Let me say first that this was written BEFORE I had read Half-Blood Prince, so it is obviously not "canon" in the strict sense. I wrote it in some ways for the same reason I wrote a take-off on the Chronicles of Narnia. C. S. Lewis pissed me off in that he asserted that adults don't make it into Narnia, which I thought was hogwash. That said, I wrote a novella wherein a young adult DOES make it into Narnia and has a considerable adventure therein.
By the same token, I was frustrated by the relative lack of interaction between wizards and Muggles in Rowling's works and ... well, this is barely more than an introduction, but have a look:
I couldn't help but notice the young man sitting at the bus stop. It isn't everyone who travels with a large steamer trunk for one thing, but the cage with the handsome snowy owl on his other side clearly set this fellow apart. Apart from this, his appearance to me was more than a little familiar, less from first hand sight than from descriptions I had heard. Never being one to shirk from engaging strangers in conversation, I proceeded to do so.
"Good morning," I offered. "Where are you headed?"
"Good morning, Sir. King's Cross Station. Do you know if the bus is on time? I'm in a bit of a hurry."
I spotted a folded envelope in his pocket, a portion of a crest with an ornate "H" gave the game away and I smiled. "Headed to Platform 9-3/4, are you?"
The boy startled, but I smiled to let him know all was well. "My daughter is a Hogwarts graduate; no worries! Perhaps you knew her: Samantha Simes."
His face brightened. "Yes, she was a sixth year when I started. Hufflepuff, right?"
"Quite right. I'm her father, Broderick."
"Pleased to meet you, Sir. I'm Harry, Harry Potter."
It was my turn to be startled. I may be a Muggle, but no Muggle with even a mild association with the wizarding world hasn't heard that name! There was no doubt of his identity; the tousled black hair only barely concealed the lightning-stroke scar beneath. I offered my hand. "Harry Potter, indeed! A pleasure to meet you!"
The lad smiled and dropped his eyes, not quite blushing. Whatever accolades his exploits had gained him in the wizarding world, they hadn't gone to his head, not for what was evident in this young man. I looked down the road briefly; the bus was nowhere in evidence, and the time was getting a bit too close to 10 o'clock for comfort. Here was both an opportunity to help and get more insight into my daughter's world than I had had in a while. "Harry, my car's parked just over there. May I offer you a ride?"
Harry's facial expression in response was almost as though I had offered him a million galleons. "Thank you very much, Sir!"
Three minutes later, we were en route to downtown London. Knowing something about Harry's background, I asked, "Why the bus stop, Harry? Couldn't your guardians give you a ride to King's Cross?"
The dark look Harry answered with told me instantly that I had flensed scar tissue. "My aunt and uncle wouldn't give me a ride to hell, even if they knew the way, Sir."
"I'm sorry to hear that, Harry, truly," I responded, then added, "What about the Knight Bus? Sam took that one year when my wife and I were out of the country."
Harry's expression shifted to one of, "Been there, done that, PLEASE not again!" and I chuckled. "She did mention that it's a bit ... strange!"
That actually earned me a laugh from Harry. "Sir, as much as I know of the wizarding world, there is NOTHING quite so strange as the Knight Bus!" We both laughed hard and he continued, "I just figured I could take the bus into London, but I think I read the schedule wrong."
No doubt, I thought; Saturday's schedule was always different from the weekdays'. "Then I'm glad I ran onto you, Harry. No problem, we'll get you there."
I diverted my attention fully to the road for a moment, turning onto the M4 and accelerating to highway speed. A glance at my passenger once I was settled in at 80 mph made me truly wonder. Harry was leaning slightly forward in the passenger seat, his eyes almost sucking in the road before us, as though we weren't going remotely fast enough, that even the insane speeds and antics of the Knight Bus were insufficient to get this youthful mage to his destination immediately enough. "You miss Hogwarts, don't you? I asked, simply.
Harry paused a good five seconds before answering, just as simply, "It's home, Sir."
