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Resistance by Lululuna

Format: Short story collection
Chapters: 5
Word Count: 10,234
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Mild Language, Strong Violence, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Drama, Horror/Dark
Characters: OtherCanon
Pairings:

First Published: 03/17/2013
Last Chapter: 06/11/2013
Last Updated: 06/11/2013

Summary:
 Banner by CrescentMoon @TDA! | For Nicte's Post-Hogwarts Moments Challenge.







 

In chains at Hogwarts, a disgraced Death Eater supervises a corpse. A rebel centaur faces his people. A professor mourns the fallen children. A convict forgets his innocence. And, many years later, a Muggle woman persists with the ignorance and hate that has come to define her.


Chapter 1: Thanatos Nott
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Hogwarts, Three Hours AV (Apres Voldemort)

Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?
The infernal serpent; he it was, whose guile
Stirred up with envy and revenge.


-John Milton, Paradise Lost Book 1




They bind us in the room opposite Master’s body, but leave the doors ajar.

My sons, where are my sons?

Rookwood shakes his chains angrily next to me, the harsh metal chafing at my skin. Greyback gives an angry moan: they have put Silencing Charms on us, but perhaps it was less effective because of his werewolf nature. The skin around Greyback’s mouth is smeared with drying, rusty human blood.

We are defeated, imprisoned, and there will be no mercy or pardons, no wheedling or Confunding or galleons changing hands. Our wands lie in an untidy pile, guarded by an Auror. Soon, they will all be snapped, and we the Death Eaters condemned to the dregs of society without hope of retaliation, to Azkaban or worse.

Perhaps they shall simply execute us, a generation lost to the Dark Arts, rows of pureblood bodies lined up like fallen soldiers, corpses to be desecrated and disposed of like Plague victims, thrown in a dirty pit of the commons.

Reinforced by magic, the chains grip me firmly. No escape for you, my lad.

Through the doors, across the hallway, the Dark Lord’s body lies on a great stone table, the headless body of the great snake draped across his legs. Our martyr, our protector, the fallen leader of the golden masked warriors. We had fought for a better world, for a society cleansed of sin. We were revolutionaries, but we have fallen.

His face still and cold in death, the body is more than a simple shell: a crumbling vessel, less than human: the skin so white, the red eyes staring blindly at the ceiling. Alive, if you could call it that, Lord Voldemort had noticed everything, known everything. His thin hands face the skies, palms upturned as if in pleading. But the Dark Lord would have never pled for mercy.

I know that Yaxley must be thinking of his daughters, somewhere here in this very castle, as I am desperate for the fate of my boys.

Have they perished in the battle, fighting for the righteousness of the Dark Lord? But a part of me knows the dreadful truth: a memory of my boy, my youngest, my fifteen-year old, fighting back to back with Astoria and a lanky dark-haired boy, firing back curses at Death Eaters. I grind my teeth together. Traitor. My son, a child of the House of Nott, a blood traitor. The Dark Lord’s fury would have been incredible to behold.

Just for a fleeting moment, I feel a slight sensation of relief. My sons are safe now. They will not be servants to the Dark Lord, they will not toil and fear as I have feared. Safe. They will be safe, if not great.

The victors approach in a pack, flanking one another in a show of solidarity, hands touching each others’ arms, heads leaning against shoulders. Around me, the chained Death Eaters growl, bare their teeth, shuffle threateningly. I stare straight ahead at their arrogant faces: McGonagall, the old hag, her robes tattered and her back straight. Beside her, Harry Potter, the Boy Who Destroyed, the one Chosen to Die, his glasses broken. A tall redhead stands at his side, nursing his wand arm. Stragglers, adults and children alike, the tattered remains of the raggle-taggle army that somehow took down the Dark Lord, and we Death Eaters with him.

“Supporters of the Dark Lord,” McGonagall begins, “you are formally arrested under orders of the Deputy Minister for Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt.” My eyes fly to Shacklebolt and I flinch in hatred. I give him my best Slytherin sneer.

“You will shortly be transported to the Ministry cells for questioning and trials, on counts of torture, murder, and treason. Be advised that anything you say can and may be counted against you. You are advised to maintain good behaviour,” she adds sternly, as if addressing a disorderly class “for your own sakes. Remember, you have no power here.”

Shacklebolt pulls forward a couple of their filthy retinue. “Arthur, can you organize guard shifts?” That motley louse Weasley nods solemnly, his face streaked with dirt and tears. Suddenly, a figure blocks the light from the torches in front of me. I look up to see the dark, wild-haired figure.

“You,” she hisses, and the resemblance to her late sister Bellatrix in that moment is striking. Her eyes are tensed into narrow slits, her wand pointed straight at my heart. “You. Are you Nott?”

Slowly, I nod.

“It’s you,” she whispers, in a cruel and painful hiss. Her voice chokes, her face recoiling into a small sob at the back of her throat.

“You killed him, didn’t you? You slaughtered him in cold blood, you… you monster!”

Coolly, I shrug. I can’t speak, because of the Silencing Charm, but I wouldn’t have wasted my words on this woman, this lover of scum. Of course I killed her husband, the dirty vagrant Mudblood. I killed him in a circle of Death Eaters, my son watching from over my shoulder. If I had my voice I would tell this woman how her husband screamed and begged under the Cruciatus Curse.

“You killed him!” She cries, and the curse hits me in the chest, the torture curse. For a moment my mind dwells that it’s the first time I’ve ever felt this curse, although I’ve cast it many times. Then my body is twitching and writhing on the floor, my mouth and throat burning from my silent scream, the very blood in my veins boiling against my bones, like a murderous tidal wave in my head.

The grief-stricken rage of Andromeda Tonks is terrible to behold.

Then the pain stops, my head gloriously clear. I wrench open my eyes, release the grip of my teeth on my tongue, swallowing down blood. Potter is restraining the Tonks woman, her arms pulled back by him and his friend.

“Let me go!” the banshee screams. “Let me go, Harry! He’s the one who killed him! He killed him, my Ted…” she sobs.

“He’ll get what he deserves,” Potter promises, putting an awkward arm around the older woman’s shoulders. “Come, let’s get you something to drink. It’s going to be alright…”

He ushers Tonks away, some of the retinue following, others pointing their wands warningly at my chained comrades, some wandering into the room across the hall to see the body of my fallen Master. I lean back against the stone wall, chest heaving. I’m no young man, after all.

Then: unveiled by the layers of victors departing from the door, my son is framed in the archway. As my sight adjusts, he looks like a fallen angel, light flooding him and flickering across his skin, hands and face smeared with dirt and blood and something else, a great gash slicing through his young face, arm bent at an unnatural angle. My son, my youngest, blood of mine, my own heart.

