You're my Density

Just Suppose Harry hadn't heeded his godfather's advice, and actually lost his temper at his trial? Time travel fic and title is 'Back to the Future' joke.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11033616/1/You-re-my-Density

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4. Leader of the Light

After interviewing the three Slytherin students in Minerva's office, it had taken Albus mere moments to ascertain the level of Severus' involvement in this plot. A quick scan of the wands involved soon determining who had cast what too. It was rather ironic that Mister Malfoy cast the same boils curse, and again had it reflected back at him by Miss Granger. Only also having Miss Parkinson's Densaugeo reflected at him too stopped the boy's screams once more ringing out around Hogwarts. Nott had cast the stinging hex that had also been reflected by Miss Granger's shield back at his housemates, with Goyle catching it with his face.

"Miss Parkinson, Mister Nott, for deliberately setting out to ambush fellow students, and then casting curses at them, you will receive a week's detentions. Those detentions will be spent helping Professor Sprout in her greenhouses. Mister Crabbe, while you didn't cast any curses, you were there with intent to do so - and this is your second offence. The leniency I showed in the last instance was apparently the wrong approach to take with you, since once more you were assisting in an attack on a fellow student. You shall receive the same punishment as the other two. Do any of you three have anything to say on this matter?"

The trio of Slytherins had nothing to say. Facing the wrath of Dumbledore and McGonagall in the Deputy Headmistress' Office was utterly terrifying for the three first years. They wanted out of there as soon as possible and all gladly accepted their punishments, just to get away before they started crying.

After dismissing the first years, Dumbledore and McGonagall headed for the infirmary to deal with the other half of the problem. While they were walking along the corridors, Minerva just had to say what was on her mind. "Those children need a firm hand, not a head of house who wants to be one of the ambushing gang. I find his behaviour disgusting. I don't care what you say, Albus, Severus was the force behind this whole incident."

"I was thinking of Septima. Do you think she would be firm enough?"

Minerva was speechless for a moment, then had to ask for conformation of what she thought Albus had just said. "Septima Vector? Head of Slytherin?"

There was a slight twinkle in Albus' eyes as he answered his deputy. "I don't know any other Septimas working at Hogwarts who I would be considering appointing. Do I have your backing for offering her the post?"

"Providing it's a permanent appointment, and not just some token punishment of Severus, oh Merlin yes!"

"I think Severus has crossed way over the line of what could ever be considered acceptable behaviour for a Hogwarts professor, far less the higher standards demanded by a head of house. What happens next will partially be up to him. Losing his position as Head of Slytherin though is non-negotiable as far as I'm concerned. I'm pleased you agree with me."

Minerva didn't just agree, she thought this was a decision that was long overdue. She graciously didn't say so, just thankful that Albus was finally taking the proper action.

Albus himself was thinking he didn't really have any other option. Severus had been incredibly stupid, letting his hatred for James Potter totally warp his senses. This coupled with the crystal clear signals coming from the two time travellers gave Albus the strongest indication yet that Snape simply had to go. After promising himself he would do everything in his power to aid Harry and Hermione, Albus was really left with no choice.

He had actually shed tears at the very thought of the sacrifices these two must had made to travel back in time, something the supposedly great Albus Dumbledore didn't have the courage to do himself. He'd tried to convince himself this forbidden magic and knowledge shouldn't be used for personal gain, traveling back in time to fix his own family would certainly be considered that. To save his family though, Albus would have to travel back to an age before Arianna was attacked by those muggles. Speaking of age, that would see him being too young even to attend Hogwarts. Being totally honest with himself in the wee small hours of the morning, Albus was forced to admit he just didn't think he could live through all those years again.

