Disclaimer: Anything familiar to JKR's books probably comes from there and is hers not mine. Also, Harry Potter, Hogwarts, the Wizarding World, and anything else that has to do with it belongs to the lovely JK Rowling, not me. I'm just playing in her sandbox and building my own Hogwarts in it.
"Go," Ginny encouraged him. "It needs to be you, or it'll never happen." Harry took a deep breath and let go of her hand. "Besides, it'll mean more if you're the one to show them all what all of us did."
Harry didn't need to ask who Ginny meant when she said "we" as every single Journal user past and present had worked hard on making the idea become reality over the past few months.
Gathering the Gryffindor courage hiding deep inside of him, Harry walked up to the front of the crowd in the courtyard of Hogwarts, and everyone fell silent. They had all been waiting for him.
Behind Harry was something large under a tarp, and no one outside of those in Hogwarts and those who had helped build it knew what was under it. It was actually the main reason the whole group had been called there, including the press.
"Today is June 7th," Harry began, speaking from the heart and not a memorized sheet of parchment like most would have done. "It has been exactly a year since the Battle of Hogwarts."
He paused as the crowd cheered, though he was quite pleased to see that the Hogwarts students and teachers, ex-students, and Order members who had been in that battle were all wearing black robes and cloaks. Even better, all of them were completely silent, some even looking down at the ground with a couple crying already.
"Most of the Wizarding World here in Britain looks at June 7th, 1998 as the day Lord Voldemort finally fell for good," Harry continued when the crowd finally fell silent, having to fight hard to stop the rolling of his eyes at their flinches.
"For those of us who fought in the battle, or even those of us who had been at Hogwarts during it, we can't look at it as a day of celebration," he said, and the crowd finally seemed to realize he wasn't there to celebrate anything. "No, today is the anniversary of the deaths of the heroes who died fighting for our world, for the hope of a better world, for all of us.
"Most of us lost friends, family, and loved ones during that battle." Harry gestured around to those wearing black and standing around the courtyard instead of sitting because they wanted to honor those people.
"Some children were orphaned during it – Hogwarts students and young children alike. Many of us lost our parents before the battle, some of us long before the battle."
Harry knew they all understood that he was talking about his parents' death, but he was also thinking of Tracey's parents, who had died before they could participate in the final battle, though they had made Voldemort's death possible with their help in finding and destroying the Horcruxes.
"So while most of the Wizarding World is celebrating the death of a madman who caused destruction and death, those of us from the Battle of Hogwarts are mourning the loss, and some are still trying to get over the trauma of what they saw in that battle."
Looking at the students, Harry met the eyes of the youngest of the students, and he saw so much pain, loss, and despair in their eyes, even after an entire year. So many of them had lost their innocence in that battle, and some had lost more than that.
The crowd shifted as they all began to realize that celebrating the death of Voldemort was probably the wrong thing to do. It was sad to see, in Harry's opinion, but at least they were realizing their mistake.
"For the past three months, everyone who fought in the war has been working on something to honor those we lost during the battle, the heroes who were willing to give up their lives and did."
Harry walked over to the tarp and pulled it down. Those in the crowd gasped in awe as they looked at the dark-white marble statue he had revealed, and he could understand their amazement as it was a beautiful yet painful and sorrowful piece.
A phoenix with its wings open made up the center of the statue. Around the neck of the phoenix was a snake, while under it was a lion with a badger by its paws. An eagle with just a single wingtip touching the head of the phoenix seemed to be flying above them all. All five animals had tears falling down their faces, and carved into every inch of the statue were names.
The fallen were named on the statue, each and every one of them. Those who died in the Battle of Hogwarts were gold with Dumbledore, Snape, Sirius, and Remus the brightest of them all and surrounded by bronze. Then the names of those who died or were as good as dead from either the first war or the time before the final battle but after the resurrection were in silver.
Harry looked at the silver names with the bronze surrounding them.
He had not voted when everyone had decided who to honor above the others. It had been decided by everyone else that his parents deserved the honor above everyone else who had died before the final battle. Dumbledore, Snape, Remus, and Sirius had been chosen because the first three had been professors and well respected, even if Snape hadn't been liked by most, and Sirius had gone through so much in his life. In a way, he felt it was fitting; Harry just wouldn't have asked for it or demanded it for any of them.
