Harry Potter and the Unforeseen Hero
Chapter Two: The Proposals
Harry stood facing the visitor's entrance to the ministry and glanced down at Fabian Prewett's watch. It would be fair to say that the watch had not been in perfect condition when Harry had received it from the Weasleys as his seventeenth birthday present however, in the past year he had added a fair few nicks, scrapes and scratches to it.
He had left Draco with the Weasleys after the memorial in order to attend his appointment with Professor McGonagall. Even now, after some time to adjust, it still seemed a little strange to Harry; there would always be a part of him that remembered Draco as the spoilt blond wanker that made his and his friends life so difficult. But now he felt comfortable enough to leave Draco with the Weasleys without the fear of a searing argument, hex's or worse. Times had certainly changed Harry mused...
"Ah Potter, or should I be calling you Ôsaviour'" McGonagall's lip twisted in a very Snape-esk way but some how it didn't have the same snide malice behind it more the clipped yet friendly tone he was so used to "I'm sorry to have kept you" she went on. For just a brief moment Harry felt he could have hugged her. She, McGonagall was another person that represented normality. There was absolutely no desire to put him on a pedestal or treat him any differently to any other.
"Not a problem headmistress, I think saviour maybe a little over the top I would be quite happy to settle with Harry and incidentally, if anyone cares, I don't like the word Ôsaviour' it implies doing something single handed and extraordinary. I have done neither of those two things"
"Indeed Potter. I wonder if we might go somewhere more private I have one or two matters that I might discuss with you"
"Of course, the Leaky Caldron isn't far or if you prefer I am happy to apparate us to my home"
"Whilst of course I do not know the details I must admit I was under the impression that your home was some distance away?"
"No you wouldn't know Professor because you haven't yet been told the secret and I guess by muggle terms of reference it isn't far away. Down in the far south west of England"
"Then how do you propose to apparate us Potter?" Harry caught himself just in time as he had been about to roll his eyes, this question was quite tiresome now
"Draco is, I confess, far better at long distance apparition than I am however, I think you will find me more than capable of the task" Harry proffered his arm in the older witches direction and when she had a firm grip he spun on the spot thinking of the apparition point in the town house he and Draco had purchased.
"Long distance apparition is a technique we utilised to a considerable degree over the past year or more" Harry explained "It is almost identical to the standard apparition that is taught in Hogwarts but with greater concentration, determination and focus the distance covered can be expanded. Frankly we needed the tactical advantage it offered. When we had agreed it should be learnt, the amount of splinching we all suffered whilst trying to perfect the approach was quite unpleasant. Ron suffered most though, not sure he has ever recovered from finding his..." Harry trailed off "I possibly shouldn't say anymore other than something he greatly treasured was not where he left it....anyways. Can I offer you tea?"
"Thank you that would be nice. You have a beautiful home Harry" McGonagall commented as Harry led her through the house to the ornate drawing room to find a roaring log fire alight in the grate.
"Thank you. I must admit that it is a little more elaborate than I would have chosen but once Dray became involved in the selection process, you can imagine. But I do like it"
"You and Mr Malfoy. I must admit that is possibly the single most improbable pairing I could have ever imagined" glancing at Harry's face she quickly added "Don't get me wrong Potter the Wizarding world is far more advanced in our thinking than our muggle relations; I have absolutely no prejudice and I am confident you will find few that do. I simply meant that for so long we had to ensure you didn't end up killing each other"
"Times change professor. Experiencing what we have together and struggling as we did together, well, as I say times change. Anyway, I am sure you didn't come all this way to exchange pleasantries with me about my somewhat more public than planned relationship" Harry looked up from the chair he had seated himself in and poured the tea from the steaming pot Kreacher had just deposited.
"Well Harry..." McGonagall paused "Milk or Lemon?" Harry questioned. McGonagall looked up momentarily distracted by the Wizard clock that stood in the corner chiming 3PM and watched as the figurine on the clock transfigure three rabbits into three doves. The doves took flight and she continued "Lemon, thank you"
Taking the cup from Harry, McGonagall sat in a high back leather chair near the fire that Draco often occupied sipped and continued "you may possibly be surprised about what I wish to discuss with you"
"Little surprises me now" Harry replied coolly
"Before I tell you I would ask one favour..."
"Please hear me out and then consider what I have said. You can take some time, discuss it with your friends and then Owl me your response" Harry raised his eyebrow almost imperceptibly. He had no idea what his former head of house was about to request of him but judging by that little speech he wasn't going to be thrilled by it. When he did not reply however, McGonagall seemed to take this as consent to continue.
"I have in fact two proposals and I would ask you to consider them both carefully but separately. My first is perhaps the more straight forward; as Headmistress I am keen to ensure that Hogwarts offer any support it possibly can to those people who may not have had the opportunity to complete their education because of... other distractions" she finished awkwardly. Harry considered the tall, prim, austere looking witch. This wasn't nearly as unpleasant a topic as he had been mentally preparing himself for.
"I think it's a great idea and a fantastic offer. I am sure that people would be wise to accept such an offer"
"I am pleased you think so" she withdrew from her bag two envelopes and handed them to Harry. Recognising the Hogwarts wax seal that adorned the back of the envelope Harry was confident he knew what they would contain and placed them down next to the tea pot and returned his attention back to his guest.
