He shifted uncomfortably, tugging at the cloak that shrouded him. Grey, he thought, was not an acceptable colour. It had no style, no panache. Completely unbefitting for a wizard such as himself. He'd always prided himself on dressing with a certain sense of style, and he couldn't help feeling the Afterlife was doing less than it might to accommodate him.

The rustle of dry voices caught his attention, and his ears pricked with interest. He hadn't forgotten much from when he'd been alive, and the ability to determine when people were plotting was certainly not one of them. Of course, he'd usually been one of the people plotting, but things had changed, hadn't they?

And not necessarily for the better.

In fact, he thought, chafing as he yet again adjusted the heavy robes and oddly-weighted belt, if he were alive, no doubt he would not have been summoned so rudely to a meeting and then stood up. It was unconscionably unacceptable and when the persons who had called the meeting deigned to arrive, he would tell them so, or his name wasn'tó

"Rise."

The command was given in such a quiet, detached fashion that he had hardly recognized that it was directed at him before he was on his feet, forced to stand at attention for whoever had summoned him.

"You are aware that the council has not been able to reach a verdict on the status of your Afterlife."

Yes. Yes, he most certainly was. He'd watched others enter this foggy, grey existence, and then be whisked away to locations unknown. He sometimes thought he could hear a strain of exquisite music or pained groans, but perhaps it was his imagination. Reality in the Afterlife was more confusing than one might expect. Still, he'd been left to his own devices, stuck while others apparently debated his future.

"Yes," he bit out, sensing that an answer was required. He hadn't been aware that the council was deadlocked, but he supposed that it made sense. It was inevitable, really, when there wasn't one strong leader to take the burden of the responsibility of decision-making.

"We are, however, agreed that you will have the opportunity to witness the forging of your chains."

It wouldn't do to gape, he told himself, keeping his mouth firmly closed. Chains? Whatever didóoh. As if in answer to his thought, the heavy belt at his waist transformed, becoming link after link of cumbersome chain, its length so great as to pool on the ground beneath him.

"We believe that there is yet hope for you," the voice continued. "By witnessing certain events you will have the opportunity not to change them, but perhaps be changed by them."

Before the voice had finished speaking, the grey mist that had been his constant companion since he'd entered the Afterlife swirled and then dissipated, revealing a location with which he was more than familiar.

"Hogwarts," he murmured, and strode forward, chains clanking behind him.

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Author's Notes

Characters from the Harry Potter series are the property of J.K. Rowling. They are used without permission and not for profit.

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