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

Tea With Hagrid

by RyanJenkins 0 reviews

...can be a bit risky, but Ryan is doing all right...until Hagrid says something startling.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Humor - Characters: Flitwick,Hagrid,Professor McGonagall - Published: 2016-08-26 - 5081 words - Complete



As we walked down to the cottage, I had to stretch my legs to keep up, and had a flashback to a memory of walking with my Dad, when I was about four. It didn't last, though. Dad's hair is short and neat and brown, not black and all over the place, and he's never worn a beard of any kind, much less a vast black thatch that hid just about everything except the nose and eyes. Hagrid's eyes are just as friendly, though, when he smiles.

When we got close to the cabin, a large dark lump in the grass lifted its head, bayed for a moment, sliding between notes that would all fall in the cracks between the keys on a piano, then leaped up and bounded toward us, barking loudly. Fang approached Hagrid like a motorcycle heading for a jump over some cars (he's just about that big) and bounced off his chest; after a flurry of “good boy”s and “wocher!”s and some petting that would have reduced an ordinary dog to a grease spot, he came over to me. We had met earlier, and I had been sniffed and slobbered upon. Now the dog – a “boarhound” according to Hagrid – skipped the sniffing part and went right to slobbering. I didn't mind, because I like dogs and he was actually very friendly, but also because I learned how to clean up after such things with my wand when I was dating Diane...and that's all anyone is ever going to know about that!

The cabin is a one-room affair. It made me remember Abraham Lincoln's birthplace down in Kentucky, which is really a careful replica of the original; our family visited there one summer. Hagrid's place is quite a bit bigger, and has a window, but the main difference really is that today, the Lincoln cabin is enclosed by a replica Grecian temple in stone, complete with carved columns and a sweeping stone staircase leading up the hill. I've always wondered what Honest Abe would say if he saw it. Probably something pretty funny.

Inside, there was a really big bed in one corner, with a quilted spread, a lot of pots and stuff hanging from walls and rafters, and a great stone fireplace. It felt comfortable, and I felt welcome. Hagrid stirred up the fire, chucking on some logs from a bin and giving it a zap with a pink umbrella he pulled out of his robes. I can't blame myself for looking startled, and he explained a bit sheepishly that he'd had to hide his wand in that umbrella for many years. “An' now I guess I'm kinda used ter it, if y' see what I mean,” he finished, as he hung a bright copper kettle over the flames. While the kettle heated, he waved me to a chair beside the table – both kind of big but extremely sturdy-looking – and bustled about, setting a hefty china teapot on the table and putting some lumpy cakes on a plate. They clinked, like pieces of concrete rubble.

“Rock cakes wi' raisins,” he said proudly, “same as I gave 'arry an' Ron an' 'ermione, first time they came t' tea. They wuz tiny things then, first years, y'see, only eleven. But already startin' to poke in ter things an' solve mysteries, as yeh might say.” The kettle was boiling noisily. He dumped a handful of something into the teapot (I didn't dare ask) and filled it from the copper spout, clapping on the lid. Putting the kettle on the hearth, he got a couple of large ceramic mugs from the mantlepiece; mine had a little chip but looked clean. It said “Brighton Pier” on the side in faded but colorful lettering.

The tea turned out to be just that – tea. I was prepared for this; at least I thought so, because the subject had come up, that first evening at the Burrow, and Ginny and Ron and Hermione had a great time filling me in. The thing is, I like tea; although it's coffee I go to every morning, I've enjoyed a cup of tea now and again, later in the day, and iced tea is lovely. But I learned to drink it without any additives except a lemon wedge, and in Britain that's just Not Done. Or rather, if it is Done nobody will say anything but everyone will think you're a hopeless primitive. They feel certain that all civilized people put milk (or cream if they can get it, wow) and sugar in their tea, and stir it into a lukewarm sweet mess that's kind of like thin Ovaltine without the chocolate, instead of the tart and bracing pick-me-up it was intended to be. When in Rome, be a Roman candle, I thought to myself as I stirred in large dollops of both adulterates. Hagrid was obliviously generous, and I smiled.

