The Healing Begins
McGonagall had replaced the house tables in the Great Hall and everyone mixed in together to talk and recover from the battle. Teachers and students, Ghosts and parents, centaurs and House-elves, it didn't matter. Hagrids baby brother Grawp peered in through a smashed window and laughed as he got food thrown to him.
Harry was feeling exhausted as he mingled with those who were alternately jubilant and mourning. The loss of Fred, Lupin and Tonks along with so many others had affected him to the point where he just wished to find somewhere he could find peace and quiet and mourn them. Luna understood what he wanted and provided a distraction so he could quickly hide himself under the Cloak and leave. He found Ron and Hermione and crouched down between them, then muttered, "It's me. Will you come with me?"
The trio then stood up and left the Great Hall.
McGonagall noticed Hermione and Ron were leaving the Great Hall and suspected that Harry had hidden himself under the Cloak to go with them. She had mixed feelings as she thought over what she had heard Harry say to Voldemort before defeating the terrible wizard."Snape never beat Dumbledore! Dumbledore's Death was planned between them!..." She suspected that Harry knew much more and hoped; that Harry would fill in the details for her later. She wanted to understand and needed closure as did everyone who were now sitting in the Great Hall and comforting the bereaved while celebrating the permanent demise of the most terrifying dark wizard of the modern era.
She looked over at where the remaining Weasleys, including Percy were grouped together. Arthur and Molly were quietly hugging George who was looking upset, bewildered, lost and alone. He was grieving the loss of his other half.
Harry recounted what he had seen of Snape's memories in the Pensieve and what happened in the forest while they headed up the stairs to the entrance of the Headmasters study. The Headmasters and Headmistresses gave him a standing Ovation; They waved hats and in some cases wigs, they reached through their frames to grip each others hands and danced upon the chairs in which they had been painted. Harry looked over at the largest portrait which was directly behind the Headmasters chair where Dumbledore sat with tears sliding down from behind the half-moon spectacles into the long silver beard.
They discussed what he had done with the thing in the snitch which mystified the confused and curious fellow portraits. Dumbledore approved of the loss and Harry told him he would keep Ignotus's present but he wished to hide the Elder wand where it came from. He then laid upon the desk the two halves of his own wand. touched it with the tip of the Elder Wand and said "Reparo."
His wand resealed and red sparks flew out of its end. Harry was satisfied as he picked up the Holly and Phoenix wand and felt the sudden warmth in this fingers.
Ron asked him if he was sure about not keeping the Elder wand and Hermione said quietly, "I think Harry's right."
Harry said "The wand is more trouble than it is worth and honestly, I think I've had enough trouble for a lifetime. He turned and noticed another portrait had appeared in the far corner away from the others. His eyebrow rose as he recognized the sleeping figure. Ron and Hermione noticed where he was gazing.
"Why is he on the wall?" asked Ron. "I thought only proper headmasters or mistresses were allowed to be here.."
Harry interrupted Ron's train of thought. "It is right and proper he should be here. I studied the memories he gave me and I realized then that he really was an honourable and brave man."
Hermione looked over at the pensive and said."His memories were not only a gift to you Harry, I think it was the only way he could help you understand everything that you needed to know.."
Harry sighed as he turned to look at his friends. "He did at that."
A few days later with the dead buried with dignity and the injured seen to, the Sorting Hat was back on his shelf behind the claw footed desk near Dumbledores portrait; having been cleansed and repaired, for which the elderly Hat was thankful. McGonagall looked towards the far corner where she noticed that Snape was still asleep in his portrait and her eyes felt wet as she thought over all she now knew transpired since Dumbledore's death and the reasons why.
She had accompanied Harry to the shrieking shack where she gazed with sadness at the limp silent form of her former student and colleague She shuddered slightly when she knelt and saw the terrible neck wound. She felt it was her duty to make sure that he at least had a proper burial and send off. As they prepared Snape's body for transport Harry told her everything that he had learned from observing the pensieved memories. She thought it was ironic that he should die here of all places. The image of a much younger boy whose eyes were filled with terror after being subjected to a horrible joke by Sirius Black involving Lupin in werewolf form flitted across her mind and a momentary flash of anger towards Dumbledore went through her but left almost as quickly as she levitated the body and said simply "We shall bury him next to Albus."
Harry nodded in agreement and they were both silent in thought as they walked down the stairs and moved through the tunnel and passed the body up the hole to Hagrid who had waited for them patiently after he had prepared the grave beside the white tomb.
They walked together towards the open grave where they were met by Professors Flitwick, Sprout, and Madame Pomfrey who were waiting solemnly for their return. Argus Filch was staring blankly at the black casket which was resting near the hole. His eyes were red, puffy and watery from mourning the loss of his friend. Hagrid gently laid Snape in the casket and each of them placed tokens of respect in beside the body before the casket was closed and levitated slowly into the ground.
A crowd of wizards, witches, centaurs and other creatures were gathered for a special memorial on the grounds of Hogwarts which had been magically restored to its pre-battle condition. Representatives from the Ministry, Dialy Prophet and the Quibbler were present along with the School staff and the families of the students. They gazed upwards at a tall gray monument with an image of a phoenix flying above it not far from where Dumbledore and Snape rested. It had no discernible markings on its smooth polished sides.
A podium was set up nearby where the new Headmistress Professor McGonagall stood. She waited till everyone was seated. She cleared her throat and then began to speak.
"We have all gathered here together to honour the memory of our fallen Heroes. We should remember in our thoughts the appreciation of the most wonderful gift that has been bestowed upon us by many who fought throughout these dark years."
"Indeed it would be a misfortune if the bravery and sacrifices of those who struggled all these years to bring the Downfall of He- who..." she paused a moment and then said. "NO, he shall be named, Voldemort! We need not fear saying his name now."
She spoke of Albus Dumbledore's leadership and Severus Snape's loyalty that unfortuantly could not be revealed or acknowledged while Voldemort lived. She also spoke of Neville Longbottoms parents Frank and Alice who were still in Saint Mungos having been tortured into insanity during the first war.
To the House Elves delight she spoke of their involvement and courage and of Dobby's bravery in going to Malfoy Manor and rescuing Luna Lovegood, Dean Thomas, Mr Ollivander, Griphook and the trio Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley before dying from the knife that had hit him just as he was vanishing with the last four.
The Weasley family, Hermione and Harry was sitting together and Harry bowed his head as he listened to the speech .He thought of his family and friends who had died because they believed in what they were fighting for.
Harry also extended a silent but heartfelt thank you to the dour potions master whose life mirrored His own to some extent.
There were speeches by several members of the Ministry which were listened to politely by the audience.
McGonagall read out the names of the fallen heroes from both the first and second war and as she pronounced each name it would appear shining for several seconds in the air and then inscribed itself upon the smooth unmarred surface of the monument. Among the many names called out were;
After the ceremony each person and creature stood for three minutes of silence to honour the memories of their brave dead and then they slowly left the grounds to live the safe and free lives that they had been given. They would still mourn and grieve for their loved ones in the months ahead, but time would pass and life would continue on. The dead would live on and be remembered in the births of children who would be named for them and the day Voldemort was defeated would become a day that everyone would take time out to remember and honour the dead Heroes starting with three minutes of silence when the sun rose at Dawn.