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The next morning Harry woke to find Kreacher in the kitchen making breakfast. He had finally learned that Harry preferred simple fare of eggs and toast. Harry sat down at the scrubbed wooden table and picked up the copy of the Daily Prophet that had been delivered.

“Good morning, Kreacher,” Harry told the house-elf as he put the food on the table.

“Good morning, master,” Kreacher croaked out jovially. After he had served Harry he served himself. House-elves weren’t normally allowed to eat at the table with their wizards but Harry had insisted and eventually Kreacher accepted the invitation and they had settled into a pattern at meals.

“I think I’ll be going to the Ministry today, Kreacher. I want to talk to Kingsley, take him up on his offer to join the Auror department. I was going to wait and take some time but now that I see this,” Harry held up the paper, “I’ve made up my mind that I should join now. What do you think?”

“You want to know what I think?” Kreacher asked incredulously.

“Yes, I do.”

“Master should do what he thinks is best…”

“Go on.”

“But if these bad wizards still believe what the Dark Lord did is right and want to carry on with his work shouldn’t they be stopped and punished? Shouldn’t they be made to see that what they’re doing is wrong? Master Regulus learned what a bad man the Dark Lord was, he tried to stop him.”

“Exactly, Kreacher, exactly.”

“Master?”

“Hmm?”

“Please be careful,” Kreacher said then he started to eat. It certainly made Harry give pause to hear Kreacher speak with what could only be affection for him.

“I will, Kreacher,” Harry said then he too turned to his food. Harry read the Daily Prophet article that had caught his attention. Apparently there was a unified band of dark wizards and witches that had written on the walls of several establishments stating that they would carry on with the Dark Lord’s ideals and the like. They called themselves the Pure-blood Movement and more than just graffitiing on walls they ha attacked a few muggles and muggle-born wizards. Harry knew that several Death Eaters and their followers had escaped but he hadn’t expected an uprising from them so soon.

As soon as he was dressed and ready in a pair of black jeans and a clean shirt he left Grimmauld Place for the Ministry of Magic by way of the Floo Network. He did, of course, have his invisibility cloak tucked inside the moke-skin pouch that he still wore around his neck. Out of habit now he knew to check in to receive a visitor’s badge.

The Ministry was a flurry of activity but Harry was surprised by silence. Not many people were conversing unless it was required to conduct business. Harry knew it must have to do with happened. The Pure-blood Movement had brought the still inherent danger to realization. They had already become accomplished terrorists. Seeing fear in people only strengthened Harry’s resolve that he needed to do something to stop the dark wizards. When Harry reached Shacklebolt’s office level Percy noticed Harry right away.

“Hello, Harry. Is Minister Shacklebolt expecting you?” Percy asked as he shook Harry’s hand. Harry noticed a few heads turn in their direction and some necks craning the better to see him.

“Er, not exactly, but there was something I wanted to discuss with him,” Harry explained quietly so only Percy would hear him.

“Well, I’ll let him know you’re here. He’s meeting with the Head of the Muggle Liaison Office in fifteen minutes.”

“This won’t take long, really. At least, I don’t think it will,” Harry followed Percy to the door that led to the Minister of Magic’s office. Percy wrote out a quick note then charmed it to fly through the small hole in the door, Harry had not noticed it before, that was obviously designed for just that purpose. Almost immediately the door opened.

“Harry, good to see you,” Kingsley greeted him. “Have you thought more about my offer?”

“Yes, actually, that’s why I’m here,” Harry said fully aware that everyone behind him was eavesdropping.

“Why don’t you come in, Harry,” Kingsley said stepping away from the doorway to let Harry pass.

“Thank you,” Harry said. He waited for Shacklebolt to sit before he did.

“So what have you decided?” Kingsley asked cordially.

“I’ve decided I’m going to take you up on that offer, as soon as possible if that’s okay.”

“I take it you’ve read the Daily Prophet this morning, then?”

“Yes, it’s why I’m choosing not to wait. We need to make our presence known, to let people know that the Order is still on guard.”

“You’ve read my mind, Mr. Potter. As soon as possible, hmm? Is right now soon enough?” Kingsley asked with a crooked smile.

