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


by RyanJenkins 0 reviews

After breakfast, the Americans are given a remarkable tour of the Wizarding school by Headmistress McGonagall, and ideas for educational cooperation fire their imagination.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Fantasy - Characters: Poppy Pomfrey,Professor McGonagall - Published: 2016-08-19 - 3684 words - Complete



When we all sat down, food appeared on our plates and on platters nearly covering the table. Bacon and eggs – the eggs done five different ways – a leaning tower of flapjacks, with mounds of butter and pitchers of syrup, mountains of toast and other baked things that looked like biscuits and muffins, sausages, oatmeal, ham, pumpkin juice, those strange salty little fish they call “kippers” (not really my idea of seafood, but surprisingly good with eggs), beefsteaks, milk, orange juice...and more. It was fabulous, and reminded me of the buffets on a cruise ship (I had gone to the Caribbean with my parents when I was nine) – except it was better. And like the dining room back at school, things didn't even start cooling off until you put them on your plate.

Headmistress McGonagall spent most of the time talking with Secretary Blackstone, which was appropriate, and welcome, because Professor Sprout on my other side more than made up for it. She had loads of questions about people (I passed on those best greetings, and added some from Neville Longbottom, albeit without his permission, but to her particular delight), the Ministry (I enthused about what I'd seen), and especially about America. I tried to condense what had happened to us as a result of Tom Riddle's evil influence, but I found myself talking so much it was interfering with eating, so I started asking Professor Sprout about the Hogwarts staff. That worked great, because once she got going I just kept nodding and shoveled it in.

The other staff I met at breakfast were Rolanda Hooch, who taught flying and Quidditch, Septima Vector, the Arithmancy Professor, and Aurora Sinistra, the school's Astronomer. Everyone there had fought in the Battle of Hogwarts. I already knew that Hagrid taught Care of Magical Creatures, and had heard of Professor Binns, the Magical History Professor. Binns never came to breakfast, of course, because he was a ghost; during the battle he had fought, along with the other castle ghosts, as effectively as a ghost could fight (which wasn't all that much, I gathered, aside from the effect on morale, but was greatly appreciated anyway) and then had spent his time taking notes.

As I already knew, Hogwarts needed a new teacher of Defense Against The Dark Arts, and I learned they needed someone for Muggle Studies, as Professor Burbage (clearly very well thought-of, from the way everyone spoke of her) had been murdered by Riddle. Now that Professor McGonagall had become Headmistress, the school would probably hire a new person to teach Transfiguration, although McGonagall was planning to continue for another year, at least, until the right person was found. They also had no one lined up to teach Alchemy or Magical Theory, or Ghoul Studies (although that was, I heard, probably going to be dropped, at least for awhile) and there was talk about a complete review of the curriculum, although nothing concrete had been done about that so far.

After breakfast, the Headmistress and Professor Hooch took us on what Blackstone called “the ten-dollar tour” of the castle. The damage we saw was huge, but the school was so enormous that most of the building and grounds had survived pretty well. Still, there was massive damage to parts of the structure, far beyond what any simple “Reparo” could handle. The great main staircase had big chunks blown out of it, roped off with magical cords that glowed bright yellow and started flashing if you got close to them. Thirty-six stairways (out of a hundred forty-two, if I remember right!) were either broken, or blocked, or too dangerous to use for some reason, and seventeen others were marked with floating signs that said Proceed At Your Own Risk, citing various reasons including curses and jinxes, missing sections, and uncontrolled movements. Statues, suits of armor, desks, and fixtures had been pretty badly chewed up in the fighting, and many tapestries and paintings (Hogwarts' walls are hung with hundreds of them) had been damaged or even destroyed.

It quickly became obvious that we needed guides, because getting around at Hogwarts, even before the damage, was extremely complicated. Normally, Apparition to, from, or within the school was made impossible, but McGonagall had suspended the spell which made it so temporarily, while repairs were going on. This didn't help me any, just at present, so they very kindly walked us around, and later on, made sure I always had someone with me.

When we visited the Hospital Wing, we met Madam Pomfrey, the school nurse, which the British call a “Matron.” (I decided not to mention that in America, a “matron” is a guard at a women's prison. I'm slowly getting the hang of this diplomacy stuff.) It was a large, high-ceilinged space, full of sunlight from large, many-paned windows; some of those had been broken in the fighting, but were among the very first things to be repaired.

“Really! And how are you feeling now, Mr. Jenkins?” was Madam Pomfrey's instant reaction to the news that I had only been released from St. Mungo's the day before.

