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Six: New Year


Harry felt an overwhelming sense of nostalgia and happiness upon stepping into the great hall once again.

It was September the 2nd, and last year’s seventh years were filing into the great hall to receive their schedules and further instructions about their schooling.

The summer’s end had passed in a blur of heat, firewhisky, and relaxation. It seemed like no time at all before Harry, Ron, Hermione and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley accompanied Ginny to King’s Cross for her last year at Hogwarts.

Mrs. Weasley had looked more than teary at the sight of her last child headed off for her final year of school.

“We’re certainly getting old, Arthur,” Mrs. Weasley said, smiling through tears.

“What, you hadn’t figured that out yet, mum?” Ron had asked, and Hermione had smacked him. Luckily Mrs. Weasley hadn’t heard.

Ginny’s goodbye had made Harry’s whole body throb. She had stood on her tip-toes and wrapped her arms around him. “See you, babe. I love you.” She said quietly. Harry had to keep reminding himself he was going to see her tomorrow. He couldn’t control himself, so he snatched a relatively long kiss as she pulled away, even with her family watching.

“I love you too. Bye Gin.” Harry said. He waved until the train was out of sight.

The next day, Harry, Ron and Hermione had walked the short distance from their flat to Hogwarts, discussing how things might work. Ron had his arm around Hermione’s waist. Harry almost said something, but realized if he wanted Ron to respect him with Ginny, he’d have to respect his best friends together.

“I doubt they’ll make Harry take DADA. He is the one who defeated Voldemort.” Hermione said. It was a chilly day out and her cheeks were red with cold.

“I like DADA.” Harry said defensively, “But I guess it’d be easier on my schedule if I didn’t have to take it.”

It wasn’t long before the trio had walked into the castle. The students were sitting at the house tables, eating breakfast. McGonagall was handing out schedules.

Harry scanned the familiar faces of the Gryffindor table, looking for her. And then he saw her, her red hair standing out against all the black robes. She was talking to a smiley brown haired girl who Harry thought was a year below him.

He waved, and she saw and waved back. Harry wanted to talk to her, but Hermione and Ron had already eased him forward towards McGonagall.

“Potter,” McGonagall said, handing him the paper. He took it and nodded at her. She gave a slight smile. As he wandered out of the great hall, he scanned it quietly. Students were whispering and pointing at him, but of course he was used to that by now.

“So you were right, Hermione,” Harry said, when he had joined them near the entrance, “I’m not taking defence. Herbology, Potions, Transfiguration, and Charms. And I have Friday completely off.”

“I have the same as you Harry, but I still have to take Defence.” Ron said, looking at his own paper, “What about you, Hermione?”

“Herbology, Potions, Transfiguration, Charms, Arithmancy, Ancient Runes and Defence,” Hermione said, “I’m going to have barely any time to work! Look, Transfiguration and Arithmancy on Monday, Charms and Ancient Runes on Tuesday, Potions on Wednesday, Herbology on Thursday and Defence on Friday.”

“You’ll manage it. Remember our third year?” Harry said passively, “Let’s got to McGonagall’s class.”

***

Harry was greeted with a familiar sight upon setting foot in McGonagall’s classroom. Most of the Gryffindors in Harry’s year and those a year below him sat in the class. Harry waved to Ginny, who waved back and slid into a seat beside Ron. Hermione sat down next to Parvati Patil.

“Hi Dean.” Said Ron, to Dean Thomas who sat in front of them next to Seamus Finnigan.

“Oh, Hi Harry, Ron,” Dean said. Seamus waved. Harry looked around the room for the rest of his classmates.

“Where’s Lavender? And Neville?” Harry asked, worried.

“Lavender’s at St. Mungo’s.” said Dean quietly, “She was attacked by Greyback during the battle.” Harry felt guilt squeeze his heart.

“And Neville doesn’t take NEWT Transfiguration, remember? But everyone else is here.” Said Seamus. Suddenly, Professor McGonagall strode into the room, making everyone settle down and pull out their text books.

“Welcome back, 7th years and graduates, to NEWT level Transfiguration. As your studies were rudely interrupted last year, and some of you have yet to start 7th year Transfiguration at all, we are re-arranging schedules this year so that the seventh years will take both 6th and 7th year courses.”

“Now, we will now be starting back on human transfiguration. Turn to page 56 if you please…”

Harry sighed happily and turned the pages of his text book.

***

After class, Harry said goodbye to Ginny, who was off to charms, and headed towards the front door with Hermione and Ron. The graduates this year would be allowed off the grounds at any time they weren’t in class, but were welcomed to meals in the great hall. The trio, who were still looking for jobs, had decided to look around Hogsmeade for any job openings.

