D/C: I don't own Harry Potter

Hello!! Okay, I would never have thought of writing this of my own accord, but I made it for this contest of The Final Prophecy (details about the site in my bio), and I really hope it would win. So, read and tell me what you think, people!!

Reminiscence

People move on and the bright light of great battles subdue, friends meet in pubs and parlours, happy to be able to walk about in the sunshine once again, while foes are restrained to their damp and dingy cells, exchanging insults and snide remarks with their neighbouring cells through bars which barely allow a baby's hand to pass through them. However, even mighty heroes themselves have their moments when they simply forget everything that had happened earlier in their lives, and just indulge in the spur of the moment.

Harry Potter couldn't help but grin at his reflection in the full-length mirror. One who hadn't seen Harry for six years would notice the change in him; this Harry wasn't thin with the look of ill-nourishment on him, he didn't have any boyish traces left in his face anymore...he held himself up differently; rather than walking with his head slightly bent so people wouldn't stare up into his face, he stood tall and firm, and there was a definite glow of pride which hadn't gone ever since his last battle. It wasn't only that...because the normal Harry wouldn't dress up in a black tux willingly, unless it was for some special occasion.

There was a knock at the door, and a familiar red-head poked his head inside. "Oy, Harry! You ready yet, mate?" he said.

Ron was another case. When Harry looked at his best friend, all he could do was wonder. He wondered about how this guy was able to carry on in his life when he had lost the dearest people to his heart. He still remembered the funerals, he remembered the ashen look on Ron's face, and his incapability of speech for several days afterwards. It wasn't easy to come back to your home, victorious from a war, to find the lingering traces of a Dark Mark hovering above your house, and then to walk in and see the two people who had brought him into this world, lying motionless on the hearth in front of the living room fire.

What made it more difficult to endure is that that particular son had closed the eyes of a girl dear to him a couple of hours before.

It wasn't as if Ron hadn't changed at all. He had become good-looking over the years, and had become much more mature. But the brightness in his eyes had somehow diminished, there was a guarded sense around him which just wouldn't disappear...you had to be a lot more careful when you were joking around Ron now, something which wasn't required six years ago.

Harry smiled at him. "Just give me a moment, Ron," he replied.

Ron just gave him a curious look, before nodding and closing the door.

Harry sighed heavily. He moved to the table at the back of the room, and picked up the picture frame which had been lying there. With a sad smile, his eyes travelled over the faces which he had known too well. Some of which, he would never see again.

He was sitting in the middle of the picture, and next to him sat Ron, who had an arm thrown across his shoulder, and another draped around Hermione, who was sitting close to him. Bill and Fleur were standing behind them, and the latter was just planting a soft kiss on her fiancé's cheek. On Harry's other side sat Ginny, beaming into the camera while her arms encircled his waist, and Luna sat next to her, smiling vaguely. The twins stood behind them, making goofy faces down at them. And then, if you looked behind this happy, smiling group, you could see someone who had been caught in the frame without noticing. Draco Malfoy.

It was strange how the people you hated almost seven years of your life come and surprise you at the end. Harry still couldn't believe what Malfoy had done for him in the final battle; he still wondered about it, asking himself of the reason which had made Malfoy jump in full view of the Avada Kedavra simply to stop it from touching him. The memory was still fresh in his mind; Malfoy crumpling to the floor in a dead heap at his feet, while his grey eyes looked blankly up at the horrified Harry, and across from them, the snake-faced Lord Voldemort stood, his wand raised, while his face bore the unmistakable fury of a chance of killing Harry Potter gone wasted.

Harry looked blearily at the picture, and without even realizing it, tears had leaked from his eyes and had spattered across the picture. The people in the picture all jumped out of the way to avoid being blotched by the tears, and hid at the edges of the frame, while shaking their fists at him...and others shamelessly threw rude hand gestures at him. Fleur looked exceptionally furious, since she'd gotten the edge of her robes blotchy.

Harry couldn't help the low laugh which escaped his lips, and he hastily reached for a tissue and started dabbing it at the picture, murmuring, "Sorry. I'm sorry," under his breath. Only when the residents of the frame felt it was safe enough to return to their original positions, did their masks of indignation finally disappear.

