Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry Potter and the Aftermath

First Nations

by RyanJenkins 0 reviews

After introducing him to his new friends and conferring at the Ministry, Ryan reconnects with his college roommate, Jamie Two Eagles Cogburn.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Humor - Characters: Arthur Weasley,Harry,Kingsley,Ron - Published: 2016-07-22 - 3743 words - Complete



Back at the B&B, the cheerful middle-aged couple who ran the place seemed rather more impressed to meet Jamie (“How splendid!...never met a Red Indian hope you like it here.”) than they had been to meet me. They left us alone in the parlor, as they called it, or parlour, as they probably would have written it, and as we got ready to dive into the floo network, Ron turned to Jamie and said, “Doctor? Can I ask a question, please?”

“Only if you call me Jamie.”

“Right!” Ron's face lit up. “Cool. Thanks, Jamie. Uh – I was just wondering what we should properly call you – I mean, people here are sort of used to referring to your people as Red Indians, to save confusion because we've rather a lot of the others, East Indians from India I mean, living here. But I don't think that's really proper, is it? Red Indian, I mean?”

“Oh, I say!” Arthur turned to Jamie. “I was wondering the very same thing myself. Quite right, Ron! Important to get started on the right foot, eh? 'Red Indian' isn't really the right term, is it?”

“No, it's not – but it's not really an insult, either. Today, it's most respectful to call us – collectively speaking – the People of the First Nations. That expression started in Canada, but it's catching on down in the US. And each Nation has its own name, like Cherokee, Iroquois, Lakota Sioux, and so on. But it's a long, formal expression and you do need something for ordinary conversation; and we really do resent expressions like 'Injuns' and 'Redskins.' Those are just racist words. 'Native American' is fine with me, although some of our people don't like that phrase because it includes the word 'American,' which is another European import, and those living in Canada object that it seems to imply they're part of the United States. Among ourselves, and with friends, we use the word “Indian” quite a lot, actually, from long habit and for convenience. And the 'Red' in 'Red Indian' certainly makes sense for you and doesn't make a bit of difference to me.”

“I see. It's true the word is a bit of a mistake.”

Jamie laughed. “I've heard about British understatement! Truth is, it is physically impossible, on a planet this size, to be farther off in your reckoning than the famous navigator who made that mistake was when he made it. I met a Navaho at Muva who has a tattoo that says, 'Columbus was a dumbass.' Say, I've just realized – Ryan, you didn't expect me, did you?”

“No I didn't. You wouldn't know anything about that, now would you?”

“Who me?” He tried to look innocent and failed spectacularly.

“Who else? You know, if this protocol stuff has something to do with tipping people off about what's coming down before it happens, I'm beginning to think better of it.”

“Waste of time, if you ask me – but since he didn't know I was coming, Ryan might not have mentioned me to you.” He looked a question at the Weasleys.

“No he hasn't,” said Arthur.

“But we were beginning to suspect the two of you'd already been introduced,” added Ron dryly.

“Well, I have mentioned dear old Indiana Wizarding U,” I admitted, “but not my roommates.”

“Aha! I thought that must be it!” Charlie put in. “How long?”

“Three years. Two in the dorm, and then we rented a house off campus with a couple of other guys for Jamie's last year.”

Jamie was nodding. “I was a year ahead of Ryan. And now that we're diplomats, I think we ought to explain that we've always had a lot of fun mocking the Hollywood version – the general mass-media public notions, I mean – of Indian – ah, Red Indian culture.”

“Including the way they're always presented as so solemn and serious, when they really have a wicked sense of humor,” I agreed.

“Well, I think it's going to be quite wonderful having you here, Jamie. And you needn't worry about diplomatic niceties,” Arthur smiled, “as we've very quickly got on to a first-name basis with Ryan. But I say, we'd better be getting along to the Ministry; Kingsley is waiting to meet you.”

“Kingsley Shacklebolt's Minister For Magic – pro tem,” I put in. “He's taken over to pick up the pieces, much like Admiral Blackstone. You'll like him.”

“Er, I'd really better be getting back to the shop to help George,” said Ron, a bit reluctantly. “Hermione's there now. But tell you what, I could take your things to Claridge's for you. I'd like to see that place again – the lobby was unbelievable!”

“Yeah, isn't it? Thanks, Ron, that would be great. Here – let me give you a note for the manager.” I found writing parchment on a desk in the parlor, and quickly wrote that Dr. J.T.E. Cogburn would need a room until further notice. Ron and Jamie's luggage disappeared, spinning, and then I led the way, throwing my floo powder into the fire and saying “Ministry of Magic!” loud and clear.

