A/N: Excerpts from the book is in italics. Hope you enjoy reading!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
O. were nearing for the fifth year students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It was Easter break already and the students were frantically cramming for their upcoming exams as well as trying to do the homework that the teachers had piled upon them. As though to underline the importance of their upcoming examinations, a batch of pamphlets, leaflets and notices concerning various wizarding careers appeared on the tables of all the House common rooms, shortly before the end of the holidays, along with yet another notice on the boards, which read:
"All fifth years are required to attend a short meeting with the Head of their House during the first week of the summer term to discuss their future careers. Times of the individual appointments are listed below:"
Harry Potter, a fifth year Gryffindor, found that he was expected in Professor McGonagall's at half-past two on Monday, which would mean missing most of Divination. He and the other fifth years spent a considerable part of the final weekend of the Easter Break reading all the career information left their for their perusal.
The Monday of his scheduled appointment with Professor McGonagall was a very bad one for Harry, what with Hermione's constant lecture during History of Magic, and enduring Snape's vindictiveness during Potions. He was in such a bad mood by the time he got to Divination that he had quite forgotten his careers appointment with Professor McGonagall, remembering only when Ron asked him why he wasn't in her office. He hurtled back upstairs and arrived out of breath, only a few minutes late.
"Sorry Professor. I forgot." He panted, as he closed the door.
"No matter, Potter." She said briskly, but as she spoke, somebody else sniffed from the corner. Harry looked round. Professor Umbridge was sitting there, a clipboard on her knee, a fussy little pie-frill around her neck and a small, horribly smug smile on her face.
"Sit down, Potter," said Professor McGonagall tersely. Her hands shook slightly as she shuffled the many pamphlets littering her desk.
Harry sat down with his back to Umbridge and did his best to pretend he could not hear the scratching of her quill on her clipboard.
"Well, Potter, this meeting is to talk over any career ideas you might have, and to help you decide which subjects you should continue into the sixth and seventh years," said Professor McGonagall. "Have you had any thoughts about what you would like to do after you leave Hogwarts?"
Harry thought for a moment to answer honestly about wanting to be an Auror. But with Umbridge present, he was sure that she would sabotage any chances he would have in getting the job. So with a pleading look to Professor McGonagall Harry tilted his head slightly signalling he was unwilling to talk about it in front of Umbridge. He then got a mischievous look as a plan came to his mind and he hoped that Professor McGonagall got the hint.
"Er-" said Harry.
He was finding the scratching noise from behind him very distracting.
"Yes?" Professor McGonagall prompted Harry.
"Well, I thought of, maybe, becoming the Minister for Magic!" Harry said as he winked at his Head of House.
Harry heard Professor Umbridge's horrified gasp. Professor McGonagall's lips twitched slightly and tilted her head to show that she understood and was going to play along. Harry let out a silent sigh of relief.
"Well, Potter, you have two options in front of you if your final goal is to become the Minister for Magic. You would either have to work in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement or You would have to hold a seat in the Wizengamot." Professor McGonagall said as if it was normal for students to say that they wanted to become the Minister for Magic.
"If you would want to go through a political route, you can get elected by the wizengamot. As your ancestor, Ralston Potter and your great-grandfather Henry Potter members, you have a good chance of being accepted to the wizengamot. Not to mention that your status as the Boy- Who- Lived and the defeater of You-Know-Who at the age of 1 and being the reason for ending the wizarding war, I am sure you have a 99% of getting into the Wizengamot."
"If you would want to go through the DMLE route, I would suggest becoming an auror first." When Harry nodded with a serious look, Professor McGonagall understood that Harry's primary choice for a career had been an Auror and decided to expound on that without clueing Umbridge into what was happening.
"You'd need top grades for that," said Professor McGonagall, extracting a small, dark leaflet from under the mass on her desk and opening it. "They ask for a minimum of five NEWTs, and nothing under 'Exceeds Expectations' grade, I see. Then you would be required to undergo a stringent series of character and aptitude tests at the Auror office. It's a difficult career path, Potter, they only take the best. In fact, I don't think anybody has been taken on in the last three years."
At this moment, Professor Umbridge gave a very tiny cough, as though she was trying to see how quietly she could do it.
