Not Exactly a Happily Ever After
{Dumbledore's Army and the aftermath of the war}

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i. Harry Potter

The tiny boy climbed up into his lap, clutching something in his chubby hands. With an all-too innocent smile, the boy held up a picture. "Daddy… who are they?"

As Harry stared into the picture, eyes travelling over the all-too-familiar figures, he felt himself nearly choke. Tears started to flood his eyes, though of course, he held them back- he was far too strong for that. But even seeing himself, young, innocent, but with the weight of the world resting upon his shoulders- it was all too much. Then there was the small matter of the boy, the boy who wasn't his, calling him Daddy. It was terrible, what the war had done to this group of people, to this boy. It destroyed lives, wrecked families.

Taking the photograph from Teddy, Harry looked it over again. Some of the fallen caught his eye- Fred and Colin and others- and he felt immeasurable guilt. Perhaps, if he had not tried to fight, if he had just gone to Lord Voldemort in the first place, these people- these children with their lives ahead of them- would not be dead.

But he could not very well explain this to the five-year-old, who was looking up at him with shining eyes. So, instead, all he could bring himself to say was, "This was… still is a group of very brave people."

Teddy's chubby fingers traced the photograph before he seemed to register something in his childish brain. "But they aren't all Gryffindors!"

Harry sighed. Ever since the war, he had started to realize just how much bias people had against the other Houses, when in truth, they all contained brave fighters and people who made just as much as an impact on the world. Putting a hand on Teddy's shoulder, Harry said softly, "Teddy, listen to me."

The boy looked up at him with shiny eyes, as if he was hanging on to every word that Harry said. "Yes?"

"People do not have to be in Gryffindor to be brave," Harry felt his voice thicken, but he ignored it. "Your mum… she was a Hufflepuff, yet she was one of the bravest people that I knew. And so many of the people in this picture… they were all so brave, regardless of whether they were in Gryffindor or not."

Nodding solemnly and looking far too mature for his age, Teddy just offered a smile. "But I can still want to be in Gryffindor, right?"

"You can want to be in whatever house you like," Harry confirmed, ruffling the hair of his godson whose life had been so irrevocably altered by the war.

His hand flew up, almost automatically, to touch the scar. While his scars from the war were external, Teddy's were internal, and he had a feeling that Teddy's would hurt a lot more than his external one ever did.

And in a strange sort of way, he knew what Teddy was going through- they shared their internal scars in common, after all.

ii. Fred Weasley

It was simple- an explosion, one of the easiest tricks in the book. He should've known; he should've seen it coming. But the problem was that he hadn't, so he was sent flying, skidding against the hard ground.

He could remember hearing the words he thought he'd never hear just seconds before."Hello, Minister! Did I mention I'm resigning?"

"You're joking, Perce!" Fred had managed to say. "You actually are joking… I don't think I've heard you joke since you were-"

But then everything exploded before his eyes, and he was flying. As soon as he hit the ground, he felt the life being sucked out of him, his soul being ripped from his body. It was unpleasant. He could hear the pitter-patter of feet as someone ran over to him, and someone calling his name: "No, Fred, no!"

He took that as a signal that he was dead.

Before long, he was floating up, out of his body. He caught sight of Hermione, Harry, Percy, and Ron all grouped over what must have been his body, as if they were trying to get him to come back. But he knew that it was no use. He was already gone.

Then he was on a cloud, watching their life in fast-forward. It was nice, sometimes- seeing the birth of Bill's first child, born on the anniversary of the battle (he noticed how, on that day, George locked himself away, and it was enough to make him feel bad). At times, it was entertaining- how he saw things that he had the urge to erase from his mind, they were just that sickening. But most of the time, it was sad. He missed his family.

One day, he was joined by a girl with dark black ringlets. She just sat beside him, staring down with him. "That your family?"

"Yes," he whispered, not removing his eyes from the ground as Angelina brought into the world yet another child. He heard his brother's announcement: "His name is Fred!" Tears pooled in his eyes, and he was left speechless, for once.

"Something wrong?" the girl asked.

"No," Fred sputtered. "My brother and I always said if either of us had twins, they would be Gred and Forge… guess he forgot…"

"Fred," the girl replied gently, "Don't you think it's about time you move on?" she beckoned to the spacious area behind her, as if it was an invitation.

He looked from the ground beneath him to the shining light in front of him. At last, he nodded at the girl who must have been an angel.

iii. George Weasley

Every time he saw the name George Weasley written somewhere, he wanted to Obliviate it. He knew that it was his own name, but honestly, he did not understand how he was expected to be George without there being a Fred. All his life, he had been only half of a whole- only part of Fred-and-George. Now he was on his own.

He felt as if he was still half, but a part of him was missing.

Days on end were spent locked in their bedroom. A part of him craved to destroy everything that reminded him of Fred, which was almost everything. He wanted to just incinerate the bedroom and leave it to be devoured by the flames.

But he found himself thinking about how he wouldn't have wanted him to. He would have wanted him to keep living while he had the chance, to continue on with their business, to not leave his life behind. And George knew this because he would have wanted the same for Fred.

Gradually, he began to slip back into the old routine. Once again, the shop opened under the same name, because even though it held so many painful memories, George could not bring himself to change it.

The worst of the days was when a little freckled, redheaded pair of twins came in- identical boys, though they had brown eyes instead of George and Fred's characteristic blue. They would gaze around the shop, laughing like banshees at everything they saw. Then, their eyes would fall upon their tiny (brunette) sister, and they'd run over to her, pretending to offer her candy that they'd bought her, which would turn out to be Puking Pastilles or other types of fake candy.

It was enough to make George have to retreat, sometimes.

But other times, he would just stand and watch, letting the good memories of times with his twin brother wash over him. He was glad that they would have boys to carry on their legacy.

And who knew? Perhaps one day he would find a wife, and they would have twins that would carry on the legacy of the Weasley family name.

Spotting his brother's ex-girlfriend Angelina over in one of the corners, unblinking as she stared at one of Fred's more famous inventions, he decided maybe he would go talk to her (and maybe that day would come sooner than he thought).

iv. Angelina Johnson

Sometimes, it devastated her. How some people who were once so full of life could be lying under the ground, dead, and never coming back to life. It was a disaster on a large scale, and she could not fathom what she was supposed to do about it.

She grabbed her broom from where she'd set it down beside a tree, not feeling up to staring at the gravestones, a line of repetition. They screamed the names of those that had died, while honestly, she was trying to avoid the fact that anyone had died. This was one problem that she did not want to face head-on.

Jumping onto her broom, she rode into the sky, spacious and wide around her. She reached out, as if to touch a cloud, but they were all too far away.

It was then that she made yet another impulse decision. It was then that she decided to pay a visit to her old friend, George Weasley.

Once she got to the Burrow- home of the Weasleys, including George Weasley and of course, Fred Weasley, at least, while he was… alive. She wasn't sure what to do as she stood in the all-too-familiar doorway. It seemed a bit too formal to knock, but too forward to just barge in. At last, she settled for a simple tap at the door.

A girl's voice rung out. "George! Get the door!"

"Why?" a voice came back in reply, deeper and more sad-sounding than she would've imagined. Angelina drew in a breath. George.

Finally, the door flew open and she was standing face-to-face with the spitting image of her once-boyfriend, Fred Weasley. Except… it wasn't Fred. The hole where his ear should be was proof of that.

"Angelina," he said after a short pause. "What are you doing here?"

His tone held no sense of hostility, but mere curiosity, instead. She took that as a good sign and told him bluntly, "I wanted to see you."

"See me?" his tone softened. "But… but why?"

"Show me his room," she said brusquely, brushing past him.