I think Jamie was as impressed as I was with the Ministry, although he maintained that reserve he generally shows, except among close friends. There was no doubt, however, that he and Kingsley liked each other at once. Kingsley sent one of those paper-airplane memos zooming out the transom, and a little later, Harry showed up, looking tired and preoccupied when he walked in.

When the introduction was made, Harry perked right up and was as delighted as Ron had been, readily offering his hand. But instead of grasping it at once, Jamie drew himself up and spoke a long sentence in Cherokee. It contained none of the few words I had learned in that language; the only thing I recognized was “Harry Potter.” Then he bowed, deeply, and came slowly back upright. We were all looking at him in astonishment. He smiled, and shook Harry's hand.

“I promised to give you that greeting when we met, Harry. I knew of your victory long before Secretary Blackstone told me.” That would have gotten our attention, all right, if it hadn't been completely focused on Jamie already. “I know I am among friends here, so I can speak of things which are – not generally known. Wizards have always existed among our peoples, just as they have among yours, but there was no need for secrecy about their existence until very recently – after the troubles at Jamestown, the Powhatans spread the word – and even today, many of our Muggles know some of our Medicine people have magical powers. But they almost never speak the truth to outsiders – Europeans. We are content that these things should be regarded as primitive superstitions. And it certainly keeps us in compliance with the International Wizarding Code of Secrecy!”

That much I already knew. But what he said next was news to me. “I heard about a great Black Wizard across the ocean from my earliest childhood. His power was felt, and we knew when it began to cross the sea. We knew there were those who fought against him, but we believed – I was taught – that if the Black Wizard prevailed, he would inevitably come, or send others, to attack us. That, in fact, was one of the reasons why I decided to become a Healer: the prospect of battles, or a war, against evil Wizards seemed to be drawing ever nearer.”

“Jamie,” I asked, “where were you about a month ago? I'm sure you know what moment I'm talking about.”

“I was back home, with my family, at the moment Harry killed the evil one. We all felt it. My grandfather said at once that the Black Wizard had died in battle.”

“Actually, I didn't kill him,” said Harry slowly. That got more expression of surprise out of Jamie than I had ever been able to elicit, and I felt a momentary twinge of envy. Harry continued, “I fought him, and a lot of others did too, but when it came down to just the two of us, he tried to kill me with the Elder Wand. That's an ancient Wand which has never been...”

“I know of that Wand. It is said to be almost as powerful as – well, let's not get sidetracked. How did he die?”

“He thought he was the master of the Elder Wand, but he wasn't. I was. The wand refused to kill its true master, so the killing curse rebounded on him.”

Jamie pursed his lips. “There is much more I would like to ask you, Harry, but we will have time for that. For now, let me just explain that I greeted you with respect, and thanked you, because...when you saved your people, you saved us too.”

There was a moment when nobody knew just what to say, and then Kingsley spoke. “I should tell you, Jamie, that Harry could not have accomplished his task – could not have survived, probably – without help. From many people, but his principal helpers were Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom...and Albus Dumbledore.”

“Ron? Who I just met? I wish I had known. And I will look forward to greeting them all. Except...Albus Dumbledore. I heard it in your voice. He's dead, isn't he?”

“Yes, he is,” affirmed Kingsley solemnly. “He was a great Wizard, and Headmaster at Hogwarts School. He taught all of us.”

We spent a few minutes giving Jamie the bare-bones narrative of the final battles at Hogwarts. At one point, Charlie remarked, “Yeah, I was there for the Battle, but I'd left school before Ron and Harry started; most of the time I was off in Romania, taking care of dragons.”

“Dragons?” Jamie was delighted. “I've never seen one! They're almost extinct in North America today – what kind do you have there?”

“Several, actually, it's a special reserve for species preservation. We've got Hungarian Horntails, Welsh Green, Chinese Red – tell you what, why don't you come out and visit once you've got things squared away here? I was going to invite Hagrid, later this summer, and maybe you and he could travel together.”

“Hagrid?” Jamie's question was in an entirely different tone of voice. “Travel with a hag?”

That broke up everyone except Jamie and me, and we were both enlightened by Arthur, because the others were laughing too hard to talk. “Rubeus Hagrid, he's gamekeeper at Hogwarts, a great friend to all of us, and a great fan of, uh, monstrous creatures. We're laughing because there probably isn't anyone alive who is less like a hag than he is!”

“Another person I'm looking forward to meeting,” I said, “and we definitely want to get up to Hogwarts in the near future in any case. We do have quite a lot to do, Jamie – I'm sure you'll want to visit St. Mungo's Hospital soon, for one thing.”

