May 2nd, 1998 – In Loving Memory
Bruised cheeks and heavy eyelids; broken limbs and blood smeared skin. Shattered hearts leave fragments scattered across the battle grounds. Rubble is strewn from broken pillars, glass shards from broken windows. The sun shines overhead like a vicious reminder of the lack of happiness in the rooms, slinking down the corridors and coursing through the air. A fine layer of debris covers everything in sight and slides down throats and punctures lungs. The place reeks of death, decay and depression. Families huddle together, holding each other in crushing embraces.
The crushing sensation runs deeper as it presses against his chest, threatening to suffocate him. His light ginger eye lashes flutter as thick tears gather there, a sob brushing against his chapped lips. His body is racking with sobs of hysteria that threaten to break him and pull him apart. He wishes to just drop dead, have his body lay with the masses.
"No," the word brushes against his lips bitterly, the taste so foreign and repulsive. "No," he says it over and over again, rocking slightly, his knees pulled up to his chest.
There are a million other voices and sounds around him and he wishes he could make it all stop. He wishes that he was alone, and with these thoughts pressing against his skull, he jumps from his seat and rushes from the great hall.
Running—where to he has no idea—he skids to make sharp corners and when his breathing becomes labored, he juts into a random classroom. The window was missing, the curtains swaying in the wind, desks upside down with wooden legs strewn around. His eyes glazed in fury and pain, red sparing his vision. He tries to ignore the pain, the agony, the heartache, the suffocation, and before he knows it, he's gasping for air. He can't get enough in and he's chocking. His lungs are threatening to cave in, and his chest is convulsing. But he honestly can't think of any reason to force oxygen into his slowly dilapidating body. If he stopped breathing now it would only end the misery that had only just begun, he figured; jump ship before it hit an iceberg. His eyes sweep the room and with a final attempt, he screams. So loudly, he feels as if his vocal cords will rupture, his lungs cave in and his voice be irretrievably damaged.
"Fred," He chokes out.
May flowers bloom in the front garden. Bright hues of pink, purple, yellow, orange and red litter the yard and the sun casts bright rays. The birds chirp and sing their happy melodies from high tree branches. It's the welcoming of summer, of sunshine of happy days set out in the warmth. It's early in the morning, dawn brushing the horizon and the Potter residence was solemn. Lily's little voice is nearly hushed, as she stands in front of the mirror, her brown eyes staring back at her as Ginny fashions a simple bow in her hair. Her brothers—Albus and James—dress just as stoically, and Teddy's with his grandmother.
'It's a day to honor all who have gone'
Lily follows her daddy all around as he ties his shoes, dawns his robes, makes a couple of notes on a small piece of parchment and tries to get his hair to lie flat. She hates to see her father's swimming green iris', and so she follows him like a lost puppy. She offers him the pink flower she'd found in the garden, and Harry bends down to softly kiss her temple.
When her daddy tells her he needs to finish getting ready, and that she should go find her brothers, Lily quietly seeks out James and Albus. She finds them out back, James' hands shoved in his robe pockets, Albus' bright green eyes turned up towards the large tree that sits a few yards away.
"Why is everybody so sad?" Lily murmurs after a minute. She can't stand the silence, because this isn't normal. James and Albus aren't quiet, Daddy doesn't cry and Mummy always laughs at her silly jokes.
"Because, Lils," James speaks softly, and when she lifts her head to give him a look, she's shocked to see a few tears trickle from his blue orbs.
"What's wrong, Jamie?" She asks, and he shakes his head.
"It's a sad day for everybody, Lily." Albus speaks instead, picking up her question, where James left it. "Today is the day that Teddy's parents died, and Uncle Fred and Professor Snape and lots of other people." Lily looks from Albus to James, and James nods, as if to agree with what Albus had told her.
"Today we're going to a meeting where Kingsley's gonna talk and Daddy and maybe Uncle Ron and stuff." James tells her. "That's why we have to dress up in silly clothes."
"Well how come nobody's running and having fun?"
"Because it's a day to honor and mourn." This time Ginny's voice answers Lily's simple question as she slips out in a soft purple dress.
"I don't like everybody being so sad." Lily turns to her mum, and Ginny offers her a watery smile. "Don't cry, Mummy!" Ginny blubbers a simple laugh and she wipes her eyes with a tissue.
"It's going to be okay." Ginny promises. "I'm just a little sad. We should be going."
George's eyes are full to the brim, as he cuddles his son to his chest. His little body was snuggly and his bright eyes blinked up at him softly and he wanted to burst into a new round of tears. He fells Angelina's arm around him and it's all he can do not to run away like he has so many times. He wants to run from the large meadow and run away. But he's promised. He's made so many promises he's not sure how to keep. He's not sure how to let this day be alright. How he can live life so easily without Fred. How he can ever get over the huge void in his chest. Even now with his two children, his many nieces and nephews, the large family that now surrounds him. He can hear his mum's sobs as she folds into his father's side.
