He stood just outside the large wooden door and adjusted his robes. He cleared his throat and knocked on the door.
The door magically swung open and he stepped inside.
McGonagall looked up from her desk at the voice and smiled, “Why Auror Potter, what a pleasure this is indeed. Please come in.”
Harry closed the door and approached her desk and sat down across from her, “I’m not disturbing you?”
“Not at all. I was saddened to hear that Professor Ryan won’t be returning to finish the year and you of course are now busy with your new duties.”
Harry nodded, “Have you found a replacement for the Defense Against the Dark Arts position?”
“I have,” McGonagall pursed her lips, “In a manner of speaking.”
Harry picked up McGonagall’s tone that the replacement did not meet her approval and therefore was not going to be permanent, “Well I was wondering if you would please consider me for the position next year?”
“You are an Auror now,” she said trying to hide a smile, “I would have thought you’d stay one for a while at least? Your department has been virtually wiped out.”
“I know,” he replied evenly, “but I think I need a change of pace,”
McGonagall cracked a small smile before becoming serious again, “Well if you are indeed serious about the post, I’ll have to review your application and credentials. The process will be very extensive as I only demand the best professors to teach the students here at Hogwarts.”
Harry nodded, “I understand. Thank you for at least considering me,” Harry stood and started to leave, “Good afternoon Headmistress.”
“Mr. Potter,” McGonagall called out.
Harry stopped and turned back to her.
She smiled at him, “Classes begin on September 1st next year. I would hope that you will know where your classroom will be next year?”
Harry smiled at her and nodded, “I will. Thanks Professor.”
“Thank you Mr. Potter,” she said, “We’ll go over a lesson plan shortly before school starts.”
Harry nodded, “I’ll have one ready.”
“Excellent,” she replied, “Oh… since you are going to teach here, I could use your assistance with something else. If you are willing of course.”
“Of course, Headmistress.”
“I am also in need of a new Head of House for Gryffindor,” she smiled at him slightly, “It is a great honor to serve as one, but it would mean extra duties aside from your normal teaching duties. Would you be able to take on those duties as well as your teaching duties?”
Harry nodded without hesitation, “Of course.”
“Good then it’s settled,” she said and picked up her quill, “We’ll meet to discuss your duties before the school year starts,” she gave him a smile, “Until then… Professor.”
“Thank you,” he smiled, nodded once and left. He was halfway down the main corridor before he broke into a smile and jumped in joy.
Harry returned home a short time later to find the house empty.
The only sound was the ticking of the old grandfather clock in the hall. It was Dobby’s night off and Harry figured Ron and Hermione must have gone out. He shrugged and took off his cloak and went upstairs to his room. He smiled at the thought of taking the DADA position next year. He placed his cloak on the chair before seeing the scrap of paper on his bed. He picked it up and read:
Fleur’s having the baby. We’ll be a St. Mungo’s. Come as quickly as you can.
Harry quickly dropped the note and grabbed his cloak and he was out the door. He grabbed some Floo Powder.
He leaped out of the Floo Network and found himself in the main lobby. He walked over to the nurse.
“Fleur Weasley’s room?”
“Family or friend?” the nurse asked.
“Both,” he replied.
The nurse cocked an eyebrow at his reply, but pulled out her list, “Weasley… Weasley… Ah yes Maternity Ward. Second floor, take that ‘lift and turn right,” she finished pointing to her left.
Harry thanked her and walked over to the ‘lift and got in. He got out and turned right and saw virtually every Weasley there.
“Harry!” Ron shouted and waved.
“Oh Harry dear!” Mrs. Weasley said, “It’s so good of you to come.”
“Wouldn’t miss it,” he said smiling at Mrs. Weasley’s excitement.
He walked over and joined Ron and Hermione sitting near the door.
“Mum’s going nuts,” Ron whispered, “I think she’s more excited than Bill and Fleur.”
Harry smiled and sat back and closed his eyes. He purposely ignored both expectant looks on his friend’s faces.
“Well what did McGonagall say?” Hermione asked.
Harry just nodded and Hermione gave a quick yelp of delight, “That’s great Harry!”
“That’s great mate,” Ron said patting him on the shoulder, “Do you start soon?”
“No,” Harry said shaking his head. He opened his eyes and looked at them, “Next year. I’ll be the new Head of House for Gryffindor too.”
“That’s so exciting!” Hermione said.
“What the devil is going on over here?” Mr. Weasley asked coming over to them, “This is a hospital.”
“Harry’s the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts, Dad,” Ron said.
Arthur Weasley’ face lit up and he stuck his hand out, “That’s great news Harry,” he said shaking Harry’s hand, “Minerva can use someone like you. You’ll be a great professor.”
“Arthur what’s all the ruckus?” Mrs. Weasley asked as she came up next to him.
“Harry’s the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts, dear.”
Mrs. Weasley looked at him and gave him a big hug, “That’s wonderful Harry!”
The rest of the Weasley clan chimed in their congratulations for Harry. After a few moments they all settled back and waited quietly. After what seemed like hours Bill came out holding a wrapped bundle.
“Everyone I’d like you to meet your newest family member.”
Everyone stood, crowed around and looked at the baby in Bill’s arms.
“He or she, son?” Arthur Weasley asked.
“Girl,” Bill said, “Her name’s Angelica Weasley.”
“Oh she’s so precious!” Mrs. Weasley said and reached for her. Bill carefully passed his daughter to his mother, “Oh hello dear I’m your Grandmum Molly.”
