Harry has important discussions with Flitwick, McGonagall, and Dumbledore.
Saturday, June 7, 1997
Harry knocked on Professor Flitwick's door right after breakfast. Harry smiled as he entered. Professor Flitwick was one of his favorite professors. In fact, Flitwick was one of nearly everyone's favorite professors. "Good morning, Professor. You asked me to drop by?"
Harry was surprised to see that the diminutive professor looked very troubled, rather than having his usual cheerful expression. "Thank you, dear boy. Please sit down. Are you ready for exams? I'm not keeping you from studying, am I?"
"Oh, no sir. We're coaching the Fifth years in Defense after lunch, but they're doing Arithmancy this morning."
Harry saw Flitwick looked distracted. "What's wrong, Professor?"
"Do you really have to ask me that question, Harry? I have failed the students here. . . ."
"But you're an excellent teacher! I've never heard any student say anything bad about your classes. . . ."
"And I have the highest percentages of students getting O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s nearly every year," Flitwick agreed. "However, I have failed as the Head of Ravenclaw. I showed that Clique far too much leniency. Miss Lovegood and several other students suffered for that. There were two active young Death Eaters in my House at the beginning of the year, and I had no idea. Nearly half the Clique went over to the Death Eaters over Christmas, and convinced the others to enter into that hare-brained scheme last Saturday."
"What are you saying, Professor?"
"I just thought I should apologize to you, Harry. I shall do the same at the farewell feast, when I make my farewell."
"No, Professor! You can't!"
"Thank you for saying that, Harry, but I really must."
"Professor, we need you in the class room. . . ."
"I just meant I would just be retiring as Head of Ravenclaw." Flitwick smiled. "I am very elderly, Harry. Not quite in Albus' cohort, but his younger brother, Aberforth, was a Seventh year during my First. I have apparently grown lax in my House duties. Your friend bore much of the pain, and you have born a great deal of the responsibility of cleaning up my mess. Professor Vector deserves the chance to show what she can do."
"But, sir. . . ."
"No, Harry. You have done me very proud. I rather wish you and Miss Granger would return to Hogwarts as teachers someday. You, teaching Charms or Defense, Miss Granger teaching Transfiguration, Charms, or Arithmancy. Still, you will both find your own paths, as will your other friends."
Harry was shocked. "But I only got an E on the theory. . . ."
"I was quite surprised you did not score an O plus on the practical and an O on the theory. You know the subject area better than you think. I have great hopes for you in the exams next week." Flitwick smiled his gentle smile. "We have not been close, Harry, yet I am very fond of you, and very proud of you."
Harry blushed slightly. "Thank you, sir. But why. . . ."
"Why burden you, Harry? We haven't ever really talked, have we?"
"Your mother was the one student I had before you and Miss Granger whom I had thought might be a good replacement for me. I grew to know her quite well." He paused in thought. "Perhaps her death marks when I started my downwards slide." He shrugged. "No matter. I was also the person who most often had to undo the mischief your father and his friends caused. They served many detentions with me. So did your grandparents and great grandparents, some of whom, I might add, were in Ravenclaw. I also went to school with three of your great great great grandparents. I even had a crush on one, although she was three years younger than I."
"Really?" Harry said eagerly.
"If you aren't busy this morning, Harry, you could join me for coffee and biscuits. Oh, wait, you probably don't drink coffee. . . ."
"A house elf friend of mine, Dobby, learned a really nice iced coffee and whipped cream drink. . . ." Harry said, hesitatingly.
"Good! I believe I shall try that, too. My sweet tooth is nearly as bad as our esteemed Headmaster's. If you don't mind, my young friend, see that photo album third row over, fifth from the bottom? Let me show you the great great great grandmother of you and two of your third cousins."
"I didn't know any of my relatives were alive, sir!"