"Whose room?" George played oblivious, as if he hadn't the slightest idea what she was on about. "Honestly, Angelina, you can't just come into my house and expect me to-"

"Actually, I can," the slightest hint of a smile appeared on her features. "Fred's room, well, really your room. I mean," she turned a bit red at the amused look on his face. "You know what I mean."

Sighing, but cracking a bit of a smile at her obvious embarrassment, he extended a hand to her and she took it. Hand in hand, they walked up the stairs, until they finally reached the room that she'd been looking for.

The room seemed to give off the essence of the twins, and right now, Fred was potent. It seemed as if George had made an effort to display everything that showed that Fred had once been there. Fingering his red-and-gold scarf, Angelina said, "I miss him."

Somehow, his arms snaked around her waist, and as wrong as it felt, the comfort felt better than anything she'd felt in a while. Into her ear, he whispered, "I miss him, too."

v. Cho Chang

A lot of times, she considered that life was not fair, especially those days that she was forced to go to the cemetery. The graves seemed to be in an almost alphabetical order- because C was beside D and those were the three graves that meant something to her. In fact, those were the three graves that meant everything to her.

Two of them were under the last name Chang. Those were her parents, one more sacrifice from the war. The sick being (she could not bring herself to call him a man, because he was not) had sent some of his Death Eaters to kill her parents, because after she had returned home and explained the situation to them, they had decided to take Harry's side. But all it took were a couple of Death Eaters Apparating in during the night, as she had not thought to use protective charms.

She'd gotten up out of bed and run down the hall as fast as she could, but by the time she'd gotten there, it was far too late. There was a flash of green, and then, she dashed in to find her parents on the ground, the life drained from their eyes.

Even though she was a Ravenclaw and she was supposed to see reason, in that moment, all reason drained from her mind. All she could see was Cedric's dead body, lying beside Harry, and her parents in front of her. Her eyes burned red.

Out of her wand shot a Stunning spell, and then another. Strong ones, too- strong enough to make them fall onto the floor, knocked out. Then she whipped out her wand, drained their memories so they would have no idea what happened to them, and levitated them all the way to the trashcans in the street.

Tired and defeated, she drug herself back home. If there was one thing she did not want to do, it was fight in the last battle that she knew would take place after she returned to the school (after the holiday). As selfish as it might be, she was done with battles, done with this incessant fighting that seemed as if it would never stop. They had taken everything from her. All she had left was her house.

Yet she returned to the school anyway, despite the fact that her impulses were telling her not to, because honestly, abandoning them would make her no better than a traitor. She was not a traitor, and she wanted to fight with her schoolmates, to protect what they had worked so hard to protect.

Besides, she had to do it for her parents. She had to do it for Cedric.

So she fought with all of her might, but in the end, she could not bring them back. And the graveyard was just another reminder of all that was taken from her.

Sure, everyone else had scars, but hers were not visible. On the outside, she looked like a normal girl, but on the inside, she was oh-so-alone and left stranded by the war.

Placing one bouquet of flowers on her parents' grave, she walked over to the next grave and put the sunflower that she'd so carefully selected (yellow-and-black) on Cedric Diggory's grave.

At times like these, she wondered why life was so unfair.

vi. Lavender Brown

Sometimes, she didn't feel beautiful anymore.

Honestly, she was littered with scars, left on her by a werewolf. She remembered that before all of this, when she would laugh like the innocent little girl she used to be with Parvati. They called werewolves ugly; they called them freaks. But now she was a freak- she was one of the people that she so despised, once upon a fairytale.

It had taken her a while to register that she was still living. And now that she knew that some force of nature had allowed her to survive, she did not know how to feel. Grateful? How could one be grateful for this? Her once beautiful , flawless skin was mauled; her eyes now darkened with the ghosts of those she'd watched die. There was no innocence left in this girl.

For a while, she'd imagined that she would turn into a werewolf, and she did not know what life would be like if she was a werewolf. She knew that one of the Veelas- Fleur Delacour or something that sounded like Flower- had married someone who had been mauled by a werewolf. She could not bring herself to understand why.

He was ugly, long haired, and had wolfish tendencies, such as a liking for rare steaks. She watched them, and she tried to understand them. They seemed so happy together. A lot of the time, she would allow herself to imagine finding someone who would love her like that. A happily-ever-after with someone who loved her despite her ugly scars.

And after some time, she learned to accept the lesson that had been a long time coming- beauty was on the inside. For years upon years, she had been judging people based on their appearances, and giggling at those who did not live up to her image of beauty. But now that her beauty had been taken away, she was forced to accept that she had to keep living and just make herself more beautiful on the inside. It was all that she could really do.

A few people told her that her scars only made her more beautiful because they showed her bravery and willingness to fight for her cause.

She didn't believe them, but it made her happy anyway.

vii. Ginny Weasley

She was the only person in the Weasley family who seemed to realize that they could not spend their entire lives dwelling on Fred's death.

Sure, he was a treasured member of the family, and she had loved him just as much as anyone else. But he was gone, and there was nothing that any of them could do about it. No amount of mourning could bring him back to living. Besides, he would have wanted them to keep living, to be happy, to continue the Weasley family.

At the first Thanksgiving dinner after the war, there seemed to be a big gaping hole at the table. Everyone seemed desperate to dwell on it, while Ginny was just as desperate to cover it up. She would make passive jokes and offer everyone big smiles, pretending as if nothing had happened.

A lot of people would send her weird looks, like her happiness was something that was to be eliminated. Ginny could not see why. Could they never be happy again? Were they supposed to mope everyday for the rest of their lives? The best way to keep Fred's memory alive was not to mope. The best way to keep his memory alive was to remember him and think of him. Maybe even tell their children stories of their amazing Uncle Fred one day when they were all grown up. This was not the proper way.

Their annoyance with her only increased after she 'borrowed' some Weasley's Wizard Wheezes products and set up a Fred-esque prank to cheer them up (at least, that was what she thought the prank would do). Instead, they just stared at her blankly.

"Ginny," Harry finally spoke. "What are you doing?"

"Cheering everyone up." she spoke boldly, putting her hands on her hips angrily. "I know you all miss Fred, okay. I know that he's gone and we'll never be able to get him back. It depresses me sometimes, too. But guess what, guys? We're above all of this. If we band together and if we actually try sometime, we might be able to get through this. We might be able to keep Fred's memory alive. But this… this moping we're all doing is just depressing everyone."

She let out one last breath before telling them finally, "We're a family. We're supposed to be stronger than this."

And, just because she was Ginny and she was supposed to be strong, she left before the tears began to make their way down her face.

In the morning, when she finally gained the courage to come out of her room, she found a note on the floor in front of her door.

G-

You're right. Shall we cheer up this family, then?

-G

She smiled, remembering once again why Fred and George had been her favourite brothers.

viii. Parvati Patil

She thought a lot of the time that her life was much too complex for a Gryffindor.

It was woven with secrets, entangled with lies, and a lot of the time she saw no way out.

Her first mistake? Blaise Zabini. He'd been neutral during the battle, sure, and he'd even cast a curse that ended up saving her life. But that ended up giving her the false impression that she owed him something, when really, that ended up leading to the lies that threatened to consume her life.

After the battle, she started to rebel. The images that she'd witnessed during the great Battle of Hogwarts took over her mind and left her wondering. What was the point in it all anymore? They had won, but at a great price. Many lives were taken. Her own life could never be the same again.

Then there was the large detail of her father's life being taken. He'd come to protect his daughters and they had taken his life from him. There was no sense of authority in her life anymore- her mother was too deep in depression. Padma tried to be that voice of reason that she needed so desperately, but that made her want to rebel all the more- she did not take orders from her younger twin sister.

