Please review! Thanks for the reviews last time around. I imagine many of you are feeling a sense of disappointment and sadness for the tragic end.
A New Hope
Requiem: A New Hope
On Saturday a delegation was convened from the ministry in talks on who to appoint as new Minister for Magic. Kingsley Shacklebolt came out on top. Lucius had been one of the key supporters to vouch for Kingsley. Harry Potter had also had a talk with the patriarch of the Malfoys in which they had struck a deal. Mr. Malfoy would be immune from the consequences that other surviving Death Eaters would soon be facing, as long as he agreed to be a patron to Hogwarts. He was now forever indebted to supply gold to the school. The first expenditure on the agenda was of course repairs and renovations after the great battle.
Today was now Sunday and the funeral was taking place at sunset.
"Mr. Potter – may I have a quick word?"
The bespectacled young man frowned slightly. He might have been reminded of his many unpleasant encounters with past ministers, especially Rufus Scrimgeour.
But then Harry flashed a smile, the one he wore whenever in the company of people he liked. "Oh, yeah. Sure!"
Harry told his future wife that he had some more business to attend to and if she could please leave them. Ginny was understanding and went her way back up the path without complaint.
Kingsley stepped forwards towards Harry and then stared out over the shimmering Black Lake. The sun was still high in the horizon. The funeral was a few hours away.
Kingsley said, "The Death Eaters are being put on trial for war crimes. I shall make sure every one of them is sent to the dementors and put straight to death afterwards, and I will make sure both your story and theirs is published in juxtaposition. It will serve us well to show who has come out on the winning side."
"I can't agree with you more," said Harry. Harry was glad this talk was going so much better than things had with Scrimgeour or Fudge.
"As I understand you made a bargain with Lucius?"
"Yeah I did. I say we don't harm his family. He's going to help Hogwarts and without his money….Without his gold Hogwarts will never get the repairs it needs."
But Kingsley suddenly became firm and resolute. "Malfoy will testify as will Draco and maybe even the wife. I will make sure of it. He may escape retribution but he will contribute to the trial!"
"I agree. We'll need his testimony."
"Potter, Lord Voldemort committed thousands of crimes. He was undoubtedly the worst dark wizard an Auror will ever see. So I have no doubt you have extraordinary strength."
"Thanks," said Harry modestly. "But if it wasn't for Dumbledore and Sn-"
Kingsley interrupted him. He seemed determined to make his point. His lined face creased and his gold earring gleamed in the sunlight. "There were tens of thousands of Inferi in these very waters. The corpses surrounded Hogwarts. If they had been used….Well all's well that ends well. Thankfully they weren't unleashed. And we were able to destroy his Inferi."
"Minister I think you might want to know that Voldemort also kept a cave. There might be more Inferi and a very lethal potion. Nobody knew of this cave save a few. I am certain it still exists."
"Do you know where the cave is located?"
"Yes. I think I can find it. We can apparate there now if need be."
"No. Not now. Tonight is the time to reflect on all that has transpired and hopefully find some peace, knowing he is vanquished. But I will make sure that this Monday a task force of Aurors destroys whatever lies inside that place."
"Now. There is one more question I have for you…What did you decide to do with Voldemort's body?"
"It was laid away in a chamber. But then, people were talking of going in there….So I made sure to get in first, with Mcgonagall's approval of course. I Vanished it." Harry grinned broadly, finding humor in it. "There was little baby spiders crawling all over his shriveled body. Apparently one of the creatures gave birth during the battle. I saved one for Hagrid!" And Harry threw the minister a furtive glance. It had been an accident for him to slip this bit of information. "You won't tell, minister that he's got one? Hagrid swears he'll keep it under control."
"No, I won't say anything. And I will see to it that you receive all the training you need, Potter. You have been very helpful to the ministry. Indeed that is true for all of us! The least we can do is set you on a brilliant career."
"I always wanted to be an Auror. It was really the only ambition for me. It suits me perfectly, doesn't it? But I should also vouch for my friend, Neville. Neville Longbottom also wants to be an Auror. He completed all the required subjects."
"Certainly, Mr. Potter. I can get your friend in. You'll find that your name will have special power and influence for the rest of your life."
It was the most serene Sunday evening. A giant marquee had been erected beside the Black Lake. It was of silver-coloured tapestries that depicted the Tale of the Three Brothers. This is indeed the famous legend concerning death and the hope for eternal life.
The most extraordinary assortment of witches and wizards had shown up. Harry noticed Fudge twirling his green bowler hat sitting nearby Rufus Scrimgeour and other ministry representatives including Umbridge. Feeling a surge of anger he did his best to ignore them. The Malfoys also joined the swelling horde, yet they stayed on the sidelines feeling removed from the sorrow. Of course the entire Weasley clan had shown up.
Kreacher, the house-elf was able to attend because Harry insisted. Yet all other elves had been barred from the ceremony. A smattering of goblins had come but most stayed away. The centaurs meanwhile were silently viewing the event from the forest. The merpeople who slept at dusk did not come out this time to sing. They were upset from Inferi in their territory last night. Although none of the merpeople was hurt, they viewed it as a threat. It was obvious that there were still many divisions in the Wizarding world.