“That's the Wizarding infirmary? Yes indeed. And while we're talking about our to-do list, the Secretary asked me to find out if you've found out anything about our people who are supposed to be manning the Liaison Office over here.”

“Ah! Yes. The Liaison Office. Well, actually, I haven't had a moment. Haven't even scanned it. We've been pretty busy, what with the basilisk and all.”

“Basilisk?” Now I felt better; Jamie's amazement was even greater. “Nobody's seen a basilisk in centuries.”

The rest of us just looked at each other. I finally said to Harry, “Would you like to, or shall I?”

“Oh, by all means, go right ahead.”

“Thank you. Jamie, we killed a basilisk on the bottom floor of this building, last night. Fifteen feet long.”

He was silent for a moment. “But they're supposed to be little things, rattler size...” It's not often you see a Cherokee being astonished; it takes something really unusual, like a reasonable decision from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. I couldn't entirely enjoy it, though, as I was afraid Jamie would feel embarrassed, later. Fortunately, nobody even smiled.

“To be fair,” said Charlie seriously, “nobody had seen a basilisk in about four hundred years, until six years ago, when Harry killed a forty-footer at Hogwarts.” Jamie blinked twice, and stared at Harry with wide eyes.

I said, “Welcome to Britain, Jamie. More surprises per square inch in this country than any place I've ever been.”

“I believe you. A forty-foot old were you then?”


Jamie stared. “How did you kill it?”

“With a sword.”

Jamie blinked four times, a record in my experience. “If you ever visit America, I know some people who would like to meet you. Very much.”

“Er – thanks – that'd be great. It may be awhile, I'd think...but I'll look forward to it.”

Now it was Jamie's turn to shake his head as I had done earlier. “Basilisks! Every time there's a rumor of one, up in the Rockies or the Sierras or wherever, it always turns out to be a mistake, or a fraud. I thought they were extinct, or even mythological. But I must admit, that's a pretty good reason for not getting around to the Liaison Office.”

“Yeah, I think the Secretary'll buy it,” I agreed dryly, and shrugged. “All I've done so far is to check at Gringott's, and find that the American vault there has been cleaned out.”

“Has it, then? That's interesting.” Harry looked at me. “If Voldemort recruited your people, and they've gone off with the swag...”

“We really ought to get after them,” I finished for him. “On the other hand, they've had a month's head start.”

We agreed that tomorrow morning would be soon enough, and made plans to start the investigation from Harry's office. Jamie and I would use the evening to catch up with each other. Back at the hotel, we found that Jamie's room was next to mine, and so as not to disappoint our hosts – including the ones in the paintings – he maintained all the grave dignity of Iron Eyes Cody until the parade left us in his equally-sumptuous apartment with two elaborate crystal steins of butterbeer, several extra bottles, and a selection of cheeses, on an ornate golden tray. We took out our wands and aimed them at our steins.

“Just like old times!” said Jamie. “Ready? One...two...three...gelusio!” We said it together and the chilling charm dropped the temperature of both steins instantly to 37 degrees Fahrenheit. A nice film of condensation began to form on the outsides, and we clinked glasses.

“Ahhhhhh....that's the first cold beer I've had in, like, I don't know, weeks I think.” When Jamie raised an eyebrow, I explained, “They serve it 'cellar temperature' over here, cool but not cold. It's good, it's fine, but this is what I think of when I think of a beer.”

“It's good beer, I must say. But that's enough alcohol for me, this trip.” He pointed his wand at the stein for a moment. Nothing seemed to happen, but I knew he had worked his usual spell that converted the alcohol into – something else, I'm not quite sure what, a combination of herbal essences that tasted almost exactly the same. I'd seen him do it many times. Many Native Americans avoid drinking alcohol; there's something in their physical makeup that tends to make them more prone to addiction than most people. Jamie had always been careful about that, and as a Wizard, he knew how to enjoy the taste and the social camaraderie without taking the risk. He took another long swallow and looked around. “And this room – the hotel – what a layout!”

“Just one of the benefits of working for the Great White Father in Washington.” Putting on my fruitiest public-speaker voice, I quoted, “We respect you savages for your native ability to instantly adapt and survive in whatever godforsaken wilderness we move you to.”

That got a good long laugh from him, and he relaxed back in the spindle-legged, heavily carved, tufted leather wing-back armchair – which was amazingly comfortable for such an antique; I suspected the furniture in these rooms adjusted itself to each occupant. “It's wonderful to see you again. I haven't heard the Firesign Theatre in way too long.”

“I hear they're working on new albums, there might be one out next year.”

“Excellent! Did you ever find out which one is a Wizard?”

“No, and I've always wondered if the others know.”

