AN: Hi, this is a little story unrelated to anything else I've written. This has been a small bug in my head for the past few months, given the global situation, and I thought I might have a little fun with an imaginary imitation of a real-life situation that frightens the globe. I also know that in poking a hornet's nest I will get stung, so I wanted to let people know that I live in an area particularly hard hit with the pandemic, know several people with permanent lung damage from the virus, and have lost a family member to the disease. So while I'm not a very political person on here, I want to let you know where I'm coming from and how much patience I'll have for people who say things are a hoax.
As far as the story, I believe this will be a short story from what I have outlined currently, but you never know what happens when inspiration strikes. Interacting with readers is one of my favorite parts of writing fanfiction, so please drop me a line or a review and let me know what you think. Anything constructive and coherent is welcome, but I have taken my troll repellent potion for those that aren't and that aren't capable of reading warnings. Warnings: spanking, discussion of death, illness, strong emotions, strong language.
Lucius Malfoy was not happy, not happy at all. His well-heeled feet clicked smartly on the worn flagstones of the entrance to Hogwarts, only to be stopped abruptly by a magical shield as he came to a wooden archway. The shield gave a warning, he knew that if he pressed further the shield would repel him with great strength.
"Hogwarts is closed to all entry," a body-less voice intoned. "By joint order of the Board and the Ministry of Magic in protection of the students from the Dragon-pox outbreak."
"As if a person of my breeding would be put off by such a common boundary and order!" he growled sharply at the voice. "I demand to be heard by Dumbledore immediately! There has been a breach!"
"Your request will be relayed," the voice replied, making Lucius realize that the voice belonged to a painting hung within the archway. He rolled his eyes at Dumbledore's methods, but he knew better than to try and break in. The man may be frustrating, but he was powerful nonetheless.
He flicked his hand, casting a small wandless spell that curled its ice-blue tendrils along the surface of the shield, and then traveled over the expanse of the shield. Lucius was surprised to see the spell travel along an enormous dome over the entire school, disappearing out of sight as it crested near the astronomy tower. This was no ordinary boundary – Dumbledore obviously meant business. How had the blighter managed it?
Lucius waited, with the elegant impatience that only a pureblooded wizard could muster, until the aged but still sprightly figure of the headmaster of Hogwarts made his way towards the archway. The approaching figure didn't change the condescending arrogance of the head of house Malfoy, instead it seemed to provoke an even stiffer posture.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Malfoy," the Headmaster greeted in a calm, pleasant voice. "Thank you for respecting our quarantine; I am sorry it is necessary."
"This quarantine is ridiculous!" he seethed. "As if I am a danger to my own child! I demand entry at once."
"Until this recent bout of Dragon Pox is contained, I'm afraid we cannot be too careful," Dumbledore shook his head sadly. "I understand your sadness at not seeing your son, I am sorry for it. But sadly we are allowing nobody in or out of Hogwarts at this time."
"You say this, but it is a lie!" he continued, enraged. "There is a report of a student breaking the quarantine and being spotted outside Hogsmeade this morning!"
"You are remarkably well informed," the Headmaster told him good-naturedly, showing no surprise that Lucius Malfoy would possess such information. The man had spies and connections everywhere. "I do not even know if all of my staff are aware yet of the breach."
"What is being done about it?" Lucius demanded. "I have half a mind to remove my son immediately!"
"You know as well as I do that Hogwarts remains the safest place for your child," Dumbledore assured the irate pureblood, raising his hand in assurance. "The breach was discovered very quickly by a member of staff, and the child in question is being quarantined with that member of staff."
"What if the contagion spread in that time?"
"The child was caught as soon as he re-entered Hogwarts," Dumbledore reassured the head of Malfoy. "And we have had the house elves clean that hall very carefully. We are satisfied the contagion, if indeed the boy was even exposed to it, has been eradicated from any common areas."
"And where are they being kept?"
"In a safe room warded against any contagion being spread, with their food being delivered to them."
"It sounds as if you've handled that part of it, then," Lucius observed, his tone manipulative.