The rock cakes, however, were entirely too well named. I almost broke a tooth. When Hagrid got up to feed Fang, I tried a softening spell I'd learned from a friend in school, who had a baby in the family – his mom used it to turn any food into pablum. What we used it for then has no part in this story. After eight or nine applications, the rock cake was about the consistency of a spare tire, when Hagrid returned. He'd taken a large lump of meat (don't ask, I didn't want to know) from somewhere in the rafters and mercifully tossed it outside; Fang followed it with a mournfully joyous bark.

“All righ'?” aske Hagrid as he settled back.

I swallowed a good-sized gulp of – let's just call it tea, OK? It had tea in it – deciding it was perfectly drinkable after all, just different. “Very much all right. Thanks, Hagrid. I needed a bit of something after all that walking.”

“Thought yeh might.” He nodded sagely. “Ye're the first American I've had as me guest here. I 'ad an owl from 'ermione t'other day, said a couple o' Americans 'ad arrived, but she di'n' say too much about yeh. Careful girl, 'ermione.”

“Yes, she is. We've been keeping things quiet. We didn't come over for publicity, we came over to see if we could help.”

“Well, yeh done that, all righ'! A hundred thousan' galleons, blimey! That'll help no end. Th' 'eadmistress jes' got an owl last nigh', sayin' you'd be on this mornin's Express, 'an when she told me she was proper surprised that th' Secretary 'imself was comin'. You Americans move fast, I'll say that for yeh! I guess y' knew t' look up 'arry, soon as yeh got here, t' find out what's what.”

“Actually, no, not really. I mean, I'd heard of him, but we really didn't know what all was going on over here, and didn't have any contacts lined up. It was just luck that I happened to go to Diagon Alley and ran into George Weasley when he came down to re-open the shop – Weasley's Wizarding...”

“--Wheezes, yeh. I was wonderin' what he'd do about that, what with Fred coppin' it in th' battle...did they tell yeh about that? Terrible, it was, jes' terrible.” Hagrid looked like he was about to cry, so I hastened to assure him I had already heard the worst. And then to distract him from his memories I quickly plunged into the story of my journey and adventures. From everything I'd been told, I knew Hagrid was true-blue and reliable, but sometimes could be a little careless about letting things slip out in conversation, so I glossed over some of the details, and barely mentioned the computer; but when he asked questions, I gave him straight answers. At one point, he said I might want to go easy on the rock cakes, as he'd heard they were “layin' on a proper feast for yeh this evenin',” and I hope I didn't sound as glad to comply as I actually was. He was more interested in the Weasleys than the doings at the Ministry, and was especially interested in anything I could tell him about Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione. I think he missed them, a lot.

It was on my third “cuppa” that I happened to remark that I guessed we might be the first Americans to visit Hogwarts since Ben Franklin, and he corrected me. “Naw, we've had some over the years, now an' then. There were some came and went, back when I was a student, but o' course I never met 'em, just 'eard about it, and saw a couple once, goin' down a hallway.” He drained his fifth or sixth mug of tea. “Last time was quite awhile back, though, I grant yeh – twenty-five years if it's a day. Two fellas came, officials like, and met wi' Dumbledore. He introduced 'em at dinner, but I don' remember their names. One was a medium-size feller, dark hair, and t'other was a tall feller – a what-d'ye-call-em, a—a cowboy. Like in yer movies I seen, a time or two – 'ad a big hat with a cut-off crown, not like a proper wizard's hat, although it was black, and th' brim curved up on the sides, and 'e wore fancy boots with real pointy toes.”

Maybe the tea helped, but I was wide awake and alarm bells were going off in my head. “Hagrid, what color were his boots?”

“Light brown, or tan as y' might say. They had designs all worked in 'em, in colors.”

“Oh. Hmmm. Do you remember what his face looked like?”

He thought and frowned. “Not exactly. Kind of a long face, I'd say. Square, like. Clean shaven, the both of 'em.”

“Anything else?”

“Don' think so...wait a bit. Curly blond hair, that cowboy, if I'm rememberin' right...and his eyes were light-colored, kind o' pale.” He gave me a quizzical look. “What's all this, then? D'yeh know this feller?”

“No...but I might have seen him.” I told him about the man at the ticket counter, and the passing figure in Diagon Alley, and then about how I recognized the boot leather when I saw the dead basilisk at the Ministry.

