Part 10: A Chance to Live.

.o0o.

Draco.

You sit on your bed, surrounded by the rose petals that you had planned to bathe him in, and a small exquisitely wrapped box in your lap that contained the most precious thing you owned. And you are numb. There isn't even grief to hold on to yet - to hold you up, there's just an aching chasm of irony.

Everything has changed.

A few days later, there is a service in his honour. As there are no parents, no home as such, where people cared whether Harry lived or died, Dumbledore decides to hold the service at Hogwarts. Away from the crowds and the celebrations. Away from the well meaning, adoring public that expected everything from a teenage boy who had the grace and courage to meet their demands, asking nothing in return except that he be allowed to live an ordinary life, with someone who loved him for who he was. Not what.

You sit in the back row because that's expected of you, and you listen in numbed grief to the words that echo around the Hall. They tell of Harry's life, all the things you never had a chance to learn about him. You drink them all in, and they sting. Each word reminds you that you hadn't deserved his love; that you found out too late how much of a hero he really was.

As you sit there listening, another thought dawns on you. In more ways than one was Harry a hero. He saved you, but in doing so made it possible for you to save yourself. Blaise had come back to the dorm that night smirking and telling you that you no longer needed to worry about taking down the Boy Who Lived; he was on his way to being the Boy Who Failed. Before you'd stopped to think, your wand was at his throat and you demanded that he tell you what he'd done. Right there, you made your choice. You chose Harry. Right in that moment you saved yourself.

It was already too late for Harry. But it's not too late for you. You hear Dumbledore saying that all Harry really wanted was to be loved. And it reinforces what you plan to do at this service. So, when he asks if there is anyone who would like to say a few words, you push yourself to your feet and clear your throat. As you make your way to the front of the room and stand to face the disbelieving crowd, you hold yourself tall and erect and with dignity. The teachings of your father have not been entirely in vain after all.

You take a parchment from the pocket of your robes. You've had to write all this down because you know with a certainly that you will forget something, or that without the words in front of you to keep you going, you will break. Your voice is still cracked and hoarse, but you're determined. You can give Harry this, too late, but nevertheless, it's yours to give and you know that he would have wanted it.

Harry was my hero.

He told me once that he wanted to feel safe and secure and trusted and loved all at once, and I was the only one who could do that for him. I still don't know why, but then I have never been one to understand matters of the heart.

Somehow though, he saw past what you all see, and saw that there was someone worth loving. He loved me. And I loved him.

That always was Harry's biggest asset. His capacity to love. Most of us in this room felt it personally at some point, and in his death, we all feel it in that he gave his life for us. How can we feel any more loved than that?

I know that he had visions for a future that did not include the pain and the struggle that he lived with everyday. He had great expectations of himself and he knew that he would need to become a killer in order to save us all. He accepted it as his fate, but he would not accept it as ours.

I, for one, will never undervalue what he did for me. My life will never be the same again. I made my decision. I made my choice. I chose Harry. His choice was the whole of the Wizarding World, and yet I feel no less loved than any of you here, because he gave me hope.

He gave his life for that hope, the hope we carry in each of us that we can make the world a better place in which to live. It's not something that I thought about before Harry. But now that I have it, given freely to me by him, I will never let it go.

And… sometimes… When I dream, I can dream of living up to the hope he gave to us all. I can dream of living up to his love.

When you have finished there are tears rolling down your face, and there is not much left of your voice, it's so broken. But there could be heard a pin drop in the Hall, it was so quiet. As you make your way back to your seat, there is still silence and you wonder if they're all shocked or if they're getting ready to lynch you.

Then Grang- Hermione approaches and embraces you, and for the first time since you heard of Harry's death, you break down, and you sob uncontrollably onto her shoulder.

As the days and weeks pass you find that your whole life has changed, become new. Harry's friends have come to see things in you that you didn't know existed, things you think Harry must have seen. Your life is full now and you are, for the most part, content and happy. You keep Harry close to your heart, his love and hope fill you and each night before you sleep, you make a point of visiting the Astronomy Tower to sit quietly and look up at the stars. This is the time of day when you talk with Harry, tell him of all the wondrous things that are now happening in your life and silently thank him for the chance he gave you.

The chance to live.