“Quite well, thank you, Ma'm,” I replied. “This morning I woke up feeling completely refreshed, without even a twinge anywhere. But I'm not supposed to Apparate for a few days yet, and they want to examine me again before I use a portkey.”

“I see. That does indicate that they feel the healing process is not quite complete. May I ask what was the nature of your injuries?”

I couldn't remember all of them, but when I listed the ones I could remember, all three ladies looked shocked. I was quick to assure them that Harry was fine and no one else had been hurt, but Professor McGonagall said “I had no idea!” and Madam Pomfrey thought it would be a very good idea if she “...just had a bit of a look at you, as long as you're here.” I started to demur, but Blackstone quickly said rather loudly that he thought that was a fine idea, leaving me completely in the lurch as Professors Hooch and McGonagall instantly agreed. They said they would return for me shortly, and left.

Madam Pomfrey didn't make me disrobe, but she did have me move around very thoroughly, and was even more thorough with her questions. It was obvious that there was no way I was ever going to fool this lady, so I didn't try. She examined the potion in my flask with interest, remarking that it seemed to be a “refinement of the usual tissue-and-organ regenerative potions” she was familiar with. She asked who my Healer was, and I had to explain about Jamie (who she hoped would visit Hogwarts so she could meet him), and then when I mentioned Conway, she smiled.

“Oh, yes, Caractacus! I remember him quite well as a student, you know. He was a patient on several occasions, mostly Quidditch injuries. He was forever asking questions, which was rather annoying, actually, at first – until I began to suspect he had the Healers' talent himself, and I found I could keep him quiet for a long time simply by giving him books from my library.” She shook her head fondly with the memory. “I would offer you a bit of Strengthening Solution or Pepperup Potion, but in view of the fact that I don't know the exact formula of the potion you've been given, I think perhaps it would be better not to. Please do feel free to consult me, however, if you should experience any problem, or recurrence of symptoms, while you are here.” I thanked her, and she asked me about my work in America, so I ended up summarizing the story of our troubles and my being sent to Britain. She listened carefully, and then looked at me very seriously.

“I was not at breakfast this morning, but I have been informed that you have donated one hundred thousand galleons to the school rebuilding fund. Can you tell me – is that quite correct?”

“Yes, Ma'm, it is – except that it wasn't me that did the donating, it was the Department of Magic. Secretary Blackstone announced it.”

“Of course. It is wonderfully generous, I can hardly take it in as yet, but everyone is so very grateful, you know. And I was told it was announced as an 'initial' donation – does this imply that additional funds may be forthcoming?”

I remembered the discussion Bill Weasley had started about Blackstone's finances, and decided to go out on a limb because I figured it was a pretty sturdy limb. “Well, I don't make those decisions myself, Ma'am, but from what I know, I feel sure that it's certainly possible. We in America are extremely grateful to you – all of you – because what you did here saved us, there can be no doubt of it, from terrible things.” She looked down, and smiled sadly. “In fact, I would strongly suggest that you go right ahead and get in touch with Jamie Two Eagles – Doctor Cogburn. He's now the Department's medical liaison, and I know he very much wants to visit Hogwarts.”

She nodded, thanked me, and said she would send him an owl “straightaway,” just as the door opened and the Headmistress led the others back in. We continued our tour, visiting the greenhouses, where Professor Sprout was busy preparing new plantings of venomous tentaculas and other things which had been ripped out and used as weapons against Riddle's Death Eaters. Then, escorted in each case by the Head, we saw the four Houses, which was a most unusual privilege, since nobody but members were normally allowed in their areas.

Slytherin was underground, done up in the House colors of green and silver, but it had been wrecked when parts of the floors above were blasted into their main space (the “common room”) and bedroom areas. Slytherins are ambitious (sometimes, I gathered, unscrupulously so) and their symbol is a snake; Riddle and many of his followers had been Slytherins. Blackstone eyed the damage and said nothing. We didn't stay there very long.

Ravenclaw (blue and bronze) was up in a high tower, and we found three Wizards and two Witches busy replacing windows and repairing damage to furniture. The Ravenclaws are selected for high intelligence and mental acuity, and their symbol is an eagle. This caused Blackstone and I to exchange glances, and I think he was also wondering if it indicated a particular connection with Americans...or at least some of us.

Hufflepuff (yellow and black) is on the first floor, or more accurately a bit below it, and has a badger for a totem. Their quarters had survived without any damage, other than a layer of dust knocked down from the ceiling, and it felt warm and cheerful there. Members are selected for being friendly, loyal, honest and hard-working, and I liked the place.

