Graduation

Challenge: Graduation from a Professor's POV

By FalconWing

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Graduation was a somber affair. There were so many empty seats, too many faces missing. Hannah Abbott, Padma Patil, Ernie Macmillan, Terry Boot, Lavender Brown, Vincent Crabbe; all casualties of the war. Daphne Greengrass, Blaise Zabini, and Gregory Goyle; imprisoned in Azkaban for following Lord Voldemort. Draco Malfoy, it was said, had been executed by Voldemort near three months ago for failing to complete one mission too many. Whatever side they fought on, Minerva McGonagall felt each and every loss keenly. They were just children.

And yet, the silent figures before her did not look like children as they took a minutes silence to remember the dead. Parvati Patil was too pale, her hair lank and uncared for. She was no longer the giggly, vivacious girl she had been. The Parvati that had loved to primp and gossip had died, it seemed, with her sister. Neville Longbottom stood straight, looking weary, but strong and Justin Finch-Fletchey had developed a twitch which was the result of extensive exposure to the Cruciatus Curse.

A few more moments and she stood.

"Thank you. Now, as I call your names please step forward to receive your diploma. You may have your photo taken if you so wish. Now, first up… Bones, Susan." The girl scurried up towards her, looking for all the world like a nervous first year stepping up to the Sorting Hat. Her grip as she shook the Professor's hand was light and she didn't crack a smile until her grandmother in the crowd called out to her to pose for the camera. Even then it was fleeting and quite obviously forced.

She continued through the list of students without a pause until she reached Granger, Hermione. "I understand that Ms Granger and Mr Weasley will be collecting their certificates at a later date. They were not able to attend today."

Of course, everyone knew that Hermione and Ron were not willing to leave Harry's bedside. Indeed ever since the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort they had refused to be parted from him as he lay recovering from his near-fatal injuries. According to reports his condition was improving 'as well as can be expected,' whatever that meant.

"Moon, Adele." Was it just her or were the teenagers looking more and more defeated as she worked her way through them? Looking at the downcast face of Sally-Anne Perks, the answer to that question was a resounding yes.

And it was about to get worse. She had finally reached Potter, Harry and the last thing that these youths needed was to be reminded of the condition of their friend, classmate and savior. She hesitated. "Mr Potter is-"

"Mr Potter is right here."

Those assembled turned to face the doors as one and there was a moment where everyone just stared. The Boy-Who-Lived had slipped in through the doors unnoticed and was now standing there staring calmly back at them. The doors swung open again and in slipped Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Ron was grinning, but soon sobered up as he looked at the people in the Hall. Hermione looked quite serious, though she kept casting concerned glances in Harry's direction.

One girl broke the silence by turning to whisper frenziedly in her friend's ear and quite suddenly the Hall was filled with people discussing this latest occurrence. Minerva raised her wand, muttered "Sonorus" under her breath, then focused on the crowds of people. "Silence!"

She found herself reminded of that muggle saying 'You could have heard a pin drop.' It was certainly apt in this case. The graduates were staring at her wide eyed, their families sporting a similar expression. Were it not such a Slytherin expression she would have thought Harry was smirking, but as it was she gave him the benefit of the doubt and assumed it was an amused smile.

She put her stern face on, despite being pleased to see him up and well. "Mr Potter, what do you think you are doing?"

"I'm receiving my graduation certificate, of course Professor," came the clear and distinctly cheeky reply. Hermione rolled her eyes and whispered something to him as Ron gave him a friendly shove toward the podium. Harry stepped forwards shyly at first, but then as the cheers broke out he blushed and straightened his spine, striding with determination.

As he reached her she shook his hand before handing him his diploma. Cameras around the Hall flashed and if she hadn't thought the noise could get any louder, she was proved wrong now. The gloomy faces of two minutes earlier were nowhere to be seen. She had to purse her lips to stop them from curling into an uncharacteristic smile.

Only Potter, she thought. Only Harry Potter could create such a fuss just by turning up to his own graduation ceremony.

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This was done for a contest for the Third Floor Corridor at http/thirdcorridor. I'd recommend it to anyone. It's a wonderful site. Go check it out and tell them Jaenelle referred you.

Anyway, the contest was one where we had to write about one of the Professors watching graduation and it had to be over 500 words.

Hope you liked it (hope the judges liked it too, lol), but whether you did or not, please review and tell me why you fell like you do about it. Reviewers are loved forever.

FalconWing aka Jaenelle.