skinny black haired boy with a shabby appearance was sitting in a
rather clumsy looking room and laughing. It was not a funny laughter.
It was a wholesome laughter that was rarely heard from this, usually
morose, almost sixteen year old boy.
"Harry! Come down
here boy!" A coarse shout could be heard from somewhere below and
caused the boy to hurriedly compose himself though his insides were
"Coming Uncle Vernon!" Harry called back.
bounded down the steps to the smallish hall of his Aunt and Uncle's
house. It had been three weeks since he had returned from his fifth
year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but today was
the first time he was laughing. In fact, he thought to himself, today
was the first time he was laughing since Sirius died and he was
surprised that even that thought did not stop his sniggering.
Black, a wizard like Harry, had been his godfather till he died on a
fateful night defending Harry at the Department of Mysteries deep below
the Ministry of Magic. But thoughts of Sirius were far away from
Harry's mind. Instead, at this moment Harry was struggling to control
himself as the Dursleys, who were unfortunately his only living
relatives, sat down to eat dinner. Aunt Petunia shoved a plate with a
single potato and a sandwich towards him, and began to fill Dudley's
"You are about to get yours!" Harry thought and began preparing to control his laughter at what was about to happen.
week ago, Uncle Vernon had asked a sullen Harry to find work for his
summer. If Harry had thought the badly veiled threats of the Members of
the Order of the Phoenix, a secret organization working towards
destroying the most evil dark wizard in history, would change the
manners of his Uncle and Aunt, he had been greatly mistaken. If
anything, the attitude had only gotten worse in his first two weeks
back. It was with that in mind that Harry had agreed to begin work at a
factory that belonged to Mr. Gopner, a friend of Uncle Vernon's.
Initially, Harry had been apprehensive, but Mr. Gopner was a nice old
man who paid Harry well and better still there was Mustang.
had met Mustang his first day of work, hanging upside down from a
clothes line where various large sheets were hanging. It hadn't taken
Harry long to figure out that Mustang was crazy and that they would get
along very well. In fact, by the end of the week, they had both become
fast friends and Harry had realized that Mustang was not crazy, he was very
crazy. Firstly, while he had a perfectly good name his parents had
given, he preferred Mustang after the car they had died in several
years ago. Secondly, he was the Fred and George of the Muggle world.
His pranks amazed even Harry who was used to the magical world.
are you thinking boy? Finish up and clean my new car," bellowed Uncle
Vernon, breaking Harry out of his reverie. To his surprise he saw the
Dursleys eat up their food without anything happening. Disappointed he
turned and walked to the kitchen. He had barely entered the kitchen
when he heard a rumbling noise and his eyes began to twinkle. He risked
a peek back and saw both his Aunt and his Uncle holding there noses
while Dudley's stomach grumbled. "Roaring Fart Powder" he
thought with a smile, and hurried out to clean the car before breaking
into loud laughter. Mustang had indeed been a good influence.
the time Harry had finished cleaning, it was beginning to get dark. A
foul smell greeted him as he entered the door, but this only made him
smile at where the smell was coming from. He was sure no one in the
house was going to get much sleep tonight. Harry walked up to his room
thinking how much the little things could make you change.
week ago when he had first met Mustang, Harry had indeed been very
forlorn. But Mustang had shown him the brighter side of life. It was
amazing how much the boy had suffered and yet continued to smile day in
and day out. Probably hurts deep inside, thought Harry, but had to
agree that a life full of fun and laughter suited him much better. By
the end of his first day at work Harry's mood had already improved.
Little jokes, the hot brunette just across the street, Mr. Gopner's
horrible but sexy daughter, and some deep insights into life had been
the non stop background banter while Harry had collected and separated
all the cloth pieces at the factory. He had been looking forward to his
time at work every morning since then.
rest of the week had gone by equally remarkably, and finally Harry had
agreed to play a little joke on his Aunt and Uncle to a roaring
approval from Mustang as well as taken his first sip of Muggle
beer. Tomorrow would be his first day off, and Harry planned on
spending it wasting his hard earned money. He had long decided that he
did not really need all the money, and Mustang had suggested he use it
for therapy; a therapy he called
"splurge-your-money-and-feel-better". He was going for his first
The next morning Harry was up early and ready for his first time shopping, wondering what new things the day would bring.
New things he would rather not have seen, thought
Harry, as his thoughts were broken by the Headmistress, who had just
gotten up and introduced him to the gathering. As he took down his hood
a sudden fear gripped him but he pushed it back. He knew no one would
recognize him. He was happy to be Professor Evans. "At least for now" a
voice told him, but he pushed it back to the farthest depths of his
Harry Potter had died three years ago. He had lost his
parents at the dawn of his life, his guardians in the summer after his
fifth year, his closest friends in his sixth year, and had not had
anymore attachments till he had died six years after finishing school.
