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The four friends didn’t even notice, or one of them noticed it even too well – it felt different for each of them – when there came up the September first when it was time to go to Hogwarts. Harry had spent the remained two weeks of August and that unbearably long Monday in the Burrow with Ginny, Ron, and Hermione enthusiastically searching for even the shortest articles of the games of the Quidditch World Cup. Although, it appeared Harry had spent his days peacefully, keeping up with the intense sports events, he had always thought of Voldemort and the task ahead of him in his long free time, so he couldn’t wait for the day, the moment when he will be able to get the job done. No matter how pleasant was the life in the Burrow, but this was one of the very few times in his life, when he felt trapped here unable to wait for the day of departure.

 

The morning of the September first has begun as usual every year – with the haste, grabbing and gathering everything that hadn’t been packed in the previous evening. True enough, Harry had packed his suitcase already a week ago, so he was the first one ready and helped Mrs. Weasley to put the plates on the table while Ron was running from his room back and forth to the laundry room, then searching for socks, then for shirts. Hermione, noticing it, rolled her eyes.

 

When she entered the kitchen, she explained the reason for her delay: “I gathered my clothes and found the book of Numerology that had fallen behind the table. It took me a while to get it out, and then I had to charm it smaller to fit it in the suitcase. And then I had to catch Crookshanks and had to get him into the cage.” Then Hermione swiftly came closer to Harry. “In my suitcase, I put in the books of the Dark Arts, too. Maybe they came in handy,” she quickly whispered, leaning to the Harry’s ear, then she sat down at the breakfast table, and Harry nodded once as he put in front of her a plate with the pancakes.

 

After several more minutes there came also Arthur, Ginny and finally Ron. Ginny had found her new Hogwarts robes which inexplicably had gone to the Ron’s purchases for Hogwarts.

 

“I have to tell it, it seems to me this morning, everything is going more fluently than other mornings at September first,” Arthur observed. “Now, we even had all come to breakfast in time,” Weasley senior said, looking at his wristwatch which showed ten minutes after eight.

 

“Good appetite, my dear ones!” Mrs. Weasley wished. “Time is still enough, but you already know how it is, my darling – just take it slower a little bit and the time disappears in a blink of an eye. That’s why I’m saying to you – good appetite and let’s not waste our time,” Molly remarked with a smile and as she took a bowl with omelet she put a large spoon of it on Arthur’s plate and then gave it to Harry.

 

Putting large piles of food on their plates, all of them started to eat hungrily. Ron was the most diligent with this occupation – the prefect duties on the train were always tiring, and in the evening he usually felt so hungry he could eat a horse.

 

“Well, dad how is it – did you get the car?” Ginny asked.

 

“Yes, I managed it. The Auror Office gave us it immediately for security reasons,” Arthur explained.

 

This morning, the conversation at the breakfast table hardly went smoothly – all of them just quickly finished their breakfast, then in their suitcases they put the last quills and ink bottles, then they levitated their suitcases to the yard where they were already waited by the car lent by Auror Office. From the outside, it looked like an ordinary Muggle car in plum purple color. Of course, it turned out that not only there was enough space for four huge suitcases in the trunk, but the four young people together with the owl and the cat could freely sit on the back seat of the car, but the Weasley couple sat comfortably in the front left seat. In the chair of chauffeur, there sat a medium height Auror who introduced himself as Justin Savage.

 

Hermione placed the cage with Crookshanks by her other side so the cat would be farther away from Ron’s Pigwidgeon. As they were all seated, they could go along with their way.

 

The time was plenty enough as they parked near the King’s Cross Station. They swiftly went through the barrier, behind which was the Platform Nine and Three-Quarters.

 

And there it was – a bright red engine, patiently waiting for its passengers. This morning, the station’s platform seemed unusually quiet, but they had also come unusually early – they had at least half an hour until the departure. Mr. Weasley helped to bring their suitcases on the train, and the young people could choose a coupe as they wish, because there was only seldom ones occupied. They settled on one in the front coupes of the train, and in there Mr. Weasley helped to bring their suitcases.

 

The four young people stepped out of the train after Arthur to say goodbye to him and Molly. From Mrs. Weasley they all received a warm embrace and a lovely farewell kiss – Harry had even two – and, as a mom, she wished them to enjoy their last year of Hogwarts and, after an old habit, strictly said them to not get into any mischief. All of them laughed sincerely.

 

They boarded back the train and bent out of the window to wave the farewell to the both senior Weasleys. Now, on the platform had arrived quite the crowd of passengers who had been eagerly awaiting their trip to Hogwarts, which once again for a lot of new students will be the first substantive adventure in the fascinating world of Magic. There, in the crowd, Harry within the groups of the smallest students spotted well-known faces – there came Dean, a little bit farther there went Augusta Longbottom with her grandson Neville in the direction to the Weasley couple. Augusta Longbottom radiated with joy, and it was obvious that Neville was no longer the small, hunched boy who was tripping after his stern looking grandmother – now he had grown up as a dashing young man who had gained a straight posture as well after his heroic deed – he had finally realized how strong he was and was proud of his accomplishments. In the crowd, one might see he was also appreciated by one or two girls. In addition to other Gryffindor boys and girls, through the barrier of the Platform also came the students of Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw houses. Of course, soon there came Luna with her peculiar looking dad, after her came Ernie Macmillan, Hannah Abbott, then there was also the Captain of Ravenclaw Quidditch team, Jodie, who they had met at the Quidditch Supplies shop. She was pulling over her suitcase and a package obviously giving away a wrapped in broomstick. Naturally, there was also no shortage of Slytherins who wanted to go to Hogwarts. There was Pansy Parkinson, dark skinned Blaise Zabini. And, of course, there has to be Draco Malfoy, too. However, the Slytherins seemed to have changed somehow – as they have met, they acted unusually quiet and inconspicuous. In addition, it was even more unusual to see Draco without both of his sidekicks. In the spring, Crabbe had died of his own curse of Fiendfyre, but Goyle as it looked like must have decided to start his adult life where the education was not of primary importance.

 

The Slytherins started to board the train, and for a moment Draco noticed Harry looking out of the window of the train, and the blond guy immediately looked away, awkwardly greeting Harry with a slight nod. It seemed to Harry the Slytherins from all the Hogwarts students were the most regrettable – after the Last Battle it seemed there was nothing left of their pride.

 

Harry told his observation to Hermione, who had already started to look for her new Hogwarts robes and her Head Girl badge.

 

“I’m not surprised about that. Imagine, wherever they go, everyone sees them practically as traitors,” Hermione explained with her nose in her suitcase.

 

“But many of them are little innocent children,” Harry objected thoughtfully.

 

“However, Harry, it is difficult to set boundaries for people’s prejudices. I think you know it very well for yourself,” she made a point, giving him a knowing look. Now Ron and Ginny had taken out their black robes from their suitcases and listened in to the conversation between Harry and Hermione.

 

“Prejudices?” Ron asked. “Hermione, all Death Eaters have come from Slytherin. There are no prejudices – it simply cannot be unseen that the greatest evil comes straight from their midst,” he said stating his opinion.

 

“You forgot Peter Pettigrew,” Ginny objected.

 

“I said – the greatest evil,” Ron defended. “Pettigrew was just one single case. Who knows what these Slytherins are brooding in their minds. I suppose someone like Malfoy will know how to spoil our day.”

 

“Ron, these are the prejudices I’m talking about. As Harry just said, there are also many younger students from first few school years who have nothing to do with what happened in the spring,” Hermione argued.

 

“Okay, you’re talking about little kids, but how about Malfoy, Parkinson and their Slytherin clique?” Ron opposed.

