My uncle bought me the new edition of Hogwarts a History and History of Magic, they'll both be required textbooks next term, but I've already read them. HE's in them, a lot, but never do they say what everyone I know says, that HE saved us all.
My parents and all of my family, blood and extended say the world is still hurting too much to talk openly of him. They say it will be a long time before books come out that do him justice.
I don't remember a time I didn't know who he was. My brother is named for him, as are several friends and cousins. His name became the most popular the year after his death.
My uncle Neville tells me most of the stories I know about him, and how he saved all of the Order and one time or another. My own parents tell me stories about him too, but they tend to sound… like hero worship, and like maybe they cared too much to be actual facts. I want actual facts.
So when Uncle Neville and the adults were spending one of their usual nights together, I waited and caught Neville alone without his wife. "Uncle Neville, I need a favor"
He had looked down at me. I had seen the look in his eye that meant I could have anything I wanted. Neville is too close to our family to deny me anything. "What is it"
"I need the facts, just the facts, about you know… HIM." I said the name in a whisper.
Neville blinked at me. "You mean You-Know-Who"
"No, not Voldemort." I ignored his wince and plowed on. "I mean… HIM." I gestured at my parents and the rest of the Order in the next room. "They say he saved us all"
Neville nodded, understanding. "He did." He had hesitated a moment, then led me into the library and to his school trunk. The trunk had things in it that the rest of the Order called 'sentimental.' It wasn't an insult, they liked Neville as sentimental. He opened the chest and pulled out an old wrapper off a Chocolate Frog. "This was Albus Dumbledore. He was the headmaster of Hogwarts."
That is how I began to learn about the man that my parents cry over. From that day, almost two years ago on, Uncle Neville has been writing down stories to tell me, sometimes of Dumbledore, or of my parents, or even him and his wife, or of the Order. He tells me of the past, Voldemort, the people he called friends, and even those he called enemies. Sometimes, he goes over and takes a coin out of the trunk and plays with it in his fingers. He hasn't told me what it is yet, but I'm looking forward to it. My parents, and several younger members of the Order have coins like that. They refer to them as DA coins, whatever that means.
Neville's the only one that talks to me about the wars and the past. He says history can always repeat itself, unless we remember. My aunt Fleur agrees with him and says that her husband, Bill, will always suffer from the effects of an attack by Voldemort's people. She gives a lot of credit to Neville for saving Bill, because he was young, but not afraid.
I do not know fear. My parents say it is a blessing, because they knew too much of it at my age. Perhaps they will understand what I am going to do, but likely not.
Now, in my third year of Hogwarts, I'm about to do what no other student has done. It is almost the last day of school, and this may be my only chance. I want to go to the tomb, and I will lay flowers there, as no one else has done the whole time I've been here.
I leave my common room in Gryffindor Tower and go down to the courtyard and make my way to the tomb. I'm borrowing an invisibility cloak from my Great-Aunt Minnie who won't tell me where she got it, she only smiles and shakes her head. She claims I have to use it because if I ever get caught, it's her I'll answer to. I've seen her mad, so I wear the cloak everywhere.
I hurry across what seems like miles and miles of yard until I'm there, standing in front of the tomb. Flowers grow around it, and flowers are laid around it, a sign that people do still visit. I feel foolish suddenly. Just because I didn't see anyone, I assumed no one came here anymore.
I reach out my hand touch the cool marble, it sends a chill down my spine.
Voices break me out of my reverie. They're familiar though. Still, I feel I shouldn't be here, and hurry to the edge of the woods, clutching my cloak tightly to me.
In the darkness I can only make out figures, no features. It is a large group. They move and gather around the tomb. I hold my breath. I feel like something is happening and I shouldn't know.
A sound behind me makes me turn, too late. I see centaurs, whose home I have trespassed into approaching. Fear keeps me rooted to the spot, but they pass me by, seemingly unaware I am here. I remember I am wearing my cloak and feel foolish. I begin to turn back, then stop, because a centaur has stopped just in front of me. Can he hear me? He is old, his hair is gray, and his face is lined. He looks right at me and I stop breathing.
"You should not be here, child." His voice is soft, but firm.
I am frozen, then I let the cloak down. No one from round the tomb has turned, they haven't heard the centaur, who is now staring at me quite intently.
"Ah." he says softly, glancing at the group around the tomb and smiling. "You're their daughter. Your brother Albus, I knew him as well."
