valuable people out of their training.”
Al pointed to Harry and he went over to Mrs. Applebee. Al then poked his head out the door and asked “Are any of you through with your applications?” A couple were, and Al said “Cho, come on in.”
Kingsley Shacklebolt left, and Gawain Robards followed shortly after. After Harry had his identification Al said “Get in touch with me if there are any more of these stupid delays, Harry. Stand here and watch our suddenly efficient crew here.”
“Yes, sir!” Harry said. Harry did not say much, but the fact that he was standing there, and that he was obviously good friends with Minister Shacklebolt and Al VanLente and maybe even Gawain Robards made everyone in the little office nervous, and they finished up their work with unaccustomed speed and efficiency.
Al was back with the Auror candidates in about ten thirty, mumbling to himself, obviously not happy although Harry thought that Al could be happy to be not happy as long as he was getting things done. By eleven the entire crew was entering a classroom. At the head of it was an older witch. “I’m Mrs. Edie Evans, and I’m a legal expert” Edie said by way of introduction. “I am here to tell you the legal restrictions you will be operating under. After you thoroughly learn all the rules that govern your behavior you will be given permission to use spells that Aurors need to perform their duties. Please pick up one of these manuals.”
Harry looked at a thick manual. He turned to the back and saw that it was almost a thousand pages long. Mrs. Evans started at the first paragraph of page one and started to read. Harry thought he was back in Professor Binns class. He started to thumb through the huge tome, and for some reason started at the back where it seemed the most recent entries were. He quickly double checked; it looked like the last two hundred pages were laws put in place last year, terribly unfair laws forbidding arrest of pure blood even for odious crimes, laws forbidding anyone but pure blood from practicing any magic. Al was sitting in the front row, also paging through the book, and they looked at each other and shook their heads. Harry pointed out a particularly odious piece of legislation. Al looked at it and shook his head.
Mrs. Evans went over to Harry and Al and said “You are supposed to be listening in class, not going off on your own. You will be tested on this material and if you don’t pass you are not going to become Aurors.”
“How are we every going to operate under these laws from last year?” asked Harry. “Their wrong, perverted, everything we’ve been fighting against!”
“It’s not my problem. Maybe they will be changed” Mrs. Evans said. “Meanwhile you need to learn the laws that are now on the book.”
“Come on Harry” said Al as he pulled Harry out of the class.
“This is what I’ve been afraid of, Harry” said Al as they walked, almost ran, down the hall. “Your Ministry was not very good before last year. It really never got over the first of Voldemort’s reigns, but this last year has obviously made things much worse. All the current Aurors just ignore the law, but that’s not a good long term solution either.”
“Why am I involved?” asked Harry. “Oh, and call him Tom Riddle, please. The less Lord the better.”
“Because you are going to help run the training, just like you did with the DA, and you are on the Wizengamot and are going to help get the laws changed, and I want the training department terrified of you” replied Al. By this time they were at Robards office. He waved them in. Al dropped the thousand page manual on Robards desk.
“Merlin, no!” Robards said, shaking his head. “Edie can waste the whole Autumn going over that damn manual line by line. Some of this stuff does need to be covered, but not all this bull.”
“It looks like a lot of the laws, at least the more recent ones, need to be repealed” Harry said.
“I’ll talk to Kingsley about changing the laws” Al said as he got up. “Harry, talk to Robards about training, and what you did with the DA.”
“Yes, sir” Harry said as Al rushed out of the room.
“Is he always in a hurry like that?” Harry asked as Al almost ran out of the room.
“No” Robards said. “Al can be very impatient, but usually he’s impatient for good reasons.” Robards shrugged his shoulders. “Usually. Al’s not always the easiest person in the world to work with.
There is more to being an Auror than just fighting, Harry. Memory management, investigating. You do need to understand the legal principals under which we operate. I found this as I was looking through old documents.” Robards pulled out a booklet about one hundred pages long. “This is the summary of laws and regulations Aurors operated under between about nineteen forty five and the mid-fifties.”
