The Internet is about as good for wizards as a traipse through the Forbidden Forest is for first year Hogwarts students. It's undiscovered, dangerous territory; and yet, it's so compelling and full of secrets.
Albus' first encounter with it was his Muggle friend's phone. He had been fascinated with the pixelated crystals of the screen. "You mean you can just find anything?!" he gasped.
His friend cocked her head at him. "Of course," she said blithely.
There were plenty of Muggle-born students at Hogwarts, of course, that introduced the pureblood wizards to their strange technologies.
This was when Albus realized just how limited wizards are. They've been pretty much the same for the last few centuries, but the muggle world has been growing rapidly in terms of population, advancement, and the like.
But slowly, wizards and muggles were becoming more and more integrated. Muggle-borns were sharing their information about technology with researchers in the Ministry of Magic. Wizards were combining magic with computers experimentally. And many Hogwarts students now had phones. A spell was invented so that the cell signals wouldn't mess with the magical force fields that protected Hogwarts.
By the time he was fifteen, Albus had had plenty of experience with Muggle technology. His dad even let him have an iPod and he discovered the wonders of Muggle pop music. Having been raised with musical acts the likes of the Weird Sisters and Celestia Warbeck, he only ever knew the rough sound that was the result of no digital sound and poor recording techniques. He was in awe of how the Muggles had figured out how to create fake sounds. He soon had preferences in music culture, often stating that he enjoyed electropop artists like Years & Years and Halsey.
It was a current trend in Hogwarts to make an Instagram account. Hogwarts students put "HSWW" in their bios so that they would know if a student was a wizard. They were still very careful about revealing knowledge about wizards, only accepting follow requests from fellow wizards so that their photos of particularly aesthetic potions and videos of them turning their pens into arrows wouldn't be seen by Muggles.
Albus was having a discussion with his boyfriend Scorpius about technology when he got an idea. "I'm going to Google my father's name," he told Scorpius, scooping his iPod off the common room table.
Scorpius shrugged. "I doubt you're going to find anything. Wizard newspapers don't print online, obviously. Although did you know that they're considering making password protected news sites?!"
"Huh," Albus said, not really listening. He hit the "enter" button and waited for the search engine to load.
"Hey, there are results," he said, surprised.
"Try the first one." Scorpius came around the table to see what Albus was doing. He rested his chin on Albus' shoulder.
"My Immortal on fanfiction dot net," Albus read. "Fanfiction?"
"Oh, that's where people write stories about characters and celebrities," Scorpius said.
"Oh," Albus said. "How do you know that?"
"I read a lot of My Chemical Romance fanfiction during my emo phase." Scorpius shuddered slightly.
Albus clicked on the link. A document loaded. "My Immortal, a Harry Potter fanfiction. Let's read it."
He inspected the first paragraph.
AN: Special fangz (get it, coz Im goffik) 2 my gf (ew not in that way) raven, bloodytearz666 4 helpin me wif da story and spelling. U rok! Justin ur da luv of my deprzzing life u rok 2! MCR ROX!
"What?!" Albus wondered. He stared at the page in confusion. "What the hell does this mean?"
Scorpius cleared his throat nervously. "AN means authors note. So it's the author talking. 'Fangz' probably means 'thanks,' so they're saying thanks to their friend Raven. They use 'fangz' instead of thanks because they're gothic. They also describe Raven–or bloodytearz666, that's probably her username–as their girlfriend but 'not in that way,' so the author is probably female. She also says thanks to Justin, the love of her depressing life. And she says that MCR rocks. So she's clearly very emo. Probably a 2006 emo."
Albus stared at Scorpius. "How do you know all this?"
Scorpius gulped. "Like I said, I had an emo phase."
Albus blinked. After a moment, he returned to the page.
Hi my name is Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way and I have long ebony black hair (that's how I got my name) with purple streaks and red tips that reaches my mid-back and icy blue eyes like limpid tears and…
Albus and Scorpius continued the story silently. Scorpius occasionally explained a reference to Albus as they continued.
"I'm still really confused," Albus said after the first two chapters. "What is this story about? Who wrote it? Why?"
"I don't know," Scorpius said honestly. "Probably some emo Muggle born fourth year. Most people write fanfiction because they like to continue the stories of their favorite characters after the official canon ends, or because they like to imagine what their favorite people would do in a certain situation. This person wanted to cross Hogwarts with emo culture and, well… this happened."
"It's a fucking train wreck," Albus said, staring at the fic.
Scorpius was in a state of shock too. Not only was the story completely ridiculous, it featured his father, and reading about the main character flirting with a goth version of Draco Malfoy was not something he wanted to do.
"I really think that we should stop," Scorpius said weakly.
"But my dad isn't even in it yet."
"Albus, I really don't want to read about either of our fathers having emo sex with these bizarre characters."
Albus shuddered. "True."
Maybe, Albus decided as he climbed into bed that night, it wasn't a good idea to give wizards technology. Not a good idea at all.