Ok. Everyone knows the drill. Still here goes nothing -
Harry Potter & the other characters of J.K. Rowling are strictly hers (though this plot here is mine :)). I am not the original writer (though I wish I could be) & I do not wish to make money from this. Most Importantly, I DO NOT want to get sued. So if anyone has any problems with anything I write, then just tell me.
There's plenty more...blah blah blah...forget it & let the story begin :).
Note: US English has been used here
HARRY POTTER & THE POWER OF HOGWARTS
Chapter 25 - Epilogue
I feel so sad. I feel terrible. I saw Sirius in my dreams again and I thought he was alive. But…he died. I had seen him falling through that cursed thing and...no...he cant be dead. No...he cant...
Long time no see Mr. Diary. I still feel terrible about Sirius but I am not alone. Harry Potter and Remus Lupin feel just like me. I don't know how they are coping with it. Those two people are very nice to me and are helping me forget my troubles. Thank god that I found some people who still remember Sirius and grieve over his death. Just look at all others...they never even stop to talk about him.
I have to sleep now. Damn tired.
THERE YOU ARE. God damn it...I have been writing in some other diary for the past 40 odd days thinking it was my diary and now I found you. How could I have done such a thing to you? I am sooooooooo sorry.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Now I feel better. I just banged the other diary on the desk and...sigh...the desk is damaged. Oh my god! What is that other diary made of? Sigh.
See...I am trying to write to you everyday now. You have forgiven me, right? Please...please...
Ok...let me tell you a secret. I think I like a guy. Hehe...I am not saying his name...no...not unless you forgive me. Hmmm...let me give you a hint - I stay with him.
I got to go now…Harry is getting on the train soon.
Can you believe that Hogwarts was attacked by death eaters and giants? And now, Harry is…no…I can't write anymore. I have to be at his side.
Is it me or is Harry just too hard to control? He keeps doing all kinds of stuff which keeps me on tenterhooks all the time. Look at all the stuff he does…running away…Azkaban…giants…and now I don't know what he did all day but he looks awful. Did he try anything once again which may have gone wrong or…hmmm…is he still having nightmare and not telling us anything about it?
I still can't believe he has distanced himself so much from his friends. How is he feeling about all this? It must be terrible…
"Harry!" The voice of Remus brought Harry back to reality. He had been sitting in the trunk for a couple of hours and had been going over a diary of Tonks he had found.
"In my room" Harry called out. Even as Harry put away Tonks diary, Remus entered looking very grieve stricken.
"Hey" Harry said in a whisper. A sad smile played on his lips as he watched Remus sit down on a chair. Remus didn't reply but let out an audible sigh.
"Seems empty, doesn't it?" Harry said as he glanced around his room. "No one but the two of us here"
"Yeah" Remus nodded his head slowly. Even though he was terribly sad over Tonks's demise, he was almost equivalently fearful of how Harry might react. When Madam Pomfrey had said that she would require 5 minutes alone to clean up Tonks's body, Harry had promptly returned to the trunk. Remus could almost feel the need for Harry wanting to be alone. He had waited outside for 2 minutes when he realized that Harry could do something in the heat of the moment. Rushing in to find Harry in his room had been a relief for him. But the relief was almost instantly replaced by other feelings...grief...loneliness...sadness...
"She was good...kept us laughing all the..." Remus trailed of in a choked voice.
Harry did not reply. The trunk felt different now that both Dobby and Tonks were gone. When he had been living alone with Dobby, he didn't feel the need for anyone else. But now that Remus and Tonks had lived with them for so long, it seemed that the trunk was just what it was - a trunk. Tonks and Dobby had helped make the trunk a home but that home had been destroyed now. Thoughts of happier times flashed through Harry's mind only to be replaced by the thought he would never forget - Tonks smiling at him as she stopped the curse from hitting its specified target. That smile had been one of the happiest smiles of Tonks. There was no fakeness about it. The eyes showed their delight as every particle of the light was absorbed by her body. The face was lit up like that of a parent whose child had just uttered his or her first word. At that moment, it looked like the face of the happiest person on earth...knowing fully well that death was now inevitable. Very few could have shown such pure joy at such a juncture of their life.
