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


by RyanJenkins 0 reviews

The conspiracy is interrupted when Blackstone gets Ryan out of St. Mungo's and gives him a new job, and they prepare for a journey up North.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Humor - Characters: Arthur Weasley,Kingsley - Published: 2016-08-11 - 3697 words - Complete



I spent the rest of the morning on the computer, catching up on my notes and reports. About noon, Jamie dropped in and gave me the once-over. I told him the potion had helped immensely (true) and that I was feeling perfectly fine now (not quite true, but he wasn't fooled). Then I swore him to secrecy and told him there was a conspiracy afoot.

“Why am I not surprised? Who are you Whacking now?”

“Nothing like that. Honest! It's about Harry. He's going to be getting married one of these days here, and it's a question of where he and Ginny are going to go for their honeymoon.”

“Isn't that up to them?”

“Well, here's the thing. Harry needs a real break, after everything that's happened. A change, a rest.”

“You're right about that.” Jamie's tone was suddenly very serious, and I looked at him sharply. “Ryan, this is confidential, all right? I'm not Harry's principal Healer, Cracks is, so I shouldn't be talking out of turn. But since you bring it up, I'm a little worried about Harry.”

“Reaction? After all the stress?”

“Yes. You've noticed it too, eh? There's something I heard about in school, something Muggle doctors are dealing with, that can affect anybody, Wizard or Muggle, and neither they nor we have a specific treatment for it. It's called PTSD, stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The symptoms can vary tremendously, but it's always something that happens when somebody's been under stress for awhile, especially after the stress is removed. Depression, personality changes, difficulty sleeping or coping with things...the Muggles have been finding it in their combat soldiers, after they come home. But it's something that can happen to anyone.”

“And you're seeing this in Harry?”

“I'm not sure. It doesn't happen to everyone, and sometimes it's, well, a mild case, and people get over it. Or, sometimes, seem to get over it and have it come back, weeks, months, or even years later. Other times it keeps getting worse, and can get so severe that a person just snaps and goes on some kind of a rampage. I don't think Harry's going to do anything like that! Not at all. But getting blown through a roof is pretty damn stressful, and the more I learn about what's been happening over here, the more I realize how tough it's all been on Harry.”

“It sure has, maybe more than you think. For a long time. Since he was one year old.” I filled Jamie in on Harry's childhood, and sketched out what had been happening between Harry and Tom Riddle over the last – what, six years? It would have taken a couple of days, at least, to explain everything I had learned. Instead, I just hit the high spots, more or less listing things, and compressed it down into a few minutes. I finished with, “He's really an amazingly strong person.”

“Oh yeah, he is that. You're right, I didn't realize how high the stress-level must have been – and Harry's childhood just horrifies me, I'm sorry, but there's no other word. The lecture I heard at Muva – well, actually it was at U-V-A, at the Muggle school of medicine – included some evidence that people with, um, difficulties in childhood were more susceptible to PTSD later on in life. But the guy also talked about people who were “resilient,” is the word he used, and thank all the heavens that Harry found the Weasley family.”

“Amen to that! And not just because of Ginny, either.”

“No, that's right. They're a huge – what did he call it? – a huge support network. And of course, finding out you're a Wizard is tremendously empowering; and Harry has totally learned that he isn't helpless in dealing with life, he can fight, and let's not forget, he won. He's a warrior – a great warrior. But human beings do have their limits, even if they're Warrior Wizards.”

“You said '...especially after the stress is removed,' and that's where Harry is now, isn't he?”

“Yeah...” Jamie bit his lip and frowned. “Yes, very much so, and very suddenly too. I don't know how I would process something like that...not quickly, that's for sure...and I think Harry may be carrying a lot of guilt around with him. Still, as you say, he's a very, very strong person.”

“So what do you think – professionally speaking – of a change of scene?”

“I'm all for it – professionally and personally. I'd prescribe a pretty fair length of time, and a place that's inherently safe and low-stress.”

“And regular doses of Ginny Weasley...”

“Would be better than any potion I could whomp up. I see what you mean about a honeymoon. Any idea when this is going to happen?”

“Nope. But, uh, a little bird told me it might be sooner, rather than later.”

“That would be good.”

“And if you think about where – I don't know as Harry and Ginny would be likely to go anywhere outside of these islands, and I'm thinking that might not do it. I mean, it really needs to be somewhere in the Wizarding world, or at least somewhere where they don't have to worry much about dodging Muggles. They need to just be themselves for awhile.”

“Sure. Isn't that what a honeymoon is all about?”