“Er, no, now is fine I guess.”

“I’m meeting with the Head of the Muggle Liaison Office, I’d like it if you’d sit in on the meeting. It’ll save me from having to fill you in later and…” Kingsley hesitated.

“And having me here will help people feel reassured that the Ministry is doing all it can to keep both the Muggle community and the Wizarding community safe,” Harry finished for him.

“I know how you felt before about Scrimgeour wanting you as an image, a poster boy if you will. I didn’t want to offend,” Shacklebolt admitted.

“Yes, but that situation was decidedly very different. Scrimgeour wasn’t actually doing everything he should have been doing to protect people. He was just delaying what he deemed inevitable. He wanted me as a visual reinforcement, a poster boy as you put it, to make people think they were making an impact, that the Ministry was doing right by the people and capturing dark Wizards. The difference now is that I know you truly do mean to help protect people and you are and I want to help.”

“Fair enough,” Kingsley told him as he steepled his fingers, leaning on the desk. “When we’re done with the meeting I’ll take you on a tour of the areas you should know.”

“I’m sure you have more pressing matters to attend to,” Harry said. He truly meant it.

“To be honest with you, Harry, I was planning on hounding you today to try and persuade you to take the offer of the Auror position. We really need your help. Seeing as you’re here we might as well get down to business,” Kingsley told him.

“Er, right,” Harry said lamely. He was used to doing things on his own schedule that being in a job position that was by someone else’s regimen was going to take some getting used to. After a short, silent pause Percy knocked on the door and announced the arrival of the Muggle relations Department Head and Muggle representative.

Both man were dressed quite appropriately for Muggle business-wear. Perhaps it was her slight form that prevented Harry from noticing her at first but there was also a woman accompanying the Muggle attaché.

“Minister Shacklebolt, may I introduce Mary Kate Cronin and her assistant Brad Pearson, Muggle liaisons representing the Prime Minister,” the official-looking wizard began the introductions. “Ms. Cronin, Mr. Pearson, Minister of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt.”

“I’m very pleased to meet you,” Kingsley said as he shook their hands. “I’m also thankful that you were willing to come here to speak to me. Your Prime Minister and I have other ways of communication but he preferred to send a liaison.”

“Yes, he did mention that this was his preferred course of communication,” the woman said nervously as she looked around the office. Harry noticed Mr. Pearson seemed quite at ease in the magical surroundings, quite jovial actually.

“I hope it’s alright with you, I’ve asked one of our Aurors to join us,” Shacklebolt gestured to Harry and Harry stepped forward as he had backed to the wall when the liaisons had entered.

“That seems perfectly in order,” Ms. Cronin said after Mr. Pearson had whispered in her ear, but not so quietly that Harry couldn’t hear, an explanation of what an Auror was. Harry noticed that Percy had started a little when Shacklebolt had referred to Harry with the title of Auror. The woman leaned forward and shook Harry’s hand tentatively, “Nice to meet you, Mr?”

“Potter, and the feeling is mutual,” Harry said kindly. The woman’s hand was clammy, probably from nerves.

“Potter, not Harry Potter?” the head of the Muggle Liaison Office asked as he shook Harry’s hand.

“Yes,” Harry answered the man as he was still shaking his hand.

“My name’s Edwin Manteca, it really is nice to meet you, Mr. Potter.”

“Goodness,” Mr. Pearson said as he took his turn shaking Harry’s hand. “I’d never thought I’d see the day I’d actually meet you, Mr. Potter!”

“If you don’t mind my asking, how-”

“Oh, sorry, yeah, I’m a squib you see. That’s why I’ve been assigned to Ms. Cronin.”

“I see, well I’m sure that having you here will be very beneficial.”

“Yes,” Kingsley agreed. “Would you like to sit down?”

“Thank you,” Ms. Cronin said as she took one of the three present chairs in front of Kingsley’s desk. Rather than use magic to grab one of the chairs by the long meeting table, Harry retrieved one manually; the woman was frightened enough he didn’t want to spook her more by such a blatant use of magic.

“Would you care for something to drink?” Percy asked the room in general.