"She was happy" Remus broke the silence which had lasted for well over 20 minutes. "She died happily...on her own terms"
"Yeah" Harry nodded in agreement. Yes, it was true that very few people were lucky enough to decide when they would move on to the next world and Tonks had been one of them.
"Remus..." Harry's questioning tone caused Remus to look Harry straight in the eye. "Why do I feel tired of all this? I mean...if I die or kill Voldemort, then everything's over, right?" Remus's heart bled knowing that Harry was going to blame himself again. "I don't know what to do?". With a deep sigh, Harry continued "This burden...it is...well...quite difficult to carry". Harry had shifted his gaze at the ceiling and was staring blankly at it. Remus knew that saying anything now might not be a good idea. Even though Harry had posed the question to Remus, he seemed as if he was talking to himself.
"Mom and dad died because of me" Harry smiled wryly at this. "Voldemort got vanquished which led to Neville's parents getting tortured to insanity. Who knows what else happened because of that? And then...Ginny almost got killed...Mr. Weasley got bitten...and...Sirius..." Harry's voice trailed off as his eyes got misty. He blinked hard to hold back the tears but couldn't do so. The events of the past week had opened up a lot of wounds.
Remus came forward and sat down next to Harry. Slowly, he tried to get Harry's hair to straighten but to no avail. He did not stop trying and kept running his hands through Harry's hair. Maybe this would have been what Lily would have done for her son...maybe this is what he had always wanted to do - have a son of his own whose joy and sadness would be a part of his own life. Whatever the reason, Remus knew Harry wanted someone to give him support. Even though Harry was the one and only Harry Potter, he was still a human being.
As tears continued to trickle down his face, Harry finally found his voice again. "You guys came along and I thought everything might be ok from now on. But so many deaths...Dobby...he was great...he...Tonks..." Harry choked off again as more tears started to trickle down.
"It will come to an end Harry" Remus said reassuringly. "It will be alright"
"When Remus, when?" Harry looked dead straight at Remus. Remus saw the person inside Harry crying out in pain...the pain which seemed to be growing exponentially in his life. Few people had seen so much pain at such a young age but those who fought it had gone on to become legends. Dumbledore was one such example and Remus had confidence that Harry would become such a person one day too.
"Life is a struggle Harry" Remus replied. "It has its good points and bad ones. One day, you will have to do something which will take your burden away forever. You will have to finish off the person who has made your life hell. That will be the day it ends forever"
"And what if I can't do it?" Harry asked in a frightened voice. If he was unsuccessful in destroying Voldemort, that would mean only greater pain and more deaths of innocent people.
"You will be able to do it Harry" Remus replied before adding emotionally. "You promised it to Tonks"
Harry looked uncertain for a few seconds but then, his face became hard with determination. "Yes...I have to keep my promise..." Harry said. "...not only to her, but also to mom, dad and Sirius". Remus gave a nod and another long period of silence ensued. Harry maintained a steady silence all along while Remus looked lost in thought. Suddenly Remus sat up bolt right and saw that they had spent almost 5 hours in the trunk.
"I think we should go now" Remus said to Harry. Harry took some time to understand what Remus meant before nodding his head and getting up. He didn't want to leave his room and go out but he knew he had to. He had to pay his last respects to Tonks who was going to be buried at Godric's Hollow. Harry had never visited the place and never hoped to visit the place again for such a thing as a burial.
"Harry, can I have few minutes with you?" Harry had almost reached the great hall doorway when the voice of Dumbledore was heard from behind. It was not even near the normal voice of the headmaster he had known for all these years. Rather, it seemed like the voice of a grandfather who had lost someone very close to his heart.
Harry looked uncertainly at Remus but Remus gave a reassuring look. Telling Harry that he would lead the way along with McGonagall, Remus asked Harry to see what Dumbledore had to say.
"Yes sir?" Harry questioned as Dumbledore caught up with him. As Harry looked closely, he noticed for the first time how old Dumbledore really was. The wrinkled skin and other things had always been overshadowed by the overall aura of the person but the person in front of him looked almost broken. He looked human.
