Disclaimer: Not mine.
Some cities breathe in the rhythm of their people and take on their character, some rushed and hurried, some slow and sombre. Their very existence is an extension of the citizens that live and work within its borders and without whom the city withers and dies. One needs only to walk amongst the ruins of ancient haunts, climb over fallen stones and see the broken paving bricks, to know that once the inhabitants left, the city no longer lived. Sometimes, this death was quick, almost in the blink of an eye. At other times the death was long and lingering, as if the now empty roads and abandoned dwellings still breathed and fought for life.
Other cities breathe out life, their very breath giving sustenance and hope to the population. There are no great statues, no grand halls of opulence and splendour. These places only need her people to be so she can give them life.
The Hog's Head has always been the first establishment to open its doors in the mornings, as well as the last to close at night. The current owner will make a daily trip down the narrow flight of earthen steps, inset with slabs of stone. He will go to the cool cellar and bring up the day's supply of whiskey and mead, levitating giant casks, from which the site earned its name, and cases of bottles to the dark rooms above. He will not bother to clean and scrub the floors, as the previous owner and the one before him had not done for years. His clientèle is of a rougher sort not given to putting on airs, preferring to seek anonymity in dark corners and dim lights.
He will not sleep well, not here, not alone in his small, murky rooms above the establishment. Since the war, he has heard every creak of the old floorboards and every whisper of the wind along the eaves as black-caped men come to take their revenge. With the knowledge and acceptance that only old age can bring, he will roll over and fall instantly back asleep only to wake again to each new noise.
Down the road, at the far end of this small sleepy hamlet, The Three Broomsticks sits as it has for over a thousand years. First owned by the infamous Hengist, it was once a beacon to traders and merchants hawking their wares to the northern reaches of the land. Now, people that find their way to the tiny hamlet of Hogsmeade stay in its rooms and eat at its tables while on holiday or a shopping trip.
A comely witch will rise before the sun is up and begin to bake the daily rolls, biscuits and breads. Although Hogsmeade has few inhabitants, the innkeeper will need to be ready to feed the many guests that always find their way to the dining room of the inn. Slowly citizens will meander down the pavement until they feel the need to reconnect with the city and their heritage. They will want to surround themselves with the assurance that their world has not completely disappeared and will feel compelled to sit in the same room others like those that have sat here before them.
Sitting over a cup of tea and a sweet biscuit, they will discuss the day, as darker men in hooded cloaks sit in the Hog's Head doing the same. Both part of the whole that breathes in the life that is here in the quiet streets, they will not know why they come. They will not know it is the essence of those that have come before them, and took their breath from the village, that they now feel. Nor will they understand that they now must do the same. They will not feel the magic that is in the soil beneath their feet and in the air they breathe; they will only feel a peace and wellness at the end of the day.
In the middle of the stretch of high roofed buildings, halfway between the Hog's Head and The Three Broomsticks, one building whose original name has been lost in antiquity stands apart from the rest. Its cellar connects to a castle that sits on the other side of the mountain pass, by an underground walkway that had once insured the students' safe passage in winter storms and an easier delivery route for supplies. Now, a train station operates on the far side of the lake, welcoming engines that belch oily black smoke and announce arrivals with a screeching whistle. The students no longer come one by one, traders no longer needed to make the trek, and witches no longer worry about burning pyres and the need of a fast escape so the underground passage has passed from memory.
Today however, it is still a place of children. A middle-aged childless couple sells sweets, bitter chocolate and sugar coated almonds. The small building now has a sign nailed over its door declaring its name as Honeydukes. However, the knowledge that it is, and always will be a beacon of safety to children remains in the breadth of its beams and radiates through Hogsmeade. Its unassuming presence lends an air of guardianship and a place of refuge throughout the entire town, and still the children come. They come for the sweets but are reluctant to leave, as if feeling the presence of those that have come before them.
Two other landmarks rank among the original buildings. Dogweed and Deathcap, the herbology shop and once the renowned destination of every scholar and Potions master in the Wizarding world, still opens every day. Its shelves are still stocked with the seldom-used Dogweed and mysterious Deathcap and an old wizard still fills each order personally, never questioning as to its future use.
Dervish & Banges sits off the main road at the end of High Street, repairers and artisans of everything wonderful and magical. The original owners of the repair shop are still remembered and spoken of with the fondness we hold for local legends and hometown heroes, although their faces and descendants are no longer known.
Over the years, other shops and a few scattered homes have sprung up. Some remain while others have long since vanished. Vanished after becoming disused, or a victim of one of the many wars that ravaged the otherwise calm and serene landscape, leaving a foundation for the new to be built upon again.
Even as the flames had roared from rooftop to rooftop only a few short years ago, in the final days of a great conflagration, even as the ancient wooden beams had splinted and fell, Hogsmeade had breathed out its life and called her children home. It was but a gentle sigh, born from the knowledge that she, as would the rest of her world, be rebuilt as she had been from the beginning of time. Rebuilt in the old ways, and by the breath of her people, she would be given new life to rise again and give them back magic in return.
A/N: Okay, I have no idea WTF a prompt of "Hogsmeade" was about. This is what came to mind…perhaps not a sane mind, but mine none the less.