He made his way to the headmistress's office. He didn't even
get to knock on the door, it opened all by itself. The
headmistress was nowhere to be seen. Harry quickly made his way
to the portrait of Dumbledore. As he approached he found
Dumbledore was not asleep but smiling at him happily.
"Hello, Harry!" Dumbledore greeted. "I could sense
your troubled feelings and felt you coming. What so worries you,
"Professor," Harry began, "everyone's saying Hermione and I will get married, that someday I will be the head of Hogwarts. Professor, I don't think I'm worthy! I will never be as good as you. I'm afraid I'd make all kinds of mistakes and not do well for the students. And I don't want Hermione to feel pressured. I want her to want me for me, and not because we're going to be the head of the school."
Dumbledore smiled. "Harry," he began, "from the first day you and Hermione met you knew and she knew you could be partners throughout your lives. Do you think Hermione could ever be coerced into doing anything? She loves you, Harry, and you love her. This has always been and it will always be. Don't tell her I told you this, but she came to me expressing the same worries about you, that she didn't want you feeling that you were forced into the relationship. That is the greatest sign of true love, Harry, and I think you're old enough to understand that now."
Harry returned Dumbledore's smile. "As for the other thing, Harry, all the years that I served as headmaster I worried every day that I was not worthy. When you stop worrying about it that's when you became a bad headmaster."
"Yes, absolutely!" another voice put in.
"Quite right!" another said.
"You tell him, Dumbledore!" another said.
Harry looked around to see that all the former headmasters were awake.
"May I put in something?" a portrait from some distance above commented.
"Of course!" Professor Dumbledore answered.
"Harry," the former headmaster continued, "I saw the school through a very troubled time. The world was radically changing. Science was quickly displacing magic among the muggles, and people thought that we should do something to stop the spread of science and to keep magic in sway. I said no. Magic and science had to exist side by side for the sake of muggles both had to continue to exist. I won out, Harry! You're going to be leading the generation of wizards and warlocks that will be leaving the boundaries of this world, going places even we never dreamed of! As long as you can lead with the understanding, Harry, that change is inevitable, and that we must not fight change, but embrace it, you will do well!"
"Thank you, professor!" Harry answered. "Thank all of you! Hermione really came to you?" Harry asked Dumbledore. Dumbledore smiled and nodded. "Harry," Dumbledore continued, a little bit more somber, "there will come a time when you will have to let those you love find their own destinies, choose their own path. Never regret that you do that, Harry! Never question yourself. You cannot make other people's decisions. You have to give them all the information you can to help them make the right decisions. But you cannot make those decisions for them! When it is time for them to choose you have to let them choose for themselves."
Harry smiled. "I understand, professor!" he answered. "I'd better go get to bed."
"Good game tomorrow, Harry!" all the professors cried.
"Thank you!" Harry answered, as he headed for the door. As he exited he found the headmistress coming in. He hesitated a moment but before he could speak she spoke.
"No, Harry, Professor Dumbledore and I were always good friends. I was never his lady. But I knew her, and she was an extraordinarily special woman!" Harry returned her smile. "She would've had to have been!" he answered, and headed off to bed.
In the morning as they were headed for breakfast Harry looked at Hermione. Finally she looked at him crossly and asked "What?"
"Nothing!" Harry answered. "I'm just thinking how exceptionally glad I am that we were both in the same year, that we came together."
Hermione returned his smile. "Me, too!" she answered. "So VERY glad! Remember that first time on the train and the smudge on Ron's nose?"
"Well, if he doesn't I do!" came Ron's voice from behind them. They turned and saw his grin and all three of them burst out in laughter, and they hurried on to breakfast.
Harry had a feeling things were only going to get more and more interesting.
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