"I am sorry" Dumbledore said as he fell in step with Harry. Both of them were walking slowly at the back of the group of people making way to Godric's Hollow. Harry didn't know if he had anything to say and decided to stay quite.
"It takes a lot to earn a person's love and respect..." Dumbledore continued, albeit in a slower rate than usual. "...and when you lose it all after you have earned it..."
"You didn't know anything about Snape?" Harry interjected rather rudely.
"No..." Dumbledore replied. "...but you will have to trust me on my word. I have no proof to support what I am saying".
"I understand sir" Harry's anger faded away, replaced by the feeling of sadness. A part of him was soon going to be buried deep down and he knew that he would miss that part of himself very much...in fact, he would miss it more than anything in the world right now.
"The time is coming Harry" Dumbledore's words brought Harry back to reality. "This is not the time to say all this but Lord Voldemort is free again. The end to the second war is coming nearer".
Harry knew it was true. Voldemort was free to do whatever he wanted to and only he could do something about stopping the evil dark lord. Even as Harry was thinking about all the terror which Voldemort would unleash, he couldn't help but feel that he had been left in the dark...again!
"But you never told me anything about all this. You never explained the attacks on Hogwarts...the attack in France...everything" Harry looked helplessly at his headmaster. "How do you expect me to stop him?"
"This was never about you and hence you didn't have to know about it" Dumbledore sighed. "At least, not this time. I blundered the last time but this time it just wasn't about you". Dumbledore sounded helpless as he said this. Harry couldn't say anything in reply as Dumbledore's explanation was true. The Power was never about him or Tonks or anybody else's. The Power was a thing between Dumbledore and Voldemort.
"But..." Harry gave a slight shake of his head as if he had just remembered something. "...it was me who...". At this point Harry's voice trailed off. He didn't want to tell Dumbledore about the glove...not now...not ever.
"You played a very tiny part in it" Dumbledore's eyes seemed to be piercing the very thoughts of Harry. Even without trying legilimency, he seemed to know what was going on another's mind just by looking at them. "Apart from whatever you did, you were never a part of it". Harry thought about this for a moment and agreed. After all, no one had come to kill him, except Ginny, and even that was a spur of the moment action or whatever. All the while it was Voldemort planning to destroy the force stopping him from his carrying out his evil deeds.
"Remember one thing Harry..." Dumbledore said. "You will have to make a choice down the line. Nymphadora made a choice to give you a chance to destroy the evil which is threatening to sweep our land. You will have to make the correct choice when the time comes. Never forget one thing..." Dumbledore continued in a voice almost similar to his normal one. "...the power remains with you"
Harry and Remus watched in silence as the coffin was slowly lowered into its respective position. Emotions were high amongst all those present. Tonks's mother was being comforted by her husband as their daughter was laid to rest in peace forever. Many of her colleagues had turned up for the funeral along with almost all the teachers, except for Snape. Some were crying openly while others were blinking back tears. Everyone knew that the breath of fresh air named Tonks would be dearly missed forever.
Slowly everyone started to leave expressing their condolences to the Tonks family. Almost no one bothered to say anything to Harry or Remus as their relationship with Tonks was almost unknown. The few exceptions were Harry's teachers who came in to say a quick word or two. Harry didn't reply to any of them. He didn't care. Neither did Remus who didn't seem to hear anything being said to them. As everyone filed out of the graveyard, Harry, Remus and Dumbledore were the only one's left.
Dumbledore had not talked much after what had happened the night before. He knew every detail of what had taken place but had not commented on any of them. Even Minerva McGonagall had had trouble getting him to talk and that was saying something. Only Harry had been lucky enough to have had a chat for more than a minute with the elderly sorcerer who seemed to have gone into a shell.
Dumbledore stood for a long while in front of the graves of Lily and James Potter. The past was a difficult thing to forget, more so when it was right in front of one's eyes. Beside the 2 graves, there stood another one. All of the three had been very close to Dumbledore's heart and yet here he was, alive and well standing in front of their graves. This had to stop somewhere and he knew that only Harry could do it. All he could hope for was that Harry wouldn't give up. After all, Dumbledore had once completely given up when he was younger before he went on to become what he was today. Hopefully, Harry would set a similar example. With a sigh, Dumbledore turned and left for the school. He couldn't leave Hogwarts for long...not with Lord Voldemort around.