He replaced the frame, and reached for another which had been lying next to it. Now he looked upon the faces of his mother, father and godfather, all beaming happily at him. Even as he watched, Sirius put one arm around Lily and the other around James, whispered something in their ears, before they finally looked up and all smiled cheekily at him. Harry laughed, and it was painful to do so.

Fighting back bitter tears, Harry put down the frame, and without a second look, he turned on his heels and walked out of the room.

Thank you, all of you. Without you, I wouldn't even be here...

-

No matter how much he tried to convince himself that one look wouldn't hurt, that it wouldn't cause him any pain, that it was only polite that he spared a single look, Harry couldn't bring himself to look at the guests. He could hear their quiet whisperings behind him, feel their eyes burning several twin-holes in the back of his head, but he just couldn't bring himself to look.

He knew that if he did, he'd be forced to notice the empty seats which would've otherwise been filled with his friends.

He felt a hand squeezing his shoulder and he looked around at Ron, who just smiled encouragingly at him. "It's okay, Harry, you can do it; it won't hurt you to take a look," he said gently.

Harry smiled gratefully at his best man, who then excused himself to go look up something. He took a deep breath and slowly looked around...and almost wished he hadn't.

No matter how many years pass, one would never be able to get over the shock of having lost a loved one. Sure, you might forget it for a while, but when something comes by and reminds you of it, you feel the same pain you've felt the instant you knew you lost them. You'd think: if this was my price to stay alive, then I'd much rather be dead. And when Harry looked at the guests, he felt a sharp stab at his heart.

There was Fred, sitting by himself, looking gaunt and distant as since he had lost George in the war with Voldemort seven years ago. Next to him sat Percy and Charlie, and between them sat a frail-looking Fleur, trying to restrain a little redhead from running around in the place...those two had taken Bill's parting words to the heart, "Take care of my wife and daughter", and so they did.

Harry looked around, and automatically ticked off the faces which should have been here, but weren't; Mr. Weasley, Mrs. Weasley, Draco Malfoy, Neville Longbottom, Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, Mundungus Fletcher, Mad-Eye Moody, Cho Chang...and several others. He got a sense of comfort when he saw familiar faces, such as the giant profile of Hagrid, Remus Lupin and Tonks and little baby Agatha, and then there was Seamus Finnegan and Dean Thomas...come to think of it, Harry felt that the sallow face of Severus Snape would've comforted him at the moment, but of course, Snape had made amends, and had sacrificed himself so as to help out Harry.

And then he looked at the two girls next to him; Luna and Gabrielle, but missed the friendly face of Hermione. Hermione would've been the most likely person to stand here, if she hadn't died trying to protect her friends against Voldemort; no one could produce a shield that powerful, so powerful it drains you out of all energy, and live to tell about it.

But there it was...the face which was able to lift up the corners of his mouth into a genuine, happy smile every time he saw it.

Ginny had stepped in through the church doors, looking absolutely beautiful in her white wedding dress, which was trailing after her. Her red hair lay about her head in delicate, wavy curls, and it was remarkable how stunning she looked even with the small touches of make up on her face. She had her hand around Ron's arm, and even as Harry watched, the brother had bent and whispered something in her ear, and she giggled, which made her appear all the more beautiful. Harry felt as if he were in a haze.

The two finally reached the altar. Ron kissed his sister's forehead, thumped Harry on the back, before going to stand at the side of the altar.

Harry held out his hand for Ginny, and, smiling shyly at him, she placed her hand in his, and he led her up next to his side. He smiled at her. "You look beautiful," he told her in a barely audible whisper.

She smiled mischievously. "And I didn't know you looked so good in a tux, sweetheart," she replied. She frowned at him. "Have you been crying?"

"No," he said a little too quickly. "What makes you say that?"

Ginny smiled warmly at him. "Oh, Harry," she said softly. She touched his face. "I know this strongly reminds you of everyone, but it can't be helped. All those sacrifices hadn't been made so that we live brooding about it. Those who died...they did so to at least give us a future, a better life...you mustn't feel sad about it. It's an insult to them. You have to move on; nothing ties you to the past anymore."

As if to prove a point, Ginny let her finger tips reach up to his forehead, where once, had been a lightning-shaped scar.
-

A/N: Sooo? Don't keep me in suspense, what did you think of this story? Was it good? Do you think it even has an inkling of a chance to win? Well, if you liked it, could you please review? I'd really appreciate it!!

- S.N.B.