AN: This chapter is now post-beta. I want to thank both Arnel and
Katie for the wonderful way that my story has finally turned out.
mood in the Great Hall on this first day of September was a mixture of
excitement and nerves. A crowd unlike any Hogwarts had seen in several
years hung about the silvery tables that lined the walls at one end of
the room. Distinguished guests from all walks of life had been invited
and the feast was ready to begin. The professors sitting at the head
table were exquisitely dressed in Hogwarts robes. A witch, with an
expressionless face, sat at the center and the chair next to her was
empty. As she rose and cleared her throat a silence settled over the
room. Those few who remained speaking quickly fell silent as they
turned to look at the head table.
McGonagall stood surveying the scene, her face impassive and
emotionless. There was, though, an unusual twitch on her face and her
eyes betrayed the intensity of her inner turmoil. There were few in
that room that she did not recognize from their days at Hogwarts. At
this moment she was looking at two little red heads that sat at a table
at one corner of the large rectangular stage that was set up at the
centre of the hall for this night. She had always known that
Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger would get married some day, and she
only hoped their two little redhead twin children were not a copy of
their famous uncles. Fred and George, Ron’s brothers, had been second
to none in their mischief making during their years at Hogwarts. With
that thought, she looked up at the now silent crowd, and drew a long
breath. It was time to begin her little speech.
the Great Hall was getting quieter, a howling wind grew in intensity
outside the castle, drowning out every sound. Crackling thunder and
pouring rain made the night look dark and eerie. The castle’s open
doors creaked as the wind grew and a hanging chain struck the door with
loud bangs that could be heard even over the din of the raging storm.
Three figures, dressed in black robes, their heads covered in black
hoods stood at the door. While the tallest one stood to the right and
stared at the dance of leaves swirling in the air close to his feet,
the other two looked out towards the entrance of the grounds, their
eyes searching, waiting for someone, or something to emerge.
Severus Snape, the Deputy Headmaster of Hogwarts and the Potions
Master, pursed his lips and tried his best to ignore the two ignorant
fools that stood by his side. He did not expect anyone to come up to
the castle in this raging storm. He would rather be sitting in the hall
enjoying the feast. He had been telling the others that it was futile
to follow a thousand year old myth, that it would be better if they let
him find a regular teacher for the Defense Against the Dark Arts class
-- maybe let him teach the class himself -- and to just create a new
room for the Headmaster. It had, of course, been a total waste of time.
He was sure all these over-noble morality-seeking old fools must have
been Gryffindors in their time. That was actually another reason he
hated standing here next to them on this most hopeless of nights.
Severus, you look like you ate my old goat!” chuckled the old, thin man
who stood in the middle and looked several hundred years old. His long
silvery beard gave a tinge of shine on the edge as lightning lit up the
sky and thunder drowned out his next words. “I am sure you will love
the wonderful Thunder Storm Beatle Pie that I suggested the elves cook
for dessert tonight, especially after a lovely hour or two observing
this wonderful miracle of nature.” And a few hairs seemed to move below
his nose suggesting he may have tried to smile.
“I do not
understand how you can be so cheerful Councilor. If the scrolls are
correct, our man should be here by now” said the third man.
silver bearded man, obviously the Councilor, turned to his left, his
beard still twitching in the hint of a smile, “Come now Kabbel, do not
tell me you do not enjoy the music of the wind, the panting of the
storm, and that you can not see beyond the night at what approaches us.”
this both Kabbel and Severus turned around to look into the night, as
another hooded figure, wearing black robes, approached the gates to the
grounds. Their eyes suddenly lost the boredom and took on a glint of
curiosity. As the figure approached the gates, a golden glow began to
appear at the foundation of the gates and started to grow towards the
castle. This made the approaching figure pause for a moment, before
The three waiting men had strangely different
reactions. While on the Councilor’s face a clear smile could be seen,
Kabbel’s eyes had gone wide with amazement. Professor Snape’s eyes,
however, seemed to register some kind of a recognition, before his face
went into a scowl worse than any he had held in several years.
the approaching figure stepped on the threshold, the gates to the
castle opened as if by magic, and the golden glow now seemed to
originate from him and continue to envelope the castle. With a glint of
familiarity, the man seemed to smile, though strangely not a muscle had
moved on his face. With a hint of amusement he approached the three men
at the Front Gate of the Hogwarts Castle. It had been 9 years since he
had looked at the castle last, its glittering turrets and ghostly
shadows amazed him once again, like they had when he had looked at it
first, from a boat on the lake that he thought must be somewhere to his
right. And then Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, straightened and
walked up to the castle that had been his first real home with a bounce
in his step.