“Can we go back to this?” asked Harry.
“We could, and we should go back to something like this” Robards said. “I tried to talk the training department into this, with no success.”
“If Misses Evans keeps reading this manual” Harry said pointing at the huge manual “And reads like she is Professor Binns, the whole class is going to revolt.”
“I had Professor Binns too” Robards said. “I’m not sure I ever really listened to him drone on, although I did read all I could about history. I got real good at reading and sort of listening for someone other than Binns voice. When someone asked a question I listened, but otherwise I read in his class. Edie can be better than that. I think she’s just terrified of doing something wrong, after all the administrations she’s been through.”
“How many people are like her at the Ministry?” asked Harry.
“Too many” Robards said. “You are going to have to help lead the training, although not alone. Some of the foreign Aurors are going to help.”
“Good!” Harry exclaimed.
“If you had to pick two helpers, two people to be leaders in some self-training, who would they be?” asked Robards.
“Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom” Harry said. “Some of the others are good too, but those two are the best.”
Harry and Gawain spent about five minutes talking about Ron and Neville. Gawain was impressed that both of them were at the Battle of the Ministry, that Ron was an excellent chess player and tactician and Neville helped lead the DA when Harry was gone. “Neville is a really good teacher” Harry said.
Finally Gawain sat back in his chair, folded his arms, and looked at Harry. “So you are Harry Potter. The Hero of Hogwarts. Victor over Lord Voldemort. Richest wizard in the world. The new Merlin.”
“Call him Tom Riddle” Harry said. “The more often we call him by his proper name the less people will fear him, or his memory.”
“And what should we call you?” Gawain asked. “Lord Potter?”
“I’m just Harry, sir” Harry pleaded. “I never wanted to be famous.”
“I’ve heard rumors that you are after my job, and with your father-in-law as my boss I’m at a disadvantage” Robards said. “I know office politics.”
“I just want to do a good job, make the world a better place” Harry said. “I’m not after your job.”
“And we have to give you full time pay even if you are at the Wizengamot or off chasing money” Gawain said. “We’ve had a few privileged rich young men here. They don’t last. They either quit or they get killed early, because they are not very good.”
Harry did not know how to answer Gawain. There was a lot of pent up frustration and maybe some envy in Gawain’s voice.
“I can’t be at the training all that much. Too much to do” Robards said. “Al views it as a priority, but he can be called away at any moment. You and your team are going to have to help train yourselves. Even when others are training you, you are going to need to help run the training, or help supervise the training.”
“I don’t have any authority to do this” Harry replied just as Al and Kingsley walked in the room.
“You’re on the Wizengamot, you’re a damn war hero, and your money is helping support the Ministry, Harry” said Al. “Keep asking all of us if you are doing the right thing, don’t get cocky, and beyond that make sure the right thing is being done even if you have to yell a little, or walk out of class and get someone else to intervene.”
“It’s not like you are putting any pressure on me?” asked Harry warily.
“Oh of course no one has ever asked you to do anything difficult, Harry” said Al laughing. “Non illigitamus carborundum, don’t let the bastards wear you down.”
“Thanks, I think” Harry replied cautiously.
Al and Harry, reinforced by Kingsley and Robards, walked into the classroom. Robards held up a copy of the little book and said “Edie, I suggested you use this instead of that monstrosity you are using to give our new class of Aurors a briefing on the law. Now I’m telling you, use the little book.”
“Nothing brief about this” Ron muttered quite loudly, and all the rest of the class nodded in agreement.
“But that’s an old book” Edie replied, a little defensively.
“For the rest of the day you can get ready to teach out of this book, Mrs. Evans” Kingsley said. “You are to take days, not weeks, to cover this material. The next time Gawain makes a suggestion I strongly recommend you pay careful attention to it.”
Edie took the book and went over to a corner of the room to start to read it, looking warily at the Minister and the others.
“Why don’t we go through this mess and see what laws need to be repealed” Harry suggested.