She met Blaise Zabini once again at a bar one night, and he offered her a drink. From there, it grew into something more, as Blaise would send owls to her almost every other night asking for her to go drink with him. Some of the time, she would accept, not really knowing what else to do.

She became someone entirely different from the girl that she used to be in her school days. In school, she stuck to the rules, except when it came to gossip. But now that Lavender was a 'changed person', that much was eliminated from her life. She had nothing from the old days to cling to.

So she plunged head-first into rebellion, allowing herself to act out in ways she'd never thought she would.

Blaise would tell her that it was all right- that the war had taken her life from her, so now this was just her getting back. But it wasn't, and she knew it. Everything she was doing was wrong.

Too bad she wasn't sure how to be right anymore.

Then one day she came home to find her sister seated on the couch, hands folded on her legs. She raised an eyebrow. "What are you doing here, Padma?"

Padma's dark, unfathomable eyes searched her, before she spoke in a voice almost as cold as her eyes looked. "I don't know who you are anymore."

And as much as she wanted to protest, as much as she wanted to reach out and claim, 'You do know who I am; I'm your sister, Parvati!', she knew it was impossible. Parvati Patil had been left behind with the dead from the last war.

So she just put her head into her hands, shook her head, and hoped for release.

ix. Dennis Creevey

He couldn't bring himself to go through his brother's stuff. It seemed disrespectful, almost, to even think of defiling the war hero's beloved possessions. But he knew that was what his brother had always wanted to be- a war hero, up there fighting with the esteemed Harry Potter- so it felt good (sometimes) to know that his brother had gone down fighting for a good cause.

It took him a while to even go near the room. It seemed like a reminder of everything that he had lost, a flag displaying the loyalty that both he and his brother had shared. But after a while, he decided that the bones of his brother would not rise out of the grave if Dennis simply walked in. So, that was what he did.

The room was empty. He remembered days when he would walk in to find his brother practicing spells on the wall, determined that one of these days he would be as good as Harry Potter. The ghosts of the Patronuses cast during the previous summer seemed to dance over the walls.

As he climbed up on the bed, he realized how it was almost impossible to fathom that Dennis would be back to Hogwarts the next year without Colin. For years, they were known as the creepy brothers, the Creevey brothers. Now he was just the creepy Creevey- no brother involved. He was now an only child, the only living son of his two Muggle parents.

The house seemed empty these days. At times, he would hear his dad muttering about 'their kind'. "Stupid wizards and their wars. Send my son- my son, only a child, still in school- off to kill some dangerous criminals and he dies. They're idiots, the lot of them. Can't believe I sent my sons there…"

It was as much an indicator as everything else that his parents were not going to let him attend Hogwarts the next year. He would find a way, he knew. Being a Gryffindor, he always did.

Climbing off of the bed, he clambered over to the hook where his brother's Gryffindor scarf still hung. It reminded him of how excited Colin had been to be in Gryffindor and how excited he'd been when Dennis had gotten Gryffindor as well. He took the scarf off the hook and wrapped it around his neck, remembering his brother's last words to him.

"Be brave, Dennis."

And, at the moment, as he pictured his brother lying dead, the pretty, injured blonde he'd noticed in the hospital- he realized how very much there still was left to fight for.

x. Alicia Spinnet

It was not until after being in school with Muggle-borns for seven years and fighting for their rights in a war that Alicia Spinnet realized how much she wanted to help them.

She remembered the sudden rush of fury that had come after hearing ickle Draco Malfoy call Hermione Granger a Mudblood (such a foul word) and, though it had nothing to do with blood rights, after she'd heard about her friend Fred's death. In a sense, she wanted to rub their victory in the Dark Wizard's faces, just like a typical Gryffindor, and since she'd always been good with people, she figured what better way than a primary school for Muggle-borns?

In that school, she would educate the wizard children of Muggles a year before they went off to Hogwarts. She would teach them on the ways of the wizarding world and tell them everything they would want or need to know. If the pureblooded children got a class on Muggles, why should the Muggle-born children not get a class on wizards?

To her surprise, the idea actually came through, and on the first day, the school opened to about 100 Muggle-born witches and wizards, all of them smiling and eager to learn.

Seven years before, when she'd imagined her life, she'd imagined herself playing for a professional women's Quidditch league or something of the like. She had not¸ however, planned on being a teacher for a bunch of ten-year-olds.

It was too bad that nothing ever went the way anyone planned it to anymore.

So here she was, a girl with a scar on her shoulders the colour of coffee, rebelling against the blood purists in her own way. It might not have been the way that Harry Potter did, but it was quite brave nonetheless. It was showing them that they'd won the war so she could do whatever she wanted to do, even if it meant educating Muggle-borns before they even came to Hogwarts.

They had ruined her life, made her give up her Quidditch dreams and run off to fight in a war that she had never even wanted to fight. So here she was, fighting back at last, the Gryffindor that had her own unique ways of showing that she was still fighting prejudice, though the war was long past over.

Sometimes, her former students would owl her, describing in their sloppy handwriting how Hogwarts had been so far. A lot of times, some of her meaner students would describe how they were put into Slytherin.

Her usually passive face would turn up into a smile as she saw those words-I was put into Slytherin. It was breaking the barriers, the stereotypes, one at a time. Muggle-borns in Slytherin. What would Salazar Slytherin say?

Then she would smile, satisfied, because if there was one thing she was good at, it was breaking down stereotypes, one by one. Oh, and being a brave people person. That too.

xi. Marietta Edgecombe

At times, she felt guilty.

Especially when she considered that Umbridge had been working for the Dark Side, and at that time, the Dark Side was Voldemort. So basically, Marietta had been working for You-Know-Who when she turned in Dumbledore's Army.

There was that, and there was the fact that everyone in the school considered her a cold-blooded traitor and would not talk to her- with the exception of some of the Slytherins, who gave her high-fives and pats on the back, making her feel worse.

But it wasn't until after the battle that the worst guilt hit. She walked around the grounds of Hogwarts, still completely alive and unscarred. With every corner, she seemed to come across another dead body. Some of them, she recognized- from the DA, she saw Fred and Colin. Lavender Brown was also there, seeming to have been attacked by a werewolf. She could tell by the fur littered around her and the scratches at her arms, as if she'd been clawed by some type of animal. It was enough to send yet another crashing wave of guilt over her- if she hadn't betrayed the Army, if she'd allowed them to keep up their activities, would they have learned more? Would Fred and Colin and Lavender have learned enough to defend themselves? Would there have been no deaths (from the Order's side, anyway) at the Battle of Hogwarts?

But she knew that she would never actually know. Still, after Harry Potter's side won, she realized that she could not take part in the victory celebrations. Instead, she carted herself off to the side and sat by herself, unable to even speak from the guilt that was consuming her.

Everyone here was so brave. Regardless of what house they were from, they had enough bravery to be able to keep secrets from the intimidating Umbridge, fight in a Battle against the terrifying Death Eaters, and, most of all, stand up for what they believed in, despite pressures from others.

But she, herself- she hadn't been able to save anyone. She'd never had courage. In fact, she'd just caved in to Umbridge's demands because she thought if she didn't, she'd be tortured. Could she not endure a little torture to save the lives of her friends? Apparently not. She was just a weak little girl in comparison to all the courageous people that she'd met. She was a traitor- no better than the rat Peter Pettigrew that everyone ranted about.

Turning the Dumbledore's Army coin that she'd held onto all that time, she opened her hand and let it clatter to the ground before pointing her wand at it. "Incendio!"