His future self had obviously trusted Miss Granger enough to not only train her in occlumency, but probably revealed his greatest secrets to the girl as well. He would have to trust her now, just as Harry clearly did. She obviously loved Harry, and Albus was positive that love was the power behind her decision to leap into the past. That she brought Harry with her astonished Albus, both from the magical power required to complete the ritual and the incredibly complex calculations needed in her preparations. This was why he was so certain the girl's own studies wouldn't be affected by tutoring Harry. He didn't know how far back in time they'd travelled but Albus suspected Miss Granger could probably teach at Hogwarts, never mind pass her first year exams.

They entered the infirmary to be faced with an infuriated Severus, a Severus who had obviously decided attack was the best form of defence. "Once again, I have had to take members of my house to the infirmary. I would like to hear what's going to be done about this. I already know Saint Potter won't be blamed for anything."

The potions professor had totally misjudged the situation though, he was facing a headmaster who was in no mood for his theatrics. "Since you were in the corridor for the entire incident, I'm sure you already know Harry did nothing other than verbally respond to taunts aimed at him and Miss Granger. You need not worry about the Slytherins in the infirmary, they are no longer your responsibility. Your participation in that ambush today was behaviour that flies in the face of everything a head of house should stand for. I am removing that responsibility from you, and also adding a two week suspension from Hogwarts. I would advise you to use that time to look at your life and consider some of the choices you have made - especially lately."

It took a shocked Severus a few moments to get the words he wanted out, his mouth was moving but no legible sound was passing his lips. "You can't do this to me!"

"I can, and I just have. I will of course release you from any oaths you may have made to me. Should you wish to contest my decision, a school board meeting would need to be called. Please let me know if this is what you want to do, I'm sure I could arrange one before the end of the week."

"Of course I want to protest this decision. You are taking the word of a couple first years over a head of house, just because one of them is Potter…"

"I haven't spoken with Mister Potter or Miss Granger regarding this incident. I interviewed your Slytherins and reached this decision after discussing what took place this morning with my deputy. You seem determined to blame Mister Potter for everything, Severus, but this situation is entirely of your own making. I will contact the school board and schedule a meeting, you will be informed by owl of the date and time. Please excuse us, we have another two students to deal with." Albus stood firm and left Severus with no option other than to leave the infirmary. They then approached the two boys Poppy had lying on beds.

"Mister Goyle, this is your second offence so you will receive a week's detention working with Professor Sprout in her greenhouses. Mister Malfoy, I can't express how disappointed I am in you and your behaviour. You will receive two weeks' detentions working with Mister Filch."

"What? Never! When my father hears about this…"

"I intend that one of the first tasks our new head of Slytherin undertakes will be to inform your parents of your disgusting behaviour, and the punishment you received for it. Should your parents then wish to remove you from Hogwarts, that is of course their choice. Otherwise, you will report to Mister Filch every night after dinner for the next two weeks. Perhaps this will stay your hand from drawing your wand in future. If not, there are further measures that can be taken to ensure that lesson is learned. Do not test me on this, Mister Malfoy. Changes are coming to Hogwarts, those who don't like them are welcome to leave."

It was Albus and Minerva who then left, leaving behind a student whose actions matched those of his godfather mere moments ago. Draco's mouth may have been moving but again, no legible sounds were coming out. That revelation about a new head of Slytherin had left him speechless. He wasn't alone in having that reaction. As Dumbledore made his announcement at lunchtime, that exact same reaction was pretty widespread.

"Following an incident earlier this morning, Professor Vector is the new head of Slytherin. I will also be teaching all potions classes for the next two weeks while Professor Snape considers whether his future lies at Hogwarts. I feel we as a staff have become rather remiss in not enforcing the Hogwarts code of conduct, that stops now. After dinner tonight, there will be house meetings held where attendance is mandatory. Your head of house will then go over this document in great detail with every member of their house. There will be no excuses accepted if any individual or group decides this code doesn't apply to them, they will soon discover it does."

-oOoOo-

Having now learned the silencing charm, Harry was prepared when Dobby popped Hermione to his curtained bed. The elf then used some of his own magic to erect 'notice-me-not' charms around the bed, ensuring the couple wouldn't be disturbed before he came back to wake Miss Hermione.

