April went by quickly, as it usually did. The weather turned from chilly and windy to warm and rainy, resulting in more than one muddy Quidditch practice. Albus didn't mind the mud as much as he minded the length of the practices. Both Fred and Heather seemed determined to win the Quidditch Cup now that it was their seventh year. They hadn't won it yet, in all their years at Hogwarts. Albus wanted to win, too, but not enough that he enjoyed practicing for five hours straight.

When he wasn't on the pitch, most of Albus's time was spent at dueling practice. The final match of the year was on the last Saturday in April and Albus's team was still in the running for a win of the entire tournament. They hadn't won a single match, but they were routinely in second place by only a few points. The teams that had gotten first place never did that well in other tournaments, resulting in their overall point total being quite low.

When the last Saturday in April arrived, far sooner than Albus would've liked, he found himself incredibly nervous. He wasn't nervous at all about his duels, but he was nervous for the team. This was it. It was his last tournament in the Junior Dueling Tournament. His last chance to prove himself as captain and earn a spot on Gryffindor's dueling team next year.

All four captains of the house dueling teams were present at this tournament because they would be hand selecting players for their teams next year. Unlike Quidditch, there were no try-outs for the dueling tournament.

“Last tournament being on Malfoy's team,” Amanda commented as Malfoy dueled a girl from Ravenclaw.

“Thank God,” Albus muttered. He couldn't wait until he no longer had Malfoy on his team. “At least he's acting normally today.”

“At least he showed up,” Amanda pointed out.

“Point to Malfoy!” Neville shouted. “Albus Potter and Matt Eckerton.”

Albus groaned inwardly. He always felt awful when he had to duel Matt because their skill levels were so drastically different. At the same time he didn't want to go easy on his friend because the Gryffindor team captain was watching.

Albus and Matt bowed to each other and raised their wands. Albus thought a silent apology as he shot a Stunner at his best friend. Matt dodged it and sent one back. Albus threw up a shield and then sent three consecutive Stunners. The third one made contact and Matt collapsed onto the floor, frozen.

“Point to Potter!” Neville declared. He waved his wand at Matt and the spell lifted.

“Sorry, mate,” Albus said as he helped Matt up.

“Don't be,” Matt replied. “You're definitely getting on the team next year.”

Albus won his second duel as well. His team continued to win most of their duels, with some of his teammates winning their first duels ever. Amanda had begun a tally of all the points on a spare bit of parchment and their team was winning, with only a few duels left to go.

Kaden wound up dueling one of the Ravenclaws from Albus's team during the last duel of the day. Kaden lost spectacularly, which Albus was both happy and upset about.

A few minutes later Neville stepped into the center of one of the dueling rings. “I am pleased to announce that we have a winner of both today's tournament and the year's tournament overall. Congratulations to Team Seven for winning both today and the tournament overall! Captain Albus Potter, please come forward to accept the trophy.”

Albus was momentarily stunned, until Amanda nudged him. The entire Great Hall was applauding as he stepped over to the dueling rings. They'd done it! After a year, they'd finally done it!

Albus shook Neville's hand while a Hufflepuff took their picture. The trophy was a bit smaller than the Quidditch Cup, but certainly not small by any means. After a few more pictures were taken, including one shot of the entire team, Albus joined Amanda and the two of them walked back to the common room.

“When will you find out if you got on Gryffindor's dueling team?” she asked as they walked.

“Not until the summer,” Albus said. “They send out letters.”

“You're pretty much guaranteed a spot, after that win,” Amanda said. “Malfoy, too, probably. And then you'll get to duel each other.”

“I'm looking forward to that,” Albus said. “Just a bit.”

“Me, too,” Amanda agreed.

Albus's friends were waiting in the common room when he and Amanda arrived. They offered congratulations and Butterbeer, which Albus drank quickly before heading outside for Quidditch practice.

Later that night, between his happiness about the win and exhaustion from Quidditch practice, Albus slept better than he had in months.