He looks at me, dark hair tumbling in his face. Suddenly, a memory floods to the forefront of my mind: of him, a child version of him, forearms covered in soil, running to my side and grinning proudly as a single flower grew from the cusp of his hands, a flower like I’d never seen before, twirling and spinning its way to the heavens. Do you like it, Daddy? I remember pulling him onto my lap, carefully cradling the magical bloom together, kissing the top of his head and breathing in that lovely little-child smell, the smell of the one you love most in all the world.

But he’s not that little boy anymore, he’s a young man, a free thinker, and he has turned his coat and fought for the opposite side, for the enemies of our House.

Son, I try to say, but the words and silent and dry on the tip of my tongue. Dearest, son, my little man. Please.

Dark and alive and beautiful against the silhouette of my fallen Master, my son doesn’t hear my pleas. No less than archangel ruined. He stares at me, the slowly, deliberately, spits on the ground beside him, and walks away, leaving me alone and broken on the stone floor, left with nothing but a cold corpse and a broken band of fallen Death Eaters in this hell made from Hogwarts.




A/N: This is a short story collection focusing on six minor characters in the hours, days and years after the Battle of Hogwarts, focusing on how it affects different individuals and the path to resolution and recovery.

This particular chapter can be read on its own or as a spin-off of sorts (or prequel to the sequel!) to my novel, “The Girl from Slytherin,” but the other chapters will focus on other characters, not the people in Tor's canon. Please review and let me know if you liked it...or not :)

I do not own Harry Potter. The quote “less than archangel ruined,” is from Milton’s Paradise Lost Book 1.







Chapter 2: Firenze
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Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven.

-John Milton, Paradise Lost


 

The Forbidden Forest, Seven Hours AV (Apres Voldemort)


Mars is bright tonight. Beyond his light shines Nemesis, the star of Revenge, twinkling in her triumph. The scales of fortune have tipped once again. The wheel of luck groans in her turn.

I see the warrior constellation in the sky as it fades into obscurity, making room for the constellation that nearly always follows: the maiden of grief. She sobs into her hands, a pitiful, heartbroken mother. Never before have I seen the skies this changeable: a great event has taken place tonight, and the sky runs dark with blood as many new souls soar into the depths of the galaxy. Sighing, I sling my bow over my shoulder and turn into the forest, fearful of what I might find in my old home, my old haunt.

While the humans are grounded to the earth, mourning and burying their dead, treating the physical and psychological wounds, we centaurs will be scrutinizing the heavens, reading the signs of the cosmos as we have done for millennia.

A terrible keening fills the impregnated air. A cold, unnatural wind whips at my bare chest. I trot firmly on the soft ground, the familiar path from which I have been banned for so many moons. The cries of the forest creatures are that of unrivaled grief for their fallen comrades.
 
In the first clearing lies a fallen unicorn, stirring slightly to turn its head and look at the great claw marks that mar its flank. Clustered around it are the tree sprites, the people of the leaves, so shy that they are rarely seen by humans. One holds the unicorn’s head, tenderly stroking the soft white hairs. Silvery blood drips from the beast’s side. It chose to fight in human wars, and it has paid the ultimate price.

Singing quietly and sweetly, the elfin creatures surround the unicorn. With the care of a lover they extend their little swords, lethal weapons made of branches of wand trees and forged in tree sap. Respectfully, moving as a collective, they plunge the weapons into the unicorn’s flesh. Its death comes swiftly and mercifully, its animal soul smoothly passing over my shoulder as it departs this life. The pure creature is no longer in pain, and for that I am grateful. But something about the wood sprites reminds me of locusts swarming over a rotting body, and with a small shudder I turn away and walk on.

In the clearing where Lord Voldemort held his council of war, where Harry Potter’s life departed and returned to this earth, I find the others. A ragged bunch they are, gathered about the bodies of the fallen. Cray, her once-beautiful face torn to shreds, her hooves tucked neatly beneath her rump as though in sleep. Ronan, dead hands still clutched about his bow. And the others. My people, wounded for human pride, this last sanctuary of ours invaded by their death sticks and their greed.

“Friends,” I say, and see them startle in surprise. War-shattered faces, back legs limping, wary eyes. “I am both honored and aggrieved to join you again, at last.”

With a small scream of relief, Verna gallops over to me, wrapping her arms tightly around my shoulders.

“Thanks to the heavens,” she whispers in my ear. “I’ve missed you so, dearest. I feared…”
 
I allow myself to stroke her hair, once, then pull away, ready to meet the council.

“The traitor Firenze.” Bane steps forward, dark eyes glittering, arms tensed on his weapon. “The lover of humans, of obedience. What is your purpose in returning here? You are banned from these woods.”

“Bane.” I lower my head respectfully. Never the most tolerant of centaurs, apparently the human war has raised him to a position of herd chief. “I come humbly, in peace. I seek only to see my people again, and pay respects to our dead.”

Behind Bane, the other centaurs slowly assemble into a half moon behind him, offering their silent support. I am alone in front of them, as I was when they drove me out. Even Verna backs away, suddenly remembering who I am to this tribe. I can smell her fear as she realizes what danger she has brought upon herself by greeting me.

“You are not welcome here,” Bane says simply. “Did I not warn you, Firenze, that if you dared set hoof here again I would put an arrow through your heart?”
 
My heartbeat quickens, but I force my voice to remain calm.

“Brother Bane, does the context of the night not hinder your harsh words? For this is the end of an era for humans, Lord Voldemort is dead. I’ve seen the body myself. Can we not let old grievances lie, as you also fought alongside me for Hogwarts tonight?” I extend my arms plaintively, in a gesture of peace.

There is a sudden recoil and I realize that I’ve said the wrong thing.

“How dare you suggest that we serve humans!” Bane spits at me, with the others baring their teeth in the background. “How dare you, traitor Firenze, say that we are but common ponies, catering to the whims and in the wars of men-”
 
“I was not insulting your honor,” I reply, “only pointing out the honestly quite objective fact that you fought against the Dark Lord tonight with the two-legs, and that some of our comrades died for this cause. Look, at the skies! When have centaurs seen the heavens change like this! Surely, in this time of tragedy, we can put these foolish grudges aside? I miss you, brother,” I add this last softly. 
 
Bane flicks his back hooves: a warning. His beard is clipped short, giving his face a square, firm appearance. Unyielding. There is nothing more proud than a centaur, unless perhaps a Hippogriff or a Malfoy. But surely in times of grief there are more crucial concerns than pride?

