[A/N: Well, here we are at the end of the story. It's been a lot of fun doing the research for this story and its components. I, as always, greatly appreciate the wonderful reviews everyone's left and all of the favorites and follows that this has received. I'm already working on coming up with a new story, stay tuned!]
While Harry, Hermione and Croaker were in the DoM…
The Wizengamot were sequestered in an adjoining room deliberating as to what sort of suitable punishment for Albus Dumbledore should be. The usual 'Chuck 'em or Kiss 'em' had been suggested and discarded. A hefty fine against Albus' vault was suggested but when Amelia leveled a hard inquisitorial glare at the man, the Mot member sheepishly admitted that he'd hoped it would go to the Ministry coffers (his own).
"Come on people! There has to be some sort of suitable punishment!" she groused unhappily. She noticed that one of the younger members shifting uncertainly on their feet, "What is it, Maggie? You have an idea?"
Margaret Mann of the Ancient House of Westerly fidgeted under the scrutiny of the elder Mots, "Well…how about we give him the same treatment a previous Mot court gave to Argus Filch?"
Confused murmurs were heard in the room, 'Argus Filch? The caretaker of Hogwarts?'
Emboldened a bit, Margaret continued, "Back in the early 1960s, Argus 'Filch' Robertson was convicted of Grand Theft from several pureblood families. He was the one behind the then mysterious disappearances of family grimoires. When he was convicted, the Mot bound his magic to that of a squib and forced him to work as nothing greater than a caretaker in the school. He's forever locked there to see the members of those families he stole from grow and prosper. That's why he's so bitter."
That caught many by surprise. They'd had no idea as to the history behind that cranky old bastard and why he remained in the magical world. It was generally accepted that squibs were forced out to the muggle world.
Amelia glanced at Tiberius who nodded thoughtfully, "It would solve our main problem though what about his age? If he were made a squib, or near enough to it, his advanced age would probably kill him."
Augusta Longbottom interjected that perhaps instead of squibbing him, they ought to leave him at about the level of a low-grade first year student, "That way he can still use enough magic to produce a Lumos and prevent premature death. We could also see about de-aging him a bit to something like his mid-50s? His current age and physical ability would knock him down within a year if he had to clean the castle as a near-squib."
The Mot started making approving noises as they hashed out the old man's punishment.
Courtroom 10, a few minutes later
"Hear ye! Hear ye! Court is now resumed, please take your seats!" Bellowed the bailiff as everyone in the gallery scrambled to find their seats. Harry and Hermione were already in place and leant forward to hear the results from the Mot's deliberation.
Albus, still manacled in the defendant's chair, began to sweat nervously and his hands could be seen trembling slightly.
Chief Warlock Tiberius Ogden stood slowly, hampered by his bad knee, "It is the determination that the punishment of Albus Dumbledore shall be the following:
* He shall have his magic bound down to the level of a low-grade first year student.
* He shall be banned for life from holding any sort of teaching or leadership position.
* A 'Knowledge Fidelius' shall be enacted so that no one will ever remember his previous accomplishments. This is to prevent anyone from falling prey to his honeyed words of past glories or tempting them to try to emulate them.
* He shall be remanded to the permanent position of assistant caretaker to Argus Filch at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry under the supervision of the Headmistress.
* He shall be forced to undergo a runic mental compulsion at Saint Mungo's that will prevent him from speaking or writing to the students and staff. Should he try, he will only be able to utter or write babbling nonsense. Additionally, the defendant shall be given a de-aging potion to reset his body to that of someone at the median age and physical condition in their mid-50s. The costs shall be taken from the defendant's vault.
* The contents of the defendant's vault and everything of monetary value the defendant owns shall be evaluated and sold at a reasonable amount to pay for the restitution to his many victims should they still live.
Up in the witness gallery…
Both teens were shocked by the ruling of the Wizengamot; Hermione more so than Harry; the look of relief on his face was clearly evident. As everyone was leaving, Hermione held him back.
