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Mourning a Loss
Students and teachers started to pour into the Great Hall. Harry didn't hear any of it. He didn't see any of it. He was frozen in shock. He couldn't believe Percy was gone. Just like that. Just like Cedric. There one minute, laughing and joking, and gone the next. Numbness filled him and tears started to run down his cheeks. The first sound to penetrate the haze in his head was the anguished cries of Ron and Ginny as they came in from the battle to see their aunt lying dead at Harry's feet. Turning slightly, Harry wrapped his arms around Ginny as she wept. Hermione was likewise comforting Ron. Peeves was floating overhead, unusually somber, his eyes having lost their mischievous sparkle. Eustace and Robert were gathered with the other Gryffindors, trying to explain what had happened.
Everyone's attention was grabbed when Dumbledore came over to the assembled group, watching Harry warily the whole time. He took in the scene before asking Minerva what had happened. She told him about the bubbles causing the distraction they needed to subdue the attackers, and the ceiling caving in and falling on the Gryffindor table. Dumbledore appeared grave, and looked around the Hall, making sure all of the remaining students and teachers were present, before amplifying his voice.
ATTENTION EVERYBODY. FIRSTLY, THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE DEFENSE OF THE SCHOOL. THANKS TO YOU, THE ENEMY HAS FLED. SECONDLY, I WOULD LIKE TO ANNOUNCE THAT SIX STUDENTS AND SEVEN TEACHERS HAVE BEEN KILLED IN THE BATTLE, INCLUDING OUR HEADMASTER, PROFESSOR DIPPET. AS DEPUTY HEADMASTER, IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY TO ASSUME COMMAND OF THE SCHOOL. I WOULD LIKE EVERYBODY TO RETURN TO THEIR COMMON ROOMS SO WE CAN DO A HEADCOUNT. THANK YOU.
Dumbledore moved over to where Harry was crouching, still holding Percy's wrist. Putting his hand on the boy's shoulder, he waited for him to look up.
Mr. Evans, I would like to see you in my office as soon as the headcount is complete. I was rather concerned about the way you were fighting in the battle.
Harry just looked at the newly appointed headmaster in anger.
With all due respect, sir, my friend has just been killed. She was thirteen years old. That is far too young to die. Can we please postpone this discussion until after the funeral? I would like to grieve for my friend.
Dumbledore gave the green eyed boy a penetrating look before nodding his assent.
There will be a memorial service at the school in two days time. Will you come and speak to me after that?
Very well, then. I will leave you to your grief. My condolences for your loss.
That said, Dumbledore strode out of the Hall to start arranging the memorial service. Harry turned back to Ginny and pulled her tighter against his chest.
The next day the school was a complete mess. Classes had been cancelled as a sign of respect, and to give the teachers the opportunity to repair the Great Hall. Dumbledore had arranged the memorial service for the next evening. All of the families of those killed were going to be there, and there would be a feast afterwards. Private funerals would be organised by the families, but the memorial service allowed all of the students to pay their respects.
The following evening at six o'clock the families started to arrive. A special table had been set up by the Head table for them to sit at. The memorial service was headed by Dumbledore, who stood to speak first.
Ladies, gentleman and students. We are here to celebrate the lives of those thirteen brave souls who gave their lives to save the school from a formidable enemy. Their courage is to be celebrated tonight, as some personal friends of the departed say a few special words.
Stepping down, he gestured for the first speaker to stand. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny were sat at the back of the room, watching the proceedings. A lot of people got up to speak about the ones they had lost. Friends, family, crazy neighbours and colleagues alike stood and told short stories of the people they had known, making the situation seem so much more real. Harry couldn't help but think that the people were made real by the ones that had known them the best. Each story, each memory proved that these people were not simply a name or a statistic, but a real human being, with friends, family and lives of their own.
Eventually it was time for Persephone's speakers. Much to the surprise of the red headed family sat at the front, Ron stood up and moved to the podium.