In April's last remaining days the Daily Prophet published at least one article a day on Laurentis and her upcoming swearing-in ceremony, as well as her picks for top officials. Albus hadn't recognized any names of the officials, or the names of their jobs. Mostly they were jobs such as the one his Uncle Percy held under Minister Hartwell. Laurenits, as it seemed, was waiting until she became Minister to reveal the big positions, such as Albus's dad's position.

The Gryffindor table was unusually quiet the morning of May first. Albus, along with all his cousins, weren't saying a word. Albus was thinking of his uncle Percy and how this should've been his day, not Laurentis's, and he was sure his cousins were thinking the same.

“I wish one of us could go to her ceremony,” Amanda said as she read the Prophet. “It's not going to be the same reading about it tomorrow.”

“I heard they're listening to it on the wireless in politics today,” John said. “Wish we had it today. That would be much better than having actual class.”

“I just want to know if my dad's out of a job,” Albus said.

“Will he be completely sacked?” Kaden asked.

“No. He just wouldn't be Head Auror anymore,” Albus answered. “It'd still be awful, though.”

“Same here,” Matt agreed. “Amy said that Dad's really nervous about it.”

“What time is it happening?” Rose asked.

“Ten-thirty,” Amanda said after consulting the paper.

“Right after History of Magic,” Rose mused. “So you lot will have Care of Magical Creatures and I'll have Arithmancy. Is anyone else thinking that we should break out Uncle George's best-selling product this morning?”

Albus thought he heard her wrong. Was his cousin actually suggesting they skip class?

“Wait, Rose,” John said. “Are you saying we should skive off class?”

Rose grinned. “I think this is going to be a bit more educational. I say we skive and meet in the Marauder's Den to listen on the wireless.”

“I'm in,” Albus said immediately. John, Matt, Amanda, and Kaden agreed.

“We've got to plan it carefully, though,” Rose said. “We can't all get ill at the same time or it'll look suspicious.”

“I've got a free period starting at ten-fifteen,” Kaden said. “So I'm all set.”

Rose nodded. “That leaves five of us. Matt, do you have an issue with skipping all of History of Magic?”

Matt laughed. “Of course not.”

“Good. I think you ought to just skive off without using a Skiving Snackbox. No one will suspect anything.”

“Aw, why can't I do that?” John asked.

“Because if someone finds out and asks it'll be easier for Matt go just say he felt ill, rather than you. I'll use a nosebleed nougat in Arithmancy since I'm the only one of us in that class. Al, John, Amanda, two of you can use something in History of Magic and then the other one can use something right at the beginning of Care of Magical Creatures. We meet in the Marauder's Den by ten-thirty.”

With the plan decided upon, they set off for their morning classes. John begged to be the one who used a puking pastille first in History of Magic and Albus and Amanda let him. He seemed strangely excited about it. Albus was just going to use the fever fudge.

Professor Binns began droning on about the Giant Wars, a topic he seemed to enjoy for some reason. He taught it each and every year without fail. Albus doodled aimlessly on his notes while taking surreptitious glances at John every so often.

“Um, Professor?” John announced ten minutes into the class.

Binns turned around, looking confused. It was rare that anyone ever interrupted him. “Yes, Mr. Broggs?”

“I don't feel well-” John was cut off by his own vomiting. His table was now covered with a pile of puke.

“Yes, yes, off to the infirmary,” Binns said as he returned his attention to the blackboard.

John hastily shoved the other end of the sweet into his mouth and vanished the vomit before grabbing his bag (which he never unpacked), and left the room.

Amanda was next. She, like Albus, went the safe route and had decided upon the fever fudge. Professor Binns hardly seemed to notice that she felt ill, despite her announcing it to the class. He just waved her out and continued his lecture. Albus could've probably used his own fever fudge right then and there, but he didn't think it was worth the small risk.

Albus decided to eat the fever fudge on his way to Care of Magical Creatures so he could leave immediately after arriving. The Marauder's Den was quite a walk from Hagrid's hut and he didn't want to miss any of the ceremony.

He felt the effects of the fudge before even reaching Hagrid's Hut. He hadn't had a fever in years and had forgotten just how awful they were.

“Hagrid?” Albus asked as soon as he arrived.

“Albus!” Hagrid exclaimed. “How are yeh?”

