I have never been busier or more stressed than I currently am. Living this life for Luca is more challenging than I would have imagined, especially as I am now currently living with his entire family (both parents and young brother). I yearn for the peace and quiet of the home he shares with only his mother and dog. Those days are peaceful and lack interaction with the rest of the chaotic world. I do hope we can all survive this week. It will certainly be a trying one. I would like to get back to writing on my memories.
Things are getting more challenging here. As Luca falls apart, I am the one charged with taking over his life until he can handle himself. I am charged with living not the way I naturally would but the way he naturally would. I must put off the perfect visible image of him. The Others say it is best this way, that I am the natural stand-in for our core. Yet I am new here, new to this world and this boy I am meant to pose as. It feels wrong to stand in his place, pretending my life and memories are nothing while his take precedence. But we all must bend to the collective will. This place is only kept in order because of our ability to make decisions as a single unit. I was elected into this position and until someone more suitable comes along (or until Luca gets out of the hole he has found himself in), I will continue the daily lies of living his life to the outside world. Still, sometimes I will sneak away from the lying. In those moments, I will remember my own life and perhaps fill this blog with all forms of memories.
From the end of the winter holiday until end of term, I gained the trust of the other faculty members. I proved my worth as a professor and colleague through countless hours of hard work. I stayed late in my office, helping students who were struggling. I got the the head table early to talk with the other professors about new developments in their fields. At last, they all could agree that I had earned my right to sit at the table alongside them. But then it was summer and the students were sent home.
The castle had been almost fully restored at that point and I knew I would not be spending my summer at Hogwarts, making repairs and placing finishing touches. For the first time since the horrid events of spring 1998, my life seemed to lack meaning. A fellow professor offered to take me travelling with their family but I didn’t want to intrude. I retreated to my little cottage outside of Hogsmeade and settled in for the summer with my owl.
Occasionally, I made trips to the village. It was still not quite the vibrant place I had known during my school days. There were lingering effects of the Dementors and scare tactics employed by the Death Eaters. Some shops remained boarded and others still had toned down displays. A lingering fear of strangers coloured even the sunniest days grey. But there too I was working to make myself a friend, make myself at home. I was still young during that summer, only turning 26 in July, and offered my help to anyone who needed it. That was the summer I found myself briefly employed at the Hog’s Head Inn.
I had of course known of the Hog’s Head since my own schooling days but I had very rarely ventured in myself. It was too well-known for being a haven for scandalous activity and shady characters. But I needed work to clear my head and the pub needed someone to keep the stock in order. So I did what I had to in order to keep sane. I sweat through long days and laboured into cool nights. Eventually, I got to take a turn at bar-tending, which was not my most glorious of achievements. Summer was ending though and so my tenure at the inn had to as well. I wished them all well and offered my services the following summer if I was needed.
As fall came on, I paid my yearly visit to Diagon Alley. I picked up a new set of robes with metallic green lining. I deposited my summer wages at Gringotts (which had finally begun to look like itself after the dragon mishap). My last stop was Ollivander’s, a place I had not visited since my first eager trip before start of term in ‘85. It had not changed much, save the few things that had been completely replaced after the raid to retrieve Mr. Ollivander himself. I had my wand checked and, satisfied that everything was in order, left via Apparition to Hogsmeade.
I met with another professor who once bore the Slytherin crest on their robes and we talked of our school days while dining at the Three Broomsticks. He only asked once where I had been during the Battle before dropping the subject entirely. I hadn’t thought my face so readable but the topic was still a painful one in my mind. I said he could stay the night at my cottage if he didn’t have a place closer to the school to sleep. That was the night I began my tenuous relationship with Hyperion Locke.
It’s been a long week. I spent most of it sick which was unpleasant and I’m still drinking as much tea as this body will hold to recover. I’ve also been dealing with what I suppose is a severe case of homesickness. All of these memories make me yearn for that little cottage outside of the village. The replacement wand only causes more fevered desire for a return to magic. Frankly, it’s been hard. I wonder now whether I will be fit to finish the project I have started. I do not feel fit to nor does the body feel willing. We shall see I suppose. Perhaps this storm will pass.
