Disclaimer: So I own my own characters, but the Harry Potter world is as far from mine as the sun.
Summary: What if the Harry Potter world wasn't fantasy but a reality? And what if after the seven books were finished, the battle still wasn't finished?
A/N: I wanted to write a story that made Harry Potter a reality instead of just a fantasy world. I wanted to do this properly, so this first chapter is quite long, and there are NO Harry Potter characters in it. But I assure you the next chapter will start to introduce them... And really, I am trying quite hard to keep this from being too much of a marysue story. It shall be a long story... And nothing is ever as you expect.
If you like it, review. Thank you.
Another day, another class over and done with. Sometimes I wonder why I work as a teacher, sometimes I wonder why I teach at a college. Even a school as prestigious as New York University. It's not that I don't like teaching, in fact I have to say I love it. The question always arises though when I think about what I teach. My classes are history classes. The history of modern Japan, the history of ancient Rome, the history of the dark ages in Britain. Should I be surprised that these are the classes I teach? I would hope not since I spent 8 years in school getting history degrees. So why then the questioning attitude to my life's course?
Well it likely stemmed from the fact that while I had a few degrees in history, and while I taught the subject, my real passion and one could say my hobby, was the occult. I am a renowned expert in the world of the occult, more specifically in objects and rituals used in it. All of my students know this. How they could not, I don't know. After all I've written a few books, and I am always taking time off to attend conferences and do lectures around the world. Some of my students have even told me I let my hobby seep into my day job a bit too often. They're right, but then it is my firm belief that any history needs to deal with religion, and as it happens most history is overflowing with the occult.
It's usually assumed as well that I am into dark magick, into the occult that I passionately research. But the truth be known, I don't have a religion. I'm interested in my work, that is all.
So finally my last class on Friday is over with, and with it my last class of this school year. Much to my students enjoyment, and some disapproval, I don't give final exams. All my grades are based on how they do throughout the year, and on a final paper. I've never considered final exams that telling toward a student's intelligence. After all too many choke up during these stressful times and fail through no fault of their brains.
Now it's time for me to enjoy my summer holidays, starting earlier then most teachers due to my lack of exams to grade. Of course it's not really a holiday in any other way then that I don't have classes to teach. This is the main time I spend with my hobby. During the summer months I travel round the world, meeting with other people who share my passion, learning things, and if I have a book planned, this is the main time for me to write it.
I walked up the stairs of the history building, passing students of old on the way there. Most of them waved or said hello as I passed, a few who I had grown to know a bit better paused to speak to me for a moment. Most of them had been boys, and who I was vividly aware had crushes on me, or at least had while they were in my class.
One year, I think about when I first started working here, three years ago, I caught one of my male students writing something in class that was decidedly not notes about feudal Japan. His face was bright red as I lifted the paper from his desk, and found rather to my surprise a ballot for the 'Sexiest NYU teacher'. He had already ticked off the box next to my name. Not needing to embarrass him anymore, I said thank you and handed it back to him. This had caused an uproar from the male students who knew what I had seen, laughing at him. I was awarded a plaque some weeks later, from who I thought were some very confident boys. It takes great pride in oneself to actually go up to a teacher, and without the sight of a blush, hand her a piece of wood stating that she was the sexiest teacher on campus. I had smiled at them all, gave them all hugs, and said thank you. Since while some people might have been shocked at the entire event, I had merely found it to be what it was intended, a compliment.
I now had three of such plaques in my office.
Leaving all the students behind, I entered the hallway which held all of the history professors offices. I was stopped once more before my office, this time by my fellow teacher, an extremely attractive man who I knew had received the same plaque from the female student body.
He was thirty years old, and like me taught history classes. His blonde hair curled attractively to frame his face. His bright blue eyes peered out of a face made up of attractive angles, clean cut and boyishly intriguing. I can fully see why all of the student population loves him, at least the females. Of course for me personally there is one slight problem with this Adonis of the NYU campus...
"Ann... Now that school is over, why don't we just put aside pretenses and finally go on that date?" His arm is propped on the entrance to my office, keeping me from entering, and I swear that if the girls could see his expression now they wouldn't find him that attractive.
You see Matthew Caulder is the sexiest male teacher, and I am the sexiest female, so in his mind this makes us perfect for each other. I on the other hand find the complete opposite true. While he may give the charming, boy next door teacher facade to the students and other teachers, I know better. He's a wolf in sheep's clothing, one I am not about to unwrap. For him it's not about whether he likes me or not, it's about how well I would look on his arm at a school fundraiser.