Hello, I am Ronald Weston, and Percy was a dear friend of mine. Although I didn't know her for long, from the first moment I saw her at the Welcome feast I felt a deep connection with her, as if I had known her my entire life. She reminded me a lot of my twin brothers, who have the same mischievous nature and innocent smile as she had. When she came into a room, you couldn't help but notice her. She had a presence about her that you couldn't ignore. She died to save her fellow students, showing incredible resourcefulness and cunning by using one of the pranks she loved so much to reach her goals. She showed courage and selflessness that would have made Godric Gryffindor proud, and I commend her. Persephone will forever be in our thoughts and in our hearts.
By the time Ron stood down from the podium he had tears falling from his eyes. Looking over to the assembled Weasleys he gave them a watery smile. He was pleased when his grandfather smiled back at him, gratitude and respect in his eyes. Taking his seat, Ron felt Ginny slipping into his lap and wrapping her thin arms around his waist.
That was beautiful, Ron.
Thanks, Gin. I think the Weasleys were a bit surprised, but I had to say something. She wasn't just our aunt; she was our friend as well. I'm just glad we had the opportunity to meet her.
At that moment a new figure was making his way to the podium. He was a young boy, about ten years old, with a gangly frame and Weasley red hair. Turning to face the crowd, everyone could see the determined look upon his face, despite the shaking of his hands and his puffy red eyes. In spite of his obvious nervousness, his voice was loud and clear.
I am Arthur Weasley, Persephone's brother. I just wanted to say that despite what people say, Percy's death isn't a tragedy. She lived a happy life, with friends and family that loved her. I will miss her a lot. She was my sister, and I mourn her. But I will not allow my grief to get the better of me. I will come to Hogwarts next year, and become a Gryffindor. I will do all of the things Percy can't, and I will think about her as I do them. But I will not allow her death to rule my life. She wouldn't want that. Percy would want us to celebrate her life, not mourn her death. That's all I wanted to say, thank you.
As he got down off the podium, whispers filled the Great Hall. Harry leaned over to Hermione and muttered in her ear.
Well, that was unexpected.
I'll say. He sounded so mature it's hard to believe he's only ten.
I know. I was still living in my cupboard at that age. He's right, though. Percy wouldn't want us to suffer. She'd want us to move on with our lives and remember the happy times we had with her.
I know. Do you want to speak to the Weasley family after the memorial?
Yes, I have something I want to ask them.
Once the whispers died down, the memorial continued, finishing with a feast in honour of the fallen students and teachers. After the feast, Harry made his way up to the table where the Weasleys were sitting. Noticing his approach, they broke off their conversation and waited for him to speak.
Hello, I'm Harry Evans. I was a good friend of Persephone's.
Mr. Weasley was the one to speak for the family.
Yes, I believe Percy mentioned you in her letters.
I just wanted to say I'm sorry for your loss. I will miss Percy greatly, but I cannot imagine what you must be going through. However, I have something I would like to speak to you about.
Please take a seat, Mr. Weasley told him, gesturing to an empty chair. Harry sat himself down before continuing.
I wanted to create something, but I wanted to ask your permission first. I would like to make a statue of Persephone to place in a room here in Hogwarts. It would be a permanent memorial to remind future students of her supreme sacrifice. It would also give people a place to visit when they wish to mourn here at the school. I was going to sculpt it myself, but I wanted your permission first.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley didn't quite know what to say. They were rather surprised that a student that had only known their daughter for two months wanted to build her a memorial. Mr. Weasley was the one to voice his concerns.
Are you sure it would be tasteful? I don't want some big statue with flowers and bells and any other decoration that would make the memory of our child seem tacky.
Sir, I would never do that. It would be small and tasteful, and open only to those who wished to genuinely pay their respects. I would never degrade the memory of my friend in such a manner. You have my word.
Very well then, but we would like to see it before it is placed anywhere. Will you be attending the funeral?
If I am permitted.
Then you can show it to us then.
Are my friends allowed to attend the funeral? Persephone meant a lot to all of us. We wouldn't cause any trouble.
Of course, as long as there aren't a lot of you.
No, there will only be six of us, I assure you.
Very well. The funeral will take place at the church in Ottery St. Catchpole on the fifth at noon. We hope to see you there.
