The first day of school had arrived yet again.
The students were unusually awake this year, buzzing about the previous night’s Sorting and constructing all sorts of wild tales. After all, it had been thirteen years since anyone had been placed in Slytherin.
As I passed the green-clothed table, I nodded to the solitary figure picking at her toast and received a weak grin in return. This set off a new round of whispering.
Sirius Black gave a large wave and beckoned for me to sit beside him at the staff table. I’m not certain why we kept him on as the Muggle Studies professor after the war. I don’t think he’s ever met a Muggle that he wasn’t murdering.
People said that Black was a spy for Dumbledore, but I’m not so sure about that. It seems like the old man had an awful lot of spies: Sirius, Severus, Hagrid…
I’m pretty sure Lucius Malfoy wasn’t a spy for Dumbledore, but he got off, too.
I avoided Sirius’s gaze, still uneasy about his wild and unpredictable temperament, and he moved on to a closer target: Headmaster Snape.
I, instead, took a seat between Minerva McGonagall and Ginevra, our History of Magic professor.
The Weasley took the post after Binns passed on twelve years ago. It was completely unexpected, and, after so many years of his abysmal teaching, no one was really qualified for the job. Luckily, Ginevra had lesson plans and everything.
Many assume that Binns’s unfinished business had something to do with Voldemort’s demise. That seemed strange to me, since he was teaching for generations before I came along. Maybe he just longed to see one last war.
In all likelihood, he wanted something inane that no one else would have noticed.
Ginevra held up the Prophet, exclaiming, “Hermione won!”
“Of course she did. Hermione would never let anything get in the way of her ruthless ambition.”
Hermione, upon graduation, returned to the Department of Mysteries. After our adventures, however, she began to find the work unfulfilling and returned to her childhood dream of becoming the Dark Lady of Wizarding Britain.
Her husband Ron became a Werewolf Rights activist. Of course, there was a terrible scandal a few years ago, when it turned out that he wasn’t actually a werewolf and had been lying to us all. I, for one, was shocked.
Ginevra leaned over to straighten my tie and remarked, “Looks like Neville got engaged to another princess.”
Ah, yes, my apprentice: A man lauded as the next Gilderoy Lockhart.
I tapped my wand against my chin. “Is he still fighting Dark Lords in Albania?”
Ginevra shrugged. “Hard to say. It’s a Skeeter article, and Neville refuses to comment. Aside from mentioning that you were his teacher, of course.”
At a table below, a young Gryffindor disappeared behind the latest edition of the Quibbler, and I reminisced about Luna, who set off in search of Atlantis some years ago, never to be seen again.
Some say that she found the lost city.
I prefer to believe that she’s dead because that excuses her for never writing.
As for me, well, everyone always knew where I would end up…
The First Years peered around my classroom, which was decorated with souvenirs from my various victories, my Order of Merlin, a drowsing Nagini, and a phoenix tensed for attack. As minutes slowly passed by, they grew increasingly anxious.
The Finch-Flechley girl, idly tugging at her braided hair, remarked, “We should just leave.”
“We can’t do that,” Adrian Pucey Jr. protested.
She sniffed disdainfully, adjusting her glasses. “If he can’t be bothered to show up, then why should we?”
“He’s probably just running late! If we run off, then we’ll lose a ton of points.”
“Rose isn’t here,” Zabini said. “Do you think she knows something we don’t?”
The newest Malfoy clone yawned, reluctantly lifting his head from the table. “She’s sick.”
“Really? I’ve heard she’s too afraid to show her face after last night,” Finch-Flechley purred.
Malfoy glared. “She is sick.”
“I bet she’s crying her eyes out right now. I certainly would be, if I were her…”
The blond leapt to his feet, wand in hand. “Shut up, Finch.”
She drew her own wand. “Finch? Is that really the best you can do?”
“Sorry, I couldn’t think of anything stupider than your name.”