“You have been swayed by your time among the villainous two-legs,” Bane comments. “Entertaining foolish notions of diplomacy and civilization, when really all they have brought us is violence and destruction for a war in which we have no fault. Our people, dead for human wars.” He gestured weakly towards the dead. I remember that Bane, too, had loved Cray and Ronan.

“Have mercy, brother,” I whisper, but Bane is beyond pleading, beyond consolation.           

“My people!” he cries, “we fought for the humans, and vanquished one of the most terrible products of wizards ever to crawl this earth. But this is not the end for centaurs. We will not be used to cruelly in their wars then treated like scum!”
 
“No,” I whisper, “Bane, please…”
 
He paws the dirt floor, uprooting a small bloom. “We will recover and muster our forces, and we will rebel against the oppressive, almighty powers of wizards! We will rally and fight in the name of the brave, avenge all centaurs who have died for human skirmishes. We will take no prisoners: we will beat the wizards down into the ground until their blood nourishes the earth!”

“Look at the heavens!” I demand again, pointing up with both my arms as if waiting to receive a signal from the stars. “Mars is fading, the constellation of grief coming into focus! We are not meant to fight. It is a time of mourning, and unity. More bloodshed will only bring despair-”

But my fellow centaurs have been rallied by Bane’s war cry. They are desperate, and heart-broken, and those are dangerous traits in a mobilized group.

“He’s a two-leg lover!”

“Firenze the traitor!”

“He brought this destruction down upon us!”

I can’t help but roll my eyes at their exaggeration, a most un-centaurlike gesture. Perhaps the humans have been wearing off on me after all.

“Please, friends, this is much larger than me! No centaur could have brought down the fall of Lord Voldemort! The humans are grateful-they will reward you richly for your help, they are in our debt! Do not create a storm of blood out of your grief!”

“Bring forth the prisoner!” Bane shouts over the cacophony. I look to the skies again: already the dawn is coming over the forest, the dawn of a new era for humans, the sun breathing new life onto Hogwarts. The night sky and her messages are starting to disappear, and with it, my chance at soothing this mob.

Two centaurs lead a human into the clearing: he is bound by ropes and a sharp knife pointed at him should he attempt to run. He looks bloody and terrified, dark hair matted against his forehead, exhausted and trembling.

“Fellows, we found this human running through the forest after the battle. You,” Bane addresses the prisoner, “is this your wand?”

He brandishes it wildly in front of the prisoner’s face. The man stutters, nodding, and I realize that he is not a man but a boy, a student at Hogwarts whom I just recognize. In this light, with the expression of terror on his face, he could be any child.

“On whose side did you fight in the Battle of Hogwarts?” Bane demands imperiously.

The human foal staggers. “Er, I was with the Death Eaters, but I changed sides, I fought off Lestrange-”

“Ah! A turncoat,” Bane hisses, pawing the ground with his forelegs. “A traitor.
 
“Please,” the boy begs, “I don’t want to cause any offense. I was just frightened, that’s all. I don’t want a part in it anymore!”

“Do you know what we do to traitors?” Bane hisses. The prisoner trembles.
 
“No, I’m not a traitor, I’m innocent, I swear! Please don’t hurt me!” He looks at me desperately. “I always liked centaurs. Firenze, sir, please, I always liked you. Tell them, please!”

Sadly, I think that my approval would hardly help him against this mob. With a shove, Bane grabs the ropes binding the boy and shoves him towards me. I steady him, holding him upright as he shakes, blue-lipped. My heart goes out to him.

“Please, Bane, he’s just a foal,” I say through clenched teeth to my former clan. “Please, you must see reason. We do not harm foals.”

“But we may harm fools.” Bane says. I steady my hold on the foal, ready to swing him onto my back and gallop away if need be. I would probably fail and get us both shot in the back, but I owe it to him to try, as a teacher of Hogwarts, and as a possessor of a conscience.

“Please, Bane,” I ask quietly. “Friends, comrades, my clan. My kin. You must calm yourselves and not act hastily. Remember the skies.”

Bane only laughs, his wild, dark head swinging maniacally. He turns to his armed sentries.

“Show us his forearm, traitor Firenze!” He calls. Hesitantly, I raise the sleeve of the foal’s right arm.

“The other one, you slime,” Bane hisses, flipping a knife in his hand. Slowly, hating myself, I raise the sleeve of the left arm, where the Dark Mark, the Mark without a Master, still glitters. The other centaurs gasp: a couple scream angrily. Bane only smirks knowingly.

“Load your bows!” he commands the herd. “He will be the first human to fall to our glorious revolt.” He looks at me and his dark eyes gleam, his upper lip twisted in a sneer. “The two traitors. Kill them both.”

 

A/N: The phrase “Mars is bright tonight” comes from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Anything else recognizable belongs to JKR! Please review, I worked hard on this little story and would love to know what you think!!!


Chapter 3: Filius Flitwick
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 Hogwarts, September, Two months, Six Days, Twelve Hours AV (Apres Voldemort)

 


 

  and the fruit


 

Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste


 

Brought death into the world, and all our woe.


 

-John Milton, Paradise Lost Book I


 

 


 

 


 

            The last body was a young girl: too small, to have been fighting in a battle such as this. We find her tucked into a small alcove near the third floor corridor, her hands gently placed over her heart as if whoever hid her body could only afford the time to place them there and to close her eyes. I recognize the girl from one of my first year classes: she was a quiet Hufflepuff, shy, who would lower her eyes when spoken to. Her name, I recall, was Grace.


 

 

            In her first months of Charms class, I remember Grace performed a perfect Aguamenti charm: the cool, clear water flowing in a splendid arc from her wand as she watched, round-eyed in shock. I buzzed over to congratulate her, as I try to do as frequently as possible.


 

            “Oh, very well done!” I remember crying, and calling over some of the other students to watch Laura’s charm. “Very fine charmswork, indeed! Ten points to Hufflepuff, my dear.”


 

            Little Grace had blushed deeply, but a small smile played across her timid face. She looked down at me, meeting my gaze. “Thank you so very much, Professor,” she had whispered, quietly thrilled with what magic had done. 


 

            We find her: body intact, but her heart stopped, so the cause of death is ruled as a Killing Curse. For several days, nobody comes forward to claim her: no family, not the person who had hidden her body from further harm. Perhaps her rescuer was also dead.


 

            For months, her small face is etched against my eyelids. The dead were numerous, catastrophically so: we buried my students, their parents, those they had loved, had scorned, had ignored. Death does not discriminate. The graves, fresh mounds of earth scattered throughout England and covered with enchanted flowers, of generations fallen. I am one of the blessed survivors, but being alive is not without it’s curses. Flashes of deadly light play across my mind. When I sit in a place that is too silent for a moment, the wretched keening of mothers’ who lost their children in the war fills the silence. Grace’s small face peers out at me from the glass windows of Hogwarts in the night, the candlelight flickering so that I cannot tell if she is dead or alive, friendly or accusatory.


