Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter characters, books etc. in any way... J. K. Rowling does and I just use her world for a bit of storytelling.
This story is loosely inspired by one of the greatest classics of BBC drama- House of Cards. I hope that those better versed in the art of English language will take this as a humble attempt to honour it, not botch it up. Since I've never read the books (which is very rare with my book first approach) I can only imagine what language was used and how the storyline was introduced to the reader. Like it ? Hate it? Looking forward to your reviews.
House of Shards
Chapter I: The Prodigal Son Returns
Harry tries a bit of philosophy-Harry reminisces about the past-Shacklebolt says his goodbyes- Woes of being Chief Warlock unfold- No comments are given
Nothing lasts forever. Even the most vicious tyranny is swept away by the ceaseless and never aging time and replaced by something else. I stress the word 'something' in my statement for it does not mean that the ways of conduct in the political arena will change for the better.
Too often is mob that wrestled away the shackles of power from terrible monster that wielded them encouraged to destroy everything that creature used to drain some blood. Too often people destroy everything that was before and plunge the country into new darkness.
You may ask how I know all this; where in my feverish mind I have stumbled across this information. Trust me then as I say that you cannot trust me. Know then that you will never know.
What? My name? I cannot see how it could do any harm. Oh, do I see your lips twitching in sudden recognition of my familiar features? Do I smile politely as your eyes widen when you hear my bitter words? You would not expect me to say them, yet I do, but not out loud, of course. Lord Harry of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Potter and your representative in the Wizengamot at your service.
And here they come- old lions, witty thieves, rugged brutes and all are very eager to get Shacklebolt's place. How long will it take? The man was practically the hero that got us out of slump. He had ridden the wave of nausea that followed after the war discoveries of pureblood atrocities. Now, he is leaving the office with nearly hundred percent approval rates.
Tabloids hail him as someone who always listened to people. Someone who looked out for them and made their lives easier. Someone, who passed legislature to abolish hereditary status of the Wizengamot. Someone, who stood firmly and helped when Harry Potter decided to run away.
My supposed retreat was, of course, something they could have expected- one does not simply win the war and then launch himself into politics without taking a short break. I admit that seven years is no short time, but I did not spend them frolicking and sleeping. No, I have laid the seeds of knowledge that will be ripe one day. Maybe soon, maybe in few years, but thing is that they will be; of that I am absolutely certain.
"Look what cat dragged in from the outside! Potty, Potty why in the hell have you come back?"
Draco Malfoy, how easily people forget. How easily can they change should proper incentive present itself; if he is doing this after all these years I can be certain that much had not change in Malfoy Manor. It is actually a pity for it presents only less challenge for man like me.
"Lord Malfoy, how pleasant to see your face after all these long years and seeing that your contribution to conversation is still as interesting as it was back then." I give the bastard a cheeky smile. It is highly improper to show one's emotions and I can clearly see how the House of Malfoy managed to fall so low.
"I would spent some more time in your company, but the time is money and I leave you with my condolences to your mother- your father's death must have been a tragedy for her. I would spend more time catching up with you, but I am not that sentimental." I tap brim of my hat with cane and leave gaping Malfoy heir behind me. It wouldn't be a Draco though, should he not fire last one on me when I am not facing him.
His hissing sounds slightly like:" Have a nice day beggar."
As I hinted, the man has no bottom and no manners. Those who know the higher society will tire quickly from his angry and petty outbursts.
Oh, I see. You are a bit interested in my current financial situation. Well, it is certainly not that bad. Otherwise, how would I afford these silk robes and dragon leather boots? It is not that good either. Why else would someone like me become a politician? You heard how this came to be? You knew that Potter's were well off? I guess I cannot avoid it. You are my voters after all and I have to repay you the favour, in a way.
I have never regretted my return to an extra seventh year in my beloved Hogwarts. Perhaps I should have, but at least it showed everyone's true colours.
"I am sorry Ginny I cannot marry you, "said I as my fingers fiddled with the old circular glasses and winced a bit as my girlfriend stabbed me with her pale finger.
"I don't mean that I don't want to marry at all, but please be reasonable. Look at our age."
"Ron and Luna are getting married; I don't exactly see your point Mister! Don't you love me? I had hoped that this was all you wanted- family, children." She sobbed angrily.
"Ron and Luna are star struck fools Gin. They are completely enamoured with each other. You can see that ever since we rescued her from Malfoy Manor. You know that I sometimes act like git, but I've never had a chance to enjoy life like others do; this is my only ticket to a bit of freedom." Instant knowledge that my words were ill chosen struck me into face.
"So you're leaving me? Leaving because you want to run around, fuck some bimbo and then crawl back to me, because I'll be loyally waiting for you the whole time you are enjoying this holiday of yours?"
"Ginny, I am not leaving you! You can go with me; hell, I want you to go with me! Don't you understand it? I still love you!"