“With those words of
welcome, let us begin with the sorting ceremony while we await a very
special guest tonight. I would suggest that those who are hungry…” said
Minerva McGonagall and turned her gaze to a red head in Auror robes,
who looked to be in his late twenties, and gave a clearly amused smile
before she continued, “… settle for a glass of the lovely Beaver
Dropping Soup we have specially prepared for our guests while they
await for dinner to begin. Professor Weasley, please escort the first
As the Headmistress took her seat, yet another red
head with long shiny ginger hair, stood up from the staff table and
walked towards a gate to the side of the hall. Professor Ginerva
Weasley was starting her fourth year as Professor of Transfiguration at
Hogwarts, having replaced Minerva McGonagall after the previous
Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, had suddenly died at 164 years -- no one
was quite sure how or why -- and Minerva had taken up the role of
Headmistress. The castle, the governors, and those chosen, were now
looking for another to replace him and restart the Magic of Hogwarts.
to the door, Ginny smiled to herself; she had thought she wouldn’t last
long with the memories she carried. It had been, however, a strangely
healing experience to come back and see what it was they had fought and
lost so much for. As she opened the door, she gave a careless glance at
the hooded figures at the castle door, missing the approaching fourth,
and once again wondered if any one would come. It had been a long three
years since the Magic of the Castle, which gave it protection, had
stopped. And the fun too, she thought with a sigh as she
passed the staircases that used to move around when she was here as a
student. She hoped that they find a Headmaster soon, and that he would
be able to live up to the greatest Headmaster Hogwarts had seen, and
“Hullo Professor, horrible weather that. The Slime
Poisoned Beetles `ve been getting restless. Sorry ‘am late, the lake’s
been restless too, two boats flipped over,” a deep voice interrupted
Ginny turned and smiled at the huge face of
Rubeus Hagrid, her old friend and Professor of Care and Breeding of New
“How are you Hagrid? Dry yourself and go on in, I’ll take it from here. Find any bad ones this year?” asked Ginny.
“None like ye'r brothers,” replied Hagrid.
a wink and a hearty laugh Ginny walked up to the scared first years as
Hagrid walked on to the hall. He was followed not far behind by a
hooded figure with a fading golden glow and three others whose black
hoods were hanging behind, their faces showing complimentary emotions,
their walk purposeful and straight.
Harry walked up to the gate, drenched but smiling, the old man whom
Kabbel called Councilor, took a few steps ahead with his arms wide
open, clearly happy at seeing the young man approach. Harry’s smile
turned into a grin as he hugged his teacher and mentor. A white light
seemed to pass between them, though anyone looking would not have
noticed. They both then turned and Harry greeted the other two with
restrained emotions. As Severus Snape shook the hands of the wizard
whom he had once held only contempt for, he could not hide his respect
even though the scowl on his face did not change. Harry merely smiled
at his former professor wondering if he would ever see what he knew to
be a very different person on Snape’s face.
“Hello Professor, good to see you after so long,” said Harry in a cheerful voice.
it Potter, I didn’t know the old fools were bringing you, another one
of your stunts I suppose?” Snape’s scowl had gotten worse.
stopped himself from snapping and gracefully turned to meet the third
man. “Good evening Mr. Kabbel, it is a pleasure to finally meet you, I
am Harry Potter.”.
“Harry Potter!” exclaimed Kabbel. His eyes grew wider than they had been before “But I thought you were dead!”