"None of the close ones, alas," Flitwick said, "and no known closer than a fourth cousin on your mother's side, which would have been a relief to you to have had some closer, I dare say! As for your father's family, there were many massacres of those who opposed the Knights, where Grindelwald emerged, between 1912 and 1917, and again between 1937 and 1945, not to mention during the 1970s. Still, you have many cousins, third cousins and further, on your father's side. All of the Pure Bloods, and the Potters are a fairly old family, are related somehow, through marriage if nothing else. The Potter name has died out, except for you, but there are distant relatives. No, Maria Brown married Alexander Potter and had a son and three daughters who survived to adulthood. Alexandria didn't marry. Joyce married Frederick Weasley . . . yes, those Weasleys' ancestor. Victoria married Geoffrey Longbottom. Frederick's sisters . . . what was their name . . . ah, yes, there were twin girls. Claudia married Jacob Diggory and Julia married Max Lovegood. Frederick, the only son, is the direct ancestor of your classmate."
Harry spent an interesting morning, and promised to come back the next two Saturdays, and the next year.
Harry was glad to have spent the morning with Flitwick that Saturday morning, and that while the professor would be retiring from Head of Ravenclaw he would still be in the class room.
Harry had been given many things to think about since Christmas. Although very intelligent, he was not by nature an introspective lad, nor was he often going to sit down and think things through. When various people had commented on Dumbledore's and Voldemort's talent being greater than his, although the Dark Lord's and Headmaster's power was both slightly less, Harry understood what they meant.
He had to think about what his new level of power meant for him and his future, should he triumph over Voldemort. He had to think about what that triumph might mean. He had to think of the community which had formed around him. He had to think about the many implications of all this, on the political situation in Britain as well as his own life.
He didn't like it, but he did it.
Fortunately, Luna and Hermione were there to talk to him about the basics, and Tabitha and Tom had had a few conversations with him as well. Dumbledore had invited him to the office a few times, but he had not insisted Harry take him up on the invitations until that morning. He had then insisted on setting Harry up with a meeting on the last Tuesday of the term, June 24.
In Harry's own mind, he had reached no conclusions, with one exception. He was still trying to understand the other problems. When he had decided that first of questions, on the last Monday of the term, he went to sit in front of McGonagall's door, waiting for her to open it slightly, showing she had time to talk with any student who needed to.
As best Harry could tell, his friends had all done well on their exams of all types, and therefore he had no academic worries as he met with the Head of his House. He and his fellow Sixth years would only have to wait until that Thursday to get their grades, while the N.E.W.T.s would come out in early July and the O.W.L.s in late July.
"You wanted to see me, Mister Potter?"
"Yes, please," Harry said, moving into McGonagall's office and taking a seat at her gesture.
"What did you wish to discuss with me, Mister Potter?"
"Next year's Quidditch team, Professor."
McGonagall relaxed slightly. "In what respect?"
"I don't really see either of the beaters being capable of being Captain in two years, Professor."
"Nor can I, at least at the moment. Your point?"
"I can see Natalie becoming captain, but not before two more years. So, I was wondering what you might think of Ginny Weasley being captain for two years. I think she could do a marvelous job."
McGonagall gave him a stern look. "I see. And what do you plan on going next year?"
"I hope to stay as seeker, Professor."
"Have you mentioned this to anyone?"
"Are you sure about this, Potter?"
Harry shrugged. "Well, it wasn't much of a cup win this year, due to the last game, but my name does go down as the winning captain, or at least co-captain, right?"
"It will, with Mister Weasley noted as the keeper and co-captain for the first game, just as you are noted for being the seeker in the first game last year."
"So my name's down three times on the cup plaques already, once as captain." Harry shrugged. "It would be better for the team if Ginny had the position, and I'm not greedy."
"No, you are not," McGonagall agreed. "I tell you what, Mister Potter. If Miss Weasley scores enough O.W.L.s to take five N.E.W.T. classes, I will approve."
"Thank you, Professor. And of course I won't mention it to anyone."
"That goes without saying. You said you plan on keeping the job of seeker, correct, Mister Potter?"
Harry understood what she was asking. "I have every intention of returning next year, Professor."
"I am glad to hear it. Are you still planning on being an auror?"
"To be honest, I'm not certain if I would want to work within the Ministry. Even so, I think I need that training, no matter what happens, don't you?"
"An excellent idea. Is there anything else?"
"Thank you, Mister Potter. I appreciate the difficulty of your decision."
