Chapter 1 : The Zombie Lord
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It was always so damp in the ministry’s morgue department, buried deep in the bowels of the otherwise inviting and spectacularly decorated mecca of government in Wizarding Britain. Hermione Weasley sat on a cold bench, the light of the candelabra above her barely enough to illuminate her next pathway. It was up to her to see that the process was done correctly. He had been her best friend, after all.
Harry Potter was lain out on the table, completely naked save for a white sheet draped lazily over his lifeless form. How utterly human it had been, his death. He had fought valiantly in his youth, always with honor and a charisma that could not be matched anywhere in the world. So how crushing, at the age of 44, to be taken by myocardial infarction. The press had said the heart attack was due to the stress he’d been under at work, eating poorly, and a predisposition to high blood pressure. The Daily Prophet ran articles about James Potter’s parents, how they had died tragically young with only one son. The conjecture was that James might have gone the same way, had he not succumbed to Voldemort when Harry was only a tot.
In the foot steps of his father, and his grandparents before him, Harry had died too early, much too early. Just a few years after her Ron, who had died while attempting to crush a rebellion in the highlands of Scotland. Harry had never quite gotten over the loss, and Hermione was forced to raise her children on her own. Rose was 18, freshly graduated from Hogwarts and an apprentice at St. Mungo’s, working to become a healer. Hugo was 16, still at school, but his father’s death had hit him particularly hard. And then there were Harry’s children with Ginny Weasley, who were currently grieving over their father- James, 20 years old working as a free lance photographer for the Daily Prophet; Albus, 18, who had done exceptionally well through school and was now beginning auror training, and Lily, 16, still at Hogwarts with her Hugo.
Hermione thought over the children as she bent over Harry’s body, determined not to cry. She, of course, was able to confirm the heart attack with a wave of her wand, but the ministry had called for physical proof, given the elevated nature and endless popularity Harry had enjoyed during his life. She had volunteered personally for the job, despite the cries of emotional entanglement from the office. She’d put her time in with the Department for Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures and would be soon moving over to Magical Law Enforcement following this tragedy. She’d seen many autopsies involving animals and magical creatures, so much so that she imagined that doing a human may not be so horrible. So, some leeway was given to her, and she was allowed to continue, under the supervision of the head of the department.
Mercifully, he was not here at the moment, for when he was, Hermione could smell his foul breath and could feel his eyes staring at her every movement twenty-five percent of the time, and at her arse the other seventy-five percent.
“Oh, Harry,” she whispered to no one, as she waved her wand and watched his skin close neatly, as though he would now spring off the table in a fit of joy. It was truly ridiculous that magic could not raise the dead, it could do so many other amazing things. Why not re-animate nervous tissue? What was the harm? Hermione halted the ridiculous thoughts at once. She knew very well the consequences of trying to revive the dead. If the inferi were any indication, nothing good could ever come from it. And yet, the inferi were simply nothing more than animated corpses, they were not actually attempts at bringing the person back to life. They were simply told to move by magic, the same way she often animated her dishes to do themselves when she was lazy. It wasn’t exactly science.
“Stop it,” she whispered to herself, pulling the sheet over Harry’s head. The fresh spring air outside was beckoning to her, and clearly it would do her some good. Gathering her belongings, she placed a temperature spell over the room so that the body would continue to stay fresh, and promptly left.
Above the morgue, the hallways were bustling with happy wizards and witches, on their way home to family and a hot dinner, and perhaps intimate moments later with husbands and wives. The closeness of the human connection, the very thing she’d taken for granted for years. Familiar tears began to war their way to the surface, and she swallowed hard to discourage them. She had to be strong for her children, for Ginny, for everyone else. Now was not the time to crack under the monstrous weight of grief.
Despite the normal chatter of the ministry, a heavy cloud hung down upon the mood. The interior of the halls had been changed to black, in order to honor the fallen hero Harry Potter. The statue that had been erected of him after the war was covered in rings of tiny white flowers and trinkets of remembrance. Hermione did not cast a glance at his stony face, frozen in an eternal smile.
Within minutes, she arrived to relax in the comfort of her own home. Her daughter, Rose, was already there, sitting in a lounge chair in the living room, books scattered haphazardly around her.
