To say that I’m a fan of the Harry Potter series would be a gross understatement. I love the books, have read them all multiple times, and can give long-winded speeches on the stories from any angle. I even enjoy the movies, an easy thing to do when you consider them as their own artistic medium instead of worrying about how faithfully they follow the books.
I’ve written other posts on Harry Potter, including this one which seems to attract a lot of span comments. In addition, however, I’ve done some other Potter writing that I talked about way back in the beginning of this blog–a couple of fan fiction pieces that I thoroughly enjoyed working on, even if I knew they were, for the purposes of someone looking to be published, a futile effort. One of these pieces was “Bare Bottomed Longbottom”–a short story that takes place during Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts and centers on poor, mistreated Neville Longbottom. In the story, Neville is invited by the Weasley brothers to participate in an “age-old Hogwarts tradition” in the form of a nude race through the castle in the middle of the night. It was a fun little story and, to my surprise, it won the 2009 QuickSilver Quill Award for Best Humor Story from Mugglenet. Behold:
Now, in addition to my short story, I also wanted to write a longer work. In keeping with J.K. Rowling’s formula of each book taking up a year of Harry’s life, I asked myself what would happen in the year following the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. How would the characters cope with the aftermath of the war with Voldemort? How would they pick up the pieces of their lives and move on with celebrating their victory while grieving for the enormous cost. (Note: If you have neither read the last book or seen the final movie, there may be spoilery information to follow. Not that I care, because if you haven’t read the books, you’re dead to me anyway.)
And so, Harry Potter and the Golden Sepulcher was born. It would be posted a chapter at a time, per Mugglenet’s policy, and would describe the year following the Battle of Hogwarts. I would try to keep as close to Rowling’s style as possible while still making it my own story. Finally, I would do all the work knowing there was not even the remotest possibility that I would ever make any money off of it–it would be a tribute to Rowling’s masterwork, nothing more and nothing less.
Now, as we come to the end of an era, the culmination of more than a decade where there was always something to look forward to on the Harry Potter horizon, I’m going to serialize my incomplete manuscript of HPGS on here. It is incomplete because, despite how much fun it was to write, I felt I needed to focus on other work in my limited amount of free time, work that stood a chance of getting published. Still, I have twelve chapters done and, if the mood strikes me, I may add more at some later date.
(Disclaimer: This story is fan fiction. I do not claim any rights to the characters or other elements of J.K. Rowling’s works. This story is a humble tribute to what she created and I am forever in her debt for creating such a rich, fertile world of the imagination.)
Chapter One–The Malfoys
Draco Malfoy sat in the drawing room of his family’s manor and stared at the roaring fire. The orange flames provided the only light in the room, the heavy curtains blocking the late-afternoon light, and shadows danced about the room. The elegant furniture had replaced the long table and numerous chairs that had occupied the room up until a week ago. Up until the Dark Lord had been defeated.
The face gazing at the fire was not that of a young man just graduated from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. No youthful innocence or eager ambition showed in the fair skin and tightly pressed lips. Instead, worry and sorrow marked the pointed features, aging it far beyond others of his age. The furrowed brow and haunted eyes, motionless before the flames, spoke of profound lessons learned at a terrible price. His white hands, folding in his lap, clutched each other as though afraid, the skin beneath the long, thin fingers paler even than that around it. To a casual observer, Draco Malfoy might have been a statue, a waxwork tableau erected in tribute to the lost cause for which he and his family had fought so many years.
A single chime sounded in the house, clear and resonant. It reached every corner of the massive structure and, at its signal, Draco moved for the first time in hours. Standing, he strode across the drawing room and entered the long entrance hall. Lamps lit themselves as he entered the room. His father and mother, both dressed in sumptuous robes of dark green, reached the front door at the same time as their son and they all looked at each other as though questioning who would answer the tolling bell. After a moment, Draco stepped forward to a large mirror hanging near the door.
“Show me,” Draco said, his voice low and weary. Behind him, he could feel the tension in both his parents as they watched over his shoulder.
In the week since the fall of Voldemort at the Battle of Hogwarts, as it was now being called in the papers, the Malfoys had lived in absolute fear. Any moment, they reasoned, the Ministry of Magic might send a group of Aurors to take them into custody, possibly whisking them all to die ignominious deaths in the wizarding prison, Azkaban. They had, everyone knew, been supporters of Voldemort and had even harbored the Dark Lord in their home as he spread his reign of terror over Britain.
