A Righteous Man
A/N: Disclaimer, spoilers, author’s notes, etc., are at the beginning of chapter 1.
Professor McGonagall gasped, “I’ve got to contact every student who didn’t come to Hogwarts, arrange for a new start of school, replace the teacher for Muggle Studies, and get a new head of Gryffindor House before Monday! And that’s assuming Severus will be willing to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts and I can keep teaching Transfiguration until I find a replacement.”
Willow suggested, “Our witch on station can fill in for your Muggle Studies teacher if you have any old syllabi to work from, and our Slayer can help with Defense Against the Dark Arts if you want.”
Harry immediately said, “If Snape doesn’t want to teach DADA, you can ask Remus. If I support him, I’m sure we can get people to let him teach.”
Hermione pointed out, “Unless the Slayer wants to Slay him.”
Buffy asked, “Why? Who’s Remiss? Is he another vamp?”
Ron said, “Werewolf.”
Buffy asked in her usual American way, “Good werewolf, or one of those hang-with-evil-guy-and-eat-babies guys?”
Harry insisted, “Good. And he’s a friend of mine.”
“Oh. Okay,” Buffy shrugged blithely.
Willow smiled at him, “We like werewolves. I used to date one.” Harry and Ginny just looked at each other, both wondering how these Americans could be so bizarre.
Ginny said, “I bet Luna can help me catch up on everything I missed. And you guys really didn’t miss anything in DADA, since Carrow was teaching it as ‘dark arts’ with no ‘defense’ part.”
Harry suddenly groaned, “And I think I’m probably going to be expected to play politician and try to straighten out the mess at the Ministry!”
Buffy just gave him a smirk. She pulled out her cell phone and said, “I’ll just call Giles and get the New Council on that one for you.”
Professor McGonagall calmly pointed out, “Your little fellytone won’t work here.”
Buffy grinned at her, “Willow’s phones work everywhere.” She flipped it to speakerphone so everyone could hear.
The phone buzzed, and Ginny could hear an older British voice say, “Yes Buffy? What is it?”
Buffy said, “Hey Giles, everything’s done here. Big Bad beaten, minions munched, we got those giants you were worried about, and we found Willow’s vanishing Slayer. You were right. She’s been fighting Moldyshorts since she got her Slay on. But Voldy got his hooks in the whole Ministry of Magic, so she’s got some clean-up problems. Can we get the Council on that?”
Giles calmly said, “We’re already dealing with that particular crisis, although indirectly. With the information Willow gathered, the intelligence Faith acquired, and the information from some MI-5 deep cover agents, we had enough facts to persuade the Prime Minister to authorize a score of American and French Aurors to sweep through the Ministry and clean up the people who hadn’t been handled at Hogwarts.”
Harry leaned forward and said, “You need to make sure they get Dolores Umbridge. The woman’s committed multiple crimes in front of several of us, on top of the crimes she committed at the Ministry. And Pius Thicknesse is probably under an Imperius Curse, so he may not be responsible for his actions.”
Hermione asked, “How could you have possibly convinced anyone to come in and help like that?”
Giles admitted, “The New Council and MI-5 already had three agents working inside the Ministry of Magic, reporting on the internal crisis. Unfortunately, one of them is now in St. Mungo’s after getting caught letting the foreign Aurors into the Ministry. A young man named, umm, Percival Weasley, I believe.”
Ginny smacked her forehead in frustration. She didn’t think about the fact that if she had hit anyone else that hard, she could have fractured their skull.
Ron muttered, “I’m gonna kill that jerk. Treating mum and dad and Harry like that just for some stupid spy thing?”
Hermione nudged him and said, “Ron, Percy’s a hero. Think about it from his side. He’s going to need your family a lot more, now.”
Ron squeezed Hermione’s hand and smiled, “I was thinking more like our
“Oh, Ron!” She kissed him warmly. They kept kissing. Faith made a lewd whistle, but they kept kissing.
Ginny had been waiting for ages for Ron to ask Hermione to marry him, but this was too much. She waited a while, and when they just didn’t stop, she finally fussed, “Get a room!”
Ron barely lifted his lips off Hermione’s to say, “Great idea.”
“MISTER WEASLEY!” fumed Professor McGonagall. “You will do no such thing!”
Hermione hastily separated herself from Ron. Ron let her and grinned, “Professor, do you really think my future wife is going to let me get away with anything like that?”
Hermione kissed him on the cheek at that. Then she took him by the hand and said, “I’m taking you up to the hospital wing is where I’m taking you. We’re going to have someone trained
look at that shoulder.”