They sat cross-legged and pyjama clad, facing each other in their own little oasis of peace behind the drawn curtains. "I never expected Dumbledore to go this far. It's so frustrating though to know all this was available to him the last time, and he didn't do anything."

"It gets better, Hermione. McGonagall came back for a private word with me. I really did feel eleven as I thought she'd caught on to us spending our nights together."

After hearing what McGonagall had to say, and also that she would be speaking to her tomorrow, Hermione was even more astonished. "Wow! He really is trying to make a difference."

"Yeah, even I figured that one out. After everything that's happened today, I don't know how I'm supposed to clear my mind tonight."

Leaning forward, Hermione kissed Harry until he wasn't thinking of anything else.

"You, Miss Granger, are a wonderful teacher. I can certainly recommend your unorthodox but inspirational methods, and only wonder why they've never been tried before…"

"You want McGonagall kissing you in your bed?"

"Hermione!"

"What? At least I didn't say Dumbledore."

"Aw shit. You've just wasted all that good work, I need another kiss."

"No, you now have thoughts you want to clear out of your mind. Do that first, then we'll see about more kisses…"

Having now provided him with that double incentive, Harry had to reiterate his earlier words. Hermione was a simply wonderful teacher.

-oOoOo-

The changes in Hogwarts were immediate, immediately after Dumbledore had taken the first potions class that is. Every one of those first set of students was raving about it - with the rest of the school now looking forward to their own potions class. Now there was an immediate change right there.

Hermione had agreed with Harry, that this course of action was risky. She also agreed it was one they had to take. That was why both missed their history of magic lesson. Considering they could literally change history here, both thought that was an incredibly small price to pay.

-oOoOo-

Severus confidently sat beside Lucius, certain that he would be reinstated as Head of Slytherin before the meeting was over. That Lucius was livid at Draco's treatment inside Hogwarts added another degree of certainty to the result. Dumbledore may still be headmaster at the end of this meeting but he was going to be humiliated and forced to offer a couple of apologies. Then Severus would be able to go after the Potter brat with impunity. Albus wouldn't dare say a word, and McGonagall was nothing without the headmaster's backing.

When everyone was settled in their seats around the large table, Dumbledore and McGonagall entered - with Amelia Bones.

Lucius was on his feet instantly. "Madam Bones, this is a meeting of the Hogwarts School Board. Since you are not a member of that board, I must ask you to leave."

This actually earned a chuckle from the stern woman. "Malfoy, it may have escaped your notice but I am the Director of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. It is in that capacity that I am here tonight. I would like to see you try and throw me out, at the very least you would be charged with deliberately obstructing justice."

"I just couldn't think why the Director of the D.M.L.E. would have business here tonight…"

"Don't worry, Malfoy, I'm not here for you - yet. Severus Snape, you are under arrest for casting legilemens on a child - a child who had just suffered a head injury too."

Severus instantly recognised what was happening here, he was too shocked even to refute the accusation. Lucius was under no such handicap, and intended to make this bitch pay for her dig at him. "Don't be preposterous. Where is your proof? How would a child even know if that spell was being cast on them?"

Amelia was unperturbed. "The attack was carried out in front of the Deputy Headmistress. Severus Snape's wand was then examined by the Hogwarts Headmaster, the results of which were also witnessed by another two heads of house. Mister Potter's injury saw him lose his memory, Snape's mental attack coincided with Harry re-bonding with his wand. The lad's magic acted to protect him, blasting Snape clean off his feet."

This was news the rest of the school board were naturally very interested in, and saw quite a few questions coming from around the table.

"It was Harry Potter he attacked?"

"How did the boy-who-lived lose his memory?"

"Just what is going on here?"

This led to Albus telling the story of Halloween, and how Harry was injured saving his girlfriend from a troll. Ensuring everyone that Harry had suffered no after-effects, except for that memory loss, and that he was now challenging his girlfriend to be the top student in first year eased their concerns. Here was the legend they thought of as the boy-who-lived in action, defeating a troll while saving the maiden.

