Progress Notes: yes, it's been YEARS, but I *am* actively working on this story still/again after a long hiatus (being the mom of two little ones makes it SLOW going). I do plan to finish this story someday, and it will possibly beat "The Scottish Book" into publicly viewable form.
"That there should one man die ignorant who had capacity for knowledge, this I call tragedy." – Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)
27 June 1999, 5:00pm, Hogwarts' staff meeting room
Albus Dumbledore stood at the head of the table and smiled at each of its inhabitants in turn.
"Hello!" Dumbledore said cheerily, "First, I hope that you have all been making our newest staff member, Remus Lupin, feel welcome. He will be teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts this coming school year and is a very interesting colleague to have after you get past his initial shyness. But introductions are not the main reason I've called you all together for this special meeting. I need to discuss a unique position Hogwarts finds itself in," began the headmaster. "A rather unique potential student came to my attention many years back, and it is now time to decide whether we are going to be able to bring her to Hogwarts."
"More unique than Potter?" sneered Severus Snape, under his breath.
"Yes, Severus, more unique than Mr. Potter."
Filius Flitwick's ears visibly perked at this, "unique in what way, Headmaster?"
"The student we are discussing is unique in more than just her magical abilities."
"Albus, you're not thinking of bringing a Veela into Hogwarts, are you?" sputtered Minerva McGonagall.
"No, Minerva, this particular student hopefully will not wreak that much havoc on our male population."
Remus Lupin glanced nervously out the window then at his watch. "Headmaster, if you don't mind speeding this up a little…"
"Ah, yes, yes, Remus… sorry about that. What makes this particular student so unique is that she cannot walk; in fact, she uses a Muggle device called a wheelchair to get around. Ingenious device really, gives those poor Muggles who can't walk a bit of independence – has large wheels on the side with round handles so that the user can push himself along without the aid of another party…" Dumbledore tugged at his beard in thought, eyes gazing slightly off into the distance.
"Ah, yes, Remus, sorry – got a little sidetracked again. Anyway, she has demonstrated remarkable abilities in wandless magic, especially considering that she is Muggle-born."
"Albus, you don't mean that American girl that's makin' headlines all over with her levitatin' herself and things that no'un can debunk, are ya?" Hagrid spoke up for the first time, slightly hesitantly.
"As a matter of fact, I am."
"But why would we take in an American witch, why not just let her go to one of the American schools?" piped up Argus Filch in a vaguely petulant voice.
"Well, first off, she's not technically an American, she was born in Greece and lived in various parts of Europe for the first eight years of her life, so we're not sure that the American schools have even noticed her. Secondly, the American schools are much less well established than any of the European, Asian, or African schools and, frankly, I don't think the Americans are up to the challenge of educating a student of her talents."
"If she's such a fantastic catch, are we competing with the other European schools to get her here?" quirked Rolanda Hooch.
"Actually, the other schools aren't quite eager to take on a student with her particular physical needs. At least, that's the sense I got from my correspondences with the other headmasters as well as from the discussions that took place at the Annual Headmasters' Conference in Warsaw last month. I, on the other hand, am greatly interested in how we can adapt Hogwarts to meet the needs of more, talented students. She would be the first truly physically challenged student ever accepted into any school of Witchcraft and Wizardry outside of the United States, and the States only has one school out in California that has made any attempt to accommodate such young people, and that school is our major ‘competition' – as Rolanda put it – for this student, since she and her mother are currently living in a community in Oregon. But seeing as the Berkeley School for Enchanting Children only came into existence 15 years ago, I believe the prestige of Hogwarts may be enough to attract her here."
Flitwick was, by this point, standing in his chair nearly bouncing. "Yes, so far the only ‘physically challenged' witches and wizards that have ever been accepted into Hogwarts are little people like myself. It's about time we started opening our doors to a more diverse student population!"
There were slight nods from most of those gathered around the table, though none anywhere near as enthusiastic as Flitwick's body language.
"So, are we all in agreement that Hogwarts should send an extra warm invitation to this student in hopes that she will accept?"
Dumbledore looked around the table. No heads shook in disagreement, though some barely moved in the affirmative.
"Great, so we can move on to planning how to make the school more accessible to her, which brings me to the next big issue, rooms. Without major changes, she will not be able to get into the Gryffindor common room and will have difficulties accessing a few other rooms in the castle so – "
"Why don't you just invite her to come a few weeks early and I'll fix her up so she can walk again, or, failing that, up to St. Mungo's for them to work on her?" Madam Pomfrey piped up.
"Well, Poppy, it's not that simple. The injuries that have left her unable to use her legs occurred during the process of birth, which will 11 years ago on August 4th. Even our most talented mediwizards and mediwitches have only been able to cure afflictions half that old, and those were injuries sustained later in life. And there have been some major accidents resulting in worsening disability in a high percentage of attempts to heal old injuries, so her mother may not consent to any attempts."
"I've been reading some promising medical articles from Germany's mediwizard community on injuries almost as old as hers that are…"
"Well, Poppy, you can talk to her about the possibilities when she gets here, however, seeing that her first year will be starting in a little more than two months, and all of the possible treatments I've read about take considerably longer than that, we will need to adapt the school in a few ways to be ready for her. I have a list here, and I'd like each of you to also review your classrooms and the pathways to them to ensure that she will be able to reach the first year classes."
Madam Pince stiffened her already ram-rod-straight posture at this comment. "But, Headmaster, the castle is full of staircases, and the library is on the second floor. If she is in a wheelchair, how will she ever get to the library?"
