"…So carry on, young gentlemen,
I have done all that I can
I have done all that I'll stand for"
Harry sat alone for a moment, the crowd around him moving back to the castle, most of them to do some last minute packing. The funeral was over now, and behind him stood Dumbledore's white grave. It suited him, the white, Harry thought. Actually, silver blue would suit him more, but the boy couldn't imagine a silver blue grave. Looking up, Harry saw Fawkes flying in circles above it master's grave, the master who was now dead. He wondered what was going to happen to the phoenix, now that the Headmaster was gone. Maybe, now that is was free, it would fly away and nobody would ever hear of Fawkes again. Or maybe Professor McGonagall would look after the bird. And that was when realization came upon him; McGonagall was now the Headmistress of Hogwarts. He almost sighed of relief. Dumbledore may be gone, but the Transfiguration Professor was still there, always strong and reliable. Harry knew she would remain loyal to the late Headmaster's principles and ideas. Looking over his shoulder, he found that McGonagall was standing next to Dumbledore's grave, talking to Lupin, who apparently was trying to take her inside; the sun was definitely too hot to bear. Feeling the sweat forming on his forehead, Harry got up to move inside himself, but not before taking a long and final look at the grave. He didn't want this to be his last memory of the Headmaster, so he closed his eyes and replaced the image of the gravestone with one of Dumbledore at the Great Hall, sat on the staff table at the start of the term, standing up to welcome the students, his eyes twinkling madly. Perfect. That is the image that will, for now on, come to his mind whenever the name Albus Dumbledore reaches his ears. Taking a deep breath, Harry crossed the double doors to the castle and entered the Great Hall, where most of the students and the people who had come to pay their last tributes to the deceased were gathered, none of them eating though, the food laid forgotten on the house tables. He spotted the Weasleys and Hermione sat at the end of the Gryffindor table. As he walked over to where his friends (and, in a sense, his family) were, he thought that Dumbledore, wherever he may be now, was looking down at all of them, telling them to carry on, the battle was not over yet.
Lupin sighed frustrated. No matter how hard he tried, Minerva wouldn't come inside with him. She said she wanted a few moments alone. What was she going to do, talk to Dumbledore and wake him up? Whatever it was, it was none of his concern. He left the Professor and went for a walk around the lake. Its surface was calm, even the Giant Squid seemed to be grieving. Lupin sat down on the ground near the lake, on the same spot Harry had sat just a few minutes ago. He bent down at the lake to see his reflection: he was pale and even thinner, with bags under his eyes, and this had nothing to do with the fact that it had been a full moon the night before. He had hardly gotten any sleep at all those last few days, and he doubted that he would get any today. He still couldn't believe that Dumbledore was gone, the most powerful wizard he had ever heard of, his ex-professor and mentor, the leader of the Order of the Phoenix, the friend that everyone knew they could count on at anytime. They lost all of this when they lost Albus Dumbledore. Remus allowed a few tears, the firsts he had shed for Albus, to roll down his face, and made no attempt to hide or wipe them away. He wasn't ashamed of crying, and he didn't care if people saw his tears; he felt he was on his right to cry. Before, they had Dumbledore to guide them, Voldemort to fight against and a war to win. Now, Voldemort and the war were still there, the threat of them floating above their heads, but there was no Dumbledore. What would they do? Turning his gaze from the lake to the castle, he saw people talking, walking hand in hand, hugging and offering their support to each other. Then, he saw his friends and colleagues, and Tonks. He thought about McGonagall's words: "Dumbledore would have been happier than anybody to think that there was a little more love in the world" Wasn't something like that what she had said? He knew exactly what they were going to do: they would move on, and, in the end, Dumbledore would be proud of all of them.
Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody had never been the one to cry; in fact, he couldn't even remember the last time he'd shed a tear. Some people said that he was heartless and that he couldn't feel anything. But he'd loved and hated, hurt and smiled, he had lived, but even Moody himself sometimes doubted that he had a heart. However, all his doubts vanished the moment the flames consumed the grave: if he didn't have a heart, how come there was something inside his chest folding with pain? He knew what his heart was doing; it was grieving for his long time friend, Albus Dumbledore, who was not among them anymore. The mere thought of Order meetings without Albus asking about their new discoveries, smiling when they had good news or losing the twinkle in his eyes (although he thought nobody would noticed) when they had no news at all, saddened the wizard people saw as cold. The truth was, Moody would miss him, and so would everyone. He had never stopped to think about how life would be without people around him; he had always thought that he would be the first one of the group to go, but now, as he stood up from his chair and slowly made his way to the Great Hall of Hogwarts, he knew that no, he had not been the first one, nor would he be the second to go. They had many more battles to fight, and he understood that Dumbledore would want him there, strong, to guide the younger. Moody sighed, and, limping, walked into the Great Hall. He smiled; Hogwarts was still there, and would always be. With or without Albus, they would move on.
Harry looked around the Great Hall once again. The students were all mixed together, Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs, Rawenclaws and Slytherins, it was impossible to tell who belonged to which House. Most of them were wearing black, but he could spot some wearing gray, or even white. No laughter, no chatting, no yelling, no playing. It was not like before, the atmosphere there had changed; before, they had not lost a Headmaster. Silence and peace, that was all that you could find there now. When the memory from the night before would stop haunting Harry? More importantly, when it would stop haunting the whole castle, the staff, the students, and when it would be possible for the school to come back to normality? Maybe within a few months, maybe never. Dumbledore had been the first Headmaster to die on school grounds in such a situation: killed by a professor! Harry could feel the anger welling up inside of him, he wanted to shout, to curse, to go after Snape and do to him the same thing he had done to Dumbledore. Harry starter shaking, result of the built up anger, but instantly calmed down when he felt a comforting hand on his shoulder; looking up, he saw Molly Weasley, the mother of his best friend – and a second mother to him- smiling at him. Harry nodded; he knew what she was silently doing. She was telling him, with no words at all, that it was not worth it. He looked at the staff table, and, upon seeing the Headmaster chair empty, he vowed to himself that they would win this war, for the sake of Dumbledore. He would never, they would never let him down.
Lupin always thought that there was nothing more relaxing and beautiful than see all the students sharing the same room, in perfect harmony. Today was no different; sure, they were not even eating, but they were together, as a team, and they didn't even realize that. They were just the way Dumbledore wanted them to be. There was no Houses today, no invisible line separating the students, no walls between them. They were simply there, all over the Great Hall, not caring if they were sitting at their House table or not, if near them were their biggest enemies. The staff, still shocked with the fact that a colleague had been responsible for all their grieving, sat among the students. Today, they were not professors or students, or family, they were equals. All of them were hurt, all of them were shaken, and all of them knew that, if they wanted to make it worth all the pain Dumbledore went through, they would have to join each other and fight, not giving up when things get tough, and not celebrating before they had defeated completely the evil. They all had one thing to focus on right now: put the twinkle back in Dumbledore's eyes.
He did not smile, he did not cry. He didn't look up when people passed by him and greeted, and he didn't care if people around him gave him strange looks. He only sat there, alone but not lonely, quietly drinking something he had taken out of his pockets, as usual, and observed. He observed the way the students were divided –or not-, the way they looked and the way they talked. It was all there, in the most simple of gestures, everyone could see what the pupils were going through. They were not grieving less than the participants of the Order; it was just a different kind of grief. While the staff and people from the Order grieved for a friend, the students grieved for a Headmaster, a mentor, and the most powerful wizard of their age. But Moody knew that, whatever kind of grief it was, they would have to pull through it. They still had a long way to go until they could finally breath easily again. The game had officially begun, and Voldemort thought he already had them on checkmate. What a mistake. Voldemort may have had taken away their most important piece, but he was far from having them cornered. They would fight until the end; the end meaning until the fall of the dark lord. No, they would not let their guards down until they had won the war, and they had many more battles to come. Carry on, that's what they were going to do. Carry on, because Dumbledore had done all that he could; it was up to them now.
A.N.: My first post-HBP fic. Please read and review ;D