For round two of the Quidditch Competition, where I am a Keeper for the Holyhead Harpies.

This one-shot is inspired by the lyrics: "And so it must be/For so it is written/On the doorway to paradise/That those who falter and those who fall/Must pay the price!" - Stars, Les Misérables

Shoutout to Sam (MissingMommy) and TeddyLupin-Snape, who helped me brainstorm.


In the aftermath of the Battle of Hogwarts, Kingsley Shacklebolt found Lucius Malfoy cowering in the Forbidden Forest with his wife and child. Draco, of course, was seventeen and would be tried as a man, but there holding his mother's hand, he looked like a boy. Kingsley strutted over to the family, shoulders back, head tall. He made no attempt at formalities or greetings. "You will all be taken into custody immediately. There is no point in resisting. We both know for which side you fought."

The bonds were conjured immediately.

In retrospect, Kingsley wasn't sure they were necessary. The family seemed so beaten down already. But he had a protocol to follow, and he wasn't willing to make mistakes his first day as interim Minister for Magic. "Please," Narcissa said as they arrived at the Ministry. "Just keep us together while we wait."

There was no one to turn to for advice, and it seemed a small enough concession, one he was willing to make. He nodded once, firmly, and the guards who held them threw all three together into one cramped cell. As he turned away and the deepest protection was placed on the holding cell, he thought he heard Narcissa mutter, "Thank you."

They were tried from youngest to oldest. He came to their cell after a week, not because he was too busy to complete their trials, but because he was sure the waiting would make them sweat. "Draco," he called. "You will be tried in my office." A guard took the boy by the arm and pulled him away from his mother. Few people came to the trial; only Harry Potter and a conflicted-looking Horace Slughorn.

"Do you know the crimes for which you are being tried?"

"Yes, sir," he muttered.

"I would like to speak in his defence," Harry said, and both Horace and Kingsley looked at him with questions in their eyes.

"Are you quite sure, Harry?"

"I am." Kingsley listened, astonished, as the Boy-Who-Lived gave several instances where his life was spared, in some way, by Draco Malfoy.

"You are of age, Draco, which means the crimes that took place in your household can be considered partially your responsibility. More importantly, however, you attempted to murder Albus Dumbledore. Do you deny this?"

Draco said nothing.

"Your original sentence was to be one year in Azkaban. Its guard will be changed," he added, after seeing the look on the boy's face. "In light of Harry's testimony, this sentence will be reduced to six months, starting immediately."

Guards took his bound arms and Disapparated. Kingsley swallowed. Trying the boy was harder than he expected it to be. But he was in clear violation of the law, and Kingsley was trusted to administer justice.

Kingsley waited two days more before coming for Narcissa. Again, the trial was held informally in the comfort of the Minister for Magic's office. She sat with her head in her hands, all of her Black and Malfoy pride dissolved. Unlike for her child, Kingsley felt no empathy for her; this was a long time in coming.

Harry Potter came again. "I know what crimes were committed in her house," he said, "but they were not committed by her. In the Forest, where Voldemort tried to kill me, he sent this woman to see if I was dead. She felt my beating heart, sir. I think she knew what would happen if he knew I wasn't dead, and she lied to Voldemort's face. I don't know how many of us would be here if she hadn't done that, but I certainly wouldn't be."

To Kingsley, this was much stronger evidence than Draco's meager attempt not to admit he recognized Harry at Malfoy Manor.

"A life for a life," he told her. "You made the right decision when it mattered most, and it will spare you."

"You are free to go," he said, but she didn't get up. This whole time, she hadn't said a word.

"Please, let me take the place of my son."

"No. You must go free while he is in prison. This is the extent of your punishment," he said, and he knew it was punishment enough.

It was another week before Kingsley came for Lucius, alone in his cell, his face hollowed out, bags under his eyes. Kingsley liked conducting trials in the comfort of his own office, but there were some war crimes that needed dealt with publicly, theatrically even. Lucius Malfoy was one of those people.

Kingsley went ahead of the guard and took his seat in the largest courtroom. The Wizengamot surrounded him, and Lucius was brought in, hands tied behind his back, an iron chair waiting for him. This trial was open to the public. Harry Potter was there. He didn't say a word.

"Lucius Malfoy," he said, when silence spread over the spectators. "Your list of crimes is many and extends back more than twenty years. Would you like me to repeat the list now for everyone's benefit? Let's begin, shall we, with unpunished crimes from 1975?"

"I was young, then- I have since learned-"

"All you have learned, Lucius, was how to better deflect the blame. If you'd like, we can start with the recent past and work our way backward. Perhaps with harboring Voldemort in your home?"

"He forced me- I had no choice-"

"You may speak at the end," Kingsley said, and continued reading his crimes. It seemed torture for Lucius to keep from speaking, and it took ten minutes to list his crimes. "What do you have to say for yourself?"

"I told you! I was under the Imperius Curse for half of those. The good that I have done for the Ministry, Kingsley. The good I have done for you! Does it all count for nothing?"

"Go to hell, Malfoy!" Kingsley followed the voice to a young woman standing up and leaning over her seat. She couldn't have been older than twenty, but by her spunk, Kingsley would guess her a friend of young Tonks.

He looked at her sternly, but it was difficult to suppress his smile. "I cannot tolerate that kind of language in the courtroom."

"Well, Azkaban's good enough," the girl replied unblushingly.

"Yeah, rot in Azkaban, Malfoy!" The words echoed through the room, repeated by various spectators, getting louder the longer Kingsley failed to silence them. Finally, he raised his arms and the voices died down.

Kingsley turned his gaze toward Lucius again. "The crowd seems to think that you should spent the rest of your life in Azkaban. I concur."