Of course he is also the head of the History department. Why my luck is this bad I do not know... This little fact though makes my refusal of his offers much harder.
"It's Aine..." I mutter, not able to control that one outburst. Three years and he still calls me Ann, even after I tell him every single time how my name is pronounced. Aine.. AWN-ya. Is it really that hard?
"But Ann suits you so much better." He grin, and I am sure he thinks I should be turning to jelly at the mere sight, but instead I just feel more impatient to get into the safety of my office. But remembering he controls my tenure at this university, I have to smile at him, even if my words aren't as kind.
"Well I'll be sure to tell that to my mother next time I see her." I gently push his arm out of my way. "Now Mat, I've explained this already but I can't start to date anyone. I'm too busy during the school year, and you know I spend my summer traveling, working on my books."
He had looked annoyed when I moved his arm, a spark of anger flitting around his eyes, but it disappeared in a moment, back to the charming smiles.
"Those things no one reads?" He laughed, and my stomach did turns. Not in a 'I'm in love' way more like I might be sick way... "Studying the occult most be a fun hobby, but it's certainly a waste of your time."
The idea that my hobby was a waste of my time is certainly something I'm not unused to hearing. Screw the fact that I happen to be an expert in the field, a person that is referenced in hundreds of books, asked to give lectures, for interviews, to consult on rituals and objects... All that matters is a pretty, young, history teacher is messing around with a little hobby of hers. But as I said, I'm used to this, but every time Mat says it, I get angry. Why? Because from him I know it's a way to try and get in my pants. Where he learned about women I shall never know...
"Matt..." I paused realizing there was ice in my voice, I shook my head trying to warm myself up to him if even for an instant. "My hobby is my hobby, I am not stopping for anyone. Now I have some final work to do. I will see you in the fall." I smile at him, hoping that it doesn't look like a grimace instead and push past him, trying to avoid even the lightest touch, and open the door to my office.
I stop in shock staring at the rather strange man sitting behind my desk, playing with the Rubik's Cube I have on my desk. Remembering who is behind me though, I quickly shut my office door, alerting the man to my presence in my OWN office. The cube is dropped quickly enough, as if he realized he was somewhere he shouldn't be.
And looking at him, I can't help knowing that he shouldn't be here.
His face is rather squirrelly, his eyes darting around looking for something, an exit perhaps. On top of his head is a rather tilted looking baseball cap, covering what looks like a mop of stringy black hair. I can't tell his age, but then I can't tell most people's ages, but from him I would guess perhaps in his early forties. Though when he jumped up I could tell he wouldn't even reach my shoulders. But at the jumping, I had to smile slightly, at what this man was wearing.
His clothes were best described as mismatched. He wore a brown trench coat, that in no way hid the hideously pink flowered shirt he was wearing, and the jean overalls. He moved from behind my desk, nervous at my entrance, and I noticed his ensemble was completed by a pair of furry bunny slippers on his feet. How he had managed to get this far without being stopped I wasn't sure. I would have thought he would have stood out to security.
"I don't know if you're a student or not." My tone indicated that was unlikely, I wouldn't have missed this one on campus, even for his age. "But my office hours are over for the day, and more so for the year." I stood away from the door, allowing him to get past me and leave, but he instead was shaking his head very enthusiastically.
"Not a student. I'm not a student. No." He kept shaking his head, and once again I wondered how sane this man was, even if he looked harmless enough. I dropped my bag near the door, and moved around him to sit at my desk, deciding for whatever reason that it would be best to just sit down at the point. Strange man or not...
"Okay then. You're not a student..." I said this calmly, trying to make him stop looking so nervous. It was like dealing with a skittish colt. "How can I help you then?"
Suddenly this man blinked and looked up at me in surprise, almost like he was just seeing me, but he had already acknowledged my existence.
"Aine MacKinnion?" He looked a little more lucid at that point, and was eyeing me with a clear dark gaze from his eyes. At my nod, he smiled, and the expression almost made his face look normal, not attractive, barely good looking, but it was certainly a pleasing face. One that I found made me smile in return. Of course it was also because he had pronounced my name properly. But then with his slight Scottish accent, the pronunciation of my Celtic name wouldn't have been a problem.
"Yes. That is my name. Now really, what can I do for you?" I was still smiling at him, since he had calmed down a bit and wasn't so fidgety, he had now sat down in the chair across from me.