It had taken him three more years to forgive the world around him and
realize that despite everything his life had been worth the struggle.
Of course he had friends who had stood by him. Dumbledore, Hagrid,
Neville, Luna and Dean, among others. But there had been no one close
to him. Maybe it was time to change that, he thought, after all as
Dumbledore would have said "Death is but the next great adventure." At
this thought Harry chuckled to himself and sat down.
Headmistress was speaking to the distinguished gathering in the
school's hall. A large stage, like a ring, had been erected at the
center of the hall where the guests sat. The house tables had been
rearranged surrounding the stage. The hall seemed to have enlarged to
accommodate everyone, and it seemed to have left its rectangular shape
and settled into something far less uniform. Yet it was not the layout
of the room that anyone would notice on entering. It was the people.
Minister of Magic, Amelia Bones was there, so were half a dozen other
Ministry officials, including Hermione and the incoming minister,
Arthur Weasley and their families. The entire Wizengamot was
there, as was the entire Board of Governors of Hogwarts.
one corner was dedicated to a group of old men who looked crazy but
were clearly the center of the attention. The Council of the Wise was a
mystical group which only accepted the greatest of the wizards. All the
Headmasters of Hogwarts had been on the council or eventually joined
it. But then all the Headmasters were thought to be crazy. It was
widely speculated that the council was nothing but a place for old men
to have fun. But rumors of their influence and power were abundant in
the wizarding world. It was believed that the founders of Hogwarts had
also been in the council, and had given the council the final powers to
choose Headmasters. Some also said that the council controlled half the
wizarding money and most of the large co-operations in the Muggle
world. Public appearances were few, and like today, rarely gave of the
look of any power.
Also present were Headmasters of other
schools, some other famous and powerful wizards and the staff and
students of Hogwarts. Clearly, this was an event of large magnitude in
the wizarding world. At least the several hundred reporters present
here today thought so. Today, the ancient ritual that would determine
if a wizard was suitable to be the Headmaster of Hogwarts was to be
conducted. That in itself was hardly a cause for such a large
gathering, coming as it was after several powerful wizards failed the
test in the last three years since Dumbledore had died. Most hadn't
even been able to reach the Gargoyle outside the Headmaster's office,
only a handful had managed to get into the office, none through the
front door. And none had reached the ultimate test, for which the stage
was today erected at the center of the hall.
No, the reason
for the buzz around today's event was the Council of the Wise. They had
replied to the Ministry's invitation as if they already knew who the
Headmaster would be. And the fact that they had hidden his or her
identity had led to a lot of speculation on who they were going to
present. Many names had caught the fancy of the public, including
rumors of a dead Dumbledore and a Vampire who drank the blood of
children. The truth was stranger.
Evans? Who the bloody hell is he?" screamed Ron, as a rumbling sound
grew amongst the crowd, but quieted down as he saw Hermione glare at
"Clearly everyone had expected someone more elaborate,"
said Ron sheepishly as he glanced around the room and his eyes came
back to Hermione. He shut up as soon as he recognized her look. The one
she gave when she was figuring out a deep mystery. But she just frowned
and looked back at her food.
"What?" asked Ron.
something just doesn't feel right. They said it was someone we would
easily accept " but as the Headmistress continued her speech, she just
kept her thoughts to herself and went back to her food.
Evans will be teaching all students from fifth year up," she was
saying, "and you will hopefully come to respect him as I do."
Headmistress and Deputy Headmaster were the only two on the staff other
than Hagrid who had been told of the facade. They had not realized
until this evening however, as to whose identity they would have to
keep secret. They both had far too many questions in mind but had to
hold them and get this thing over with.
"The Council of Wise
has proposed that Professor Evans should be the next Headmaster of
Hogwarts and if he passes the tests laid down by the law, he would be
moving into that role over the duration of the coming year." Professor
McGonagall was curter than usual, clearly she was angry about
something. While the Deputy Headmaster and I escort him around the
castle, I would like you to begin the feast and enjoy your food. We
still have a lot of things to see through tonight."
words she got up and walked out of the hall followed by a few others,
while the audience went back to their food and the muttering started
Harry hurried after Minerva, clearly recognizing the
anger and its direction. Snape, Kabbel, Amelia Bones and the Councilor
followed. By the time he caught on to her, she was at the corridor
leading to the Headmaster's office, waiting for him. As he reached her,
she gave a slight nod asking him to proceed before following him.
distinguished group walked with confident steps towards the stone
gargoyle at the entrance. Harry paused for a moment, and when the
gargoyle bowed and moved aside none of those following seemed
surprised. Harry walked up to the Headmaster's office, and as soon as
he entered he saw Dumbledore's portrait staring at him from his chair.
The portrait winked, bringing several memories rushing at once to
Harry. But he had no time for memories; he turned around as Minerva
McGonagall gave an angry growl from behind him.
