MAJOR DH SPOILER ALERT!!! DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T YET (AND EVENTUALLY INTEND ON) READING HP7!!!
The following is a Harry Potter slash fanfic -- The following contains mature, adult materials not suitable for anyone under the age of 18. If you find such sexually themed materials offensive please do not read on! All characters and names are copyright J.K. Rowling, Scholastic Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment.
Type: (M/M) Gay
Chapter Rating: PG-13
As soon as Harry returned to Grimmauld Place after Teddy's birthday party he regretted it. Ron and Hermione had decided to spend the rest of their summer break with him there. Despite all they had been through, they still seemed unwilling and/or uncomfortable with letting Harry be there alone. As much as Harry made them aware of his frustration over this attitude, he was secretly grateful for the company. Draco still had a full social calendar these days, and Harry Potter was not necessarily welcome at them either. So, as much as he would have liked to spend more time with the luscious blonde, he couldn't. Not yet anyway. Maybe someday Harry would be able to attend events with him, or so he could dream about at least.
"Can you believe that?" Ron said incredulously with his hands thrown exasperatedly in the air. "
Fighting fire with fire." He shook his head in disbelief not speaking to anyone in particular. "It's absolute bollocks!" He was pacing around the sitting room which he did a lot these days, or at least he had since Draco had taken to hanging around more frequently. Harry was startled when Ron made eye contact with him looking absolutely mad with anger and frustration. His fiery hair was tousled from his raking his fingers frustratedly through it and his wild eyes were wide.
Harry opened and closed his mouth a few times, uncertain of what he could possibly say to respond to Ron's monologue. He settled for an uncertain shrug. Thankfully, with perfect timing, Hermione came back into the room precariously holding a tea tray with scones. Ron shot his accusatory glance at her, startling her nearly enough to make her drop the tray. Harry stood quickly to help her regain her balance and shot Ron a dirty look once the tray was safely on the coffee table.
Hermione brushed herself off indignantly before offering a response to Ron's statements. "As much as I agree with you, Ronald, Draco..." (Ron seethed visibly at the mention of his name), "...has the right to his own opinion and choices of magical education."
Ron was not placated in the least by Hermione's reply. Hermione, wisely, chose to ignore his reaction and sat calmly to pour a cup of tea for the three of them. "Harry, can't you talk some sense into him?!" Ron pressed on, disregarding the steaming cup of tea that waited for him on the table.
Harry slowly and deliberately took the tea cup and plate and proceeded to sip it daintily while Ron heaved with anger. When he felt the dramatic pause had gone on long enough, he put the cup down on the plate and looked up at Ron with his own incredulity. "Have you met Draco Malfoy?" (Ron seethed again.) "When have you ever known him to be susceptible to sense?" Hermione snorted into her tea cup trying, in vain, to hide her laughter from Ron.
Ron groaned in defeat and threw himself exasperatedly onto the sofa and picked up his tea. He looked around the room in an irritable fashion before he drank some tea out of a lack of having anything else to say or do. Harry caught Hermione grinning lovingly at Ron's craziness. He raised his eyebrow and instead of taking the mickey out of her for it, he simply smiled as well.
Their quiet tea was short-lived as they heard a knock on the door.
Ever the attentive hostess, Hermione quickly rose to get it before anyone else even had the chance. Harry heard her say, "I'll get it!" after she was already halfway down the hall. Moments later the click of the door knob reached Harry's ears followed by Hermione's warm greeting.
"Neville!" she exclaimed genially. Harry was certain Neville was being choke-hugged at that very moment. Neville laughed good naturedly at her enthusiasm. "Can I come in, Hermione?" Neville asked in an amused voice. "Of course, of course! Come in!" Hermione responded, and Harry heard the door shut behind them.
Neville walked in looking smart in a sweater and tie, but Harry's attention was drawn more importantly to the envelope that was clutched in his hands. The wax seal was still intact, but Harry couldn't mistake the stationary. It was from the ministry. The warmth and amusement quickly drained from Harry's face in his nervousness.
"Is... Is that what I think it is?" He waved his hand to indicate the letter. Neville gulped and turned it over in his hands a few times before responding.
"I think it is." He paused to look anxiously at Harry. "I didn't want to open it alone."