"The statue alone took just over three weeks to make, even with magic," Harry finally said as everyone had seen their fill of the statue and he returned to where he had been standing before. "We then spent two months finding and carving the names of the dead from both wars and the Battle of Hogwarts, even including a few people who are as good as dead."
Harry met Neville's eyes as he said this, and Neville nodded ever-so-slightly in his direction. His parents were on the statue as well.
"This – honoring the heroes and the dead, whether they fought or not – is what we should be doing on June 7th, not celebrating the death of the man who caused so much death to so many people. If you want to celebrate Voldemort's death, do it privately, but don't make a huge deal out of something that is horrific. Today is a day of mourning, not celebrating."
Harry looked up at Ginny, and he realized what he really wanted in addition to June 7th being a day of mourning for those lost and honoring them.
"In fact, I'd even suggest making June 7th a day of mourning and honoring these people while June 8th should be a day of celebration to remind people that there is always something to fight for."
When Harry said that, he saw many of the people in black around the courtyard smile a bit through their tears, which Harry had been holding back the entire time.
Tracey shared a look with him that told him he was being the leader he had been forced to be during his time at Hogwarts, especially during the last three years of his seven. The look also told him that she liked what he was saying and felt he was doing the right thing.
"We lost so much during Voldemort's reign, whether you're talking about the first war or the second," Harry sighed a bit sadly, though it was loud enough for everyone to hear him. "It will take a long time to recover from all of this, but we'll rebuild, and we'll heal, and we'll start over. The thing is, we can't forget what caused this and what we lost because of Voldemort. If we forget, it'll happen again, and I don't think anyone wants that.
"Just don't think of this as a day of celebration, because it's not. Today is a day of mourning and showing our grief over the fallen, so treat it as such." Harry turned so that he could see both the crowd and the statue behind him.
"This statue will stay at Hogwarts for good," he said. "We've put so many charms on it to keep it as is that the coloring will never fade, and not even spells will harm it."
Looking out at his friends, his fellow mourners, he spoke again after looking at the statue for a few moments.
"We built this together so that it could last forever, and it will, because their sacrifice will always be remembered and recorded. This is just our way of showing it."
Harry looked out at the crowd of press and others who had come to see him speak, and he just shook his head and walked over to where the others were, questions and flashes of cameras following him, which he ignored.
"That was perfect," Ginny whispered in his ear. "I knew you could do it."
"It was hard," he admitted quietly, wrapping an arm around her shoulders as they walked over to her family and his friends, who he thought of as his family. They both knew he would never have admitted that to anyone else.
"But you did it," she said. "You honored those who gave their lives just by saying all of that."
"I guess I did," he sighed, and they reached the others.
"Well said, mate," Draco said quietly.
"Thanks," Harry replied, and the others all gave him looks that said they agreed with Draco, so he just lifted one side of his mouth slightly in response.
"Come on, we've got that feast waiting for us in the Great Hall," Daphne said finally after they were quiet for a bit. "Only Hogwarts students and those who built the statue allowed," she added with a slight grin.
Harry also grinned slightly, but everyone in the group knew that no matter how much they all smiled and laughed, none of it would reach their eyes, not today.
Once in the Great Hall, everyone began walking up to Harry, telling him that they appreciated his words and the effort they all knew it was for him just to go stand up there. None of the press or others in the crowd realized how hard it was for Harry to speak like that. He may have defeated the Dark Lord and been the leader of leaders at Hogwarts, and he may be a Slytherin, but it would always be a challenge for him to speak in public, especially about something personal.
Harry had bravery, but not the sort a Gryffindor held; his was quieter and showed more when it came to his friends, family, and loved ones. Otherwise, he was more of a stay in the background, observe, say a few necessary words, and slip into the shadows again sort of bloke. Being the leader of leaders had brought him out more, but he would always watch before acting except in battle, when the two sides of him worked together.
When everyone had finally sat down, no one at the Head Table this night as even the teachers had sat down with students, Professor McGonagall stood up with her goblet, and the room fell silent.
"As Mr. Potter said before, we are here to mourn for those lost," she said clearly, though her eyes showed her sorrow and grief. "Let us make a toast to those who gave their lives not only in the Final Battle all of us besides the first years participated in, but also to those who lost their lives to Lord Voldemort and his reign."
