WIZARDING BRITAIN CELEBRATES FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF YOU-KNOW-WHO'S DEATH!
The small community of Godric's Hollow is usually a quiet village. Despite being the birthplace of Godric Gryffindor, one of the Hogwarts Founders, this quaint magical community is made up of average citizens of Wizarding Britain just like you and I. They live their lives, they raise their families, and they go to work. Once a year, however, Godric's Hollow becomes widely remembered as the place where we were freed from the lurking darkness of a brewing civil war, one that You-Know-Who might've won, had it not been for the miracle that was Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived.
It has been five years since the destruction of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. The magical citizens of Godric's Hollow have erected a statue in memoriam of the Potter family, whose sacrifices have given us respite from danger these past years. James Potter and his wife, (Muggle-born) Lily Potter nee Evans, were murdered by You-Know-Who on October 31st, 1981, leaving behind their infant son, Harry. The child, miraculously, is the only person to have ever survived the Killing Curse in ways unknown to most, though many suspect that Albus Dumbledore, current Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, knows more than he has led on in the past.
The present location of Harry Potter is unknown, and Albus Dumbledore has taken drastic measures to ensure that information is locked up tight, even with Ministerial records and, as we at the Daily Prophet expect, sealed the file with goblin magic. Gringotts refused to give comment, leaving us only to speculate.
Where is the Boy Who Lived? How did he survive the Killing Curse and defeat You-Know-Who? What is Dumbledore hiding? And how are they both celebrating this momentous anniversary?
October 31st, 1986
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Albus Dumbledore sighed in disappointment as he finished reading the article. He folded the paper neatly and reached across his desk to slide it beneath Fawkes's perch. The phoenix ruffled his feathers, and the old wizard could not help but smirk when the bird shat on the headline.
Albus knew, of course, that the focus would be on the anniversary of Voldemort's demise. It was, however, a sore spot considering his paper on the twelve uses of dragon blood had finally been published. His great discovery had been allocated to page fourteen beneath an advertisement for Mrs Skower's All-Purpose Magical Mess Remover, something he found ironic considering dragon blood could be used as a stain remover as well as an oven cleaner.
He supposed there could be worse things reported in the newspaper that were deemed more important than his revolutionary discovery. It was, after all, only five years ago that the news was reporting mayhem in the streets of Wizarding Britain, the torture of half-bloods and so-called "blood-traitors", and the outright murder of Muggle-borns. There was a time, Albus recalled, he had worried that perhaps not even Hogwarts was safe from Voldemort, especially considering the self-proclaimed "Dark Lord" had been recruiting his Death Eaters from within the school. Frowning, Albus could not help but recall the names of each young individual that he had lost to Voldemort's cause. So many young Slytherins had taken up the title of Death Eater, though quite a few were left unnamed in the aftermath of Voldemort's destruction. Even more lives, on both sides of the war, had been lost in battle.
Charms alerted him that someone was approaching his door, and Albus looked up, smiling and twinkling at Minerva, who sent him a withering expression. "Ah, Minerva. I trust that all the students have been sent off to bed, hopefully eager to sleep off the excitement caused by such a splendid feast?"
If she had been a young and more impertinent witch, he was certain that she might have rolled her eyes at him. As it was, she scoffed, pushed her spectacles up the bridge of her nose and pursed her lips.
"Celebration," she said scathingly. "You can do all the celebrating you'd like, Albus. While you're busy celebrating with your sweets," she hissed, narrowing her gaze down at the bowl of lemon drops on his desk, and Albus reached out, pulling the bowl closer to him protectively; it would not be the first time that she had blasted the thing to pieces in a snit, "I'll be down in Hogsmeade, doing my level best to make sure your Potions Master doesn't drink himself to death."
Albus frowned. "Severus still grieves."
"Grief, guilt, I don't care what you call it, but last year he was almost banned from Rosmerta's for causing a scene."
"We cannot expect more of him. We all mourn in our own way, Minerva." He was, however, quite concerned about the young man. Only twenty-six years old and yet he carried the anger and weight of a life filled with decades of scorn and hatred, and a bit of self-pity, though Albus was not one to mention such a thing. Severus Snape was talented, a prodigy even, and the poor lad had been reduced to a professor—and one that had a dislike for children. It was a shame that the Ministry could not see what Albus saw in him. They saw a former Death Eater, sometimes without the former. Albus saw potential, redemption, a man in need of atonement.
The binge drinking every Halloween, of course, was going to need to come to an end.