Malfoy though was coming at this from a different angle. "Has the boy pressed charges against Severus?"

This was answered by Dumbledore. "Yes Harry has. Both he and Miss Granger were interviewed by Madam Bones as part of her investigation into this matter. Since Severus orchestrated an ambush of Harry and his girlfriend, why wouldn't he?"

"Again, what evidence do you have of that? My son is currently cleaning toilets every night, and yet he is the one who was injured in this supposed ambush."

The Headmaster was not for giving an inch over this matter. "Your son was injured by the spell he himself cast, reflected back at him by a shield charm. Draco is also of the opinion that it's within his rights to taunt Mister Potter that his mother was a muggleborn, not the word he used, and his parents were murdered."

"Isn't that actually true?" Lucius Malfoy's superior sneer soon disappeared as he experienced the full power of Dumbledore staring him down.

"The truth." Dumbledore sighed. "It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution. When Harry responded that Draco's father was a cowardly death eater who bought his way out of Azkaban with gold, rather than have the courage of his convictions, your son drew his wand and attacked. The truth can hurt as bad as any curse, Lucius."

"That is slander. I was under the imperious curse, that has been proven."

Albus was now relentless. "Not as far as I'm aware. You saying so doesn't make it true…"

"You doubt my word?"

"You were the one who brought truth into this matter. We all know what the Malfoy word is worth, whatever Lucius Malfoy wants it to be. Madam Bones, perhaps you could refresh my memory here? I can't recall any trial where it was established that Lucius committed his crimes while under the imperious curse, and was therefore innocent of all charges."

Amelia was loving this, getting to poke Lucius one in the eye without Fudge here to protect the blond git. "There's nothing wrong with your memory, Albus. You can't remember any trial, because there wasn't one. I don't know if I could live with myself, something like that hanging over my family name. Especially when it could be so easily cleared up."

"I agree, Amelia. I'm currently teaching potions in Hogwarts, and I discovered some Veritaserum in the potions professor's private stores. We could end all this speculation here and now. Well, Lucius, do you wish to take this chance to prove the truth of the matter? Surely you would appreciate the opportunity for these vile rumours to be put to bed once and for all? It would save young Draco being tainted by these allegations too if you publicly proved them false. I would have thought that was the least a caring father could do for his young, impressionable son."

Lucius was left with a complexion that matched his pure white hair. He tried for bluster but was left fooling no one in the room. Faced with a Dumbledore and Bones who were both pushing hard, and making absolutely no concessions to his money or political power, Lucius Malfoy found himself unwillingly agreeing with Dumbledore. The truth was a terrible thing.

"I don't see any need to answer questions on matters that have already been settled…"

Albus had never expected him to answer any other way, that didn't mean he wasn't going to use this to his advantage. "Ah, and there lies the problem we have. Without this evidence, people will make up their own minds on the matter. Thus leaving Draco with no comeback when that story is bandied about the corridors of Hogwarts. I also have to ask the other eleven members of the board here if this is the kind of wizard they want leading the Hogwarts School Board, or even sitting on that board. As Headmaster of Hogwarts, I am allowed to propose matters to the board…

Augusta Longbottom had seconded Malfoy's removal from the board before Albus could even finish proposing it. While Albus didn't have a vote, neither did Lucius - since the vote was to remove him from the board. The vote was quickly taken and it fell to Albus to then ask Lucius to leave the meeting - since he was no longer a member of the school board.

Amelia then removed Snape's wand and fitted magical restraints on him. Severus was left looking at Albus for answers.

"I warned you, Severus, but you couldn't let it go. It would appear your hatred for Harry's father far outweighed the love you professed to have for the boy's mother. You brought this on yourself, thinking the rule of law didn't apply to you. It's one thing to give someone a chance to redeem themselves, it's quite another to turn a blind eye to their continual flouting of that chance. No more, Severus. That will apply to everyone, as your friend Lucius just discovered. The changes happening in Hogwarts will be reflected further afield."