“Hi, Mum,” she said in greeting, not bothering to rise.
“Afternoon, darling,” Hermione replied wearily. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror hanging above their mantle and saw that her hair was frizzy and stubbornly escaping the tight bun she had wrapped that morning. “How was work today?”
“The same. People are talking about Uncle Harry but I don’t want to talk about him to anyone. I just can’t.”
“I know, dear. Stay strong, the funeral is tomorrow, and then we can put this business behind us and move on, just as we did after your father. Have you spoken with your Aunt Ginny?”
“No,” was her sullen reply. “I haven’t. Are you going over this evening?”
“I fear I must. I’m to deliver some dinner today,” Hermione fretted, glancing around her cupboards for something quick and easy to make. “Do you want to come? I bet Albus would be happy to see you.”
“I might. I just have a few more things to study for my exam tomorrow.”
Hermione found some chicken and decided to bake it quickly with some potatoes and asparagus as a side. Once it was finished, she waved her wand to package it.
“Well, I’ll see you in a bit then, Rose. Don’t be too long if you decide to come.”
“Alright, Mum. See you later.”
Hermione grabbed some floo powder from the mantle, and thew the green crystals into the fire. Within seconds she was standing in the Potter’s familiar living room. Their house was grand, with dark hardwood floors and expensive furnishings. Pictures of the family smiled and waved to her from the walls. The house was well lit, but it still seemed dark and uninviting without Harry’s booming voice to greet her. Ginny was seated on the couch, surrounded by some of her old friends from the championship HolyHead Harpies team she’d been a part of some years ago.
“Hermione,” Ginny choked in greeting.
Hermione dropped off the food onto the kitchen counter and joined her friend in the living room.
“What am I going to do? Lily is coming home from school in an hour, James is still off running around, getting drunk with his friends to stop the pain, and Albus is in his room, refusing to come out. I can’t do all of this on my own....I can’t do it, Hermione...I can’t, I can’t...”
She dissolved into tears once more, they streamed down her face and into her hands.
“Ginny, you can. You can do this. I’ll go try to talk to Albus. Rose should be along soon, maybe she can help talk some sense into him.”
Ginny answered her with a loud sob, collapsing into the arms of one of her other friends. Hermione made her way down the hallway, stealing glances at the happy, ignorant family on the wall that had been rocked from their happy cocoon and now lay in tattered shambles for the world to point at and feel sorry for.
The second door on the left belonged to Albus, decorated handsomely with the Gryffindor house colours that had once been his.
“Go away, I said!” he snarled from the other side.
“It’s your Aunt Hermione,” she said gently. “Rose will be around soon. Please let me talk to you.”
“I don’t want to talk, there’s nothing to discuss. Just leave me be.”
“Your mother is in the living room waiting,” she tried again.
“I know, and sobbing, no doubt. I can’t deal with it, I can’t deal with her crying all the time, she’s driving me insane. Just leave me alone and let me have some peace, will you?”
“As you wish.” Hermione was determined that if anyone could get him out of that room, Rose could. “I love you, Albus. Don’t forget that.”
No answer was heard from the other side.
As she ambled back to the living room, her thoughts wandered once more back to the cold table that Harry’s body was occupying. She’d read some things once...no. It wasn’t a good idea to try. But what if she could give Ginny her husband back? Give Albus, James, and Lily their father back? If anyone could do it, she could. Suddenly, with all the clarity in the world, Hermione knew what she had to do.
“Ginny, I’m sorry, I have to go. Your food, it’s chicken and potatoes and asparagus, enough for the whole lot of you. I...I’m so sorry. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
She disapparated without another word, and within 20 minutes she was back down in the lab with Harry. She donned the protective jacket and glasses, and set to work with her wand. She warmed the room to 37 degrees C, normal body temperature. She then warmed his body to that, hoping that it would last. When it did, she felt excitement rise in her as her finger tips danced through the air over his body, conjuring up all the energy she could. She murmured a few protective spells, and felt the warmth in her hands as she tried to revive his brain. She could almost feel the connections in his spinal cord spring to life.
