Authors note; Writers block leads me to all kinds of wierd and wonderful things. This started off life as a short little piece about the wizards of Unseen University havung breakfast and was never going to be published. It just refused to stay put!
Disclaimer; Discworld and all characters belong to Terry Pratchett, Harry Potter and all characters belong to JK Rowling. Both are considerably richer that I am
Rincewind at Hogwarts
The day started out pretty much the same as any other. A casual observer might be quite bored by it; all the days seemed to start out the same way. Variety obviously woke up later. Mornings at Unseen University, Ankh-Morpork, always started the same way. Breakfast. This was considered serious business among wizards and was treated with the utmost importance. It was by no mere coincidence that most wizards were roughly spherical in shape. Mustrum Ridcully, Archchancellor of Unseen University, was in particularly high spirits this morning. There was no good reason for it, but nobody was complaining. He was just starting his third helping of porridge with sugar and honey, and little raisins mixed in, when a rather tired out Ponder Stibbons, Head of Inadvisably Applied Magic, stumbled into the hall.
"Oh dear, looks like he's been up all night. Bunch up man, make some room! Dean, pass that bacon down, there a good chap" said Ridcully jovially. The other wizards glanced at each other as they did so. Ponder was probably the most hardworking wizard the university employed (that is to say, the only one who did any real work). If he had been up all night working on something then there was a pretty good chance that they may end up being expected to do something too. Ponder ended up sat between the Chair of Indefinite Studies and The Bursar, who cooed merrily in greeting then went back to blowing bubbles in his tea. Ponder dropped his head onto the table as the bacon that Ridcully had asked for came near.
"Tired out eh? Poor fellow" said Ridcully. The Chair of Indefinite Studies gave Ponder a nervous look; if he was this tired then he must have been working hard. Ridcully gave Ponder time to revive before pressing for details.
"So, what have you been working on?" Conversation had been a bit dull this morning, unless you counted The Bursar's impressions of a Spanish dancing girl before they had managed to get him to take his dried frog pills that is. Ridcully wanted something interesting to talk about. Ponder managed about half a cup of tea in one gulp before answering.
"HEX picked up something weird last night. It took me until this morning to figure it all out"
"Well, what was it!" asked Ridcully.
"I'm not entirely sure, but it looks like another universe" Ponder had plenty of time to finish his tea and a piece of toast before this registered in the minds of the other wizards.
"What, do you mean like those parasite dimensions you were on about?" asked The Dean
"Is that where all the wasps come from" asked the Lecturer in Recent Runes.
"Wasps? Do you even know what you're talking about?" The Senior Wrangler argued.
"Wasps are parasites, where do you suppose they go every winter?"
"They all die off. Everyone knows that!"
"But if they're all dead then how come they always come back in summer?"
"Onion rings, onion rings. They are most peculiar things" sang The Bursar for no apparent reason. Ponder continued.
"It nothing at all like the alternate dimensions that exist. In those places it's only little things that are different, there could be one where goldfish can read minds, or one where the Bursar makes sense, or maybe even one where The Patrician actually likes people!" The Dean actually shuddered when Ponder said this; there are some things that no sane mind should ever consider.
"In this alternate universe everything would be completely different. Different people, different places…"
"And a sane Bursar?" asked The Dean, unable to get that horrible thought out of his head.
Rincewind had never much enjoyed spending too much time on the University grounds. Things tended to happen in the university that didn't tend to happen elsewhere. When was the last time that, say, The Watch house had been burned down by a dragon? Rincewind stopped, that had actually happened. Things did tend to happen wherever Rincewind went. His only hope was that they were little things that had only tiny amounts of mortal peril involved. Or, even better, no peril whatsoever. The sound of hundreds of tiny feet followed Rincewind as he headed down to the library. Those tiny feet all belonged to a large box made out of sapient pearwood that followed its master everywhere. Rincewind just called it The Luggage, and seeing as he was its master it followed him everywhere. Rincewind was a dangerously skinny man by normal standards. Normal standards would classify people like Ponder Stibbons and The Bursar quite healthy. But by Wizard standards both were classed as seriously underweight. One can only guess how Rincewind was considered. He was headed to the Library because logically every other wizard in the place would be at the dining hall. He really wanted to avoid any more comments about how severely thin he was. He actually made it through the door before he realised the fundamental flaw in his plan.