“Basilisk-skin boots! That's right dodgy, that is. Nasty. I'd think it'd be hard to work that leather, prob'ly dangerous too.”

“And where'd he get it? Cowboy boots are an American style. Even over here, your average cobbler doesn't have a basilisk hide in his workshop, I'd wager.”

“Too right. The only bloke I can think of what had any truck with basilisks was...” He looked up at me, eyes wide, and we said it together.

Hagrid grimaced. “Still feels kind o' strange, sayin' that name.”
“Harry says we ought to call him Tom Riddle, because that's who he was, really. The Lord Voldemort thing was just something he made up.”

“Aye, that's the way. Harry's right, as he usually is. But look 'ere, there's Professor McGonagall – she was there, back then, an' she'll remember those two, like as not. You ought to ask her.”

“I will. And I must tell the Admiral about this – I mean the Secretary – well, he's both – right away. Hagrid, thank you, this has been a lovely tea, and I'd love to talk with you more, but I think I'd better get back up to the castle.”

“Now don't be goin' off before yeh know where yer headed. Ron an' Harry used to do that, an' 'ermione'd bring 'em down to earth. Yeh don't know that the cowboy who came 'ere is the same bloke you saw, now do yeh?”

“No, but that's why I've got to check up on it. Would you recognize this guy if you saw him again?”

“Mmmmm....maybe. 'S been awhile. McGonagall's a sharp one, though, she might, and there's prob'ly others.”

“Right.” I stood up. “Thanks again, Hagrid! This might be important, but even if not, I've had a great time.”

“Awww, it's nothin', glad ter have you, Ryan, and yeh come back, now, first chance y'get!”

Assuring him that I certainly would, I set off up the hill, moving my legs even faster than when I came down. After three big mugs of tea, I had another reason to get back to the castle pronto. It was not very much later when I stepped out into one of the vaulted hallways, my urgency refocused on the mysterious cowboy, and encountered Professor Flitwick hurrying by.

“Professor!” He looked up at my hail, smiled, and started toward me. I took two or three steps in his direction, which saved him six or seven.

“Ah, Mr. Jenkins! This is quite splendid, at least I think it is!” His voice could not have been a greater contrast with Hagrid's, precise, articulate, and several octaves higher. “I was only just now asked to 'keep an eye peeled' for you – such a delightful way with words, your Secretary has – and I was going along, trying to design a summoning charm for an American; it needed to be one that would bring you without bothering anyone else, you see, and here you are!Perhaps I accomplished a nonverbal spell without realizing it. Most remarkable! Unless, of course, this is simply a co-incidence. I believe those do actually happen from time to time, although dear Sybil – Professor Trelawney, that is – firmly believes co-incidence is entirely mythological, and I think Septima Vector would say that Arithmancy proves it so.”

I hadn't the faintest clue about how to answer that, but after a couple of weeks in Britain I was getting used to that experience and simply changed the subject. “I was down having tea and, uh, rock cakes with Hagrid.”

“Oh, dear! I hope your teeth are all right.”

“They're fine, thanks, I was careful. But I was wondering where to find Secretary Blackstone, and it sounds like you've just left him.”

“Quite right, so I have. He and the Headmistress are having tea in the Gryffindor Common Room; they invited me when we happened to encounter each other in the kitchens. They will still be there, I should think – they were deep in discussion when I left.”

“That's great!” I stopped with my mouth open and looked around. “Ahhh...which way is the Gryffindor Common Room?”

“Ah! Yes, of course. You can hardly have learned to find your way about yet, can you? Come with me, then, I'll show you.”
“Thanks very much! It is a little....all the stairways...”

“Precisely.” He set off down the hall at a brisk walk, and I had that momentary flashback once again, only this time from my Dad's point of view. I've noticed that British people don't like to have pauses in a conversation, once it gets going. If Flitwick had been American, we probably would have walked along in companionable silence. Instead, I was trying to think of something to say. I didn't want to mention the cowboy, not before telling Blackstone and McGonagall, and I was thinking up a remark about the kitchens and the elves when, true to form, the diminutive Professor spoke up.

“Do you know, Secretary Blackstone tells me that my book, Practical and Useful Charms for Witches and Wizards, is being used as a text in your American schools? Or at least some of them, at any rate?”

