Chapter 7 : Goodbye Old Friend
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“Today we are gathered for the celebration of life of the life of the boy-who-lived, the savior of the wizard’s world.” Fresh tears fell as Hermione thought about the irony of it all- the boy-who-lived wasn’t alive anymore- he had nothing left to live for. Hermione cursed Harry in her thoughts. How completely self centered of him to take his own life and leave all his friends! The selfish bastard! Hermione instantly felt horrible for her thoughts. Harry had always though of the war as his fault. It was silly- juvenile, even- to think that, but he always had so much guilt. He hated being famous, hated himself for being alive.
“He had been in the spotlight since that first regrettable attack all those years ago….”
Poor Harry, that hair that would never stay put. And those eyes that everyone always oohed and aahed over. So like his mother’s. Those eyes that would never open again to take in the light of the world. Hermione stared into the cherry wood casket. Harry wore robes of gold and black- proper attire for a wizard funeral. His round spectacles were ironically perched upon his creamy white nose. The lips that parted so many times with laughter at his friends’ side would never again open to bring in a breath of utter an incantation. His skin was pale, never again able to feel the warm sun or a light breeze on a cool day.
Ginny Weasley was positioned beside Ron, bitter tears falling from her eyes. Her whole body was wracked with sobs as she completely broke down- not at all like the strong, bull-headed Ginny that Harry had loved. Hermione had never seen a love blossom like theirs had. No two people could possibly ever be in as much love as Harry and Ginny. He had given her a ring a week before the final battle, and she now twirled that ring around her finger.
Ron was holding her, his skin ghostly pale, almost like Harry’s. Hermione scolded herself for comparing Ron’s skin tone to Harry’s- Harry didn’t have a skin tone. He didn’t anything. Her Harry, the boy she studied with and plotted with, the boy she comforted and listened to, the man she respected and admired, was nothing more than a corpse. Just a lifeless shell, holding prematurely halted organs, blood cells, and muscle fibers that no longer functioned.
“God DAMNIT!” Hermione thought to herself as the man presiding over the funeral continued. It was a large funeral- bigger than even Dumbledore’s. A sound suddenly snapped Hermione out of her own thoughts. Yes, she should have expected this. The sorrowful phoenix song could be heard above them as Fawkes, Dumbledore’s trusty phoenix soared overhead. The sound made Hermione gasp for air, as sobs began to take over. Accompanying the phoenix’s melody was a choir of handbells playing a mournful song. Each bell struck a chord in Hermione’s heart, and she could no longer see through her tears. She felt someone grab her shoulders- Ron, perhaps. He pressed his warm body to hers and held her. She put all her weight on him and finally let her anger, sorrow, and heartbreak melt into Ron’s comforting shoulder.
The handbell choir continued as a lone violin sang a lamentable melody that made Hermione’s stomach lurch, while the phoenix continued to cry in the background. Mixed in with all of this were sobs from everyone in the crowd. Hermione’s head was pounding with the music and various shades of thoughts. No one would miss Harry like his Ginny, Ron, and Hermione.
“And now, Hermione Granger will give a eulogy in the honor and memory of Harry James Potter.” Hermione looked up from Ron’s shoulder, eyes wide. Her time had come. She walked up to the podium and placed a charm upon her voice, and then a timid sound escaped her throat as she began her tribute.
“I didn’t know what was ahead of me when I accepted that letter to Hogwarts. A world with witches and wizards, how exciting that must be. And I stepped on the Hogwarts Express, not sure in I’d ever fit in with everyone else. That was the day- September first, 1991, that I met Ronald Weasley and-and Harry Potter. Of course, I knew he was special. He had the scar and everything. And so my journey began. I helped him with the sorcerer’s stone- well, Ron and I did, anyway- through the chamber of secrets, finding Sirius Black- well, I don’t need to go through all the great things we did, you all know them by heart. What I do want to do is tell you about-“
She stopped and took a long breath that was meant to cleanse and revitalize her mind, but instead it made her feel smaller and weaker inside, and Hermione had to fight for the courage to continue talking
“-about the Harry I knew. Some people referred to the three of us as the ‘Golden Trio,’ but we weren’t, that was all rubbish. We were just best friends, having another adventure. Three people who needed someone else all at the same time. Ron, he’s always been- always was there for Harry through thick and thin. They had eachother’s back- they-they were best mates.” Hermione smiled over to Ron, who attempted to smile back, eyes glossy with tears.
“I was the smart one, spending all my time in the library. I missed a lot of great moments because of that- I’d trade anything just to get more time. Harry and Ron- well, all of Hogwarts, actually- made fun of me for my studies, but I like to think that I helped the two of them out in the long run. Well, I know I did, or else I’m not sure that Harry would have gotten through some of his classes!” There was a light rumble of sorrowful laughter through the crowd.
“Ginny, she was Harry’s one true love. After last summer, they went everywhere together. She was his other half, and he loved her until the day he died, and continues to love her from afar. And Harry, well, he was the hero, of course. Always off to save the day. Like the time during first year, when Draco Malfoy threw Neville Longbottom’s rememberall during our first flying lesson- his maneuvers landed him on the Quidditch team- youngest in a century! And he loved flying. If he ever needed to think about anything, you could be sure to find him on a broom, soaring through the sky, lost in his thoughts.” Hermione smiled at the memories of him.