"Time to go Harry" Remus said as dusk started to settle in. They had spent the whole day in front of the graves of James, Lily and Tonks. This was Harry's first time at the burial place of his parents and he seemed to like it there. Somehow, Harry felt very close to his parents and his mind was very calm. Yes, he was still grieving...he was still shocked...he hated Ginny and Snape...he felt the need to destroy Voldemort NOW...yet, he felt a strange calmness inside him. The contradiction in his feelings was ironic but that's what his life had been till now.
"I think I will wait for a few more minutes" Harry didn't even look at Remus as he said this. His gaze was now fixed on two words - Nymphadora Tonks. "You go on and don't worry about me. I will be back soon". The tone of Harry's words left no room for any argument. Remus knew he had to go back now otherwise he would miss the Order meeting. But he couldn't leave Harry alone either. As he tried to contemplate his actions, an unexpected arrival solved his problems. Fawkes.
"Well...I guess Fawkes will remain here with you" Remus said as he stood up. "Come back soon, ok?" Harry just nodded in reply. With a sigh, Remus looked at the graves for one last time and left the place.
Harry sat there for a long time since Remus had left. As the evening grew colder, he tucked his hands in to his jacket's pocket only to find something present there. Tonks's diary. Slowly Harry took it out and opened it. Even though he knew it was wrong to go through someone's personal diary, he still felt that this was his only link to Tonks left. He had to go through it for the rest of his life so why hesitate now? He cast a permanent luminosity charm and went through some more pages of what Tonks had written. A range of emotions passed over his features as he read on. He was angry when Tonks belittled herself...when she thought she was 'just not worth it' while he smiled when he read about her 'adventures trying to find Simon Sinatras' or 'the great escape from an escalator'. Tonks was Tonks and no one could ever take her place. Harry was so immersed in the diary that he didn't see the sky darkening. It was only when thunder rolled that he remembered where he was. Looking around, he saw it was quite dark and on checking his watch, found that it was almost 8 p.m. Fawkes, who had been his partner throughout the evening, was also eyeing the sky and Harry could tell that he didn't want to stay there much longer.
"Fawkes...let's go home" Harry said as he got up. The night sky reflected everyone's mood that day. A trill from Fawkes told Harry that he was grateful to be 'allowed' to go home at last. Fawkes flew up to Harry's shoulder while he was looking intently at the graves of his parents. Finally, his eyes rested on the grave of Tonks for the umpteenth time that day. He did not weep this time around. Rather, the feeling had finally sunk in that from tomorrow onwards there would be no one to shout "Wake Up" in his ear tomorrow morning.
"You will always be in my heart Nymphadora Tonks" Harry said as he pocketed the diary. "This..." he took the emerald ring in his left hand. "...will never find its place on anyone else's finger. There will never be anyone else's. My heart is yours...forever".
With that, Harry looked at the grave for one last time and turned back towards the way to the castle. He knew his destiny had to be fulfilled and he would do it on his own terms...just like Tonks. Voldemort would not find it easy to get past him. Harry knew he had to keep his promise to his parents, Sirius and…Tonks. There would be a new dawn without Voldemort on the face of this earth.
I just felt the need for this chapter to finish off the fic 'smoothly'. Also, many reviewers said the same thing and hence I decided to go ahead with this chapter.
Talons - The curse stands for Ginny Weasley's line only.
Just a word to all those people who have asked me to redo the last chapters – Sorry…I don't have any such plans. Also, some of you threatened to stop reading this fic if I didn't redo them. The irony of the situation is that some of you have never reviewed before the last chapter. How the hell am I going to miss you if I didn't even know you existed?
I know I might be sounding rude or you might think that I have let whatever success I have had go to my head. The truth is that nothing has changed. I will continue writing and I still want you people to stick around. The bottomline is that this is my hobby and if you people share the same passion with me then it feels good. Otherwise, tough luck for either of us.
I hope that you people will stick around for the sequel.
Note: A complete pdf version of this story can be found at my yahoo group whose link is present in my profile page.