Title: End of an Era
Author: Nopporn Wongrassamee aka The Evil Author
Summary: Harry Potter takes one last stroll through Hogwarts.
Disclaimer: The characters and settings belong to whoever owns them. I’m just too lazy to look up who they are.
The halls of Hogwarts were quiet. A single solitary figure strolled alone through the corridors of the castle. Memories lay everywhere. In his hand was a fist sized crystal ball, glowing with pearly luminescence. Voices of the past could be heard coming from it.
Harry Potter lost himself in memory. “Welcome to the Tonight Show, Harry.”
“Thanks, Jay. It’s good to be here… I think.”
“So, tell us about yourself, Harry. I understand that you’re part of some secret society of witches and wizards?”
“Er, yeah. We went into hiding 300 years ago… to escape all the witch hunts of the time.”
“Right, of course. It must have taken a lot of courage to break the secrecy in Los Angeles last month.”
“Well, I just couldn’t standby and let an army of demons from another dimension run rampant through…”
Harry stood in the Potions classroom. The dungeon was strangely empty without students. And even though they had hated each other’s guts, Harry found himself feeling that the place was just not the same without Snape. “Snape? You’re leaving Hogwarts?”
“Yes, Potter, I am. As much as I would like to make your first term here as a teacher a living hell, I have had a much better offer for my skills.”
“I have been invited to participate in a grand research project, Potter. The world’s foremost wizards and… Muggle scientists are being gathered to unify magic and science. This Lucas Girardi fellow seems to think that magic seems to be the missing element to what they call the Grand Unified Theory.”
“But you don’t even like muggles. Why go?”
“Potter, Voldemort is dead. Dumbledore is likewise gone. Both were the primary reasons for me being here in the first place. What I am being offered is finally something worthy of my skills. Besides, they’re also offering me triple what I make here.”
The Library held some fond memories. Harry couldn’t count the times he and Hermione and Ron had spent here researching something or just cramming for tests. Now the shelves were empty and the tables covered with plastic sheets, gathering dust. “So, what have you guys been doing?”
“Oh, it’s so exciting Harry. We’ve been researching ways to automate spellcasting. Turns out, you can’t have a magical object just cast any old spell. That requires an external input of nonmagical energy. For human beings, that’s food. For machines, we got some good results on using electricity…”
“Oi, I’m glad someone’s having fun, Harry. Me, I’m stuck in an endless round of bloody negotiations. The muggles want magic for their starships of all things, something about stuffing more ammo into smaller spaces.”
“It’s not so bad, Ron.”
“Easy for you to say, Hermione. You and that Carter woman get on like old friends. Me and that General O’Neil? I’d hex him ‘cept that I’m pretty sure the old git could break me in half with his bear hands!”
Stepping into the Common Room, Harry was assaulted by memories of the Weasely twins testing their snack treats on unsuspecting First Years. It was strange how places called up odd memories. “So, business is booming?”
“Booming? Gone nudier is more like it, Harry.”
“That’s ‘nuclear’, Fred.”
“Right, whatever, George.”
“Anyway, Harry, you must have noticed your Gringotts account growing by the day right?”
“Erm… I haven’t really checked lately.”
“Well, we’re not just Weasely Wizarding Wheezes anymore.”
“Although WWW is opening up franchises in every major city in the world.”
“We’ve been diversifying. Toys. Household appliances. We even got a line on producing nonlethal weapons for law enforcement. We’ve also started research into techno-mystical hardware. Got a top researcher to go with it too, really knows her stuff. She even has my name.”
“Fred, Burkle is not interested in you. She tends to get violent when angry and has a really short fuse. You keep flirting with her and I think she’ll really hurt you.”
“Nonsense, how can she not want to date the next Phil Tate?”
“That’s Bill Gates, Fred.”
“Right, whatever, George.”
The hospital wing was dark but for the light of Harry’s sphere. How many times had he, Ron, and Hermione spent here laid up for one reason or another? “I don’t get it, Ron. The quill is reporting more and more magical births every year, but the classes just keep getting smaller. What’s going on?”
“Harry, where have you been? The whole bloody Wizarding World is eroding away. We’re being absorbed by the Muggles. I’m the bloody Minister of Magic and I’m reporting to the bloody Prime Minister everyday. Half the wizards and witches in existence are making magical things for the muggles to buy while the other half is teaching all the new wizards and witches in Muggle schools. Too many parents think that Hogwarts is too remote, too old fashioned, and too… small.”
“Right, too small. There’s been a huge explosion in magical births among Muggles lately and Hogwarts simply does not have room for all of them. And that’s nothing compared to what’s coming down the line.”
“What’s coming, Ron?”
“Magical births. Everywhere. It’s all this jeans engineering the Muggles have been doing lately. Used to be, they just used it to fix inherited diseases. Then they started having their kids made to order. And everyone wants their kids to do magic! The last batch was just a test run. Now everyone and their sister wants a wizard baby. And they’re getting it courtesy of government money. Bloody socialized medicine…”
The Quiddich field was in disrepair. The grass was overgrown. The stands were looking weathered. Even the goal posts looked in desperate need of a paint job. Still, some of Harry’s best memories were here. How many times had he bested Draco Malfoy here? “What do you mean there won’t be any classes next year? Malfoys have always gone to Hogwarts!”
“In case it escaped your notice, Malfoy, you might have noticed that the school is a bit empty? Pureblood money – assuming you can find any purebloods anymore – simply is not enough to keep the school open. No students want to come here anymore. No teachers want to come here anymore. Heck, even the ghosts and paintings have all left, starting new lives in these clone bodies that seem to be all the rage these days. The bloody Ministry has plans to turn Hogwarts into a museum of all things!”
“This is the end isn’t it, Potter?”
“Seems that way.”
“Merlin, do you realize that my grandson was ecstatic – ecstatic! – when he discovered that he wasn’t going to Hogwarts? Kids these days…”
“Headmaster?” a voice called, interrupting Harry’s reminiscing.
“Yes, George?” Harry replied, looking at the fresh-faced kid. He worked for one of the Weasely’s subsidiary companies.
“It’s time to go, Headmaster,” George said deferentially.
“Of course, of course. You can get out the car,” Harry replied. Then he added, “And it’s not Headmaster anymore.”
“Yes, sir,” George said as he put his briefcase on the ground. In seconds, it had unfolded into a flattened bubble shape with a pointed nose in front and a large fin in the rear.
“So how’s the wife, George?” Harry asked as they flew off.
“Great sir. Jane will be giving birth to a daughter sometime in November,” George said enthusiastically. “We’re going to call her Julie…”