As Severus was led out, Albus turned to face the rest of the school board. "Since you are now a member short, I would like to propose someone who I can honestly say has the best interest of Hogwarts and the castle's students close to her heart. I propose Minerva McGonagall as a member of the school board."

-oOoOo-

Draco was carrying the mop and bucket to his next disgusting cleaning job, ignoring the old fart Filch's rantings as they walked the corridor. Instead, Draco's thoughts were dwelling on the upcoming apology Dumbledore was going to be forced to make. Draco's letter home had resulted in his parents' rage at the muggle-loving headmaster reaching new heights. When his father got that angry, someone always paid for it.

His pleasant thoughts were disrupted by the sight heading toward the Malfoy heir. Draco recognised Madam Bones, the pair of aurors with her were also recognisable as such by their uniforms. It was the fourth member of this group though that shocked Draco, or rather the fact Severus Snape was in restraints and being marched out of the school.

"Professor, what's going on? Didn't my father get you reinstated as the Head of Slytherin?"

"Your father was voted off the school board and I'm being arrested. Blasted Potter's fault..."

Snape never got to say any more, he was hustled along and away from his godson. Draco was soon being prodded to move along too.

"I bet you'll think twice about breaking a school rule again, won't you, eh?" Filch said, leering at the now despondent young boy. "Oh yes… hard work and pain are the best teachers if you ask me… It's just a pity they let the old punishments die out… hang you by your wrists from the ceiling for a few days, I've got the chains still in my office, keep 'em well oiled in case they're ever needed…"

Draco once more tried not to listen as he trudged to the next toilet needing cleaned. It was much harder to do however without the thoughts of an impending Dumbledore apology to buoy his spirits. Instead he started to think about getting even with the person responsible for all of this - Potter!

-oOoOo-

Draco wasn't the only one who spotted Snape being led out the castle by aurors. By breakfast time, that news was all over Hogwarts. The first years were standing in the corridor, waiting to enter their first class of the day, when Draco couldn't hold his anger back any longer.

"My father was voted off the school board and Professor Snape got arrested. This is all your fault, Potter."

They had of course all heard about Snape. Discovering Lucius Malfoy was kicked off the school board too was a very welcome bonus for the pair of time travellers. Harry had an instant reply for the spoiled and angry boy. "Draco, if I really had that much power, don't you think I would have used it to get rid of annoying and whiny little blond gits like you?"

This generated a lot of laughter amongst their peers. As much as they enjoyed the pompous Malfoy heir getting the wind knocked out of his sails, a fair proportion of that laughter was because of who was delivering the verbal blow. Harry had surprised Hermione by introducing himself to all their year mates just after they traveled back in time. She had asked him about this, since he hadn't done that last time, nor given the impression this was something he was comfortable doing - even as an eighteen year old. His answer had surprised Hermione, and showed again she was dealing with a much more mature person.

'Hermione, this is a second chance at everything. I've never been good at making friends, holding my hand out and saying hi just might change that a little.'

It actually had, and destroyed a lot of the mystique surrounding the boy-who-lived too. People from the other houses were getting to know him as just Harry, something they were both very happy with.

Seeing Draco ready to explode again saw Harry react. He didn't want there to be any way he could be blamed for provoking another attack. "Let's look at this logically, Malfoy. I've never met your father, nor anyone else on the Hogwarts school board. How then am I supposed to be responsible for them voting your father off? I didn't even know the first thing about it happening until you just told me a minute ago. As to Snape, Hermione and I were interviewed by Madam Bones while you lot were listening to Binns. She seemed to think there were criminal charges for Snape to answer. You of all people should know the trouble it can cause if you don't keep your wand in your pocket."

That Harry had introduced himself, and also shook her hand, gave a rather shy Susan Bones the courage to speak out. "Madam Bones is my aunt, Harry. If she's arrested Snape, then auntie will already have a strong case against him."