A drum roll sounded and it echoed over the Scottish hills. The people in the chairs looked around and saw a long procession coming from the other end of Hogwarts. The procession had already circled the entire castle.
Gleaming in the fading light was over one hundred brass caskets. The losses consisted only of those who either had been in the Order of the Phoenix or were residents of Hogwarts. The ministry deaths were not included as they were having their own private occasion to mark the loss. The ministry's fatalities had boarded the Hogwarts express for a separate funeral. And the bodies of Death Eaters and Snatchers had been relocated to Azkaban where they would rot beneath the floors. All dementors were also being moved there. Aurors had already unceremoniously disposed of the many magical creatures that had perished.
The line came steadily closer and it seemed that black misshapen figures were pulling the brass coffins. Most of the crowd was able to see that the caskets weren't being pulled itself, but actually at the volition of the thestrals. A mournful call of bagpipes and flutes took up and resounded over the countryside.
Many living people were walking sedately between the coffins, and their feet trod over white rose petals strewn in the aisle. Towards the end of the procession, Ginny stared with a melancholy expression into one particular coffin. There lay her third cousin, Valerie Powers. Flowers netted the locks of her long hair and Valerie was garbed in silken white robes. She looked calm and at peace, her lips cherry red and looking as fresh and young as she had been. The wound on her forearm from the Sectumsempra curse was obscured by a white cloak over her shoulders.
It was like Valerie was the bride never to be, for right behind her was Severus Snape's casket, the man she could have married if they lived. His was the very last. Snape's body was in fresh black robes. Not the bloodied ones he wore when he died. His face was set grimly; the eyes had been closed. His dark lashes conspicuous on his face.
The crowd stood as the procession past them. In tribute for the ones who gave their lives as well as the prominent heroes they kept their wands raised high. Lupin and Tonk's body past one by one and then so did Fred Weasley's. Ron's eyes gleamed with tears and Hermione grasped his hand.
And lastly when the Headmaster of Hogwarts came, they lit their wands. The silver tips gleamed upward into the twilit sky. The custom was to show a sense of unity that Snape had tried to foster in the school.
Ginny, Harry, Hermione, Ron, Mcgonagall, Kingsley, Rubeus Hagrid and many others had been in the procession. Most of them sat in the reserved front seats.
The long line of caskets came to an abrupt halt inside the marquee. The crowd watched with hushed intensity, and resumed their seats. Between the large chasm of the tent the crowd could still see all the brass caskets, all of them opened wide, revealing the faces of those who had perished.
And at the very front in the center they presented Severus Snape's body. The Hogwarts School crest was behind him like a flag. Immediately beside him was Valerie's casket, although nobody would realize what this meant as there were already so many caskets behind Snape's.
The Hogwart's school choir began to sing an appropriate Latin chant. The crowd remained seated, but lit their wands again and held them up to the ever-darkening sky. The song was called, "In Noctem." It seemed to resonate with the moment and many felt the hair rise up on their necks.
The lyrics of this powerful, ancient tribute to sorrow and reflection on the plight of the soul went like this:
"Ferte in noctem
In lustrae stellae via mea
Aspectum in gloria
Fucatis pars die
Cantate vitae cantibus
Sine dolore cante
Dicite ... ...
And the choir concluded in English:
"Carry my soul into the night
May the stars light my way
I glory in the sight
As darkness takes the day.
Sing a song, a song of life
Made without regret.
Tell the ones, the ones I love
I never will forget (never will forget)."
The song faded like the day itself, which was quickly transforming into night. For a moment everything was lulled by silence. Only the tapestry curtain covering the marquee whispered softly like that of the veil in the Department of Mysteries. And the Hogwarts ghosts emerged, drifting silvery forms over the marquee.
The atmosphere held that ethereal otherworldly glow. Ginny and Harry took the initiative. The two of them stood before Snape and Valerie's caskets.
Ginny would speak first. For a moment she couldn't say anything, her throat was constricted with so many emotions. Yet the look on her face was hard and fierce like somebody who had been through something devastating and had been changed forever by it.
Ginny thought of Mcgonagall's recent confession to herself and also how she had told it to Harry and Neville. Her mind recalled silently like a dream what Mcgonagall said. "Valerie and Severus…I can't believe I'm putting those names together! Well, they were in love…I'm not sure how long. Months at least." They were the only people in the world besides a few more who had known that Snape had been with a student and they swore to keep that quiet as Mconagall did not want it to hurt Hogwart's reputation or the couple's memory.
Ginny broke her thoughtful silence with a small laugh. The crowd tittered nervously. "I'd like to speak on behalf of Valerie Powers…A student of Hogwarts who died defending the school just two nights ago. Valerie was a…beloved cousin of mine. She was a member of the D.A. too and did a lot for us…."
Ginny continued her speech relating a few remarkable tidbits for Valerie's eulogy. She had enough tact to realize people didn't like long speeches and it soon ended. Unfortunately none of it really mattered to anybody for few had really known her.