Harry nodded his head to the family before taking his leave, moving back to his friends to tell them the news.
Harry was cornered on his way out of the Great Hall by none other than Albus Dumbledore. The Headmaster was giving him a guarded look as he placed his hand on Harry's shoulder, guiding him up towards his new office. Once they got there, Dumbledore stepped up to the gargoyle and whispered the password.
Fry's Five Boys.
The password accepted, the gargoyle leapt out of the way and the headmaster led Harry up the spiral staircase to the round office. Once there, he sat behind the desk and gestured for the boy to sit opposite him.
No thank you, sir.
Now, Harry, I have brought you here to ask you about the battle.
What about it, sir? Harry said, trying to stall, even though he knew what Dumbledore meant.
I was rather disturbed by the magic you were using on Grindelwald.
With all due respect, sir, I don't see what the problem is.
It was Dark Magic, Harry. It's dangerous, and will corrupt you. Before we know it we could have another Dark Lord on our hands.
You already will, but it won't be me, I can tell you that for a fact.
Harry, why were you using Dark Magic?
It worked, didn't it?
You know that's not what I meant.
I just don't see why you have a problem with it. From what I can see, Light Magic was having little to no effect on him. Using the Dark Arts was the only way of pushing him back. If I hadn't used it, they would have won the battle. You know that as well as I do.
That's not the point
It is, sir. The fact is, I drove Grindelwald back. The fact I used Dark Magic is irrelevant. I'm not turning evil, sir, I just did what was necessary.
I just don't want to have to deal with another enemy
Professor, what evidence do you have that I am evil? From where I'm sitting I have done nothing wrong. I saved the school, and the lives of everyone in it. In what way does that make me evil?
I can see your point, Harry, but you have to understand my concerns.
I do, and I respect your beliefs concerning Dark Magic. On the other hand, my beliefs differ greatly, and there is nothing you can say that will change my mind. However, if you need proof that I am a good person
Harry let out a sharp, loud whistle. Dumbledore just looked at him perplexed. Everything was explained a minute later when a large red and gold blur came sailing through the door, letting out a long, haunting note.
Professor Dumbledore, let me present to you my familiar, Fawkes.
Is that a phoenix? asked the rather stunned man, looking at the bird that had alighted on his master's shoulder. Harry smiled smugly at the fact he had managed to surprise the seemingly omniscient man.
Yes, it is. Fawkes was given to me for my last birthday by an elf friend of mine. As you know, phoenixes are pure Light creatures, and shy away from anything evil. If I was going to be the next Dark Lord, do you really think Fawkes would be sitting on my shoulder?
I suppose not.
Then I rest my case. I have no wish to further argue this point with you. I propose we agree to disagree. Godric Gryffindor trusted me, even before I helped him to defeat Slytherin. I hope you can show me the same trust.
I will try my best, Harry. Now, there was another matter I wished to discuss with you.
During the battle, I noticed that you and your friends were firing curses without your wands. I was wondering how this was possible.
We were using wandless magic.
That's not possible! Wandless magic is a myth.
I assure you, Headmaster, it is not.
Pointing his hand towards the centre of the room, Harry quickly conjured a Patronus. Dumbledore could only stare in awe at the stag wandering around the room.
The advantages of wandless magic are innumerable. For one thing, in a battle your opponent doesn't know what spell you are throwing at him because you haven't spoken an incantation. You also don't have to worry about being disarmed.
Will you teach me some?
I am afraid you will only be able to learn it for simple spells. You really have to learn it when you are young. The older you are, the harder it is to succeed with it. I will try, though, on one condition.
And what would that be?
That you teach my friends and me to Apparate.
Good. Was there anything else?
Just a couple more questions, if you have the time.
Are you and your friends animagi?
Yes, we are. We were taught by Lady Hufflepuff.
I see. A very useful skill to have. I also wanted to ask how you and Miss Granger survived the Killing curse.
Alas, there is a question I can't tell you the answer to. Don't worry, I'll tell you when you are older.
Before Dumbledore had a chance to respond, Harry had stood up and left the room, rejoicing in his revenge, however petty, for the many times Dumbledore had told him he would find things out the same way.