Neville felt as if he just got an early Christmas present. "My Gran's on the school board. If Snape gets found guilty, no matter what he's then sentenced too, that automatically means he can't be a professor at Hogwarts."

There were now looks of awe in their direction, though it was Ron who mouthed what three-quarters of them were already thinking. "You got rid of Snape? There will be a plaque with your names on it in three of the common rooms…"

Their classroom door opening saw them heading inside, leaving a still livid Draco standing there on his own. Even the other Slytherins were giving Draco a wide berth. Snape was apparently gone and Dumbledore wasn't letting anyone get away with anything. Until Draco accepted this new reality, the rest of his house would be staying away from the boy who was nothing but trouble. Dumbledore seemed to be working on an increasing scale of severity regarding misbehaviour, no one wanted to be on the receiving end of any more punishments.

Seeing Hermione with a definite spring in her step during their potions class pleased Albus immensely. While he couldn't ask her any questions, and had sworn to himself he wouldn't stoop to reading Harry's thoughts for information, that didn't mean he wasn't going to use the girl as a barometer to try and avoid the approaching storm. Judging by her demeanour today, after hearing the news about Snape and Malfoy, Albus could only think his actions had knocked some of the wind out of the storm - for now.

He would have a chat with them in a few days to see if they were still considering to look elsewhere for their education, or whether his actions had changed their minds. Albus didn't know he would have another meeting before that.

-oOoOo-

An enraged Minister of Magic was pacing up and down in front of Dumbledore's impressive desk. Albus himself was impassively sitting behind the mahogany masterpiece, watching while Cornelius' temper grew and grew. Those pinstripe robes were flapping about his body and his favourite green bowler was taking a mauling while his hands angrily gripped it for reassurance. Fudge finally gave vent to his feelings in the headmaster's office.

"You deliberately arranged for Snape to be arrested during the school board meeting. This was done with the express purpose of embarrassing Lucius. You then used that embarrassment to have him voted off. Just what are you after, Dumbledore?"

Peering over his half-moon glasses, Dumbledore's gaze pinned Cornelius like the former young student this now Minister of Magic used to be. "Is there any point of me recounting what actually took place at that meeting? You've clearly already made your mind up, or should that be Lucius Malfoy has made it up for you?"

"Don't be preposterous, of course I want to hear your version…"

"This is not my version, Cornelius. That was a pretty full room, and included the Director of the D.M.L.E. You are of course welcome to ask any or all of them what version of events is the truth. Lucius was there with the sole purpose of defending Snape and his own son's behaviour, both of which were indefensible…"

"What has young Draco done to merit such a severe punishment for a first year?"

"That is an internal Hogwarts matter but I will tell you anyway, since it has bearing on this discussion. Draco seems to think it's okay to call Harry Potter's mother and girlfriend mudbloods. When Harry retorted that Draco's father was a death eater who used his gold to escape justice and punishment, he drew his wand and began firing curses…"

"That's perfectly understandable behaviour…"

Albus cut the minister off right there. "Yes, it's understandable behaviour, we can all easily see what he's up to. Draco tries to get Harry to magically retaliate against calling his mother a mudblood. Instead, Harry turned the tables on him. As I pointed out to Lucius last night, Harry's statement is also factually correct. Lucius Malfoy was never tried for any of the crimes he committed, nor was his 'under the imperius' defence questioned to any degree - other than accepting his word. Lucius was given the opportunity to settle that argument once and for all last night, with the Director of the D.M.L.E. and the Chief Warlock in the room. He couldn't refuse that opportunity quickly or strongly enough, and didn't care a jot that this left his son open to those type of verbal retorts. It was this downright refusal to even consider publicly clearing the Malfoy name that saw him voted off the board. If he won't put his own son's interests ahead of his own, there is no place for him on a school board."

"You doubted Lucius' word?"