I bow low to him. "Lord Centaur, I beg your forgiveness for trespassing"
The centaur laughs. "You are not trespassing. You're parents saved us, and to them, we all owe a life-debt. You are always welcome in these woods. However, I wouldn't wander too far, many of Aragog's children still roam"
I frown and he chuckles. "Don't worry, you'll learn who Aragog was, someday. I believe the ceremony is starting."
I look back to the group and see several wands at the ready. I could hear water splashing, but can see nothing, and wonder who is swimming.
Suddenly a beautiful, but creepy sound came from the water. I stumbled back, surprised, and the centaur caught me. "Mermaids," he murmured. "Watch."
The centaurs had gathered just at the edge of the woods, all around me, now they draw back their bows and a hail of arrows passes over the tomb. Now a light begins emanating from the tomb. I realize it's light from the wands.Fireworks begin exploding overhead. I look above me, and watch for a very long time as the sky was filled with light. Finally I tear my gaze away and looked back down at the group. "Lord Centaur," I said softly. "You said my parents saved you. They say he saved them. What's the truth?"
The centaur chuckled again. "They all saved each other, child. Does no one at your school ever hear your name, or the names of the other's children, and not stare?"
"They used to do that to a boy named Harry Potter. He saved the world before he knew how to walk. He did it alone, and his success was short-lived. As he got older, and faced the dark lord again and again, he discovered that only with the help of his friends could he triumph and make it a lasting triumph. But, Harry Potter looked up to and was loyal to Albus Dumbledore. His loyalty helped save him and… well, you know the stories, don't you? Of the wars? Then I have no need to repeat them. Dumbledore was the greatest wizard who ever lived. They all worshipped him. That's how Voldemort was finally defeated. He evoked your parents and their friends greatest anger, and made them heroes"
I frown. I've never heard any of this before. I never knew my parents were heroes. "I don't understand. My parents… what did they do?"
The centaur smiles again. "Albus Dumbledore loved his students, and his students loved him. When Voldemort had Dumbledore killed, he made his greatest mistake. You see, Voldemort never loved a soul in his entire life, he didn't have a clue what love was or how powerful it could be. By killing a man that everyone loved, everyone who had before been unsure of what to do became sure. He evoked an anger and need for vengeance he was unprepared for, and was defeated by. Your parents helped to finally, completely destroy him, and saved us all."
"I don't think they see it that way." I say softly, watching the crowd again.
The centaur laughs loudly, and the crowd finally heard and many of them turned. I cringed, but know I was seen. I see the faces of my parents, but I see not anger, but something else… indescribable. Something between love and grief, tears, but laughter.
"No, child, they'll never see it that way. That's part of why they're heroes. Why do you think Dumbledore loved them?"
"Darling, come here, it's all right." My mother's voice calls and I see the crowd part and see other faces I knew. Uncle Neville and his daughter Alice, Aunt Minnie, even Uncle Bill and his wife Fleur with their children.
"Will you remember this night, child? Today is the twentieth anniversary of his death. It may mean nothing now, but someday, it would be nice to know that others remember the man who was Albus Dumbledore. Scholars will record his life and he might be lost to history. It would be nice if someone who knew him, as well as anyone could, wrote his story."
I thought of Uncle Neville's stories, tucked away in my school trunk. I thought of the questions I would ask, and not be afraid anymore to learn the true history. Yes, I could tell his story, and the story of my parents and the Order, and all the ones that didn't make it, like an uncle Sirius I'd never met. Yes, I could do that.
"Thank you," I say softly to the centaur and step out of my shelter and go to my parents side. My parents wave in greeting, perhaps recognition, to the centaur as he turns and leads the other centaurs away into the forest. The mermaids dive under the surface again, and the fireworks end above us. I reach my hand out and touch the cold marble that holds a hero's body. I hear my mother sobbing, as are many of them.
I turn and make eye contact with Alice and smile, I see other children I go to school with, and I know they understand, many of them are my family too.
I go and take my Aunt Minnie's hand. "Professor McGonagall, I have some questions to ask"
She looks down at me, surprised, I have always called her Aunt Minnie. Now though, things are different, because now, I am determined, and not even family can stop me. She nods slightly and I smile.
Glasses and candy appear in all of our hands. Butterbeer and lemon drops. I see smiles on the faces around me, despite the tears. Perhaps there is a story in these simple snacks as well. We raise our glasses and speak as one.
"To Albus Dumbledore, the greatest wizard who ever lived."