But Seamus and Neville had tears in their eyes, feeling a twinge of guilt about the last time they saw Valerie alive. They had called her a traitor when they were fighting over Gryffindor tower. After the battle Ginny had explained from what she heard from Harry that Valerie was really on their side. And in the process Harry had of course explained the truth to the entire world about Severus Snape….
Even Harry was able to say some wonderful things for Snape. He reminisced briefly about his first Potions lesson and this brought everybody to laughter.
"And he was probably the bravest man I ever knew…"
Harry ended his speech and people were reduced to crying again. But also smiling a lot through the tears. It was a quiet strength. Peace had been restored this evening. A peace the Wizard world had not had for nearly a century. As even before Voldemort there was Grindelwald.
The headmistress, Mcgonagall came marching up to the front. She raised her wand and performed the complex transfigurements to close the caskets. Minister Kingsley went beside her to oversee the honors. Family members rose from their seats for some of them was going to do it themself.
Every casket except Valerie and Severus's went up in fiery flames.
And then Harry and Ginny stepped forward to do the final tribute. Harry went over to Snape's body and peered over it one last time. He took his wand out and fiery flames burst forth. Ginny meanwhile did the same with Valerie's.
The two alone were cremated together. It was just Severus and Valerie. The fire turned from white into red fiery flames like a bloody sunset that illuminated the bodies.
Smoky shapes spiraled in the air, rising higher and higher. Ginny thought she saw two Ravens sail fantastically off into the twilight. The smoldering flames died out and then through magic the ashes were transferred immediately into urns. It was the only remaining remnant left of Valerie and Severus. And all the others. And behind the crowd Dumbledore's tomb shone like a beacon of hope, a testament to the plan that had worked. They had sealed it once again after Voldemort went in and robbed it. It was abundantly covered with flowers now.
The truth hit them all. It was over. They all saw very clearly how they had sacrificed their lives. Snape, Valerie, and members of the Order of the Phoenix and the students.
Mcgonagall came forward again and lifted the remains of the former headmaster high into the air over her head as if doing an offering to the dieing day. The ashes came out and spread all over the grounds, first drifting, and then settling into the ground. Many of the other urns including Valerie's did the same.
And that was the last of Valerie and Severus. The darkening twilight finally faded into black. It was completely dark but nobody was frightened. This dark felt soft and velvety. It was security.
The stars came out. The crowd began to hug their loved ones keeping them close. Xenophilius was hugging his daughter, Luna. It was the man who had told Harry the Tale of the Three Brothers and its universal truth that had saved them all. Other people were sitting in solemn reflection, tears falling into their laps.
Fleur and Bill kissed. Ron watched for a moment and then boldly grabbed Hermione's waist and hugged her. They too started kissing. And Madame Maxime and Hagrid were together, standing awkwardly with Grawp in their wake. Not far off, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley held hands and talked in lively voices, doing their best to recall happier times.
Harry went off alone towards the back of the slowly leaving crowd. He looked towards the darkness where a fiery display erupted in the celestial heavens. It filled him with light and he could swear he felt the presence of everlasting love. Hues of blue, red, green and orange and yellow danced in perfect precision across the sky. The baby Teddy Lupin was watching with wide-eyed wonder, his grandmother, Andromeda Tonks holding him in her arms whilst her muggle husband, Ted stood nearby. The baby's eyes were full of hope and light. He would never know the mother and father who had gave their lives so that he may have a better life.
Harry stared in contemplation up at the sky, as did many others at the show of the Northern lights. He smiled sadly as he thought of those he missed and how childhood could have been different for him if Voldemort hadn't marked him. He lingered, staring. In his mind he could see Dumbledore, Snape and Dobby from above watching over him. And all the others as well. It was like a final good-bye. It filled Harry with joy and sadness. The good had prevailed although evil could never quite be eradicated.
Luna was murmuring with delight at it all. Harry heard her comment, "It's their souls at play. They're telling us they're okay!" And for once Harry thought she must surely be right.
Something warm with a flowery smell was entangling around him. Ginny had rushed over to him and placed an arm over Harry's shoulders. "Come on, Harry! There's a celebration we have to get to!"
Harry and Ginny left in the darkness with the other people leaving the funeral site towards the warmth of the Great Hall. As they went he stole a few kisses and smiled with contentment. They would all rebuild their lives after the war. It was the birth of a new hope.
NOTE: That is the end! I am so glad I finished this and can focus on something else now. This story as a whole is rife with mistakes and it is not perfect writing. By the way the Northern Lights does not only visit the North Pole, it has been seen all over the world. Plus there are actual myths about the lights being a sign from the recently departed. I got the Latin chant from the Half-blood Prince movie soundtrack. Ironically it fits like it was made for the funeral scene! And I was hoping to have a Latin chant for the Epilogue since last year. I was going to write one of my own creation but this works just fine. Does anybody have any comments on "The Dark Gryffindor" as an entire piece? I'm curious, you know. Please review. I will respond to you. I hope you appreciated that Epilogue.