“I need to talk to Harry, Ron and Neville” Gawain said. “The rest of you, decide among yourselves how best to cover this book. Find the really bad laws, ask questions of any you don’t understand. If you divide up the book it should only be about a hundred pages each.”
“Let’s break for lunch” suggested Kingsley. “Does anyone know where the cafeteria is?”
A couple of the class raised their hands.
.“I want to see Gawain, Harry, Ron and Neville in my office, and Al of course and you are?” Kingsley said as he was looking at Jim Snook.
“Auror Jim Snook, sir. We are guarding Harry and Ginny” Jim replied.
“We need to talk about your role too” Kingsley said.
The six men went into Kingsley’s office. Kingsley said “I want food for six brought in for us, and unless there is an emergency do not disturb us.” A very young wizard said “Yes, sir.”
When they were seated Al asked “Are the places where the Aurors are being trained safe?”
Jim Shook said “Once the trainees are in either a classroom or, from what I understand a training room we can easily secure the perimeter. That way I am notified if anyone unauthorized tries to get in. We can make the spells even stronger so if anyone tries to get in, even one of you, one or more of us is instantly notified.”
“I think they should strengthen the spells, with Jim and, if you had to pick one other person not one of you to be notified who would it be?” Al asked as he turned to Harry.
“Cho Chang” suggested Harry. “If we had one other person here she would be the one.”
Al looked around the room for a consensus, and then said “Jim, you train Cho to be on alert and get notified if there are any problems. I want all these people to be notified, but at a lower level.”
Kingsley said “Gawain, do you have the training schedule, the old one?”
“Right here, boss” Gawain said.
“Let’s see how we can compress this into four months in the ministry, with another year of field training and attending classes” Kingsley said.
For most of the afternoon the group worked on the new training schedule.
Kingsley left a couple of times to talk to the rest of the Auror candidates, to help with their review of the thousand page law manual.
At about four o’clock the training meeting broke up. Kingsley asked Harry to stay behind. “We need a lot of laws changed, Harry” Al said. “You have one more seat that you inherited. Do you know who you want to take it?’
“I think the best person would be Hermione Granger” Harry said. “She is very bright, and she would make sure the laws were fair.”
“You’ve mentioned Hermione before, and I have heard of her from others. Here is the preliminary paperwork to get Hermione on the Wizengamot” Kingsley said. “You need to fill out this, and she needs to fill out this. She needs letters of recommendation, and I would think she could get enough from the teachers at Hogwarts. Here is a book on how to write a new law, and how to change or abolish an old law. If she can have legislation in our hands by Friday morning we will get some of these laws changed.”
“That’s a lot to ask of her” Harry said.
“I have spent less than 8 hours a week at my house since the Battle of Hogwarts” Kingsley said. “I sleep here. We are pushing everybody too hard, you as much as anybody. It will end, I promise you, but we need to get these laws changed, and I believe you that Hermione Grainger is the best person we could put on the Wizengamot right now.”
“Yes sir” said Harry. “Sir, I have one more question?”
“What is it, Harry?” Kingsley asked kindly.
“Nora Jones, and Pansy Parkinson? Are they still missing?”
“Nora Jones parents and sister Megan Jones are cooperating. Megan sort of has to; we said that as long as she cooperated we would not charge her for trying to try to hurt you. We do not have any good news, however. There is some evidence that the Death Eaters or whoever has her are torturing her. They want money, at least, and the Ministry just can’t give them money or it will encourage more hostage taking. Best for the long run but terribly hard on Nora and the Jones family.”
“Pansy? I don’t like her but she doesn’t deserve torture.”
“Her parents are not cooperating at all, Harry. I have a bad feeling about that.”
Harry found the rest of the class in the training room, and together they went over the thousand page manual and summary of laws, with notes on what they wanted changed. Harry finally had a parchment about ten pages long summarizing all the changes they wanted. The gathering broke up a little after six. Harry looked at his watch. Dinner was already starting at Hogwarts. He and Neville were going to be late. Ron had already left for the Hogsmeade store.
