Permanent American Vacation
200 Years Later
Severus looked around, and was impressed despite himself. He hadn't really believed those five children would get as far as they had in recreating their own world here. Of course, said children were dead and gone now, but the seeds they'd sown had grown into something wonderful.
There was some resemblance to Diagon Alley mostly in the fact that businesses littered the landscape.
However, the school was centered in the middle of town, which kept it from being exactly like Diagon Alley or even Hogsmead, and the building itself was much smaller than Hogwarts as well. Of course, while it was the only magical school in Missouri, it wasn't the only school in the mid-west, as far as Severus knew, each state in the United States actually had its own school of magic, so it wasn't necessary that the schools be as large as Hogwarts.
There was a stretch of houses, and if Severus wasn't mistaken, Potter's original house was the first one. If the rumors were correct Potter's old house was where the schools Headmaster lived, and the other houses were where current teachers lived.
Severus knew that in the beginning the land around the school had been mostly filled with houses, but almost a century ago, several of the wizards and witches had finally managed to create their own version of the Hogwarts Express.
That had changed everything, because no longer did people need to live close for their children to attend, and the magical train worked much like a muggle school bus or even the Knight Bus. At that point the magical folk had started to spread themselves out. However, the space around the school hadn't remained empty, many magical businesses had moved in to fill the gap.
Since the muggles in this reality hadn't been as stupid as those in his own, Severus hadn't felt recreating a magical world necessary, but even within a mere decade even Severus couldn't deny the positive effects their changes had wrought for the magical people of this reality. Before this the magical folk in this world had been scattered and disorganized, and according to Jean-Claude it had been difficult to find anyone who could help in a case of magic gone wrong.
For a moment, Severus allowed regret to wash over him. It wasn't something he often allowed, but for just a moment, he was willing to let it happen. Shortly after opening their first school, Luna had come to him and offered him a teaching position, and while he'd been much more flattered than he'd let on, he had turned her down flat. Despite what everyone had thought, he'd known he wasn't meant to be a teacher, that had been something forced on him by Dumbledore, not something he would have chosen to do on his own.
As far as Severus knew, muggles knew about the magical schools, despite the fact that no muggle was allowed to attend. If a wizard or witch wanted a job requiring muggle knowledge or skills they went out into the muggle world and got those skills. However, there were many magical settlements which Severus knew were completely hidden from muggles. As far as muggles knew there were only magical schools and a few magical businesses to supply said schools - they had no idea that most magical communities were almost completely self sustaining.
Looking around, Severus wondered how long it would take before the schools themselves became hidden. He almost allowed himself to sigh. Perhaps he was wrong and that would never happen, but Severus could see some potential for that to happen.
Of late, Severus had started to wonder if this is how things had originally started in their own reality. Though he knew it couldn't have happened exactly as it had here, but there were some things which were very close to his original reality for comfort.
Severus mentally shook himself, he wasn't here to wallow in the past, he was here for a meeting as a vampire representative. Lately there had been some tension between wizards, witches, and vampires, and as the Human Servant to the Master of the City he was here on official business.
Centuries ago, Asher had approached him with the offer. Severus wasn't stupid, and at that time he'd been only slightly more trusting of vampires than he was werewolves. So he'd been certain that the vampire had simply wanted access to Severus' magic, possibly even total control over Severus himself. That hadn't been something he'd been willing to do.
It had taken almost a year for Asher to convince Severus that while he was interested in power, he wasn't interested in having total control.
Still Severus researched on his own, but what had finally convinced him was that he'd come to believe that Asher only wanted the power to protect himself, which was something Severus himself could understand. So, Severus had finally decided the risks were minimal, and the potential benefits far outweighed the few risks.
What had surprised Severus was the fact that Asher had never attempted to take him as a lover. Even then Severus had known enough about the vampire line Asher was from to know that sex was often a component in interactions. And Severus could admit that he wouldn't have been adverse to that though neither was he eager for it to happen. Since they often shared each others thoughts, Severus knew Asher was aware of his thoughts, and could only be grateful that Asher never pushed the issue.