As if on cue, a tapping sound came from the nearby window. An owl sat on the sill holding a nearly identical parcel. Hermione opened it and retrieved it. She read the address and handed it to Harry. "I guess the Ministry has been evaluating all their applicants
" she offered in a cold, detached manner. Harry knew, though, that her stoic tone was only due to her own anxiety over what the letters might say. She handed to letter to Harry, her eyes belying her genuine concern.
Harry pressed his lips together as he read the front of the envelope. He noticed the seal, unlike the usual red, was a sickeningly familiar shade of pink. Immediately his face flushed scarlet and he knew who the letter had come from. His eyes narrowed, as he became suddenly angry over what he was sure the letters would convey.
Unceremoniously, he tore open the letter. Neville followed suit as if he feared he might be left behind. It was just as Harry expected.
"Dear Mr. Potter,
The Ministry of Magic thanks you for your application to the Auror program. However, we regret to inform you that your application has been denied. We do not feel you would prove a good match at the Ministry of Magic and wish you all the best in your future career pursuits.
Minister of Magic, Dolores J. Umbridge"
Harry was inflamed as he nearly threw the letter at Hermione who read it with the same reaction. Harry could just hear the tone she would have said it in had she delivered the news in person dripping with contrived polteness and barely-concealed contempt. Neville looked like someone had snapped his wand in two. Ron looked on obliviously.
"What? What does it say?" He asked, dying to know.
Hermione looked at him exasperatedly as Ron tore the letter out of Neville's hands. His expression visibly returned to rage as he got to the end.
"Unqualified? Unqualified?" Ron shouted angrily.
"Unqualified?" Hermione repeated, addressing Neville. Clearly Umbridge had at least read their applications thoroughly enough to write them slightly different replies. "She said you weren't qualified?" Her voice was starting to get shrieky a tone that reminded Harry a tiny bit of the late Bellatrix Lestrange. Neville looked like his mouth had suddenly gone very dry and appeared torn somewhere between outrage and shame.
"Ludicrous!" Hermione exclaimed, suddenly appearing as angry as Ron had been earlier.
"Technically..." Neville started to say bashfully, but was quickly squelched by Hermione's ranting.
"Technically nothing! The entire wizarding world, Dolores Umbridge included, knows you are more than qualified to become an Auror!" She threw the letter in the air and it magically combusted into a shower of red and yellow sparks. Neville jumped, startled. She shook her head, her bushy hair bobbing absurdly around her as she did. She threw her arms in the air and predictably finished. "I'm going to the library!" With that final statement she stormed out followed by the echo of her apparating, leaving Harry, Ron, and Neville to stare awkwardly at each other.
"Right..." Neville muttered dejectedly, shifting his weight towards the door. "I guess I'll go..." He took a few steps and turned back speaking more to himself than Harry and Ron. "Maybe there is a good Herbology school that will take me..." He turned back around, but Harry heard him mutter as he walked out the door. "If I'm qualified
" The idea that Neville didn't qualify for an herbology school was even more ridiculous than being rejected from the Auror program. Harry was livid that Umbridge had succeeded in crushing his spirit so easily.
"What now?" Harry said, turning to Ron whose anger had melted into sympathy.
Ron could only shrug.
After the disappointment of the letter he had received earlier that morning that had summarily crushed all of Harry's hopes and dreams, he and Ron decided to make a visit to the Burrow. Mrs. Weasley's cooking always seemed to help cheer up the pair of them.
Harry slowly chewed a bite of treacle tart, his favorite, but couldn't quite bring himself to enjoy it fully. Ron ate enthusiastically, chasing each half-chewed swallow with a gulp of pumpkin juice.
"Cheer up, mate." He said encouragingly, taking another bite. "Yew-cou-ahway-bee-ah-po-fessinal -seeker?" Ron managed to say through a mouthful.
"Don't talk with your mouth full!" Mrs. Weasley scorned him as she batted him gently with a rolled up copy of Witch Weekly that she had been reading. Ron recoiled looking indignant. Harry snickered a bit, surprised that with a mother like Mrs. Weasley that his poor manners had managed to follow him into adulthood.
Harry rested his head in his hand, eyeing the remnants of his tart thoughtfully. "I was thinking maybe I'll go to Romania with Draco."
Mrs. Weasley scoffed audibly with her back turned. Harry saw her straighten up as she realized her slip up. She smiled at them in an attempt to cover up her reaction and left the room to avoid any more embarrassment. Ron watched her with a blank stare as she walked out. "Are you mad, too? I expect that kind of nonsense from Malfoy, but you? I thought you were rid of that Dark Half potion nonsense?" He suddenly snapped out of his reverie and verbally attacked Harry from across the table.