"Oook!" Said The Librarian in mild surprise. There was a wizard in his library at ten am; usually the wizards were working their way through third helpings by now.
"Don't worry; I'm not going to touch the books. I just wanted to find somewhere to hide for a while" Rincewind said glumly. The Librarian gave him a smile that was not entirely unsympathetic, but also had a healthy dose of suspicion thrown in for good measure. Or, at least, as close to one as a simian face can manage. Rincewind found himself wondering why it was that he liked being an orang-utan on a permanent basis. The Librarian had refused every attempt to turn him back into a human.
"Oook" Said The Librarian. Rincewind just nodded.
Somewhere else, at the same time, lessons were being conducted. The wizards at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry began its day considerably earlier than its counterparts in the alternate dimension. The Gryffindor timetable for this morning read thus;
9.00am - 10.00am, Divination. 10.00 am - 12.00am, Double Potions.
Suffice it to say, Harry Potter was not in the best of moods. He was sat at the back of the class, at the table closest to the door so that he could escape quickly at the first sign of the end of the lesson. At this exact moment a tall, black and greasy figure was flapping around the dungeon like a giant bat and explaining, for the umpteenth time, that mixing ingredient A and ingredient B would result in half the lab being blown to pieces and in what was left of Neville Longbottom being expelled so fast that time would have to go backwards. Beside him, Harry could feel the hand of Hermione Grainger raise itself in protest, could feel the ginger head of Ron Weasley try to bury itself in the desk because he knew that Professor Snape's inbuilt radar would detect the insubordination, and could hear the words forming before Hermione had even opened her mouth.
"What is it, Miss Grainger" Snape hissed like a venomous snake. Hermione pressed on with characteristic suicidal tendency
"Professor, Neville hasn't even begun to make the potion yet! Don't you think you're being unfair?"
"Unfair, am I? Let's see, I'll make that fifty… no, ten points from Gryffindor. That seems fair" Snape began in silky tones. The colour drained from Ron's face as Snape said this. The Potions Master wasn't quite finished yet.
"Longbottom, to the front of the class. You are going to make the potion all by yourself. And when you fail to do so I will subtract the other forty points and start thinking about detentions. See how fair I can be?" A thin little smile cut its way across Snape's miserly face as Neville shakily made his way to the front. At that point the door opened, and a round faced man trotted into the room.
"Ah, Professor, I was wondering if I could have a moment of your time. Oh dear, what's happening here?" He said in a voice like honey, sickly sweet and sticky.
"You would be our new Defence against Dark Arts teacher, Professor…?" Snape's words could have frozen lava. Harry watched in silence as the man shivered under their force. He remained by the door.
"Short, I am Professor Short, and I was…" Snape cut him off
"I'm sorry Professor Short, but I am in the middle of a lesson. Longbottom, you may begin now"
Ponder massaged his temples as he tried to explain it for the seventh time.
"No. There is not another Discworld with a nice Patrician and a sane Bursar and there are definitely not other versions of wizards there". It had sounded like an argument the first few times, now it just sounded tired.
"You mean it's a Roundworld with a nice Patrician, sane Bursar and other versions of us there" Said Ridcully with the air of one who had solved an impossible puzzle. Ponder gave up.
"Yes, yes, why not?" He muttered. The Archchancellor beamed.
"Well, if there are other wizards there, why don't we say hello?" Asked The Dean.
"What a good idea! Of course! It's terribly rude of us to know that they're there and not say hello after all!" Ridcully declared as he generously seasoned his bacon with his world famous Wowwow sauce. A substance that could easily be classified as a biological weapon of mass destruction. The other wizards gave this a look and began to shuffle away in their seats as fast as they could. All except The Bursar, who picked up a couple of spoons and placed them underneath his chin.
