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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.

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