The coin immediately burst into flames, and she watched it, satisfied. She'd never deserved to be a member of the DA. She did not deserve to be holding the same type of coin that they held. She didn't deserve a symbol of her membership.

Turning around, she walked off, guilt consuming her still.

xii. Hermione Granger

It was funny, sometimes, how knowledge could be so useful and yet so useless.

She picked up Hogwarts: A History from the shelf by her bed, where it had rested for the last few years. Flipping through the pages, she realized how very useless most of the information was. They had not included Horcruxes, which would have been helpful on their mission. They had not included most things of importance.

Tossing the book to the ground, she flopped down on her bead, thinking about how the book was sort of a metaphor for things in real life. Hermione was a book- packed to the tip with information. The only problem was if the information was helpful or not.

Was she like Hogwarts: A History? Knowledge was useless, at times, and especially if you did not apply it. Was she one of the things she so despised- an encyclopedia, easily disposable?

Sighing, she ran her hand through her hair. She was supposed to be a war hero, and war heroes were not supposed to have doubts. Yet hers ran so deep she could not tell where they began and where they ended. They had implanted themselves in her mind, taken over her brain. And at times, they hurt her.

They made her feel like nothing, like a useless tool that Harry Potter had used.

Angrily, she walked over to the large, heavy book and did the one thing she'd swore she'd never do. She jumped straight onto the book, leaving dusty footprints in her aftermath. Then she laughed, laughed as if she was a crazy person, which perhaps she would. Only a crazy person would turn to a book as the cause of her pain.

"Hermione?" A voice came, causing her to jump. "What are you doing?"

"Nothing," she stammered, scared. "I was only putting this book away- it fell off my shelf and all," her face turned a wonderful flaming red, despite the fact that she never blushed.

"Only putting a book away?" Ron raised an eyebrow, challenging her. "Honestly, Hermione, you're not the best liar."

Sighing, she pushed the book out of the way. "Do you think knowledge is useless?"

"No," Ron looked confused."I mean, yeah, sure, I tease you sometimes about your near constant revising and all, but knowledge isn't useless…"

Showing no emotion, she nodded before just bursting out, "Well, I feel like… like I didn't do enough in the war. Like I was only a big sack of knowledge, not actually useful for everything. You and Harry- you're brave and loyal and good at magic. In the end, you two were able to fight in the battle and liberate us all. And I fought, but… I couldn't protect everyone…"

Grabbing her shoulder, he spun her around, and then, impulsively, he kissed her.

After a second or two of letting herself enjoy it, she jerked away from him, glaring. "What do you think you're doing, Ronald Weasley?"

"Kissing you," he replied obliviously.

"You… you blithering idiot!" she hissed, mind muddled, unable to come up with a good insult.

"Not really, that'd be you," he said with a laugh. "Hermione, you're surely not useless. In our group, where would we be without you? Me and Harry-"

"Harry and I," she automatically corrected him.

He glared at her. "Right. Harry and I would be lost without you and your endless knowledge. Remember the Devil's Snare? The Polyjuice potion? Honestly, Hermione, you know what you're good at, and you do it right. So don't ever tell yourself you don't do enough. You do everything you can."

With a grin, she leaned over and pressed her lips to his this time. And once she pulled away, she put Hogwarts: A History back on the shelf.

Maybe he was right. Maybe knowledge was good for some things.

xiii. Seamus Finnigan

It took a lot of courage to stand up to his enemies. It took an even greater amount of courage to stand up to his parents.

His parents put far too much faith in the Daily Prophet. His mum believed every word that was printed there, as she did with the Muggle newspapers. So she was quite against the idea of her darling son being on the same team as that horrid Harry Potter. She did not want to allow him to fight alongside Harry in the Battle of Hogwarts.

But he knew that this was something he had to do. He'd already missed most of the Dumbledore's Army meetings due to his mother's words- and his own stupidity, but that was normal. If there was one thing he felt he had to do, it was fight in this battle.

So, just before the battle began, he scrawled out a quick note to his mum:

Dear Mum,

I'd just like to let you know that I will be fighting along with Harry Potter in a battle today. I'm just writing to let you know cause, well, if I was a mum, I'd want to know. And to tell you I love you if I die or anything.

Don't blame Harry; the papers are wrong about him.

From,

Seamus Finnigan

Then he sent it off with his owl and hoped that it wouldn't burn on the way there.

But once he returned home, alive and kicking (though bruises littered his lower back), his parents were not thrilled with him.

"Seamus," they said seriously, "What were you thinking?"

"What?" he asked, scratching his head.

"Going to fight in a battle!" his mum shrieked. "Honestly, you're only a child-"

"Actually," Seamus interrupted her, though he knew it was disrespectful and he probably shouldn't have, "I'm seventeen. I'm an adult in the wizarding world. I can do whatever I please, and if that means going to fight with Harry Potter, then I can do that legally. I love you, Mum, but you can't make all my decisions for me."

His mum grit her teeth, her Irish accent coming out stronger now that she was angry. "I hope you realize how stupid this decision you're making is, Seamus."

"I suppose I do," Seamus grinned a lop-sided grin.

"Well, leave then," his father commanded gruffly.

He felt a twinge- well, more than a twinge- of sadness as he lifted his wand and Apparated away, leaving his parents behind. He knew that, even if they didn't want him to, he'd come back to visit, but it wouldn't be the same. This was his official moving out.

Honestly, though, everyone had casualties from the war, and he supposed that the loss of his childhood was his.

xiv. Padma Patil

Out of Parvati-and-Padma, Padma was always the boring twin. Parvati was the fun one, the one that went to parties and always had something funny to say. Padma was witty, sure, but she did not enjoy breaking rules or parties. She was the type to lie in her room and actually study or read a nice book.

Then, her sister suggested that they join the new organization that Harry Potter was forming. At first, she didn't want to. She'd much rather just read the spells and then ealized them in her room.

But after a few days, the idea grew on her.

It was her chance to get out more. She could meet a lot of new people, learn how to interact with everyone, and actually not fail her Defence Against the Dark Arts OWL. The more she thought about it, the more it seemed like a good idea. Maybe after this, her personality would not be quite so… flat.

It was Dumbledore's Army that first taught her the idea of loyalty, the idea of friendship. And after that, she discovered, she would not betray any of her fellow Army members for anything.

She also learned bravery there, and these traits, she discovered, were just as useful as the multiple spells during the war.

After the war, though, the spell sort of wore off and she was back to boring old Padma, the voice of reason out of the two twins. While Parvati went crazy, Padma shrunk back. She took to drawing, even though she wasn't that good at it.

Sometimes, though, her thoughts would race with visions of things she'd seen during the war- people fighting and laying, motionless, on the floor- and the only way to get those images out was to draw them. The pictures were gruesome, but they were so realistic that it wasn't even funny.

Ashamed, Padma hid the drawings in one of her drawers, hoping that nobody would find them. She thought they were horrible, well, decent at best.

But after her sister repented of her wild-child lifestyle, she came to stay with Padma for a few days. That was when Padma's little secret was revealed.

She marched down the stairs one day, papers in her hand. "What are these?"

Padma's cheeks darkened. "You were not supposed to see those."

"Too late," Parvati put a hand on her hip.

"What do you see when you look at them?" Padma inquired curiously.

Slowly, Parvati looked over the photos, her eyes darkening noticeably. "I see the war. I see the emotion that hung there… wait, you didn't draw these, did you?"

Blushing, Padma nodded. "I drew them, actually."

"These are really good," Parvati informed her, staring at the pictures once again. "It's as if I'm reliving that day…"

Padma walked around to stand beside her sister and together, they relived the worst (and best) day of their lives.

xv. Justin Finch-Fletchley

It was hard, knowing that you were a part of the reason that everyone was fighting. Justin felt that.