“And the only all-wizarding village in Britain is Hogsmeade, just outside of Hogwarts.”

“Not a good choice.”

“So can you think of someplace back home in the States that would be a better one?”

“Hmmmm....interesting question....there's---”

I never got to hear his thoughts, because the door opened and in came Admiral Blackstone, holding his wand out, levitating a large flat box. He marched up to the bed, looked at me, then looked at Jamie.

“Well? What's the word?”

“Admiral, I'd like to keep him here another day. He shouldn't use the floo network for another couple of days, try to Apparate for another week, or travel by portkey for at least two weeks – and in any case, I'd really like to see him again before he does that. But if he's not going to be playing Quidditch...and gets a decent night's sleep tonight...I'll sign him out.”

“Good!” He let the box down on the bed and opened it up. It proved to be a set of Wizard's robes in a rich, soft, deep green fabric, and he looked at me. “Here you go, son. You know what? Diagon Alley looks almost exactly the same as it did the first time I went there, on my middie cruise, back in '57. And Madam Malkin's is still there! Your other robe was beyond help, but there was enough left for her to get the measurements. Underwear, socks, and shoes from your room at Claridge's. Get yourself together, we've got places to go and people to see.”

“Yes sir!” I got out of bed, firmly ignoring a few tiny protests from here and there, and started dressing. “I'm really glad you were able to stay longer, sir.”

“So am I. Kingsley Shacklebolt is a very smart guy, and he was right, of course. Captain Mahan has things under control at home. I'm still going to have to go back before too long, but being able to make decisions on the spot is helping them – and us – so much that I'm trying to do as much as I can first.”

Ten minutes later, we were in the back seat of a Ministry car, slipping through nonexistent holes in the London traffic. In my robes, I had stashed my computer, and a flask brim-full of that gold and blue potion which helped so much. “At least this city seems to be laid out in a reasonably practical way for cars,” observed Blackstone. “Washington's pretty, but with all those damn circles and one-way streets, no matter where you're going, you can't get there from wherever you start!”

That got me chuckling, and I said, “Yes sir, it's true. I mostly get around by ducking into the Metro and Apparating from station to station.”

“Sensible. Oh – while I think of it, here's your cellphone. I found the same model at Harrod's this morning. If you get a chance, you ought to see the place; they've got everything. Your old phone was trashed, but the SIM card survived, so you're back in business.”


“And here's a new keyboard, too.”

Even shrunk down to traveling size, I could see it was a good one. “Excellent!” I thanked him, and he turned toward me, circled us both with his wand, and spoke softly.

“Ryan, over the last couple of days I've been learning just how well you've established yourself – and your country, when you get right down to it – with the people over here.” He raised his hand. “Wait till I finish. It's a good deal better than I thought it was – I was welcomed with open arms, and Kingsley and I started getting along like a house afire the minute we met. I honestly can't see how anyone else could have made so much good solid progress so quickly. I know damn well I couldn't have. Some of it was luck, and timing, and the fact that you're...of an age with Harry and his friends, but you clearly have a genuine knack for this kind of work.”

“Oh, crap.” I closed my eyes. Visions of a long diplomatic career, full of nuances and paperwork, swam depressingly before me. I opened them. “Sir.” He frowned. “Alistair.”

“Better. I do understand that you didn't exactly sign on for this job. You want to be an Auror, I know. Well, there's an old Navy saying – if you can't take a joke, you shouldn't have joined.” I did my best to chuckle, and he smiled and cocked his head. “Still, you and Jamie hadn't really had a chance to get going on the organizational jobs I sent you over here to do when you both landed in the different postures, of course. And now that I'm here, I've realized that neither one of you is the ideal choice for that kind of work. One of the nice things about being in charge is that when you goof, you don't have to ask anybody's permission to start fixing it.”

I was somehow apprehensive and relieved at the same time, a strange feeling.

“We'll be sending over some people to establish the new London office, and Jamie is now relieved of that responsibility; I told him before he went to check on you. He's going to spend all his time with the medical community.”

“That makes perfect sense to me, Alistair.”