"Irma, you're forgetting the very detail that drew our attention to her in the first place. The child is already adept at levitation, as Hagrid pointed out. She has drawn quite a bit of attention in the Muggle and magical communities around the world because of her talent. As long as the staircases are wide enough, she should have no problem levitating herself between floors. The bigger concern are the narrow spaces between the bookshelves, and I don't think we want her trying to levitate them…"
Remus, obviously anxious to leave the meeting as the sun was starting to set out the window, spoke up. "While I was traveling and doing research these past several years, I came across another Muggle innovation that may be of interest while visiting some of the libraries in the States. I'd be happy to sketch it out for you over the summer and work out with my colleagues how to implement it in our own library – it involves causing the bookshelves to slide closer to each other when no one is in a particular aisle, and slide apart when someone approaches an aisle for a book. Quite ingenious, and if we throw in some shrinking charms with the same system, we may actually be able to increase the library's shelf space while making the aisles wider."
It was now Madam Pince's turn to bounce in her chair, and lists of books to acquire to fill the new empty shelves were obviously starting to scroll through her mind from the rapturous look on her face. "Oh, my… we could finally really restrict the Restricted Section with a system like that, if we threw an age restricting charm on the shelves with the dangerous books. Then there wouldn't be any more of this sneaking books from my shelves, since I'd have to go with any students too young to be in that section…"
"Irma, dear, aren't you creating a lot more work for yourself with that idea? Maybe it would be better to leave the Restricted Section where it is and focus our attention elsewhere, at least for now," pointed out Madam Pomfrey gently, " after all, we do only have two months and a handful of days to implement all these changes, and some of us would like to have a little bit of a holiday this summer…."
Sensing that his staff needed to digest this information, Dumbledore rose to dismiss them.
"Albus, I'd really like to take a leadership role in this project of school modifications," came from Flitwick, still standing on his chair.
Dumbledore looked a little surprised by this, but nodded. "I think you all have plenty to think about and plan, so I will let you go. Filius, if you would like to take charge of the common areas such as the Great Hall, that would be a great load off of my mind." Flitwick gave a small nod and smile. "Now, if there is nothing further that requires all of us to be present, you may get on to your planning. Seeing as you each have so much to do with planning and renovations, I will make the first contact with our special student myself this week. Severus, Filius, Minerva, and Ceres, if you wouldn't mind staying for a minute to finalize a few details?"
The rest of the staff followed the quickly retreating figure of Remus Lupin out of the room, leaving just the Headmaster and the Heads of House.
"What can we do for you, Headmaster?" asked Ceres Sprout, the first time she had spoken since entering the room.
"I realize that one of you will wind up being much more involved in this child's life, and wanted to seek your perspective on this whole thing."
Professor McGonagall looked Dumbledore straight in the eye, unflinching "I'm not completely sure Hogwarts is ready for this, Albus. This will take a lot of changes for everyone. Is it the best thing for the other students? And what about the issue of the dormitories? How do you expect this girl to get her wheelchair through the portrait hole if she's sorted into Gryffindor?"
Dumbledore held a hand out to stop Professor McGonagall before she started speaking any faster, but didn't manage to catch Flitwick's attention before he started in himself.
"Well, we could just give her a room in the staff living area, that area is already almost completely accessible!"
The other three professors stared daggers at the oblivious Filius Flitwick.
"Students do not know where the staff lives and I do not intend on allowing that to change, I'd rather not bring this talented student here in the first place than risk our inner sanctuary," sneered Severus Snape snidely.
Dumbledore continued on quickly. "That's exactly the reason I asked the four of you to stay behind. I don't want what we're about to discuss to become common knowledge, but I believe it has to be done. Obviously, with the layout of Gryffindor, extensive renovations would be required, something that would take an awful lot of time to do, leaving the poor girl with nowhere to sleep besides the couch until it was complete. Plus there is the issue of the stairs to deal with before even getting to the entrance of the house common rooms, having to go up several flights of stairs…" and now Dumbledore turned to look at Professor Snape "or down. Something I'd rather not put her through when she's already fatigued from a long day, no matter how adept she is at levitation. Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff's dormitories would require a lot less renovation, plus with their entrance locations there are less stairs to worry about. As much as I'd love to see all of Hogwarts become accessible to all students, with a building that has stood and been added on to for a millennium, it's going to take time that we just don't have, and I can't put that much extra work on each of you."
"Headmaster, I really don't have the first idea how to go about making Hufflepuff House more accessible… I'll have enough trouble with the greenhouses…" said Professor Sprout, slowly.
"Well, I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed that she's sorted into Ravenclaw then, I guess!" piped up Professor Flitwick cheerily.
"I was thinking of action a little more certain than the crossing of fingers, Filius," and at this, the headmaster turned around and picked up the Sorting Hat, which had been sitting on a small table directly behind him. "Did you hear all of that?"
The Sorting Hat replied, "I think so, Professor Dumbledore."
"I need you to know so. This September, during the sorting ceremony, when you are placed on the head of Selene Lycurgus, you are to place her in Ravenclaw."
"I understand, Headmaster. I've never done such a thing before, but I'll do it."
"Thank you," he turned back around to face his remaining staff members, " you may go now… Severus, would you mind joining me for dinner?"
A/N: Like it? Disturbed by it? Want to see the next chapter in Beta form along with non-HP stuff I write? Head over to