"What is the
meaning of this?" she asked red faced. "Mr. Potter I do not like lying
to my students and to the guests in general and though I am happy to
see that you are alive, your actions demand an explanation."
to you too Minerva, and my dear friend Councilor Matheran" said the
portrait of the now dead Headmaster as he looked at the new entrants to
his office with a twinkle in his eye. "And I see you have finally found
your way back Harry."
With a flick of Harry's hand the
portrait moved to the wall, and Harry and others sat down on the sofas
that had appeared in one corner of the office. He would not look at the
chair of the Headmaster yet, that was still far away. Even after death,
this would not be a small adventure. Right now, however, he needed to
hear the story that the Councilor was about to begin.
had been a lot of talk in the Great Hall when the six had left the
hall, but the anticipation and food had killed all the talk soon. Now
as everyone finished their food, the tables began to disappear, and the
hall began to transform. Before anyone had realized what was happening,
the hall resembled a stadium, with high seats surrounding the stage in
the center. It was clearly an expected turn of events, as everyone
found their way to their seats, mingling with friends and exchanging
On one side of the stage, a large group of red
heads was gathered, seating themselves down. Arthur and Molly were just
finishing greeting everyone as Arthur was the incoming Minister of
Magic, who was about to take charge in a few days. Ginny had wandered
up to Ron and Hermione, and the three were now standing together
watching Hagrid take the kids to an enclosure that had been erected for
the kids at one end of the hall. Fred and George were standing to a
side, no one knew how they had gotten admission to the hall, and no one
wanted to ask.
As the family gathered together, Molly was the
first to raise the question on everyone's mind, "Who is this Professor
Evans? Never heard of him." She was looking directly at Hermione as was
"I have never heard of him. Of course Evans is
a common surname so he could be anyone, but he has clearly not done
anything worth being written about." Hermione said in a thoughtful
"I think he is not who they say he is" said Ginny,
"McGonagall clearly recognized him and was angry, but more importantly,
Hagrid also seemed to recognize him and wouldn't tell me who it is.
Something is clearly fishy."
"Well dad if you had just kicked
Bones out of office, you would be finding out the truth right about
now." Fred bellowed, highly amused.
"Do you think he will pass
the test? How anyone can beat the entire hall in a duel beats me," Ron
said sounding extremely enthusiastic about the professor.
come on Ron, are you sure you are MY husband? You should read the books
that I write." And with her frown turning to a look of concentration,
Hermione began to explain.
"As you will find in the first
chapter of the New History of Hogwarts, this is a magical castle which
is connected in its magic to its Headmaster. That is why not everyone
can be the Headmaster. If it were allowed, the castle would seep out
their magic. Only someone who can generate magical power inside him can
control the castle. And then the castle becomes a part of him. So the
entire hall, as you put it, will not be fighting the Headmaster, they
will be fighting the castle and two thousand years of magical power
that the castle has gained. And to gain control of the castle, the
person sacrifices himself to the castle; his powers are controlled by
the need of the castle to teach. He cannot use the castle for anything
but the castles defense, and that is why it's not the entire hall that
has to be fought, but only those that are willing to try and harm the
castle. That is why it is a fair test. It shows the person is a
powerful wizard, that the person has enough wisdom and goodness to
sacrifice the rest of his days to the protection of everything the
castle stands for."
As Hermione finished, Fred and George
stood up and gave her an over-exuberant standing ovation. Clearly,
being fathers had not changed them at all.
"But still who is
he? Maybe he is not who he says he is. Is there a charm that can hide
his identity from everyone?" asked Ginny.
"I don't know Ginny;
I wish we had the Marauder's Map. I don't think whoever it is wants to
hide forever. Clearly the five people who just went out know the truth.
Maybe he just wants to hide till he passes the test. But if someone is
mature enough to pass the test, I am sure they would not do something
so petty," replied Hermione.
"Maybe he is a cruel blood
thirsty monster. He is too young after all" said Ron trying change the
situation and stopped when he saw Fred and George exchange a typical
"What's up with you two?"
"Congratulations " began Fred,
you are about to witness the birth of " George continued and then the
two began speak alternately but in perfect synchronization.
" another soon-to-be-popular invention of the Weasley Wizarding Wheezes "
" Born of an idea from the little map which we gifted you "
" we present, the Hogwarts Holes and Hideouts "
" the latest help to mischief makers "
" available on discount for the first years."
with that they handed a parchment to Ron, who looked disbelievingly at
an uncanny copy of the Marauder's Map. Molly and Hermione were about to
say something nasty, when Ron opened the map, and his gasp startled
them into looking at what had caught his attention.
Sitting in Dumbledore's office, were six people. And it was the sixth name that caught everyone's attention.
It was someone they knew. It was not Evans. It was not Harry Potter either.
Sorry for the cliffy. I'll be posting the next several chapters
quickly. I already have them ready. And thanks again to Arnel and Katie
both of whom are the greatest.