Before the Battle of Hogwarts, life was basically heck at Hogwarts for Justin and all the other Muggle-borns. After, it still wasn't perfect like he supposed he'd imagined it to be. He had the same rights as everyone else again, but the whole wizarding world was still recovering from the disaster that was the war.

Despite the fact that the Death Eaters had tortured his people, he still felt a bit of sympathy for them- he supposed it was a part of being a Hufflepuff. He didn't want them to have their souls sucked out- that would make them even more soulless than they already were.

But then, he would roll up his sleeve to where someone had cast a spell on him that inked Mudblood onto his arm, and all sympathy for the Death Eaters would cease.

One of them had actually tried to carve it into his arm. They'd only gotten 'M' before they were attacked, but the scar still rested there, as if it were a reminder. He was dirty blooded. There was no way that he actually belonged in the wizard society.

Shaking his head, Justin had to wonder how Muggle-borns fit into society if they were not wizards (as Voldemort had claimed) or Muggles either.

He hated the fact that there was even prejudice in the first place. Why should people be different based on their parentage? It was not as if he had chosen to become a Muggleborn. He could not help his background- not that he would have it any differently if he had a choice, but still.

He had no problem with anyone different from him, hence why prejudice bothered him.

Hand closing around his wrist, he wrote that despicable word- Mudblood-on a piece of spare paper. It pained him to even write it, but he did it anyway. Once he was finished, he stared at the word, glared at it. It seemed to scream at him just like the Death Eaters and the teachers had, though it was only a piece of paper- "Mudblood! Worthless scum! I don't know how you can even stand to look at us Purebloods. You don't deserve to sweep the ground we walk on."

His fist closed around the piece of paper and angrily, he threw the paper into the fire, watching as the words dissolved into the flames.

Maybe soon the prejudice would dissolve in the fire, too.

xvi. Hannah Abbott

Some of the time, she regretted her decision to join Harry Potter's side in the war.

Honestly, the Death Eaters had killed her mother. Ever since she was little, Hannah had looked up to her mother, for advice and love and such. She loved her mother more than anyone else in the world. Then, in a flash of green and a scream, she was gone from the world forever, leaving little Hannah alone.

It had been a tough time in her life. With no mother, she had no idea what to do. It was one of the toughest things she had ever experienced, being called out of class in sixth year only to be told that her mother had been murdered by Death Eaters. The whole experience was just scary. She wasn't sure what exactly she was supposed to do next.

She sighed, looking up at her mother's grave. She didn't like the way that the words had been carved- almost carelessly, as if her mother was nothing of importance, just another dead person. What they didn't know that her mom was a war hero, a martyr, having died for what she believed in. Back in her day, she'd caused a huge controversy- marrying a Muggle, which was taboo back then, and still was in these days.

A voice echoed through the graveyard. "Hannah? Are you ready to go?" It was Neville, who was standing there, looking expectant.

She ran her fingers over the grave one last time, not enjoying the fact that she still had not fully come to terms with the fact that her mother was dead and gone. "Almost," she called at last, still feeling shaky and upset at the least.

He walked over to her, staring at her mum's grave for a second before he spoke. "Are you… are you all right?" Neville had never had much of a way with words.

Hannah blinked, once, twice, before she finally mustered up the strength to speak. Tracing her mum's name with her eyes again, she blurted, "She's gone."

"No, Hannah, she's not," Neville retorted, sounding more forceful than she'd ever heard him sound in the years that she'd known him. "As long as you want her here, she'll be here, with you."

"What are you talking about?" she looked up at him, seeing him for the first time the way he was. For the first time, she saw the ghosts of his parents' sanity swimming in his eyes. For the first time, she saw the hero that he'd become.

"The ones that love us never really leave us, do they?" Neville quoted, chuckling humourlessly. "Hannah, your mother lives on in you."

She thought about it for a second. Could it be true? Could her mum still be alive through Hannah's spirit?

Then she nodded and told Neville, "I think that I'm ready to go."

It was time for her to keep living.

xvii. Dean Thomas

He was a Muggle-born, that was what he had always thought. He had never considered anything different, despite the fact that his mum had mentioned to him that his father was not the man that he had always known.

Something entirely different stared him in the face right now.

"Who is this?" he demanded, his face going a bit red- he hardly ever got angry, but this was a different situation entirely.

"Your father," the lady at the desk told him, smiling sweetly.

The name on the paper was not his father, he thought. He glanced down once again- William Heath. With the exception of possibly Bill Weasley, he had never known a William, and he still didn't. How could a man he'd never known be his father?

"Why has he never come to see me?" Dean wondered, managing a smile and calming down a bit. There was no way… they had to be wrong.

The lady jabbed a finger at the last line on the page. "It would be impossible, son."

Date of Death, the paper read, June 29th, 1982. Killed by Death Eaters for refusing to join them.

His heart jumped in his chest. It was impossible; it had to be. Now he was the son of someone else, someone dead, someone that he had never so much as talked to. He was the son of a wizard. No longer was he Muggle-born Dean Thomas; now he was a half-blooded wizard. His name was meant to be Dean Heath, not Dean Thomas. He had no idea of what to say or do.

Finally, he just plastered on yet another fake smile and thanked the lady politely before cramming the papers into the folds of his robes. "Thank you for your time," he managed to whisper.

He had heard the stories from Hannah and Cho and others about what it felt like to lose a parent to the war. Now, he knew what it felt like. His father, a great wizard who had refused to join the Death Eaters, was killed for the war.

He imagined his father, a Gryffindor, looking a lot like him. He imagined the Death Eaters yelling at him to join them, and him refusing. Just like his father, Dean had been loyal to the cause of Harry Potter.

For the first time since he'd seen the papers that would forever alter his life, he smiled.

His father was just one more thing that he could add to the list of casualties from the war. But somehow, it seemed like more than just the death of his father. In a way, it was the death of his childhood. He'd never been able to receive training from his true father, to hear the stories from his father's mouth.

However, he found himself smiling anyway, because it had just been something that had shaped him into what he was now. Without the death of his father, he would not be Dean.

He felt the smile on his face just keep growing.

xviii. Zacharias Smith

Regret. That was his main emotion over the whole debacle, though most people didn't think him capable of it.

He hadn't fought in the battle, like the others in the DA. All he'd done was run, because after all, despite his confident, cocky front, he was just a scared little boy inside. He'd never paid attention during the meetings of Dumbledore's Army, never learned how to fight, and now all he could do was run from these people who threatened to take his life.

He was cowardly. Unlike the other people in his house, he was not the type of person that other people found easy to like. Most people found him annoying and were irritated by him. He was not sure what to think of that.

He'd evacuated Hogwarts, ran straight home to where his father was. His father had nodded approvingly. "You did the right thing, Zacharias. You should not support ignorant old fools such as that Dumbledore figure. I do not trust him or his ideals."

He nodded, his head bobbing up and down. "Did you… you don't support Dumbledore or Harry Potter, then? Do you support Voldemort?"

"We do not say that name in this house," his father replied coldly.

Eager to try out one of the lines that he'd actually heard Harry say, Zacharias retorted, "Fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself."

"Don't be a sarcastic fool, Zacharias," his father informed him. "If the word is run by ignorant children like you and your schoolmates in the future, I fear for the future of the wizarding world."

Resisting the urge to stick out his tongue like a child, Zacharias slumped down in his seat. "Father, why should I not fight in the war? I could help to protect the other wizards. Why will you not allow me to choose a side?"