 

“But none of them had stood up against us in a clear battle. And if we due to our prejudices are pushing them away, it is the first step towards a new Voldemort. Or even the same one, considering what Harry discovered this summer,” she said firmly.

 

It seemed Ron flinched a little bit from such a terrible idea. “And didn’t Malfoy step in our path? I would like to know, who then was the one who made that hell there in the Room of Requirements, if it wasn’t Malfoy?” he asked.

 

“Actually,” Harry said, “Malfoy waited for us there, but Crabbe was the one who made that fire…”

 

“Yeah, big deal. Aren’t they all together as one?” Ron asked incredulously. For him, it was not easy to forgive the offense of Slytherins.

 

“No, they are not. Besides Malfoy didn’t give us away when these Snatchers took us to that mansion of his,” Harry defended.

 

“Feh, I suppose he just had willies. A coward and traitor he is. I don’t understand why both of you so suddenly have started to worry about what those Slytherins are thinking?” Ron insisted.

 

Ginny also had something to say, “Ron, because they both are right. If we treat the Slytherins as criminals instead of trying to accept them, it is just like igniting the burner of a time bomb. If we want to live in peace, we have to learn to live together with the Slytherins as well.”

 

“To live together with such an ass like Draco Malfoy? You’re kidding, right?” Ron was indignant.

 

“Hermione, Ginny, I really do agree with you. We must not completely push out the Slytherins from our midst. In addition, an old proverb says to keep your enemies close,” Harry commented, looking at Ron.

 

“Harry, for that I could even agree with you, but start to be friends with them – that’s too much for me. Then I better go through the Forbidden Forest three times in a row,” Ron postulated his opinion.

 

“Ron, nobody’s asking you to be friends with them, just don’t treat them like Death Eaters right away. Give them the opportunity to prove that the Slytherins can also act as normal civil people,” Ginny explained.

 

“Normal civil people?” Ron sneered, still not being able to believe his friends looking at them like they have lost their marbles, “How could they be normal civil people?”

 

There blew the whistle of the train and the four young people paused their conversation, taking a look out of the window. The last passengers of the Hogwarts Express were rushing inside it. The friends smiled, watching few little girls who had just run through the barrier of the Platform and now sprinted to the train with fear in their eyes. Harry glanced at Ron – it was such a pleasure that their September first had started without a hurry this year. Maybe it meant that the rest of the year could be calm as well, unlike all the previous years? Their only unusual task was to find the Ravenclaw’s Diadem, which they will be able to freely do without disturbance taking their time; then there will only be the lessons, and their Hogwarts positions, and then was the Quidditch, and who knows what the Slytherins are going to do this year? A calm year? Seriously? When there has been calm at Hogwarts? Harry thought happily. The four friends yet gave the farewell greetings to the Weasley couple who talked to Neville’s grandmother. Smiling, they passionately waved their hands, answering their farewell until the train had picked up all the remaining passengers jumping in it at the last minute, and then sighing heavily it began to move forward, until accelerating it drove away from the Platform. It was done now. After a year’s break, they had gone to Hogwarts for their studies.

 

Ron, Hermione, and Ginny took off their Muggle jackets and pulled the black Hogwarts robes over their head. Harry also opened his suitcase and took out the bag with his new clothes along with the Head Boy badge from the side pocket of his suitcase. He also took off his jacket and put on the robes, looking like a proper Hogwarts student. His friends had already pinned their badges on their chest, and Ron and Hermione were ready to take their suitcases with them – the prefects, as well as the Head Boy and the Head Girl had specially designed coupes at the forefront of the train, where they were supposed to stay for the entire journey. Only Ginny had to stay alone in the compartment, because the Quidditch captains did not have to fulfill the duty to help to guard the order in the Hogwarts Express. Ron and Hermione had already gone out to the corridor, levitating their suitcases behind them, when Harry swinging in his palm the Head Boy badge turned to Ginny, who had just pushed her suitcase under the seat.

 

“I’m sorry for leaving you alone. I’ll try to get back as soon as possible,” Harry promised.

 

“Don’t worry about me,” Ginny replied. “Having a whole coupe just for myself in the Hogwarts Express – I feel like a princess.” She smiled warmly.

 

“Okay, but anyway I’ll try to be back to you as soon as possible to be your company. And, please, look after my suitcase,” Harry finally added smiling.

 

The voice of Ron called from the corridor: “Harry, where are you? Won’t you come?”

 

“I’m coming!” he called back. He gave a quick kiss on his girlfriend’s lips and then ran after Ron.

 

Ron had already entered the nearby prefect compartment, but Hermione was waiting him at the coupe on the other side of the coach.

 

“It seems this is the right one,” Hermione spoke out loudly, looking at the number three made of brass above the coupe door, which professor Flitwick has urged to search for the Head Boy and Head Girl in his letter.

 

“Then let’s go inside,” Harry said, opening the coupe door and letting in Hermione first with her heavy suitcase and her Crookshanks cage, and then he went after her into the compartment and closed the door.

 

Looking around the small room, he noticed that, unlike the usual coupes for other schoolmates, here were much softer upholstered seats, placed on only one side of the coupe, and there was also a small tea table just below the window, but opposite the sofa-like seats was a mirror, decorated with a golden frame.

 

Crookshanks napped peacefully in his cage which the girl had carefully put on the wide coupe seat before. Hermione had just managed to put her suitcase under the sofa when she noticed something she found unusual.

 

“Harry, why didn’t you take your suitcase with you?” Hermione asked him. “And where is your Head Boy badge?” she wondered becoming even more confused looking at her friend.

 

“Listen, I am thinking about something you might not like and even more that won’t please Ron,” Harry began, swinging again his badge with his palm looking at it. When he had found it in the envelope, he had felt such a sudden and fulfilled joy – his father also had been a Head Boy. And as a child, he had always wanted to grow up to be like his dad – to get the title of Head Boy, to become an Auror, to be a man whom everyone remembers as a good person. And yet – now when he held the badge, it didn’t seem right to him anymore. Did he get it because he was him, the famous Harry Potter, or because there was really no other person in his school year who could have deserved it more? And even more – it seems these Head Boy duties could really take a lot of time, which he could use to search for the diadem. Who knows if they really will find it on the very first day – what if they will need more time?

 

“Harry, what are you talking about now?” Hermione was still confused. “What has come into your mind?”

 

“I’m thinking about what we just talked about and argued with Ron. I think both you and Ginny are absolutely right…” he slowly began to explain when something suddenly moved in the mirror – the portrait of Minerva McGonagall, the Headmistress of Hogwarts, had instantly appeared. She looked like always – with the usual square glasses, the chin proudly raised up, and the black hair made in a tight hair bun, only in the strict eyes there seemed to be a little more kindness and happiness than the young people were used to see.

 

“Good afternoon, the new Head Girl and Head Boy,” McGonagall greeted them.

 

“Hello, professor,” Harry and Hermione replied without hesitation, standing on their feet.

 

“Miss Granger, Mr. Potter, I am delighted to see both of you here,” she said smiling kindly. “So, let’s start it. Both of you have been chosen to fulfill the honorable duties of the Head Boy and the Head Girl of Hogwarts. So, let’s start by discussing your responsibilities and rights this position is giving to you, alright?” McGonagall was ready to get the ball rolling immediately.

 

“Um, professor?” Harry spoke. “I have a huge request for you, therefore I would like to ask you – can I bring another Hogwarts student here?”

 

McGonagall appeared to be intrigued and confused at the same time, “Another student? Potter, what kind of request are you going to ask of me?”