“Come on,” she whispered. “Come back to me, Harry. Come back to Ginny.” His eyelids flew open but the stare was still glassy, still lifeless. The room emanated with power. Some of the glass vials on the wall shattered, their contents leaking around the room, floating through the air. The glow under her hands was golden, thriving with life.
She was over heating, it was much too hot, but she pressed on. The feeling under her fingers was electricity, the messages she sent to brain, spinal cord, heart, lungs, liver and muscle alike. It screamed life.
“Come on, Damnit!” she yelled this time, her breathing labored. The contents of the broken vials began to mix together as it floated through the air. Hermione found this odd, as though the unknown liquids were being drawn to the magical energy as well. Suddenly the mixture of liquids, dark as night, centralized under her hands and hung in the air as if it were connected to a string, frozen and ominous.
Hermione was losing it, she couldn’t hold on to the spell much longer. Harry was still lifeless, though his skin seemed to glisten and its colour seemed healthy again. Finally, with a grunt, she released the spell and collapsed backward onto the bench. The magical mixture that had seemingly created itself also released, bathing Harry’s body in inky blackness.
She watched in horror as ulcers began to form on his fragile skin, melting away some of the flesh to the bone.
“Oh, God, no,” She said, her heart racing. She used her wand to try and clean the body but it was no use. The toxic concoction had left its irreparable mark. She felt the tears finally stream down her grimy face. What had she done?
The sobs took her then, the ones she’d been holding the entire day. They were loud and echoed in the vacant room.
She didn’t hear the rustle on the table through her grief. She didn’t see the first movement of the fingers or the wiggling of the toes. Not until he sat up straight, did she notice. She screamed, loudly.
“H-Harry?” She gasped, looking at his face, which was pockmarked and unsightly.
“Rarrrrrg,” was his reply.
“Harry?” She tried again. His eyes met hers. The irises were completely black. He attempted to stand from the table, and she felt herself moving backward. This wasn’t Harry...this was a monster.
“RrrrrAAARRRG,” the demon Harry yelled, as he transferred to standing. He was naked in front of her now, moving clumsily in her direction.
“Merlin...” she whispered. “Z...Zombie. ZOMBIE. SHIT!” It had Harry’s face, and Harry’s body, but it was not him. She watched as he came closer, and stared in awe as he moved. It truly was Harry, and yet not. “I’ve got to get out of here.”
He lunged at her then, making angry, wet sounding noises as he did so. He stunk of death and rot.
“Immobilus!” She cried, attempting to stop him from coming at her, but the spell did not affect him. After attempting several other spells with no success, Hermione realized her situation was dire.
She backed up slowly, as the awkward zombie came toward her, and tripped over something on the floor. Pain sprung quickly in her ankle, and she knew it was broken. Attempting to stand, she cried out in agony and limped toward the door as he lunged for her again. Finally, she reached the door, ran out of it, and slammed it shut behind her, locking it with such a ferocity the lock nearly broke. The zombie Harry yelled in frustration as he unsuccessfully attempted to breach the barrier.
Hermione sighed as she slipped slowly to the concrete floor. Her ankle throbbed annoyingly, but she ignored it as she tried to regain her senses and the famed logical thinking that had made her such an asset during the war. What had broken during the spell, what had caused this? It wasn’t just the magic, it was the substances that had flown out of the vials. Whatever it was, the zombie didn’t seem to be able to be touched by magic, or at least none of the things she’d tried.
One thing she knew for certain. It had to be killed. Tonight.
A/N: I have several people I need to thank. First and foremost, I need to thank Mihali1432 for hearing my ideas out and not telling me they were stupid. Also, to AccioHPFF for listening to my crazy ideas and coming up with titles, and to Caomoyl for coming up with some fun ideas for titles. I'm so broken up I couldn't use Om Nom Nom Brains.
Also to the people of HPFF for helping come up with this title. It was almost called Harry Potter:Zombie Lord but I was instructed that this was a bad idea. So thanks to Snapdragons, OctoberSeaBreeze, LilyPotterfan123, elladora, and Naidatheravenclaw
Make sure you check out Harry Potter Podcast for all your awesome podcasty needs and I will try to get a new chapter up really soon! :)