Then we went up to Gryffindor, which is also located in one of the towers. Their symbol, of course, is a gryffin, the members are chosen for their courage, and their colors are red and gold. Each House has its own entrance, guarded by a particular set of magic spells. Hufflepuff required you to tap a certain rhythm in a particular place, and Ravenclaw's door only opened when you solved a riddle (which Secretary Blackstone did, to the delight of the Headmistress). Slytherin, like Gryffindor, was protected by a password.

We had been climbing stairways, up and down, all morning, and I was beginning to feel it in my leg muscles as we arrived on the sixth or seventh floor (I lost count) at a blank wall with a painting hung on it. The painting showed a very fat witch, wearing a lot of makeup, who was wearing a voluminous dress of red and white stripes, with a blue bodice featuring two large white stars on her ample bosom. Professor McGonagall smiled and said to me and Blackstone, “If you approve, this is where you will be staying tonight.” Then she turned to the painting and said “It was very good of you to dress for the occasion.”

“Thank you, Headmistress! I'm so pleased to meet the American gentlemen.” The fat lady batted her eyelashes, executed a ponderous curtsey, and asked, “password, please?”

“Benjamin Franklin!” said McGonagall, and the painting swung open to reveal a circular opening, which we climbed through. The common room was just inside, and something about it felt...welcoming. Friendly. Homelike. I'm not sure of the right word, but Secretary Blackstone obviously felt the same thing; he put his hands on his hips and looked around with obvious approval. It was a circular room, with a big fireplace between two tall windows, and plenty of overstuffed armchairs (some with ottoman footrests) and comfortable-looking couches. There were tables and tapestries, and plenty of candles which weren't lit, because the sunlight streaming through the many-paned windows was bright.

“This is just fine, Minerva. I feel comfortable here already, and it was very good of you to pick a password we can remember!” I'm not sure just when he and the Headmistress got on first-name terms; it may have been while I was in the Hospital Wing. But I strongly suspected it had happened with unusual speed – Professor McGonagall is every bit as formidable, in her own way, as the Admiral. I did not join this familiarity, though; it would have felt awkward, somehow, probably because being back in a school setting made me feel a lot more like a student once again. Everyone seemed to sense this, and addressed me as “Mr. Jenkins” most of the time – even when they said “Ryan,” I called them “Professor,” or “Sir” or “Ma'am,” and that felt entirely comfortable all around.

“I'm so glad you like it, Alistair. Did you know that Doctor Franklin visited Hogwarts at least a dozen times, during his many years in England?”

“No I didn't. His private Wizard's Diary mentions the school, but it's been years since I read it, and I had the impression he was only here once or twice.”

“Dilys Derwent remembers him very well, and tells me he tried to get here at least once a year, but his many other duties sometimes made that impossible. Still, he came as often as he could, and I'm told he gave a concert here one Christmas, playing fourteen of his famous Armonicas simultaneously by magic.”

“Really! I should love to have heard that.”

“I shall introduce you to Dilys' portrait when we go to my office, and you can ask him about it.”

I had been looking at the tapestry of the gryffin that hung over the fireplace, and turned back toward them. “Professor, where are the bedrooms here?”

“Just through those doors, there and there, and on up the stairs.” McGonagall pointed an admonishing finger at me, and turned it to one of the doorways. “But mind you stay out of that one. The girls' dormitory is protected by a special charm: if any male tries to climb those stairs, they turn into a slide and he finds himself back down at the bottom with quite a thump!”

Secretary Blackstone thought that was a lot funnier than I did. I laughed too, anyway, Professor Hooch grinned, and the Headmistress didn't quite grin, but her eyes looked delighted. I sat down in one of the overstuffed armchairs, which proved to be as comfortable as it looked, and suggested we rest for a bit. The others immediately looked concerned, but I said I thought all the stair-climbing was good for me, I just needed to sit down for a few minutes. The others twitched chairs into position with their wands, and we formed a cozy conversational circle in front of the fireplace. The Headmistress pulled a beautiful gold pocket watch out of her robes and snapped it open.

“We shall have to leave in twenty minutes, it's nearly time for lunch. One of my new responsibilities as Headmistress is – if I am coming at all – not to be late for meals.” She put the watch away and looked at Blackstone. “Alistair, I have been thinking about it all morning, and I must tell you that I do not know how to thank you for your incredibly generous donation to the rebuilding fund.”