 

Harry shuffled from one foot to another – he was aware that his idea was audacious, most likely it was even never heard of, but he could not give it up. “Professor, can I give my Head Boy title to somebody else?”

 

McGonagall stared at him, surprised. For a short moment she didn’t know what to say. “To somebody else? Potter, what are you talking about? Why do you want to give away your Head Boy title to somebody else?”

 

“It’s simply that, you know, there’s the thing,” Harry stuttered. So it was with those persistent and crazy ideas – you couldn’t get rid of them, but when you have to tell it to someone else, it wasn’t easy at all – if this other person will see you as completely mad, or even worse – will start to mock you about it? Harry quickly gathered his courage and told his full idea: “There’s the thing I don’t want even more glory, honor or responsibility, I just want to finish the Hogwarts school year on a good note, so I would like someone else to take the Head Boy position instead of me.”

 

“And who is the one you would like to put in your place?” the headmistress asked. Hermione just stood next to him with her mouth open, unable to believe what she had just heard.

 

“Professor, may I bring him here? Then we could talk it through all together,” Harry suggested, casting a glance at Hermione with awareness.

 

“Technically, Potter, this duty and honor is meant for you. Besides, in my whole lifetime I can’t recall not even a single case when there at Hogwarts would have been changed the Head Boy. And I think there wouldn’t be also a single case in the whole history of Hogwarts when anyone would have abandoned this title voluntarily,” McGonagall strictly said, obviously thinking that the excuse for attracting too much praise couldn’t be taken very seriously. “If you are afraid people will consider you too glorious and arrogant, I can explain in my speech of this evening how the Head Boy or the Head Girl is chosen.”

 

“It’s alright, professor, but I have also other reasons why I would like to pass on this title and duties to someone else,” Harry said. “Please, let me bring him here, and I’ll explain it to you in more detail.”

 

“Potter, this is something unheard of. I don’t really understand what has come into your mind,” McGonagall said grumpily.

 

“Professor, I’m honestly asking you to fulfill my request. In the Order Rules of Hogwarts, however, there is not forbidden to pass on the assigned title to someone else, if it is done with the headmaster’s approval?” Harry asked. Now when the conversation has started, it was easier to defend his positions.

 

“As far as I know, technically I can actually make such a decision. Very well then – bring him here. I just do not understand why do you need all of this,” McGonagall said at the end muttering under her nose, still expressing her displeasure against the changes in her set order.

 

Harry smiled at McGonagall and said quietly: “I’ll be right back.” Then he hurried out of the coupe. It seemed the coupe with the Hogwarts student he was looking for should be close by; they had also settled at the front of the train.

 

Harry passed the coupe taken by Ginny where he briefly looked in through the matted window of the sliding door, noticing that the girl had bent over something she held in her hands, probably reading Witch Weekly Magazine what she hadn’t managed to do at home. Looking through the window of the coupe at the opposite side, he observed that there wasn’t the young man he was looking for – there were only several girls in there. Two coupes farther away, he found what he was searching for. There were sitting two lesser-known Slytherin girls, one of them was from his year named Daphne, the other was definitely her sister, and there was also Pansy Parkinson, Theodore Nott, and Draco Malfoy. This time, though, Malfoy didn’t seem to be so fond of all the great plans of his adult life – Harry, remembering his last trip with Hogwarts Express in the September first, had to restrain himself for not to touch his nose. The old quarrels have to be put aside, besides, he hadn’t asked McGonagall so determinedly to give up now. That’s why Harry gathered his Gryffindor courage being persistent on his decision.

 

“Malfoy, could you please come out?” Harry said instead of greetings as he pulled the coupe door open.

 

Draco tilted his head sideways looking at him inquiringly, but without saying anything he got up and walked out into the corridor. Luckily, here, at the forefront was relatively calm, just further at the end of the train came the sounds of clamoring and scurrying.

 

“What’s the matter, Potter?” Draco asked as he had closed the door. Harry saw that Malfoy looked much graver than usual, and it even seemed to Harry that his face without his trademark sneering grin looked really odd – the blond guy almost looked like an ordinary common person. Obviously, Voldemort has left his terrible marks in every soul, but for these transformations has been paid a very high price. After the Battle of Hogwarts, the Malfoys had lost their honor, pride and a good pile of money as well as their influence in the Ministry, which was constantly reported by Daily Prophet all summer long, posting mocking articles by the alert journalists.

 

“Come with me, I have an offer for you,” Harry said sounding almost imperious.

 

“An offer? To me? Haven’t you mistaken something, Potter? The Slytherins are an abbreviated piece of nothing now,” Malfoy said frowning in surprise.

 

“You see, that’s the thing I would like to change a little bit,” Harry replied enigmatically. “Here,” he said, pointing to Head Boy and Head Girl coupe.

 

Being even more surprised, Malfoy opened the coupe door. “But this is the…” he stopped in mid-sentence as he saw the reflection of professor McGonagall in the mirror as well as the surprised expression of still standing Hermione.

 

After he had urged Malfoy into the compartment, Harry closed the door and heard Hermione whispering: “Oh, Harry, that’s what has come into your mind.”

 

If Hermione had instantly suspected Harry’s intentions, then it wasn’t so easy for McGonagall – even a moment later the surprise and incomprehension haven’t left her expression.

 

“Well, Potter, explain yourself!” the headmistress ordered. Harry almost started to laugh, although there wasn’t the right time at all for it – of course, the position of headmistress was something new to her, besides, there were all the Hogwarts restoration works going on, and the confusion with the N.E.W.T. students, and in addition to all that he is pestering her with Slytherins. Quickly calmed down, he collected himself and finally said his request, “Professor McGonagall, I’m asking you to allow me to hand over my Head Boy title to Mr. Draco Malfoy.”

 

McGonagall and Hermione had already begun to suspect the Harry’s intentions from the previous conversation, so their faces remained as they were: McGonagall was frustrated and confused, Hermione – surprised. However, the most remarkable were the eyes of Draco Malfoy showing absolute shock and his opened jaw which was hanging down practically hitting the floor.

 

“Potter, I asked you to explain yourself! I realized the fact that you are going to give away your Head Boy position to Draco Malfoy the very moment you brought him through that doorway of this coupe.” McGonagall had recovered her usual strict posture.

 

“Professor, you see, in my opinion, Malfoy has deserved to receive this title as in an advance. We must not push anyone out of our midst or we must not punish anyone without a valid reason for what they have not done or for what have done their parents. So I ask for you to give Malfoy this opportunity to prove it and show it to others, too, that everyone, including Slytherins, belongs to our society, and no one will be excluded for no reason,” Harry explained. It seemed McGonagall relaxed a little bit after hearing it.

 

“Of course, Potter, I had to see it from the very beginning that you have in mind a noble and honorable act,” McGonagall said, “But do you really think this duty should be given exactly to Draco Malfoy? I do need to remind you that I have not reinstated him in his prefect position for a reason – I learned from Mr. Filch that he was indeed guilty of burning the Room of Requirements, in addition endangering the lives of both of you and Miss Granger, as well as Mr. Ronald Weasley.”

 

“I’m sorry, but Mr. Filch hasn’t understood the situation correctly – it was Crabbe, who set the fire to the Room of Requirements, besides, Malfoy had even tried to discourage him from it. In addition, Malfoy, um… Draco did not betray us when we were in trouble with Bellatrix Lestrange, and I can also add that his mother saved me from a certain death; that’s why I think Draco Malfoy from all the seventh year students has deserved an opportunity to prove himself as a worthy member of our society,” Harry explained. Of course, McGonagall as well as other fighters of the Battle of Hogwarts remembered too well the May second when they were fighting against the horde of the Death Eaters, mostly consisting of the older generation of pureblood wizard families, including the Malfoys among them.

