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Old November 8th, 2010, 7:35 pm
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The Godfather
 
Join Date: 02nd August 2007
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 50
Posts: 1,127
A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era PART II

Summary: This is a sequel to the History of Magic story that covered the time between the Battle of Hogwarts and the epilogue. Thanks to the readers that generated over 113,000 views across well over 350 chapters. If you missed the first story, it can be found here.

In this sequel, we explore life after the first story, and after the epilogue. My inspiration has two sides: I love the action of the stories, so there's lots of action, but I also like the relationships, especially between Harry and Ginny. So, buckle up, this promises to be a rocky and fun ride.

So, with no further ado...


Chapter 1: 30 Years Later…(or so...maybe it's 28 years later...)

A good economy; a bad economy, the wharf areas along the Thames never really changed. True, massive skyscrapers and tourist enticing features dotted the venerable river edge closer to downtown. Massive privatization of the area brought commerce to London proper. But further down river, in the heavily industrialized areas near the Queen Elizabeth II bridge, miles of fuel tanks, warehouses and piers towered over the narrow concrete walkway that passed for a boardwalk.

A lone figure made his way down the center of the path, passing from one shadow to the next between the lamp posts that dotted the railing overlooking the river. The rain had continued into the night and well past midnight. The water was freezing, bordering on turning to snow. Instead, it was more like ice, punishing anyone who happened to be out and about in the starless night. The walker didn’t seem to take notice of the weather. His pace was brisk, but wary. Every so often, he’d cast a glance over his shoulder, as if expecting to be followed, and surprised when he saw no one behind him.

The man was of average height. His hands were crammed into the pockets of the large wool reefer that covered chest. The large collar was turned up and the double row of plastic buttons was fastened up to his neck. He shivered despite the heavy wool sweater and dark jeans he wore. The heavy soles of his battered work boots easily plowed through the puddles that dotted the surface of the walkway. He walked deliberately, but cautiously, as he surveyed the facades of the large warehouses as he walked by.

Beside the large, rusting hulk of an abandoned freighter, he stopped and stared at a wind swept wooden sign in front of an older building. He looked back and forth along the boardwalk and then stared up at the sign.

“Universal Imports, Inc.” The man snorted, amazed that even in times like this, someone in the muggle government still showed a sense of humor. He studied the building for a moment. It was mostly wooden slats with columns of red brick at several intervals. The building seemed left over from World War II and looked it. The paint on the wood was flaking off and the brick was dull, and chipped. There were several small windows higher up on the building, most of which were either cracked or broken altogether. The man sighed and turned his attention to the large wooden door in the center of the building.

The latch was secured by an ancient cast iron padlock that seemed rusted in place. Slowly, the man drew his hand from his pocket and waved it over the lock while murmuring. The late of the lock popped open and the entire assembly fell to the ground with a loud snap. He froze for a moment, looking side to side, trying to determine whether he’d been heard. All he could hear was the sound of the rain pounding the surface of the concrete and echoing in the battered hulk of the ship behind him.

Slowly, he released his held breath and gripped the handle of the door. He pulled, yet it did not move. He stopped for a moment and studied the edges of the door and its surrounding jamb. His eyes narrowed and then he nodded. In his line of work, nothing is usually what it seems. The bare outlines of a metal bar showed through the edge where the door met the jamb. The place was secured, despite its appearance.

He flicked his wrist and with an audible snap, a tapered piece of wood appeared in his hand, freed from its leather holster affixed to his forearm. He pointed the wand at the door and spoke a couple of words with more rhythmic authority. This time there was a loud click as the restraining bolts snapped out of their holes and the door swung open silently. With one more look about him, the man entered the building.

It was, at first, exactly what he’d expected, a large warehouse. The ceiling stretched up over four stories high. There were wooden crates piled almost to the ceiling and the stacks extended the full length of the building, almost five football fields in length. He turned and pulled the door shut behind him. The back of the door was steel plate and a fairly sophisticated alarm system blinked indignantly at him. However, he was a wizard, and the spells he cast made any alarm, any muggle detection device incapable of seeing him. He turned back and faced the rows and rows of stored crates.

Unconsciously, he unbuttoned the front of his jacket and ran his fingers through this wildly scattered, but wet hair. The rain did nothing to settle wild strands, nor did it hide the strands of gray and white that had started filtering in a few years back. He reached up and removed small, wire rimmed glasses perched on his nose and checked the lenses, more out of habit than need, as he’d had the glasses magically charmed to keep the rain from soaking them. He replaced the glasses on his face and took in the scene.

His face was narrow. His chin and cheeks were a bit gaunt, accentuated by the stubble of day old growth showing through. He had lines and crow’s feet along the edges of his eyes, but they served to outline his most glaring feature. Those were his eyes. They were a bright emerald, clear to the point of almost being luminescent, yet sharp, like ice. They danced when he smiled and smoldered when he was angry. Right now, they were more neutral as he stared at the sea of boxes. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a crumpled sheet of paper and stared at the letters and numbers etched on it. He looked up and found the paper guide signs and started walking down a row of crates.

About halfway down the aisle, he stopped and consulted the guide sign and the paper. He faced a stack and started climbing up the face of one large pile. At the very top, he stopped and stared at one large crate that was adorned with the same number and letter combination written on the paper. He drew his wand and waved it over the top of the crate. It shook for a moment and then as one, all the nails holding down the lid snapped up and out, falling between the crevices formed by the neighboring crates. He reached down and pulled the top from the crate and looked inside.

There were all sorts of padding and straw in the crate and he pulled aside until he saw the box inside the crate. It was a wooden box, trimmed in silver. He pulled the box out and set atop a nearby crate. Its latch had a small keyhole. He reached inside his pocket and pulled out a tiny silver key that was topped with a tiny skull. He inserted the key and turned it. The top of the box popped open and he stared inside.