Harry looked back up at him nonplussed. "I am, I am." The memory of his last year at Hogwarts was still very fresh in his mind. He had been tricked into taking a potion that gradually brought out his own dark side. He'd even ended up in Slytherin. Although, if it hadn't been for the potion, he and Draco might not have found each other. " What else can I do, though?" Harry asked to no one in particular, addressing the room at large. "At least I would be with Draco. At least I could still hunt the bad guys."
With a deafening cracking noise George apparated noisily into the kitchen. He spotted Ron and Harry at the table and regarded them with open arms. "Boys!" He exclaimed, as he sat down and palmed three of the last four tarts. He straightened the lapel of his hideously red, velvet suit jacket.
that jacket clashes horribly with your
You!" Ron exclaimed, holding his hands up over his eyes to shield himself from the sight. George looked at him, bemusedly as he took a bite of tart.
"I'll have you know this is the finest silk, hippogriff fur-lined jacket Madam Malkin's has to offer!" George opened the jacket to display the tawny fur, but Ron didn't see as he kept his hand up and he took the last tart. "Didn't she have it in any other colors?" Ron continued.
George drew his lips into a fine line and decided to ignore Ron entirely. His only choice of attention, instead, was Harry. "Why the long face, Potter?" George asked with a characteristically goofy grin. "Find out glasses and lightning bolt scars aren't fashionable anymore?" He took another bite of the tart looking thoroughly amused with himself.
"Umbridge rejected me from the Auror program." Harry said flatly.
" George replied, his face falling as well. "That's a hard-shit."
"GEORGE!" Mrs. Weasley shouted disapprovingly from the next room.
"Sorry, mum." He said, rolling his eyes and not sounding at all genuinely sorry.
George remained silent a few more moments as Ron downed the rest of his snack. He looked casually down at the tart in his hand as he spoke again. "You could always come work for me." He grinned mischievously. "Merlin knows you've got enough experience with the product to be able to sell it convincingly."
Harry couldn't help but crack a smile. "Thanks mate." He offered George his hand to shake from across the table. "I'll think about it."
"Anytime." George responded genuinely standing up and brushing off his jacket of any pastry crumbs.
Another loud crack echoed through the room. Only this time it was Hermione who appeared before them. Without wasting a second she charged excitedly towards them. "You'll never guess what I found in the library!"
George groaned audibly and rolled his eyes again. "Well, as much as I'd love to hear more about Granger's recent adventures at the library break time's over." He shrugged his shoulders, uncovincingly feigning disappointment. "Gotta go!" He brought his index and middle finger to his forehead in a salute as he apparated back out again leaving the three of them alone in the kitchen.
Hermione didn't even wait for George to disappear entirely before rushing back into her tirade about the library. "I did some research into Magical Law
which was really helpful to get experience researching legal text for school this fall
and it turns out that Umbridge, the Minister of Magic, actually doesn't have any authority over the approval of academic applications. The Ministry at least had the good sense at some point to realize that giving that power to a single person was a bad idea."
"Go figure." Ron muttered under his breath.
"Then how did she
" Harry started to asked, but was immediately interrupted.
"She must have had any letters from the lot of us intercepted. Doesn't want to have to deal with any of us anymore I imagine, but it's not her place to decide." Hermione explained with her typical unfaltering logic.
"That wretched, pig-nosed, vile, frog-breathed
"RON!" Hermione and Mrs. Weasley yelled in concert with one another, cutting Ron off before he could throw in any curses.
Harry laced his eyebrows together high on his forehead. "So, what do we do?" He asked, now sitting on the edge of his seat in anticipation of the solution he was sure Hermione had already developed.
"I've already sent an owl to Kingsley. He'll be here in the morning to take you AND Neville to see Umbridge and the Head of the Department of Magical Education tomorrow. He's a member of the Board of Magical Education who actually evaluates all of the applications." She nodded looking as pleased with herself as ever.
"Unlike frog-breath who only sabotages them." Ron mumbled with no disagreement from either Harry or Hermione.
"And Neville?" Harry prompted again
"Sent him an owl, too."
They all paused. Harry smiled appreciatively at Hermione. "What would we do without you?" Hermione smiled at the implied compliment.
"I don't even want to think about it
" Ron lamented.