"I'm Mr. Spoonlegs, my name is Mr. Spoonlegs, they call me Mr. Spoonlegs, 'cause I am Mr. Spoonlegs!" He trilled. The Dean screamed.
"Stop him, he's doing Spoonlegs again!" With that the man dived across the table in a mad dash to grab the spoons before The Bursar reached the chorus.
This is what happened. In the universe we shall refer to as the Roundworld Neville Longbottom tried his best to mix the potion while professors Short and Snape argued over the heads of the class. A combination of raised voices, nerves and butter fingers resulted in Neville dropping an entire bottle into the cauldron. An entire bottle of a substance that he should only have used one drop of. Meanwhile, in the Discworld 400lb of The Dean flung itself down the table aimed roughly at the spoons that The Bursar was currently dancing with. He missed. He hit the Archchancellor, or more accurately, he hit the Archcancellor's bottle of Wowwow sauce and sent it flying across the room where it shattered on the floor. In both universes everyone had the good sense to duck. Now, two explosions in two different universes are not that uncommon a phenomenon, and would have passed unnoticed were it not for one extra factor. The explosion in Unseen University made Rincewind leap into the air and knock over several old Grimoires that The Librarian had been cataloguing. The books flapped wildly and several spells escaped before The Librarian could stop them. They mixed together and added themselves to the two explosions to create a third, bigger one. That was what caused it.
Professor Short picked himself up off the ground, or rather, the part of him that felt that it should be standing upright did. Looking around, he got the distinct impression that something was amiss. For a start he seemed to be in a library instead of Professor Snape's classroom. And he felt strangely light, as if a great weight had been removed from his soul.
HMM, THIS IS UNEXPECTED. A voice spoke these words, yet at the same time Short's ears denied hearing them.
YOU WOULD'NT HAPPEN TO BE EUGENE SHORT BY ANY CHANCE? That eldritch voice spoke again.
"That's right" The man said as he turned around. The figure was seven foot tall, hooded and cloaked entirely in black, except for the hand that held the scythe. The hand was skeletal and white. Eugene Short felt a lump in his throat.
THERE SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN SOMETHING OF A MIX UP said Death. IT APPEARS THAT AN INTERDIMENTIONAL PORTAL HAS BEEN OPENED BETWEEN OUR TWO UNIVERSES. THERE IS A REASONABLE EXPLANATION FOR THIS BUT I'M AFRAID IT ALL GETS A BIT METAPHYSICAL
"A mix up? You mean I shouldn't be dead?" Hoped the soul of Eugene Short
YOU SHOULDN'T BE DEAD HERE. UNFORTUNATELY YOU WERE PULLED THROUGH TO FILL A GAP LEFT HERE BY SOMEONE OR SOMETHING FROM HERE ENTERING YOUR REALITY. EITHER WAY, YOUR LIFETIMER RAN OUT TODAY. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS THAT YOU ARE HERE RATHER THAN THERE. Death tried to explain. Professor Short seemed to understand.
"They told me the job was cursed, you know, but I didn't listen. Oh well. So what happens now? Do I go back"
THAT WOULD MEAN THAT SOMETHING FROM YOUR SIDE OF THE PORTAL WOULD HAVE TO COME BACK TO KEEP THE REALITIES IN BALANCE. UNFORTUNATLEY IT'S A BIT LATE FOR YOU TO BE THINKING OF THINGS LIKE THAT. HOWEVER, I AM CONFIDENT THAT OUR AFTERLIFE IS JUST AS GOOD AS YOURS.
As the smoke cleared in the potions lab three figures collapsed in a heap by the door. Snape's eyesight cleared up for him to see that Potter, Weasley and that idiot Short had vanished. In their places were an Orang-utan, a large chest with hundreds of little legs and the thinnest, scruffiest little man Snape had ever laid eyes on. The man, dressed in raggedy robes that once upon a time may have been red and a hat with the word 'WIZZARD' embroidered in it, looked around with the air of one who would like to wake up now, thank you very much. He caught sight of Professor Snape, muttered something that sounded like 'minblewimble', and fainted.