 

McGonagall was silent, thinking over this entire situation. It could be seen that she did not like it – to put the son of the Death Eaters as the Head Boy, it would be something unimaginable.

 

Then Hermione spoke up. “Professor, I understand your confusion, but I also understand Harry’s statement – we talked about it earlier today – that people shouldn’t be judged until they are proven guilty. And what we expect this year is that the Slytherins will most likely be judged for all the sins in the world. That’s why Harry is encouraging to stop this expected injustice at the very beginning, demonstratively showing that we are tolerant people who are ready to forgive and we won’t support any kind of injustice in our midst,” she finished stating her opinion.

 

“Miss Granger, you’re talking as a true Gryffindor, and if Mr. Potter has decided it so strongly, I’m willing to make such an unheard-of exception. However, if my table will start to burn by the Howlers sent by the parents of students, Harry, I will refer to you that this whole switch happened at your specific request, which I have approved, alright?” McGonagall warned. Draco was still looking stunned – however, now he had closed his mouth – and couldn’t help himself, so he was just standing there on his feet and listened to the conversation, unable to believe a single word of it. They wanted to make him Head Boy? Unbelievable!

 

“Of course, professor,” Harry replied gladly.

 

Seeing Harry’s joy, McGonagall lightly raised the corner of her mouth.

 

Harry took out from his pocket the gilded badge of Head Boy and handed it to Malfoy.

 

“With the permission of our kind headmistress, I hand over the title and duties of the Head Boy to you. With this I give you the opportunity to prove that you can be more or less a reasonable person. Just don’t throw your chance away, so I don’t have to regret this decision,” Harry said with a hint of a warning, putting the badge on the Malfoy’s palm. Still confused, Malfoy took the badge and turned it in his hands as if he still couldn’t believe anything that was happening here. “Then I must say thank you, Potter… and thank you, professor McGonagall,” he finally said, and in his gloomy face appeared a bit of joy – everything was not lost yet, he still had some hope of mending the honor of his family’s name, which was broken till the dust.

 

“So, as we have dealt with this issue, now I have to instruct you about your duties.” McGonagall was happy to finally get to the point, telling about the real thing this conversation was actually meant for.

 

“Harry, technically I should ask you to go out as an unauthorized person, but, though, please stay and listen to it you too. Besides, you will have to tell your decision to prefects as well. So, listen carefully – at the moment, it is up to Head Girl and Head Boy to maintain the order in the Hogwarts Express where it is not only advised but even obligated to use all the available help of the prefects. Also there on that table, soon will turn up the scrolls containing the passwords of the three Houses – as you probably are already foreseeing it,” McGonagall cast a knowing look on Harry, “the Ravenclaw house isn’t demanding a password, but asks a question instead. These notes with the passwords you will give to the prefects of the respective Houses, and do read the password for your House as well. The note with the password must be destroyed after memorizing it. That’s all for now. Later, when you’ll arrive at Hogwarts, along with your list of lessons you’ll receive a notification about the next meeting where we are going to discuss other responsibilities you’ll get assigned at school. I repeat again, it is your duty now to distribute the passwords and to arrange the order in the Hogwarts Express. Have a nice trip and let’s meet at the feast of this evening,” McGonagall finished the conversation, telling the Head Boy and the Head Girl all their responsibilities. Both Hermione and Malfoy nodded in agreement.

 

“But, Mr. Draco Malfoy, please keep in mind that I am complying Mr. Potter’s request to trust you in advance today, but if you in any way will make me see that Mr. Potter has had too high opinion of you, I as a headmistress will immediately cancel this arrangement without hearing any objections, and you, Harry, will have to fulfill the duties of the Head Boy for yourself,” McGonagall added as a warning.

 

“Of course, professor McGonagall. I’ll do everything in my power to not to disgrace the badge of the Head Boy,” Malfoy promised.

 

“Then that’s it for now. See you later in the evening,” the headmistress said, now smiling a little. “Oh, yes, I almost forgot – the password of the Prefects’ bathroom is Nettle Balm.” As she had said it, the image of her disappeared from the mirror and there could be seen only faces of Hermione, Draco, and Harry.

 

“Potter, why do you have such a completely crazy idea of giving up the position of Head Boy?” Malfoy asked, turning to Harry.

 

“Do you have any objections to this outcome? You heard it, even our dear headmistress agreed to it,” Harry replied, smirking.

 

“Well, alright, but what was all that nonsense you just said to her?” Draco still couldn’t comprehend anything. This time Hermione answered to him.

 

“As you probably have already concluded it for yourself, the Slytherins aren’t very popular now,” Hermione simply explained.

 

“And then – didn’t McGonagall take away your prefect badge just because Filch had told her something? That’s not the most reliable source – so we want a little bit to correct this injustice,” Harry added convincingly.

 

“O-kay,” Malfoy said very slowly, trying to understand it all, “I can see it, but, Potter, why you wanted to achieve it this way?”

 

“It’s quite simple. The Sorting Hat has sung about it even a long time ago in its songs that we really need to unite once and for all; otherwise it is just a matter of time until Voldemort will rise again… I mean, someone like Voldemort,” Harry corrected himself quickly.

 

“I see, Gryffindor thinking,” Malfoy quietly said to himself, though slightly flinching hearing Voldemort’s name. Then he spoke louder, “Then now we have to go to the prefects to instruct them?”

 

Just as Draco had said it, on a dark wooden tea table with carved legs there appeared three paper scrolls, each stamped with a Hogwarts seal and banded with a green thread, and each of them had the name of a House written in the handwriting of McGonagall.

 

“The passwords,” the girl said with a slight admiration in her voice as she took with her hands the little paper rolls.

 

“Hermione, maybe you can go now and give out the passwords, I need to say a word to Malfoy,” Harry suggested. “We’ll come after you just a moment later.”

 

“Yes, of course. Just don’t take it long,” Hermione said with a smile then she turned to the coupe door and walked out to the coupe of the opposite side of the couch, where they were patiently waited by the prefects.

 

Harry turned away from the coupe door and looked at Malfoy. “So, Malfoy, although I kindly asked McGonagall to make you the Head Boy, but if you’ll begin your old vices or if Hermione will complain to me even one single word that you have disrespected her, consider you’ll have to deal with me,” Harry warned him in a low, stressed voice, crossing his arms over his chest. He really didn’t want to make his friend suffer all her seventh Hogwarts year due to his, very likely, hasty decision.

 

“Potter, calm down. I’m not so stupid. I’m not going to mock Granger or begin to abuse her in any other way,” Draco said. “And yeah, I suppose thank you for giving me this opportunity.”

 

“Then do those duties properly and be kind to Hermione,” Harry strictly said to him once more, giving him a firm stare. “Then let’s go, Hermione will have handed out the passwords.” Draco nodded and they both started to walk to prefects’ coupe.

 

“But, Potter, I actually don’t understand why you don’t want to be the Head Boy for yourself?” Malfoy asked immediately.

 

“As I and Hermione just said -” Harry began to explain, but Draco interrupted.

 

“Yeah, yeah, I see all that. But is the salvation of the society the real reason or you have something else in mind? You mentioned the Dark Lord. Are you thinking about catching the Death Eaters in your free time because decorating Christmas trees is too modest?” Malfoy asked curiously at the end barely restraining himself for not saying a nasty comment about the Harry’s enormous glory. They have come to the prefects’ coupe door. Harry thought with an admiration that Malfoy was indeed very close to the truth, but he wasn’t going to admit it to him.