“Some water would be lovely,” Ms. Cronin accepted the offer of refreshment. Harry noticed Percy was keen enough to turn his back to conjure the glass of water but Harry still heard Percy’s low incantation of ’Aguamenti’. Ms. Cronin seemed not to have noticed, she was too fixated on the moving pictures on Kingsley’s wall. Percy made a quiet exit after serving those who wanted refreshment, which Harry declined.

The meeting that commenced was quite mundane in it’s entirety but informing the Muggle Prime Minister what had transpired in the final battle at Hogwarts and keeping him apprised of what was happening now with the new turmoil was necessary. Harry had never really cared for politics. It was helpful, Harry supposed, to know the mindset of the Muggle population with all the mysterious deaths. They seemed worried upon hearing of the Pure-Blood Movement, at least knowing that there was still some kind of trouble brewing did. Mr. Pearson did, however, feel very reassured to see Harry and hear directly from him that Voldemort was dead and that they were doing all they could to capture the remaining loose Death Eaters. Ms. Cronin eased a little after a while and all three Liaisons had a lighter air about them as the Muggle representatives headed back to the Prime Minister’s office. Kingsley offered them the use of the portrait passageway but Ms. Cronin declined after blanching at the suggestion and they left the way they had come, with Mr. Manteca escorting them back to the telephone booth lift.

Harry followed Minister Shacklebolt out of the office. Kingsley brought Harry to the level he would be calling his office and introduced him to the Aurors that were there. They all seemed enthusiastic to see Harry joining their team. Harry noticed there weren’t many Aurors in the office, whether that meant they were sorely shorthanded or because most of them were out in the field was anyone’s guess, Harry concluded for himself it was probably a little of both. Kingsley also led Harry to an office where he officially made Harry an employee of the Ministry. Harry received an official looking badge that declared Harry to be an Auror. The most exhilarating part of the day was when Kingsley brought Harry down to the training centre.

There were quite a few wizards and witches sparring off to one side of the room and on the other side was a much larger group taking defence training. It was with this group that Kingsley had left Harry to train with for a bit, though he joked it would be more like a refresher course, as Kingsley had some official Minister business to attend to. Some of what this group was learning was pretty basic stuff; Shield Charms, Disarming Spells and Counter Curses. Then the instructor introduced the learning group to advanced skills. It was when the instructor produced a Patronus that caught everyone’s attention.

“The ability to produce a Patronus is one of an Auror’s most useful skills,” the instructor explained in a gravely voice as his Patronus faded. “The incantation for producing a Patronus is Expecto Patronum.” Everyone chorused the incantation back, everyone that is except Harry. “Would anyone care to give it a try?” the instructor asked. What was the point of him asking these new trainees, Harry thought, if he hadn’t even told them the theory behind the spell? He hadn’t informed them about having to find inside themselves one truly happy thought or memory. Harry watched a few trainees make feeble attempts to produce a Patronus. The closest any of them came was one witch who managed to produce silver vapours. This surprised Harry and the instructor until the witch explained she had read about patronuses before, so she knew the workings behind the spell in theory. The instructor seemed more pleased at every failure which was really sarting to bug Harry. This man should be teaching these Aurors in training not gloating in their failures. It hadn’t occurred to Harry to hide his identity by hiding his Patronus, he was only thinking of wiping that smug look off of the instructor’s face. Harry pulled out his wand, held it at the ready, thought of a wonderfully blissful memory of kissing Ginny and spoke the incantation. Instantly Harry’s enormous stag patronus erupted forth from his wand and circled the room. Multiple jaws dropped in amazement. Including the instructor’s which quickly snapped shut with an audible click.

“That’s, uh, that’s very impressive,” the instructor commented when he found his voice. “Very impressive indeed, Mr. Potter. Your Patronus is, of course, already a legend in it’s own right. Now I can see why.” The few heads that were still watching Harry’s Patronus as it dissipated slowly snapped to face him. Most eyes trickled up to his forehead to search for his scar. Harry didn’t bother to flatten his hair, let them look. They’d have to get used to seeing him on a regular basis. Might as well let them get their curiosity out of their systems.