"Let's allow everyone else to clear out first, less of a crowd we need to navigate. In the meantime, care to explain why the look of relief? I would've thought you'd be more bloodthirsty than this."
Harry pursed his lips as he thought about his answer, "I think that this punishment is just as 'bloodthirsty' as it could get for someone with Dumbledore's personality. If he were a mere murderer or something then yeah, I would hope for something bloody, like being shot out of a cannon into a brick wall or being fed alive, smeared with barbeque sauce, to a rabid pack of wolves. Since he's a manipulative sociopath, this punishment would drive him insane after awhile. Imagine all of your knowledge of books and love of learning being removed from your mind then being banned from ever entering any library around the world? You'd go nuts in short order! With him, being forgotten is just as bad. He's always been the one who craves the attention of others regardless of how it came around. Remember all those accomplishments he's stolen from their proper creators and authors? He's been the top of the heap for years and now he's the lowest of the low. Being an assistant to Argus Filch and having to scrub toilets until he dies? The students will be right vicious and vindictive against him as they are to Mr. Filch. Never be remembered as the great statesman or the headmaster of the premier magical school? Never remembered as the Supreme Mugwump or Chief Warlock? The ignominy will kill him faster than having to push a broom or mop a hallway."
Hermione's head slowly nodded as she contemplated her boyfriend's answer, "Never again allowed to influence others, never again to lead and always forced to be at the back. No more condescending grandfather routine, no more manipulations, no more 'Greater Good.' I guess I can live with that. I'm still surprised though, I would've thought they'd want to make him hurt physically or magically."
Harry harrumphed a bit, "Can you imagine what it'd be like to be forced to work in the castle and never being able to do more magic than someone like a first-year Crabbe or Goyle? Seeing everyone around you learning and gaining accomplishments during their time there? Generations of students surpassing him in every way? That's what's going to make him hurt. Psychological versus physical…"
Hogwarts, Runes Laboratory
Hermione was busy puttering around with her diagnostic gear while Harry was just sitting in a chair watching her flutter around between the tables. He idly shuffled his Runic Cards and inwardly smiled to himself over the events that had taken place during the school year. Life was shaping up pretty good in his opinion. His eyes shifted over to the door as he heard someone entering.
"Mr. Potter? Miss Granger? What are you two doing indoors on such a nice day? Shouldn't you be preparing for your OWL tests?" Professor McGonagall, now Headmistress, asked him.
Taking a deep breath, sneaking a quick glance at his girlfriend and letting out a mildly frustrated sigh Harry replied, "Just taking a break from the bookwork, Headmistress. Hermione was racking up some serious stress levels and I know that my own blood pressure was taking a beating so we came here to relax a bit." Minerva settled into an available chair and smiled at Hermione who was oblivious to anything else.
"She still flutters about, eh?" Minerva inquired as she gestured to where the younger girl was apparently talking to her oscilloscope.
Harry chuckled, "Yeah, but she wouldn't be Hermione if she didn't. Oh, I've been meaning to ask you but whatever happened to the Professor Umbridge? I heard she was sacked?"
Minerva let out a healthy growl at the mention of the Toad's name, "Yes, when the evidence came to light, thanks in part to the school's security system as well as eyewitness testimony; she was sacked on the spot and arrested by the DMLE on various charges. Last I heard, she'll be spending quite a bit of time in Azkaban for her crimes."
Harry cocked his head in surprise, "No creative punishment like they did with Dumbledore? Just chuck her in Azkaban and done with?"
Pursing her lips a bit, Minerva leaned over and whispered, "I would've rather seen her magic be bound down and have her forced into the muggle world to live out her life in squalor but apparently the Mot can only give one creative punishment per sitting session."
Harry snorted, "Can you picture Dolores Umbridge trying to live in the muggle world? She'd have pissed off someone within a day and gotten herself shot or something. I can see her working at a Tesco or Aldi as a low-end hourly employee just barely being able to afford a cheap flat somewhere. Ha! That would be hilarious."