The box was lined with felt and satin, formed to protect the contents. Except, the box was empty. The man stared, his eyes narrowing in surprise. There was hole where the object that was supposed to be in the box was. In the center of the hole was a small, neatly folded piece of parchment. He reached in and picked up the parchment, his hands shaking as he unfolded it.

The handwriting was vaguely familiar, but he ignored the nagging sensation that he’d seen it before as he read the message. It was simple, to the point, and completely terrifying.

It said, “You’re too late…”

Harry Potter frowned in anger and fear. He gripped the parchment in his hand and cursed to himself. Then, everything exploded in light, fire and smoke and he fell from his perch. As he fell, the words seemed to echo in his head…

“You’re too late…”

***

The car came to a halt outside a pair of large wrought iron gates at the end of the drive. East Sussex was buried in the torrential rains much like the rest of England and the driver swore loudly as he pulled on his rain slicker and stepped out. He was a tall man, and the rain coat came down to just above his knees. As he buttoned the coat, he swore once more and leaped for the car. He’d forgotten to secure the parking break and was beginning to roll backwards down the lonely hill he’d just driven up. He banged his knee as reached for the lever and the car stopped amid another flurry of invectives.

He stood at the gates for a moment, staring at the large, regal building in the courtyard beyond. The gates and walls were overgrown with ivy and unchecked shrubberies. He pushed at the gate and after a moment, was able to push it open enough to squeeze his body through the opening. He walked through and paused to study the building once more. It must have been magnificent once, despite its purpose. Built in 1903, it had a grand, Victorian front, with two long wings and large center entry, complete with garish towers and gables. The red brick was covered in ivy and the rain and wind made a ghoulish echo through the courtyard. There was a brass sign over the door.

“Hellingly Asylum” He shook his head. The place had been abandoned over twenty years before, as England moved away from locking up the mentally ill in vast asylums. Still, it seemed like the ghosts of the wronged and the criminally insane reverberated through the walls of the place. After a moment, he stepped forward and pushed through the open door.

The man shook the raindrops from his coat and pulled the hood from his head. His skin was pale, making the freckles on his face stand out a bit more prominently. He had a bright mop of red hair, worn short. Ron Weasley muttered another curse and wondered for the thousandth time why Harry had sent him on this fools’ errand.

For a moment, he forgot he was in the entry of a once notorious insane asylum. It looked more like the front lobby of an old, turn of the century hotel. The floor was marble with faded patches of discoloration from where the rain and elements had damaged the surface over the past decade or so. There was a large granite counter opposite of the doors and the ceilings were raised, dotted every so often with ornate chandeliers, all showing signs of neglect and ruin.

The place was quiet, save for the persistent plop of water drops falling from areas where the roof leaked.

“Now where do I go?” Ron mumbled to himself. Harry got to go after the book. Ron, however, was just told to check out this place. He sighed and looked about. He walked to an oversized fire place, decked with an ornate marble mantle complete with a blackened and cracked mirror over it. If there was one word Ron would use to describe Hellingly Asylum, it had to be “creepy”. It was the prototypical house of horrors and every turn of his face sent a shiver down Ron’s spine. Were the rumors not so horrid, Ron would have left already, but if even a sliver of what they’d uncovered were true, the world was in for a dark time, and they could not let it happen.

Ron stopped moving and cocked his head to the side. Above the sounds of the dripping water, he heard a soft, lyrical noise. It was faint, fading in and out, but distinct. He faced a large hallway lined with giant, arched, ivy covered windows. The sound was coming from that direction. Instinct overcame his fear and he reached inside his coat and drew his wand.

“Lumos.”

Holding his wand in front of him, he walked down the large corridor. The sound grew louder. It was musical, but not on tempo. Ron recognized the tune, but it was playing so slowly that he could not quite place the title. The music was being played with bells, like that of a child’s music box, the ones with a tiny hand crank. It sounded like whoever was turning the crank was turning it slowly. He followed the melody until he came to a pair of rotting wooden doors. The doors were open slightly and led to a large, open room.

The floor was made from warped and ruined oak. The room looked very much like a music conservatory or a ballroom. There were no furnishing of any kind and one whole wall was made only of paned window glass, which was also covered in moss and ivy. In the center of the dance floor there was a wooden box, atop of which was a tiny figurine mounted on a round pedestal. Ron approached the object slowly and glanced around himself, the only light was that given off by his wand. The walls disappeared into the shadows. He reached down and picked up the figurine. It was that of a dancer, a ballerina. There was a small crank on the side of the base and Ron shook his head in frustration.

“Every horror film ever made tells me to not turn that handle.” He mumbled to himself and then he took hold of the crank.

He started turning and the small ballerina started spinning atop her dais as the soft chimes of music played. Ron turned faster and tune was recognizable.

“Pop Goes the Weasel?” It didn’t fit the figure. Usually that tune was associated with a Jack in the Box. This wasn’t a Jack in the Box. Ron groaned. “Or is it?” There was only one way to find out.

Ron braced himself and finished the final notes of the tune. With a small click, whose suddenness made him jump, a tiny flap opened on the side of the base, revealing a small piece of parchment carefully folded inside. Ron pulled out the parchment and tucked the figurine under his arm. He unfolded the paper and spread it out.

“He’s back…”

“Who’s back?” Ron wondered, just as the wall of windows exploded in a miasma of light, glass and smoke, sending Ron flying against the far wall. In the back of his mind, he had a pretty good idea of who the note was referring to, and then, all was black.


A/N: Please see my introduction on the feedback page...

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Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)

Last edited by USNAGator91; July 19th, 2011 at 6:27 pm.
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