“I don’t see what’s so impressive about it,” Harry shrugged. “Being able to produce a Patronus is more about truly grasping the understanding of the thought behind the spell. Mastering the Patronus Charm is the hard part, being able to produce a Patronus in the face of danger, that’s the tricky part.”

“Yes, but you’ve been able to produce a corporeal Patronus since when…your fifth year?” the instructor asked. He was impressed by Harry. Good, Harry thought, that’s exactly what he wanted. This man’s ego stood in the way of teaching these trainees properly.

“My third year at Hogwarts, actually. Professor Lupin taught me.”

“Third year? That was mighty ambitious of this Professor Lupin, and dangerous. I’m surprised you managed to learn so young.”

“Professor Lupin was a very good teacher. I had asked to be taught knowing what the risks were. It was rather necessary for me to learn the Patronus Charm at the time. I’m thankful everyday that Remus taught me what he did.”

“I see,” the instructor said as he strolled leisurely to face Harry. “Well, I am pleased to meet your aquaintence, Mr. Potter. I’m Sean Travers, the instructor here at the Ministry.” Harry shook the man hand briefly and told him he was pleased to meet him as well. “So, what brings Harry Potter to the training room at the Ministry?”

“Well I’m here to attend classes actually. It is a requirement for new Auror recruits, is it not?”

“Really, well then, welcome to the class and the force for that matter, Mr. Potter.” Travers eyed Harry as the others shook hands with him and introduced themselves. Harry tried to catalogue all the names and faces but he was sure he would forget which names went with which faces.

“Alright then, back to the Patronus Charm. Mr. Potter is quite correct, the spell will only work if you can master the thoughts behind the spell. I had you try the spell before I told you how to gauge your spell casting knowledge. Sorry about that. Though I was quite impressed by your display Ms. Meyrick. Was that your first time trying the charm after reading about it?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Very good,” Travers said. Perhaps Harry had read this man wrong. “Now, as I’m sure Potter and Meyrick can tell you, the thought behind the spell is this; you have to think of one singularly happy memory, hold on to it in your mind and then say the incantation. It’s what makes using the spell in a dangerous situation so tricky. So what I want you all to do now is think of a memory, a really happy one, and when you can see it clearly in your mind repeat the incantation Expecto Patronum. Wands in the defence position now.”

The trainees all raised their wands and one by one they closed their eyes and after a short time one by one they began to speak the incantation. Harry was having a strange sense of déjà vu. It was like being back in the Room of Requirement teaching all his friends in the DA how to produce Patronuses. Several of the trainees managed to produce silver vapours this time. Meyrick’s vapour was a little stronger. They spent the rest of the class continuing with the Patronus Charm. Travers asked Harry politely if he would mind giving the other’s a hand in helping to guide them through the process. This was familiar territory, this was just like the DA lessons. When the class was done and the trainees filed out Travers asked if Harry would hang back for a minute.

“I realize that you’re more advanced in your defence training. We are hoping to have a lot of new recruits join the Auror program in the near future and I was hoping, until we reach material you’re unfamiliar with, that you'll help me help the others to learn? I realize it’s not what you’ve signed up for but at least then these first few classes won’t be a waste of your time.”

“I think that will work out fine, Mr. Travers. I could do with a refresher course on some things anyway. We didn’t really get to learn much inside the classroom in my fifth year.”

“Ah, yes, that was when Delores took over Defense Against the Dark Arts wasn’t it? That was a fiasco.”

“Yes.”

“Well I hope you don’t mind being my assistant teacher for a bit?”

“Actually I’ve had a little experience with it.”

“Oh?”

“The year Umbridge took over we, er, several students and I, started our own learning group.”

“Oh, yes, we’d heard about that. Dumbledore’s Army you called yourselves. Is that what you were doing, learning defensive spells?”

“Yes, DA for short. How did you know about that?”