Professor McGonagall watched the two of them, still holding hands, walk off toward the castle. She said, “I’m not sure that I trust Mister Weasley’s instincts at the moment, but I do trust Miss Granger to do what is appropriate.”
Ginny asked, “You do know she’s been trying to hook him for about three years now?”
Professor McGonagall gave her a smug smile and said, “Five years. At least five years.” At Ginny’s surprised look, she added, “It’s not as if I ignore what my Gryffindors get up to. It’s just that sometimes I turn a blind eye to certain kinds of activities.” Ginny couldn’t help turning and looking at Harry. Professor McGonagall looked at her and continued, “As long as the individuals follow all house rules and remain discreet.”
Ginny managed not to wince.
Professor McGonagall turned her head. “Mister Potter, would you consider assisting in DADA, since you seem to have a knack for teaching the subject?”
Ginny didn’t ask how Professor McGonagall knew that Harry had taught their friends all those spells in his fifth year.
He just groaned, “Yes, headmistress.”
She looked at his face and had a good idea what he was thinking. After all, it wasn’t as if he didn’t have anything else to do with his time: seventh year was for N.E.W.T.s. And Harry would have to work with Snape for the class. Ugh.
Ginny was glad she had already fetched the half-blood prince’s potions book. Harry was going to want it so he could stay on top of Potions. Teaching DADA had to be a lot more work than taking it.
Professor McGonagall and Professor Slughorn led everyone except the Slayers on guard duty back to the castle. Professor McGonagall led them into the Great Hall and said, “If anyone is hungry, we can get some food.”
Ginny suddenly realized she was ravenous. And pretty much every Slayer in the room announced they were hungry too. Ginny said, “Umm, Professor McGonagall, you’d better set a table with food for sixty, because Slayers eat like you’re about to perform an evanesco
on the entire kitchen.”
Willow looked up at the ceiling and said, “Ooh! What a cool illusion!”
Faith looked up and said, “Classy.”
Buffy said, “Nice. Bet it’s not so swell when you have lightning storms outside.”
While half the Slayers were outside on ‘guard duty’, the other half were in with Ginny and her friends, staring at empty tables.
Faith plopped down next to Ginny and asked, “So how’s this work? You have servants or somethin’? ‘Cause I gotta tell you, gettin’ Slayers ta cook and dish up and clean after is like tryin’ ta get tigers ta brush their teeth and cut down on the between-meal snacks.”
Hermione grumbled, “House elves. Hogwarts has the most house elves in Britain. And they’re treated like slaves
Ginny said, “Sort of. They’re loyal and they just want to work all the time, except Dobby, but all the other house elves think he’s crazy.”
Right then, the table transformed. Plates and bowls of food appeared all along its length. Sandwiches and cold meats and vegetable platters and desserts.
“Hey, I want those!”
Willow said, “Wow, that’s a pretty impressive transposition. Is there a matching table directly underneath, or off in a side room?”
Hermione said, “That’s exactly it. The kitchen is downstairs underneath us, and the house elves load up all the tables. Then they use their own magic to do the transposition, and afterward they reverse the effect and they do the clean-up. And they have no wages and no days off! They’re slaves! And Wizarding Britain just lets it happen!”
While Willow and Hermione got into a deep discussion about house elf rights and then stuff about breaking the Watchers’ Slayer-blood spell so Hermione could get her family back again, Ginny spotted Buffy stepping over to talk to Professor McGonagall. Ginny sort of listened in.
Buffy asked, “So you have these Squib guys who don’t fit into your world, right?”
Professor McGonagall frowned, “Unfortunately, yes.”
Buffy said, “Well, they know about magic and the supernatural already, and some of them are probably pretty smart. We could use some people like that as Watchers or Council staff. And Willow thinks maybe some of them might be able to learn earth or nature magic, which aren’t like your wand magic, but it would give them something. Maybe something really important to them.”
Professor McGonagall pursed her lips and thought. She finally said, “I think we need to talk to families on an individual basis. But for people like Argus and Arabella, this could be a very good thing. Let me talk to some sympathetic people I know in the Ministry, and we can work on this.”
Ginny kept eating, but Faith suddenly dropped her knife and fork and said, “Done. I gotta go.”
Hermione asked, “Why? What’s wrong?”
Faith said, “I got that down-low itch, ya know.”
What? What on earth was Faith talking about? Half the other Slayers groaned, so Ginny guessed they all knew. She’d have to ask somebody after she was done eating.
Faith grabbed a couple tarts and dashed out of the hall.
Ginny watched her sprint between the tables and out the doors. “Where’s she off to?”
Vi just groaned, “Don’t ask. I mean, really. Don’t ask.”