Still, the Ministry of Magic was not who the Malfoys most feared. They, particularly Narcissa Malfoy, had played a role in the defeat of the Dark Lord at Hogwarts. Draco’s mother, now quivering in fear behind her son, had lied to Voldemort, saying that Harry Potter, once again subjected to the killing curse that had failed to slay the”Chosen One” the last time Voldemort had cast it upon the boy, was finally vanquished. Concerned only for the safety of her son, she made it possible for Harry to defeat the Dark Lord, thus betraying the Death Eaters that considered the Malfoys some of his most ardent supporters. The remaining Death Eaters, those few still at large, would likely seek revenge on the Malfoys as soon as the Aurors grew weary of hunting them. The sacrifice Narcissa had made to save her son would be his death sentence should Voldemort’s supporters return to Malfoy Manor.
Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy looked, if anything, worse than their son. They shared the same haunted look as Draco, their eyes looking out from deep hollows in their sharp faces, but the lines around their eyes, barely visible only a few weeks ago, seemed to have eroded until they looked like great gorges in their nearly transparent skin. Both had lost weight from their constant state of anxiety and Draco’s mother, already thin, looked as though she might blow away in the winds of change now sweeping through the wizarding world.
The image of the three Malfoys in the mirror lasted for a second, then dissolved into gray mist. The mist swirled, gathered, and reformed into another image. Now, the mirror showed not the entrance hall of the manor, but the country lane that led by the high hedge separating it from the grounds of the estate. A line of wild brambles could be seen on the opposite side of the lane. Lit by brilliant daylight, the image in the mirror cast a warm glow on the blanched faces of the three people observing, faces that grew whiter still when several figures appeared in the lane.
Draco Malfoy heard his mother give a small moan of despair behind him, but said nothing, keeping his eyes fixed on the figures now standing before their front gates.
A dozen wizards stood outside the Malfoy estate, but the most prominent was the one in the center of the group. Tall and black, he issued a few silent orders to those around him and the Malfoys saw several heads nod as the figures moved to either side of the front gate. The leader, sunlight reflecting off the dark skin of his bald pate, raised his wand and tapped the metal front gate.
Another chime rang through the house, this one higher pitched and louder.
Draco turned and looked at his father. His mother, shivering with fright, was pressed against her husband, her wide eyes glazed with tears. Lucius looked back at Draco and nodded.
Raising his trembling white hand, Draco touched the mirror and spoke.
“Who is it?”
They watched in the mirror as the tall, black figured answered. “Mr. Malfoy, it’s Kingsley Shacklebolt, Minister of Magic, here to see you and your parents.”
Draco turned again to his father, who nodded again. When he turned back, he raised his hand again, this time using his finger to wipe vertically down the glass surface of the mirror. When his hand returned once again to his side, they saw the figures on the lane move back as the iron gates swung inward, allowing them entrance. He waved his hand in front of the glass and the mirror grew misty again, swirling and reassuming the image of the three frightened Malfoys in the entrance hall.
Before any of them could say anything, a knock came at the front door. The sound boomed through the large house as the warning chime had, but carrying a much more ominous tone. It spoke of finality, as though it would be the last time they would hear such a sound in their own house.
Seeing that his parents had no intention of getting the door themselves, Draco moved forward and clasped the handle. Taking a deep breath to steady himself, he pulled the door open, admitting Shacklebolt and four other wizards behind him.
“Draco,” the Minister nodded as he entered. He looked up and saw the others. “Lucius. Narcissa. Good, you’re all here.”
Lucius started to speak, but when he opened his mouth, no sound came out. He closed his mouth, peeled his wife off of him, and tried again. “Minister,” he said, his voice pleading, “what can we do for you?”
“I’ve come here regarding what took place at Hogwarts last week,” Shacklebolt said in his deep voice. “You’ve probably been expecting me.”
Narcissa gave another moan and broke into wracking sobs.
Lucius said nothing, so Shacklebolt continued. Pulling a rolled piece of parchment from his robes, he looked at the Malfoys. “For years, I knew-everyone knew-that you were a supporter of Voldemort.” He said the name slowly, as though translating from a foreign tongue. “Two years ago, we proved it and sent you to Azkaban.” His gaze shifted to Draco. “Last year, your son, not even of legal age, Lucius, joined the Death Eaters and set into motion the events that led to the death of Albus Dumbledore. This year, you are reported to even have sheltered the Dark Lord in your own home. Any of these things alone would make you worthy of a life sentence in Azkaban, possibly even the Dementor’s Kiss.”