Professor McGonagall ignored her. "You'll want to know which subjects you ought to take, I suppose?" she went on, talking a little louder than before.
"Yes," said Harry. "Defense Against the Dark Arts, I suppose?"
"Naturally," said Professor McGonagall crisply. "I would also advise -"
Professor Umbridge gave another cough, a little more audible this time.
Professor McGonagall closed her eyes for a moment, opened them again, and continued as though nothing had happened. "I would also advise Transfiguration, because Aurors frequently need to Transfigure or Untransfigure in their work. And I ought to tell you now, Potter, that I do not accept students into my NEWT classes unless they have achieved 'Exceeds Expectations' or higher at Ordinary Wizarding Level. I'd say you're averaging 'Acceptable' at the moment, so you'll need to put in some good hard work before the exams to stand a chance of continuing. Then you ought to do Charms, always useful, and Potions. Yes, Potter, Potions," she added, with the merest flicker of a smile. "Poisons and antidotes are essential study for Aurors. And I must tell you that Professor Snape absolutely refuses to take students who get anything other than 'Outstanding' in their OWLs, so -"
Professor Umbridge gave her most pronounced cough yet. "May I offer you a cough drop, Dolores?" Professor McGonagall asked curtly, without looking at Professor Umbridge.
"Oh, no, thank you very much," said Umbridge, with that simpering laugh Harry hated so much. "I just wondered whether I could make the teensiest interruption, Minerva?"
"I daresay you'll find you can," said Professor McGonagall through tightly gritted teeth.
"I was just wondering whether Mr. Potter has quite the temperament for an Auror and becoming the Minister?" said Professor Umbridge sweetly.
"Were you?" said Professor McGonagall haughtily. "Well, Potter," she continued, as though there had been no interruption, "I would advise you to concentrate hard on bringing your Transfiguration and Potions up to scratch. I see Professor Flitwick has graded you between 'Acceptable' and 'Exceeds Expectations' for the last two years, so your Charm work seems satisfactory. As for Defense Against the Dark Arts, your marks have been generally high, Professor Lupin in particular thought you - are you quite sure you wouldn't like a cough drop, Dolores!"
"Oh, no need, thank you, Minerva" simpered Professor Umbridge, who had just coughed her loudest yet. "I was just concerned that you might not have Harry's most recent Defense Against the Dark Arts marks in front of you. I'm quite sure I slipped in a note."
"What, this thing?" said Professor McGonagall in a tone of revulsion, as she pulled a sheet of pink parchment from between the leaves of Harry's folder. She glanced down it, her eyebrows slightly raised, then placed it back into the folder without comment.
"Yes, as I was saying, Potter, Professor Lupin thought you showed a pronounced aptitude for the subject, and obviously for an Auror -"
"Did you not understand my note, Minerva?" asked Professor Umbridge in honeyed tones, quite forgetting to cough.
"Of course I understood it," said Professor McGonagall, her teeth clenched so tightly the words came out a little muffled.
"Well, then, I am confused… I'm afraid I don't quite understand how you can give Mr. Potter false hope that -"
"False hope?" repeated Professor McGonagall, still refusing to look round at Professor Umbridge. "He has achieved high marks in all his Defense Against the Dark Arts tests -"
"I'm terribly sorry to contradict you, Minerva, but as you will see from my note, Harry has been achieving very poor results in his classes with me -"
"I should have made my meaning plainer," said Professor McGonagall, turning at last to look Umbridge directly in the eyes. "He has achieved high marks in all Defense Against the Dark Arts tests set by a competent teacher."
Professor Umbridge's smile vanished as suddenly as a light bulb blowing. She sat back in her chair, turned a sheet on her clipboard and began scribbling very fast indeed, her bulging eyes rolling from side to side.
Professor McGonagall turned back to Harry, her thin nostrils flared, her eyes burning. "Any questions, Potter?"
"Yes Professor. Well, is Defense Against the Dark Arts required for all types of jobs in the DMLE?"
"Yes, Potter. May I ask why you asked such a question when I have just informed you that a competent teacher has scored you outstanding?" Professor McGonagall asked.