We reminisced and caught up on old friends and schoolmates for awhile – who's married, who's split up, who's making a success at this or that, and who somehow managed to ram a broom through the window of the 57th-floor Boardroom of a famous Muggle corporation and got busted for FUI. (And heavily fined for all the emergency memory modifications that had to be done to security guards, secretaries, janitors and a number of very wealthy and prominent Board Members.)

After awhile we came back to the present, and I gave him a summary of the story I'd heard from Harry and the others. He knew about Horcruxes, but refused to tell me the Cherokee word for them, saying it was a word he never wanted to pronounce. Like me, he found the idea that someone could create seven Horcruxes to be completely beyond anything he'd ever even heard of. But it did, he pointed out, indicate that Tom Riddle had been a Wizard of truly terrifying power, so his ability to project his influence across thousands of miles wasn't so surprising. Then I asked him, “You said something earlier about hearing rumors of basilisks in North America. I never have; I thought they were strictly an Old-World beastie.”

“Well, yes, they do seem to be. But there have been stories, from time to time, especially from Hopi and Navajo people – but as I say, none of them's ever been confirmed.”

“Maybe there's something to them after all.” I told him about the mysterious Texan with the basilisk-skin boots. He didn't know quite what to make of it either, but echoed Ron's sentiment that it was definitely odd.

“'Dodgy' – I like that word. Ron's right. But there's not much we can do about it. We can keep our eyes open, but we've got other things to deal with.” He drank butterbeer. “You know, one of the bigger surprises I've had so far over here is discovering how close you've become to these people in such a short time. That's not really like you, Ryan – but I'm not complaining! I like them already, and I'm even slower than you are to make friends. But look, I'm waiting to hear – what happened last night?”

I told him about the Sniffer program-spell, and our adventures on Level Ten and below. He listened raptly, refilled my butterbeer without being asked, and when I got to the end, he reached over and touched his glass to mine. “We are both warriors, my friend. My enemies are pain, and sickness, and death; yours are Black Magic and ignorance.” We drank, and he added with a sudden grin, “and using a music video of The House Of The Rising Sun to kill a basilisk is classic, absolutely classic. I mean, you sicced The Animals on him!” We laughed, and then he told me how Blackstone had summoned him to ask about the Twisted Snakes hex, and how their conversation had gone far beyond what he expected. “He is a very persuasive man,” he said with a crooked smile.

“I've noticed,” I replied.

“Especially persuasive with my preceptors at Virginia, who have given me an open-ended sabbatical leave, and the opportunity to turn my experiences here into full course credits. But see here, I'm hungry. Where can we get some dinner in this town?”

We decided to see something of London, and discovered that the Street Entrance to Claridge's Wizarding opens on to a bathroom on the Muggle side, near a back entrance. The washroom attendant was a Squib, who made sure the coast was clear before letting us through. We were discreetly warned against trying the restaurant on that side, as the head chef was always yelling at people, but were given several recommendations for various places within a few blocks.

London was brightly lit, and busy with traffic – we couldn't resist riding on a double-decker bus, and got off somewhere in another part of the city, where we visited a pub called The Goat And Windmill. Jamie won fifteen “pounds” (as British Muggles call their money) at darts, to the discomfiture of a group of locals, who comforted themselves by remarking that it was, after all, quite natural for a Red Indian to be good at anything involving feathered missiles. I settled the bill with Dad's credit card, and we left.

A couple of blocks further on, we discovered an (East) Indian restaurant and I dredged up a joke from our days of making fun of old movies. “Whaddya think – Gunga din-din?”

“You are so bad.” Jamie gave me a wicked grin. From somewhere, he produced a headband, which he donned, and a feather, which he stuck up in the back, and went into his Heap Big Chief routine as we entered. We had pulled this bit before. He spoke Cherokee and I pretended to translate, speaking to him with a few genuine Cherokee words and a lot of Cherokee-like sounds all strung together. The staff treated us with great respect, chattering to themselves in Hindi (I think) and serving our every whim with dignified alacrity. The lamb curry and chicken baked with a red sauce were excellent, and as we got up to leave, Jamie spoke a most impressive Cherokee sentence, and handed me the pound notes he'd won at the pub. I nodded gravely, murmuring “Poliomyelitis, calamari!” in tones of obedient agreement, and ceremoniously placed them on the table before we swept on out, heads high.

By this time we had no idea where we were, so we had to take a chance on Apparating back to the alley behind the hotel. Luckily, nobody saw us, and we headed up to our rooms. Before turning in, I sent a long Wemail to Secretary Blackstone, reporting Jamie's safe arrival and glad reception, and summarizing events. The moon was back in the ceiling mural, and it smiled at me as I raised my wand to snuff the candles.
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