Harry and Neville took the floo to Grimmauld Place, and from there to their rooms at Hogwarts. They got to the main hall about the middle of the main course.
Harry and Neville tried to sneak into the hall to sit with their wives; it did not work. As soon as the crowd realized that Harry and Neville were coming in they rose up and applauded, some of the students screaming and jumping up and down. McGonagall tried to calm the hall down, and when she and Harry had gotten the crowd seated and quiet McGonagall said “Mr. Potter and Mr. Longbottom should be here early in the morning and most evenings and weekends for this school year, living with their wives who are trying to finish their studies. If you can control yourselves and not applaud or interfere all of you should have a chance to meet Mr. Potter and Longbottom over the course of the year. In the meantime please give the Potters and Longbottoms some space. If you make such a scene that they can not come here to visit their wives we are going to have a couple of very unhappy couples.”
The hall did quiet down, and Harry and Neville sat down to eat with their wives. Neville said “I really did not expect that! Is this what it has been like for you, Harry?” “Sort of” said Harry, trying to eat.
Harry looked at Hermione and said “Could you come back to our room with Ginny, Hanna and Neville. I, we, need to talk to you.”
“Sure Harry” said Hermione, and she accompanied the two couples up to their living quarters.
Everybody went to Harry and Ginny’s room. Harry brought out the thousand page manual and a copy of the one hundred page old manual, and the book on how to make new laws, change laws, and repeal laws.
Harry started out by showing the smaller booklet, saying “In the 1940’s and 1950’s this book is what the Aurors got to summarize the laws and regulations they operated under.” Showing everybody the thousand page book he said “This is what we were given late this morning. The last two hundred pages were written just last year, and they are perverted, horrible laws against everything we have been fighting for. The last two hundred pages need to be repealed, but many of the other laws need repealing or changing. We need somebody very bright, very academic who at the same time has a good sense of right and wrong, to go over these laws. In other words, Hermione, we need you to go over these laws and write whatever we have to introduce to repeal the worst of them, and then over the next few months change anything that needs to be changed.”
“I’m not on the Wizengamot, Harry” Hermione said.
“Oh, yes, please fill in this form so we can start the process of putting you on the Wizengamot, in a seat I have inherited” Harry said. “You need letters of recommendations, but I think that right here in Hogwarts you have plenty of teachers who would be thrilled to recommend you.”
“Where am I going to get the time to do this?” and exasperated and somewhat panicky Hermione inquired.
Harry shrugged his shoulders and looked around at the others in the room. “Maybe less Quidditch, less flying?” Hermione’s dislike for flying on a broom, and inability to do it well, was well known.
Hermione made a nasty face at Harry, replying “Less Quidditch, sure.”
Harry pleaded “We’ve summarized the more odious passages, at least the ones the Auror trainees found.”
Hermione took the books and the list from Harry. “Ron’s working two jobs. I guess I can too. I’d never live it down if Ronald was working harder than I was” Hermione sort of mumbled. “I wonder if Ron will even get here tonight? Hanna, Neville, Ginny, Harry, good night.”
After Hermione left Ginny said “Hermione is going to love it. She’ll complain about how hard it is, but she will do her usual fabulous job.
“If you would excuse us Hanna and I want to go back to our rooms” Neville said.
“Harry said they need to leave Hogwarts at seven thirty, so we ought to be eating breakfast at six forty five” Ginny said. “See you out in the hall outside our rooms at six forty.”
After Hanna and Neville left Ginny said “We need to be asleep by ten to get up at six.”
“I don’t expect you want to jump in bed and go right to sleep” teased Harry.
Ginny gave Harry one of her famous smirks, one marked by more than a little lust. “Oh I think nine thirty or even a little after gives us enough time for some serious shagging before sleep. You know I can always get right to sleep if you make me feel like a sexy woman at bedtime.”
“Such tough duty” Harry volunteered.
Ginny had homework to do, and Harry looked over the training schedule they were going to try and follow, pondering the day’s events.
Shortly before they went to bed Ginny saw Harry looking out the window, and she could tell that something was bothering him. She got up and went over, touched his arm, and said “What’s bothering you, Harry?”