“Ha! Well let’s just say there were those of us here that knew what was really going on at Hogwarts and we didn’t like it. Not one bit. We lacked the power to change what was going on. The day Dumbledore went on the run and your DA was outed, you should’ve seen Fudge’s face. Never seen him so flustered. Had to go hide in the loo to laugh my arse off!” Travers clapped Harry on the back. See you at class tomorrow, Potter,” he said as they reached the door and the next class started filing in. Harry noticed this group was closer to Harry’s age. Kingsley appeared in the hallway as Harry was making his way back to the lift.

“How did it go with Travers?”

“Fine,” Harry answered as Kingsley fell into step with Harry back to the lift.

“He has an unusual teaching style, Travers does, but it is effective. He’s a good man but not very trusting. I’m surprised he’s hung on to his job these past few years. He wasn’t exactly one to hold his tongue but Fudge couldn’t find anyone more qualified and Scrimgeour had other things on his mind. Travers was hiding most of last year, travelled to Canada. I’m glad he came back.”

“That group that just went in, they were younger than the group I was just in,” Harry pointed out.

“Hmm, oh, yes. You didn’t think I was going to put you in with the fresh recruits did you? That would be making you go backwards. You already know most of what is being taught at the level I put you in, I’d imagine.”

“Er, yea, actually, I did. They were practicing Patronuses,” Harry said with a crooked smile.

“Gave a good show did you?” Kingsley asked with a laugh. “Bet Travers enjoyed that!”

“You should’ve seen the look on his face!” Harry grinned.

They went to Mr. Weasley’s level and met him in his office for lunch. Percy was already there and had already let Arthur know of Harry’s new appointment to the Ministry. He invited Harry and also Kingsley to dinner. Kingsley declined but Harry gladly accepted. The rest of Harry’s workday was going over any leads they had found in trying to capture anyone from the Pure-Blood Movement. It felt good to be able to run his ideas by other Aurors and Shacklebolt and to be taken seriously. Unfortunately there weren’t any fresh leads, the P.B.M. members were too good at covering their tracks. Before Harry knew it the day had passed and he met up with Arthur and Percy to head to the Burrow.

Molly welcomed him into the house with a hug. The house smelled wonderful, Harry was starving after such a full day. Something Harry never took for granted after so much experience of going without was food. Mrs. Weasley’s cooking was an indulgence he loved to give in to. Tonight’s dinner was a beautiful roast with potatoes and sprouts. Ginny sat by Harry’s side which made the meal an even better experience. He felt warmer on the side she sat beside. They didn’t have much time for private conversation owing to the fact that Mrs. Weasley insisted upon making Harry’s new job an impromptu celebration. They each had a butterbear and toasted Harry, wishing him good luck in his new job. As they table of people dissolved into separate conversations Harry did not hear much of any of them, Ginny had taken hold of his hand underneath the table. It wasn’t until Ron had repeated his name that he realized he was being addressed.

“Hmm, I’m sorry, what, Ron?”

“I was trying to explain to Percy that the Cannons are due for a win. They’ve got to be, there’s no way they’ll allow the Arrows to beat them again.”

“I don’t know, Ron, I mean the Arrows have been playing hard this year. They don’t like being behind the Wasps in the standings,” Harry reasoned. He knew this was the beginning of an argument. Ron still supported the Chudley Cannons a team that hadn’t won in nearly a century, and every day he hoped they would find there way back to victory.

“Even if the Arrows do win against the Cannons, and I’m sorry, Ron, but I think they will, then they still have to beat the Tornados and the Harpies,” Ginny pointed out. “The Tornados just picked up a new seeker last year and he’s really fast. The Harpies still have Jones and picked up two fresh Chasers two years ago.”

“I don’t know, I’ve just got a feeling that the Cannons are due for a win,” Ron argued against reason.

The rest of the evening went in a similar fashion. Harry wished he could’ve found some alone time with Ginny but he never got it. She did make sure their hands stayed entwined together under the table for the rest of the night, which was better than nothing, he supposed. He did notice that she was being cautious of her mother’s watchful eye. He didn’t even get to have her bid him goodnight as everyone was there to say goodnight to him and Molly handed him a brown bag with lunch for tomorrow in it. When Harry got home he let Kreacher know how the day went, told him what time to wake him and then he went upstairs and collapsed exhausted onto his bed. It didn’t take long for sleep to claim him.

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