In Which a Decision is Reached
"All those in favor of the permanent abolition of Slytherin House?"
Ernie Macmillan's hand is first to hit the air. He's the youngest member of the Wizengamot since the 1600s, pre-Statute of Secrecy, and his expression is one of grim satisfaction. Others follow—outspoken Newblood supporters, even some members of the old, corrupt pureblood core of the court.
Teddy Lupin, subbing as Minister's scribe for the day (Maisie Wilkins wasn't feeling well) notes down the numbers with professional accuracy, but a sinking heart. His almost-sister and cousin-by-marriage Lily is not going to be happy about this.
"And those against?"
People who didn't lose any close relatives in the war. A few brave Slytherin alumni, all very prominent and respectable members of society, or they never would've gotten onto the new court. Teddy feels disloyal not raising his hand, even though he doesn't get a vote. Grandromeda will be disappointed in him.
He tallies the votes—it only takes a second—and hands the paper over to Kingsley, wondering if this was the Minister's idea, or whether he couldn't hold the anti-Slytherin, pro-Newblood Liberation party in check anymore.
Kingsley reads the total, expression unfathomable. Then he says, in his usual calm and soothing tones, "Very well. Slytherin House shall be abolished."
"But what about the Board of Governors?" frowns Victoire that night. Absently, she strokes their eight-month-old son's back soothingly.
"Kingsley's issuing them some sort of mandate. I'm not too clear on the details." Teddy paces the kitchen, bewildered at the speed with which things are happening. "I know the Liberation Party's been pushing this ever since the Final Battle, but I always figured they were just making trouble. Everyone knows their main goal's always been equal rights for Newbloods. But this—!"
"Is it really such a bad thing?" Vic asks. "I mean, Slytherin. Maybe it is time to get rid of all that pureblood prejudice and cruelty."
"Slytherin's hardly the source of all that stuff," Teddy protests, quick to defend the House Grandromeda and Lily belong to. "Besides, pureblood prejudice is everywhere. People are basically saying, if it weren't for Slytherin, You-Know-Who would've never gotten to power, and everything'd be sunshine and daisies. Which is stupid."
"I don't know," says Vic. "Maybe You-Know-Who wouldn't've had such a huge, automatic powerbase. Like Dad says the standard Slytherin on the street in those days could hardly stand up to the Heir of their House's Founder. So maybe it's time to get away from all that historical weirdness, and actually judge people more fairly."
"How is getting rid of Slytherin, and keeping Gryffindor, going to be treating people more fairly?" Teddy objects. "I just—I'm sorry, Vic. Here I am, going on and on about this stuff, and it's your birthday."
Vic laughs self-consciously. "Twenty-one—I can't believe it!"
"Ma-ma," Harry Arthur Lupin says sternly, interrupting his parents. He's been gnawing on a strand of Vic's pink hair, and Teddy suspects he's hungry.
The little family is quickly distracted from talk of a Ministry that none of them quite understand, and the Slytherin debate is postponed for some future date.
Abolition Movement Succeeds At Last
Yesterday, in a stunning and universally applauded move, the Wizengamot voted almost unanimously to abolish Slytherin House. The vote took place on the 22nd anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, something political experts assure us is no coincidence.
"A lot of people feel it's time," said youngest member of the Wizengamot and veteran of the Great War, Ernie MacMillan. "Slytherin detracts from the Wizarding World's cohesion as a communal, respectful whole."
When asked about the date of the decision, Mr. MacMillan refused to say for certain if it was more than a coincidence. However, Mrs. Dulac of Surry was more forthcoming: "It's obvious, isn't it? Meant as a slap in the face for all those nasty, lying Slytherin criminals! And about time, too!"
Indeed, the Abolition Movement has been gaining momentum in recent years. Magical History expert Madame Peel states that "Never has there been more hostility toward the existence of a Hogwarts House. These are interesting times we live in."
Small wonder the Wizarding world has woken to the potential hazards of Slytherin House, after the infamous Sorting of Harry Potter's daughter (reported on in this newspaper, September 3, 2019) and the rumors that she and Vulpecula Malfoy, of Gryffindor, were exchanged at birth. After all, if the Chosen One's own daughter can be corrupted by that nest of vipers, is it any wonder that people feel threatened?
The Wizengamot has at last come to its senses. Goodbye, Slytherin House—and good riddance!