"Of course I doubted it, and so should you. If Lucius Malfoy is as innocent as he claims, then surely he would welcome any opportunity to prove that innocence. Instead, he fled the castle like a scalded kneazle - terrified Amelia or I would insist he answered questions he certainly doesn't want to. He fled straight to you, the Minister of Magic. That's not a position that should be held by Malfoy's errand boy."

"How dare you, Dumbledore. I am the Minister, and no one's errand boy."

The force behind Dumbledore's reply to that had Cornelius finally sitting in the previously offered seat. "Well start behaving like a Minister of Magic then. I can't believe the shrewd Cornelius Fudge who walked these corridors for seven years has been taken in by Malfoy's silver tongue and golden touch. He's using you, and your position. That wizard is dark, Cornelius, and that darkness isn't very well hidden beneath that respectable veneer Lucius shows the world. When he goes down, and Lucius will, it would be a wise minister who doesn't get dragged down along with his so-called friend."

Cornelius sat there, bowler on his knee while his mind was currently as empty as that lime green hat. Dumbledore was once more relentless though as he piled on the pressure. "There were some powerful and influential people in that room last night, they all caught a glimpse of the real Lucius Malfoy - and that is why they voted against him. You don't invite a poisonous viper into your bosom and expect not to be bitten, they banished that viper last night. That story will also be doing the rounds, hence why he headed straight for his biggest supporter."

The pupils of Cornelius' eyes reminded Albus of an abacus as they flicked back and forth. It was also clear from his expression Cornelius didn't like the way those sums were adding up in his mind. After all the straight talking that had been done here today, the minister decided to continue with that theme.

"Lucius maintains this is your first move in a bid to oust me as minister, taking the position for yourself..."

Since Cornelius had been honest, Albus decided to answer in the same manner. "The Minister of Magic is not allowed to hold any official posts, other than that one. I would need to resign from being Headmaster of Hogwarts, that is something I will never do. This is my home, this is my calling. You know I've been offered the Minister's position on more than a few occasions, I've always turned them down. What does Lucius say is so different about this time?"

This seemed to take a weight off the Minister's mind, Albus though just piled a different load back on there.

"In my life, I've fought against two dark lords. My greatest regret is the social and political conditions that allowed those dark lords to flourish in our country still haven't been addressed. If I see another dark lord in the years I've got left to me, I guarantee you that Lucius Malfoy will be one of his main supporters. I can also guarantee you that I will be opposing that dark lord with everything that I am. The only way I see you and I in opposition is if you allow Malfoy to drag you into a situation where we end up on different sides of that battle. My position on this is clearly defined, Cornelius. I will always oppose the dark."

Since the entire country knew that last statement to be true, Cornelius really couldn't dispute Albus' claims that he stood firmly against the dark. That anyone could even consider Cornelius Fudge as 'dark' sent a shiver of fear down his back. That was not something he wanted associated with his tenure as Minister of Magic.

"You have given me much to think about, Albus."

"That is all I ask of you, Cornelius, think for yourself. There is nothing wrong with asking people you trust for advice, it's ensuring those who you ask are trustworthy that is the problem here. You have my trust and support, and I have clearly stated the conditions needed for those things to change. I want to spend my remaining years overseeing my beloved Hogwarts in a peaceful Britain, you desperately want to believe your friend is telling the truth. I really fear both of us are in for a severe disappointment, Cornelius. We can't count on another miracle like Harry Potter happening again, our country needs to be strong enough to stand up to any threat."

"What do you know, Albus?"

"It's just I can see the pattern starting to repeat itself. Take Severus as an example. I treated him as a young wizard who made a mistake, and then tried to pay for that mistake by helping others. That is why I spoke in his defence all those years ago. I really believed he had turned a corner and wanted to live a productive life teaching children. For him to fire that spell at Harry Potter, and then set up that ambush of the lad, the pattern repeats itself."

