Summary: Professor Dumbledore takes Professor Flitwick's advice, and invites Harry to his office for tea. Both are…a little less than sane – but who will crack who first? Sequel to 'Hogwarts Staff Meeting.'
Disclaimer: This outtake occurs in the Harry Potter universe, which I do not own. Santa Clause is also mentioned - I do not own him either. I also make use of a crude rendition of Schopenhauer's metaphysic - I do not, and would not ever want to, take credit for it.
AN: 1. Okay, this really does NOT happen in Harry Potter and the Arcana – this is purely for your amusement and mine – Harry still does not meet Dumbledore until the end of his first year (this outtake occurs a few weeks after the first one). This never happens. Also, I'd like to note, despite how it may seem in these outtakes, I don't hate Professor Dumbledore, and I don't think he's an idiot...he's just too fun to caricature.
2. And on the note of the disclaimer above - the little bit about Schopenhauer's philosophy...not exactly thorough or a good representation - I'm just making fun of it. But either way, I don't agree with him.
Outtake: Tea with the Headmaster
Harry Potter trudged thoughtfully up the staircase leading to the Headmaster's office – earlier that day, at breakfast, he had received a note, asking him to come up to the Headmaster's office for tea. Now, Harry didn't quite know what to think of this – he had never spoken to the Headmaster, and had no idea what kind of man he was, and therefore, he had no clue as to what tea meant to the man. Was it a casual gesture? Was it a gesture meant to lull Harry into a false sense of security whilst the old man carried out a dastardly plan? Or was it an overtly friendly gesture? Was Harry expected to reciprocate? He had asked around – the other Ravenclaws had never been invited for tea, and when he asked his Head of House, the professor just chuckled…ominously. No, Harry really had no idea what to think – which was a rare occurrence for him. Ask just about anyone, and they would tell you - he had an opinion on just about everything. Of course, the Headmaster looked like a friendly old man – but so did Father Christmas, and he enslaved reindeer and elves, and gave children like him lumps of coal. And was probably a pedophile (sneaking into little kids houses at night, really?). At least the Headmaster had better taste in fashion than Father Christmas.
As he neared the great golden statue that guarded the Headmaster's office, Professor McGonagall suddenly stepped out of the shadows, a worried look on her face.
"Mr. Potter," she greeted quietly.
The professor seemed to hesitate – shocking Harry, because Professor McGonagall never hesitated about anything, especially about giving out detentions. She was a Gryffindor, after all. "Mr. Potter, you are due for tea up in the Headmaster's office, correct?"
Harry nodded. "Yes ma'am."
"Yes, well…I must advise you, Mr. Potter, to be…cautious. You often showcase your lack of taste and discretion for all to see…"
Lack of taste? Harry was quite affronted at that. He had excellent taste.
"And it would be unwise to do so in the presence of the Headmaster."
Harry frowned. "Why?"
Professor McGonagall sighed. "Because, Mr. Potter, he expects you to be a quiet, studious, well-mannered Ravenclaw."
Him? Well-mannered? Quiet? Well, he was quite studious…about select topics. "And?"
"Mr. Potter, should you not meet the Headmaster's expectations, he may try to…fix you."
That, that sounded ominous. "…fix me?" Harry whispered.
Professor McGonagall nodded grimly. "Albus Dumbledore has immense faith in humanity – and is confident in every person's ability to be a decent, kind, human being who works for the greater good."
Harry tugged on his hair frantically. "But I don't want to be fixed! I don't want to be decent! Screw the greater good! I like the way I am!"
"I know, Mr. Potter, and that is why I am warning you – for I fear the consequences should he try. I feel that it would be more beneficial for both of you if there were no confrontations of any sort."
Harry nodded shakily. "Thank you, professor, I will remember that."
Professor McGonagall nodded curtly back. "Sugar Quills. Off you go, Mr. Potter."
Harry took a deep breath, steeling himself, and resolving to himself that surely, he would not let the Headmaster get one over on him. Nobody gets one over on Harry Potter, and they would pay for trying, he thought confidently to himself as he followed the staircase that appeared, taking a deep breath as he entered the Headmaster's glaringly bright office.
"Ah, Harry my boy, how nice of you to be on time!" said the Headmaster, dressed in a garish, silk pink robe with gold dragons embroidered on it, beaming merrily as his eyes twinkled like blue glitter paint or sparkly toothpaste.
Harry smiled entirely falsely as he sat down. "Well, any decent person would be."
"Indeed, Harry, indeed! Now, how are you enjoying Hogwarts so far, my boy?"
"Oh, it's splendid, actually – so many people" to curse "to meet, so much to learn…" and use on unsuspecting victims…
"Wonderful – I am so pleased that you are getting on well. All your teachers seem quite pleased with your academic prowess – you are quite the charmer!"
"Oh yes, all the teachers seem to love me a lot," Harry said, unable to restrain a grin, "In fact, they love me so much that they keep giving me detentions so that they can spend more time with me."
"Oh, really!" the Headmaster exclaimed interestedly.
"Yeah, well like I said, they really do love me."
"And love is such a wonderful thing, Harry," Dumbledore said expressively, eyes twinkling even brighter, making Harry wonder whether or not he wore magical glitter-contacts. "Love is the most powerful of magics – the most profound of human emotions, with power over all things…"
Harry blinked – the man really embraced the sixties, didn't he?
"Don't you think so Harry?"
"Er…well, yeah, I guess. I'm more of a relativist, really – whatever works, right? I mean, some people – hate works just fine for them…you know, mutual hatred, keeps things going."
The Headmaster frowned concernedly. "I do not know what would make you say that, my dear boy."