"I'll not be responsible for what might happen if he tries to make a fuss in the Hog's Head." Minerva's nose twitched in irritation, and Albus could almost imagine her whiskers. She had the same look on her face in Animagus form. "Or would you like to be the one to step between Severus and your brother?"
He did his best to not cringe at the thought. No, Minerva would have an easier time in handling Severus, especially if Aberforth ended up involved in the Potion Master's annual bender. "Perhaps a softer approach would be best," he agreed. "Severus has always taken well to you. Will you both be returning to the castle tonight?"
Minerva shook her head. "No. I've yet to put my cottage to rights. I'll set him up there for the night. I imagine he'll want his privacy. Besides, he prefers that horrid cognac that Elphinstone used to keep in the cabinets. I won't touch the stuff, but I'll not throw it out. Best let the lad drink it."
"Minerva, if there's anything that I can—"
"My husband is dead, Albus. Just like the handful of children I raised and sent off to war at your insistence; just like the rest of my family; just like James and Lily. And one day we'll be dead too. Nothing can be done about that." Her eyes were hard, which was not a surprise considering she had been a bit colder than usual since Elphinstone's death months earlier.
Resigned to her temper and knowing better than to provoke it further, Albus held his hands up in supplication. "Do let me know if Severus is in need of anything," he said, emphasising the name so as not to incur more of her wrath. "Happy Halloween, Minerva."
When she closed his office door upon leaving, Albus sighed in relief, letting the tension drain out of his shoulders. Few wizards had the ability to frighten him, but only a fool would not shirk under the stern gaze of an angry witch, especially one that quite literally had claws. At the thought, he glanced down at the side of his chair that previously had been upholstered but now looked like a proper scratching post. He was not exactly certain how Minerva had spelled the damned thing to prevent him from repairing it with magic. Still, he had suggested that she take time away from the school to mourn her husband properly, and apparently, that was entirely the wrong thing to say. Her reply had been unsparing: "I was married to my work before I married a wizard. If you think I'll give up one when the other has been forcibly taken from me, you have another thing coming, Albus!"
Pulling his attention away from the scratching post that his chair had become in the wake of a widowed feline, Albus waved his wand against the bottom drawer of his desk and smiled when it opened accordingly. Setting his wand aside, he reached into the drawer and, one by one, pulled out a large book and a glass bottle of brandy. Pouring his drink into a small glass that he wandlessly conjured, Albus closed up the bottle and pushed it to his left, then opened the book.
The inked words filled the pages, and when he found the one he was looking for, Albus smiled.
There, right between Sally-Anne Perks and Oliver Rivers, was Harry Potter.
Albus smiled and raised his glass. "To you, Mr Potter. Five more years, and you will begin a most hopeful adventure, my boy."
November 1st, 1986
Dillonsby Centre for Magical Disease and Disorders
"Did you read this codswallop in the bloody paper!?"
Ivor Dillonsby threw his copy of the Daily Prophet across the table, scattering chess pieces to the floor in the process. He ignored the heavy sigh of frustration from his great-grandson, and continued to angrily vent, "Rag filled with lies and deceit! Deceit, I say! Are you listening to me, boy? Ham!" He took hold of his cane and poked Hammond—hardly a boy, nearing thirty—in the shoulder with the end. "Are you listening?"
Hammond shrugged away from the cane as he picked up the last two chess pieces, righting them on the board again after pushing away the paper. "Deceit, Grandfather. Yes, I heard you," he said patiently. "Are you talking about the monument in Godric's Hollow?" His eyes were drawn to the front page, where a photograph of a large statue shifted from a World War II memorial to the image of the Potter family. The sight brought forth old feelings of sadness and guilt. "Do you think the Ministry actually raised the funds, or do you think they allocated money from another cause? I heard St. Mungo's had to shut down three of their studies in the last six months."
"What nonsense are you talking about?" Ivor snatched the paper away from Hammond, flipping through the pages. Turning it around once he had found the right article, he tapped his arthritic index finger against a photograph of Albus Dumbledore. "Look at this . . . this . . . PEACOCK!"
Hammond raised a brow. "Albus Dumbledore? Peacock? Well, those robes are rather a bit of an eyesore."