“You've got it upside down, Minerva. It is we who do not know how to thank you. And mark my words this morning, it's an initial contribution. When I arranged the funds with Kingsley Shacklebolt, I was thinking of all the people who gave their lives – and their children – my God, their children – but now that I have seen this incredible place, I am beginning to think beyond that.” We were all looking at him; he seemed to be seeing something we could not see. McGonagall finally spoke, in a gentle voice.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, when it comes to Magical education, we in the United States are the new kids on the block, as it were, compared to you here at Hogwarts.” The Admiral was focused again, and looked at her intently. “You've got a thousand years of experience teaching Wizards and Witches...and judging by the people I've met over here, and the way your people – Hogwarts students, faculty, all of them – have performed, back in the War, I know, and more particularly just now, fighting Tom Riddle and his Death Eaters, you do damned well at it. You probably know that we have five Wizarding schools in America now.”

“Yes, I do – or rather, I should say that I'm aware of their existence, but really, I don't know much about them, I'm afraid.”

“I'd like to change that. I think we have a lot to learn from you...and it's just possible that we've come up with an idea or two that might be helpful here. Could we develop some sort of exchange program?”

“For students?” The Headmistress blinked, and looked interested.

“And teachers, is what I'm thinking. It might be easier to start there, actually. A year, or perhaps a semester, where a Hogwarts professor teaches a given subject in one of the American schools, and an American professor teaches the subject here. Filius Flitwick, for example, is one of the world's leading authorities on Charms...did you know his textbook is used in the States?”

“No I didn't – and I'm not at all sure Filius is aware of it; he's never mentioned that. Although I think he'll be delighted to find out,” she added quickly.

“Hmmmm...I'll have to check, when I get back...he might have some royalties due from the publishers. But I used that book when I was a student at the Magical University of Virginia, and I'm sure he would be welcomed with open arms on any of our faculties.”

“Oh, yes – that's the school Doctor Franklin helped to found, isn't it? Along with your President Jefferson, of course.”

“Well, Mr. Jefferson actually started the school, after Franklin died and left his Wizarding fortune to him for that purpose. But he did follow Franklin's instructions as closely as possible, and the time it took to get Muva up and running was one of the main reasons he delayed founding the Muggle University until 1819.”

“He is still, I believe, the only President of the United States to have been a Wizard,” observed Professor Hooch.

“That's right,” agreed Blackstone; “Wizards have mostly stayed in the background, politically, like Hopkins and Muir, or Franklin himself for that matter.”

“I'm not sure we could spare Filius just now,” said McGonagall thoughtfully, “as he's Head of Ravenclaw, but I do think the idea of an exchange has considerable merit.”

“You're looking for teachers for Magical Theory and Muggle Studies at the moment, aren't you?” said Blackstone, and when both Professors nodded, he continued, “could we possibly help in those areas?”

“Perhaps. But Albus Dumbledore always made it his practice to interview every teacher personally, before engaging them, and I intend to do the same. I hardly like to think of asking someone to come all this way just for an interview.”

“Oh, something could be worked out, I think.”

“And it doesn't have to be strictly academic.” Professor Hooch's comment had drawn my attention to her and a train of ideas had followed, one after another. “What about Quidditch? In the summer, I mean.” I had their attention, and Professor Hooch made a “please explain” gesture with her hand. “We have school teams in America, while Hogwarts has four House teams, which compete against each other. But suppose you formed a Hogwarts team, with the best players from each House, and they came over to the States during the summer break, to play the teams from our different schools in exhibition games? It wouldn't interfere with the school year.”

“That could be a very good first step toward developing an exchange process.” Blackstone was interested, and so, obviously, was Professor Hooch.

“The players do tend to get rather out of practice during the long break,” she observed, “and it would be very helpful, I think, to have at least some players returning in the Fall with their skills sharp.”

“I think the American schools would be interested for much the same reason – I know Coach Paladin at I-WU would!” When the Headmistress frowned in puzzlement, I added, “Indiana Wizarding University, Ma'am, my alma mater,” and her frown disappeared.

“Well, it would certainly help to improve international relations,” she said, “and in a less ambitious and – stressful way, shall we say? – than the Triwizard Tournament. Of course all the students would need their parents' permission, and there would undoubtedly be some costs involved...”

“Which the Department of Magic would be happy to pick up. I like this idea!” Blackstone was definite about it.

“So do I, Headmistress.” Professor Hooch was also.

“Well, it certainly deserves serious consideration, I think,” said McGonagall, looking at her watch again, “which we had better do during – or after – lunch. It's time we were going!”
Sign up to rate and review this story