“Not good,” Albus answered. “I feel ill.”

Hagrid's face fell. “Yeh don' look so well. Better go see Madam Pomfrey.”

Albus nodded and turned around, walking quickly up the path. Once he was out of sight of Hagrid, he shoved the other half of the fever fudge into his mouth and felt immediately better. He'd done it!

By the time he arrived at the Marauder's Den it was nearly ten-thirty. The rest of his friends were already there, huddled around a very old looking wireless.

“Albus!” Rose exclaimed. “Nearly thought you wouldn't make it!”

“I practically ran here,” Albus said as he tossed his bag onto the floor and took a seat next to his cousin.

“Shhh!” Amanda said. “It's starting!”

“Good morning, listeners. We are broadcasting live from Courtroom Ten in the Ministry of Magic, where just minutes from now Patricia Laurentis will be sworn in as Minister of Magic for the United Kingdom. It is standing room only in the courtroom, with additional spectators in the corridor.”

Suddenly there was thunderous applause, drowning out the commentator's voice. It died down a few minutes later.

“Patricia Laurentis has entered the courtroom. She is making her way down the aisle, greeting people on her way.

“Minister Hartwell, along with members of the Wizengamot are seated on the dais. Three senior members of the Wizengamot will swear Laurentis in.”

More applause. Then a new voice. Albus recognized it as Minister Hartwell.

“Welcome to the Ministry of Magic. It has been my pleasure to serve you over the past ten years. I'd like to take a moment to thank my party, Merlinus, for their support over the past decade, as well as all of my top officials and the rest of the Ministry employees. I'll keep this short and just say that I am going to miss serving you, but I have to admit that both my wife and I are looking forward to taking a nice, long holiday.”

Laughter, followed by applause.

“Thank you, Minister Hartwell,” someone else said. Albus assumed it was one of the Wizengamot members. “Ms. Laurentis, if you would please step forward.” There was a pause. “Please repeat after me. I do hereby affirm to serve the United Kingdom-”

“I do hereby affirm to serve the United Kingdom-”

“-to the best of my ability-”

“-to the best of my ability-”

“-and keep to the ideals of the Paracelsus party-”

“-and keep to the ideals of the Paracelsus party-”

“I swear to listen to the people and do what is best for them-”

“I swear to listen to the people and do what is best for them-”

“-regardless of whether it is best for myself or the Ministry.”

“-regardless of whether it is best for myself or the Ministry.”

“I hereby declare Patricia Laurentis as the third Minister of Magic post-War as of the first of May, 2020, at eleven o'clock in the morning. Ms. Laurentis, congratulations. Please welcome your new Minister of Magic, Patricia Laurentis!”

There was a smattering of polite applause, much quieter than the previous applause for Hartwell. Albus supposed it was a serious occasion and no one wanted to seem too ecstatic.

“That was quick,” Albus said.

“She's going to make a speech now,” Rose said. “Shhh.”

“Thank you,” Laurentis said as the applause died down. “It is an honor to be standing before you as your Minister of Magic. I would like to begin by thanking the Paracelsus party for nominating me as candidate and supporting me throughout my successful campaign-”

“Does she really need to say it was a successful campaign?” John asked. “I mean, it's obvious that it was successful.”

“Shut up!” Rose said.

“-without your support I would never have made it this far. I hope I am able to live up to the high expectations set by you and Minister Hartwell. I am sure you are all anxious to hear who I am appointing to Head of Department positions in the Ministry, so I won't waste any time getting to that.”

Albus's heart sped up. He glanced up and met Matt's gaze. Matt looked just as nervous as Albus felt.

“First, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. I am pleased to announce that Tethys Balladanis will be taking over for former Head, Reena Barnes.”

“What?!” Albus exclaimed. “Did I hear her right?”

“Balladanis?” Rose shouted at the same time. “But he didn't even like the Ministry, did he?”

“He said it was too restrictive,” Albus said. “I guess he likes Laurentis.”

Matt groaned. “That means he's going to be around all the time. Not here, but this country.”

“I definitely didn't see that one coming,” John said.

“Laurentis, Balladanis, Malfoy's dad...” Amanda mused.