“How’s Fleur?” Charlie asked from behind Mrs. Weasley.
“She’s tired but doing well,” Bill replied.
Everyone expressed his or her delight and congratulations to Bill when Harry suddenly felt funny. He stepped back from the group and looked around. His head felt a little fuzzy and his scar was aching.
Harry looked and saw Hermione and Ron looking at him with concern.
“Is everything ok mate?” Ron asked.
“I don’t know,” he replied, “For a moment my scar hurt.”
“Your scar?” Hermione breathed, “But that would mean…”
“Ahhh,” he gasped quietly rubbing his scar.
Harry shook his head, “I’m fine. I should go.”
Harry gave Bill his congratulations before walking down the corridor and nearly walked into Ginny.
“Hey watch it!” Ginny shouted. Then she laughed quickly, “Oh I’m sorry Harry. I didn’t know it was you.”
“That’s ok Ginny,” he said.
“Were you leaving?”
“Yes,” he said, “I need to… I have stuff to do.”
“Oh,” Ginny said as her face fell in disappointment, “Well McGonagall let me come see Fleur and the new baby then I have to get back soon. I guess I’ll see you at school?”
Harry shook his head, “I’m not coming back until next year.”
“Oh. What’s next year?”
“I’ll be the new DADA professor.”
“That’s great Harry!” she said and hugged him.
“Thanks,” Harry said hugging her back, “Well… ahem, I have to get going. Bye.”
“Bye Harry,” she said and watched him leave.
Later that night somewhere where it’s dark a lone figure arrived.
“I’m here master.”
“Excellent,” came the hiss, “Welcome my child. The time has come.”
“Harry!” Ron shouted.
“Harry are you home?!” Hermione called out.
“Why are you shouting?” Harry’s voice came from his room, “I’m not deaf!”
Hermione and Ron ran up the stairs and into his room, “Are you ok?” Ron asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” he replied.
“Harry that’s serious,” Hermione said, “That means Voldemort’s still alive.”
“But he can’t be!” Ron said, “We saw his body! Harry killed him! He’s dead!”
Harry’s face crimped in thought, “Not unless there was another horcrux somewhere.”
“I though you got them all?” Hermione asked.
“Apparently not,” he said.
“Mate, if you’ve missed one, where could it be?” Ron said, “You’ve looked just about everywhere. Not too mention destroyed anything You-know-who held as value.”
Hermione looked at Ron, “We’ll have to keep looking now won’t we?” Hermione said and looked back to Harry, “We’re helping you this time and no complaints.”
Harry looked between his two friends and nodded.
“Good,” Hermione said and sat down on the bed next to Harry, “I was thinking about Regulus. What about the horcrux he took?”
Harry shrugged, “I never found it. I assumed it to be lost or destroyed.”
There came a rapping at the door and they turned and saw Dobby standing in the doorway holding a letter.
“Oh Master! Dobby was told to give you this immediately!”
Harry took the letter, “By whom?”
“By Professor McGonagall.”
“Thank you Dobby,” he said and opened it, “It’s from Percy.”
“What?” both Ron and Hermione said at once.
Harry quickly read over the letter, “There’s been a Dark Mark sighting in Devonshire. No one hurt, but the Dark Mark was conjured above a spot where they found, written in blood, the words ‘He has returned’.”
“Who has returned?” Ron asked.
“Voldemort obviously,” Hermione replied, “It would explain your scar hurting.”
“But it could be just some crackpot pulling a prank,” Ron countered.
“Only a Death Eater can conjure the Dark Mark, Ron,” Hermione said, “No one else could have.”
“Go on Harry. What else did the git have to say?”
“Only that people are starting to panic again and the Ministry is clueless as to how to stop it.”
Hermione gave a loud sigh, “Of course they’d be concerned about that. This’ll make them look bad if they are seen as not being able to handle this.”
“What about Harry?” Ron asked, “People aren’t going to be to thankful at the fact he defeated You-know-who then he comes back. They’ll start bad-mouthing him again!”
“I’m not worried about that Ron,” Harry replied, “Remember these people also thought I was completely bonkers in our fifth year too.”
Ron shrugged and nodded, “Sorry mate. Just trying to help.”
“Thanks,” Harry said, “but we need to see if there is another horcrux that may still be remaining.”
Hermione, who had gotten up during Ron’s tirade, had picked up the Regulus’ journal and was flipping through the pages. Harry and Ron stayed silent while she looked and waited patiently.
She looked back at Harry contemplatively, “Do you remember one of the visions we were in where Regulus was in the study just before he died?”
Harry and Ron nodded, “Yes, but what does that have to do with anything?” Harry asked.
“This is a long-shot, but what if the last horcrux was in this house?” Hermione asked as she put the journal down and walked over to them, “Voldemort never knew the true location of the house after Dumbledore enchanted it so it could not be found.”
Harry looked at Ron then back at Hermione, “You could be right ‘Mione. But where?”
For several minutes the three racked their memories of their visits into the journal.
“Harry, wasn’t Regulus, in almost everyone of our visits, in the study?” Ron asked.
“Yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s in the study,” Harry replied.
“But what if we didn’t see that part?” Ron sat up, “What if it were written by an auto-quill? We would have started writing when something was happening.”
“Ron’s right Harry,” Hermione said, “It could be anywhere in the house, but I’d start with the study.”
Harry sat up quickly as the location hit him, “The clock! He was touching the clock!”
He raced out his room with his two friends right behind him.