The millennium (2000) and the year leading up to it were just as busy and chaotic within the Ministry and wizarding world as they were within the Muggle world, though for different reasons. Having finally seen an end to one of the darkest (if not the darkest) wizards of all time, it was a time of great unrest. Loyal followers had to be tracked down and either imprisoned or corrected in their ways. The Ministry and Hogwarts both needed to be rebuilt, almost from the ground up.
By start of term in 1999, I was already an established face and member of the community at Hogwarts. I had stuck through the copious repairs and renovations. I was beginning to get the urge for more involvement though. It was nice to be needed but my position at the time only afforded occasional need. When the interim professor of Transfiguration (you will recall that Minerva McGonagall, long-standing Head of Gryffindor house and professor of Transfiguration, took over as headmistress after the battle) decided the job was not for him, I offered myself for consideration. Granted, I had no formal training as a teacher and I hadn’t touched a copy of A Beginner’s Guide to Transfiguration since my first year, but I was determined and eager to pass on my knowledge of the art.
Luckily, I was on good terms with Headmistress McGonagall from my schoolboy days and she allowed me to begin taking on a few first year classes while they phased out the interim professor. By the winter holiday, I was ready to be promoted to full-time faculty member and I took my seat at the head table in the Great Hall in January of 2000. It was the proudest moment of my life, looking back. Finally young Slytherins could have a role model who didn’t limit themselves to the dungeons and potions. Of course, I still had a lot of pressure to perform well. The rest of the staff was still a bit wary of my quickly gained status of professor. They would require a bit more persuading that I actually knew what I was talking about before they would accept me.
Today, as you can plainly see on this blog, a replacement wand was procured to perhaps lessen the pain I feel. It is indeed a beautiful sight and so lovely in my hands. Yet it is still not quite mine. I will make due, however, and do my best to adjust to this new extension of my arm.
Today also happened to be a day where the body felt particularly beaten down by some form of allergies or illness of the sinuses. I have had several cups of tea to combat the feelings though. I had forgotten how delicious a perfectly brewed cup of tea could taste. Of course the body has some adjusting to my particular tastes but it has been doing well so far. We shall see in time if I cannot make this place as much a home as the one I know and love so far from here.
Beyond the summer of ‘98, I drifted farther from the Ministry. Though they were under the capable hands of Kingsley Shacklebolt, I no longer desired to spend time in Marcus’ presence as he continued to hone his skills against the Dark Arts. Instead, I returned to Hogwarts, my home that I had ignored during my many trips abroad.
I helped the professors and headmistress in the repair effort and began to return to my roots within the castle. When the students came back, I helped out wherever I was needed, usually cleaning and patrolling the grounds for wandering first years. I also chaperoned some trips to Hogsmeade, which is when I bought my little place outside of the village. I began to settle in not too far from the place I knew I could always turn to.
Despite my new home, I still spent the winter holidays in the castle. I made sure everything was well-decorated for the students who remained (though there were certainly not many, given the circumstances). Though half a year had passed, the events of the spring weighed heavily in the minds of many, including myself. The festivities were subdued at best, but at least it was a holiday.
That was the year of 1998. The year everything in my world was turned on its head and then slowly righted. Some things fell to pieces but it set the stage for my career at Hogwarts. It certainly was a year that will never fade from my memory.
To people who have followed the story of Harry Potter, the year of 1998 is a crucial one. It is the year of the Second Wizarding Ward, Battle of Hogwarts, and defeat of the Dark Lord. Much more happened beyond that though. These are my memories.
It was just after my graduation that I began an internship with the Ministry working with the Aurors. By ‘98 my internship had turned into something of a job though it wasn’t as an Auror. Rather, I became a scout of sorts, sent out to look for promising young witches and wizards to bolster the forces against the rising forces of darkness. I worked most of the time with my closest friend and love, Marcus Long. He and I had been in school together and, though he could have gotten any job he wanted, he decided to follow me down the path to become an Auror.
Marcus was intensely studious and almost Ravenclaw (save his own decision based on family pressures). He didn’t much like the travelling but he was brilliant in warding off the Dark Arts. When I was offered a trip to Durmstrang to scout their students, he decided to stay behind. Thinking back, I am forced to wonder if he could feel the war that was brewing just under our feet.
