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Title: Afterwards
Rating: PG
Characters: Minerva McGonagall, Dennis Creevey, Pansy Parkinson, Stan Shunpike, Percy Weasley, Cho Chang
Summary: Life doesn't end after the war.



Minerva McGonagall

Minerva is glad when Septima Vector is nominated for the position of headmistress. The office often gets lonely, with only the portraits of long-dead headmasters to talk to, and her real place is with her students.

She moves her things back to her classroom, and she begins teaching immediately. Albus protests gently from his frame - "Wouldn't you like some time off, Minerva?" - but she gives him a curt reply and reminds him that she is hardly a geriatric.

She still carries a slight limp from the war, which makes it harder to get around Hogwarts. She spends most of her time in her office, marking student work and enjoying the occasional tea with Hooch. Sometimes someone sweeps past her office and she thinks she sees Severus, but there has been no sign of his ghost around the castle. She is sure that he, of anyone, would have gone gladly to death.

Students ask her about Potter, sometimes. On the first day of class, a brave first-year pipes up, "Excuse me, Professor, but you - you knew Harry Potter, didn't you?"

Minerva fixes her with a beady expression. "I did indeed, Mr. Knuckle." The boy looks excited for a moment, and then she continues, "But unless you are planning on transfiguring something into him, a discussion of Potter has no place in my class."

The boy looks mollified, and Minerva smiles inwardly. Time off indeed, she thinks, and reminds herself to chastise Albus' portrait later.



Dennis Creevey

Late at night, when his friends have gone to bed, Dennis sorts through Colin's pictures. He picks out the best ones and takes them downstairs, soaks them carefully in developing potions and hangs them to dry in the Room of Requirement. Sometimes they come out well, but mostly they're faded or dark or speckled. He doesn't have Colin's eye for it.

He's often surprised at what he finds in them. Professor McGonagall, the corners of her mouth twitching up into a small smile. Seamus Finnegan at the leaving feast, a half-eaten sausage hanging precariously from his lower lip as he laughs. Hermione Granger, quietly poring over Hogwarts, A History, twirling a tooth-marked pen between her fingers.

Hermione appears a lot. Picture after picture shows flashes of her hair, her embarrassed smile, her annoyance with Ron and Harry. Even in the faded ones, her mouth is pursed and red and disapproving.

He thinks that maybe he should show them to her, now that Colin is dead. Maybe just leave them outside her door anonymously, so she can know they exist. He thinks it might be obvious, though - Colin's camera was practically glued to his hand - and he could never embarrass him, even in death.

Instead, he files them away. He stacks them carefully in his bottom drawer, and he doesn't look at them much.

Colin is almost absent in the pictures. He has always preferred to be behind the camera, so the only glimpses of him are a finger accidentally slipping in front of the lens. The appearances are few and far between, but still, it gives Dennis hope. He tapes the pictures to his mirror, and he sits on his bed and waits for Colin to come back.



Percy Weasley

Life in the Burrow is different after the war. George stays in his room most nights, just coming out for dinner and sometimes a game of Exploding Snap with Ron. He never comes to Percy's room.

Percy can't blame him, really. He's taken down the Property of Percy Weasley - Please knock before entering! sign, but his siblings still don't exactly flock to him. He exchanges pleasantries with Bill and Charlie, but Ron and Ginny still sound guarded when they talk to him, like they don't trust him. It stings a little, but he can absorb himself in other things. He always has.

He wants to ask George how he feels sometimes. He knows that Mum has tried to prod him out of his room into the daylight without much success. He's seen the pile of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes merchandise piled up outside his room, untouched. When Fred died, Percy felt strange and sick. How do you mourn your brother when you have to see his face across from you every night at the dinner table?

At dinner, he often catches George turn unconsciously to the empty chair beside him. The others don't notice, or, if they do, they don't say anything.

Percy thinks he should talk to him, but they are polar opposites, he and George. He wouldn't know what to say. So he greets George on the stairway, and he leaves the door to his room ajar. These are things he knows how to do.



Cho Chang

Cho moves into her own flat on the first of November. Her mother complains and shouts and makes a fuss - London is dangerous, she says, no place for a young woman. Cho shrugs her off. She might have believed it five years ago, but not now.

