Stumbles in, looking like a charred cartoon bunny. (NOT BUGS!) Dashes to the desk and gently places a stack of half singed paper. Grins maniacally then dash away at the sound of an explosion.
Headmistress Minerva McGonagall took to the hall in a brisk pace towards the facility lounge with a heavy mind.
Low enrollment, outdated curriculum, and dark residual magic.
The meeting with the Board of Governors ended in a sobering point, there are many issues the school face for this and future terms.
The 'Battle of Hogwarts' decimated the attending student body of 1998-2000, the remaining students were successfully evacuated with no casualties. The adult body count was found over 200 as Riddle caused a delayed chain reaction to those with the dark mark. The weakened adults were drained of both magic and life force to the point of death as the more powerful were reduced to comas or weaken bodies. Many didn't seek treatment as they would have been identified, questioned, and possibly sent to Azkaban.
Many pureblood and pureblood raised half-blood children weren't allowed to return the following term as their now highly paranoid parents chose to home school. The muggle-born parents also reacted to protect their own by pooling money, time, and connections. By September of 1998, the law established by Dumbledore to force all magical children to only attend Hogwarts was revoked by the Royal court. New charter schools were created in each needed district of the United Kingdom with the seal of the Royal Crown on their doors. The new administration at MoM was left stunned and undercut.
The many surviving students who returned either retook their year or quickly took NEWT in January of 1999 at the expense of MoM. A new workforce was needed to fill so many open positions. Many thought the nepotism would be quelled were wrong. All the remaining purebloods and some half-bloods took the higher administrative positions as the muggle-born were left menial jobs. Only then did they find as many began migrating to the continent, their skillsets were considered archaic therefore forced to return.
This prompted another backlash but it was subtly executed, by 2000 only 3% of the graduated muggle-borns and 8% of muggle raised half-bloods remained. Several squib charities opened three free 'Cram schools', allowing learning the skills to take the needed GCSEs and return to the Muggle world. Ironically many went into social services, teaching, law practice, and the police force.
The Forbidden Forest has become darker, fewer bird calls are heard or seen darting above the canopy, many of the native beasts moved further within the interior, far away from the perimeter of the school. Both the offensive and defensive wards were dissipating, the oldest foundations are crumbling. Many of the inner courtyards lay barren as the once lush rolling hills are dull. The few specialists that came to their aid all came to the same conclusion.
Hogwarts was dying due to the imbalance of magic caused by the saturation of dark magic and violent deaths.
In the effort to hide the problem until the solution can be found over eighty percent of the castle was closed off. Not the children would notice for over one hundred and fifty years many 'core' classes were dropped.
If a resolution wasn't found within the next generation the school will become dormant and the symbol of the English Enclave would be no more.
Minerva McGonagall Headmistress of Hogwarts was tired. Looking out the window, towards the Forbidden Forest she sighs, "We need a team of experts in land magic and wards, our elves can only clean and repair only so much as the land is trying to neutralize the damage, I'm afraid it will take far too long."
Neville watches the staff take in the news, as he looks clockwise Filius Flitwick, and Rebus Hagrid the last of the original staff as the newest staff members: Alex Wynn, History/Muggle Studies professor; Zinc Warbeck, Potion Master; Garnet Bloomsburg, flight instructor; Charlie Weasley, Acting Care of Magical Creatures professor; Agatha Clines, Arthimancy/Ancient Runes professor and lastly Hamilton Talpin, DADA instructor.
Agatha and Hamilton look to one another, rubbing his eyes Hamilton sighs "We will need to think outside of the box Minerva."
Fixing herself tea and some shortbread, Minerva quietly settles down at the head of the staff table, "Please share your thoughts."
"Agatha and I were talking about our final projects with our masters. As apprentices, we were able to gain some experience with projects. We would go alone or in teams. Our masters would review the project outline and if sound we were allowed to complete the job. Under their supervision."
Filius' eyes narrow, "We may be looking at multiple cleansing rituals. We all know the stance the Ministry has on covens."
Both Agatha and Hamilton shrug, tapping her finger on the table, Agatha replies, "That is not our issue to take Master Flitwick. We could change the minds of the populous and open doors to newcomers. There those who still hold Hogwarts with reverence."
"That is scarce in this time of age."
Everyone stops and looks towards the source of contempt, Headmaster Black. The pale clever looking wizard, with black hair, dark eyes, a pointed beard, and thin eyebrows openly sneered at the group. "Many lives were squandered here, few will forget that. Tread carefully Minerva, the sins of your predecessor will be felt for at least three generations."
Minerva's lips press further almost disappearing. "We know Phineas, as you know we are taking actions to change the course."
Other Headmasters in the surrounding portraits sniff their disbelief, "Now my friends Minerva is right. Many changes have been set to attract students and balance the needs of the smaller percentage of the student body."
"Smaller percentage? Still toting that passive-aggressive dragon dung, Albus? Guess there is a wonder why your name is a joke outside these halls." A rather attractive olive-skinned female with sable hair and gold eyes cuts into the conversation offhandedly. Headmistress Zelia Colibiri winks at Neville, amusing him to no end as she has tea in the same portrait of Headmaster Snape.
As she accepts her tea Snape, interrupts Albus' reply, "Many of the cultural differences could be bridged, by teaching traditional customs and honoring the past. Sharing ideas and encouraging individual thought, a concept you lack."
Zelia smiles slyly at Severus, his pale cheeks pinken as he places a plate of Galaktoboureko with one fork on the between them.
Each Headmaster or Headmistress interrupts or talks over the outcast of the prestigious group drowning his sage advice to the living faculty in chatters of gossip and academic debates. No longer was Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore considered a respected man of knowledge and titles, the Headmasters old watched for decades with painted eyes his past acts of manipulation and misdeeds, 'All for the greater good.' Many of their family lines are now extinct because of him. Now upstart is in their world of brush strokes and connected magic. This bumblebee will pay until his portrait no longer moves or is set ablaze.
Minerva looks to Flitwick, without missing a beat Headmaster Dumbledor's voice is muted to a buzz.
Stumped and dismayed Albus watches the teachers of the future ignore and discount him moving on to the possible next steps.
Neville ignores the tension between the professors, "So, you didn't ask Hermione?"
Minerva's cheeks slightly flush as she looks down her nose at him.
Her cold stare doesn't strike any reaction as his own eyes are steady. She forgets so easily that he is beyond the years as her student, the horrors he's seen under her tutelage striped away blinders on all aspect of life. The goblin steel in his spine was tried and found true.
He smirks, "Did you ask or demand?"
Galaktoboureko is a soft, velvety treat that a friend's Greek husband makes for every anniversary. 25 years and going strong.