"Daddy," George glances down at the tiny child in his arms. His little features staring so intently up at his father slowly warmed George's broken soul. Pulling himself together, George looks back up to the stage where Harry, Ron and Hermione stood.
"And so we mustn't forget." Harry's voice finally becomes clear in George's ears and he watches Hermione nod fervently. "They did not die in vain. And, I think they would be proud. We've come so far and we rebuilt the world in a way they would've loved." Ron's eyes are teary and Hermione is holding his hand tightly, and Harry's eyes are cast somewhere far in the distance. "We have to keep on fighting, though, make their memory live on."
"Which is exactly what we have done." Hermione speaks now. "And now we would like to present the newest addition to the war memorial." She takes a step to the side, and behind her, the large curtain is removed from what appears to be a fountain. It trickles water slowly and soothingly and across the side, carved in tightly reads, 'In Loving Memory'. Hermione leads Harry and Ron from the stage and with a flick of her wand, the stage disappeared, the fountain was joined by a simple wooden bench that sat directly under a large, leafy tree.
"Sonorus," Hermione murmured, before turning to the crowd. "A place to reflect, a place to mourn, a place to remember." She spoke softly, gently, and as she did she placed a hand on her protruding belly where their tiny baby girl resided. As her words echoed off of the crowd, she slowly lowered her wand and led Ron away from the large opening. Harry too began to walk away, going to where his family sat. He wrapped Teddy in his grasp and George couldn't help but think that this was what they were supposed to do. They were supposed to live on. Not slowly go through the motions, feeling only pain, remorse or regret. They needed to keep their chins up and keep a bright outlook of the world. They needed to not only live for themselves, but for those who had gone on.
"I'm going to be okay," George murmured, standing from his seat and walking to the fountain, seeing the etchings in the bench; names. Searching through the many names that had been carved in, he found the one he knew he needed to make proud, the one he needed to live for.
Teddy couldn't understand why bad things happened to such good people. He had often thought about and compared his life to others. He thought about his fellow Gryffindor's back in school, or the people he worked with, or even his family. He thought about how Blair Zabini was so bitter and so angry about life and how she was constantly in a bad mood about something, but for what reason? What reason did she have to hate the world? She was an only child—not that Teddy would trade his siblings for anything—her parents were both alive and well and they were even still married. She was rich, had all of the money she could want and more, and she was magical. He'd thought over the equation so many times, yet he could never come up with anything to back up her reason to be so pissed. He—having tact—had never asked her why she couldn't just be happy. But one night, in the darkness, he had decided that if anybody had reason to be so angry, it should be somebody like him.
He wasn't bitter, not really. He was sad, and sometimes he was mad, and there were moments where he regretted everything that had ever happened. He missed them so much it hurt, and so he decided that maybe he shouldn't just sit and cry on that dreadful day anymore. Maybe he should give it meaning, he should give his parents something, to show them that he wasn't wasting their sacrifice, that because they put everything on the line to prepare for him a better world, he would take full advantage of that. He wasn't going to let them down. And so, when his beautiful fiancé asked him which day he would like to get married, he didn't pick one of her choices at all.
"Teddy," Victoire whined gently. "I know you want me to decide everything, and it's really sweet of you, but you have to help me make some decisions."
"It's your special day." Teddy teased her, kissing her cheek gently and she just rolled her eyes.
"It's our special day." She reprimanded him and he just shrugged it off. "Just help me decide." She slid a calendar over to where he sat at the table in Shell Cottage, and his eyes scanned over the days she had drawn hearts over; May 10th, May 15th, May 30th. "I don't care whichever way you go," Victoire told him. "They're all good to me, and-"
"That one." He pointed to the little square with the few notes written across it and she looked over, her nose instantly crinkling.
"You said I could decide." He reminded her gently. "I choose this day."
The wedding preparations are much more stressful and organized from that point on. Fleur, Victoire and Molly as well as nearly all of the other women in the family, iron out each tiny little point and before Teddy knows it he is standing in front of the mirror, Harry beside him, James and Albus to the other side.
"Freaking out yet?" Harry asked Teddy gently and he made a face, switching his hair to each of the colors in the rainbow.
"Do you think, you know…" Teddy lets his voice trail away, though Harry seems to understand.
"I think they'd be so proud." Harry murmured, his voice collecting a bit of a chock, his eyes filling.
"Are you sure?" Teddy's voice held a note of nervousness, but Harry only wrapped an arm around the turquoise-headed boy.
And so, as the wedding proceeded, and the party began, toasts being shouted, Teddy decided that maybe May Second wasn't all that bad. That maybe his new bride's radiant smile could make up for all of the years spent crying, the lingering tears in George's eyes, the way his grandmother struggled to get through every other May 2nd. Maybe the way Victoire looked tucked into her father's side, and the way he twirled Lily around the dance floor would fill a void. Maybe his parents were smiling down at him, and maybe they were throwing a party of their own with all of the other family that had passed on before he had gotten to meet them. Maybe it was okay to smile in their memory, and not feel a huge hole in your chest. And, if Teddy wasn't imagining things, he might've seen a smile on George's face; maybe.