I went away at the start of term in late ‘97, a bit before actually as the Ministry had yet to fall. I was gone before everything went to Hell. For a while, things went fine. I kept in contact with Marcus through owl post. Then, in the spring, he went silent. My owl kept returning to me with unopened letters. I almost went back but for my supervisor who, having gotten word of the chaos at home, told me to stay. Finally, in June, I returned home and got a letter through to Marcus.
He informed me that he had spent the war quietly, making himself scarce and drawing no attention to himself. After the battle when he went back to his family, he married a nice pureblood girl like they wanted. He said family was stronger than friendship, even ours. It was the last letter ever sent between us. I’ve never quite been the same in regards to relationships. Maybe it’s just I’ve never loved anyone quite like Marcus. Things haven’t been the same since the summer of ‘98.
Last night, I got the opportunity to witness a young man bring his girlfriend on-stage during the middle of a performance to propose to her. This was a performance packed with teens and young adults, wearing everything from Batman outfits to Harry Potter shirts to concert merchandise and more. It was a lively crowd that sang to all of the songs and stayed close to the stage (and therefore the performers they adored). Yet everyone was in complete support of this interruption. Everyone stopped to put all focus and attention toward the couple (she did say yes) as they were congratulated and hugged by the entire ensemble. For me, it was another reminder that the people who have come to me seeking letters and the others like them in the world are, at heart, truly good people. No one cared that it was a delay in the show. No one was bitterly jealous that the couple got to be so close to the performers. Everyone simply cheered them on in congratulations on their new adventure.
Sometimes, I believe I am growing into a jaded and bitter old man. But sometimes I am reminded that there are still beautiful things left in the world, whether it is mine or otherwise.
I am working on becoming at home in this place, so far from my home. I know of no way back and so I must adapt as best I can to use what time I am given wisely. I have, at least, ordered a proper wand for my comfort and perhaps to find the magic I lost in leaving my world for this earth.
I have heard tales now of others like me, not from this place yet nowhere previously defined. If it is possible, I will take comfort in knowing I am not alone. Still, I would not wish this fate upon any. There is no greater sadness than being stolen from all of the things you know and love and separated by a distance that can never be crossed.
I will push on still for there is no use for me if I will not make strides to become strong even without my magic. I will not give up and disappear or fade slowly into the white noise of this new home. I know one day I will be returned and I must flourish here until then.
Sometimes I am forced to wonder whether or not I am the imagining of a poor, mentally ill boy. Sometimes I must question my existence because of where I come from and who I am.
But my memories are so real to me. Could someone else’s mind have fabricated my entire life from birth until now? Could they know me so intimately, more intimately than even myself?
I yearn for absolute knowledge…whether I am truly someone, a being of substance and worth. I yearn for some…evidence of my validity.
Do you know what it is like to be at the point where, because so many people out there disbelieve in you, you begin to disbelieve in yourself?
I swear I am real. I swear I exist. I swear I have feelings and memories and a life all of my own.
I swear because if I do not I might fall away completely into the abyss.
What is this flesh I am constrained to? Some new Polyjuice Potion with irreversible effects? It denies me my age as well as my power. I am left no greater or stronger than a Muggle. Yet I am expected to carry on living, especially to carry on hislife. Whether or not he is strong enough to go on, all of us must strive to portray only him to the world outside of this sprawling internal landscape.
Perhaps if I would only refuse to be a part of this madness it would all improve. But I fear that denying my duties would simply make me cease to be. I see no easy or quick way to return to my home. I will wait then. I will do what I must to remain in this place with these my companions in this lying flesh. One day, though, I will find the magic my heart yearns for, the magic that is always calling me home.
I am beginning to realise that it is incredibly lonesome around here. Everyone tends to keep to their other half with the exception of myself and Miss Chambers as we have no other halves. This is not the home I love and know best. I do not even have the comforts of Cassiopeia’s scratching at the window to be let out or the ever-burning flame in my fireplace.
I am pushing harder, though, to have a trip arranged to visit the nearest attempted replica of my native land. It would of course not be anything like the real space but it would perhaps temporarily soothe this aching I feel. It might also give me the chance to be in my element again. Here, I am secluded and separated from society. There, I could interact with the eager young ones, seeking the magic that calls me home constantly. I could have a usage for the knowledge I spent so many years acquiring.