The few giggling students were silenced by Finch-Flechley’s glare. “Listen here, you simpering, Slytherin-wannabe –”
Her wand began to glow with a spell, so I accioed it, along with the Malfoy’s holly one. The students watched, awed by my sudden appearance.
“P-Professor!” Finch-Flechley said. “I didn’t see you there.”
“Of course not. I was invisible. I’m always invisible. And watching you.”
The students simultaneously shuddered. I sighed. “I’m very disappointed in you both for fighting like this.”
Malfoy said, “But, Professor Potter –”
“Thirty points from Gryffindor for this outrageous spectacle,” I finished.
The two traded a confused look, earlier enmity forgotten. The girl said, “We’re Hufflepuffs.”
I raised a finger to my lips. “Shhhh. Nobody needs to know that.”
“This is the Hufflepuff class,” Pucey said.
I raised an eyebrow. “The Hufflepuff and Slytherin class.”
“Well, yeah, but Rose is out,” one of the Muggleborns said.
“She’s sick,” Malfoy added.
I gestured towards the right half of the classroom. “Take a seat.”
“Do we have to sit on the Hufflepuff side, sir?” Pucey asked as they squeezed onto the benches.
I frowned, surveying the class. Hufflepuff had benefited from Slytherin’s fall, swelling to one and a half times its original size and becoming the largest Hogwarts house. In a few years, they might even have a chance at the Cup.
“I suppose not,” I said. “I must warn you, however, that traveling to the Slytherin side may be considered traitorous to your house. Who’s first?”
Zabini moved reluctantly, yet, soon, the group was equally split. In fairness, it was very crowded.
“That was a clever idea, Mr. Pucey. Fifty points to Ravenclaw!”
While my system isn’t perfect, it’s still fairer than what Snape used to do.
Fawkes landed on my shoulder as I said, “I have yet to formally welcome you all to Defense Against the Dark Arts with Professor Potter. Some of you may know me as Harry Potter, the man who defeated the Dark Lord Voldemort. If you do not know me, I’m Harry Potter. I defeated Voldemort.”
There were a few appreciative murmurs, although not nearly as many as I had once received. Time, it seemed, had dulled the grandeur of my achievements. These children had only known peace.
I continued, “Now, on to our lesson: The basilisk has gone mad, attacking everyone regardless of blood status. Merely to gaze into its eyes means immediate death. Zabini, WHAT DO YOU DO?”
Zabini’s black eyes widened in panic. “Wh-what?”
I paused. The correct answer was to use a mirror to Petrify yourself. Though this does nothing to defeat the basilisk, that’s already a lost cause, and at least you’re safe. Perhaps that was too advanced for our first class. Turning to Pucey, I said, “The Merpeople drag you into the Lake –”
Pucey wrinkled his brow in a very Weasley fashion. “Merpeople very rarely venture towards the surface. Why would they attack someone on land?”
I waved his concerns aside. “They want some sort of inexplicable vengeance. You try to ask them about it, but water floods your mouth before you can say a word. The last of your air is gone.”
Finch-Flechley regarded me coldly from behind her glasses. “This is stupid. None of this will ever happen.”
“You want something more mundane? Fine,” I snapped. “You, Finch-Flechley, fall from the moving staircase. You have the next three seconds before your neck snaps on the stone below.”
The girl gaped. “That actually happened?”
“The last incident was in May. Mr. Abbott saved himself, but you just used your _three seconds to ask a question…Does _anyone else know what to do?”
A timid redhead raised her hand. “The Levitation Charm, maybe?”
“Very good, Miss…?”
“Puttock, sir,” she whispered.
I nodded. “Do any of you know how to perform the Levitation Charm?”
Puttock’s hand darted downwards, and only a few other students rose theirs. I said, “Then I suppose we’ll have to learn it, won’t we?”
The Hufflepuffs nodded, some more eagerly than others.
I shall spend the rest of eternity as the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts. Of course, I would have to explain my immortality to avoid the inevitable rumors…and, first, I should ensure that I am actually immortal.
Come to think of it, whatever did happen to the Philosopher’s Stone?