"All of that is the silliness of the wizards of our generation," his father replied dismissively, waving a hand. "It is best for you not to get involved."

It was in that moment that Zacharias Smith ealized the stupidity of his father. It was then, also, that regret flooded him- regret that he hadn't been able to break through his father's words and stick with the DA no matter what his father said, regret that he'd lost all sense of loyalty, something that his house was famous for. He couldn't even fathom how much of a bad person he had become.

Walking away, Zacharias went up to his room and hid himself there, not wanting to face anyone ever again.

xix. Luna Lovegood

It seemed that the Nargles were not going to be able to help her this time.

Standing there, in the mass of destruction interweaved with the feel of sadness, she didn't know what to do. She twirled a piece of hair around her finger absently, biting her lip to keep the tears from pouring down her face.

Honestly, she should be happy. They'd just won a war that had been ongoing for ages. But she couldn't bring herself to be happy, not when death lingered still in the air around her and cries still echoed in her head. From the day that she'd watched her mother die, she'd known that she was destined for a life like this, a life filled with death and sadness and pain. She could not continue to live in her own fantasy world anymore- not when real life was hitting her so hard in the face.

So she ran.

She Apparated to one of the places that she'd read in one of her naturalist books, some beautiful setting in South America, and she found herself in the arms of some boy she didn't recognize.

Blood covered her arm. Jumping out of the boy's arms, she asked stupidly, "How did I get here?" If he was a Muggle, he was probably so confused at this point…

But the boy just shook his head with a smile. "You Apparated, did you not?"

"Oh," Luna found herself blushing. "You're a wizard."

"Of course," the guy replied gently. "Have the Wrackspurts invaded your brain?"

Suddenly, she found herself looking at this guy- really looking. He was good-looking, with dark brown hair and shining blue eyes, but she didn't recognize him at all. Maybe he wasn't making fun of her, for once. Maybe he actually believed in the existence of Wrackspurts. She offered him a half a smile. "I believe so. They haven't been able to stay out all day."

He just laughed and nodded. "They've been bothering me too. Rolf Scamander."

"Luna Lovegood," she replied, extending a hand, and he shook it, his hand tough in hers. Though she didn't know the guy, she found herself liking him already.

Once he let go, he looked at her seriously. "What are you doing here, Luna Lovegood?"

"Running," she replied sheepishly. "Running from the war and the pain and the Wrackspurts that messed up everything."

"Want to run with me?" he asked, a flash of hope in his blue eyes.

"Yes," she replied simply, head full of dreams and hopes for the future. And though she'd only known him for a part of an hour, she took his hand and decided that maybe they could run together.

xx. Susan Bones

Everyone could tell that she was sweet, kind, and caring- she was the poster child for Hufflepuff, after all. But sometimes, she had to wonder if she cared too much.

She was the type of person that cried if someone she didn't even know died- and now, she was surrounded by people's bodies, people that she'd known and loved and gone to school with, people she cared about. So the tears just wouldn't stop drifting down her face.

There was nothing she could do. She could not bring them back, despite the fact that she was an accomplished healer. She could not reach out her wand and watch as they reassembled themselves from the grave. No matter how much it hurt her (like glass slicing into an open wound), she could not revive any of the dead.

They lay like dominoes, scattered across the ground, fallen one-by-one. She didn't know how to deal with this sort of thing. It wasn't exactly the things you were taught in school.

So she decided she'd just forget about it instead.

She hid in her room, hoping that nothing would set her off- that nothing would remind her of her aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends, all dead, all hidden beneath the ground. She hoped that nothing would remind her of the endless numbers of victims, harmed by the war. She hoped that nothing would remind her of the lives destroyed and torn apart by the war.

It took a while, a few months of healing, but eventually she began to realise that maybe caring too much wasn't such a bad thing, and she began to make an effort to help.

It started at a local hospital. She'd always adored healing, and a volunteer job was perfect for her. Though it saddened her sometimes to see the hurt, broken, and nearly destroyed people, it felt good to know that she was helping these people out somehow.

And after a while, her desires to help these people increased. She noticed that the rates for the local hospitals and healer's offices were insanely high, too high for people whose lives and money had been blown apart by the war. So she started up her own Healer's office for those who did not have the money to pay for a normal hospital. At her office, the rates were considerably lower.

It made her happy, to see the pure joy on people's faces when they had enough money to pay their bills, or when they walked out with their leg or arm that had been injured in the war fully healed. The happiness on their faces was enough to fuel her own.

She decided then that forgetting was never the best option.

xxi. Michael Corner

Carefully, he considered how unfair life was.

He'd finally gotten a girlfriend, for the first time since Ginny Weasley, but the ghost of her last boyfriend seemed to be hanging over them at all times. He was a good person, wasn't he? He'd fought alongside Harry Potter in the war. So how come good things never seemed to happen to him?

Once Cho had found out that her parents were dead, she'd looked at him through haunted eyes and informed him, "I can't do this anymore. I'm sorry."

That was it. It was the end of what he'd thought to be a decent relationship- he helped her, she helped him. Obviously, he was wrong.

Everything in his life seemed to be spiraling downhill. Every weekend, there was yet another funeral, and every day, he would get owls telling him the horrible things that had happened to people since the war. He'd thought that, after the war, everything would be absolutely perfect. Once again, he was wrong. He was an intelligent boy, really, at least, he was supposed to be. He was a Ravenclaw, for Merlin's sake. He'd achieved an O on his Potions OWL. But honestly, none of that mattered now.

All that mattered was making people happy, which he seemed to be unable to do. All he seemed capable of doing was just bringing everybody down.

The owls didn't cease, even though it had been months since the war. It seemed as though everyone was having a tough time, even though no one was dying anymore, and though he tried his best to give them reasonable advice, he didn't know what to do. It was if everything he'd learned was just flying out the window. None of that was helpful to him now.

It would not make his friends happy. It would not help him to get Cho back.

He might be a good person, sure, but that did not mean bad things would not happen to him. That, he learned, was just one of the facts of life.

He thought it a pity that they didn't teach that in school

But at other times, he would remind himself what a privilege it was to be alive. So many had died, and yet, he had been one of the survivors. It was a good thing that he had lived.

However, as he stared at the invitation to Cho's wedding to some Muggle man, he found that a hard thing to keep in mind.

[He wondered why he was always the one to end up heartbroken.]

xxii. Colin Creevey

He hadn't thought that this would be his last day. Even in his wildest dreams, he had never imagined that he would go down fighting.

But one second, he was outside the castle, fighting a couple of Death Eaters- he did not know their names, nor did he want to know them- and the next, there was a green light flashing through the sky, heading straight for him. There was no time for him to think or to scream before it hit him and just like that, he was gone. He felt himself floating up into the sky.

Instead of going up, away from everything that belonged to the world, he found himself in what appeared to be a train station. Confused, he stood up. "Wh-where am I?"

A man appeared before him. To his dismay, he could not put a finger on who he must be. The man offered him a kind smile. "I am the guardian of the station between life and death. I appear to each person as a form familiar and comforting to them, the form of a lost loved one."

The edges of his mouth tugged up into a smile. "You're Uncle Dave! You died just a month after I was born."

"Yes, as a matter of fact, he did," the man smiled forlornly. "Unfortunately, I'm not actually him. I'm just taking his form at the moment. What I'm here to tell you is that you, Colin Creevey, have a choice, a very important one, at that. Not everyone gets this choice."

Colin's eyes lit up. "I like choices! This should be interesting."

"You won't like this one," the man (whom Colin had started referring to as Uncle Dave) informed him. "It is a choice between life or death."

"Oh," Colin's face fell a bit. "I understand. I have to choose whether to live or die."