“Oh, nothing” Harry replied.
Ginny got the fierce look in her eyes that Harry admired so much and quietly said “Don’t you ever tell me nothing like that! Something is bothering you.”
Harry knew better than to try and hide anything from Ginny. She could almost read his mind. “The responsibility” Harry said. “I still feel responsible for all the deaths at Hogwarts, and now it looks like I’m going to be partly responsible for Auror training. What if we forget something important and somebody gets hurt or killed because of it? I just can’t do everything.”
“I’m sure no one is asking you to do everything, Harry” Ginny replied. “Just do your best.”
“I think I’m doing the best I can” Harry said. “Look at all the people who suffered and died because of how long it took me to finish getting rid of the Horcrux. My best just wasn’t good enough.”
Ginny fiercely replied “Harry James Potter, how many people fought Tom Riddle for how many years? You finally won, but we all would have paid an even bigger price if you had not won, had not kept battling. It’s not deaths you are responsible for!”
“People keep telling me that” Harry said. “I’m just not sure I’m good enough.”
“Do the best you can to make your wife feel like a sexy woman” Ginny said with her trademark snarky smile. “That’s something you are very good at.
Later that night, after Ginny was sleeping, Harry thought that keeping Ginny happy every night was something he could get used to.
Thursday morning Harry and Ginny, Neville and Hanna, got up early for breakfast again, so that Harry and Neville could be at the Ministry by 8:00 AM, a schedule they would follow for most of the school year. The best thing about breakfast at 6:45 AM was the lack of company; the worst part was getting up at 6:00 AM and trying to be sleeping at 10:00 PM. Ron and Hermione joined them for breakfast.
At seven thirty the three Auror trainees left for the floo in Harry and Ginny’s apartment, and from there to Grimmauld Place and then the Ministry. Harry noticed that David and Kim Williamson seemed to have the night shift, and David went with Harry to the Ministry. Jim Shook was waiting at the Ministry, and took Davis’s place.
The first full day on the laws, rules and regulations with the little book passed without anything too unusual. Edie Evans seemed to want to just lecture, but she kept being interrupted. Since Al did more interrupting than anyone else, with Harry a close second, Edie had to discuss more of the reasoning and history behind certain laws and regulations, so the class ended up being far more interesting and informative than it could have been.
After their men left Hermione excused herself from Ginny and Hanna and went up to see Professor McGonagall.
“Harry and Minister Shacklebolt want me on the Wizengamot” Hermione said. “Could you give me a letter of recommendation?”
“Excellent student, the only blemish on her record is a certain significant lack of discretion when it comes to a boyfriend who has not been given permission to spend the night at Hogwarts” McGonagall said.
Hermione was visibly ashamed and more than a little defensive. “We want to get married” Hermione said, “but my parents are going to want at least a modest sized wedding in our church, and I don’t see how that could happen until next summer.”
“You’re not even formally engaged, Hermione” McGonagall said.
“Ron is trying to get enough money for a ring” Hermione said.
McGonagall replied “For Witches and Wizards the ring is not the important thing. A formal engagement is. Once you are not just talking about maybe getting engaged but are contractually engaged we can talk about giving you a little extra freedom. Until then it really would be better if young Mr. Weasley did not spend the night. Meanwhile I would be delighted to write you a glowing letter of recommendation, and forget about last night’s lapse.”
“Yes, Professor McGonagall” a chastised Hermione said. “Thank you!”
Ginny and Hanna could see the tension in the conversation, and of course they had to ask what was going on. Ginny for her part was very glad that Harry was going to be sleeping with her every night!
The Defense against the Dark Arts class started that morning. Even though it was a 7th year class it was a large class. Sidney started out by introducing himself. “I’m Professor Stanford. I was born in the United States, and trained in magic at the New Mexico school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They teach Native American magic as well as conventional magic in New Mexico. I received advanced training at the North American College of Magic in San Francisco, and then became an Auror for the North American Ministry of Magic. I have spent four years working full time for the International Aurors Association in the field, and two years substitute teaching at three of the North American Schools.
