Imagine Hogwarts after the Battle, after the War, sure –
But imagine Hogwarts’ students, after their year with the Carrows and Snape.
Imagine a tiny little first-year whose porcupine pincushions still have quills, but to whom Fiendfyre comes easily. The second-year who tried to go back, to fight; whose bravado got Professor Sinistra killed, as she pushed him out of the way of a Killing Curse. The third-year who perfectly brewed poisons, hands shaking, wishing for the courage to spike the Carrows’ cups. The fourth-year who throws away all of their teacups, their palmistry guidebooks, because what use is Divination if it didn’t see this coming? The fifth-year who can barely remember what O.W.L.S. are, let alone that she was supposed to take them. The sixth-year who can’t manage Lumos to save their life, but whose proficiency with the Cruciatus Curse rivals Bellatrix’s.
Imagine the seventh-year who laughs until he cries, thinking about the first-years who will fall asleep in History of Magic while their story is told.
Imagine the Muggleborn first-years left alive, if there are any: imagine what they think of the magical world, when their introduction to it was Death Eaters and being tortured – by their classmates –for having been born.
Imagine the students who went home to their parents (or guardians, or wards, or orphanages) and showed them what they’d learned: Dark curses, hexes, Unforgiveables; that Muggles are filth, animals, lesser. Who, yes, still can’t transfigure a match into a needle – but Mum, there’s a hex that can make you feel as though you’re being stabbed with thousands. (Don’t ask them how they know.)
Imagine the students who will never be able to see Hogwarts as home.
Imagine the students Hogwarts has left, when it starts up again – the lack of Muggleborns, blood-traitors, half-bloods, dead and gone – the lack of purebloods; the Ministry would have chucked everyone of age (and possibly just below) in Azkaban for Unforgiveables, wouldn’t they?
Imagine how few students there are left to teach; imagine how few teachers are left to teach them.
Imagine the students who can’t walk past a particular classroom, who can’t walk through a hallway, who can’t walk into the Great Hall without having a panic attack or breaking down. Imagine the school-wide discovery that the carriages aren’t horseless after all; that everyone, from the firsties to the teachers, can see Thestrals.
Imagine the memorials, the heaps of flowers and mementoes – in every other corner, hallway, classroom; every other step you take on the grounds.
Imagine the ghosts.
Imagine the students destroying Snape’s portrait, using the curses, hexes, even Fiendfyre they’ve been taught how to wield – it has to be restored nearly every week; Snape stays with Phineas Nigellus semi-permanently. (None of the other portraits will welcome him. His reasons do not excuse his conduct.)
Imagine the students unable to trust each other – everyone informed on everyone, your best friend might turn you in.
Imagine the guilt that everyone carries (it should have been me, it’s my fault s/he’s dead, I told on them, it’s all my fault), the students incapable of meeting each other’s eyes because it’s my fault your best friend, your sibling, your Housemate, your boy/girlfriend is dead.
Imagine the memorials piled high with the wands of the dead. Imagine the memorials piled high with the self-snapped wands of the living.
Imagine the students who are never able to produce a Patronus.
Imagine Boggarts being removed from the curriculum because Riddikulus is near impossible to grasp, even for the sixth- and seventh-years. Because their friends and families dead will never, ever be funny.
Imagine the students for whom magic feels tainted.
Imagine the students who leave the wixen world – hell, the students who leave Britain entirely, because there’s nothing left for them there.
Imagine the students who never use magic again.
(From the mind of the wonderful lavenderpatil, a keen look at how students might be after war.)