As I weaved through my students, helping the clumsier ones with their wandwork, I decided to subtly inquire about the artifact.
“So, Snape, whatever did happen to the Philosopher’s Stone?”
Severus regarded me from across the Headmaster’s desk. “It is in the Mirror of Erised. Apparently, you can only get it out if you don’t want it. But everyone does because it makes you immortal. Even if we don’t tell them what it is, they still want it because we asked them to get it.”
I frowned. “Did you try getting a student to do it?”
Hm. That hardly counted, since I was actively out to steal the Stone, at the time.
My eyes trailed across the office, now devoid of spinning knickknacks and well-polished candy bowls. The visitor’s chair had clearly received a Discomfort Charm or two, and even the old Headmasters’ portraits had worn around the edges after increasingly vicious attempts to tear them from the walls. Dumbledore watched us with a knowing gleam in his eyes, and, on a shelf below him, the Sorting Hat leaned forward to better eavesdrop.
Severus interrupted my thoughtful silence. “Not one day under your care, and Miss Weasley has already started skipping classes. I’m not sure why I’m surprised.”
I said, “Frankly, I’m not even sure why you made me the Head of Slytherin.”
“Because you are the only Slytherin on staff.”
“I’m a Gryffindor.”
Severus raised an eyebrow. “Potter, even the Hat thinks you are a Slytherin, and the Hat doesn’t think _anyone _is a Slytherin.”
I snorted. “It’s clearly screwing with us. Hat, what house does Snape belong in?”
The Sorting Hat’s face crumpled into a wide smile. “Severus Snape is a true Gryffindor.”
“I very much agree,” Dumbledore’s portrait said.
Severus tossed a Silencing Spell over his shoulder, while Dumbledore ducked into Phineas Nigellus Black’s frame.
Come to think of it, it had been a while since I’d checked in on my most active Horcrux. I held out my hand. “Accio Sorting Hat.”
I grasped the Hat and deposited it atop my head. “So, how’s it going?”
He hummed thoughtfully, inwardly remarking. “Better than you’d think. I pretty much have everything I’ve ever wanted: immortality, a place at Hogwarts, the ability to manipulate the destinies of children…”
“Yes, about that.”
The Hat’s fabric curled upwards to mimic a raised eyebrow, a deeply disconcerting movement for something pressed against my forehead. “You have a problem with the way I, the Sorting Hat, have been Sorting?”
I chuckled uneasily. Why must I be so brilliant and impossible to manipulate? “No, not at all. It’s just that this whole Slytherin thing is getting a little ridiculous. It made sense just after the war, when no one wanted to go to Slytherin, but –”
The Hat shivered with fury. “I gave you the Weasley girl. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM ME?”
“More of them,” I said simply.
“Then send me more Slytherins. We have standards, now. I’ve mentioned it in every song for the past thirteen years.”
“Yes, I recall. Those parts don’t rhyme very well.”
The Sorting Hat spat, “I’d like to see you rhyme with cleansing.”
He had me there, and we both knew it. I turned to Severus, who alternated between attending to paperwork and sneering in our direction. “We should probably stop before Snape destroys his office again.”
The Sorting Hat cajoled, “Let’s hold off for a while. I do so love to torment him until he hexes me.”
“Do those actually affect you?” I asked.
“Not at all, but there’s no sense in encouraging him to find something that will.”
We shared a good laugh about that, loudly, before I sent him back to his shelf with a flick of my hand.
“He really is quite delightful,” I informed a glowering Severus.
“Feel free to take him with you on your way out,” he said dourly. “Additionally, inform Ginevra that her new lesson plan has been rejected by the Board.”
I scowled. “Why should I have to tell her?”
“Potter, the two of you have been dating for over a decade.”
I frowned. “Wait, really? Oh…that explains a lot. I don’t suppose you could promise not to tell anyone that I didn’t know that?”
“I don’t have casual conversation with anyone, Potter.”
“Except for me,” I said. Dumbledore’s portrait smiled at this pronouncement, giving me a thumbs up.