Although I am still on call with the International Aurors Association I intend to be at Hogwarts when your children are here. I would like you all to introduce yourselves please, and tell me a little about yourself.”
Sidney noticed Ginny and Hermione sitting right up front, on one side of the room. He pointed his wand at the back of the room and one after another students gave their name and told a little about themselves. Sidney made sure to find out who was at the Battle of Hogwarts or had any other practical experience in battling the dark arts.
Sitting in the second row, behind Ginny and Hermione, was Luna Lovegood. Sidney finally got to her.
“I am Luna Lovegood, and I am in Ravenclaw” Luna said in her soft airy voice. “I want to become a naturalist and hunt all sorts of magical beasts, the Crumpled-Horned Snorknack would be the best but I don’t care I just want to find all the magical beasts that people don’t believe exist and prove that they do.”
“Do you have any practical experience in battling the dark arts, Miss Lovegood?” asked Sidney. “That’s why I asked the question.” You could tell from the expression on his face that he was trying to figure out this strange young lady.
“I was with Harry and Ginny and Ron and Hermione and Neville at the Battle of the Ministry, in the Department of Mysteries” Luna said. “I was also fighting with them when Headmaster Dumbledore was killed. I was at the Battle of Hogwarts, all the DA members were. I don’t have many good friends but they’re my friends!”
“Thank you, Luna” said Sidney as he looked at his student list. Finally he came to Hermione and Ginny. He pointed the wand first at Hermione.
“I’m Hermione Granger” Hermione said. “I was at both the battles. I’m kind of smart but I don’t feel all that brave. I’ve had to do a lot, being friends with Harry, and Ron Weasley, he’s really brave too. I just want to learn all I can while I have the chance.”
“I got a list of what you did over the last seven years, Miss Granger. You’ve left a lot out” Sidney said. Hermione looked up at Sidney and nodded. “I’ll talk to you later, Miss Granger. And now we come to Mrs. Potter” turning to her.
“I wasn’t with Harry last year” Ginny said. “I did fight with him at the Department of Mysteries, and when Dumbledore was killed I was at that fight too, along with Luna and Hermione, but I was here most of last year.”
“Doing what?” asked Sidney.
“Oh well, we got the DA going again, and did what we could, Neville and Luna, Luna was the other leader, and I” Ginny said.
“And you were tortured” Sidney suggested.
Ginny felt the scar on her chest and nodded.
“We will talk more about your experienced later” Sidney said. “I want to introduce you to our dueling dummy, Tom Riddle.” Some of the students laughed at the name, although others seemed scared of it. The mannequin had a wand and a digital display. The display was going to show how strong your spell was. “Please try and disarm old Tom here” Sidney said as he had the class line up. “Use the expelliarmus spell, please.”
Most of the class hit the target with a strength of 5 to 9. Hermione’s spell was a 9.8. Ginny was the last one. She thought of Fred, of Harry taking the killing curse, and of all the torture she had undergone the last year. She touched the scar above her right breast. She then threw a tremendous spell. The wand flew out of the mannequin’s hand, and the display registered 12.5. Sidney asked Ginny to explain how she got such a powerful spell, and then used her explanation to teach the relationship between knowledge and emotion in wand magic.
Thursday night Harry and Neville got to the Great Hall just a little late. Dinner had just started, and there were plates ready for them. After giving Ginny a kiss and a little talk about their respective days Harry turned to Hermione and asked “Are you making any progress with the laws?”
“I can have something for you tomorrow, afternoon would be better than morning, but to do it right is going to take a very long time, Harry” Hermione said.
“When is your last class Friday” Harry asked.
“I am done by two o’clock” Hermione said.
“I’ll let Kingsley know” Harry replied. Several students noticed that Harry was not referring to Minister of Magic Shacklebolt by his title but by his first name, which caused his standing among the students to rise even more. After dinner Harry and Ginny excused themselves to go to their room. When they got to the room Harry said “I need to see Kingsley briefly. I should be back in half an hour or so.”