“Of course it does. But keeping you on as Undersecretary does not, I'm afraid. The UK was our biggest and most urgent foreign problem, but now that you've got that in hand, a whole crop of others have sprouted. Canada and Mexico are still mad about what Slimy's Ambassadors were up to, for starters, and Columbia, Nicaragua, Paraguay – hell, there's Myanmar, and Kazakhstan, and...well, Riddle and Parboil left more messes, and bigger ones, than I realized. And you're not the one to deal with those, your value is right here.” My relief had almost entirely submerged my apprehension, although not quite completely, as I waited for him to continue. “I'm relieving you – with heartfelt thanks, in your permanent file – of your appointment as Undersecretary for Foreign Wizarding Relations as of tomorrow, when Tameichi O'Hara takes your place. He's been our man in the Muggle State Department for years, and somehow managed to keep the rot at a distance when Parboil took over. He's not here, and won't be coming – I've told him to start putting out all the other fires, and leave the UK to you.”

“ new position will be....”

“As of tomorrow, you are Permanent Special Liaison Officer to the United Kingdom for Magical Law Enforcement Cooperation. After what happened with Tom Riddle, we're going to have more than one line of communication here, so you will continue to report directly to me, and to the FBA as needed. Ryan...” He looked at me seriously, and raised his eyebrows. “Are you all right with this?”

I grinned back. “More than all right, Alistair. I feel a lot better about this. I can do it.” I looked him straight in the eye. “I won't let you down.”

“I know you won't.”

I was still trying to figure out if that was a compliment or a warning, as the car pulled up in a parking spot that hadn't been there a moment earlier. I hadn't used the street entrance to the Ministry before; it was a phone booth in an alley, painted red for some reason. Outside of old movies, I'd never personally seen a phone with a dial, instead of push buttons. Blackstone dialed some numbers and said “Blackstone and Jenkins to see the Minister,” into the handset. The coin return disgorged a couple of golden badges; mine read Ryan Jenkins, U.S. Undersecretary For Foreign Wizarding Relations, Diplomatic Mission.

This time, the guard at the gate jumped up and escorted us personally to the lift, without checking our wands. Upstairs, Esmerelda also stood up, returned our greetings with a smile, and opened the door to Kingsley's office for us.

“Hello, Alistair! Ryan – it's good to see you up and around.” Kingsley shook our hands warmly and looked at me appraisingly. “Doing all right?”

“Yes, I am – really. Thanks! Jamie says St. Mungo's is an amazing place, and I can sure back him up on that.”

We settled ourselves in armchairs around the coffee-table (which actually held a coffee pot with cups and fixings) in a corner of the office. Arthur Weasley was there already, and was disappointed to hear that I wasn't supposed to use the floo network yet; he had met Alistair yesterday, and had wanted to invite him and me out to the Burrow tonight for supper.

“I am sorry to miss out on that, Arthur – I hear your wife is a marvelous cook,” said Alistair sincerely. “But it wouldn't have worked out anyway – maybe next time I come through here?”

“I shall hold you to it,” smiled Arthur. “Molly will be very disappointed if you don't!”

“I wouldn't want to risk that. I heard how she scuppered that LeStrange woman!”

Arthur grinned at this, but not with humor. “Yes she did, didn't she? But you know, I've only just got here myself, and I'm wondering if the fact that it 'wouldn't have worked out' has something to do with the reason for this meeting?”

“Indeed it does,” said Kingsley with an answering smile, reaching for one of the coffee cups and waving an invitation for us to do the same. We all fixed ourselves coffee, which wasn't bad at all. After the Minister and the Secretary had served themselves, Arthur and I got into a moment of “after-you-Alphonse” competitive politeness, which ended when first Alistair and then Kingsley started laughing. Settled back in our chairs again, Kingsley continued, “As I was about to say, Alistair and Ryan are catching a train this evening.”

“Good! You got the tickets, then!” Alistair was very pleased, and I felt a sudden spike of excitement.

“Well, it's all arranged, yes, but you don't actually need tickets for the Hogwarts Express. You are expected. Tonight's run leaves at ten p.m. sharp, which will put you in Hogsmeade about seven tomorrow morning – they reduce speed a bit on night runs. So you should get to Hogwarts itself just about in time for breakfast.”

“Perfect.” Alistair nodded. “I'd love to do the trip sometime in the day and see the sights, but this couldn't be better, Kingsley, thank you.” I had a big smile on my face and made a “yes!” gesture with a fist, and he turned to me and winked. “And don't worry, we'll sleep on the train. It'll be just what the doctor ordered. I very much wanted to see Hogwarts myself, and it turns out you and Kingsley have already talked about you going up.”

“The Express is running every few days now,” Kingsley put in, “taking up people and supplies and materials for all the repairs. There's a mixed load of things – lumber and stone, mostly – going up tonight, and it was no trouble to add a sleeping-carriage for you.”