"Do you really? Then what is there to choose? Stay with us and help George to cope, stay with me and build a home. We can go on vacation later when everything is prep..."Stop Gin, you already told me this. I cannot stay, I am choking and I must go as soon as possible."
"Then go! Go and know this Harry James Potter- you will regret your decisions! I am sick and tired of you running away from your problems!"
"I killed that problem nearly a year ago! Be reasonable Ginny. I deserve a bit of break."
"You can have all the break you want, "she rose and stormed off back to the castle."
I thought that would be the end of us. I was right in a sense. Imagine my surprise when I picked up the Prophet, a fortnight later and read the main headline-HARRY POTTER- THE SCARLET SCOUNDREL.
"Harry James Potter, Head of the Houses Potter and Black what do you have to say to your defence? What conclusive evidence can you give to prove that you have not taken virginity of Ginevra Molly Weasley under false pretence of wanting marriage and left her afterwards, when her bride price had been greatly diminished due to your prior actions?" They pulled a fast one. Shacklebolt's legislative plan for that year hadn't changed anything in old family laws and I was once again a favourite monster for everyone to gawk at. What a marvellous sight.
"Honourable court, Lord Law, I admit that I have truly took Ms. Wesley's innocence, but I wasn't the one who wanted to separate. My only intention was to leave for a year and then return to marry her. Honourable court is certainly aware of a strain put onto me by terrible and grim war we all fought in." I hated the fact that I used that particular trick back then. I was a foolish boy after all. Well maybe in love is more accurate. What a fool's errand.
"However that may be truthful the fact that you have broken the law stands." I was shocked. "The Burke's Statute wording and the judicial customs clearly state that wizard who leaves the witch to whom he promised a marriage impure will be punished by paying monetary compensation in pure gold and thirty lashes of shame."
I am not that versed in this particular legislature, Lord Law, but the Muggleborn Act enacted last year forbids any kind of physical retribution to be taken on the accused." I studied, I Harry Potter had read a nice stack of volumes and at that moment felt what power knowledge brings.
"However that may be, Lord Potter I will still stress the moral damage to the Ms. Weasley and compensation you will have to pay her, should all the accusations made by the plaintiff be proved."
"I understand Lord Law, honourable court." I bowed to the bastards. Last time I bowed to anything or anyone.
"Court will now leave to take counsel." They left and I was still facing scowling Ginny, scorned woman I intended to marry. Hermione was helping her. Why? I don't think I will ever know. The thing is that I don't want to. Probably just ashamed of me, as nearly everyone else. I was standing stoically, observing the intricate pattern of the carved wooden ceiling, when the judges returned.
"Defendant Lord Harry James Potter, stand up and hear our judgment.
By the laws and customs given to us by our great forefathers and in the light of your service in fight against the dark art users, we award you a penalty of one million Galleons as we find you guilty of callous crime against honour and morality. Money will be awarded to the victim Ginevra Molly Weasley. So mote it be."
I was stunned. No one was ever robbed so easily, with simple strike of a gavel. I left in a hurry. No comments for the press.
So you see from where my bitterness is coming from. Revenge? No, no... I just want to serve and offer my years of experience and knowledge in magical disciplines to the government. I admit the post brings some pleasures, but I am not a man who needs, how did she put it, blonde bimbos to be satisfied. I hold no grudges against these petty people; their only crime is, after all, being a nice herd of docile sheep, and those are everywhere.
It was a gasp of surprise that greeted me in the hall; few scorning remarks were added, nothing I cannot endure. Some of them are whispering and pointing fingers, how lovely to know that some things simply do not change. I just brushed away hair on my forehead to make the old scar visible.
"My lords and ladies, I give you Minister of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt." There was a roar of approval and wave of polite clapping. I decided to sit next to Susan Bones. She grew a lot since I've seen her and awarded me with a polite smile, everything for the former hero of the Wizarding world.
Tall black man stood up and started carefully written speech. How can we say no to the last farewell?
"Everyone knows that I never wanted to become a politician. I have always thought myself rather man of action than the one who has to plan the action, get the seal of approval and writ of arrest. This approach, however, helped me to rebuild the British Wizarding government and our world in eight years I spent in office." Another round of applause- booming, rising, alive. Shacklebolt waited a moment and then cut the sound with his hand- silence fell nearly immediately.
"We have changed the way of politics- no longer it a shabby dealing full of corruption and embezzlement. We have not only set limit to the politician's powers by abolition of hereditary Wizengamot, but also made lords and ladies criminally accountable for any crime they commit. I can honestly say that we are all equal." Nice lines, deep voice to carry them across; the man had probably found himself. It is shame to let him leave. Well, certainly shame for some.
"We have built a solid economy and our coffers are overflowing with wealth. Our merchants and craftsmen are well received throughout the world. Anti-discrimination laws we have passed through this chamber changed status of many Muggleborns that are no longer leaving because of the contempt that pure-blooded society held for them. I want to thank you all for your help, votes and continuous support. I for one am looking forward to see our new two-party system at work." He paused a bit.