The flat isn't anything fancy, just two rooms crammed above a shoddy corner store off Diagon Alley. She covers the walls with Tornadoes posters and photographs, and she drags in second-hand furniture. It's lonely at first - her friends from Hogwarts are all still at home or starting jobs at the Ministry, and the guy downstairs just stares at her when she tries to talk to him. She doesn't go out much. Instead, she cooks to fill the apartment the smell and watches Muggle TV, which is absolutely brilliant.

She has a picture of Cedric and a bunch of letters in her bedside table, but she tries not to look at them too much. She has always been practical, and she won't make friends by moping after her dead boyfriend. She is already so tired of being the girl that Cedric left behind.

A few months after she moves, she can't stand the empty apartment anymore. She steels her nerve, grabs a pair of jeans from her closet and goes out to a Muggle bar. She walks the two miles by herself and ends up standing by the bar the whole time, watching couples dance. A few men catch her eye, but they don't approach her. Maybe it's the cheap skirt, or maybe they can tell she'd start crying if they managed to get her home. Sometimes she still feels as if she has "Property of Cedric Diggory" written across her forehead like Marietta's scar.

She starts going to the bar a lot — so much that the bartender, Chris, starts calling her a "regular," which she knows her mother would hate. She comes for pub quiz on Wednesday and makes friends with a group of loud Scottish lorry drivers who know seemingly everything about Muggle music. She thinks they must think she's a bit dim; after all, she never knows any of the pop culture or history questions. But there's a nice one, Dave, who always remembers to save her a seat and sometimes pays for her curry.

In December, she goes to an 80's night at the bar with Dave and the others. Towards the end of the night, Dave grabs her hand and pulls her onto the floor, tripping over his feet as he pushes through the fray. His waist is startlingly thin under his shirt, nothing like Cedric. She lets him spin her around, and later, when he kisses her, she kisses back.



Stan Shunpike

Coming out of Imperius is a bit like waking up from a dream. Stan only remembers little things: the cool whip of wind against his face, distorted voices. He never really knows whether the memories are real or not. He hopes they aren't.

Minister Shacklebolt dismisses all the charges against him after the war. Stan should feel better, but nothing is the same as before. On the Knight Bus, passengers look at him warily, and he knows they're trying to remember where they've seen him before.

Ernie asks him, "Wot was it like, eh, Stan?" once when he comes back, but after that, they don't talk about it. He might be paranoid, but he gets the feeling that Ernie doesn't trust him either. He watches Stan more than usual, and he always re-counts the change.

He usually doesn't remember his dreams, but sometimes he wakes up sweating and frightened. He wishes he could ask someone what happened when he was under, but the people who could tell him - the Lestranges, maybe, or Voldemort himself - are all dead or in prison. So he acts like everything's fine, takes money and shuffles people to their beds and chats with Ernie.

A woman stops him one morning as she's getting on the bus. "I'm terribly sorry, but don't I know you?" she says, her eyes searching his face.

"Dunno," he says, avoiding her eyes. "I've worked 'ere a long time, 'aven't I?"

She nods, unsure, and Stan turns back to the customers.



Pansy Parkinson

Pansy opens Parkinson's Fine Attire across the road from Madam Malkin's - not to be nasty, just to prove that she's not afraid of a little competition. At first, her store is empty, but word gets around, and the beginning of the school year sends streams of students in for fittings. By the end of August, she has a waiting list.

She doesn't think about the war much. Her life is full of expensive fabric and haggling parents and dinner parties, and there's no time to sit around and wax poetic about Voldemort's downfall. Instead, she sends invitations to Potter and Granger when her shop has a sale. She doesn't expect them to come in, but it makes her feel dignified and classy, and she likes that.

She goes out with Draco a few times, but he's always the same: immature and pompous, always whining about his father's latest decision to cut his fund. Pansy smiles disdainfully, thinking of the mounting pile of Galleons in her Gringott's account. She grew out of her parents' money a long time ago.

Her shop grows, and in a year, she has to buy the business next door to house her supply of children's robes. Malkin scowls at her as she stands outside, ordering movers not to scratch the furniture, but Pansy doesn't mind. There's no law against business competition, and besides, Malkin still has her fair share of Muggle-born customers.