Narcissa wailed. Lucius, Draco saw, stood rigid, waiting for the sentence to be passed down with as much courage as he could muster.
“However,” Shacklebolt went on, “in light of recent developments, including testimony from Harry Potter as to your family’s role in the destruction of Voldemort, the Ministry of Magic has decided to offer you and your family a conditional pardon for your activities as a Death Eater.” He held out the rolled parchment to Lucius.
Draco watched his father take the scroll without taking his eyes off the Minister. A muffled sound came from behind him and when he turned he saw that his mother had fainted.
Lucius removed the ribbon from the parchment and opened the scroll. He scanned it a few moments, then looked back up at Shacklebolt.
“Yes,” the Minister said. “By accepting this pardon, you agree to several terms insisted upon by the Ministry. First, you will testify against any Death Eaters we currently have in custody and any that we capture in the future. Second, you will have no contact of any kind with anyone currently known to be a Death Eater or anyone we suspect to have ties to Voldemort. This will be strictly monitored by the Aurors and should any Death Eater attempt to contact you, you will notify us immediately. Third, any objects of Dark Magic will be forfeited to the Ministry for study and disposal. Your property will be subject to random searches by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. There are also several other inconveniences we must insist upon, but you can read more about them in the pardon letter.”
Lucius glanced back down at the letter, then at Shacklebolt again. “If we refuse?”
At these words, the four wizards who had entered with the Minister raised their wands.
“Azkaban,” Shacklebolt replied. “For all of you.”
“We’ll do it,” Narcissa said from behind Draco. She was sitting now, still too light-headed to rise to her feet. “Whatever it is, we’ll do it.”
Lucius looked back at his wife as though he meant to say something, then turned back to the Minister.
“As she says, we agree.”
“Very well,” Shacklebolt said. The four wizards lowered their wands, but kept them in their hands, plainly visible to the Malfoys. “Now, on to other business. I have here another letter for you, Narcissa.”
“A–A letter?” Draco’s mother asked.
Shacklebolt tossed the rolled parchment to Narcissa and it landed at her feet. Picking it up, she looked at the writing on the outside, then removed the ribbon, eyes narrowed in confusion.
“And Draco,” Shacklebolt continued. “I have something for you, as well.”
Reaching into his robes again, he pulled out a small wooden case. Handing it to Draco, he turned again to Lucius.
“We’ll inform you of when you need to appear at the Ministry to testify. In the meantime, I’d advise you to not leave your house except in cases of dire emergency. You obviously will not be well liked by the Death Eaters once they hear that you have agreed to testify against them and the ones we have not captured, though few in number, may be quite bent on revenge anywhere they can find it.”
Draco studied the box. It was plain, no markings or decorations on its mahogany surface. About the length of his forearm, its polished surface reflected the lamp light that illuminated the entrance hall. He popped open the gold clasp with his finger and opened the lid. Inside, resting on a bed of green velvet, was a hawthorn wand. His wand. Beside it, Draco saw a small, folded piece of paper. He took it out, unfolded it, and read the five handwritten words.
“The wand that killed Voldemort”
Draco removed his wand and lay the box, the note back inside, on the table beside him. The four wizards behind Shacklebolt eyed him warily until he tucked it inside his jacket.
“Potter,” Draco said to himself, looking at the mahogany box.
Shacklebolt turned back to Draco’s father. “Lucius, I’m done here. We’ll be in touch.”
“Thank you, Minister,” Lucius said. The snide drawl that defined any word spoken by the Malfoys for so long was gone, replaced by relief and genuine gratitude.
Shacklebolt led the four wizards back out onto the grounds. Eyeing the Malfoy’s white peacocks with some interest, they walked beyond the open gates into the country lane where they were rejoined by the other wizards who had waited for them. Then, all at once, they disapparated and were gone.
Draco watched as his father shut the door and locked it, tapping it with his wand. The new wand was a poor replacement for his previous one, borrowed by Voldemort nearly a year ago then destroyed in battle against Harry Potter, but it served the basic needs. Then, he turned to his mother.
Still sitting on the plush carpet floor, Narcissa stared at the piece of parchment in her hand, tears streaming down her face. Draco could see the back of the paper and, from where he stood over his mother, could see the handwriting spelling his mother’s name on the back. The script matched identically the note that had accompanied his wand.
Lucius stepped toward his wife, his eyes fixed on the letter. “What does it say?” he asked.