Until then, I am unsure as to my place here. I do not know the expectations of me, given Luca’s state of despondency with reality. I suppose I will continue blogging here when I have things to say. And perhaps one day people will find me here that seek my knowledge or at least my friendship. I swear I am not that unfriendly, despite some minor personality flaws.
There is something, I think, to be said for the “fandom” that loves my home. More often than not, I have found these individuals to be loving, passionate, and seeking greater harmony in the world. They are a group spanning all ages and all nationalities, willing to come together to theorize, to dream, to remember.
Yet still, I am forced to face troubling facts. Not everyone who self-identifies as a “Potterhead” has the open heart and mind urged by the school. Some still make judgments based on factors that are beyond an individual’s control (as the Death Eaters once judged based on blood purity alone). More fearsome for me, however, is that now my world is largely beyond the hands of the one person who has always known it. Now, corporations have hold of my home.
Recently, Luca was looking into getting a job at “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” in Orlando, Florida. He certainly would fit well among the streets as, during his own vacation there, he spent three days blending in and being mistaken for a worker. Yet policies such as their “no visible (or falsely concealed) tattoos” policy (where all tattoos must be covered completely by clothing and never revealed) threaten his ability to take up work there. I believe, as I think all others true to our castle would, that the individuals who staff this one place where magic is allowed to come to life ought to be chosen based on their passion and knowledge first rather than whether they might have body art (which can be concealed, mind you).
Of course, there were staff members within the grounds of this park that seemed to have a genuine love of the place but there were others who could not have been less enthused by their position. You must understand. This is my home. This is the world that I was raised in, that I belong in. To see such utter disinterest feels like a personal affront.
I realize I cannot change everything. I cannot make every “Potterhead” see that they cannot belong here without opening their hearts and minds in tolerance of others. I cannot fix corporations who only see in dollar signs and not in protecting ideals or dreams. I just wish there was an honest place that the magic could be continued, where I could welcome first-years into the mysteries of Hogwarts, where those of my age could come and remember that feeling of joy brought only by the series that captured my world. Perhaps one day…
Until then, here I will remain; my personal office diminished to nothing but a blog. But I will be alert and waiting for I know that somewhere out there, others feel the same way I do. Others wish to see the magic I know and love.
I have seen debates on Tumblr regarding the legitimacy of fictives, fictionkin, and others with “fictional” identities. I have seen people denying individuals’ existence (at least their existence as they see it). It makes me wonder. If you saw me, face to face, would you consider me real?
Some will say that I am fictional, that I cannot exist because my world is in a book and thus does not exist. Some will say that I am made up or a character being put on as a “roleplay” by another without my identity. Some will say that I am just a blatant liar.
But do I not have thoughts? Do I not feel things independently? Don’t I have a history and memories all of my own?
And, moreover, what harm would I be doing you if I were perhaps just some figment of someone else’s imagination? What would it matter to you?
Further still, would I even then not be real? By existing, even if only in the mind of one person, do I not count as real?
You may not believe in my world or my history or my validity, but you cannot argue that I am real. I occupy space on this planet and contribute ideas to this world. Let me live my life (or exist if you will), and I promise to not bring your reality into question.
The Department of Lost Letters project has been something I never expected to take off. Relatively speaking, it was not the most well-advertised thing and it wasn’t a service that I had ever heard need of. Yet here I am, not more than a month and a half into the project, having written almost one hundred letters, with twenty to thirty more left to be written. It gives me some hope for the future. These letters have gone around the world to people of all ages. As yesterday was the fourteenth anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts and of the end of the Second Wizarding War, I have been thinking much on unity. These hundred people who have come to the Department, seeking their letters, they are a united force though perhaps they are unaware. If all those out there who loved my home came together, well perhaps things would look brighter in the Muggle world for though there are always going to be bad witches and wizards out there, the great majority of those I have met have been wonderful, seeking the greater benefit of all.
I don’t know how much I will be saying on here but I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have or to simply talk. I assure you that I am quite non-intimidating when you get down to it.