"You have to choose whether to return to the earth or not," Uncle Dave continued. "If you choose to move on to the next life, you may board that train. If you choose to return, you will be returned. It's that simple."

"Is it really?" Colin's eyes sparkled. "All right, then, I choose-"

"Wait," Uncle Dave interrupted him. "There is one last thing. If you return to the earth, you will not live your life to the fullest it could be. You will become a coward and retreat from the fight, I can see already. You will not be regarded as a hero. But if you die now, if you move on, you will leave your brother a better life eventually, and you will be regarded as a hero. It is your choice. Choose wisely."

As Uncle Dave disintegrated, his eyes travelled from the path in front of him to the train. It took almost no time. He could not betray his brother like this or be remembered as a coward. He took another step forward toward the path he probably should have chosen all along.

Colin Creevey died that day a hero.

xxiii. Lee Jordan

It wasn't until after the Battle of Hogwarts that Lee Jordan realized that life was not a barrel of pranks.

Sure, he'd had problems before that, but none like seeing George without Fred. None like realizing that one of his best friends in the entire world was dead and would surely never come back again. None like waking up in the morning to have the reality sink in once again that he'd never pull another prank with the infamous Weasley twins, now that half of the picture had been destroyed.

He'd gotten his revenge, of course- the Death Eater who had killed Fred was now dead as well. But it only made him feel like a murderer. He was a pathetic murderer, that was all.

At times, he would look out to the sunset and swear he caught a flash of red hair and a shining blue eye winking at him in that way Fred did. Then, he wondered if he'd just seen an angel.

It gave him encouragement, though- encouragement enough that he worked up the courage to go over to the shop that was once owned by Fred and George, but now was only run by George. He walked up to the counter and offered his buddy a smile. After all, he'd already lost Fred- he didn't want to lose George as well.

"The shop's still running," he whispered, his voice hoarse. Everything was exactly as he'd remembered it, all the pranks still there, looking the same as the first day Fred had shown him the sketches. "It's like…"

"It's like he's still here," George gave him a forlorn smile. "I know."

The magic of the place overwhelmed Lee, and all he could do was nod. "George… you don't have to say yes, in fact, I'm not even sure if I want you to. But I was wondering if you could possibly allow me to help out in the shop sometimes? It's not just because of Fred- well, partly, but you know that I love this place and all. It would be a great honour to get to work here…"

George looked up and offered Lee a bit of a smile. "I'd love to have you help out. Angelina's going to help out, too, and it'll just be great to have the two of you here. It'll be almost as if…"

He trailed off, and Lee finished the sentence mentally. It'll be almost as if Fred was here.

Nodding, Lee just smiled. "I suppose you've found yourself a new employee, then."

xxiv. Terry Boot

Seventh year, Terry decided once, was the worst year of his life. It was on the train ride home that he decided this, as he sat beside Padma Patil on the train ride back to their lives. But he knew that, somehow inside, he could never go back to the life he was living before.

He wasn't thinking as he did it, but his quill ended up finding a scroll of paper and unconsciously, his thoughts were transferred from his brain to the scroll. Then he blinked to find an entire scroll of paper, filled with his own words.

It was strange. He'd never thought himself to be interested in writing, but here, he had written an entire paper or so on the war, and the syntax and diction weren't half bad for something written with no thought. Tapping the girl beside him on the shoulder, he whispered, "Oi, Padma. Look this over and tell me what you think, will you?"

Looking a bit annoyed, Padma just bobbed her head and took the scroll from him. He watched as her dark, depthless eyes scanned the paper. Then she smiled brightly and handed it back to him. "Honestly, Terry, you didn't tell me that you're a writer!"

"I didn't know," Terry looked a bit surprised. "You're telling me that this isn't total rubbish?"

"It's quite good." Something like a smile was tugging at Padma's face, and he realized absently that she didn't actually smile much. "I enjoyed reading it. I believe that you worded everything perfectly, actually."

"Oh," Terry basked in the praise from someone who rarely even gave compliments. "Thank you, Padma. That's rather nice of you to say."

"Is it?" she asked, smiling subtly. "I wouldn't say so."

What she didn't know was that, due to her encouragement, he would go on to write the first detailed account of the Wizarding World, a version that was not muddled with prejudice or anything of the like. He told it like it was in that way that Ravenclaws always seemed to, just the facts and the like.

But in his second book, he would include the feelings of the loved ones who were left behind, the accounts of real people who had fought in the battle. He told stories of children like little Teddy Lupin who had been left orphaned by the war. The book was interweaved with emotion, and he found that he liked that style of writing a whole lot better.

xxv. Neville Longbottom

During the war, he finally felt brave. He finally felt as if he belonged in Gryffindor.

He killed what he later learned was a Horcrux; he saved the lives of many. For the first time, he felt like the child of Frank and Alice Longbottom. He was starting to feel like he was finally a war hero, someone that people could look at and say, 'hey, that guy fought with Harry Potter!'

His name was in the history books. As his fingers trailed over the name, he noticed the annex- son of Alice and Frank Longbottom.

It sort of disappointed him. As proud as he was to be the son of the Longbottoms, as proud as he was of his last name, he was kind of hoping that, after the war, he would break the label and finally be Neville, for once. He supposed that just wasn't possible with him.

It wasn't much later that his parents died. He'd been expecting that it would happen at some point, and in ways, it felt like they were already dead, so it wasn't too surprising. But he had been hoping that the moment would never come- the moment when the healers finally lost all hope with the Longbottoms.

They showered him with comforting, kind words, but their words could not bring his parents back. So he just offered them a small smile and walked away.

He was overcome with guilt, then, because he hadn't wanted to be known as the son of Frank and Alice but now all he wanted was to be known as their son. At the funeral, he sat near the back, because, despite the fact that he was their son, he felt as if he hadn't really known them. He hadn't known the strong war heroes that everyone else had- all he had known were the permanent residents of St. Mungo's, the ones that gave him wrappers each time he visited. They'd never even recognized him. Each time, they just stared at him with blank, haunted eyes.

He had not known them at all, but he still felt the deepest grief because, despite it all, they were his parents and he loved them more than almost anything in the world.

At the very least, he hoped that he would have made them proud by what he'd done. He hoped that they would be proud that he had fought for them and come out victorious. He hoped that they would be proud to consider him their son.

Because after all, he was a war hero now, just like his parents.

xxvi. Ernie Macmillan

He was one of those who wished to fight.

Back in second year (which was a long time ago, he supposed, but he still remembered vividly), he'd wrongly accused Harry Potter of being the Heir of Slytherin. Obviously, he'd been wrong, but it had been a hard lesson learned- he now knew that he should never jump to conclusions regarding things like that. And after that, he swore his loyalty to Harry Potter and his cause.

So when McGonagall assumed that they would all want to be evacuated, he immediately spoke up.

He'd always been one of the ones that was never afraid to honestly speak his mind, and his sense of honesty (he would never tell a lie) was what got him into Hufflepuff, he supposed. He wasn't one of the many fake people at Hogwarts- the ones that pretended to be something that they were not. He was Ernie and those that didn't like it could deal with it.

He fought to the best of his ability that day, determined and loyal as always, but he ended up taking a Crucio here and there, causing him inexplicable pain. Disregarding that, as soon as the resounding cheers echoed around the school and the Death Eaters disappeared out of fear, he ran to see if his two closest friends, Hannah and Justin, were all right.

They seemed fine, better, even- there was some joy in Hannah's round smile and a bit of happiness in Justin's face. Justin clapped him on the back. "We've done good, mate, we've done good."