"We have tried," Dumbledore nodded, knowing the argument was just getting started.
"This complete quarantine of Hogwarts is unnecessary," Lucius protested. "This is simply a matter of the Ministry over-reacting. After all, there is a cure for Dragon Pox."
"Which does not seem to be working on the current outbreak," Dumbledore said. "Apparently there has been a mutation of the Pox, as you are aware. A quarantine remains our best defense against the contagion."
"How well does a quarantine work if you have students breaking it left right and center?" he growled.
"The student in question will be disciplined appropriately," Dumbledore assured him. "And will be held in a fourteen day quarantine to make sure that the disease is not spread. There is little danger."
"We both know the danger is in who that student was!" Lucius spat. "The student that thinks that no rules apply to him!"
"You barely know the child, Lucius," Dumbledore replied evenly.
"Everyone in the wizarding world knows the name of Harry Potter," Lucius growled. "But not everyone is as enamored with him as you are, excusing every fault."
"I believe he is aware, Lucius."
"And just what took him into Hogsmeade in the first place?" Lucius pushed. "The Ministry has been quite clear up until now - all visits are cancelled, all nonessential travel prohibited? The rest of the world is on complete lockdown and he takes a leisurely stroll? Or is he the boy who lived to flout all rules?"
"I'm gratified that you thought this important enough to flout quarantine guidelines to discuss with me," Dumbledore answered dryly.
"Of course it is!" he argued. "You have an out of control, muggle-raised . . .
"I'm not sure how this concerns you, Lucius," Dumbledore interrupted. "This is a school matter, with very little to do with you."
"It has everything to do with me with my son and heir sharing classes with that half-blood!" Lucius thundered. "And for what, a stroll around the town? Stolen treats? A childish dare?"
"I understand your concerns, and I take them seriously," Dumbledore soothed. "But I haven't yet found out the boy's motives. But surely you are correct in that it is some trifle or another, you know boys at this age. I will have a talk with the boy and find out what it was."
"And expel him!"
"His discipline is up to me," Dumbledore assured him, "Not up to the Ministry or up to other parents' input. But Lucius, I think we both know what this is really about."
"And what is that, pray tell?"
"We both know your father died of Dragon Pox," Dumbledore stated with quiet compassion. For all that Lucius was a manipulative, arrogant pureblooded aristocrat he was still a man, and a man with one son whom he loved more deeply than he cared to admit. "You and Narcissa must be frantic. I understand, I truly do, but you have to believe me that the safest place for your son right now is here."
"We all know that Dragon Pox affects the old far more strongly," Lucius recited, as if to assure himself. "My father wasn't a young man, but he wasn't old either. He was still a man of power and influence when the Pox took him."
"The death of an older person is still significant," Dumbledore told him. "And it doesn't diminish the fear you feel for your son."
"If Potter's carelessness indeed spreads the pox to my son . . ."
"Every precaution is being taken," Dumbledore assured him. "As well as the best minds working on the cure. I was more than a little responsible for many of the modifications of the latest cure, and I am working with Severus and others on a newer one. Everything is being done."
"I can't lose him," Lucius stated, suddenly not the affronted aristocrat issuing orders but a frightened father. "We just can't."
"I understand," Dumbledore nodded. "I am doing everything under my power to make sure that you don't."
"Who is this staff member who with him anyway?" Lucius demanded. "If it's Professor Sprout I'm going to demand reinforcements."
"I believe you will be pleased on the quality of the professor that caught Harry on his return to Hogwarts, and was hence exposed and is therefore being quarantined with the lad," Dumbledore replied, his eyes twinkling behind the magical barrier. "I have full faith in his ability to keep Harry out of mischief for the duration of the two weeks."
"Flitwick then?" Lucius guessed. Though small, the charms professor packed quite a punch as a former dueling champion. "Surely not that abominable new Dark Arts teacher."
"Harry is quarantined for two weeks with our Potions Master," Dumbledore told him with a light voice. "Severus Snape."