This is not a story.
It is the bits that, for various reasons, did not make it into my actual story, The Substitute. If you have not read that, these will be meaningless to you.
Mostly, these are parts that didn't work out for me, or deviated too much from the outline I was working to, and are not really omakes. Not all of them are complete, and some will contradict what went into the final story. I am posting them because it was suggested to me that some people might be interested in seeing them. I'll post bits, probably a few days apart, and will try to include a brief descritption or explanation. There is probably only going to be three or four, since most were just variations of a couple of themes.
If you hated the ending of the real story, you might even find an alternate or two here that your imagination can use to fill in or replace the real one.
I hope this is of interest to somebody.
Let's start with the Epilogues.
My original outline had no epilogue, and that's what I ended up using, but before I made up my mind and started posting the story, I did try a few different ones. Most of them sucked. This was the one I eventually decided was the best of a bad lot.
Silent footsteps leave the school and head towards the fenced off area without pausing. The solid looking section of wooden wall fades momentarily as the faint impressions on the ground reach it, disturbing the illusion as they pass through.
The blackened earth on the other side of the ineffective barrier is shot with splashes of bright green where nature inevitably began to reclaim the barren soil.
Ignoring the new growth, the invisible feet continue along the faint outline of a track into the burnt and twisted remains of hedges. It takes mere minutes to cross directly to the centre, bypassing the extensive labyrinth that occasionally warps and bends in a vain effort to move into a new configuration.
That any of the magic still remains, so long after wreck and ruin were visited upon it, is quite astounding.
The steps pause at the edge of the wide, shallow crater. Many footprints crisscross the bowl of scorched ground; some old, some new, but all searching, and none finding.
Instead of joining them, the steps turn aside, returning to a place further back near the line of where one of the walls lay before being obliterated. Magic stirred the broken branches of the hedge Hagrid had so carefully grown, sifting them gently into new piles. Many other piles lie nearby; clear signs that this was not the first visit of the trespasser, although it would likely be among the last.
The maze is scheduled to soon be cleared and replanted as the grass floor of the Quidditch pitch it was always meant to be. There is no reason to leave it as it is any further, so the visible memorial to that horrible night was to be removed, and hopefully forgotten by all, although that was exceedingly unlikely.
Suddenly the sifting stops and an invisible throat gasped.
Held up by magic, the broken and crushed half of a wand hangs in mid-air, barely recognisable amongst the other soot-covered debris of the hedge. Only somebody who knew what they were looking for could possibly have found it.
The searcher knows what he is looking for.
Dropping the invisibility cloak, he steps forward and reaches out to pick the wand from the pile of floating sticks. A gout of sparks splutters unevenly from the shattered end of the wand, as if in an enthusiastic but frail greeting.
"I'll never forget," said Harry Potter, fiercely clutching the wand tighter. "Your fight is mine now."
"I'll never forget," said Neville Longbottom, fiercely clutching the wand tighter. "Your fight is mine now."
So Golem-Harry still dies, but at least one person's changes are hinted at. I like the idea of having Neville as the chosen one. People who are stuck on the canon interpretation of the prophecy really have such small imaginations. :)