Narcissa folded the letter before her husband could get close enough to read it. Taking her wand from inside her robes, she tapped the parchment and the thin material burst into flames. In a few seconds, the entire letter had been consumed.
“Nevermind what it said,” Narcissa said. “Just be thankful that your son is not going to Azkaban.”
Lucius’s pale cheeks flared pink. He opened his mouth to speak, but Draco interrupted.
“Leave her alone.”
Turning on his son, Lucius grew even redder. Raising his wand, he pointed it at Draco. “How dare you speak to me this way! I should–”
A flash of light flared in the dim room and Lucius’s wand flew from his hands. Draco turned and looked at his mother. Narcissa was standing, the color of her face matching that of her husband.
“Don’t you ever turn your wand on Draco again,” she hissed, her wand raised, “or I’ll kill you myself.” She turned and stormed up the staircase to the manor’s second floor.
“If the Dark Lord was here . . .” Lucius whispered, his narrowed eyes following his wife up the stairs.
“If the Dark Lord was here,” Draco repeated, walking by his father, “we’d all be dead.” He entered the drawing room, pulled out his wand, and shut the double doors behind him.
Absently twirling his wand, Draco walked back to the fireside. He plopped back down in the chair and resumed staring at the fire as though waiting for it to speak. After several minutes, it did speak.
Malfoy started at the sound of his name and looked around for the source of the voice before it spoke again.
“Draco? Is that you?”
A face appeared in the flames, one that Draco knew well.
“Are you alone?” Blaise Zabini asked from the fire.
Draco surveyed the drawing room, ensuring the doors to the entrance hall were still closed, before turning back to his fellow Slytherin alumnus.
The fiery face disappeared, then the fire turned a bright green. Out of it, stepped the entire Zabini, a tall black figure with high cheekbones and slanted eyes. His robes, also black, gave him the look of a dementor as he too scanned the room. When he was satisfied that they were indeed alone, Zabini sat down on the edge of a chair next to Draco.
“What can I do for you, Blaise?” Draco asked without looking at him. He still held his wand, though kept it out of sight.
Zabini leaned toward Draco over the arm of the chair. “We’re regrouping, Draco.”
Now, Malfoy looked away from the fire and studied Zabini’s face. “Who are ‘we’?”
“The Death Eaters.”
Draco turned his gaze back to the fire. “The war is lost, Blaise. Go home.”
“The war is just begun,” Zabini said. “Losing the Dark Lord was a terrible blow, yes, but we will rebuild what we have lost. We have a new leader, one who will not repeat the mistakes of the past.”
“A new leader?” Draco asked, skeptical. “Who?”
At this question, Zabini looked unsure for the first time since arriving. “I–I don’t know for sure, but he is rallying those of us who remain faithful. He is offering revenge on the Ministry and those aligned with it.”
Draco looked at Zabini and laughed. “You’re a bigger fool than the Dark Lord was. The Death Eaters are finished and anyone who says otherwise is lying or delusional.”
Zabini shot to his feet and went for his wand, but Draco was quicker. Zabini’s wand flew from his hands and landed on the ornate marble mantle behind a picture.
“You are a marked man, Draco,” Zabini said. “There is talk among the faithful that you and your family helped bring about the fall of the Dark Lord. Now, when you have a chance to retake your position among us, you spit in our faces.”
Draco stepped to the mantle, took down the picture, and retrieved Zabini’s wand. Tossing the wand back to its owner, he raised his own wand again at his visitor.
“Go home, Blaise,” he repeated. “Potter and his friends have won. Let it go.”
Zabini walked to the fire and threw in a pinch of floo powder, causing the roaring flames to again turn green .
“It’s not over,” Zabini said, stepping into the fire. “You’ll see. If you’re lucky, that is.”
The form of Blaise Zabini spun and disappeared into the green flames.
Draco lowered his wand and collapsed back into the chair. Still clutching the picture in his free hand, he held it up and looked at the moving figures on it. Taken in the Slytherin common room, it showed several of the faces that, up until very recently, he had considered like brothers. Zabini. Crabbe. Goyle. Nott. And Draco himself, standing in the middle, his position of leadership evident.
With a look of disgust, Draco tossed the picture, frame and all, into the fire. The flames licked eagerly at the rich, polished wood, then began on the photograph itself. Draco watched as his fellow Slytherins blackened and withered before his eyes. Last of all, he saw himself, the once-perpetual mask of arrogance marking his sharp features, give way to the all-consuming fire.