Lately, though, Severus found himself craving a companion of his own. While Severus couldn't help but love Asher, he also knew Asher couldn't give him what he wanted, and he couldn't be what Asher needed. So while they were companions, Severus wanted something more. Perhaps he was merely going through a mid-life crisis, though it was almost a century later than it should have been.
The problem was that there really wasn't anyone around, not since Jean-Claude had finally taken his rightful place on the Vampire Council. When Jean-Claude, Anita, and Richard left it had created a power vacuum in St. Louis. Some felt that Sylvia was too weak to lead the wolves, and that Asher was too weak to lead the vampires. Thankfully, those blasted wereleopards had left with Anita, otherwise there would have no doubt been problems there as well.
Severus felt the smirk spread across his face. The one and only challenge had been fun, after that the vampires had decided that Asher was indeed strong enough to hold the City and rule the vampires. Sylvia hadn't been so lucky, another wolf had come from out of state killing her and taking the pack. Finally, Severus had been forced to kill the new wolf, because he had started trying to convince the wolves to rise against the vampires. Since that time there hadn't been any outside challenges.
So, there were always people around, but most of them were worse, as far as Severus was concerned, than even Potter or Longbottom had been at eleven years old, and Severus felt that said everything about the people he was around these days.
Severus had come to realize some time ago that he actually missed Jean-Claude, though he couldn't be sorry Jean-Claude was no longer around, because while Severus had come to respect and even like Jean-Claude, he never been able to stand Anita or Richard, though admittedly Richard was the more tolerable of the two. It was simply the mans innocence which drove Severus crazy. Richard truly believed he was living in a world that simply didn't exist, but worse than that was his unspoken demands that everyone around him pretend (for his sake) that it did exist. Severus loathed fools, even the innocent ones.
As for Anita, Severus almost sighed, no matter how many times people tried to help her, and no matter how gentle they were in their attempts, she still managed to hold firm in the belief that she was the be all and end all in the world. Severus sometimes wondered if Anita even realized that there was a whole world out there that got along just fine without her. He suspected she didn't.
So, while Severus did miss Jean-Claude, he was rather glad the vampire was gone, because having him around meant having Anita and Richard around. One day he was going to ask how Jean-Claude managed to put up with them for so long. Because dealing with Anita always made Severus want to kill her in such a way that would have made Voldemort proud.
There was a rather large part of Severus which hoped the Council itself would give them both the rude awakening they sorely needed, while Jean-Claude was powerful, Severus knew that around the Council even Jean-Claude wouldn't be able to protect them from everything. It was for that reason, Severus suspected, that Jean-Claude had held off joining the Council for so long.
Severus smirked. He knew that one day, possibly near future, he would travel to France just to see how living among the Council had changed Anita and Richard.
Finally, Severus took one last look around, and froze. School was letting out, and Severus caught sight of a young boy that could have been Harry Potter's twin. The boy was walking with a group of children, one of whom slightly resembled a young Hermione Granger. For a moment, Severus wondered if the others were descendants of Potter and his friends, then he realized he didn't actually care.
While he would like the chance to make things right with Potter, because he could no longer deny that his old friend (Lucius) had been correct about his reasons for coming to this reality. Back then, after a few clumsy attempts at being friendly, he'd decided that he and Potter were simply like oil and water. After that he'd taken to avoiding Potter and his friends as much as possible. It was perhaps his biggest regret.
"Hello, Severus," an all too familiar voice said softly from behind him.
Severus spun around and for a moment could only gap. The one and only Harry Potter was standing behind him, looking only slightly older than the young boy who'd caught his eye moments ago.
"How?" Severus said, and then cursed himself. The surprise in his voice was unacceptable.
Harry smiled. "I should be asking you the same thing."
"Touche," Severus replied, and was glad that he sounded more in control.
They stood facing each other silently for several moments. Finally, Harry opened his mouth and began to explain.
Years ago as they were planning the school, Harry had made a decision which had an unintended consequence for himself, Luna, Neville.