"I will require your Owl on your position at your earliest convenience Potter - we will in effect have an additional class year to accommodate and that poses a certain logistical challenge. I trust you will find answers to questions you may have in the letter but should you have anything specific you may, of course, Owl me"
"Thank you professor. We will certainly consider the proposal most seriously"
"Then there is the second matter that I wish to discuss. I am sure you will be familiar Potter with the colossal amount of damage Voldemort and his followers have managed to create. St Mungos is barely able to function, Hogwarts itself is considerably damaged in certain areas and that is not to mention Diagon Alley"
"I am all too painfully aware of the mess that resembles St Mungos and I had heard about Hogwarts but didn't know how bad it was"
"It is not insignificant damage and will require some time and a great deal of money to repair"
"So what you are looking for a donation or contribution? Of course, I will give all that I can" Harry offered without even pausing. It was automatic or maybe as one of his best friends had described it 'his hero complex'.
"That is indeed very generous but the damage we have sustained is far beyond even the deepest of individual pockets" Harry frowned confused "Then I don't understand what you need of me?"
"I want you to write Potter. Or rather I want you to speak and someone to write" Harry's brow furrowed deeper still. "Professor?"
"Now remember Potter you gave me your word to hear me out. I want you to please consider giving a number of interviews. A small series" the colour drained from Harry's face. Here it was again, be different, stand apart an exciting sideshow. His mouth had gone dry at the prospect and he reached for the tea and slurped it burning his lips as he did so.
"A small series to a select interviewer who will carefully and accurately" she paused to accentuate her point "transcribe the activities you and your friends have been involved in since you completed school in your sixth year" she drew breath and sipped from her teacup
"Consider it Potter, we are in desperate need of financing and what could possibly sell more than the account of the death of the dark lord. Who knows under the promise of this we may even be able to begin work straight away. People will realise the potential of such a commodity" Harry's face had turned from white to a steely grey.
"Professor thank you for coming by and discussing this with me, I will be sure to give you my response in relation to Hogwarts in the near future. But I don't think I can help you with your other request. What you ask is too much. I have, no sorry; WE have had to live this for the past however long! Now you ask us to relive it so soon after the event and after having just seen an obelisk with more names on it than I care to think about" Harry was working up a head of steam now. He knew he was about to shoot the messenger but frankly he was at the point of not caring.
"Potter!" she snapped in her clipped school masters tone "do not think I underestimate the sacrifices made by you, your family and friends"
"OUT" Harry shouted, "Leave! Don't you dare mention my family or my friends you don't know the half of it..." The sound of feet whisking along the corridor and the door opening distracted Harry from his tirade. In walked his lover and soul mate who walked quickly to Harry and took his hand in his own.
"Explain" Draco said looking accusatorily at McGonagall. She ignored him and fixed her eyes on Harry "You are correct, Potter I don't know the half of it. I don't, the Minister doesn't, the Wizarding world doesn't. But they want to. Consider this is your opportunity to prove that you are not the hero of the Wizarding world they all believe you to be but that you had friendship, love and sacrifice to make the world a better place. Then consider the enormous benefit you could bring to the Wizarding world as a result. Who knows Potter, perhaps if St Mungos were not in the state it is now more could be here with us to celebrate"
Taking her travelling cloak from the house elf that was proffering it to her and wrapping it around her shoulders Minerva McGonagall left the room and a moment later a pop from the apparition point confirmed her exit from the house.
"Harry" Draco began turning to look at his raven-haired lover. Harry had a glazed, fixed expression as he controlled his emotions. The anger, loss, frustration and sense of powerlessness threatened to overcome him. He could feel it coming and somewhere, possibly on top of the grand piano a vase smashed into a thousand little pieced.
"So" he began conversationally "are you going to tell me what just happened and why it caused the destruction of an irreplaceable Ming vase" withdrawing his wand Draco pointed it at the shattered remains of the vase and muttered "Reparo" and watched as the pieces flew back together.
"She wants us to go back to school..." Draco pulled Harry tighter to him and Harry let out a deep breath, breathing in the scent he loved beyond all others. It acted as a calming potion to Harry and he continued "...and she thinks we should do some interviews so someone can write about how we killed him" he closed his eyes and squeezed Draco's back with his arms wrapped tightly about him.
"And you don't want to" Draco concluded
"You know full well why"
"Pretend I don't, help me to understand"
"Why is it always about me? This isn't about me, it's about us. We were all there; we all went through the same thing. I mean god Dray if what we went through could change the two of us so dramatically" he tailed off
"Your right its about us and we should only do it if we all agree. Just like it always has been"
"Do you think we should do it then?" Harry looked up from Draco's shoulder and the accusatorial look cut through Draco and he flinched as if it had caused him physical pain.
"Don't get angry and please Harry don't look at me like that. I am simply suggesting we discuss it as a group the way we always did. When we all agree one way or the other it's no longer up for discussion"
"Sorry" Harry muttered into Draco's neck. "I don't know what to say though. Its pathetic, my best friend and I don't know what to say"
"Shhhhh Harry" Draco pulled him into a tight embrace again.
"We can deal with this....tomorrow. I will set something up don't worry"