Disclaimer: I don’t own Harry Potter, nor do I have any claim to all intellectual property associated therewith.
A/N: Okay, I know that this is weird, and it is signposted as a crack!fic so you can’t call me on it being weird. Let’s just say that I had the line Sirius says at the end of this in my head, and it just wouldn’t let me go. Kept reverberating in my head at the most inopportune times, so I decided: what the heck, I will type it out and be done with it. And I know that it raises more questions than it answers and I wanted to write a follow-up, but just couldn’t, cause it would have ruined it and because I have
no other answers but what is in here. And I am probably scaring you away from this, so I will shut my trap and get on with the typing.Harry Potter, W.E.
The Wizarding World was a strange place, Harry mused. A very strange place. It seemed that the last time the wizards of England had taken any notice of the outside world was when Prince Albert had died. He had been the last full wizard to marry into the English Royal Family and sadly the magic had not run true, their communion bringing forth nothing but squibs.
The Modern History of Magical Britain had been an elective in second year. And Hermione had naturally made sure that her two best guy friends had elected
to join her. And surely Harry hadn’t been the only muggleborn to be surprised at the complete lack of knowledge of anything that had happened in the non-magical world after the mid-nineteenth century. It had been endlessly amusing, to Harry and the other muggleborns at least, to see Hermione almost have apoplexy due to the ministry-approved teacher’s lack of knowledge. The poor man, a barely graduated, pale-faced chinless wonder answering to the name of Lionel Agnatia Inswick, had been powerless against the ceaseless bombardment of her questions.
“But surely you know of the American Civil War?”
“Oh no, we don’t get involved in the petty disputes of the colonies.”
“First World War? Weimar Republic, Battle of Britain, Apartheid, Cold War? Does any of this ring any bells?”
“Not really, after all it didn’t affect us wizards. Isn’t any of our business what the muggle world chooses to play in their spare time.”
“Isn’t any of your -? Do you have any
idea, what a difference -?” Hermione had let out an almost incoherent scream of outrage and stormed out of the class, much as she would from Professor Trelawney’s class a year to the day later. Harry and Ron had been left behind and eventually decided to stay. It seemed marginally more interesting than the Ancient History of Magic that Professor Binns taught. And history, in any way shape or form hadn’t really been an extensive part of the curriculum at the school the Dursley’s had sent their ward to.
The class did eventually answer many questions Harry had been pondering over ever since first being introduced to wizarding Britain at the age of eleven.
The Wizard’s odd penchance for massively swathing layers of clothes. How most wizards looked as if they worked at the bank or belonged in the looney bin; the latter because it was a semi-nostalgic homage to the last Golden Age of Wizarding Britain, when Merlin has led the mages of the court of King Arthur. And the former because it reflected a gentleman’s garment of choice in the Edwardian era.
Their opinion of a woman’s station in life was equally archaic. It was unspokenly understood that a woman’s place was in the home. And Harry could count on one hand the number of working women he had met in his time at Hogwarts. Teachers didn’t count, as that was a genteel profession according to Professor Inswick, left to those who did not wish to marry, or whose love had been cruelly ripped from their arms too early in life. Professor Inswick had been positively misty-eyed at this human tragedy while hinting heavily that Professor McGonagall had suffered said sad fate herself. Privately, Harry and Ron agreed that Inswick had been lucky McGonagall had not heard him wax poetic about her cruelly broken heart.
When it came to what a young lady should or should not wear their opinions were positively middle-Eastern. Hermione had received a dreadful dressing down from Mrs Weasley one day, when she had appeared at the Burrow in a tank top and knee-length skirt with no tights. The Weasley men had gone a rather unattractive shade of red and beaten a hasty retreat, dragging a flummoxed Harry with them and muttering about scarlet women, whatever those were.
Hermione and Harry had had a good laugh about it afterwards, once Hermione had finished ranting about stupid antiquated methods of oppression. Then she had declared she would treat the Hogwarts world like a visit to a foreign country, abiding by their rules while there and blithely ignoring them when not.
Her decision had surprised Harry slightly, but as she had said at the time: “Customs don’t change over night, Harry. It is easier to work on it slowly. I’ll start by wearing trousers a lot.”
Harry had learned a lot in those history classes with Inswick, about rites and customs that had become obsolete in the muggle world a long time before. Such as the, admittedly even for the wizarding world, old-fashioned custom of gender-confusing names and clothes with new-borns. The true name of a baby was not revealed until after the baby had been fully inducted into the magic community, with all the rites and obligations that entailed. The subject had come up one day when Harry had asked Inswick about his middle name. Apparently some wizards still received a mixed gender name, to confuse those of ill intent, after all knowing the true name of somebody gave you power over them. Inswick, who had relaxed considerably by that point in the semester, had then brought in pictures of his ancestors, showing all the children, regardless of their gender clothed in long dresses until well past the age of four. That had been an amusing lesson.
Everything he learnt though made Harry wonder how a society that was so conservative when it came to almost everything could be so alarmingly liberal when it came to other things. The question had occasionally leapt up all through third year, but having a serial killer after you has an odd tendency to sharpen your thoughts and make all extraneous questions superfluous.
When the answers to some of the questions were finally provided, it came in the form of another question that knocked the assembled population of Hogwarts on their collective bums and made Dumbledore choke on the lemon drop he had just dropped into his mouth.
In retrospect, it had been rather funny, Harry reflected. It helped of course that Sirius Black had a superb sense of timing and knew exactly when words could be uttered to create the greatest reaction. Harry’s godfather, or at least the man Lily and James Potter had chosen for that position and who would have filled said position magically and legally if Voldemort hadn’t forced the family into hiding, had decided the Great Hall during the farewell dinner would be the perfect time and place for aforementioned question.
Peter Pettigrew’s exposure as the true Secret Keeper and thus betrayer of the Potter family had cleared Sirius’ name entirely, allowing him to join in at the feast celebrating the end of term.
The appetizers and main course had been served and devoured, leaving the students and staff pleasantly full and waiting for their stomachs to settle before tucking in to whatever dessert caught their fancy.
Sirius’ voice broke into this lull and for ever after Harry would insist that Sirius had cast a weak ‘sonorus’ on himself before speaking.
“Albus, old friend, why is my goddaughter sleeping in the boys’ dormitory?”
You could have heard a pin drop, as jaws fell throughout the room, the silence only interrupted by Dumbledore’s wheezing attempt to dislodge the sweet stuck in his throat. The last words before pandemonium broke loose, however, were Marcus Flint’s.
“Does that mean I’m not gay then?”
A/N: So the name thing is obvious, no? Harry can be a nickname for Harriet. And I hope I signposted it enough with the whole godfather christening thing. And the W.E. stands for Witch Extraordinaire. There all questions answered. Shyeah, right, I know. I hope I made you laugh, and if not I apologise for wasting your time