He glanced around, taking in the crowd of happy people, though they were really more like children, all of them. There were even little first years in the crowd. But they were smiling and crying at the same time, such a mixture of joy and sadness. He couldn't even fathom what had gone on there today. People died, but they'd won the battle. In the battle of good and evil, good had triumphed once again.

"We've done it," he exploded at last, pumping his fist into the air. Then he untied the yellow and black scarf from around his neck, twirling it around like a lasso. "We've done it! We've come out triumphant and defeated the one whose name we can now say with no fear, Voldemort! We've extinguished prejudice and blood purity and come out as the victors!"

The tears ceased for a moment as everyone took off their scarves, blue and green and red and yellow, and twirled them into the air.

For a moment, the sky was alight with the colours of Hogwarts, and it was almost as if the school was one once again.

xvii. Katie Bell

Lots of times, she wanted to fly away.

Her life wasn't the best- she'd taken part in the war, come back from playing Quidditch near-professionally to the school that she'd gone to for years upon years to find it in flames. Despite the fact that she'd never really liked her time at the school, it was still sad to come back to find it almost gone.

That was just the beginning of the things that threatened to bring her down from her flight.

Most of the time, to avoid thinking about the war and everything , she would just get on her broomstick and take flight. Really, it was a good strategy- if she didn't want to think, she flew. If she did not want to remember the carnage scattered all over the campus of what used to be her safe haven, she flew.

It was useful, really, once Quidditch tryouts for the professional team she'd been hoping to play on came around and she'd been practicing flying for months upon months. Though it really wasn't just for the sake of practicing, it was more for her own sake, so that she didn't go insane.

Along with the school, she'd lost a great friend of hers, Fred Weasley, and an aunt who had been fighting on Harry's side. Both of them were great people, and she simply could not understand why they had to die.

It was one of those days when her thoughts were bugging her, clouding her mind, that she boarded her broom again. Taking off to the skies, she glanced down below her, taking in the scenery below her. It hit her suddenly that she could just jump off her broom right there and be done with it all. No pain, just death, because she would surely break her neck. It was starting to sound appetizing.

Then, before she could even consider it, a voice broke through the fog. "Katie! I thought I might find you up here."

She forced a smile in return, nodding her head. "I love flying. You know that."

"I do," Oliver Wood smiled charmingly, zooming over to hover beside her. "I also know that you're basically amazing at Quidditch."

"Am I?" Katie raised an eyebrow in response. "I never claimed the title of Captain."

"Doesn't mean you're not good," Oliver retorted, nudging her shoulder. "I would think I know a good Quidditch player when I see one, am I right? I play professional Quidditch, after all."

She heaved a sigh. "I'm just nervous about the tryouts is all."

"I'm sure you are," he nudged her shoulder with a sweet smile. "Oh, and Katie? It's all right to think about the war. I do too. But during the war, you were quite brave, for a girl."

With that, he zoomed back down to the ground, leaving her alone to think again.

Too bad her thoughts were all muddled up after that conversation.

xviii. Anthony Goldstein

Some of the time, he considered Ravenclaw to be one of the most cowardly houses.

Before the battle, he was scared. He didn't know what to think, how to feel. He even considered chickening out- it did seem like a semi-reasonable thing to do, actually. But eventually, his heart and his loyalty (worthy of a Hufflepuff) won out over the fear and he found himself fighting alongside heroes, working toward a common goal.

He wouldn't necessarily describe it as fun, because honestly, it wasn't. In fact, he had never really enjoyed fighting, so he found it utterly terrifying, dodging the spells and hexes that were constantly being sent that way. Once, he even dodged an Avada Kedavra. It was terrifying work.

But he pushed his way through it, sweat lining his intelligent brow. He wondered absently why people needed to fight, why they couldn't sit down and discuss it intelligently.

Yet, somehow, he could not see Voldemort sitting down to have a civil conversation, sporting cookies and hot cider. He could not see him agreeing to any of that.

After the war, he collapsed onto the ground, hearing the sounds of victory pool around him. He didn't know how to feel- relieved that he was alive? Scared that one of his friends was dead? Happy that their side had won? This was not something they taught in classes.

But he embraced his friends and classmates and even people he didn't know, relieved that they had survived and made it through. One girl, Lisa Turpin, pressed a kiss to his hair, causing him to blush a bit.

They had survived. They had all survived, almost everyone, except for two boys that he recognized from the DA and bunches of adults, along with lots of Death Eaters who didn't mean a thing to him.

It was kind of scary, though, one girl pointed out, seeing the dead bodies all around and knowing that those people had lives, families, people mourning for them.

Anthony Goldstein never quite saw death and war in the same light ever again.

After the war, he went on to write for the newspaper. He did the job that no one wanted to- Obituaries- not because he liked death, but because the stories of the people intrigued him, and he felt such sympathy for their families who had to sit and read a short summary of their loved one's death.

He liked to blame his sudden fascination on the war.

xxix. Ron Weasley

If there was one thing that Ron knew about himself, it was that he had inferiority issues.

He had always thought himself inferior to one person- Harry Potter. Harry was perfect, Harry was humble, and Harry was good at everything. In comparison, what was Ron? He was an idiot, not good at anything, and a total jerk- during one of the scariest times of Harry's life, Ron had just abandoned him, trusting the rumours of others over his very best friend. Then, he went on to ruin the lives of others. What good was he?

So, as he looked through the pages of the history book that Neville (now Professor Longbottom) had snatched from the school, he didn't understand why he was painted as a hero of sorts. Truthfully, Ron had never thought of himself as a hero. Sometimes he even thought of himself as an antagonist. The history books were wrong, so wrong. They did not show any of Ron's many flaws.

He didn't know what to do but to toss the book to the side, smiling with satisfaction as it hit the table. As soon as the book hit, he knew he was in trouble- Hermione Granger crossed the room to him, not looking happy. But once she got to him, rather than reprimanding him (as he knew she was dying to), she simply asked, "Why did you throw the book, Ronald Weasley?"

"It's not true," Ron replied hastily. "It's all absolute rubbish."

Amusement showed itself on her features. "Rubbish, is it? It's a history book, Ron; it's supposed to have facts. What about the book makes you think it's 'rubbish'?"

"It paints me as some type of war hero," Ron replied, crinkling up his nose. "It makes it sound as if I'm flawless and brave and everything that I'm just not."

"All heroes are painted that way," Hermione informed him. "Just one of the facts of life, Ron. Not everyone is as perfect as they seem to be. Even, well, you know, Harry Potter. Though by now, I expect that you have figured that out."

She tossed him a quick wink before she walked out of the room, taking the book with her as she went. All he could do was watch her in complete surprise (and a strange sort of admiration).

It was only then that he began to consider himself as a type of war hero. Maybe he wasn't on the same level as James, Lily, Alice, Frank, or Harry, but he was sort of a hero nonetheless.

Even if he was Ron Weasley and he had freckles in every place imaginable.

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A/N: I just wanted to write a little something as a tribute to Dumbledore's Army, who fought so valiantly in the war ;)

This is my addition to the thousands of DH tributes, my own tribute to the Harry Potter ones that have been piling up everywhere. I've been a fan for a shorter time than most, but Harry Potter has become a great part of my life and I felt the urge to write this because of it.

It took ages to write, to try to get down each individual person, and I probably didn't get most of them right. But I wanted to write a little something about each of them after the war.

Thank you to Listen (fabricated fantasies) for her amyzing beta job on the first part! And I'd also like to say a special thank you to everyone who's ever reviewed, favorited, or talked to me within the Harry Potter fandom. I personally think that we have one of the best fandoms to write for ever.

Keep the spirit alive, guys.

And please review! This actually took me a week, and gah, I'd just love your thoughts.