Monday Rec: What If

The best thing that the Harry Potter series gave the world, or at least my little internet corner of it, is its fandom, which is an endless font of creativity and love and magic.

I don’t have much new stuff from the past week to recommend, but this alternate universe Harry Potter story (found via Seanan McGuire’s tumblr) lays down groundworks for a world without both Harry and Neville and basically reduced me to a sobbing wreck. Excerpt:

Professor Flitwick had vanished when Dumbledore had. He spent more than a decade snatching up children like he was a Pied Piper, taking whole families to safe spaces, new lives.

Some of the Muggleborn families took their magical children and ran, to Australia and New York and Amsterdam. Flitwick gave them cards for private, honorable tutors in every place they fled to and books on magic for self-study. But others stayed.

Their school was held in the basements of sweet shops and the attics of old Hufflepuff families and bespelled rooms in the backs of public libraries. Flitwick taught Charms; Molly taught Potions, Remus taught Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Sirius taught Transfiguration. Members of the Order cycled in as visiting lecturers. They all taught Silencing Spells and how to make Polyjuice Potion, how to lie, hide, run, and how to pretend to be wizardborn.

When Mr. Goldstein found out that wizarding curriculum did not include an education in mathematics, he was horrified; he had been an accountant with his own firm, before Death Eaters had come for his youngest son, Anthony.

“They never learn how to balance checkbooks?” Mrs. Creevey asked, shocked.

“I’m not sure they learn to add,” said Mr. Goldstein, concerned.

“We learn how to add,” said Mrs. Cohen-Goldstein, who had graduated Gryffindor before marrying Muggle. Her husband looked relieved, but he insisted on joining the teaching staff anyway and introducing the kids to fractions.

The wizarding staff taught the parents and the siblings how to slink through Magical Britain, how to navigate Knockturn and avoid Muggle turns of phrase. The Muggle parents taught the wizards how to drive a car, dress Muggle, how to slip out between the worlds and lose Death Eaters in the bright lights of a supermarket.

The children levitated tea cups, played Exploding Snap and gin rummy, read Diana Wynne Jones and Roald Dahl alongside Beedle the Bard. Watching Muggle children run and whisper with Muggleborn wizards, at-risk halfbloods, and blood traitors, you couldn’t tell them apart.

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