“Shh!” Albus said. “I heard her say Auror Department.”

“-Robert Johnson will be replacing Harry Potter as Head of the Auror Department-”

There was an audible gasp from the audience. Albus sat stunned, processing the information. Part of him had been expecting this, but now that it had actually happened, it was still a shock. It was very similar to the election results.

“I understand that this is a controversial choice, but I feel that the Ministry needs to be a united front. I assure you that Robert Johnson is an excellent Auror and will make a wonderful Head of Department.”

Albus tuned the wireless out once Laurentis went on to the Department of Magical Transportation. He could hear his heart pounding in his head and the rest of the world seemed so far away. It was almost surreal.

“Albus?” Rose asked. “Are you all right?”

“I don't know,” Albus said. “She's insane, right?”

“Honestly, Albus, I'm not surprised,” Rose said quietly. “And your dad still has a job.”

“But it's the statement she made by doing it,” Amanda pointed out. “She's implying that he's bad at his job.”

“Exactly,” Albus said, glad that Amanda was able to put into words what he felt. “First Uncle Percy lost and now this.”

“-Walter Eckerton will remain Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures-”

“Thank God!” Matt exclaimed.

“Good,” Albus said. “At least there's someone sane still in a Head position.”

Albus only paid vague attention to the rest of the announcements. He didn't recognize anyone, except for Malfoy's dad when Laurentis reiterated that appointment. One thing was clear by the end, and that was no one in Albus's family was in any of the Head positions.

Rose switched the wireless off at the end of Laurentis's speech. The wizard doing the broadcast was interviewing a few people, but they weren't anyone of great importance.

“Do you want to go to lunch?” Rose asked after a few minutes.

“Yeah, I suppose so,” Albus said as he stood up.

It was clear that word had spread when Albus and his friends reached the Great Hall. Whichever class had had politics during the speech must've shared the news with the entire castle, because everyone stared at Albus as he walked in. He didn't make eye contact with anyone and made a beeline for the Gryffindor table, where he sat down next to James.

“So you heard,” James said quietly.

“I skived off class to listen live,” Albus explained. “She wants a united ministry. What a load of dragon dung.”

“This is bad,” James said. “This is really bad.”

“She's replaced more officials than any minister, ever,” Rose commented. “She only kept three.”

“I still have no idea why she kept my dad,” Matt replied. “I mean, I'm glad she did, but it doesn't make any sense.”

“Nothing she's doing makes a bit of sense,” Albus muttered. “But I guess people must like her. She got elected.”

“But now that she's elected she can appoint who she wants,” Amanda said. “I don't think anyone actually thought she'd replace your dad. I've only been in the wizarding world for four years and even I know that everyone loves your dad.”

That's what Albus had always thought, too. He hated the fact that he was always in the spotlight because of it, but it was a constant. It was normal for him. Now, he didn't know what to think.

“Look,” Amanda said as she pointed to the staff table. “I don't think the teachers expected it, either.”

Albus glanced up. Every single professor was deep in conversation, some even ignoring their food. Neville in particular looked stunned and upset. None of them looked happy.

Albus's own plate was still empty and he had no desire to fill it. For as long as he could remember his dad had been Head of the Auror Department, a job that he loved. Being the man who defeated Voldemort had given him an aura of being the ultimate Auror, something that had stayed with him for over twenty years. Now, so many years later, it seemed to Albus that it was wearing off.

It was May first, 2020, almost exactly 23 years after his dad had defeated Voldemort. Albus thought it was slightly ironic that this had happened almost to the day, 23 years later.

Albus looked around at his fellow Gryffindors. He knew that more than a few of them had voted for Laurentis, and therefore most likely supported her decision to replace his dad as Head of the Auror Department. Not everyone was talking in whispers, with worried expressions. A few groups were laughing, like they didn't have a care in the world. Either they just didn't care about Laurentis's decision, or they supported it. The thought was very unsettling. Laurentis herself was unsettling to Albus, and the more he thought about it, the more he didn't like that she was now the Minister of Magic. He didn't like it at all.

A/N: Thanks for all the lovely reviews!

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