 

            Thank you so very much, Professor.


 

            Death has become a dreadful reality. I pronounce elegies at funerals, passionate and tearful speeches spoken from the podium as I perch on top of it to be seen by all assembled. It helps to look over their heads, to pretend that I am addressing a host of angels grieving from the sky. I imagine their faces: Grace, smiling slightly in wonder at her own pair of humming silver wings. Fred Weasley, most likely using his newfound afterlife to play tricks on his loved ones back on earth. Lavender Brown, her round face gleeful shining in the light of heaven. And the countless others: those I had taught to Summon objects and to swish and flick, my enchanting children.


 

            We Levitated Grace’s body onto a stretcher, and lay her gently down with the others. We put her body down next to the centaur Firenze’s, whose body we found in the Forbidden Forest, his noble face still and rigid in death. Though he had been a friend and a colleague, Firenze’s death symbolized something much more ominous: the first casualty of the centaur revolts that spread with increasing severity throughout wizarding Britain.


 

 


 

            I designate a day to mourn each death. It is logical, clinical, almost. August the 16th is dedicated to Anthony Goldstein, a bright young boy from my own house who had been felled fighting Rodolphus Lestrange. I remember Anthony as he was: a snarky, studious boy who was easily provoked into amusing debates, in which he became so riled up his face would turn red as a turnip. He was sharp, passionate and brave. He was a fine boy.


 

            “I think you would have been a great man,” I whisper to Anthony, and plant a small bloom borrowed from his best friend’s grave, a few miles away. My hands dark with the fresh soil, I bow my head to my chest respectfully, feeling the tears settle into the curls of my silver beard. Too young, too young. For a moment, the summer sun seems to shine brighter. If any of the Muggles thought it strange to see a tiny man looking up into the brilliant light, dwarfed by the grave marker before him, they are silent. I am grateful for that.


 

 


 

            I spare them each a day, but there is work to be done at the castle as well. Minerva insists vehemently that the castle be ready for the students make their home, that Hogwarts shall re-open in September as it always has, that the Muggleborns would return to Hogwarts and lessons would be taught, detentions given, and bright young witches and wizards nurtured. Slowly, the wounds suffered during the war would heal, and Hogwarts would be as it was meant to be: a refuge from the wicked world, a place to prepare, to learn and to love.


 

            But Hogwarts housed the tower from which the broken body of Albus Dumbledore had fallen. Hogwarts was the site of the first of the centaur rebellions, arrows fletched with hate. Hogwarts was where the Dark Lord’s voice had echoed through the Great Hall, and where he had created and hidden his Horcruxes. Hogwarts was a place of death and destruction, where children like little Grace had been unceremoniously abandoned.


 

            Minerva insisted that Dumbledore would have wanted Hogwarts to re-open, and I knew that she was right. So I volunteered myself as head of the restoration movement. It kept me busy, and within weeks Hogwarts was starting to look like it’s old self again. The castle breathed with a fresh light, as walls were re-constructed, stones carefully welded back into place, the great caverns in the ground torn by giants filled in so that nothing but a scar remained. Music filled the halls. I even started playing the violin again, it’s sorry tunes a sad funeral lament.


 

            The first time the Dark Lord fell, there were festivities throughout Britain. So great was the joy of wizards that even Muggles couldn’t help but notice. Fireworks over Bristol. Flocks of owls turning the skies into speckled blue. But things had changed. We had all changed. The casualties were too great to ignore. Harry Potter had lost his parents, and we had lost our children, our innocence. I thought of Grace. Thank you so very much, Professor.


 

            I have failed: I couldn’t protect them. Hogwarts itself couldn’t protect them. I think back now and wish that I had locked all of the students in one room, where they could have been safe, where adolescents wouldn’t have felt compelled to fight. Sometimes, I hate those who let them tumble through the cracks. I hate and hate, and I keep loving. My inner self is at war.


 

 


 

            On August 31st, the day before the students returned, I mourn Severus Snape. I stand by his grave in Godric’s Hollow and wondered what to tell him, this old friend turned enemy turned hero. I think of Snape: his black, unreadable eyes, his billowing black cloak, his narrow face and his broken soul.


 

            In the end, I tell Severus about the repairs going on in the castle. I tell him that Hestia Jones was taking on the post of Defence Against the Dark Arts, but she had refused to move into his old office.


 

            There were some funny things, too, like how Mr. Filch had caught an old wizard who was participating in the restoration movement Levitating a pumpkin pasty towards Slughorn’s head. Filch snared the old coot and hung him from chains in the dungeons for several hours, and the poor man didn’t think to protest because back when he’d been at Hogwarts, physical punishment had been a common thing! I found Filch and gave him a strict lecture, but his glee was insatiable. Mrs. Norris seemed quite pleased, as well, and had even rubbed up against my legs, her grubby tail hitting me in the eye.


 

            I bring Snape a small vial of Felix Felicis, tucked away behind some spare Gurdyroots in his office. Carefully, I sprinkle it over the earth before his headstone, watching the golden liquid soak into the ground. Rest now, Severus.


 

 


 

            Tonight, my students arrive back at Hogwarts, and they find a castle transformed from the battlefield they abandoned. The suits of armor are gleaming proudly, and only a practiced eye could see the scratches upon their metal skins. Brilliant candles shine from the rooms that housed the dead after the battle of Hogwarts. The Sorting Hat has prepared a new song, a song of joy and anticipation, a song of remembrance and grief. But I know the students will remember, as I remember, as pounds against the sides of my skull, that some of their former classmates are in Azkaban, punished for picking the wrong side, or for siding with their pureblood parents. They will think of the lost, of the dead, of their friends, the hands that scribbled on parchments beside them fading into skeletons, the eyes that gleefully watched Quidditch games are now empty and stare at casket ceilings, flowers blooming over their graves. It is a glorious return, to Hogwarts. Jerusalem. You-Know-Who made a hell of our sanctuary, and we must find a way to return it to a haven. A heaven.


 

            Perhaps little Grace is my own private specter. In the sea of swarming first years, I thought I saw her, frightened and thrilled, hands clasped together over her heart. Thank you so very much, Professor.  


 

 


 

            After the feast, I go outside to sit by the newly constructed marble memorial fountain. Soft footsteps chime behind me, and I look up to see Hermione Granger approaching me. She has lost weight since her earlier years, I notice: her eyes are a little darker, her face haunted with the odd expression I’ve looked up to see on many survivors.