Everyone lifted their goblets and drank, silence descending upon the Hall as most remembered at least one person who was lost, basically everyone remembering multiple people.
Then, Harry stood up, which surprised some people as they had thought he had worn himself out when it came to talking to people earlier, but he had had a thought that needed to be said.
"Today is the day we mourn and remember, but tomorrow is a new day," he said. "I meant what I said when I talked about the celebration to remind us about what we have to fight for, what to live for.
"Remember those lost, but don't let your grief control your life. No matter how painful losing a loved one is, they gave their lives so that we could have a life to live ahead of us. Don't dishonor their memory by throwing it away in your pain. Trust me, I almost did it when Cedric died, and I don't want it to happen to any of you.
"Think about those friends and family you have left, and think about what the future holds, because that's what's important at a time like this. Just think about it."
Harry sat down, and the Hall was silent for a few moments before Draco began quietly clapping, the others around Harry catching on quickly. Before long, everyone in the Hall was quietly clapping for Harry and his words. He was blushing and trying not to let it get to him too much, failing miserably.
"Beautiful, Harry," Tracey said, and he turned to see the tears in her eyes.
Out of everyone, only Ginny and Tracey really knew how badly he had taken Cedric's death after his fourth year. When with anyone else, even Sirius and Remus, he had hidden it; but those two always had been able to read him like an open book.
Tracey also understood a bit better than most as she had had just over a year to get used to her parents being gone before the battle, meaning it had been over two years now. It would always be hard, but it grew easier to live with as life went on.
"I was just speaking the truth," he said quietly, and she nodded in sympathy.
"And are you going to listen to your own words, Harry?" Ginny asked from his other side, and he turned to her as he grinned a half-grin.
"I think I might this time around; especially because I've got you to remind me when I forget," he said, and Ginny smiled a bit.
"Good," both Tracey and Ginny said as one, and all three snorted slightly in amusement.
"Here we go again," Blaise groaned theatrically, and all three turned to him with raised eyebrows. "The Slytherin twins and the younger Gryffindor sister have returned."
"Very funny, Blaise," Harry stated as he grabbed a roll and ripped it open before buttering it to eat.
"I thought so," Blaise returned.
Around them, Harry began to notice the rest of the Hall had seen the normal banter between him and his friends. The others were beginning to talk, and the noise level was rising in the Great Hall, though there would always be darkness over the group today, even if some were laughing quietly.
It was as normal as Hogwarts was going to get.
Harry stood on top of the Astronomy Tower, his Firebolt in his hand. He was just looking over the grounds as he had exactly a year before, though this time the sun was setting instead of rising like it had been then.
"Remembering?" the voice of Ginny asked from behind him, and Harry didn't even turn as she moved carefully down the roof to stand next to him, her own broom in her hand as she looked out over Hogwarts, the new statue gleaming in the sun.
"Yeah," he said quietly, and they fell silent until the sun had fully set and it was dark over their school, even if only Ginny was a student still, and she was about to leave Hogwarts. Both eventually sat down as they looked around.
"You know, I think I've finally gotten my closure about all that happened here a year ago," Harry said quietly, looking at the softly glowing statue, which had been charmed to do that at night.
"Oh?" Ginny questioned.
"Just seeing all of this, building the statue, talking like I have been… I think I've finally realized that everything happened for a reason, and it was for a good one." He sighed gently, reaching out to put an arm around Ginny. "Everyone knew what they were doing when they either came here or stayed, and nothing I could have done would have prevented it."
"For a Slytherin, you sure do blame yourself a lot," Ginny commented dryly after a bit, and both of them laughed.
"I assure you, this has barely been in my mind this past year," Harry finally said. "It's just something that had to happen subconsciously, because I had already accepted it consciously."
"That makes sense," Ginny admitted.
"This all happened, and now all we can do is remember and try our best to make sure this never happens again," Harry stated, and Ginny nodded under his arm.
And it was true, Harry knew. If they all worked to continue to rebuild the Ministry properly and recorded things the best they could and found ways to make sure no one ever forgot about this, they could stop things from getting this bad every again.
In Harry's mind, he was finally finding his peace as he looked out at the first place that had ever been home to him, though it most certainly wasn't the last.