Blaise Zabini comes in after Christmas, his hair sleeked back against his dark robes. "Pansy," he says, as she's trying to help a customer fill in an order form. "Would you care to come to dinner with me tonight?"

She looks up in annoyance. "Are you blind, Zabini? I'm busy," she says, and he looks surprised. "Come back at 6 when I'm closed."

He looks rather shocked and embarrassed as he backs out of the store. Her customer grins knowingly at her, and Pansy smoothes her robes and smiles.


*

Comments

( 11 families suffered — Identity theft is not a joke )
catsintheattic
Aug. 9th, 2007 09:49 pm (UTC)
Afterwards
This is a great collection of lives afterwards! I enjoyed reading this story so very much, the different tone that you've chosen for each of the characters to set them apart from each other.

Dennis Creevey's story was the most painful. I loved how Pansy is moving on, so powerful and not a bit sorry for herself; she will survive. Cho - she'll always be the kind of girl who is looking for happiness somewhere else. I loved Percy's attempt to leave his door open to George - that's just what he would do!

Thank you so much for writing and sharing!
pyreneeees
Aug. 11th, 2007 12:45 am (UTC)
Re: Afterwards
Thanks! Your remarks about the characters are dead-on, and I'm so glad you liked it. Pansy's story was probably my favorite.
lostatsea__
Aug. 9th, 2007 10:22 pm (UTC)
I love these! Dennis Creevey's and Percy's stories brought tears to my eyes.
pyreneeees
Aug. 11th, 2007 12:47 am (UTC)
I LOVE AND MISS YOU. But I will return to you soon!

Oh, and I'm glad you liked this. < 3 < 3
coervus
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:23 am (UTC)
Oh, lovely! It's very realistic, and most of these characters I never really thought about much before, but you made them wonderfully human.
pyreneeees
Aug. 11th, 2007 12:47 am (UTC)
Thanks so much!
spencernagig
Aug. 12th, 2007 05:49 am (UTC)
This is the kind of epilogue I was really hoping would have been at the end of Deathly Hallows--something a la War and Peace, where it's like "BAM! 50 pages about EVERYBODY." I'm still surprised Rowling didn't take that route--her supporting characters were genuinely developed, not just straw men to be paraded around Harry, advancing the plot. I think she must have just exhausted herself, and I think she had a sentimental attachment to the epilogue she did publish, seeing as how she reputedly wrote it--what?--ten years ago?

Also, the Percy/George story reminded me of one of my favorite lines from DH, when Harry is surveying the Dursleys' one last time: "It gave him an odd, empty feeling to remember those times...like remembering a younger brother whom he had lost." But as far as sheer sadness goes, the little bit about Minerva and Severus's ghost probably got me the most. Of course, they were my two favorite characters...

Lastly, I like how you redeemed Pansy. The very little fanfic I've read (all of it shown to me by you) frustrates me because I think "Oh my GOD did none of you get the point of the series at all?!?" Everyone paints the characters in that flimsy all good/all bad light, when Rowling took every effort to upend those expectations and point out how those conventions are flawed. I know you get that, cause we've talked about it, but I thought I'd point it out here, too. ALSO, I like that Cho ends up (maybe?) with a Muggle.
shiiki
Oct. 13th, 2007 01:41 pm (UTC)
Here from a recs site, and even though it's quite late, I really wanted to say that this was lovely. I liked very much to see the snippets for the minor characters, and I thought the way they dealt with their losses post-DH were very appropriate for each one. I enjoyed this very much!
longtimegone
Jul. 7th, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC)
I really love this collection of tales. They are perfect little snapshots into how the world moves on after war. Excellent work!
werewolfsfan
Sep. 28th, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
Excellent read! This is more like what I hoped for in the DH epilogue. I was very unhappy that Minerva wasn't headmistress of Hogwarts until I read this. Now I feel much better!
igrockspock
Nov. 27th, 2011 07:52 pm (UTC)
I can't believe I read this story first over four years ago. It's stuck with me, and I wanted you to know that I came back to read it again.
( 11 families suffered — Identity theft is not a joke )
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