 

“Or maybe I just want to comfortably lay on a soft couch in front of a warm fireplace, while you’ll patrol in the dark, cold corridors late in the night,” Harry said smirking then he put his hand on the handle of coupe door and opened it.

 

Holding a rolled sheet with the inscription Gryffindor, Ron exclaimed: “Finally, Harry, I was starting to wonder why is it taking so long -” The young man broke in a mid-sentence as he saw Malfoy who also came into the compartment right after Harry.

 

“What’s he doing here? Wasn’t he removed from the prefect position?” Ron said in frustration with an angry expression.

 

“And, Weasley, how do you know it?” Malfoy spoke in a much calmer tone than Ron.

 

“You complained it to Nott at that time in the bookstore. You don’t have to shout out loud your problems in public areas if you don’t want others to know them,” Ron scolded him.

 

“So wait a bit, calm down, calm down,” Harry said, lifting his arms so anyone could notice him. “Ron, please, calm down.”

 

“When he’ll go back to wherever he has come from, I’ll be calm,” Ron said, crossing his arms over his chest.

 

“Listen, Ron, and hear everyone else – after a special arrangement with professor McGonagall, I’ve decided to hand over my Head Boy duties to Draco Malfoy, so -” Harry stated, gazing for a brief moment to Malfoy, “so with all the issues related to the Head Boy you will turn to Malfoy.”

 

Needless to say, after this announcement, there was a noticeable shock in the prefects’ compartment, while Ron’s expression was impossible – he stared at Harry as if the other head suddenly had grown up on his friend’s shoulders. Harry barely restrained himself to not to chuckle about that. However, Ron collected himself and asked Harry for a talk face to face. Harry agreed to it immediately, and both young men went out to the corridor. At the front of the train was still relatively calm and quiet, unlike the rising noise coming from the rear couches. Lest Malfoy deal with it, Harry though in silence, oppressing a smile.

 

Ron turned to Harry with a deadly serious expression. “Harry, are you completely out of your mind or what? To make Malfoy for the Head Boy? Why on earth did you do that?” Ron demanded.

 

“Ron, I have two reasons for it. First, it’s what Hermione and Ginny was talking about while we were still dressing,” Harry began to explain.

 

“Feh – that nonsense that those Death Eaters shouldn’t be judged too quickly?” Ron snorted. “Alright, let’s say I could almost agree with their opinion, but to appoint Malfoy for the Head Boy? Maybe then we could also appoint Lestrange as the Minister for Magic?” Ron ironically scoffed.

 

“You know it very well, I’m not trying to justify the terror of Death Eaters not for a moment, but remember that Malfoy’s mother saved me from Voldemort. That’s why I owed him,” Harry explained.

 

“Then that’s the second reason, is it?” Ron concluded.

 

“No, the second reason is dealing with all those prefects, pumpkins and Christmas trees will hardly help me to find that bloody Diadem. We can’t be sure that we will find it in the very first evening. What if we need weeks, maybe even months?” Harry replied, pursing his lips.

 

“Right, but the Head Boy’s position would allow you to wander around the castle in the night. Have you thought about that?” Ron asked, now more calmly.

 

“When there has been anything that would have prevented me from walking around Hogwarts in the night?” Harry laughed. With Invisibility Cloak and Marauders Map he had access to all the places of the castle.

 

“Right,” Ron said with a blank expression.

 

“Listen, Ron, I already gave Malfoy a strict warning. If he would again begin to torment the first-years or would take the liberty to say even one inappropriate word to Hermione, I’ll take care that he will leave not only the position of the Head Boy, but also the Hogwarts. But as long as he is behaving well, we’ll be able to go on adventures throughout Hogwarts. Doesn’t it sound much better than boring sitting in the professors’ offices?” Harry said with a little smile.

 

“You know, I’m almost beginning to understand your move,” Ron agreed, also smiling. Harry’s smile stretched only wider. Somewhere from the other end of the train came the sound of an unpleasant thud.

 

“Then go and deal with that disorder, but I’ll go back to Ginny,” Harry said. “And, Ron, by the way I didn’t say anything you can’t spoil his day a little bit.” Harry winked at Ron. Hearing it, Ron quietly chuckled to himself and went back to the prefects’ coupe, but Harry went a couple of coupes farther until he found the one with Ginny inside it. As he opened the door, he saw that the girl was still alone. Dressed up in her Hogwarts robes, she was sitting on the seat and was silently reading, as it turned out, the Daily Prophet.

 

“Hello again. I’m back,” Harry said, smiling at his girlfriend.

 

Ginny lifted her gaze and looked at Harry with an inquisitive expression. “I just heard strange thuds coming from the back of the train. Isn’t it your duty as the Head Boy to go there and put everything in order?” Ginny asked, shaking her head and tilting it a little bit down as if pointing to her boyfriend’s unacceptable omission.

 

“Meh, Draco Malfoy will deal with it,” Harry said as though not making a big deal of it as he fell into the seat next to Ginny and put his hands behind his head.

 

“Seriously?” Ginny exclaimed in surprise, but contrary to Ron she appeared to be amused.

 

“It seemed to me already a little bit suspicious that you didn’t pin the badge on your robes, but I have to admit I didn’t think of Malfoy,” Ginny said. “And what about Ron? Such a pity I didn’t see his face.”

 

“Naturally, at first it seemed Ron was going to fly off the handle. But then we had a talk, and I said now he had all the chances to torture Malfoy as he wish, and then he became more tolerant of my crazy idea,” Harry explained.

 

Ginny simply smiled at him. He looked at the girl’s wonderfully beautiful face with pale freckles framed by vivid red hair curls, but the best he found her brown eyes burning with flame and life. After all the survived dreads, after all the losses that had shattered his already small bunch of relatives and friends, life was exactly what he needed the most. So, gazing at the girl’s dark brown eyes, he put his hand on her shoulder, leaned closer and pressed a soft kiss on her lips.

 

“See, there’s also a benefit from the fact I abandoned the position of the Head Boy – finally we’ll be able to spend more time alone,” Harry whispered as he pulled away for an inch from her lips, but then a moment later he kissed her again, this time more deeply. Ginny kissed him back without hesitation as usual putting in the kiss all the love for her boyfriend. They tightly embraced each other and with the kiss they tasted their lips, but soon – in Harry’s mind much too soon – Ginny pulled away from him.

 

“Harry, you definitely are a very good kisser, but I think you should read what is written in the Daily Prophet,” Ginny explained the reason why she had stopped the kiss. “This morning, with all the haste I didn’t have time to read anything, but now when you went away – Harry, take a look for yourself.” As she reached with her hand, she took the newspaper lying next to her on the seat and gave it to Harry.

 

He took the newspaper from her and folded out the front page. A large headline reported that Aurors under the lead of Martin Hunter had caught three more Death Eaters few days ago.

 

On August 30, at 10:00 AM, a large-scale operation of Aurors lead by Mr. Martin Hunter, the Head of Auror Office, took place, during which three former supporters of You-Know-Who, the so-called Death Eaters: Torquil Travers, Sisyphus Selwyn and his wife Morgan Selwyn have been arrested.

 

The operation took place in the Muggle inhabited quarter of the Godric’s Hollow, where the Selwyn couple had settled down, killing Mr. Peeble, the owner of the house, and after the seizure of the house Sisyphus Selwyn had changed his appearance to the host of the house.

 

Their malice was revealed thanks to the newly created registration committee by the Minister for Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt, whose duty is to listen to the submissions by telephone (they are such a reports the Muggles are submitting to their authorities with a special communication tool – the telephone) of the Muggle Police Stations. The newly formed committee had recorded a call in which a Muggle named Gwyneth Luksh from Godric’s Hollow reported to the Crisis Intervention Team her worries for her neighbor’s mental health. After saying her name and address she told that after her request to lend her some sugar Mr. Peeble had replied to Mrs. Luksh unusually unkind with impolite words telling her to go away from his property which led Mrs. Luksh to start wondering if her neighbor Mr. Peeble has any suicidal thoughts.