I nodded. Samantha had called it her second home for the seven years she had attended and always seemed a bit sad coming from the Hogwarts Express when she returned to us every June. "I think I know what you mean, Harry ... and I'm glad to hear you have someplace to call, 'home.'"
"Have you ever been there, Sir?"
"Only once, Harry, when Samantha graduated." I sighed deeply. "Was enchanted with the place from the moment I stepped foot onto the grounds. Made me wish I could have studied there instead of Rutledge. Oh, and your headmaster, Dumbledore, is it?" Harry nodded. "A marvelous man, friendly and engaging, though a bit of a mystery. Sam told me once that she thinks of him as the grandfather she never knew. Meeting him explained that without a word spoken."
Harry's gaze grew pensive. "Professor Dumbledore is very, very special," he remarked, and for a moment he seemed to draw into himself before returning to the conversation. "What does your daughter do now, Sir?"
"She's in the Ministry of Magic, Department of Muggle Affairs." I chuckled to myself wryly. "She was a natural for the position, being that both her parents are Muggles!"
Once again, Harry's face illumined. "She must know Mr. Weasley, then!"
"That she does, Harry. Matter of fact, we had Arthur and Molly over for dinner not but two months ago, had a splendid time! I think it was the first time he really had a chance to dig into the Muggle world from the Muggle's point of view. Allowed me to learn more than a bit about what my daughter did for a living, and about your world as well...." I trailed off, thinking about latter portions of my discussions with Arthur.
"Sorry, Harry. I was just reminded of a part of that conversation which ... well, disturbed me more than a little. Something I'm told you know a considerable share about."
Harry looked at me gravely. "Voldemort?"
I nodded. "Harry ... has it occurred to you that Voldemort doesn't just pose a threat to the wizard community?"
I watched as an expression of more than mild surprise washed over Harry's face as he considered my question. He answered haltingly. "It could happen, Sir. Last summer, my cousin ... Dudley and I ... were set on by Dementors. I used the Patronus to get rid of them."
"It's a powerful defensive charm, Sir, the only thing effective against a Dementor."
"Damn!" I said, not caring for this news at all. "Does Voldemort control the Dementors?"
"He didn't use to, Sir, but now...." The way Harry said that, it was clear to me that something was going seriously south in the wizarding world, and possibly not just there.
"Harry ... there's supposed to be a wall between our two worlds, isn't there?"
Again, Harry hesitated before responding. "I suppose there is, Sir, now that you put it that way ... but there have been gaps ... BIG ones. The Dementors that went after Dudley and me, the Muggles Peter Pettigrew killed ... even my being seen in a flying car my second year!"
"The more I think about this, Harry, the more I'm becoming convinced that wall is not just a sham; it's working against both our worlds, especially with a threat like Voldemort around. We can be stronger together than separate." I paused a moment. "I'm going to talk to Sam more about this and with Arthur as well. I wonder ... could I ask you to talk to Professor Dumbledore? Would he listen to such an argument?"
"Sir, if anyone would listen, he would. I know he would!"
I nodded as I took the exit from the M4 and headed us toward King's Cross Station. "Harry, about the proudest day of my life was when Sam graduated from Hogwarts. She means the world to me. I don't want to lose her to a Dementor or to Voldemort or anything or anyone."
"I understand, Sir," Harry answered as we pulled up next to the entrance to the station. Harry fetched a luggage cart as I hauled his trunk and cage from my Rover, then once again proffered my hand. "Harry, this was a good bit of fortune, meeting you. Maybe some real good can come of this for all of us. I hope so."
"I do, too, Sir."
We shook hands and I wished him safe journey before returning to my car. Taking the cell phone from the center console, I punched in my daughter's number, reflecting on the bit of magic represented in my hand. Really, were our worlds, Harry's and mine, all that different, each with its own magic and mysteries, pleasures and dangers. "Sam? It's Dad. You'll never guess who I just met...!"