Harry yawned as they walked along the cobblestone streets. The wind was blustery, and the trees were just beginning to shed their green hues for colours a little bit warmer. There were few people walking around the village; but some of the shop owners already had morning business. As they passed the Three Broomsticks, Madam Rosmerta waved from where she stood cleaning a window. Ron stopped walking momentarily and waved back. Hermione frowned.

“She’s waving at Harry, you moron.” Hermione said, dragging Ron forward. Harry coughed to cover his laughter.

“Do you think she has any job openings?” Ron asked, dazed.

“No, I don’t think so!” Hermione said in a huff.

“Zonko’s does though, look,” Harry said pointing at the HELP WANTED sign in the window of the joke shop. He was trying to cool the argument before it heated up into a full blown wild fire. Ron opened his mouth to say something, but before he could, Harry had pushed him into the shop and returned to Hermione on the main road.

“That stupid, arrogant, woman-watching prat!” Hermione mumbled, fists clenched. She stomped along beside Harry, who laid a hand on her shoulder.

“He’ll come round, you wait, Hermione. He always does.” Harry said, struggling for words.

“Oh, of course you’d take his side, Harry! Blokes should stick together, right?” She asked angrily, not letting Harry defend himself, “Typical. I’ll see you later.” Hermione said, storming off. Harry shrugged, shoved his hands in his pockets and kept walking, all the way back to the flat. They’d sort it out. They always did.

***

There was someone in the flat when Harry returned, although it wasn’t a person. A large screech owl carrying three envelopes emblazoned with the Hogwart’s crest sat on the windowsill, pecking at it fervently. Harry quickly slipped his jacket off and ran to let it in.

The first envelope was addressed to Harry, and the others to Ron and Hermione. After Harry had removed them from the owl’s leg, it flew off, in the direction of the castle.

Harry ripped open the envelope, and unfolded the letter.

Dear Mr. Potter,

I am hereby inviting you to Severus Snape’s memorial on the 5th of November. It will be held at ten in the morning on the grounds in front of the lake. As one who knows the most of the truth about Severus’s life, would you be so kind as to prepare a speech for the memorial? I know even though Severus wasn’t particularly fond of you that he’d appreciate someone honouring the great deeds he did during his life time.
I will expect your reply before the end of September.

Sincerely,
Headmistress Minerva McGonagall


Harry folded up the letter and laid it on the coffee table. For a moment, he didn’t move. He remember those frantic truth-telling moments after the battle.

“Dumbledore wanted to die, Professor. He was dying. He wanted to save Draco’s life.” Harry, bloody and battered, sitting in the Headmaster’s office, explaining. McGonagall, worn out, sitting behind the desk.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Potter, how would you-“

“You have to trust me, Professor! I saw it! Snape was in love with my mother!”

“Now, Harry, I know you’ve had a rough night, but-“

“The Pensieve, Professor! It’s all there! I saw it! I swear!”


But he hadn’t thought of it since, and on purpose. How could he, the boy Snape had always hated, the son of the man who had tortured Snape his whole life, and had taken the woman he loved, how could that man write a speech in Snape’s memory? Harry was not worthy, his whole life he had mistrusted Snape, hated him, when really, he could be very well the bravest man Harry had ever known.

There was a slam, and Harry looked up. Hermione and Ron had entered the flat, arm in arm.

“So you patched things up?” Harry asked. Hermione nodded, her hair windswept and her cheeks flushed from the cold. She slipped her jacket off and hung it up near the door as Ron did the same.

“And we got jobs!” Hermione said, smiling. Harry’s eyes widened.

“Already?”

“Yeah,” said Ron, sitting down, “Zonko’s hired me right away.”

“And I’m working for a small bookshop. Merlin knows I’ve read enough.” Said Hermione, smiling.

“There are letters here for you two. From McGonagall.” Harry added, grabbing the envelopes and handing them out. Hermione collapsed on to the couch and crossed her legs as she read. Ron took his as well and opened it. Hermione was first to finish reading.

“So she invited us to Snape’s memorial. In November.” Said Hermione, folding up the letter. Harry nodded.

“She asked me to do…like a speech.” Harry said casually.

“Oh, Harry,” said Hermione, standing up, “If that’s too hard for you, I’m sure she’ll understand.”

“No,” Harry said, “I’ve been meaning to clean those skeletons out of the closet for a while now.”

{A/N} So this is a bit of a meh chapter...it's kind of short, but pretty important. It's basically just there to set everything up for the next school year :)
Anyway, leave a review :)


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