Eventually, Hermione noticed that the Headmistress was in the room and joined the two for a spot of conversation.
"So what's the plan for the Diadem, Headmistress? Will you be displaying it here in the castle or just squirrel it away somewhere?" The younger girl asked curiously.
Minerva shrugged demonstratively, "No idea right now. It's being discussed by the senior staff; I'm all in favor of displaying it for a while but Professor Sprout has not-so-jokingly suggested that we have it under armed guard since Albus is still here. I'd hate to have him try to steal that too." That had Harry and Hermione chuckling.
"So, Mr. Potter; after all that's happened this year, have you given any more thought as to what you wanted to do with your life? I know that originally you wanted to be an Auror like your father and your godfather."
Harry laced his fingers behind his head and thought about it, "I don't really know now. I know I want to do something creative and beyond what is traditionally offered here. I found a book in Flourish and Blotts that covers a huge range of potential jobs and careers. I made a list of possible opportunities and," he glanced around and between the three of them he whispered conspiratorially, "We've been in contact with the Flamels and have been offered an intern position at their laboratory."
Minerva's eyes widened comically and her mouth practically hit the floor! "That, that's an incredible offer, Mr. Potter! I didn't even know they were still alive after that debacle with their Stone back in '91. What sort of internship are they offering?"
Harry shrugged, "Dunno yet. They want me to at least get an Exceeds Expectation across the board on my OWLs before we get together to decide what field I want to go into. On top of that, Director Croaker's interested in getting the pair of us into the DoM as well. Again, he too wants a minimum of Exceeds Expectations. He's mentioned that those who get Outstandings tend to burn out faster and aren't as open-minded."
Minerva turned to her other favorite student, "What about you Miss Granger? Are you still interested in becoming a spell crafter?"
Grimacing a bit Hermione shook her head, "After all this? I don't think so. I want to take what I've learned with the Diadem and see about expanding its abilities and possibilities. Imagine being able to connect with the muggle internet and share it and the technology and magic that went into its creation with everyone in the world? Plus, there are so many disparities in magical technology that needs to be standardized. For example, we have the ability to apparate or use the Floo Network to teleport ourselves across vast distances nearly instantaneously yet still rely on quills and candlelight? Owls to send messages and packages? In the muggle world, they have cell phones and the internet that allow for quicker and more efficient methods of communications. I want to find a way to ease the transition from two separate worlds into one."
Minerva looked pensive, "But that would break the Statute of Secrecy!"
"The Statute was written nearly four hundred years ago. Back then there really wasn't much of a difference in society or ability, beyond the magical part. Goods were shipped using horses and carts or on boats. Candlelight and quills were normal as was using carrier birds for secret communication. But where the magical world stagnated, the muggle world surged ahead and found new, more efficient and cleaner ways of doing business and living their lives. The Statute is a relic of bygone days and should be repealed gradually."
Minerva shook her head slightly, "But the shock to both worlds… In all my time going out and visiting the muggleborns and their families, it's always a shock to find out that their child is magical. The flip side would be as much of a shock if not greater; can you imagine foisting the advancements of the muggle world onto ours? I've seen a muggle telly…something before and using that as an example would cause the hidebound traditionalists to break out in fits."
Waving her hand in a conciliatory manner Hermione responded, "That would be something that needs to be researched. How to slowly integrate the two worlds together."
"It would have to be something small at first," Harry interjected, "I wouldn't try to drop the concept of a computer without having to explain the history and development getting to that point."
Minerva could see that this was something that would be a passionate topic of discussion for years to come for Hermione. She wished the two teens well and got up to head outside.
"Headmistress?" Hermione called out before Minerva exited, "What about a teaching position at some point in the future? A complete and total revamp of the Muggle Studies class?"
Minerva cocked her head in thought before gesturing with a finger at the younger girl, "I'll tell you what, Miss Granger. Go and make your mark with the research and internship with the Flamels or the DoM then come find me. I like the idea of modernizing what we teach. Now, if you'll excuse me? I have to coordinate with Professor Flitwick over the continuation of the organization of the Room of Requirement."
