A/N- An short little one-shot devoted to the wonderful Harry Potter series. After reading Deathly Hallows I just felt like I owed J K Rowling something for writing such an amazing series and knew I had to do something to show my appreciation. Thus, this was born. As should be obvious, there are spoilers for the last book.
A great stone column was being erected, bearing the names of all those lost that day. Students, teachers, members of the Order of the Phoenix, they were all there. So many had been lost that day. True, Voldemort was gone- but at what a cost.
Harry watched in the crowd as Professors Flitwick and McGonagall raised the block of carved marble with one single sweep of their wands into the waiting foundations. Down its' four sides names were etched, over fifty of them, most of them familiar to Harry. Lupin was on there, along with Tonks, leaving only their orphaned baby Teddy behind in this life. Just like Harry had been, he mused. Still, it was an old hurt, engulfed now by a far greater one. Hedwig's death was like a tiny pinprick comparing to this piercing blow.
The monolith was surrounded by three stone animals, a raven, perched lamentfully on the top, a badger, half underground in its hole, coming to snuffle and sniff at the memorial, and a lion twisting mournfully around it. The snake was made inconspicuous by its absence.
The crowd slowly started to disperse, back to the castle or to lay about the ground. There was no homework to be done now, exams had been cancelled for repairs to the castle and were to be taken at Christmas instead. Professor McGonagall, who was now acting headmistress had come to Harry a few weeks previously and told him if he wished it, he could repeat year seven along with Ron and Hermione. He did not think he would do this however, glancing at the name Fred Weasley he knew it was time to make a fresh start. After term ended he'd be going to The Burrow, and from there, who knows? Maybe he'd get a place of his own, and maybe, just maybe, Ginny would go with him…
At any rate, the idea of becoming an auror had lost its appeal. He'd had a lifetime of trouble and dark wizards as it was, thank you very much.
He was the only one left by the memorial now, apart from- he realized this with a start- Luna Lovegood. She looked over to him at the same time and caught his eye, "Hello Harry," she said, her blond hair bouncing over to him, reflecting the midday sun.
"Hello Luna," he said tiredly, mentally drained by the appearance of the memorial. It wasn't like he didn't know it before, but somehow this, something set in stone, made the deaths more real.
"Lovely weather today, isn't it?" she said, gesturing needlessly to around them. It was the sort of thing someone might say to distract him from the grim reminder before them, but coming from Luna's mouth he knew she was perfectly serious.
"Yeah, I suppose it is." Harry replied, looking round, away from the column into the clear day, the Whomping Willow whomping happily in the sun. "Are you going hunting for Crumple-Horned Snorkacks this summer again?" he asked, trying to keep things light (and amazed he remembered the name).
Luna's dreamy expression melted into a frown, "Actually, I'll be helping Daddy fix the house. Apparently there was some sort of explosion while I was locked up. I don't suppose you saw it? Daddy mentioned you came round."
The corner of Harry's mouth twitched, he decided not to tell her that the explosion had been caused while Xenophilius tried to hand him in to Voldemort.
Luna let out a long airy sigh and fixed her unblinking eyes on Harry's. "How's your friend Ron? I was most upset when I found out about his brother, I always thought he was very funny."
Harry thought about the weeks that had followed the battle and how Ron had confined himself to their dormitory, hardly ever leaving his bed. "He'll be alright," he said at last, "he's got Hermione."
"And you've got Ginny," she said with a smile.
Harry felt something jolt in his stomach, and he gave a faint grin back. "Yeah, I have."
He met Ron and Hermione under the beach tree by the lake, and flopped down next to them on the grass, raising his hand to shade the sunlight stinging his eyes.
"It's funny, isn't it?" said Hermione, staring out onto the lake, "It's been seven years already, but it just seem to have gone by in a flash."
"But we're not as titchy now," said Ron, his hand on Hermione's, "it's hard to believe we weren't all friends straight away, looking back now."
"I think it was the troll that did it. We were all together after that." Said Harry, watching a thestral fly over them.
Hermione sat up straight, "Ooh!" she said excitedly, "the troll! I'd almost forgotten! Remember when you stuck your wand up its nose Harry?"
Harry pulled out his old Phoenix feather wand from his pocket, "This wand's been everywhere," he said with a grin, "I'm glad I managed to fix it."
"Did you give Malfoy back his?" Ron asked.
"Yeah, he's been going round bragging about it, saying," Harry pulled the most pompous look onto his face he could muster and tilted his nose into the air, "'My wand killed the Dark Lord.'"
"Well I suppose it did," said Hermione, trying to restrain an un-Hermione-ish snort.
"Yeah, but Malfoy didn't do the job," laughed Ron.
They lapsed into silence, watching the sky turn from pink to red as the sun touched down on the water's edge, casting ripples of crimson all over the lake.
"I'll miss this place," said Ron at last, "can't imagine never coming back."
"Same," sighed Hermione.
"And the Burrow's going to seem so empty now…without Fred." Harry glanced at Hermione, and she at him. They hadn't planned on bringing this subject up in case Ron got upset, but they knew it was probably best he got it off his mind and out into the open.
"He died like a hero," Hermione said gently, squeezing Ron's hand, "trying to protect Hogwarts from Voldemort."
"I know," said Ron, "I just… I just wish things could have been different. George is crushed, he's always with Fred, see? I don't think he knows what to do now he's gone, I've never seen him look so lost. He hasn't cracked a joke in days. But… we're all here for him, and now Percy's back I'm sure he won't want to miss out on an opportunity to annoy him. He just needs time, I think."
"He'll be alright," Harry said, "he's got all of you lot to cheer him up. Do you think he'll carry on with the joke shop?"
Ron nodded, "Can't see how he wouldn't, it's so successful. Him and Fred were in the middle of making a new product when…" he trailed off.
"Anyway Ron, the Burrow certainly won't be empty, not with Fleur, Harry and me staying for summer." Said Hermione.
A new mood gripped Ron, and he reached over and grabbed Hermione's hand with his other one, sandwiching it between the two. "My offer still stands Hermione," he said looking her in the eye, "Mum won't mind."
Hermione blushed, looking away. "I've told you already Ronald, I need more time to think." She became very interested in a pair of first years trying to bewitch a kite to fly without wind.
"What's all this?" Harry asked cheekily, looking forward and back to the pair of them.
"Ron asked me if I-ah- I-"
"I asked her if she wanted to stay a bit longer."
"You mean like, move in?" Harry asked knowingly, with a smile.
Ron scratched his nose, "Well, maybe not permanently, but y'know? For a little while." He looked at her hopefully.
Hermione stared furiously at the first years.
Harry watched her for a little while, and then laughed and laid back down, a great contentment filling him. Everything would be alright, Voldemort was gone, his friends were here, the haze that surrounded the future was thinning, and tomorrow was starting to look like a good day.
The kite caught the magical wind the first years were casting and it flew high up into the air, reflecting the red light the sun threw out all over the sky, a beacon for his happiness.