Chapter Six - Aftermath

They never found Snape.

Jorkins was lying on the ground, stunned, just like Goyle and Nott. It was possible that Harry had struck him with one of the spells he had fired at Malfoy, but Harry had another explanation that he kept to himself, for the moment.

Jorkins turned out to be the nephew of a witch Voldemort had tortured to death during his first return and, like the other two, had agreed to Malfoy's insane plan to get revenge for his loss. He was just a kid who could barely remember his aunty, but he got caught up in Malfoy's plot; just another pawn in somebody's game.

Nobody quite knew what to do with the three. They were sure to be spending some time in Azkaban for their part in the kidnapping of the Minister of Magic, but they had not actually done anything that warranted them paying the ultimate price; a walk through the veil to the afterlife.

Two days later, Harry lay in bed, stroking the crystal with the phoenix inside it and listening to its song.

Ginny had alerted the Aurors as soon as Harry had been late. They traced his apparition and had arrived at Riddle's grave to find the injured Harry sitting calmly beside the lifeless body of Draco Malfoy.

Since then, he had been confined to bed because, like the three pretend Death Eaters, nobody knew what to do with him, though for some reason everybody insisted that he needed to rest.

Exactly what had happened had been hushed up, despite Harry's election promise of never keeping secrets from the public again. The story that was told was very close to the truth, but it omitted any mention of the strange ring that Draco had used and had not been found; they did not want anybody else to go looking for other artefacts of Voldemort. A new ultra-secret department had been set up however, to do exactly that, but Harry wondered if they were already too late and somebody else had been hunting them down for the last ten years.

The door opened quietly, and Ginny came in with a loaded breakfast tray. Harry watched his wife as she silently put the tray down and sat on the edge of his bed. She knew he was still thinking about what had happened, that something was bothering him, but she did not need to try to pry it out of him. She was contented that he would tell her in his own time.

After a few seconds of enjoying the song, she leaned over and kissed him on the forehead, then left the room without saying a word.

Harry lay, going over it again and again in his mind, and always he came back to the same question, and the same answer.

There had been a brief moment when Snape had been tying Harry to the headstone that nobody would have seen. A split second unobserved, and in that short time, Snape had stuck Harry's wand into his robes.

Finite Incantatem.