“Yes, he mentioned that he had your book in his class at the Magical University of Virginia. I went to Indiana Wizarding, and we had two others, Basic Charms and Advanced Charms, as regular texts, but your book was assigned as extra-credit reading in the advanced course. It was very elegantly written.”

“Splendid! I am going to send an owl to my publisher, and inquire about the American sales.”

“Oh...yes. I hope there won't be any trouble about the royalties, or anything.”

“Oh, I don't expect there will be.” He gave an airy wave of his hand and what sounded like a guttural giggle. “I put a counting charm on each edition – one that's not in the book...except that it's contained within the text itself. I'm rather proud of it, actually. It will tell me exactly how many copies have been made, and if anyone except my publisher attempts to make their own copies, it turns the words into gibberish. And here we are!” He gestured at a staircase. “Straight up these stairs, and when you get to the fourth landing, it will swing round and take you right up to the Fat Lady's portrait.”

“That, I can handle. Thank you very much, Professor!”

“Please don't mention it, delighted to help. But I must be getting along to my office. There's rather a lot of work piling up, revising my budget and estimates for the coming term. Cheerio!” And with that he was gone, off down the hallway. He moved surprisingly quickly; I hadn't had to shorten my stride at all.

At the top of the stairs, the Fat Lady was still wearing her stars-and-stripes outfit. She would have looked right at home in a 1940s movie musical, if they had had Cinerama back then. “Hello!” she said, beaming. “They told me to expect you. What's the password, please?”
“Benjamin Franklin,” I replied and couldn't help grinning.

“Thank you!” She bobbed down, doing a curtsey as the picture swung. I climbed through the hole and immediately heard the Headmistress' voice.
“...hadn't thought of it in just that way. It's really a very good point, Alistair, and I do think it will carry weight with the Board.”

“Excellent. We'll be ready whenever you – ah! There's our wandering boy now.” Blackstone saw me come in and gestured toward the sofa. He and McGonagall were seated in armchairs, facing each other across a small table bearing a silver tea service, cups, and a plate with a couple of small cakes on it. “Where've you been? We had a fascinating tour of the kitchens.”

“I went down to his cottage and had tea with Hagrid.”

“Oh, dear. Are your teeth alright?” McGonagall looked concerned until I grinned and showed no damage.

“Fine, thank you, ma'm. Ron and Hermione kinda told me what to expect. But Hagrid told me something I'd like to ask you about, if I may.”


“You'll be interested in this too, Admiral. I guess first I ought to tell you...” I had to back up and explain about my one and possibly two encounters with the cowboy, and the basilisk-skin boots. Blackstone frowned.

“Why didn't you tell me about this sooner, son?”
“I'm sorry, sir, but things have been moving so fast lately...”

“And top speed was probably when you and Harry left that office building. Say no more. Getting blown up does seem to drive lesser things from people's minds, I've noticed.”

“Yes sir. But what I wanted to ask you about, ma'm, Hagrid and I were talking about other Americans who've visited Hogwarts, and he said the last time any were here was about twenty-five years ago. A couple of Wizards – 'officials, like' is what he said – came to see Professor Dumbledore. He couldn't remember their names, but said one of them was medium height, with dark hair...”

“Oh, yes. Mr....Parboil, I think his name was. We were introduced, but that was all. They spoke with Albus, and...” She inclined her head in a half-apologetic way “...I rather kept my distance. I'm afraid I didn't like him much.”

“Which just goes to show your excellent judgment and fine sense of character appreciation, Minerva.” Blackstone turned to me. “Slimy Parboil was here?”

“Slimy?” McGonagall's eyebrows were up.

“He didn't use that name himself, but almost everyone who ever met him did,” said Blackstone. “Sylvester Koch Parboil was Secretary of Magic just before me, and after he...ah...left office, we found the Dark Mark on his body.”

“A Death Eater! I didn't think...when I met him...”
“He may not have been a Death Eater then. But who was the second guy, with him?”

“Hagrid said he was tall and thin, with curly blond hair, and he was a cowboy. Wore a cowboy hat and boots, anyhow.”

“Yes! That's quite right. He had rather a long, square chin, I believe.”