It was, however, easy to see what had caused his grandfather to become so irate. Ivor Dillonsby had spent his life as a well-respected researcher, published many times, but only by magazines and papers owned by more progressive wizards. While the Dillonsby family could trace their magical lineage back centuries, they had never been involved with the nonsense surrounding blood prejudice, and Ivor's mother had been a Muggle. Admired by his peers throughout the rest of the world, Wizarding Britain was stuck in the past and their prejudices, leaving Ivor's work open to . . . "improvements" because of his supposedly tainted lineage. There, clear as day, was a photograph of the famous Albus Dumbledore receiving acknowledgements for his contribution to magical society for his efforts in discovering twelve uses for dragon blood.
"Stolen!" Ivor shouted.
Someone in the doorway of the hospital room cleared their throat, and Hammond turned to see one of the older mediwitches looking sourly at them both. Ivor was known to get a little out of hand some days, and had lost his very last "give a fuck" at least twenty years earlier. No matter how upset it made the other patients, the man had decided he would shout to his heart's content. Hammond offered the mediwitch a smile of apology, and flicked his wand at the door, activating a temporary Silencing Charm.
"Stolen everything." Ivor glared down at the Daily Prophet in his hands. "I spent near eighty years working on that damned research, you know. Dragon's blood. My life's work. I dedicated so much of my life to the study that my first wife left me!"
Hammond could not help but snort at that, rolling his eyes. "She also caught you in bed with her sister."
Ivor grimaced at the reminder. "That was a mistake."
"What about the veela?" Hammond asked, unable to resist teasing the old man.
The grimace quickly gone from his face, Ivor grinned. "You try saying no to a pretty girl! I dare you!"
"I've done that plenty, Grandfather," Hammond assured him, reaching again for the paper. "Let me see this codswallop. Hmm . . . He does credit you with—"
"Credit me? What money will I see of this?" Ivor scoffed, looking equal parts angry and defeated. "None, I say. Dumbledore," he cursed the name and then turned his head, spitting on the floor. "I spit on his grave."
"He's not dead."
Ivor huffed. "Then when he dies, bury him there," he said, pointing at the floor. "That's where I spat!"
Ignoring the theatrics, Hammond read the actual list that Dumbledore had supposedly discovered. Eight uses, of course, had been attributed to Ivor, only the final four were of Dumbledore's discovery—two of which were positively ridiculous, despite the way that the author of the article waxed poetic about them. "This list doesn't even go into the minute details of dragon blood depending on the species. Sure, you could clean your oven with the blood of an Ironbelly, but a Chinese Fireball would turn it to ash if left unattended."
Ivor raised a curious brow. "Been visiting your . . . friend down at the reserve, have you?"
It had taken years of practise to stop his cheeks from reddening. While his family fully accepted Hammond's choice of partner, they were all a bit overbearing about the seriousness of the relationship, or lack thereof. His mother was dying for a wedding, and she had made complaints to every great-grandparent and fourth cousin twice removed. "Yes, my friend, Lionel," Hammond replied, speaking of his on and off boyfriend, a deliciously fit Dragonologist at the Kakadu Dragon Reserve. "He was recently injured by a Peruvian—"
"Nice boy, your mum says."
Hammond sighed, getting back to the subject at hand. "Grandfather, can dragon blood truly be used to heal? I mean . . . I know it can be . . . To what extent?" It was pure happenstance—a lucky coincidence—that the article on Dumbledore and dragon blood was in the same issue of the Daily Prophet as the Potter Memorial, but it had the wheels in Hammond's head turning. He had not been this excited—this hopeful—in years.
Ivor stroked his thinning beard thoughtfully. "Depends how much you replace and with what dragon, of course."
"You can't do a blood transfer from dragon to human," Hammond argued. He knew because he had thought about trying it only to find dead ends at every corner of his research. He could always test, of course, but not with his favourite patient. "They did a study twenty-two years ago with someone in Russia and a Norwegian—" His eyes widened in sudden understanding that would generally make him smack his head over missing the obvious. "The test subject caught a fever and died. Norwegian Ridgebacks develop fire breathing nearly upon hatching, much earlier than other species. Are you telling me that—?"
Ivor scoffed indignantly. "Fools, the lot of them. Never liked Russians. I heard their women don't shave."
Hammond rolled his eyes. "Neither did that witch I caught you with last year. Pretty sure she was a werewolf."
Ivor beamed happily. "She shagged like one."
Ignoring the expression of bliss on Ivor's face, Hammond pressed on, "Grandfather, if I were to use dragon blood to cure . . . an infectious disease," he said carefully, "by replacing the blood of the infected with the blood of a dragon, would that work?"