Harry smiled, it didn't reach his still brilliant green eyes this time. "There was something about the whole thing that bothered me, but I couldn't figure out what it was," Harry frowned. "Actually, I thought it was the fact that the person thought I was a dark wizard. Turns out that she was planning to make us permanent
leaders of this new world."
Severus couldn't help but notice that despite the appearance of youth, there was something about Harry which kept Severus from mistaking him for a young man. Something in Harry's voice was very old and tired, despite the fact that all things considered he wasn't very old.
Harry went on to say that a single group of witches, once they had Harry, Luna, and Neville's consent, worked some magic and binded them to the very Earth itself. If Severus was understanding correctly, this meant that Harry, Luna, and Neville would actually live until the sun expanded and swallowed the Earth.
Harry confessed that despite all their searching, they still had no idea how the spell was done, nor did they have any idea how to undo it.
Severus also learned that the consequences hadn't been discovered until just over fifty years after the fact, when Ron was killed in an accident. At that point, Harry, Luna, and Neville begun to realize that while Hermione and Ron weren't aging muggle fast, they were still aging, where as Harry, Luna, and Neville were not.
Mister Longbottom and Miss Lovegood?"
"Still off looking for the original spell, I believe they're currently somewhere in Russia," Harry replied, then laughed, it wasn't a happy sound. "You know, it's funny. Voldemort spent his entire life trying to find a way to live forever. I, on the other hand, never cared. Never expected to survive the final battle if I'm honest. Now Voldemort is long-dead and I'm trying to find a way to join him."
Severus couldn't deny the irony, though he was very glad that Harry instead of Voldemort was the immortal one.
"Why are you here?"
Harry chuckled. "I have a meeting with the vampire representative," had Severus been a more common man he would have laughed at the irony. "Though, I suppose, you mean what am I doing here in general."
"I like to check in from time to time," Harry replied. "As far as they
are concerned Harry Potter is dead, but about a decade ago Luna became pregnant again," Harry paused, and Severus noticed that his whole bearing changed. In that moment, Harry looked like the young man Severus had known all those years ago.
"I was beginning to think I was sterile, because until that time all the children in our family were Neville's," Harry shrugged. "Anyway, because of that Luna and I returned as descendants of Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood."
"And you've become the Minister again?"
Harry snorted. "It's why Luna didn't stay. It seems to be part of the curse, we can step down and leave, but the moment we return events always conspire to push us into the position again. The novelty of leading the world wore off for Luna long before we discovered the consequences."
Severus wondered if that was perhaps why they weren't able to find a counter spell. They were looking for a curse, Severus suspected the original witches hadn't used a curse
Harry looked around, then turned back to Severus. "I suppose we should head inside and conduct our meeting."
Severus almost started, he'd completely forgotten his reason for being here.
As he followed Harry to the school, Severus wondered if perhaps he'd take some time off to help them. While he rather enjoyed the fact that he'd have a long life, it was clear from the way Harry spoke that none of them cared for the idea.
Another thought came to him as he took a seat in front of a rather plain desk. Perhaps Harry was the only one who wasn't thrilled with the idea of forever, and was simply assuming that Neville and Luna felt the same way he did.
The meeting began, but Severus mind was all ready plotting to bring Harry, Luna, and Neville together, if for no other reason than so he could get a complete grasp of the situation. Perhaps Neville and Luna were only searching for a counter-curse because they knew that's what Harry wanted. If that were true, and if Severus could get them together and talking, perhaps he could help Harry come to terms with everything he would remove at least one regret from his life.~ * ~ * ~
That's All Folks! Note:
If you want to believe that Severus helps Harry come to terms with his "curse" and that he, Neville, and Luna then go on to live happily ever after then that's what happened. On the other hand, if you wish to believe Severus helps them find a counter-spell and they are released from their "curse," well then, that's what happens. Because I admit that even in my own head I'm not really sure which way it would go - part of me believes all three of them would be happy to end the "curse" and join their long-gone loved ones - the other part of me likes the idea of them living happily ever after for practically forever.