Epilogue — The Boy Who Lived
"When I grow to old to dream
I'll have you to remember
When I grow to old to dream
Your love will live in my heart."
-Nat "King" Cole, "Too Old to Dream"
November 16, 2012
At dawn on the Day of Remembrance, fourteen Weasleys, four Malfoys, and one Potter assembled on the front lawn of Hogwarts as they'd done for the past nine years. As one, the group entered the white marble memorial, tall and shining gold in its Grecian splendour in the November dawn. The circular interior of the memorial shone in its own magical light. Along the smooth, unbroken marble wall the thousands of names of the victims and heroes of the War were etched into the stone in gilded gold. In the center of the gleaming white masterpiece were the five flames to the war heroes, kept burning constantly by magic — Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, Fred Weasley, Sirius Black and, in the center, Harry Potter.
It was a perfect press moment, as always. Photographers snapped shots of Minister of Magic Arthur Weasley running his fingers across the names of his sons etched into the wall and stood in respectful silence as the three oldest children performed their duties. William Percival Malfoy placed a white rose below the plaques of each of the Five Heroes. Frederick George Weasley, Jr. followed suit, though the rose he placed beneath his father's plaque was red. And James Sirius Potter went last, putting a red rose first on the plaque of Sirius Black and finally on his own father's. The photographers took pictures of the three boys standing solemnly before their families, and finally left the Weasley clan in peace.
Hermione looked around at the rest of the family, as they were all left to mourn. Arthur and Molly still looked well, despite the years of happiness taken away by the loss of three sons. Charlie and his wife quietly told the stories of each of the uncles of their two children, as was their own tradition. Draco and Ginny held their children close as he rolled up his left sleeve to tell his own story of war. Ron and his new wife, an American named Amy, stood slightly apart as he gave Amy her first introduction to the traditions of November 16. Blaise and her son stood next to Fred's flame and talked quietly, despite the woman's tears. And George stood back, as was customary, to leave Hermione to remember Harry in her own way while he told about the war to their children.
All the children. Each and every one of them could grow up without fear of Voldemort appearing at their homes to take their families and friends away. Hermione stepped over to stand beside the flame dedicated to Harry and rested her hand on her adopted son's shoulder. "How are you doing, James?"
"I'm okay," the ten-year-old replied. "It's just really weird, still. Aunt Hermione, am I anything like Dad was?"
She smiled, ruffling his curly black hair. "Yes. You're an awful lot like your Dad. And I bet next year when you go to Hogwarts, you'll be a Gryffindor just like him. Why don't you go over and ask Uncle Ron about the first time we both met your Dad?" James grinned in reponse, green eyes twinkling in a manner so reminicent of Harry that she couldn't keep the tears back as he dashed over to talk to Ron and Amy.
Hermione sunk to her knees next to the plaque. She'd been to his grave before, buried over in Cincinnati, Ohio beside his wife as Harold Black, but nothing seemed to connect her to the memories so much as this simple plaque on this fateful day. "He's just like you, Harry. He's starting Hogwarts next year. George thought about sending him to Beaubaxton so neither of us would have to teach him, but we decided that he has to go to Hogwarts. He's your son, isn't he? He's had a real childhood, Harry. Just like we didn't."
She fell silent. Looking down at the gleaming white plaque, she reached out to touch the name. She remembered — all the pranks, all the joys and fears, all the heartbreak and triumph, all the life he'd lived and the terror he'd faced; all the things which had ripped his youth away, along with hers. And Hermione wept for the loss of her childhood, running her fingertips over the gilded inscription carved deep into the smooth, white marble.
Harold James Potter
July 31, 1980 — November 16, 2003
The Boy Who Lived
The Martyr Who Saved
"And the battle's just begun
There's many lost but tell me who has won?
The trenches dug within our hearts
And mother's children — brothers, sisters torn apart!"
-U2, "Sunday, Bloody Sunday"