“Well, I'm looking forward to it,” Alistair replied with a relish that matched my own. “Haven't traveled by train in years! What's the situation up there now?”

“Minerva McGonagall is Headmistress, the Board confirmed her last week. I sent her an owl telling her to expect you, and I'm sure that will be all right,” said Kingsley, “but I haven't been in close touch with the school, I'm afraid, since she was here on...what was it, the seventh? Arthur, I asked you to come because you're more up-to-date than I. You mentioned having an owl from Minerva the other day?”

“So I had. She sent it to Molly actually, so it's home at the Burrow – but as I recall, she said things have been going rather well, a bit faster than she had expected. Still, there's quite a lot to do, and what with all the curse damage, and dark magic to be rooted out, much of the work is going to have to be reconstruction, rather than simple repairs. In the residence areas, Gryffindor and Hufflepuff were pretty much undamaged, but Ravenclaw needed some work – she mentioned the windows in the tower, and the common room – and Slytherin was apparently damaged pretty badly.”

“Did she say if she thought the school would be ready for the fall term?” Kingsley asked.

“She did say that she still hoped so, as we all agreed when she was here to confer, but she still wasn't definite about it. I gathered that they haven't yet begun clearing up the classrooms – at any rate, she mentioned the possibility of doubling up some classes, or shifting the schedule to make better use of available space. But they are getting along, at any rate – the kitchens survived, as you know, the Great Hall is at least weatherproof again, and three of the bathrooms are all right.”

“There's more work being done on Hogwarts this summer than there has been at any time in – centuries, perhaps in the last thousand years,” observed Kingsley, with a shake of his head.

Blackstone whistled. “It must be a huge job. I'm wondering if there's any way we can help?”

“That will be mostly up to Minerva, Alistair. She, and the other surviving teachers, have been given responsibility for returning the school to...a state where it can function effectively. And safely. No one's proposing any major changes, which would have to be considered by the Board.”

“Returning to to its former glory, in every respect, will probably take quite some time,” added Arthur, “but there have already been some thoughts about improvements, here and there.”

“When my folks moved to Indiana,” I spoke up, and they all looked at me, “my Dad bought an old house and remodeled it. It ended up taking a lot longer than he thought it would originally. It wasn't just that he didn't have magic to help. He kept running into unexpected situations, like 'well, before we can do that, we have to do this, this, and this,' if you see what I mean. And what was worse, where his budget was concerned, were thoughts of 'well, as long as we're doing this, we might as well go ahead and do that' or 'since we have to do such-and-such anyway, this is the perfect opportunity to...' Anyway, it was a lot bigger job than he thought, and that place was only about a hundred years old. To us Americans, a thousand years sounds like forever!”

Blackstone nodded vigorously and they all chuckled; Kingsley looked at me. “I suppose some of that will be inevitable. But there is a strong feeling in many people – including myself – that Hogwarts be restored to what it has always been. Modern improvements will encounter considerable resistance, and fundamental changes are, I think, out of the question.”

Alistair cocked his head. “After a thousand years of not being broken, I wouldn't advise fixing it! At any rate, I'm glad to get the chance to see it all, and I'm going to have to leave for home right after that – I'll just come back to London to get a TAPKey and make sure everything's shipshape. Tell you what, Arthur,” he said, draining his coffee cup and reaching for the pot, “if we can't get out to your place this evening, why don't you get Molly in here, and we'll all have dinner at Claridge's? On the Department, of course.”

“Oh no, Alistair, that's an excellent idea, but this is a charge on the Ministry. You are our guests, and---”

“Come on, Kingsley, I'm leaving, and this is my chance to---”

“Hey, wait a minute!” Everyone turned to me with gratifying looks of surprise. “You guys have to settle these high-level international diplomatic disputes, but if you don't mind, I'd like to go down and poke my nose into Harry's office while you do it.”

“Certainly!” said Kingsley with a smile, and Blackstone grinned and made a shooing gesture with his free hand. I got up, bowed to them all, and headed for the door with what I hoped was an appearance of complete freedom of movement – but when I found myself alone in the lift, took a hefty swig from the potion flask.

Down in the Auror's offices, Mrs. Murdle, Jenny, and Abner Proudfoot jumped up and greeted me warmly, and the fuss brought the others from Harry's office. Hermione ran forward with her arms outstretched, and then stopped. “It's OK,” I said, “I won't break.” She gave me a big hug, and there was a lot of grinning and handshaking for a minute or two. Then I gave them all my biggest smile and threw my hands wide.

“Congratulate me, everybody – I've been demoted!”
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