 

The Ministry’s Auror Team immediately realized what they might be dealing with, and after several days of careful planning, the work of the employees of Law Enforcement Office was successful without any victim. Captivated Death Eaters are held under strict guard in the Ministry’s Remand Chambers, and soon they will be handed over to the court where the arrested offenders will have to answer for inducing general hatred, chaos and violence, for supporting the regime of You-Know-Who, for torturing Xenophilius Lovegood at last year’s Christmas, as well as for the takeover of transactions of the Gringotts Wizarding Bank during the You-Know-Who regime.

 

Having read it, Harry although doubted whether their hearing at court would come so soon, because the Aurors spent days and nights for their main job to catch the remained Death Eaters, which was not an easy task at all. The first two ones, Avery and Rookwood, they had caught very soon after the Battle of Hogwarts, but somewhere out there was still roaming the most dangerous of all the monsters – Rodolphus Lestrange, who was most likely trying to assemble the last remains of Death Eaters under his wing. For now, the Ministry’s Auror Team had also hands full with work to deal with the outrageous support group of former Minister for Magic, Pius Thicknesse, led by Dolores Umbridge, who was insistent at claiming that they had been cursed with the Imperius Curse and hadn’t done any crime of their free will. As well, half of the summer was also spent, investigating the Malfoy case, where Harry was summoned as a witness. At that time he had testified in the court that Narcissa had saved his life, so she was finally abolished for all charges, but Lucius was sentenced to a suspended sentence with prohibition to occupy any publicly important position. So the Malfoys got the freedom, but their family name was ashamed and disgraced.

 

“Three Death Eaters less – these are great news,” Harry said, smiling sadly. Thinking about the Death Eaters and remembering their terror was never pleasant.

 

“Considering the huge amount of the Death Eaters that was killed in the Battle of Hogwarts, there are left only a few of them,” Ginny agreed. “I only hope they will soon track Lestrange. Otherwise, mom constantly lives in fear of danger.”

 

“I suppose both Kingsley and Hunter will deal with him. But we also have an extremely important task ahead of us, otherwise all this Death Eater hunt will be worth nothing,” Harry said gloomily.

 

“Harry, of course, we’ll find the Diadem,” Ginny said, smiling and kissed him lightly on his cheek. “If you were able to find a whole bunch of Horcruxes in a year, wouldn’t we all together find a single one now?”

 

“If you are helping me, everything is possible,” Harry confirmed, pecking his girlfriend on her lips. “Is there anything more worth of interest in this newspaper?” he whispered, turning back to the newspaper again.

 

Next to the main article about the arrest of the Death Eater trio, there was a smaller article – an annotation of a huge insightful article in the middle of the newspaper written by none other than the scandalous Rita Skeeter. Having read the author’s name, Harry groaned quietly. Rita Skeeter – it never promised anything good, and it seemed she had started to taunt again someone he would rather defend. This time her reflection was devoted to Severus Snape.

 

Harry opened the central page of newspaper and began to read:

 

I, Rita Skeeter, the tireless reporter of the Daily Prophet, with the greatest pleasure am letting you to peak into the scandalous pages of my newest book Snape: Scoundrel or Saint for those who have not yet managed to buy it. Today you’ll get an insight into Severus Snape’s chosen paths in his adult life after graduating from our beloved school of Hogwarts.

 

As far as general factual information is concerned, Severus Snape has served at Hogwarts as a Potions Master since 1981. Meanwhile, he conscientiously fulfilled his honorable professor’s duties, tirelessly providing the students with invaluable potion mixing skills, of which have to be thankful quite a lot of the younger professionals of St Mungo’s hospital where this skill is literally vitally needed to save countless lives of witches and wizards. And as Harry Potter, the greatest and most respected young man of our time, had said so passionately in his last interview-report in the Daily Prophet defending the memory of the holy martyr of Severus Snape, the apostle Snape, at the same time of fulfilling his duty of the schoolmaster, had selflessly obeyed to his role of the double-agent and spy providing the Order of the Phoenix with a great deal of knowledge of the plans of the now overtaken Dark Lord, until all of this noble hero’s selfless action ended with a tragic and brave fall in the war, fighting against the relentlessly obtrusive evil. From this point of view, undoubtedly, Mr. Snape is easy to glorify to even holy heights. BUT…

 

How much of this is true? Was Snape really such an invaluable teacher? And moreover, was Snape really not only an invaluable double agent, but has he been a double agent at all? And how about his heroic death? These and the other questions about the controversial personality of Severus Snape will be discussed to the last detail throughout the book.

 

For the dear readers of the Daily Prophet, here is a small summary of the book Snape: Scoundrel or Saint for the first three chapters:

 

As the Archives of the Reception Documents of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry tell, Severus Snape had started his studies at Hogwarts in 1971 under the green flags of Slytherin, where dwells everyone who wants to have great achievements, is quite clever and persistent. Reviewing the old school extracts of his time, it seems Snape had justified the expectations of Slytherin for his person with a great overdone – in the O.W.L. examinations, the respectable professor and later headmaster Snape had received five marks of Outstanding, covering, of course, the skills of Potion Making and the Defence against the Darks Arts, but being only modestly satisfied with Exceeds Expectations in the studies of Arithmancy, and Transfiguration. Needless to say, Snape’s results of the N.E.W.T.s are even more impressive – six Outstanding, including Alchemy, and one Exceeds Expectations. Obviously, in order to get such marks, one’s mind must be especially wise or even genius, and besides, such brilliant achievements would lead into thinking about a bright future career. But what really happened to Snape after he graduated Hogwarts? Was he ready to get involved with the work of the Ministry of Magic? Maybe you are imagining a fast upward career in the St Mungo’s hospital? Or you’ll try to oppose he had wanted to travel around the world before bounding himself with the duties of paid work?

 

Then there’s the disappointment waiting for you – safe sources say the miscomprehended genius Snape immediately, on the very first day after graduating Hogwarts, joined the You-Know-Who group of supporters, more commonly known as the Death Eaters. And surprise – surprise, the honorable, respectable, gifted young man Snape with the utmost enthusiasm got involved in this self-proclaimed organization not just for playing the masquerade with other group members. Along with such Death Eaters as William Crabbe, Gellert Goyle, Brut Rosier, Antonin Dolohov, Mark Mulciber, and Amycus and Alecto Carrows – let them rest in peace – as well as with Andrey Avery, who is currently serving a prison sentence in Azkaban, and others, including practically untouchable Lucius Malfoy, Snape had committed countless atrocities during the First Wizarding War. It is easy to imagine in the daily life of the group of the Death Eaters, it was quite common for them to indulge in the mockery, tormenting or even the torturing of the Muggles or the wizards with Muggle ancestry which unlikely causes a big surprise to anyone. But where at such moments was Snape, being postulated as holy by the praiseworthy young man of Harry Potter? Will you say he probably was ashamed of such actions, because he as an unknown genius had gone to You-Know-Who in the search of protection and further education in the Dark Arts, perhaps already then planning how to destroy the hateful Dark Lord and his created system from inside?