 

            “Lovely to see you, Ms. Granger,” I pipe up, hoping that she cannot hear the resignation of my voice.


 

            Granger smiles. “And you, Professor. I have a question, however: I was wondering if you could teach me the exact encantation you used on those flying keys back in our first year, the keys guarding the Philosopher’s Stone. I’ve been thinking about it, you see.” She makes a swishing motion with her wand, and before I can help myself I’m shaking my head and clucking.


 

            “No, no, dear, it’s this kind of motion.” I flicker my wand to the empty night air. “And I used the charm Wingardium Mobilita.


 

            “Wingardium Mobilita,” she repeats, flickering her wand. “Yes, I think I understand it now. Thank you, Professor.” She smiles kindly at me. “I’d been wondering about that. Brilliant.”


 

            As she recedes, leaving me in the evening air, I think to myself that Hermione Granger, regaled in the Prophet as the brightest witch of her age, could not have possibly needed help with a spell. But her words have worked their magic and already I am feeling like myself again. I reach my hand to touch the smile on my face, wonderingly. Perhaps teaching will help to heal me.


 

            In the memorial fountain set outside Hogwarts, inscribed with a list of the dead, I see the pure stream of water flowing from Grace’s wand all those lifetimes ago, washing the stone and running over the curled letters of her name. I watch it flow, uncorrupted, and imagined the flash of her silver wings through the sky, like a winged key flashing through the night, glowing in it’s eternal innocence.


 

 


 

A/N: I struggled with this! Originally it was written from Filch’s POV, but it wouldn’t come out right so I switched to Flitwick and like it a lot better. Anything you recognize belongs to the marvelous JK Rowling. Reviews are greatly appreciated! :)


Chapter 4: Stan Shunpike
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Ah, why should all mankind

 

For one man's fault, be condemned,

 

If guiltless?


 

-John Milton, Paradise Lost Book X



 





The Ministry of Magic, Thirteen Months, Five Days and Fifteen Hours AV (Apres Voldemort)

         The Day of Judgement, and a day away from that ‘orrible place. Purgatory, some men call it now. Azkaban. Nervously, I watch the other folk shackled around me, the guard wizard flicking ‘is wand at us threateningly. Enjoying ‘imself, smug bazza. Another man’s sweaty arm pushes up against me, and ‘e apologizes gruffly. We don’t look at each other. 

        The ceiling above rumbles with ‘undreds of feet, sharp snaps as rolls of parchment are opened, the brisk buzz of conversation, ‘umming through the floor and to our frightened assembly. There are so many men to prosecute that they’re judging us Round Robin style, and the entire Wizengamot and a great deal of the wizarding populace is assembled from what I’ve been told.

            None of the men who go up ‘ave been coming back down. A guard told me there’s a separate chamber off the court with a Dementor in it, but thinking like that just feeds this wretched fear.

            Me palms are slick against the rough fabric of me uniform. Must look a sight: unshaven, pimply, skinny as ‘ell. Long months spent staring at gritty cell walls, imagining pictures and faces in its dreary emptiness, ‘ave left me eager to absorb any last glimpse of the other, more beautiful world that ain’t Azkaban. 


 

             Yeah, innocent. Most of us are mad, dead, or guilty. We here, in this cellar, we’re the bait, the scapegoats as one gent preached at me.


 

            “Stan,” ‘is posh voice told me, stretching out his hand like he wanted to pat me on the arm, “you’re a good chap at the end of the day, you know. We were desperate, and scared, and now you’ve got to face the failures. You’re a good chap, old boy.”


 

            “Yeah, cheers guv,” I told ‘im. Didn’t know ‘ow being a good man could change anything.


 

            The next day ‘e ‘ung ‘imself in ‘is cell. I remembered what ‘e told me though. A good chap, yeah.

 



 



 

 

 

            I can feel meself trembling between the great serpentine chains ‘olding me to the chair. Pull yerself together, mate! I am rising, feeling a little dizzy, gliding upwards. I shift uncomfortably in me seated position and blink several times as the room floods into focus, faces detailing themselves out of the grim-faced masses. I am a criminal, and this is my penance, this darkening of the eyes, this assumption of my soul. I try to see meself through their glares: scrawny, scruffy, the scars of old spots punctuating my unshaven skin, my eyes dark and sunken in my face. I ‘aven’t seen me reflection in a year, there. Easy to forget yerself, in Azkaban.


 

            It’s been a year since I held a wand, since I felt the wondrous pull of magic thread through my veins like… like liquid fire, it was. I always took magic fer granted, ‘til magic conquered me.


 

            ‘aven’t felt this scared, not that day on the Knight Bus when we were stopped by Dementors, not when I was brought along on my first raid, not the day me Mum killed herself and I ‘ad to identify the body. First time back in Clap’am in months, that was. I remember: things were very white, and I felt very close to ‘eaven. I knew Mum would be watching me, see. Now, I ‘ope she’s blind up there. I don’t want ‘er eyes exposed to Azkaban.  


 

            I can’t decide if I meant it and if I ‘ad me right mind. Don’t want to decide, really. I’m not a murd’rer. I never ‘ated anyone in particular. I was just scared. I still am.


 

            “I ain’t killed no one,” I insisted when I was arrested and escorted to Azkaban, but the cold-faced chap laughed in my face and shoved me, ‘ard against the matted dirt of me cell.


 

            “Cheers to yer new home, lad,” he scoffed, and I felt scum creeping in through me mouth, decay slipping under me tongue. This here is Azkaban, I remember thinking. I’d always thought of it as a great, frightening fortress thing, when really all Azkaban really means to me is four walls and that black floor. No bigger picture.            


 

            The Dementors are gone now, but them guards is almost worse. I’ve heard horror stories of beatings, tortures, and worse just because there ain’t no orders to stop it from ‘appening. ‘ell, Merlin knows I’ve survived some of them ‘orror stories. Nobody cares for criminals nowadays. If I don’t speak of it aloud, then maybe nothing was real.


 




 

            I wait patiently for me eyes to adjust to the light. I’m sat like a bloody conquered king in the center of a great dais, and all round are angry, ‘ateful faces, faces contorted, narrow eyes and faint hisses slipping between their sharp teeth, faces pale and hungry, flushed by wicked flood flowing beneath their taut cheeks, talons of hands clutched together in their laps and glares shooting beams of hostile light that pierce me. I don’t know how else to describe it. ‘unters, predators.


 

            But this is a tense room, and inside the public masses some are ‘oping for my release, and others to exterminate me. It’s the state of England, now: divided, confused, filled with fiery vengeance.  

