Zacharias Smith comments

Chapter 1

Written for QLFC Season 5, Final Round 2
Wigtown Wanderers
Position: Chaser 1
Position Prompt: Z: Zacharias Smith, Zombie Trail, Zombie, Zip

Additional Prompts:
6. (object) textbook
10. (quote) Bloody hell! - Ron Weasley
12. (sound) gasp

Word Count: 910

Beta(s): Aya. Thank you so much!

AU in which Voldemort didn't die but was taken to Azkaban. Since we don't know anything about Zacharias' fate after the war, I made him a journalist.

Once a zombie, he now risks becoming a symbol.

Zacharias Smith comments.

The relieved breaths we all took following Voldemort's imprisonment have just turned into gasps this morning when the entire magical community woke up to find these words on the front pages and on everyone's lips: Voldemort is dead. To the most, it feels like the end of a nightmare. The true and only possible end.

Fifteen years ago, seeing Voldemort's wand flying towards Harry Potter's waiting hand was victory enough for us, eager to see what we wanted to see: the end of the war, the illusion of peace. For a long time it worked. To sedate and numb any doubt was the motto. People had to believe in peace, the Chosen One, and the Light side. As blindly as ever.

"The enemy is defeated," they told as they took Lord Voldemort to Azkaban. Hollow words. Anonymous words. It didn't matter back then to deal with the aftermath. Just to sweep it under the carpet. After all, it had worked for Grindelwald — solid bars and four walls were enough to end his reign of terror if our textbooks are to be trusted.

But what of this most recent execution?

Today, the evil wizard formerly known as You-Know-Who or the Dark Lord is finally dead, and with him the threat he posed to equality, tolerance, and freedom. He was not eliminated by the usual Kiss. No, Lord Voldemort, infamous Muggle-hater, was killed by a gun — three bullets shot right in the heart. Cruel vengeance, some say. Poetic justice, others claim: worth celebrating.

"We celebrate, too." is the banner headline on the last issue of The Daily Prophet. Under it, a big picture of a phoenix and a quote by former Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, are featured. It reads, "Who cares? It is what it is. The only thing that matters is the result, and the joy we share is a homage to equality."

Let's hope it is. Let's hope that the many parties thrown to celebrate Voldemort's death marked the true end of the war and not just another Quidditch winning game. Let's hope all those young boys and girls are truly aware of what this death means to those who truly fought this war and didn't just learn of it from a cold textbook. Let's hope all of this means emancipation from terror.

But how can we be certain of it? Can this unexpected execution truly erase any and every doubt that he won't rise from the ashes again? Does his death truly mean the definitive end of the prejudice even fifteen years after the war? Is there not a risk that a living symbol will blossom from his corpse at the hand of his few supporters still hiding in the shadows?

Even before his demise, You-Know-Who held no more resemblance to his former young self. He was just a body, a dead body, reanimated various times. In fact, in many ways, it would not be wrong to say that he was no more than a zombie, odd as it may sound to those of us who have met those dangerous creatures in Zombie Trail.

And yet, according to Haitian folklore, which is where the term comes from, a zombie is just an undead brought back to life, an undead being who misses part of its soul. This is no different from Voldemort's soul, split into seven pieces.

Perhaps it's no wonder, then, that Lord Voldemort was considered no more than a zombie by all who visited him in Azkaban — he had been slowly losing his soul. Perhaps the Kiss was attempted but didn't work because there wasn't any soul to suck.

In his last years, he had been fading like a bad memory and was but an off-season leader to his stray Death Eaters that managed to escape. Killing him during or in the aftermath of the Battle of Hogwarts would have spared us some post-war skirmishes and earned us a much deserved praise. But killing him now, after fifteen years, may prove to be strategically counterproductive because it awakens yet again the Muggle-hating beast lingering in the wizarding world.

When zip fasteners were introduced to us the first time, they warned, "If your zip sticks, it might be because it caught a thread." That is to say, on an apparently unrelated note, that even something so small that was invented to avoid any problem in clothing is not without risk.

How are we to expect that Voldemort's death won't have any other consequences than rejoicing?

Granted, as said above, it was just a symbolic execution as You-Know-Who was not a threat any longer. It was just meant to be a general reminder. As they put it, "It is done, and it was done for the best."

But to a few rebels, he risks becoming a myth, a hero. His death, still legitimate despite being so cold and late, risks becoming an incitement to vengeance. The war might be sparkled again. Not to mention we don't know if the Dark Lord can be reanimated once more, something that couldn't happen as long as he was locked up in a cell, still living but harmless.

Now all of this doubles the peril that the small minority of stray Death Eaters gets reorganized to claim and avenge their former leader that they, too, had apparently forgotten.

Welcome back to hell, a quite literally bloody hell.