"My decision to leave is personal. I have given my best years of my life to this nation and time has come to be a bit selfish and spend some time with my family. I want to thank Arthur Weasley- my Chancellor of Exchequer for his friendship and wonderful dealing with finances, my friend Ahvar Patil for excellent work and many friendships he acquired as our Foreign Secretary. Of course there are many others, many others to be remembered, and those who work for the Wizarding world- Aurors, Unspeakables, Floo operators, and teachers just to name few. I thank you and salute to the work you have done.
Talking about teachers, it is through their enthusiasm and determination that we were able to reform our greatest educational institution- the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It took all our efforts, but I can clearly say that our students never enjoyed so much freedom and equality in environment that is not abusive, but supports spirit and creativity. May our nation grow many great minds and discover many wonders in realm of magic. Thank you that would be all." He waved and smiled, showing his white teeth to the applauding crowd. Nearly everyone stood up to honour the leaving Minister. Time for cordiality ended it was time for me to ready for battle.
"Order! Order!" shouted highly vexed Chief Warlock and stomped with his gavel. " I want to remind Rgt. Hon. Lords and Ladies not to stray from the debate and debase themselves to petty squabbling that has nothing to do with debate as well as unnecessary insults. That goes especially to you lady Robbards! Order!" I must admit that I never understood Dumbledore's insistence on me having my childhood intact. These people are clearly enjoying themselves. On the other hand, it is not that hard to stand out seeing as one simply has to behave like an adult.
"All members of the House will return to their seats or I'll call Aurors to maintain order!" Well, it seemed that Chief Warlock was really losing his temper. However, the overgrown kids had returned to their seats and there were no further disruptions.
"We shall now put our three candidates under Wizegamot's vote. Those in favour of Rufus Scrimgeour?" There is silence. I must wonder how many votes would these Auror lackeys get should Amelia Bones still be amongst the living. No one is interested in that old lion. Just few sorely lone hands had gone up. This is not the right way. I can hear the Chief Warlock proclaiming that 'majority' has not been reached and we will vote for another candidate.
"Those in favour of Draco Malfoy," sheer impossibility of this choice nearly makes me chuckle. Who would vote for the twit? Well, it turns out that according to the old pureblood rule of sticking together, there is quite a few.
"Draco Malfoy receives forty-four votes, no majority." That was quite close. Out of one hundred and one that is what I call a bit of luck. It seems that Kingsley wasn't so successful in his purges.
"All those in favour of Arthur Weasley as future Minister of Magic." Middle ground, pureblood and recently alleviated upstart without any desire but to rule in favour of people. It makes my nose bleed. Visiting Florence has its advantages but discovery of Machiavellian Society is the most significant one of them. You didn't think I spent my years in exile moping and beating myself? Oh, you did. Well, they have no idea what they are going to deal with. Many voters of my constituency didn't believe that it was I, even when I showed up.
Potter's family manor confiscated to pay the price of my youthful foolishness and Ginevra's frequent and extravagant parties left them a bit suspicious about my own mental health. I must admit that my natural charm as well as my rousing speech left them excited. The result was a premature end of political career for the young lord Longbottom as well as quite a hefty bill for various alcoholic beverages I purchased.
I can quite imagine your surprise when I say that it was Arthur Weasley who invited me back. Well, who else can work so skilfully with state's money if not the careful thief? They certainly make the best financiers.
Arthur Weasley receives forty-seven votes, no majority.
"Gentlemen and Ladies as the first vote failed to produce a victor we shall vote again. I stress the importance of the vote. We cannot continue until next Minister is voted in. Thank you." It seems that Chief Warlock wants to be somewhere else. Maybe at Madame Precious- the most famous brothel in Diagon Alley, says my informant. You did not think that I would come to this den of snakes without one? Oh, I know them all and as being Potter is nowadays equal to dimwit I will make them eat their words and deeds. All in due time, Arthur said that he had a job for me. We will see.
I suppose it comes as no big surprise that Arthur won the next vote. My knees are trembling when I think about that terrible reign of terror that scamp Draco Malfoy would build. Yes, it is not good to underestimate your opponents, but just thinking about the blond ponce is giving him enough credit.
I stand up to congratulate the new minister, holding my hand behind my back. How many knives are in human smile?
It is time to face the same old music. They are waiting for me in the Ministry lobby and I am not very keen to talk, but still- it is a part of my job. The sacrifices I make…
"Anything to say lord Potter? How do you feel, returning to the country that had ridiculed you and to people that robbed you? Are you angry? Vindictive? Forgiving?" I smile on my favourite blonde reporter; gosh that woman looks like some character from American noir stories. I smile.
"Are you hoping to get a place in the new government? Any promises from the new Minister?"
"Come, come Rita. You may very well think that, I couldn't possibly comment.
They laugh. Good, I like merry people, they tend to not to think at that moment of giggling and ask fewer questions. What's next? Oh, I thought you knew.
Well, it was about time to put a bit of a stick about.