 

 

 

            “Stan Shunpike,” a girly voice chimes across, scalding my ears in a sugary rush, and I see her: a squat, toadlike witch, blood red bow perched on her head at an angle, chubby hands held pertly together. She’s sat at the highest point in the court, directly across from me, wide eyes glinting wickedly. I shift nervously and try to get comfortable, holding me wrist at the exact angle so that the chain can’t dig into me arm. What a bloody fool I must look to all these clean people.


 

            “Madam Umbridge, Chief Witch of the Wizemgamot,” the witch announces herself, and the scribe at her left ‘and ‘urries, ‘is quill fluttering in the still, tense air.
 “Questioning Stan Shunpike.” She turns ‘er ‘orrid stare on me. “You have been brought before the Wizengamot on trial for counts of high treason and crimes against wizardkind.”


 

            She smirks cheerily out at the assembled crowds, and I find the long, complicated words vanishing through me like smoke as I examine the arena and search for a familiar face. Part of me thought ol’ Ernie might be ‘ere: ‘e did let me crash on ‘is couch when I was on the run last year, after all, though ‘e knew why I was running and everything. ‘e’s a good bloke, Ern.


 

            “…may include but are not limited to deportation, execution, and, if crimes are deemed of such severity by the Wizemgamot, being subject to the Dementor’s Kiss.” ‘er voice trills, interrupting my thoughts.


 

            When Mr. Nott was Kissed, they dragged us all out to watch. It was ‘orrible. They brought in a Dementor special, ‘nd ten men from the Ministry stood, their eyes never leavin’ frail old Mr. Nott, wands lit and pointed right at ‘im, sending ghastly blue lights across ‘is silver beard. They wanted us to get a good view, see.


 

            I think ‘e didn’t realize what was ‘appening, by the end. I remember ‘is ‘ands, they were very thin, like skeleton claws. When the Dementor was finished with ‘im, them Ministry men cast the Dementor away with a Patronus, and it fled, ‘igh-tailing into the night. I know Mr. Nott was a very bad man, but I would’ve liked to ‘elp the shell of ‘im that the Dementor left behind. It looked frightened, lying there all cold. But then I guess I’m a bad man too.            


 

            “Thank you, Madam Umbridge. Now, Mr. Shunpike, do you deny your involvement in the service of the dark wizard Lord… Voldemort?” The speaker, a portly, red-faced man, cringes a little when ‘e says the name, and I notice several others flinch as well.


 

            “No, no sir,” I stutter, unused to the sound of me own voice. It scratches at my skin, and grates drily as I clear my throat ‘astily. “No, I do not deny it, no.”


 

            The portly man looks nearly disappointed, as if ‘e wanted me to protest.


 

            “Very well. How do you plead, sir, to the charges outlined by Madam Umbridge?”


 

            “Er…Not guilty, sir. I suppose.” This ‘rouses a great chattering in the room, echoes which bounce between the walls and slip past me ears.


 

            “Hem hem,” the court grows silent as the red-bowed witch, Umbridge, clears ‘er thick throat and smiles out at the crowd. “Mr Shunpike, is this to deny your involvement in the Wickley murders of April 1996?”


 

            I take a deep breath. “Yes, ma’am, well I was-”


 

            “First witness to the stand, please! No, Defender, no protests!” The witch calls, tapping ‘er pink gavel, and a kid comes up to the stand. ‘e’s skinny, and ‘is brow furrowed in a fierce, straight line across ‘is face. I notice ‘e walks with a limp. ‘e’s probably thirteen or so. Whispers stir through the room.


 

            “Henry Wickley, do you recognize this man?” the portly man, who must be my Defender, asks, fiddling nervously with ‘is watch chain. Them ‘igher ups sure do go all out. Suddenly, I realize where I know ‘im from, this rotund champion of mine: ‘e used to ride the Knight Bus every Saturday morning and night, because ‘e never learned to Apparate and ‘e was visiting ‘is old Mum. Every Saturday for two years, I must’ve spoken with ‘im. I wonder if ‘e recognizes me.


 

            ‘enry, the boy witness, leans ‘eavily on the podium, letting it take ‘is weight. “Yes, sir.”


 

            “And can you describe to the Wizengamot the circumstances under which you last saw him?”


 

            ‘enry bites ‘is lip, and tips ‘is ‘ead slightly back. ‘is voice wavers.


 

            “I was home for the Easter hols, sir. We were sitting down for tea—me, and my Mum and Dad, and… my sister, Sara, when they burst in, all cloaked and wands pointed at us. They must have made quick work of our protective charms, the Ministry told me… later.” He clears his throat, and I sense the tide of the court turning against me once again.


 

            “My Mum knew right away when the door opened, and she shoved me in the cupboard and tried to shove my sister in, but there was only room… for one.” The courtroom is stirring, some witch in the front row is sobbing into ‘er ‘ankerchief. I feel a bit ill, knowing, remember what’s coming next, how the boy’s sister ‘ad screamed and screamed-


 

             “I could see it all through a gap in the cabinet. My Mum started to cry,” and ‘ere ‘e pauses again, and clears ‘is throat. “There were three of them, and they tortured my sister right in front of my… my parents, then they killed them, them all, and… left their bodies there.” ‘enry puts on a brave face. ‘is bottom lip trembles, but perhaps I’m the only one to notice.


 

            The Wizemgamot stirs, they look uncomfortable. Dread coats the inside o’ my stomach, and I’m worried for a moment that I might upchuck all over these chains.


 

            “And you can clearly identify Mr. Shunpike as one of those men?”


 

            ‘enry Wickley looks at me, hard, and expressionless ‘e nods. “The man who did the… cast the spells was Mulciber. They called him that, I remember.”


 

            A long-bearded wizard from the Wizengamot shifts, consulting ‘is parchment. “Messrs. Rookwood and Mulciber have already been… adequately disposed of for their involvement in the Wickley tragedy and other similar crimes,” ‘e calls out, and ‘enry seems to nod firmly.


 

            “So you are saying that Mr. Shunpike played no active part in the murders themselves?” My Defender, the portly man, asks ‘enry anxiously. ‘enry ‘esitates.


 

            “Well…”


 

            “Oh, don’t be ridiculous, Defender,” the plump, bow-topped witch snaps, ‘er girly voice whipping through the air. “Of course Shunpike is liable, he was there after all…”


 

            She gives me a very nasty look, like a toad eyeing a fly it’s about to gobble up. I look down at my hands, examining the imprints of the chains upon my wrists. I wonder what would ‘appen if I jumped up and tried to run: likely as not them chains would strangle on the spot. At least I’d be spared the Dementors.