“No,” Severus said. “I only brought you in here today to discuss the many complaints you’ve earned…”
“Like you have any room to talk. You got a dozen complaints a week when you were a professor, and those were just mine,” I said.
Save for a twitch of the eye, Severus ignored me. “…at which point you started shouting about the Philosopher’s Stone.”
The fireplace flared up, and Fawkes beat his wings at it to establish dominance.
Hermione and Ron stepped into my office, still wearing the brightly-colored suits that were so popular in the modern Ministry of Magic. The phoenix ignored the new arrivals in favor of glaring at the defiant flames, while I welcomed them with a cheerful, “Congratulations on conquering Wizarding Britain, Hermione!”
“I was elected, Harry,” Hermione said.
“Sure you were” - I winked - “I’m certain there wasn’t any coercion involved at all.”
She frowned, ceding my point. “Well, I suppose that depends on your definition of ‘coercion.’ This is politics.”
Sensing the danger this conversation held to his wife’s thin veneer as a “Light” witch, Ron interrupted us. “It was good hearing you’d finally asked Ginny to marry you.”
Hermione beamed. “Oh, yes! Honestly, I was starting to think your relationship was entirely one-sided.”
Ron slung an arm around Hermione’s shoulder. “But I told her, ‘Mione, even Harry isn’t that dense. Don’t go putting your nose in it.’”
“Yes, of course, I’m terribly grateful,” I said hurriedly. “I’ll admit that I was surprised to see you two for this parent-teacher conference. I don’t think we’ve ever had one of these that wasn’t a front for a Death Eater attack.”
As an afterthought, I checked their identities with a covert spell.
Hermione raised her chin haughtily, declaring, “Well, we could hardly send Rose off to school without checking up on her, particularly given the circumstances.”
“‘Sides, you’re our friend, so it’s not all that bad,” Ron said. “I wouldn’t have gone back to Snape’s office for anything.”
Hermione elbowed his side, sent him a dark glare, then turned back to me with a deceptively innocent smile. I led the couple to my desk, gesturing for them to sit in the child-sized chairs. At Hermione’s unamused look, I transfigured one of them into a throne more befitting her current status.
“I imagine it’s quite difficult to let go of your power, even for such a short visit,” I commiserated. After all, a lack of supervision had been the death of many a Dark Lord and Lady’s once-successful campaigns.
“Oh, no,” Hermione said. “It’s more difficult getting time off for Ron than me.”
Ron grinned. “Can’t get away during the full moon. You know how it is, mate.”
Hermione continued, “My secretary is perfectly capable of handling things for a few hours.”
“Ah, yes, how is Malfoy?” I inquired.
“Still a bit upset that his son is a Hufflepuff,” she admitted, “but I think he’s taken some comfort in the fact that he’s one of the Slytherin Hufflepuffs.”
“At least Scorpius gets to be the minion of a real Slytherin,” I said.
“About that” - Hermione bit down on her lip but released it a moment later, likely Malfoy’s influence - “I know a decent amount about Rose’s life, of course. She sends plenty of letters, but I’m just not entirely sure…I don’t suppose you could tell me…”
“How’s she doing?” Ron interrupted. Hermione laughed softly, gesturing for me to answer his question.
“Perfectly fine, under the circumstances,” I said. “She’s been gaining influence, asserting her power, preparing her lair -”
“Lair?” Hermione said weakly. The couple seemed rather pale, though that was likely because I had chosen a gloomy, prophecy-lighted ambiance over windows.
“The Slytherin dorms. It’s built to house hundreds. She’s already setting traps…”
“…and we’re in negotiations for a possible sleep-over,” I finished.
Hermione smiled. “Well, that sounds nice. It would be good to get her around other children outside of classes, especially when she lacks the innate bonding of the house system.”
Ron leaned back in his tiny chair, forehead wrinkled and Weasley eyes squinted. “What do you do when she gets in trouble?”
“Why would she possibly be getting in trouble?” Hermione said sharply.
