Small Victories

Summary: AU Lord Voldemort may have conquered Wizarding Britain, but he can't quite conquer Hogwarts Castle.

Notes: This is not book canon, and it is not what might have happened if Harry hadn't stopped Voldemort in Deathly Hallows. It is an AU but I did decide to take some things from Voldemort's short reign in DH because I liked them. So some things may be similar and some may not. Enjoy.


Prologue

With the Dark Lord's triumph came sweeping social reforms in the wizarding world. The most revolutionary of these reforms was, of course, the elimination of Muggleborns from wizard society, but coming in close second were the plans the Dark Lord had for Hogwarts. Ideally, the next generation of pureblood wizards would have the best education the wizarding world could offer (by the Dark Lord's standards). The plans went smoothly at first – the entire first year went so smoothly that the former critics raved and the budget was fattened – but then it seemed Hogwarts developed a mind of its own.

Problems started cropping up during the third term of that first year, little things that were easily caught in hindsight but overlooked during the euphoria of their first year. Things like the stairways moving a touch faster than was comfortable, or doors going solid just as you tried to walk through. But as Hogwarts had always been a bit on the difficult side to navigate, these paltry nuisances were easily written off.

The real problems began when the Dark Lord eliminated the house of Hufflepuff – or at least attempted to. It was to be a two-fold plan: Hufflepuff the first year, and if that went well, Gryffindor the next. The school administration informed the Sorting Hat just before the Feast, and it took the news surprisingly well – or so they thought until it sorted every last student into Gryffindor. Thinking this strange, the administration interviewed several of the newly sorted students on their conversations with the Sorting Hat. More than one student reported pushy behavior on the Hat's behalf – Slytherin, you say? No, no, I think Gryffindor may be the best for you. Yes, GRYFFINDOR!

No matter how many times they attempted to re-Sort the students, the Hat remained obstinate in its decisions. It was speculated that one less House had simply shocked the Hat into a state of disrepair. Finally the situation became so controversial that the Dark Lord himself came to the school to attempt to sort out the problem. Placing the Sorting Hat on his own head, he asked the Hat what House he should belong in.

Without hesitation, the Hat answered, "GRYFFINDOR!"

It was assumed then that the Hat was broken, but the Dark Lord tried to reason with it nonetheless. "But I am Slytherin's heir," he reminded the Hat. "Would I not be better suited for his House?"

There was a moment's pause before the Hat answered cheekily, "Well, since you fancied yourself an expert at Sorting, I thought I would take a page from your book and Sort all of the students into my favorite House."

At that point they had tried to destroy the Hat, but it proved to be surprisingly durable against magic. So, they set it aside and attempted Sorting without it. That had been a disaster. Not only had the dormitories sealed themselves off, the tables in the Great Hall vanished half-way through the first breakfast of term, depositing students and faculty alike onto the floor. The first time a teacher awarded points, the hourglasses simply exploded, sending the colored rubies bouncing around the corridors for weeks to come.

After that the headmaster's office had, naturally, sealed itself off. There was an annual, fruitless endeavor to open it, but nothing ever came of it. Occasionally the former headmasters would slip free of their frames into the main of Hogwarts to give students, faculty, and even, when he still visited the school early on, the Dark Lord a strict dressing-down. Then, before any could retaliate with a well-aimed Incendio, they would retreat back into the safety of the sealed office. The late Albus Dumbledore's portrait was particularly fond of this practice – indeed, every time it tickled his fancy to stroll through the castle almost every painting in Hogwarts ended up sharing a frame while their scorched canvases were restored by the decrepit caretaker, Filch.

Filch was another result of the castle's stubbornness. They had fired the Squib right off the bat and went through three other caretakers before they realized that it was not the caretaker's negligence that let the castle slip into such disarray, but the castle itself. It seemed Filch's steadfast devotion to the school had earned him a spot in its heart, so much that it refused to stay clean in the hands of any other. By the third year of Filch's absence, doorknobs dropped from the doors like flies, billows of soot shot sporadically from the fireplaces, and a swamp appeared in the third floor corridor that refused to be Vanished. It was the school-wide flood that finally moved the administration to re-hire Filch, and he attacked the position with as much fervor as he had previously, though with slightly more creaky knees.

Surprisingly, it was Peeves who most valiantly crusaded for the cause of a free Hogwarts. Any opposition from the ghosts had resulted in banishment, but when they had tried to banish Peeves, he had taken it as a personal insult. As things turned out, he had been a part of the castle even before it had become Hogwarts Castle, and the prospect of being cast out had sent him into a rage. If any students had found Peeves annoying when he was only genially unpleasant, it was nothing compared to the havoc he raised when truly provoked. When he was truly in a mood it was not odd to see chalk streaking through the hallways at the speed of bullets or to be pulled dragged down a flight of stairs by your ankles. As a general rule it was unsafe to loiter near any armed suits of armor.

All of this came to a climax one summer when the school simply refused to open its doors. No extent of curse breaking or Dark Arts could force them open, and the prospect of opening in the autumn looked bleak until one day a quivering house elf appeared with a pop on the front lawn to relay the castle's terms. It would not open its doors until Muggleborns were again allowed entrance into the school, as – the elf was emboldened since no one had yet fired a spell at her – "there is three Founders who likes them, and only one who does not." With this news delivered, the elf beat a hasty retreat.

The castle's terms lit up a surge of protests and – very silent – cheers of victory. In the end the Dark Lord had no choice but to look over the list of magical children born and select a Muggleborn girl who looked to have very little potential.

Her name was Marie Hangleton and this is her story. It is not a story of how she single-handedly defeated the Dark Lord and freed wizarding Britain. It is not a story of how she united the houses of Hogwarts. In fact, it is not even a story of her success in any way. It is simply a story of her survival, and of her small victories.


A/N: So tell me... is it worth continuing? Intriguing at all?