 

            “Mr. Wickley, is there a possibility that indicates Mr. Shunpike could have been under the Imperius Curse?” My defender demands earnestly, tipping forward in ‘is seat. “There have been statements, after all, by Harry Potter himself, saying that Mr. Shunpike appeared to be Cursed-”


 

            “Er, I spose it’s a possibility,” ‘enry murmurs, and the whole court begins to buzz once more.


 

            “Order! There is absolutely no excuse for this… this scum!” Umbridge squeals, and other voices are joining hers. It’s hard to make them out, but someone says that they’re only making an example of me, that too many innocent are dying in these trials, and I think another voice says ‘e wants to curse and kill me right then and there.


 

            And soon the words begin to get too complicated for me and the terms and the meanings and the anger swirl about. I left Hogwarts at fifteen: I was a bloody night shift conductor, then some sort of Death Eater, then a prisoner, and I can’t understand this new world in which innocent and death are entwined. People are getting upset, standing up and shouting, and someone draws a wand, and words like autocracy and bigot and human rights and inner-Ministry corruption and scapegoats are being thrown ‘cross the room like flaming arrows.


 

            I find myself staring at little orphaned ‘enry Wickley and for a moment I catch ‘is eye and I see my confusion mirrored in ‘is eyes.


 

            “Half the population will be imprisoned if this keeps up: I say we do something! I say we fight back!” someone shouts, and it seems like this is the call to arms, for suddenly wands are pointed and the courtroom is in an uproar, people arguing and charging either for Umbridge or the outspoken man.


 

            “Free the innocent!” some witch cries, rising above the crowds.


 

            These words, powerful words unleash them others like ‘ounds, and with great baying and cries they turn on each other, a wild, thrashing throng, the dark room alight with tumbling, featureless bodies, clinging to each other, cursing. Spells begin to fly, great beams of magic soaring through the underground air.


 

            Tables of the Wizemgamot overturned. People cowering for cover, swarming the exits, dueling fiercely. This is my last glimpse of the wizarding England I always loved: an unruly, fractured people, scorched by violence, at each other’s throats.


 

            And then a spell ‘its one of the torches, overturning and beginning to spread, an unnatural, magical fire that begins to devour everything in it’s reach.

 

 

 

           This is no civilized trial anymore: this ‘ere morph in an angry mob, and a witch’s robes alight and she screams but nobody ‘elps ‘er. It’s too ‘ot, the ‘eat is rising and me lungs begin to ‘arden with smoke.

 

 

 

            And the fire spreads, and a wizard crumples at my feet, and I recognize ‘im as the man who used to ride the Knight Bus and who was my Defender, and ‘is wand is snapped in two.

 

 

 

            And ‘enry Wickley is crying, crying like ‘e couldn’t when ‘e talked about the murders of ‘is family, and I wonder for a soul-splitting moment if I was ever truly innocent, and if I ‘appen to die ‘ere today who is to blame.


 

            Nobody thinks to free me. And as the fire grows closer it’s all I can do to ‘ide me face in me ‘ands, the cold chain diggin into me cheek, ‘nd close my eyes in a last resistance ‘gainst the inferno, feeling very young indeed.


 



 

 

 

            A/N: Hi loves! Thank you for continuing to read this story collection! I kind of took a risk with this chapter, but am actually quite happy with the finished result. This is a work in progress, so if you think there’s any parts that didn’t fit or went out of character please let me know so I can come back and fix them. Other than that, I’d love to know what you thought of this regardless! The next chapter will be the final one and will jump forward in time several years, as well as be written in a slightly different style. Hopefully you enjoy! :)



 

 


Chapter 5: Petunia Dursley
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All is not lost, the unconquerable will, and study of revenge, immortal hate, and the courage never to submit or yield.
-John Milton, Paradise Lost Book 1




May, 1998
HE-WHO-MUST-NOT-BE-NAMED DEAD
Jeremiah Smith, Senior Reporter, The Daily Prophet

The most notorious wizard of this century has fallen at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after a siege lasting several hours. Followers of the defeated Dark Lord are currently being rounded up in the hundreds and escorted forcefully to Azkaban, where they will await punishment and retribution for the reign of terror.
“There is still a great deal of healing to be done,” says Filius Flitwick, Charms Master at Hogwarts, dusting grime from his silver beard…


October, 1998
CENTAUR REVOLTS SPARK CONTROVERSY ACROSS BRITAIN
Rita Skeeter, Political Correspondent and Columnist, The Daily Prophet

Notorious centaur leader, known simply as ‘Bane,’ has finally been felled by a squad of Senior Aurors in a nasty skirmish outside Brighton. Hordes of magical creatures, spear-headed by the vicious centaurs of the Forbidden Forest, have risen up against wizarding government all over Britain, and the fall of their ringleader is seen as a great triumph.
While many soft-hearted wizards, including the hastily appointed Minister Shacklebolt who is a card-carrying member of the Centaur and Other Magical Inhabitants Coalition (COMIC) have sympathized with the centaurs’ demands for more power, other influential and respected Ministry members insist that the only way to subdue these riots are through pure force and wizarding might.
“These rebellious subordinates are over-reaching their boundaries,” sniffs Dolores Umbridge, advocate for wizarding solidarity. Madam Umbridge, a charismatic woman, is certain that the future of wizardkind depends on squashing this threat, risen from the ashes of You-Know-Who’s tyranny.
“Centaurs are beasts that cannot comprehend wizarding reason, and only by asserting wizarding supremacy will this danger to our children and nation be secured,” she says.
Madam Umbridge, former Undersecretary to the Minister, is currently a front-runner in the Wizemgamot Elections, renowned for her knowledge of law and policy, and her firm hand in delivering justice…


June, 1999
COURTROOM RIOTS: FIVE DEAD, SEVERAL INJURED
Verity Burke, Freelance Journalist, The Daily Prophet

The wizarding world was shocked to learn of a riot and mob breaking out during the long-awaited Death Eater trials this Friday, leaving five individuals dead in it’s wake.
The mob broke out during the trial Stan Shunpike, a former Death Eater whose innocence because of the implied influence Imperius Curse had been widely controversial in the media. Mr. Shunpike was among the dead, as the chains holding him to the convict’s chair prevented him from fleeing from an outbreak of Fiendfyre during the riot.
“It was madness,” says Harry Potter, the savior of the wizarding world who was present during the trial and hoping for Shunpike’s release.
Potter has been a voice for the rehabilitation of former Death Eaters, claiming publically that not all convictions are black and white.
“A lot of people are being punished unfairly,” Potter insists, rubbing his hand over the infamous scar on his forehead. “The riot at the Ministry was just proof: we need to stop killing, and start fixing for the future.”
The matter of Shunpike’s innocence has been closed, and all other trials of former Death Eaters suspended until the Ministry courtrooms have been repaired…




Little Whinging, Christmastime, 12 Years, Seven Months, Fifteen Days and Eight Hours AV


A keener observer would have collected news of the events, following the seeds of change that over the years would change not only wizarding Britain, but the lives of Muggles as well. But all controversy was wasted on the residents of Number Four Privet Drive, Little Whinging.