 

Contrary to the beliefs of respectful Mr. Harry Potter in his article defending Severus Snape, from the very first day being in the middle of the Death Eater society Snape had shown off his enormous cruelty towards the Muggles, thus excelling in the eyes of his Master alongside with such savages as the notorious Lestrange family. In addition, the exclusive source says Severus Snape has been the one who had started the hanging of the unlucky victims in the air, continuing it with public humiliation and torture, eventually killing his victim – very much like what had happened at the event of the era of a thinkable peace in 1994 after the final game of Quidditch World Cup. Considering Snape’s brutality and endless endeavor of approval of the Dark Lord, and along with the excellent knowledge of almost all branches of Magic, it could be said practically with no doubt that Severus Snape was the actual culprit of the disorderly events in the 1994.

 

For more information on this incident, every reader was given the opportunity to get acquainted with in the bestseller The Biography of Harry Potter which was released just in June by the outstanding author, Rita Skeeter.

 

For the further course of Severus Snape’s Death Eater career, I welcome everyone to read in my book, Snape: Scounder or Saint. The book is available on bookstore shelves from August 31st. Think for yourselves – is he a scoundrel or a saint?

 

“It’s madness,” Harry just said. “But I didn’t say anything in my letter that he was a double agent during the First War. She is trying to make me sound like a little, naïve child. And listen to this – well, I could agree with it that there was time in the past when Snape had gone with other Death Eaters in the raids, but in the Quidditch World Cup?”

 

“Harry, this is Skeeter,” Ginny said gloomily. “You already know she can blow out the sensation from a thin air.”

 

“I know it, but I’m worried that she is so blatantly denying memory of Snape. What should I do? Should I send another article to the Daily Prophet? Will it be worth?” Harry pondered not being sure how to react.

 

“Speaking about another article, I doubt there will be any benefit from it, because what are the news you are going to tell with it? You already made it quite clear and understandable in the previous article that Snape acted on the orders of Dumbledore, so he had infiltrated among the Death Eaters as a double agent, that he had murdered Dumbledore on the order of very Dumbledore, and the last year he had taken care that there wouldn’t start an utter eradication of Muggle born wizards in Hogwarts, AND he made sure you got the help you needed to defeat Voldemort. I really don’t know what more you could write about. I think those who believed in Dumbledore will believe also in you, so let that Skeeter go fry an egg!” Ginny said, adding her expression at the end of her speech with a smile.

 

“I suppose you’re right,” Harry agreed with her. “I don’t have even the slightest wish to start a war with Skeeter in the newspaper now.”

 

“Harry, just be ready that others could be interested in this article, and not everyone will be convinced of Snape’s generous sacrifice,” Ginny warned, knowing well, that Harry sometimes could get annoyed and angry when he was asked with intrusive issues making him feel uncomfortable and offended, especially if there was discussed the motivation of Snape’s actions.

 

“Of course, I’ve got my act together.” Harry smiled tilting his head for a little bit. “Besides, now I have you. Everything seems easier to me when I’m with you.”

 

Ginny replied to him with a smile and then kissed him. “I’m glad I am able to make your life easier.”

 

“Of course, you are. Besides, you’re very beautiful,” Harry said, closely examining the girl’s face as he cupped her cheek with his palm. He leaned to her and gently kissed her, then lingering in the sensation for a brief moment he opened his lips a bit wider and kissed her more tightly. Taking a deep breath, she kissed him back.

 

They would be more than willing to continue their occupation, but suddenly there opened the coupe door, behind which Hermione and Ron appeared.

 

“I told you to knock,” Hermione said, rolling her eyes, while Ron looked away feeling awkward.

 

Harry and Ginny pulled apart, but they stayed close, taking each other’s hand.

 

Ginny spoke first, “So – have you done your duty so fast?”

 

Ron replied, smiling, “For this we have Malfoy. We sent him to the back of the train to deal with those little savages. I heard they have started to toss around the Fanged Frisbee.”

 

“I came in just for a moment. I better go and put everything in order myself. Nevertheless, I’m the Head Girl,” Hermione said, not wanting to get ashamed for not doing her Head Girl duty on the very first day.

 

“Well, please, Hermione. Let that ferret fight with them for a little moment. Harry, maybe this thing with the Head Boy will come out as a good punishment for him,” Ron said, laughing.

 

“You see? Sometimes I’m just wondering where those good ideas come from,” Harry joked.

 

“It’s only a pity you have to work with that moron, Hermione,” Ron spoke with a slight touch of concern in his voice.

 

“Meh, it’s no big deal. During last year we dealt with Voldemort. Dealing with one scrappy Slytherin will be a piece of cake. Besides, he is well aware of it that now he has to control himself if he’s dreaming of getting a decent job in the future,” Hermione concluded. “Well, I better go to the back. Who knows whether those little kids haven’t already killed Malfoy.” She turned around and went to the far end of the train ready to set it under the order.

 

“Right – You-Know-Who,” Ron said, sounding completely serious, still avoiding to pronounce Voldemort’s name.

 

“What did you finally conclude? What are you actually going to do? I mean, from where are you going to begin the search?” Ginny asked.

 

“As we already discussed it in the Burrow, we have to start with checking all the places that could be on the way from the entrance to the Headmaster’s Office, starting with the most plausible place,” Harry said.

 

“Your idea is good. You just need to remember that Hogwarts is not a small sugar hut standing on a chicken leg,” Ron recalled.

 

During the next hour, while the train rhythmically rolled further, now taking its smoking chimney through the fields full with golden grain, white clouds floating over them, the young people once again discussed their ideas about the possibilities for Voldemort where in the castle to hide one tiny piece of a diadem. With the time during their conversation their ideas became more and more insane.

 

“So, there’s still the Chamber of Secrets. That would be a real Slytherin thinking,” Ron suggested.

 

“Aha, Slytherin with the Ravenclaw’s Diadem. Think before you talk, Ron,” Ginny pointed out. “Voldemort would never desecrate his ancestor.”

 

“Harry, wait a minute. Do you remember who knew about the Chamber of Secrets back then?” Ron asked rather dramatically.

 

“You think about Moaning Myrtle?” Harry understood his friend’s hint. “I don’t think she’ll know something this time. Back then he was still a student and he needed Myrtle to not to tell anyone about his actions when he was sneaking in the girl’s lavatory,” Harry was skeptical about the latest idea.

 

“Alright then,” Ron said, curling his lip a little bit. “Then we stay with this – we begin by searching over the Trophy Room, then we go to the kitchen. Who knows, maybe elves will know something. Kreacher has already become more helpful to us now. We have to look also for other Hogwarts secrets. We can’t be sure that we or the Marauders gang have discovered all of them,” Ron summed up all of the previous talk.

 

“Hey, what do you think about the Slytherin Common Room? Voldemort might have found it quite a dear place,” Ginny said.

 

“But how could he have gotten into unnoticed in the Common Room full with people?” Harry asked doubtfully.

 

“He definitely knew how to cast a perfect Disillusion, and then he could secretly hide the Diadem somewhere,” Ginny guessed.

 

“Or those slimy Slytherins were overjoyed for their master’s visit,” Ron said grimly.

 

“Or rather, I suppose he could have met a Slytherin student in the corridors and compelled him to hide the Diadem without the very Slytherin even knowing what he was doing,” Harry said his theory, ignoring Ron’s comment.

 

“Maybe we need to ask Malfoy if he has seen something like the Diadem somewhere in his common room?” Ginny thought out loud.

 

“What are you thinking? Maybe we should start to invite him to our family dinner?” Ron said, sounding quite angry. The association with Malfoy didn’t seem to him to be wise, in any case, not until he wouldn’t have adequately suffered for all the misery he had caused in the previous years.

 

“Relax, I’m just looking for a solution,” Ginny apologized and raised her hands as a gesture of defending. “Let’s first search over all other places and leave those Slytherins the last.”