“Do you remember his name?” Blackstone was intent.

“I've been trying to was something a bit unusual. Hocking? Howitzer, perhaps?”


“Yes! That was it! Holiday. I never did catch his first name.”


“What?” Now it was my turn to look surprised, and Blackstone's to look just a bit smug.

“Walpurgis Ignatz Theodophilus Chauncey Holiday.”

“Merlin's beard! What a name. The initials...”

“His parents must have wanted a girl.” I was so amazed I didn't realize I was interrupting the Headmistress, but she didn't seem to mind.

Blackstone shook his head. “These days it might be considered child abuse. But nobody ever called him that, except maybe his mother, and probably not for long. Being from Texas, he was known as “Tex” Holiday, on an or-else basis.”

“Or else?” I prompted.

“Or else you were liable to run in to some really, really bad luck. The kind that sends you to a hospital.” The Headmistress and I looked at each other, and back at Blackstone, who smiled grimly. “Oh yeah. When I was a student, he and I ran into each other. Several times. Real hard. During a Quidditch match. I was a Beater for Virginia that year, and we were playing Louisiana Magique University – it was a home game, they'd come up to Charlottesville, and Holiday was a one of their Chasers. We'd been told about their players, of course, during practice, and somehow our Coach had found out their full names. Holiday was playing real rough – he damn near sent one our Chasers slamming into a goalpost hard enough to kill her, and she was a friend of mine. She was quick, and just managed to miss it, but it p-- uh, it made me mad, so I decided to try and get his goat.” He grinned ruefully. “I was much more successful than I intended. He did start neglecting the quaffle, as I'd hoped, but only to begin crashing into me. I called him each of his names, in a whiney voice, and when I got to 'Chauncey,' he lost it. Pulled out his wand, put a body-bind curse on me, and sent both bludgers rocketing at me. I woke up in the hospital, the next day, and they told me I'd fallen forty feet, my broom was snapped in half, Holiday had been ejected from the game, and we had won by two hundred and sixteen points.”

“Outrageous! A body-bind curse! At Hogwarts, he would have been instantly removed from the team.”

“Did you get back at him next time?” I wanted to know.

“No, sometime before we played Louisiana again, Holiday was expelled from the school. I'm not sure what he did, but it must have been something pretty rotten; mere bad sportsmanship wouldn't get a student chucked out of that school; attempted murder might not even do it. I've never known what happened to him...until now, that is. Finding him connected to Parboil is no surprise, I suppose, but I wonder how he got a job with the Department, if he hadn't graduated from LooMoo. Ryan, fire up your computer – let's see if there are any records in Washington.”

Now that I knew the connection, I was very quickly ready, and looked up at him with my fingers on the home row on the keyboard. “Send it to Mahan, of course,” he began, and then dictated: Immediately investigate Department files on Walpurgis Holiday, full name Walpurgis Ignatz Theodophilus Chauncey Holiday, from Texas. He was probably born around 1946, and is known to have attended and been expelled from Louisiana Magique University in the 1960s. The British report he worked here with Parboil in the 1970s. Report on Department files soonest, but keep the inquiry quiet. Information from any source is welcome. Blackstone.

The encryption turned it into Albert, I finally took your advice and invested in a Welsh-English dictionary and a raincoat. The people in the village are very nice, but when they speak Welsh they do tend to spray a bit. It's a lovely country, but confusing. The people seem quite normal, hardworking and very honest. It is said they never fail to pay if they lose a bet, but I'm also told they make pie out of shepherds and do something else with the sheep. The dictionary will finally let me read the road signs, although I wouldn't dare try to pronounce them, and I hope to be able to find my way back to London. Clementine. I sent it off, and when I did, I suddenly noticed that the icon on the inbox (I use a red-tailed hawk) was flapping.

“Admiral, I've got mail, and it's for you. From Captain Mahan.”

“Oh! I should probably be getting back to my office...”

“No, no, please stay, Minerva. Go ahead and put it on the screen.”

It came up as an innocent letter about peonies, snapdragons, and potting soil mixtures, but when decrypted it read: Mr. Secretary, the President has asked for a meeting with you as soon as possible. He wants to be updated on your progress and the current situation before he goes to Colorado for the Summit meeting. We told him you were traveling, and he asked you to expedite your return. Please advise when you will be coming back, so we can arrange an appointment. Mahan.