That's it. Clash of the Alphas is officially complete. Now, I have three people (well, four, but you'll understand soon enough) that I have to thank in this final Author's Note of the main Trilogy of Rise of an Alpha.
The first and foremost would be my parents, who have been encouraging my writing since I began back in 8th grade. That led to a year and a half of writing this trilogy, finishing back in November of 2011 around Thanksgiving, even if I didn't mention it at the time due to not wanting to be nagged. My mom listened to my plots and prank plans and even some of what I read aloud from the story, giving me ideas for the pranks back in fifth year. My dad, however, hasn't had much to do with my story except encourage me to continue writing because, as a non-fiction author, he would look at it too objectively, and he never wanted to do that. However, I still thank them both.
Next has to be my annoying, loveable Plot Beta and best friend (one of them, at least), Ana. Without her, this series would never have been this large and complicated. As I said at the end of Becoming Alpha, she questioned me about plots and various ideas, bringing about more subplots and influencing how the story went at least slightly, especially with the Animagus after a conversation our freshman year. She still and will always deny that I've killed off Sirius, Remus, Tonks, and a few others, but I love her anyway, and she was one of my hugest inspirations at the beginning of this series, so thanks Ana!
Finally, last but never least (I've heard that one referring to me before…), my amazing, outstanding, fantastic Beta, Arnel. Arnel, you are all the words I just used and more. Your suggestions and edits and questions helped me so much in writing this. My writing grew more than before as I wrote this due to your editing, and I hope you saw it as you went from BA to RA to CA, because it was your influence that brought it about. I will forever be grateful for that day when you sent me that message, asking if I had a Beta and offering to take the position if I didn't, despite my not really wanting a Beta because I wanted this series to be my own. This series wouldn't have that slight smoothness to it that it does without your touch, and I hope we have many more stories written by me and edited by you, because it's been a blast working with you on this. Thank you for everything you've done.
I've mentioned a couple of times lately that there is going to be a sequel to this. Seven chapters that follow up after Harry leaves Hogwarts with flashes from his life, ending with my own version of JKR's Epilogue, Nineteen Years Later. However, these chapters are still in the editing process, so they won't be posted right away. I'll get them up as soon as I can, but I can't promise when that will be. So, if you put me on Author's Alert, you'll see it. If you don't, however, I'd just suggest checking back in. The story is going to be called Life of a Conquering Alpha, and I promise to have it up by the end of July, or at least the first chapter, but I can't promise anything more than that.
Thank you all so much. My final thanks is to everyone who has read, reviewed, and followed this series on its long journey beginning 10/10/10 and ending today, 6/13/12. Yes, there is still more to come, but this is the end of the trilogy, and anything more is just that – more, extra. It's been one heck of a ride. Becoming Alpha was my first ever attempt at a Harry Potter story, and it was more of a success than I ever imagined – this entire series was more of a success than I could ever hope for. Your reviews and just knowing people were reading it and enjoying it made this ride so much more than it already was. Thank you all for giving me this. I know the story and plot wasn't perfect, but I learned a lot from this, since I am only 17 and wrote this when I was 15 and 16, and I do believe this was an enormous success despite all that.
There will be more writing from me in the future, even after Life of a Conquering Alpha. I have an alternate ending for Clash of the Alphas in the works – a much darker ending that will be rated M and will most likely sadden those who read it more than this ending did. It's a "What If" idea where the Death Eaters realized Voldemort preferred them to kill students as well as adults, and the students' luck ran out. I'll post it when I've finished it, whenever that is, but you read it at your own risk, because it's much darker than this ending was, no doubt about it. There's also a one-shot songfic I wrote months ago, though I'll have to take out the lyrics for this site due to recent events, for this series that I'll post on Sunday, most likely. The full version will be on my SIYE account whenever it gets validated.
I've also got a handful of other stories I've been writing on the side of this trilogy. Percy Jackson and the Olympian stories – one co-written with a friend that's in the works – as well as another Harry Potter one-shot and another Harry Potter story that won't be posted until it's complete. Despite this being over, I'm nowhere near done with FF, and I hope you continue to join me as I grow as a writer. It's been a pleasure writing and posting this series.
For the final time of Clash of the Alphas, I hope you enjoyed the chapter and the story and the entire series.