"You'd have to get a dragon that doesn't burn hotter than others," Ivor answered. "Common Welsh Green, maybe a Romanian Longhorn, or an—"
Hammond's heart raced in excitement. "Antipodean Opaleye."
November 15th, 1986
Dillonsby Centre for Magical Disease and Disorders
After looking over his morning paperwork and checking in on his grandfather, Hammond signed off all of his low-risk cases to the mediwitches and interns. He told them all that he had research to do and was to be left undisturbed, lest they all spend the rest of the week scrubbing the Spattergroit Ward the Muggle way—no Cleaning Charms allowed.
He had gone to visit Lionel that very first day after reading the Daily Prophet with his grandfather, and—without telling him too many details, like the name of his patient—was able to convince his boyfriend to obtain a significant amount of dragon blood. Luckily, the going rate for ten pints of Antipodean Opaleye was apparently a promise of dinner with the Dillonsby clan, a discussion of potentially moving in together, and a very enthusiastic blowjob.
Hammond waved his wand as he passed through his office, resetting the extra secure wards that kept anyone but him out. The secondary set of wards he launched were actually quite threatening, just in case people did not take the hint at the first set. The disillusioned door at the back of his office revealed itself with a whispered key phrase, and Hammond took a breath before walking through it.
When he had relocated to Australia to be nearer his family, the only things he had brought with him were his research, his antique gobstone collection, and one very special patient. "Good morning," he said to the comatose witch, as though she could hear him. "You're looking better today."
Her skin, which had been a sickly, translucent green, had finally returned to a pale—but healthy—glow. The purple rash that covered the majority of her body was nearly all gone, and her vitals were better than he had seen them in years. The blood transfusions were slow at first, but when her signs began to improve, he increased the amount every day, watching carefully as she progressed. According to his last blood tests and charms, the dragon blood in her body had almost entirely eradicated the dragon pox that had nearly killed her almost ten years earlier.
Hammond checked on the last bag of dragon blood that was almost empty and took a seat to watch. An hour later, when the final bit of rash was gone, and her temperature had normalised, Hammond cast detailed charms to check all of her vital signs before gulping down his nerves. Healed. She was healed. Unfortunately, that meant he would need to wake her and have a very uncomfortable conversation.
Steeling his nerves that had been provided to him by seven years of Gryffindor standards, Hammond gently lifted the layers of charms that had been keeping his patient asleep for so long. He had started her on a regular dose of draughts to rebuild atrophied muscles, as well as a special Vitamix Potion to counteract any potential side effects that the dragon blood might have caused to her internal organs. Her magical core was strong—stronger than any of his other patients, even the ones who stopped in with a mild cold—which gave him immense hope for her ultimate recovery.
His pulse quickened when her eyelids began to flutter.
"You're safe," he said calmly. "You're in a hospital, and you've done very well. If you can hear me, will you squeeze my hand?" There was a small squeeze, and Hammond grinned. "That's wonderful. Can you open your eyes for me?"
It took several long moments, but her eyes opened. A dull, tired grey that quickly changed to an opalescent purple when the light hit the irises. "Interesting," Hammond muttered, casting a Lumos and waving it in front of her eyes. "Must be a small side effect from the Opaleye blood." A line formed between her brows. "Oh, I'm sorry. In order to rid your body of the dragon pox, I've given you a heavy blood transfusion. Nearly ninety per cent, in fact. Dragon blood. Antipodean Opaleye, to be precise. They're known to have eyes that change colours, so that might be a trait that was transferred over. Fascinating."
"My . . ." the witch tried to speak, her voice hoarse and small after years of not being used. "My family? My . . . Where is my husband? And my . . . my so—"
Hammond gently took her hand again in both of his and frowned. "You and your husband were admitted to St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries in 1977. Your dragon pox progressed faster than we'd hoped, and the usual cure was not being absorbed into your system. At the request of your husband, you were placed in a magical coma to preserve your core, and a very strong and potentially illegal Stasis Charm was put on you to stop the disease from progressing further. It's . . . it's 1986 now. You've been in my care for quite some time."
Her hands began to shake at the news, and Hammond quickly checked her vitals again.
"My . . . my husband?"
"I'm sorry . . . he . . ."
She shook her head—not wanting to hear the rest of the words—and closed her eyes as tears began to form. "Where's my son? Where's James?"
Hammond's own eyes dampened.
"I'm sorry, Mrs Potter . . . Dorea . . . James isn't here."