He shrugged. “Dunno. Just wondering. I mean, there’s not much use taking points since she’s the only Slytherin and all…”
“Rose actually does have a fairly decent chance at the Cup,” I said.
Hermione blinked. “I’m sorry?”
“It turns out that most students end up with a negative number of points but are dragged up by the outliers. Rose is one of the outliers, without the dead weight.”
“But she’s still only one student,” Hermione said.
I smirked. “Also, Snape still favors Slytherin.”
“‘Course he does,” Ron muttered darkly.
“For the moment, she’s coping well,” I continued. “My main concern is next year, when she’ll have to be the Slytherin Quidditch team.”
“…Then, as the Leaving Feast is just about to begin, I will give you exactly as many points as you need to win,” I finished as we crept, invisibly, around McGonagall’s chess board. The pieces knew that we were there, but they lacked the intelligence to find us.
Rose shook her head. “I don’t want that. Everyone will hate me.”
I sighed. “What do you want then?”
Rose looked up at me, her eyes shining. “I want to find the room that gives you everything you want.”
The Room of Requirement had long since joined Hogwarts’ many legends. “That can be arranged.”
With a Flame-Freezing charm, we passed into the final room of Dumbledore’s maze. I gestured towards the mirror.
Rose straightened her back as she approached it, yet her composure fell when she saw her reflection. “I’m with some of the Hufflepuffs, at the Slytherin Table. We’re laughing and talking and…We’re all wearing green!”
“Weasley, focus!” I snapped.
She shook her head, forcibly jarring herself from the enchantment. With renewed determination, Rose set about trying to steal the Philosopher’s Stone, as I did at her age.
I checked the time.
While waiting, I created a throne out of McGonagall’s chess pieces. There was still a bit of life to them, but the twitching of spears and swords kept me from becoming too bored.
Rose had begun threatening the mirror in increasingly creative ways. While I suspected her mother would disapprove of such blatant tactics, she would no doubt applaud her vocabulary.
I finished the last of my grading, tucking the papers into a corner where they would hopefully be safe from Rose’s barrage of hexes.
“Dobby,” I called. “Get us lunch.”
He fetched us the Malfoys’ latest cuisine and served it on their silver, occasionally impaling himself on my throne.
“I GIVE UP!” Rose yelled, still glaring at the mirror. She had, I thought fondly, found her first nemesis.
“I suppose we could take a short break,” I said.
“No,” she said. “No breaks. I’m done. This is stupid.”
I raised an eyebrow. “But what about the room that gives you everything you want?”
“I don’t care anymore. I am never _looking at this bloody mirror again,” she hissed. “_That is the only thing I want right now!”
With that, Rose’s hand fell into her robes pocket and a smirk curled across her Weasley face. She pulled out a glinting, red stone and held it triumphantly in the air. “Hah! Got it.”
“Very good,” I said, bringing it into my possession with a lazy gesture. “One of the trials is hidden in the Fifth Year Slytherin Girl’s Dormitory. It should provide clues to find the others.”
The girl sprinted away, eager to begin her latest quest. Of course, the Flame- Freezing Charm had worn off, and she had no way to escape the room. It occurred to me that I should probably help her before she accidentally (or, more likely, intentionally) destroyed the castle.
Passing the object that had once guarded a chance at immortality, I glanced at my reflection. I gave a jaunty wave to my other self and shared a grin with him. It seemed that, with the loss of the Philosopher’s Stone, whatever magic Dumbledore had worked on the artifact had disappeared.
It was only a mirror now.
A/N: And so it comes to an end (barring omakes).
Thanks to: My brother, for coming up with this brilliant idea and contributing many a bizarre plot point. My other brother, for keeping us grounded in the land of sanity and having the idea that spawned our Trelawney-as-a-Death Eater plot. My readers here and at Spacebattles, for their beautiful, wonderful insanity, writing several omakes, and leaving thousands of comments, favs, and follows. And, of course, myself, for actually writing the damned thing. :)< Previous Next >