"You're more attractive then I thought." He looked to be judging me, and I had to blush at the clinical look I was receiving. He shook his head though and regarded me again."My name is Cairn, Cairn Murkhart." He looked around him once again, fidgeting again at the mention of his own name. I had never seen anyone look so panicked at just the use of their own name. "Have you ever read the Harry Potter books?"
This was an interesting question to ask someone you had just met. No, how are you? What do you do for a living? Even a What's your sign would have been more acceptable. No one had ever asked me if I had read a children's book before.
The answer of course was yes. It would be a miracle I think in this day and age to find someone who hadn't read the best selling book series of all time. My parents had read the series, my cousins, my best friend, my students had all in all likelihood read them. I especially had found myself reading them, since with my history with the occult, I always read books on magic. It had been with a skeptical air that I had taken up the first book, but by the end I had found myself a solid fan of the series, and even more surprisingly I had found that it had quite a lot of fact behind it. JK Rowling hadn't just created creatures, or places, or people, a lot of them had been historically correct. I had always been rather disappointed that the American version of the first book had it's name changed. I had enjoyed the use of the Philosopher's Stone in that one, and to change it to a Sorcerer's Stone had felt like missing the original intention of the object. But my love of a kid's book aside, this was an odd question.
"Interesting lead in..." I tapped my fingers on my desk, watching the interesting little man in front of me. His face was expectant. Apparently a lot was riding on my answer to that question. "Yes I have read them. In fact I own them all, and rather enjoy them."
This answer seemed to relieve a lot of his pressure and he slumped in his chair as if a weight had been lifted. I leaned forward now in curiousity, I couldn't help but wonder why reading a book could cause such relief to one person. It was like his life had depended on that answer, and I wanted to know why.
"What if..." He started to speak, and I found myself listening to his every word with expectation. He licked his cracked lips though, pausing, looking to think hard at what to say. "What if I told you that Harry Potter actually existed?"
I found myself laughing, feeling the strange anticipation I had been feeling, draining away at that ridiculous question. Now I was sure that this man was something less than sane, or perhaps a joke from one of my students.
"What? You mean the book or the person?" I smiled at him. The type of smile you give a child who tells you with dead certainty that they had just seen a fairy in the backyard.
"Both." He said, no look of amusement on his narrow features. I blinked, and my smile slipped. Not knowing why, but I knew he was serious. He at least thought he was serious.
"Well if that's true then, you'll be happy to prove it to me. Bring our your wand and show me something. A... alohamora, or wingardium leviosa." I tapped my fingers again on my desk, piercing him with a firm look. I had to say it was amazing that I could still remember those silly words from the books. At my suggestion though, Cairn started fidgeting worse then before, his hands twisting the fabric of his coat. I should have been a proper hostess and offered to take it from him, he must have been hot in the city's may weather.
"I... I can't do that." I instantly felt bad for him, he looked like he just wanted to jump out the window, and indeed his eyes kept flitting to it in hope. "I'm a squib you see. While my whole family could do magic... I well... I couldn't."
A convenient escape from any proof. My fingers were now loud in the room, tapping with force over the pine wood of my teacher's desk. There were no papers on it to clutter it, only some relics I had brought back from some of my travels. I knew what most of them were for, and they were uses I told no one, since with many such things in my possession, the uses were frightening.
"All right then. Proof aside, why are you here?" I sat back in my chair, stilling the nervous movement of my fingers. I also decided to save Cairn from the obvious pain of talking about being able to use magic, or in his case, not.
"I'm here to hire you." He said with confidence, making me wonder if this man had a split personality. He seemed to switch from a confident if strange man, instantly to a nervous wreck. But my interest in his mental state was pushed aside by his strange answer.
"Hire me? I'm not a plumber to call up and hire... I'm a teacher. I teach history. What do you want me to do? Tutor your child?"
"No, I need to hire you for your other work. Your real work. I was sent here to hire you for that I mean..." He sighed, and was still twisting his coat in his hand. "Ha... He sent me to come get you."
"He?" I shook my head, and found my fingers now tapping on the arm of my chair. All in all this day was looking to end in a very strange way. But I had to admit I had felt a flow of warmth through my body hearing my hobby be called my real work. It was something I had long thought, but people around me always assumed what earned your money was what you called work. That was my job, not my work. "Okay. What did you want to hire me for?" I decided to hear him out, if for no other reason then the warmth I now felt.
"We have an object that we need to have identified, and a ritual we need performed."
"I research things, but I do not perform rituals." I said this clearly, even though this was not in all ways true. I had indeed performed plenty of rituals in the past, while researching them. Nothing dark of course, but I had done enough. It was something that no one knew about, that aside from my expertise in knowing about relics and rituals, I also knew how to use and perform them. It was something that I didn't exactly want to be common knowledge, I knew how my superiors at the school would feel about that.