'Re-Sort an entire quarter of the student body?' The Sorting Hat's voice is frantic, echoing in Headmistress Beaumont's ears.
This is news to me also, you know, she thinks acerbically at him. She isn't sure why she thinks of the Sorting Hat as a him, exactly, but it makes things easier than referring to him as an it. And he was Godric Gryffindor's Hat, after all.
"So, Headmistress, we've determined on an expeditious plan we hope you'll consider," continues Dave Montague smoothly. Apparently he's the Board of Governors' designated representative. Aglaia Beaumont suspects they've chosen him because of his status as a Slytherin alumnus. "All that is necessary is for you to send all the current Slytherin students a letter requesting their presence at school on July 31st, whereupon they'll each be Sorted into a different House."
'They expect me—they actually expect me!—to Sort all the Slytherins into different Houses? As though I hadn't put each and every one of them in Slytherin for a reason! I don't pick and choose for my own amusement, you know!' the Hat complains bitterly.
Funny, thinks Headmistress Beaumont, recalling her own Sorting, I always thought you did. That shuts him up for the moment, she's pleased to note.
"Of course, Mr. Montague," she says automatically, smiling and refraining from saying she thinks he is a manipulative, opportunistic bastard. Slytherins have no House loyalty, none at all.
"Excellent," he beams. "I'll tell the Board you've agreed to do everything possible to make this transition smooth and efficient."
"Very well," she says, inclining her head in a clear dismissal. She is feeling the beginnings of a headache behind her eyes, and she really has to think…
As soon as the door closes behind Montague the Sorting Hat's diatribe begins. 'An unequal division of students—this is an outrage! I know how to do my job, you know. Every single Slytherin belongs there. And now what will they do? No matter where I put them next, they'll be outsiders, shunned because they lack a unified front! Slytherin has always been the most isolated, and now I'm supposed to outright violate the wishes of the Founders? This is completely intolerable!
What makes it even worse is, some of them will be able to handle it, sure—the Ravenclaw!Slytherins, like Altaira and Scorpius Malfoy, so quietly intelligent, the Gryffindor!Slytherins like Lottie Rosier, fierce and optimistic, the Hufflepuff!Slytherins like Hermogenes Bulstrode, serious loyalty and a not-too-shabby work ethic…but what about the Slytherin!Slytherins? The ones who honestly can't fit anywhere else? Oh, they'll pretend, that's the virtue of the cunning plans and the careful spying, but they'll be miserable, and they'll torture everyone around them! Lily Potter, poor child—where else can I put her?
You know even when Slytherin left the school, the other Founders never seriously considered not teaching his students, or trying to assimilate them into some false sense of good cheer. I've been doing this for a thousand years at least, and never have I met with such injustice and intolerance! Which, as you can imagine—or perhaps you can't—is saying a considerable amount (think of the Spanish Inquisition—not that it's relevant), and now, to just cut one of the Founders' legacies out of the curriculum—'
At this point, he relapses into incoherence, and Aglaia Beaumont pulls the Hat forcibly off her head and sets him back in his case. It's the only way to properly talk to him, but wearing the Hat to this meeting was a nuisance. She's sure she saw Montague give her a few weird looks.
With the Hat safely several feet away, she sinks into her chair behind the heavy desk Headmasters and mistresses have worked at for generations, and kneads her temples. Ah, blessed silence.
She ought to have known it wouldn't last.
"It seems," drawls an unmistakable voice from behind her; she jumps. "That. Slytherin's popularity. Has reached an. All-time. Low."
Aglaia whirls around and shakes a menacing finger at the portrait of a sallow-faced man with a hook nose and a sneer permanently in place. "Don't you start with me, Severus Snape!" she threatens. "Can't you see I'm having an absolutely horrendous day?" Distractedly, she begins massaging her temples again—the headache doubles every time she thinks about how on earth she's going to 'integrate' the Slytherins into the rest of the school, where they're going to sleep, what to tell the new students, what to tell the seventh-years, who will all be furious, what to tell the Gryffindors, who will all surely object to having even ex-Slytherins in the same House with them and who will likely not shut up about it, ever…
"Don't worry about it, Aglaia," says the large portrait beside Snape and right behind the Headmistress's chair. His blue eyes twinkle over his half-moon glasses. "They'll realize their mistake in time."