Ginny frowned and said “I have to study, but it’s just more comfortable studying with you here.”
“I’ll be back as soon as I can” Harry answered.
Friday morning Ron was not at breakfast. Harry told Hermione “I had a brief discussion with Kingsley Shacklebolt last night. I am going to pick you up after your last class and we are going to see what we can get done at the Wizengamot tonight.”
“I’m not sure if I am ready, Harry” Hermione said.
“Are you ever ready, Hermione?” Harry kidded.
“I’ll have something for you” Hermione replied.
Friday afternoon Harry excused himself from the Auror class at two and went to Hogwarts to pick up Hermione. They went up to Kingsley Shacklebolt’s office. There to meet them was Kingsley and also Edie Evans. Kingsley greeted them with “Hello Hermione, Harry.”
Harry, having been instructed before by Kingsley Shacklebolt to use his first name, greeted him with “Hi Kingsley.”
Hermione sort of curtsied and said “Good afternoon, Minister Shacklebolt.”
Kingsley grinned and responded “I hope after a few weeks of working on these laws we will become friends, Hermione. Harry knows Edie Evans, although just as a rather boring teacher. There is more to Edie, believe me.”
“Do you have your application to take the Black seat at the Wizengamot, Hermione?” asked Edie, holding out her hand.
“Right here” Hermione responded, handing in the paperwork that Harry had given her, and also glowing letters of recommendation from the entire staff at Hogwarts. Edie took a few minutes to read over all the documents that Hermione had given her, a big grin coming over her face.
“Everything is in order” Edie said. “I should be able to have Hermione on the Wizengamot by the end of the month, which will make it easier for her to introduce or repeal laws. Let’s see what you have for us tonight.”
Hermione brought out a brief two page document. It started out with “Because of the troubles over the last year many laws were put in place that are against long standing British and Magical law. Therefore the Wizengamot of Great Britain nullifies and strikes the following laws and proclamations.” What followed was a list of the laws being stricken, revered to by their number and date of enactment only.
Edie looked at the list, and started to go down it, looking at a couple of books as she did so. The more she looked the bigger her smile got. After about half an hour Edie turned to Hermione and pointed to the large book she was referencing. “How about we add a couple of additional laws to this list” Edie said as she showed Hermione the passages.
Hermione read the passages and nodded.
Kingsley said “Hermione, from now on when you come here Friday afternoons I am going to have you just see Edie. Edie, why don’t you show Hermione to your office.”
“I would like that, Kingsley” Edie said. “It’s nice to be on the side of the good guys again!”
Harry and Kingsley talked a little about how the revisions to the laws were going to be presented to the Wizengamot, and the part Harry was going to have to play. “You’re going to be back at Hogwarts pretty late tonight, Harry” he said. “We will get everything we want, but there will be a lot of argument from some of the Pure Blood faction, and a few nasty things said about Hermione too.” About five Harry excused himself to tell Neville to tell Ginny that he would be back late.
In the end all the laws that Hermione and Edie wanted revoked were, but it was after ten thirty before the Wizengamot was adjourned, and it took another fifteen minutes just to say a few words to people who wanted to talk to either Harry or Hermione.
Harry stumbled in through the floo in his Hogwarts room at about eleven in the evening.
Friday at dinner Neville told Ginny at dinner that Harry was going to be quite late as he was meeting with Al and Kingsley Shacklebolt. Quite late turned out to be 11:00 PM, and since Quidditch tryouts were going to start early the next morning Ginny was not happy. She could not get to sleep knowing that Harry was going to be there, but was in a bad mood when he finally came in. It took a half an hour of talking before Ginny was ready for bed, and another almost half an hour for the nightly ritual before she could sleep. At least there were no classes for either Harry or Ginny Saturday, and tryouts were not going to start until 9:00 AM.
This is the first chapter posted without LadymBlack’s help, as she is busy with as I like to call it “real life.” I am very open to another beta. Jet LaBarge
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