"Well, as Professor Umbridge who has been following the Ministry recommended portions has scored me failing marks, and since the O.W.L.s are conducted by the Ministry, I think maybe, that I might fail Defense in the O.W.L.s. Is DADA necessary to become the Minister for Magic, Professor? I mean, does the Minister not get protective detail by Aurors day and night?" Harry voiced hesitantly though the mischievous smile on his face told McGonagall a different story.
"You are correct in the assumption that being the Minister for Magic does entail you to have a protective detail. And, not all DMLE jobs require you to have NEWTS in DADA. For example, The Wizengamot Administration services or the Improper use of magic department, even Misuse of Muggle artefacts do not need DADA. But, the last one does need Muggle studies." Professor McGonagall said ignoring the sputtering DADA Professor.
"Can't I sit Muggle Studies O.W.L.s as an independent study subject, Professor?" Harry asked starting to enjoy the ruse.
"Certainly. You would need-" Professor McGonagall started but was interrupted again.
"We already have a great Minister For Magic, Cornelius Fudge. We do not need this arrogant, attention seeking boy as the Minister for Magic." Professor Umbridge screeched.
"Cornelius Fudge is around fifty years old. Circumstances change. He might decide to resign or if he holds on to his office till he was getting on in his years and finally dies, we will still need a new Minister. As Harry is only fifteen right now, he would outlive Minister Fudge and can then take over the position." Professor McGonagall retorted.
"Aha!" shrieked Professor Umbridge, pointing a stubby finger at McGonagall. "Yes! Yes, yes, yes! Of course! That's what you want, isn't it, Minerva McGonagall? You want Cornelius Fudge replaced by Albus Dumbledore! You think you'll be where I am, don't you: Senior Undersecretary to the Minister and Headmistress to boot!"
"I think you are raving. Have you finally lost your hearing as well? No matter. Potter, I will say this. Once you have decided the route you wish to go through to become the Minister for Magic, you can come to me for the subjects you might need." Professor McGonagall said.
""I think you'll also find," said Umbridge, her voice very cold now, "that the Wizengamot looks into the records of those applying to be the Minister for Magic. Their criminal records which means that this boy has as much chance of becoming the Minister as Dumbledore has of ever returning to this school."
"A very good chance, then," said Professor McGonagall.
"Potter has a criminal record," said Umbridge loudly.
"Potter has been cleared of all charges," said McGonagall, even more loudly.
Professor Umbridge stood up. She was so short that this did not make a great deal of difference, but her fussy, simpering demeanour had given place to a hard fury that made her broad, flabby face look oddly sinister. "Potter has no chance whatsoever of becoming the Minister!"
Professor McGonagall got to her feet, too, and in her case this was a much more impressive move; she towered over Professor Umbridge. "Potter," she said in ringing tones, "I will assist you to become the Minister if it is the last thing I do! If I have to coach you nightly, I will make sure you achieve the required results!"
"I can assure you, if you were to give an interview on even the Quibbler about how you would like to become the Minister for Magic as soon as you have completed your O.W.L.s, the public would clamour for minister Fudge to resign and for you to become the Youngest, not to mention the first Underage Minister for Magic." Professor McGonagall said.
"Oho! You are now encouraging this attention-seeking brat to break more rules. I will have your job. I am sure, once the Minister hears of the happenings here, he will personally come to make sure that you are out of your job. Good day to you! Enjoy while it lasts!" Professor Umbridge said through gritted teeth as she marched out of Professor McGonagall's office.
"Now that unwanted people are not present, I am assuming that you actually wanted to be an Auror?" Professor McGonagall asked.
"Yes Professor." Harry said.
"Do you have any questions regarding anything I have said?"
"Yes," said Harry. "What sort of character and aptitude tests do the Ministry do on you, if you get enough NEWTs?"
"Well, you'll need to demonstrate the ability to react well to pressure and so forth," said Professor McGonagall, "perseverance and dedication, because Auror training takes a further three years, not to mention very high skills in practical Defense. It will mean a lot more study even after you've left school, so unless you're prepared to put in your full effort, I would recommend you have a second option to fall back on. But if you are determined and you require my help for anything, I am prepared to help you any time."
"Thank you Professor." Harry said.
"Off you go, Potter!" She said with a small smile.
A/N: Please review!