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of Number Four Privet Drive were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much, and that their lives had been for over ten years, exactly when their horrid nephew Harry disappeared from their lives forever. (Besides a year spent with two dreadful, oddball captors who insisting on teaching the Dursleys a dreadful game called Exploding Snap, of course, but the Dursleys ignored all memories of those dark days).

Christmas Day. Petunia fondly watched Vernie and Timmie playing on the floor. Vernie appeared to have his slightly smaller brother in a headlock, and Timmie was whimpering. Ah, boys will be boys. Surrounding them was that year’s carnage: stuffed toys and trains and computer games… of course, the boys had just looked past all this and gone straight to their brand new iPods. Top of the line, Grandad Vernon had boasted proudly, face a crimson red. Petunia sipped her tea and smiled at her grandsons. Nothing could ruin this Christmas day for her.

Nothing, except for what Dudders was about to hand to her from the pile of Christmas mail, uncertainty twisting on his large face. Petunia looked down and let out a little gasp, nearly dropping it in her dismay. She recovered, quickly, clutching it out of reach of the boys: the last thing she wanted was to expose her little darlings to this.

Every year it arrived, and every year Petunia was equally horrified, having blocked last year’s experience from her mind. Last year she had disposed of it without even sneaking a peek.

Every year, she received a Christmas card from the Potters.

There they were, nauseatingly messy and abnormal. The wife, a slight blush spreading across her face as she grinned at the camera. Beside her, a small boy snuggled up against her side, sucking his thumb, a pair of crooked glasses perched on his nose. A large, terrifying canine creature grinned lazily at the camera, drool dripping lazily from his pointed teeth.

Behind the mother and son, the older boy appeared to about to drop a wriggling spider on his brother’s head. Petunia shuddered in horror. Doubtlessly it was some sort of freak spider altered to bite one’s nose off or something equally repulsive. Her horrid nephew would indeed have found that funny. The elder boy had messy brown hair that annoyingly reminded her of her nephew and his dreadful mop. For a moment she felt a tang of pity for the unnamed redheaded wife: imagine being forced to raise two of them! She, Petunia, had perhaps gotten the better end of the stick.

The wicked nephew in question grinned proudly at the camera, irritatingly scrawny and obnoxiously arrogant as he had been as a child, tormenting poor Dudders, snidely lurking in the cupboard under the stairs and making things explode. Seeing his familiar cheeky grin made poor Petunia want to tear at her hair. As she watched, Harry ran a hand through his own hair and smiled up at her bashfully, his arms wrapped tightly around a small toddler he bounced in his lap.

Tiny, elfin, the little girl beamed at the camera, one miniature hand clasped firmly and territorially around her father’s sleeve. She giggled as his lips gave her a light, affectionate kiss on the cheek, snuggling closer into his warm lap. Her hair framed her face in a dark red halo, her cheeks rosy and thin, her eyes sparkling.

And while others said the little girl was the spitting image of her mother and her Weasley uncles, while some claimed the little girl had her father’s thoughtful frown and the rueful will of the Potters, Petunia Dursley looked at her and all she saw was Evans.

Evans in the quizzical tilt of her head. Evans in the softness of her hair. Evans in her thin face. Evans in her bright glow, emanating throughout the picture and warmly melting all that it touched.
She looks like me, Petunia thought to herself. Like us.

Petunia flipped the card open, in her haste nearly forgetting to conceal the moving picture from her boys. She skimmed the rounded writing:

Dear friends and family,
It has been another hectic year at the Potter home! Harry has recently been promoted to Senior Auror in the department. The boys keep us busy with their antics: James brags endlessly about how he’s going to be the new Gryffindor Seeker and Albus talks constantly about getting his first wand. As if we would let him near a wand until absolutely necessary- he’d have the house blown up in minutes! Lily –


And there it was, the name Petunia had gone so many years without uttering, the name that this child, this reincarnated Evans, now bore. The name, dry and rough on the tip of her tongue, waiting to be spoken.

-chatters away constantly and is quite pleased with herself. Harry spoils her rotten and is her constant attendant, of course. Much love, and a Merry Christmas to all!
Ginny, Harry, James, Albus, Lily, and Moony (ruff!)


Petunia excused herself, smiling tightly at her grandsons and Diddlekins as she passed. In the empty kitchen, she poured herself a cup of tea (one milk, no sugar) and sipped at it quickly, letting the warm, fluid liquid settle her nerves. Out of habit, she left a small layer of tea in the bottom of the cup: it was the Lily’s share, an inherited habit from when she was a girl called Tuney Evans.

All those years ago, young Tuney and Lily Evans had giggled when Daddy, an enthusiastic whiskey drinker, had explained it to them: when whiskey is ageing in a barrel, a portion of it evaporates and this is for the angels. Of course, Lily would never really understand evaporation, she went to learn Potions and Charms and all sorts of horrid things of which Petunia had no desire to learn.

Tuney and Lily had taken to saving the last little bit of their portions for each other: some nights, Tuney’s share would be the delicious center of a chocolate chip cookie, and she would gobble it down gratefully. Other times, she would save the sweetest lemonade for Lily’s share. And every so often, edging past middle age, Petunia Dursley would save a little share for Lily, just in case she was hungry in Heaven. She would never acknowledge it aloud, of course.

Feeling calmer, Petunia swirled the Lily’s share in the teacup before putting it aside. She cringed as the cutlery jar squeaked loudly and extracted a pair of scissors.

Carefully, meticulously, Petunia snipped the card from the Potters, leaving only the small piece in which the toddler Lily beamed out. Putting this in her pocket, she crumpled up the rest of the picture and tossed it in the bin, Harry Potter’s likeness looking puzzled at the disappearance of his daughter, the cut-out from his arms: one of the little black-haired boys began to cry silently.

Composing herself and walking back to rejoin the rest of the family, Petunia smiled primly and gave Vernon a quick, pristine kiss on the cheek. On the carpet, little Vernie shoved his small brother into the Christmas tree (“Mine! Mine!”).

In Petunia Dursley’s pocket, her thin fingers closed gently around the grinning picture of little Lily Potter. In the kitchen, the teacup containing the Lily’s share seemed to stir.




A/N: Last chapter! There is a line that resembles Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, beginning “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of Number Four…” so JK Rowling owns that! Thank you to everyone who stuck with this story collection, I loved experimenting with it and writing it! :)


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