 

“Of course, the castle is terribly enormous. The search for Diadem could take very long time,” Harry said in a more collected voice as Ron. Indeed, the number of potential hiding places for Diadem was incredibly huge. Only one thing was clear – it was not hidden in the Room of Requirements. Or was it – and the dream he saw in the evening of his birthday before sleep was just a dream? After all, he hadn’t seen any more nightmares like that. But whatever it was true or not, he was determined to devote all his efforts to investigating of this issue, although it could take his blood, sweat and tears – but it was the matter of the security of the whole Wizarding world in the near or far future.

 

The young man’s thoughts in a short moment of silence were interrupted by Hermione’s approach in the doorway of the coupe. She looked rather irritated.

 

“Where have you been so long?” Ron asked with interest. He had thought that managing order on the Hogwarts Express couldn’t take more than an hour.

 

“Where I was? Remember those noises from the rear coaches?” Hermione said angrily. Everyone nodded approvingly. Hermione sat down next to Ron opposite with Harry and Ginny. “It was something inconceivable,” she complained raising her hands and putting her fingers on her temples then she threw her hands forward. “It was a complete disaster.”

 

“Are those first years so abnormal?” Ron inquired smirking.

 

“First years! They weren’t first years!” Hermione exclaimed.

 

“Hermione, please tell us. Now it really starts to sound interesting,” Ginny suggested with a smile.

 

Hermione also smiled a little, but then turned to Harry: “You can guess three times, Harry, who caused this chaos?”

 

“Did Malfoy already managed to do something inappropriate?” he asked starting to feel disappointed that Malfoy wasn’t able to endure even two minutes as the Head Boy.

 

“No, no. All that mess was already going on while we were still talking with McGonagall. It’s not Malfoy’s fault this time,” Hermione explained to her friend. Harry relaxed a bit; luckily his crazy decision hasn’t failed so unimaginably soon. “Two more guesses,” Hermione stated.

 

“Well, tell us! Otherwise, we’ll die here of impatience,” Ginny exclaimed.

 

“Alright, alright. Harry, do you remember Romilda Vane from our own Gryffindor house?” Hermione said, raising one eyebrow and knowingly tilting her head.

 

“She was the one who put a love potion in those sweets?” Harry asked as he remembered a black-haired girl who had proven to be obsessed with him two years ago.

 

“Aha, she is the one,” Hermione confirmed. “You see, it seems Romilda has given up hopes to get you, Harry, so she has found her next victim,” Hermione explained.

 

“Well, well, and whom she has been taming now?” Harry asked, smirking.

 

“Neville,” Hermione replied. They all chuckled. “And do you know what had come into her mind? She had got a Fanged Frisbee and, as she sat in the coupe on the other side of the coupe with Neville inside, she had thought that she should make a noise with that Frisbee so that Neville would come out to see what was going on there. Can you imagine that?” Hermione said, sounding incredulously at the end of her story.

 

“Well, she’s got the thinking,” Harry laughed. Ginny and Ron also started to look more and more joyous, only Hermione seemed angry and too serious.

 

“Mhm, so far there wasn’t anything mad,” Hermione objected, shaking her head.

 

“Is there something more?” Ron asked.

 

“Now, imagine,” Hermione said, pursing her lips. “Neville had put on the door the Silencing charm so those thuds didn’t bother him much and he simply ignored them. And when Malfoy had gone to the end of the train, Romilda had already begun to hit her Frisbee to the door with a full force, so it bounced off and hit Malfoy straight in the face. Then Neville had heard his scream and he came out to see what was happening there, but that Frisbee managed to bounce back from the wall and hit Neville’s arm. At that moment, I was already there. Luna, Seamus, and Dean rushed out of Neville’s coupe, and there was also close by Ernie and Hannah. But you can’t image the whole situation – Ron, do you really find it ridiculous to get hit in the face with those Fangs?” Hermione asked, turning her head to the side and looking closely at her quietly chuckling friend.

 

“If it is Malfoy’s face, it is even very much amusing,” Ron laughed.

 

“Well – and what happened next? Those Frisbees are terrible!” Ginny wanted to know.

 

“Of course, Malfoy’s face was all bloody, half of his cheek ripped open, blood flowing in streams. Luckily, Neville had just a scratch in his upper arm. Ernie caught that damn Frisbee and I confiscated it immediately. Meanwhile, Romilda stood in the doorway of her coupe in utter shock. I don’t understand how could something like that come into someone’s mind? Every year in the September first, we are reminded that these Frisbees are forbidden. Especially for those who haven’t thought about that hitting face with this Frisbee is not pleasant at all,” Hermione said as Ron sneered loudly.

 

“Madness. But how did it end – has Malfoy lost his face now?” Ginny asked.

 

“Fortunately, no. It turned out Hannah had took Admission Exams for St Mungo’s hospital’s healer training course but she didn’t pass the potion test, however she had mastered the basic healing spells. It turns out Episkey can also sew open wounds, so she showed me how to do it, and we both put back together Malfoy’s face. In general he was lucky that he wasn’t hit in the nose by that monstrous Frisbee. Then it wouldn’t be so easy for us. But he’ll need to go to Pomfrey anyway. We just stopped bleeding and closed the wounds so he wouldn’t have a big scar. And all this injury has to be disinfected. Then, Hannah dealt with Neville’s arm alone, but I went to find the first aid kit with bandages,” Hermione told her adventures of today.

 

“It sounds to me that Buckbeak is nothing comparing with this Fanged Frisbee,” Ron laughed, not flinching at all from Hermione’s angry look.

 

“So, what did Romilda do? Was she just standing like that in the doorway all the time?” Harry asked.

 

“When I had found the bandages and had put them on Malfoy’s face, I began to ask questions to learn what had actually happened there and who owned that plate. Romilda confessed with a shame. You know how angry I was at that moment? I started to understand McGonagall when she took from each of us fifty points in our first year. Blast! She is a sixth-year girl, a Gryffindor!” Hermione said in an angry voice. “And she can do such an incredibly silly thing. I really wanted to take away twenty points right away so that no such foolishness comes into her mind, but she was lucky that the school year hasn’t yet begun. But I’m definitely going to report this to McGonagall,” Hermione said strictly.

 

“You know, Mione, I think you’re going to be a great professor McGonagall,” Ron added.

 

“What do you mean?” Hermione hadn’t calmed down after the incident, so she didn’t get the jokes right away.

 

“Look, you already want to remove points from your own house. In addition, people are starting to tremble, just seeing you. I suppose that poor Romilda almost pissed her pants from your severity,” Ron explained his thought with a little laugh.

 

“Oh,” Hermione said, finally showing a warmer smile, “but she deserved it. Such madness on the very first day. And really – can’t she come up with a cleverer method of how to get to approach the guys?”

 

“So, you want to say, if you throw Fanged Frisbee in his face, then the guy isn’t yours instantly?” Ron asked dramatically seriously, so other friends started to chuckle.

 

“Mhm, that definitely sounds like the real life,” Hermione said bemusedly. “Do you ever want me to throw such a Frisbee in your face?”

 

“Hermione, just to make sure everything works out I advise you to take a larger Frisbee. The size must be important, though,” Ginny added.

 

“And if you don’t have a Frisbee, just tell me. I and Ginny will hastily get you one,” Harry suggested teasingly, gazing at Ron for a brief moment.

 

“I’ll consider it,” Hermione thanked her friends. “Well, Ron, I already have one in my hand,” she said, pulling out of the pocket an edge of Fanged Frisbee.

 

“I was just joking. I hope we actually do it fine also without it,” Ron said, smirking and then kissed Hermione on her cheek.

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