I thought nothing escapes the Governors of Hogwarts” cried out the
Councilor, clearly amused, and hurried the three into the castle.
closed the door, while the others continued to chat, and take off their
hoods. Before he could begin to lock it, the doors bolts began to turn
on their own, for the first time in over three years. For a moment
Snape looked surprised but as he turned the scene he saw forced the
scowl back on his face. “Still infatuated Potter? I would expect a
Professor at Hogwarts not to look at another man’s woman in that
Harry did not turn his gaze away. Instead he put his
hood back on, and calmed himself. It would not do to look like a
hopeless teenager his first day of school. But his eyes refused to
leave Ginny Weasley. If only, he thought and turned his gaze
towards the smile and wink that Ginny had just given. What he saw made
him smile, and he realized he had been holding his breath. Rubeus
Hagrid was one of only three people at the castle who knew he would be
here today. In fact he was one of the people who had convinced Harry to
come back. With another smile, he realized, it was indeed good to be
back. And he hid his face, concentrating on controlling his emotions,
and walked quietly towards the Hall. The golden glow around him began
Secretary of Education Mrs.
Hermione Weasley sat at the corner table with her twin children Albus
and Angel, both three years old, and listened to her husband tell them
something about Uncle Harry and laughing. She could, however, not see
the humor in the situation. She had known this would happen if she came
back, but the selection of a new Headmaster was serious business and it
was her responsibility at the Ministry to make sure the Board of
Governors and those old fools, The Council of the Wise, did not do
something that the Ministry of Magic did not approve of. And then Ron
had wanted to come, and their children, so here she was, sitting at the
Great Hall after nine years, thinking of how that fateful year, she had
lost her best friend. It should have been her who figured it out. She
was the smart one. And she had, only not in time. She knew she was not
at fault any more than the others, but she could not help but blame
herself. If only..
Her thoughts stopped, as the Great
Hall's doors opened, but instead of the first years, she saw Snape,
Kabbel and the Councilor walk in. Behind them strode a hooded, robed
wizard. Harry, she thought for a moment, but dismissed the
thought as stupid. Harry was either dead, or had totally disappeared.
No one knew what had happened to Harry Potter when, three years ago,
his six year long career as the top Auror had ended with an Order of
Merlin, First Class and he had simply disappeared. The Ministry did not
know if he was alive or dead. He had resigned just before his last
mission. For six years Harry and Hermione had worked in the same
ministry building and not met even once.
The Great Hall door
opened again as the first years entered, once again taking Hermione out
of her thoughts. But as the Sorting Hat began to shout out houses,
Hermione tuned out yet again. Something was very curious about this
whole thing. Three years ago Dumbledore had died leaving no signs of
how to choose a successor. The board and the Ministry had tried several
great wizards but the castle didn't seem to accept any of them. The
Headmaster’s office remained locked, the castle’s magical protections
ceased functioning, and several magical things had stopped happening.
It seemed no one had the power to control the castle.
“Harry” whispered Hermione surprising herself, and from the look on his face, also her husband.
“Try to let it go Hermione, it’s been too long,” Ron spoke trying to calm his wife.
“I know Ron. I was just thinking of the last battle. It was like Harry was controlling the castle,” said Hermione.
she looked at the hooded figure who was obviously the candidate. The
Ministry had finally turned to the Council of Wise, which was, as per
some old myth, given the task of choosing the next headmaster if none
could be found a thousand years ago. And within a week they had come up
with a candidate whose identity they kept secret. Hermione thought they
were only having fun, but Minister Bones and Kabbel had gone to them.
Hermione turned her gaze to the new figure as he sat down at the staff
desk; McGonagall was clearly surprised at whoever it was, for she let
out a gasp, and then a grin. Hermione felt her heart beat faster.
not Harry, ‘Mione” said Ron as he took her hand, and smiled at her, and
then his expression changed to that of surprise. Hermione heard a short
gasp go across the Hall and saw everyone was looking up. The enchanted
ceiling showed clouds moving, and a storm coming in. Wait a minute, she thought, the ceiling hasn't been working since Dumbledore died.
And along with everyone else in the Great Hall, her head turned towards
the hooded figure as he stood looking at “Ziman, Zermin” being sorted
As the sorting ceremony finished, Professor McGonagall got up and her audience grew silent.
“Before we go further,” she began “let me introduce to you our new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher …”
The hooded figure got up and took off his hood.
It was not Harry.
“ … Professor Evans” said Professor McGonagall as she finished to a mild applause.
Hermione thought she had seen this thin haunted face before.
review if you read the story. Leave some good words if you liked it,
and critique it and point out if you didn’t. It would be great to know
what you are thinking.