The minister who left the headmaster's office had lost his anger, that anger though was now replaced by worry. What Albus was suggesting was not something to dive right into, rather take a step back and try to look at the problem with fresh eyes. His immediate problem though was what to tell a Lucius Malfoy that was anxiously awaiting his return to the ministry.

-oOoOo-

Harry's mind was clear as he monitored his mental shields. Both he and Hermione were certain those shields were getting stronger but as Harry sensed her mental probe, they hit the same problem again. Instead of deflecting Hermione's probe, Harry's mind and magic welcomed her with a loving embrace. The intensity of love expressed in that embrace left his girlfriend blushing.

"Haarrryy! You're supposed to reject me…"

"…and that is where we're having the problem. From the first time I laid eyes on you in the uni bar, there was never going to be any rejection from me. I think I can be honest enough with myself to say it wasn't just because you were stunningly beautiful, I've never felt a pull of attraction to another person like that in my life. When Brian gave me an excuse to go over and talk to you, my insides were cheering like mad."

This had Hermione leaning in and offering a tender kiss, Harry was still smiling as he commented on his situation.

"I'm sitting here in an eleven year old body. That young body is stuck in a magical castle somewhere in the Scottish Highlands and has a family back home in Surrey who now apparently hate me. That right there is more than enough cause to drive anyone crazy. The only reason I'm not insane with all of this is currently sitting right across from me. Have you any idea how weird it is to think about marriage, settling down after uni and having a family - all when you're still a kid yourself. Of course you do. You do, don't you?"

Harry had noticed the tears forming in the corners of Hermione's eyes, her wide smile though dispelled any fears Harry had about just upsetting his girlfriend.

"Of course I think about those things, and it's always you standing beside me. I just didn't know you shared the same thoughts, it's like I'm falling for my new Harry all over again."

"The other Harry you described clearly didn't have the best of upbringings, probably didn't even know what love was. My memories tell me different. Those memories may be manufactured or engineered, they are still my memories though. I know what love is, Hermione, and I love the wonderful girl who's sitting here beside me now. If we hadn't had our 'back to the future' trip, I like to think that an eighteen year old Harry Potter would have been introducing his new girlfriend to his family that Christmas, while making arrangements to visit yours in France. I think of that night in our hotel a lot, every single day, more than once a day too…"

This had Hermione giggling. "I get the picture, Harry. I was there too…"

"The point I'm trying to make is that night was special, the most special night of my life. We connected in ways far beyond the obvious ones. My main thoughts that night revolved around never letting this wonderful girl out of my life - ever. I would have preferred a DeLorean to that ritual though. While naked was nice, the car would at least have had a heater."

Hermione just had to snog her boyfriend after that, their training was over for tonight. Lying snuggling into Harry, she realised they now had a major problem.

"I can't tell you what you need to know without checking your shields are strong enough..."

"...and you can't check my shields when I keep inviting you in. Why don't we get Gandalf the White to do it? You know he's going to want to speak to us before the holidays anyway."

"Ask Dumbledore to check your shields?"

"Why not? He already knows about us, and he's proven trustworthy so far. I know enough to at least tell if Dumbledore gets through my shields. I still don't know any earth-shattering secrets, and Dumbledore would lose our trust if he didn't immediately withdraw after getting past my defences. That would be a big loss to him for very little gain, he's smarter than that."

"If you really think so..."

Harry moved until he was staring into Hermione's eyes from mere inches away. "I can see the burden you carry. Considering some of the things you've already told me, it must be very bad. What I really remember though is you promising to be my girlfriend in the past, present and future - I certainly intend to hold you to that promise. We do this with Dumbledore, and then we'll face those things you're terrified of telling me about together."

"From that first Halloween, Harry, we always have..."

"...and from this Halloween, we always will."

They snuggled in, each drawing comfort from the other and delighted with the way their relationship was growing. Christmas was going to be a big test. Two families to face and revelations about the future to be unveiled to Harry. Both were confident they would help each other through the tough times ahead, and that they would still be a couple at the end of it all.

 
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