Harry started. "Oh! It's just a, you know, arbitrary example. I don't actually hate anyone." Except Lord Voldemort, Professor Quirrell, Professor Binns, Vernon, Petunia, Dudley, Piers, just about everyone from my old school and neighbourhood…
"Oh, that is a splendid thing, my boy, because hate can only eat away at you on the inside…"
"Like that curse that summons tiny termites into a person's bone marrow, right?" Harry replied on reflex.
Dumbledore suddenly paled. "Harry…where did you hear of a curse like that? Professor Quirrell should not be teaching you about things like that yet…"
"Oh, no, he doesn't! I just…read about it in passing, somewhere. No, Professor Quirrell would never teach us about that – actually, I think he'd faint first."
The Headmaster nodded sadly. "I am afraid his health is in peril…anaemia, perhaps."
Harry shook his head grimly. "No, it's far worse than that – I believe it's his mental health that we should be concerned for. Just the other day, I heard him talking to himself."
Dumbledore looked quite alarmed at that. "What did he say?"
"Um…something like 'No, no, don't kill the hobbitses! Gollum! Gollum!'"
"What is…a hobbitses?, I wonder..."
"Oh," Harry said, "I'm sure it's just a code word or something – all part of the delusion, I'd expect."
The Headmaster shook his head, a tragic look on his face. "Poor, poor Quirinus…"
"Yes," Harry said, feigning empathy, "Schizophrenia is a terrible thing – but we are all at risk of mental instability, Headmaster. Delusions are a huge part of everyone's understanding of the world."
"My dear boy, whatever do you mean?"
"Well, you know, scientific discoveries have told us that the world is basically a whole bunch of particles moving together, creating sensations: like touch occurs because of the forces of these particles repelling each other; sight is possible because of light reflecting off these particles; sound, coming from the vibrations of these particles; smell and taste arising from the unique properties and arrangements of the particles."
"Is that so!" the Headmaster exclaimed interestedly.
Harry nodded. "Yes - which begs the question, how much of what we perceive in the world is reliable? Can we really call things that in no way resemble their actual physical existence real? And even then, how can we know that what we are perceiving is concrete or possible?"
The Headmaster nodded slowly, brows furrowing in thought.
"You see, this is an age old question - it's been asked for thousands of years - what is reality? And how can we have sensation, consciousness, thought, and free will in a world of moving particles?"
"That is a very curious question..." mused the Headmaster, enthralled in thought.
"Many have suggested that the world we perceive is only a delusion, apart from a true world - made of something entirely different...like Will, for instance."
The Headmaster's eyes brightened. "Will?"
"Yes, the prime mover of all things - according to some, it's what creates action and reality, you see."
"Yes, yes that really does make sense!" Dumbledore said excitedly. "It is not only the stuff of magic, but of reality itself! It coincides perfectly with magical core theory!"
Harry grinned back, and nodded. "So what you're left with is a world of Will, the true reality, and a world of mere representations, a delusion that we live in."
"What a magnificent theory! So much insight into the true nature of existence..."
"Yes but it still leaves the question of self, doesn't it? Where is the individual in all this?"
"Oh, yes - indeed. That is a problem. This would imply that the self is somewhat split, doesn't it?" mused the Headmaster.
"Exactly," Harry said animatedly, "A self that experiences the delusional representational world, and a self with access to true Will. This is the manifestation of the ultimate reality, Will, in an individual - the body, or desire."
"Ah..." the Headmaster said thoughtfully, "That makes sense - a person's true identity would be found in their Will, their desires..."
Harry nodded. "This Will has nothing to do with what we perceive, remember - that means no time, no space, no causality, no perception; just blind, chaotic, endless desire."
The Headmaster blinked.
Harry continued, "And so if you accept that model of existence, all our existence is is a manifestation of one big, pointless, endless, blind, chaotic lack, which attempts to fill itself with the futility of desire. Apparently, that's all life is, Headmaster - the eternal warring ground of a blind, hungry, imperceptible Will...we all just delude ourselves into thinking otherwise. So you see, everyone's a bit insane."
The Headmaster gaped, silently for a moment, before whispering hoarsely, "That's all there is? It was all...pointless, in the end? How can humanity have no purpose, no good or virtue to work toward?"
Harry nodded sagely. "And that's why one great man said that the only way to make use of your life is to triumph over the Will by resisting desire, wasting away and defeating your body by destroying it through unindulged lack."
Professor Dumbledore's eyes were wide open, his face slack as the catharsis sunk in. Suddenly, he rose to his feet purposefully. "I see - then the greater good, it is to triumph over the Will that holds us captive! For the greater good of mankind, I must overcome this weakness and discover our true identity, apart from desire!" Drawing his wand with a flourish, he transfigured a large oak cabinet beside his desk, and then stepped in, closing the doors behind him. They locked a moment later.
Blinking, Harry rose from his seat, knocking on the cabinet door with a raised eyebrow. "Er...Headmaster?"
There was a pause. "I'm afraid you'll have to leave now, Harry - I must concentrate if I am to overcome the Will for the greater good."
Harry bit his lip swallowing a disbelieving cackle. "Alright...well, good luck with that."
Backing away from the cabinet slowly, he crept out of the office with an amused look on his face, finding Professor McGonagall still waiting at the bottom of the stairs.
"Did it…go alright?" she asked cautiously.
Harry glanced at her, eyes twinkling with amusement. "Indeed. I think he's well on his way to recovery."
"Recovery, Mr. Potter?"
"Yeah, well, anyone who interprets Schopenhauer's pessimism so optimistically so readily needs some psychological help. He'll come out eventually...I'd give it a week, at most."
The poor woman really didn't know what to think as he walked off, cackling rather madly to himself.
Yeah, weird, I know - but what did you think?