“But as much of a hero he was, he had demons. He abhorred being famous. He just wanted to be a normal kid with a family who loved him. The closest person he ever had to a father was Sirius Black, and I’m sure they are both smiling down on us right now,” Hermione said, a single tear cascading down her cheek.
“Just a week ago, Voldemort finally fell. Gone are his horcruxes, his reign of terror, his supporters. Voldemort has been successfully wiped from this Earth- but not from our hearts or our minds. Harry’s- passing- is a reminder to us all- even those most pure and innocent can be lost at the hands of evil.
Harry James Potter was never normal. He had a right horrible childhood with his Aunt and Uncle, both who were brutally murdered the night after Harry turned seventeen-yet something else for him to blame himself for. You all must understand something- Harry had a heart of pure gold. Even those who gave him a hard time- he still held empathy for them. He was a one of a kind wizard- a one of a kind human being.” Hermione felt the familiar tears begin to freely dance down her wet cheeks.
“I-I’ve lost my confidant, my best friend, my brother. I will always love Harry as long as I live. Every time I see emerald eyes, or raven hair, or even hair that refuses to behave, I’ll only see one man in my mind. A third of me is gone, stolen from me unfairly. I-I had all these dreams of grandeur, holidays we’d spend together, free of worry. Our children would grow up together and-and maybe even cause as much trouble at Hogwarts as we did. M-my w-wounds will heal, b-but there will always be a-a hole in my heart where Harry belongs. So when you file past, all five thousand or so of you, to get a final look of the savior of the wizarding world, I don’t want you to just pay your respects to a hero, the person who has saved your family and allowed you happiness. I want you to look at him as a friend, a brother, or a son. Because that is all he ever asked for- a family- people who loved him unconditionally for who he was, not those who loved him for the actions he always prayed he’d never have to do. Here he is- Harry James Potter. I love you brother. Sleep now, and wait until the day the ‘Golden Trio’ will cause more trouble and mayhem in the next world.”
Hermione smiled and glanced at Harry’s icy form. She walked over to him, took her index and middle fingers, kissed them, and placed her goodbye on his forehead. The end of her speech commenced the viewing, and thousands filed passed. A few hours later, Hermione, Ginny, Ron, Neville, Luna, Fred, George, and Dean Thomas each shoveled the first earth into Harry’s final resting place. Ginny broke down again, falling to her knees. She grabbed at the Earth around her, heart shattering sobs echoing through the crowd of thousands as they tearfully looked on.
“Why Harry? Why, baby, why? Oh, oh, Harry, why did you do this? God, my Harry, why have you done this to yourself? You said you’d always be there, Harry, ALWAYS! Why did you do this to yourself? WHY!” She screamed down into the cavernous tomb. Ron and Hermione grabbed her shoulders and brought her to Mrs. Weasley, who tried to restrain her daughter without much gusto, since she was having a hard time herself. That was when the service ended, and Ron and Hermione walked slowly around the cemetery together when the crowds had finally cleared off.
“So, I guess it’s just you and me now, ‘Mione,” Ron said quietly, kicking the ground in frustration.
“I guess it is,” Hermione replied, grabbing her fiancé’s arm. Suddenly, she turned to him.
“You’ll love me forever, right? You’ll-you’ll never leave me-like-like Harry left Ginny, will you?” Ron took his hands and placed them on her shoulders.
“Hermione, I love you so much, more than you’ll ever know, and I swear to you, no matter what happens, I will never leave you.”
Hermione sucked in a breath, remembering Ron’s words. She and Draco were almost to Harry’s tomb, the first time she’d been there since that day. She gasped when she finally saw it, an those familiar tears she swore she would never again taste ran down her creamy skin.
“Oh,” she whispered, her eyes locked on the marble headstone.
Loving Friend, Brave Gryffindor
July 31, 1980- June 18, 1998
What bravery hath wrought
Born marked with a curse
Inevitability took over
Innocent life always lost first
Through sorrows again
The young three did fight
And armed only alone
One entered the light
Do not mourn
The fallen redeemer of grace
Celebrate his life
The keeper of our race
On the stone a bright star was engraved with three smaller stars surrounding it. Hermione guessed that the larger star was Harry and the three smaller ones were her, Ron, and Ginny. It was almost as if Ginny had been a part of the group all along, when Hermione looked back on it now. They might as well have been called the “Golden Quartet.” They really had all been a team.
“Granger, let’s go. Here it is, it’s his grave, now let’s go.” Hermione turned.
“You know damn well what we have to do,” she said, her words conflicting her thoughts.
“What-oh, no, you’re kidding. Seriously, Granger, No.” Draco’s eyes were wide and he was shaking his head.
“Subconciously, I guess I knew it’d have to happen. I have to confirm it.” Draco continued to vigorously shake his head.
“No No No I won’t do it.”
“Malfoy, you used to a death eater for Merlin’s sake! Surely you’ve seen awful things-“
“NOT rotting corpses! We cannot dig him up, it’s sacrilege, it’s….disgusting!”
“But it has to be done. I have to know!” Hermione shrieked, her eyes wide.
“Why? What are you trying to prove? You know he’s dead!”
“That’s…just it…” she trailed off.
“What?” asked Draco, irritation clouding his voice.
“I think Harry Potter is alive.”
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