Tuesday, June 24, 1997
"Come in, Harry, come in."
"Thank you, sir." Harry looked around the office. There seemed to be just as many gadgets and instruments as there had been the year before. Harry threw off that thought, and stroked Fawkes, who trilled under Harry's touch.
"I fear, Harry, the time has come when we must talk of many things."
"Of shoes and ships and sealing wax?" Harry asked, thinking of the Alice books he had given Luna the previous Christmas.
"Alas, no. Nor cabbages and kings, I fear. This July, you turn seventeen. You of course have also passed the minimum of two O.W.L.s. You become an adult wizard."
"So Voldemort can challenge me openly," Harry said simply.
"Actually, it means he HAS to challenge you directly. If he does not, I am certain many of his few human followers will at least attempt to desert him. It is difficult to say what the dementors will do, but if there are no Death Eaters to round up Muggles to feed them, they will drift away. I am certain they are restless in any event. They prefer . . . magical meals."
"I see. Thirty-seven days, then."
"At the minimum," Dumbledore pointed out. "There are ways to challenge you; there are even a few spells which may compel you to meet and duel with him."
"And which of those have you allowed his stooges here to get started on?" Harry asked casually. When Dumbledore gave Harry an uncharacteristic scowl, Harry pointed out, "You directed me where you wanted me to end up during in my First year at least. You sent me the cloak, made certain I found the Mirror, sent the stair cases and corridors in motion so I would meet Fluffy." Seeing Dumbledore about to object, Harry said, "Come on! I know the stair cases, doors, and some of the corridors and such all move, but you could have passworded that set to prevent anyone you didn't want to have access. I should never have gotten close to Fluffy twice."
Dumbledore gave in. "True."
"And was it a coincidence that not one being, not even Mrs. Norris, was killed by the basilisk? I don't believe in that much luck. You know most of what goes on here. You must have known Ginny was being possessed by Christmas that year, if not before. You were testing me and tempering me. You were forging a weapon to use against Tom Riddle."
Dumbledore said nothing.
"Come to think of it, that makes me wonder if three students could really have become animagi without your knowing it. One I could believe, but three? A rat could be overlooked, but when one was a stag? Tell me, did you know Sirius was innocent all along?"
"I did not, Harry. I swear it. I figured that out over your Third year."
"And the Tri-Wizard Tournament?"
"I was quite shocked when your name came out," Dumbledore claimed. "I had suggested reviving the tournament because I had hoped a Hogwarts champion would emerge who could act as a student mentor to you. Had he lived, I would have invited Cedric to return the following year to run a club that would have had elements of the dueling clubs of this year and the DA from last year. I only realized that the Defense teacher was polyjuiced into Moody after the death of Crouch Senior. I had no idea that it was Barty Crouch Junior. Of course, there were a number of other possibilities."
Dumbledore shrugged. "That was the beginning of the true unraveling of what I have since realized was a very flawed plan on nearly every level. I had thought the faux Moody had arranged for you to meet with an accident within the maze and planned accordingly. I was quite shocked to realize that he was helping you. I had hoped to keep you from directly confronting Voldemort again until this summer, and Crouch managed to whisk you away and Voldemort reanimated himself. Add in those fools Fudge and Umbridge last year. . . ." Dumbledore trailed away and shrugged. Harry just looked at the Headmaster for a few moments.
Dumbledore sighed. "I could have fought much harder to keep the International out and away from you this year. I may have lost had I done so, but I could very well have won. I chose not to do so. My plan was not in tatters last July, but it was close. Therefore, I gave the initiative to them. I hope they have given you the confidence I could not."
"You still haven't answered my question, sir. Which way has Voldemort planned on forcing me to confront him?"
"A few of the Slytherin and Ravenclaw girls collected your hair when they kissed you before Valentine's Day. I have notified the Ministry and the International, so that they will know that someone may try and polyjuice into you. I believe Voldemort is more likely to try an old summonsing ritual. It is found in the same old book from which he likely lifted the ritual which reanimated him. If you are within several hundred miles of him when he casts it, you will be compelled to go to him."
"Why hasn't he used it yet? I can't believe he's that honorable."