“Well. This does change things a bit. I had hoped to see something of Hogsmeade, but I can't keep the President waiting.”

“Does this mean you will have to leave immediately?” McGonagall sounded disappointed, and Blackstone smiled.

“Tomorrow morning will do just fine – trans-Atlantic portkeys are one of the things we've never gotten around to telling Muggles about. Even the President; he'll expect me to use an airplane. Which reminds me, Ryan, how was your flight over? Did you see that cowboy on the plane?”

“Only once, sir, as I boarded – he was flying first class.” I looked at McGonagall and explained, “First class passengers sit in the front of the plane. They board first, and exit first, but everyone has to pass through their seating area. I was back in the economy-class seats in the rear.” Looking at Blackstone, I continued, “He was reading a magazine and didn't look up when I shuffled past.”

Blackstone's face was a study. “You flew economy?”

“Yes sir.” I discovered I could not resist adding, “In the middle seat, between a skinny guy and a really fat woman. Muggles, of course. Admiral, do you know how long it takes one of those things to get to London?”

“I, ah...” The Admiral's eyes had widened as I spoke, and now he had a small coughing fit. When it passed, he looked severe, but the laugh lines around his eyes were crinkled. “, as a matter of fact. I've flown that route a number of times.” Now he turned to look at the Headmistress. “Takes about eight hours, Minerva, flying time – plus an hour or more on each end getting through the terminal.”

“It sounds quite terrifying. All that time, suspended in the air, without using any magic? I should be frightened out of my wits.” She shook her head. “Even that flying car of Arthur Weasley's would be safer. A portkey is absolutely certain, and takes no time at all.”

He turned back to me. “Maybe it's just as well that you weren't in first class, Ryan, although you were supposed to be. I'll look into that.” Oh, ho! I thought. Batten down the hatches, Loretta, stormy weather ahead. I tried not to let my satisfaction show, and fortunately the Admiral was going right on, “Minerva, you're right of course, a portkey is the only way to travel, and mine is in London. Besides, I really should look in at the Ministry before I go; I'm sure the President understands diplomatic necessities! Hmmmm....does the train run every day?”

“The Hogwarts Express went back to London today, and I believe it is coming back tonight with more supplies,” said McGonagall thoughtfully. “I'll just confirm that with Septima – she's been working out the schedules.”

At that moment, the mailbox opened, the Tibetan bell rang, and the hawk began flapping. “You've got mail, Admiral.” It looked like a recipe for something called Welsh Rabbit, with a request to please find out if the recipe was authentic, and why it doesn't have any rabbit in it?

Decrypted, it read: We have found no records indicating that Walpurgis I.T.C. Holiday ever worked for the Department in any capacity. His enrollment and expulsion from LMU is on record 1964-1966 but no reason is recorded. No birth records were found. The University record is the only mention in Department files, and I wonder if perhaps it was overlooked when someone cleaned them out? Joseph Baggaluci remembers hearing about Holiday at the time of his expulsion, and says it was something involving Black Magic. He heard a story about a curse on an alligator-hunting family, resulting in several people being eaten and dead alligators clogging sewers in the French Quarter, but we haven't been able to corroborate this as yet. Baggaluci also says he was told that Holiday claimed descent from John Henry Holiday, AKA “Doc,” who was expelled from M.U.Va., in 1863, for cheating at cards and lying about it, and a Muggle woman called “Big Nose Kate,” who kept company with Doc for a time. I am setting further quiet inquires on foot in Louisiana and in Texas. Mahan.

“Well,” said Blackstone, pursing his lips. “Curiouser and curiouser. You did say he was introduced as a Department official, Minerva?”

“Yes...well, let me see...Mr. Parboil was the American Wizarding Liason Officer, I'm quite sure, and I believe Albus introduced Mr. Holiday as his 'aide' – but I don't recall any more specific title. I certainly believed they were both working for your Department of Magic.”

“And yet we have no records of his employment, almost no records of his very existence. Where has he been, all this time? What was he doing here?” Blackstone turned his head and looked at me. “And more to the point at the moment...”

“...what is he doing here now?” I finished for him.
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