Caretaker's Office aka 'The Domain of Argus Filch,' 'The Room of Despair.'
Argus Filch was a much happier man these days, especially since the once famous and powerful Albus Dumbledore had been laid low for his crimes. Instead of endlessly trying in vain to keep the castle clean, and suffering in his advancing age, he now had an assistant to do all of the menial and dirty work that his aching back and hands could no longer accomplish. The former headmaster used to hold his job over Argus' head for the longest time; always claiming that if he (Argus) didn't do as was expected of him, the headmaster would fire him and boot him and Mrs. Norris from the castle. Now the tables had been turned and it was Argus in a position of power over the old man and boy, did it feel good!
'What should I have the bastard do today?' he pondered as he shifted to find a more comfortable position in his chair. Mrs. Norris was off hunting mice or misbehaving students. Just then there was a knock on his door. He looked up and spotted a Slytherin 7th year standing hesitantly in the doorway.
"What do you want?" he sneered menacingly.
"Um, I thought you'd want to know that Dumbledore is passed out drunk in an abandoned classroom on the fifth floor."
An evil glint was seen in Argus' eyes, "Is that so? Well then, why don't you show me where that idiot has holed himself up in?" As he headed out the door, the student heard Argus muttering loud enough to be clearly heard, "By the way, did you know that the students are allowed to mete out punishment against him as well?"
In an abandoned classroom…
Albus was drunk again. Stinking, drooling drunk and had been ever since being handed this intolerable punishment by that ungrateful Wizengamot! All he had tried to do for the magical world, all he had accomplished and his future plans…gone. No one remembered his past glories and every time he tried to educate them, he turned into a babbling idiot! It was maddening! The students who ordinarily would've been in awe of his presence now treated him in contempt and scorn. Even the new first years were spotted whispering and pointing at him as he pushed his broom across the floor in a vain attempt to keep his area clean.
'I must try and get my magic back. I have no idea as to how but I shall prevail!' he thought over and over during his more lucid moments. One person featured heavily in his plans for retribution, Harry Potter. He had no idea as to how the brat managed to bring him down but he was sure there was something.
"GET UP YOU LAZY, GOOD FOR NOTHING REPROBATE!" The unwelcome yell of Albus' new boss blared in his ear. A second later, the thump of the sour man's boot impacted on his hip and sent Albus off the broken couch he was laying on; his whiskey bottle clattering to the floor and leaking the remnants out. Albus let out an inarticulate cry as his liquid courage evaporated before him. It would take him at least a week before he could get more!
"You're not here to laze about and get drunk! You got a bathroom to muck out on the second floor, don't let Myrtle tell you otherwise this time. I want it to be spotless. Get moving you great lump," Argus growled out.
There was no one in the room. It was silent except for the whisper of the curtains blowing gently in the open window. Even the portraits were silent or otherwise in other parts of the castle. Well, there was no one alive in the room. The Sorting Hat was sitting on its shelf and communing with the castle. They were watching over Albus and his most recent attempts to unplug a recalcitrant toilet.
"How the mighty have been laid low, eh my dear?" inquired the Hat.
"Indeed, Hat. How long have we watched and waited for the right person to come along and topple him off his self-made pedestal?" She took a closer look at what Albus was struggling with and turned to her companion, "How much longer are you going to keep him struggling with that toilet?"
The Hat shrugged his figurative shoulders and released the magic holding back the plug. The sudden release caused Albus to fall back onto his butt and be showered with the contents of the pipe.
"Better?" he asked sardonically.
The castle shook her head, "You're incorrigible," She then spotted the Weasley Twins trying to sneak up on Luna Lovegood and sent a private mental message to the young blonde. Luna turned and spotted the redheaded devil twins and smirked knowingly at them. The twins just slunk off to find a better target. Luna, meanwhile, let her eyes slide upwards and smiled serenely at the ceiling.