"We're offering you ten thousand pounds..." He said this as if it sounded strange to his ears, and I couldn't really blame him. Ten thousand dollars was a lot of money to hire someone to do a little ritual, let alone pounds, which was almost double that. My throat went dry hearing that. All that passed through my brain was the fact that I didn't earn much as a teacher, and that money could really help with a book I had planned to do on the funeral rituals of ancient China. To make matters worse, Cairn took my expression to be denial and continued to raise the price. "Fifteen? Twenty?"
"Stop!" I exclaimed, my head down and my hand held up. I had a horrible feeling if I hadn't stopped him he would have kept on going. "Do you realize how much that is?" I croaked out, looking up at him.
"Actually not really..." He said, making me look at him strangely once again. His voice set him clearly as a Scot, so how could he not know how much that was.
"Price aside... What do you want me to do?"
"I can't explain it..." He looked more then slightly confused. "Only he can explain it to you. If you just come with me to England, he'll explain it, and you'll be happy to help." He smiled explaining that to me.
To fly to England with no real explanation was so silly, that I couldn't control my uncontrollable laughter, but it was stilled at the worried look on Cairn's face.
"We've asked other people, none of them knew what it was, how to do it. They all said to go to you. If you won't help us..." His voice cracked, and I was instantly worried that this strange, nervous looking man, sitting in my office in mismatched clothes, was going to cry. And no matter how strange someone may be, the sight of them near tears is enough to make me feel bad about whatever I may or may not have done.
"I'll help.. Okay." I sighed, the acquiescence past my lips before I had any time to think. And I certainly couldn't take it back at the sight of his overjoyed expression. I had found myself employed to do something, I knew not what, in a country an ocean away.
"We'll have to leave right away!" He jumped up and looked around, sighting on the fireplace in the wall of my office.
My office was the oldest room in the building. It's too drafty for the rest of the staff, but I liked the fireplace. It's good in the winter, but I didn't know why Cairn was looking at it so thoughtfully. He pulled out an envelope from his pocket and peered inside it.
"Good. I have enough left for both of us." He stopped talking to himself and looked back at me, where I was regarding him like he was going insane. "You've read the books so you know about Floo powder right?"
This was going too far now. He was a veritable nutcase, and now was expecting me to believe that we were going to go to London by traveling through my rather dusty fireplace. He walked over behind the desk and grabbed my wrist, pulling me up and to the fireplace. He placed some of the powder into my hand, and I clutched at it, still trying to find the right words to tell him that he needed help. He seemed so nice too...
"Now, We're going to go to the Leaky Cauldron. It's in London. Since we're overseas you'll need to specify that. So Leaky Cauldron, London, England should suffice." Cairn was back to his confident demeanor, and he stepped into the fireplace, which fit him rather well. "Just throw it down and say that VERY clearly. I'll see you on the other side."
I had to stop him then, shaking my head. "You just said you were a squib. How can you use the magic powder? How could I?"
"It's the powder that has the magic, not me or you. It will do all the work. You don't have to have any to work it." He smiled rather pleasantly at me after explaining that, and threw the powder down, saying the location very clearly.
A blast of smoke occurred, and when it cleared I was staring at the stone wall of the inside of my fireplace. No Cairn insight...
The thought that I was delusional flitted over me, but my hand still clenched the powder he had given me. And realizing that we were on the top floor of the building, and that there was no way out of my fireplace, I had only one possible connection to make. That he had been telling me the truth.
Accepting this as the truth flooded my brain with endless thoughts. If this was true, then Harry Potter was a reality. The world that had existed in those seven books had not been a fantasy, was in fact a reality. Which meant that even as I went about my daily life, somewhere around me had been another world. A world that I would kill to study...
It was this last thought that made me step into my own fireplace, stooping low, since I was over a foot taller then Cairn. This was the truth, and being a teacher I was dedicated to finding out the truth. I was a researcher of the occult, how in hell could I pass up the opportunity to see magic with my own eyes?
In as clear and certain a voice as I could muster, I called out the location I wanted as I threw down the powder, and found myself dizzy in a place I had never been.
"Welcome to the Leaky Cauldron, Aine MacKinnion." I found myself being pulled up and staring at a young man with short cut messy black hair, glasses and a rather noticeable lightning mark on his forehead, a small smile on his face as he pulled me up from the fireplace floor.