"He is not. It summons a person to a duel, so only works for those over the age of consent."
"And at a few hundred miles . . . well, I'll be out of range through at least part of August, won't I?"
"I hope so. Would you consent to going back to America? Not to Carantouan, but further west? Master Johnson is arranging a place, and even I am not certain exactly where it is. Your four friends and Mister Weasley may also go, if you and they consent."
"All right," Harry said, much to Dumbledore's surprise. "What? You thought I would argue?"
"Quite simply, yes," Dumbledore admitted.
"I want to win; I want to survive," Harry said. Before Dumbledore could go on, Harry asked, "Who else will I know at this training base?"
"Tudor Myrddin is probably the most skilled magical warrior alive," Dumbledore stated. "He will be in charge. Professors Spellman, Lawrence, Lupin and possibly Professor Jones will also be there, as will Mister Trowbridge and Miss Tonks."
"Not Mister Dorff?"
"No, he shall take over the main hunt here for Voldemort's forces. Professor Jones may stay and help him. I understand that is still being decided."
"When would I go?"
"You would go this Friday," Dumbledore told Harry, "unless you wish to visit the Dursleys."
"I'd rather eat soap," Harry said.
"I thought as much," Dumbledore said, that annoying slight twinkle reappearing in his eyes. "Mister Weasley will join you Saturday. Miss Spellman shall spend three weeks or so with you as well, and then she has her druidical studies to attend for three weeks. I shall speak to your other friends today. They will be spending at least a week with their families. After that, they may join you whenever they wish."
"I hope they all come," Harry said, and then a look of incredible guilt washed over his face.
"Oh, my boy! That is nothing to feel guilty about! Begging them, forcing them in any way, that would be one thing, but not desiring their company."
Harry stood up quickly. Dumbledore was afraid Harry was going to leave but he just turned his back on Dumbledore. "It's hard," Harry said softly.
"What is, Harry?"
"Having all this power. Having all these people dependent on me. Knowing that I'll probably be fighting like this the rest of my life. Not having a life of my own."
"Well, that's all very understandable," Dumbledore said a little lamely. "Why do you think you'll be doing this the rest of your life? You don't have to an auror."
"I'm sure you know, even better than I do, that the ritual that linked me to the others has an obligation to protect the community built into it, sir."
"True," Dumbledore acknowledged. "That doesn't mean you have to roam around the world, looking for wrongs to right."
"That's true, but on the other hand, who am I to pick and choose?" Harry pointed in one direction. "You, you I'll help." He pointed in another. "You? Sorry, you have to suffer." He dropped his arms."I know, I can't right all the wrongs in the world, but how do you pick and choose between people's lives?"
"You must remember, the more you get involve in disputes the more likely you will be fooled into interceding for the wrong side," Dumbledore warned.
"I know," Harry said, his shoulders sagging. "I also know it's presumptuous to worry about it before I've won this war."
"Actually, it's not," Dumbledore said firmly. "Still, if it does end in late August, it will give you your Seventh year to decompress. If you go through the auror training, that will give you several more years to decide how to handle the problems." Dumbledore hesitated for a moment, then said, "May I give you one serious piece of advice?"
"Of course, sir."
"Never use force when there is any real possibility of a political solution. That is the greatest temptation for wizards such as myself, and now you. We can force many a solution, but when they are forced, they multiply the problems. I grant you, hoping for the politicians and public to come around to some reasonable point between absolute right and the best interests for all concerned is sometimes a forlorn one."
"Even hopeless," Harry said, remembering the events of the last two years.
"Sometimes," Dumbledore had to acknowledge. "However, when you resort to force, people merely see force as the answer. It is almost never, ever, right to use force first."
"Hermione, Luna, Ginny, and Neville all tried to explain that to me one afternoon," Harry complained. "I thought I understood it until they explained it. All I knew after they explained was that I had a headache."
"But you all agreed?"
Harry shrugged. "Of course."
While Dumbledore's largest worries still remained (that Harry might lose to Voldemort or that he might die or be seriously injured while winning), he felt a large worry disappear from his shoulders.
Unfortunately, he never thought to convey his relief to Severus Snape.