Chapter 1 : THE LOST GENERATION
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For a few years, none of the students in the school had been free of the nightmarish vision of the winged horses that pulled the carriages to and from the Hogwarts Express' station. It had caused more than a few first years to break out crying, which was not the reception that anyone wanted for them, though with the past few years it seemed inevitable.
It had calmed down, now, as the years passed. It had been six years to the day from the Final Battle, as it had been termed. Six long years in which Hermione had gone from student to teacher. She still called it The Day, or That Day. The Final Battle made her think of what had happened, and she didn't want to think of it anymore than she had to.
She stood at the High Table and watched the students trickle in. The younger students didn't know Harry Potter, or Ron Weasley, or Severus Snape, or Albus Dumbledore, or Filius Flitwick.
Oh, they knew who they were. Harry Potter was The-Boy-Who-Lived, the one who died to defeat Voldemort. Ron Weasley was his red haired sidekick, the youngest brother of, new as of last march, the Minister of Magic in Britain. Snape was the Potion Master during their years, someone that was used now to usher first years to bed. "Hurry up or Professor Snape will get you!" Dumbledore had been Head Master before McGonagall, a very, very old wizard he was. And Professor Flitwick had been head of Ravenclaw, and had been so short!
And the others. So many more had died. Ginny Weasley, both Fred and George Weasley, Dean Thomas, Seamus Finnigan, Arthur Weasley, Remus Lupin, Narcissa Black (formerly Malfoy), Susan Bones, Colin Creevey, Mandy Brocklehurst, Natalie MacDonald, Kevin Whitby, Millicent Bulstrode, Anthony Goldstein, Lisa Turpin, Tracy Davis, Megan Jones, Pansy Parkinson... The list meandered on and on, regardless of house or year, graduated or not. There had even been some from the ranks of this year's seventh years, though those had been blessedly few.
She brought herself back to the present, letting the faces of the dead slip out of her mind, if only for a moment. She smiled down gently as a small hand gripped her own, seeing the golden brown curls of her oldest child, still a mere toddler.
A hand came to rest in the small of her back, and she relaxed back against her husband's strength. "It'll be alight, 'Mione," he told her in a low voice. From his arms, their second child gurgled her concurrence.
Then the meal started, and it was livelier than in the previous years. She supposed that it was a good thing, that the world was moving on, because hadn't that been what all of the others had died for? But it still stung that anyone could enjoy themselves while she was torn with the guilt of survival.
When Poppy had held her, all those years ago, and told her that she would probably always feel this way, though it was irrational, she had set out to prove her wrong. And nearly six years later she had yet to succeed.
She knew her husband suffered the same feelings, despite his ability to hide it, and wondered if they all did. She knew that most of the surviving students did, because she had counseled many of them. She had held them, allowed them to weep and kept herself together while inside she wanted to cry just as hard as they did.
The meal at the High Table was subdued, and even her lively children could sense the grey clouds that hung above them. When the meal was over, the Head Mistress stood and addressed the student populous. Her speech was short and concise, and then she turned the floor over to her successor, the young Professor Madam Malfoy.
She stood, her throat and mouth dry, though her eyes were wet. "You all know what day it is, and what happened six years ago." She paused. They did, and she knew it. There was know need to explain the gory details. "Six years ago, the seventh years were first years and they sat at these tables as the youngest of a generation that has since begun to be called The Lost Generation."
She looked up at the vision of the night sky and paused to let the tears recede from her eyes somewhat. "I was part of that generation. I am part of it. I stood, while so many fell. And I have lived on, left with the memories of those who are no longer with us."
Her voice was ragged now, even after so few words, and full of emotion. "There were several that would be graduating next month, several who gave their lives before it had barely started. We are forever grateful for their part in the downfall of Voldemort, and his evil ways. But we miss them, and we always will."
She paused again, and the whole school could see her take a deep breath and collect herself. "This is the last year that there will be anyone who was here upon the day of the Final Battle at the tables before me. It is the last year that any of the student body will have fought off the Death Eaters, the last year that any who knew Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape, or any of the others who died will sit in the classrooms.
"So those of you who will be here next year must remember what you have been told over the years, and you must be able to tell the students to come what has happened. They must learn why so many students had to give their lives, and why so many fought. We must never forget what evil was abound and what brought it on."
She paused one final time. "We must never forget those who died."
With that she turned and stalked away, her robes billowing in a fair imitation of her former potions professor, something that sent chills down the spine of those who had been lucky enough to know said billows on their rightful owner.
He watched his wife as she left the room, his eyes slightly glassy and his heart heavy. He knew what she was feeling, for he too had stood beside the fallen and lived, stood beside them and fought along with them, he too had the scars of the battles that were fought against those who were followers of the Dark Lord.
Draco had come back from the summer holidays between sixth and seventh year a totally different person. Everyone had heard what had happened, and his suspected part in the whole fiasco let the others see him is a slightly different light. If he had actually killed his father instead of letting him force him into taking the Dark Mark, then maybe he wasn't so bad, maybe he had changed, because the Draco Malfoy of old would have gratefully gone with his father into the service of the Dark Lord.
So he had accepted when the Gryffindors had extended a truce, and he had stood by their side in training against the on coming attacks. He had stood by their side as their families had been picked off, held Hermione as she sobbed at the news that her parents had joined the ranks of the innocents killed.
He had stood side by side with Weasley and Potter and protected Hermione from an attack when they all were in Hogsmeade, and side by side with McGonagall when they fought Fudge to allow his mother her maiden name returned.
And on that final day, he'd stood with Weasley and Professor Snape, guarding Harry and Hermione, who was giving her strength and magic to The-Boy-Who-Had-To-Live. He watched as his mother fell, his friends fell, and his teachers fell. He watched as almost everyone he cared about fell. And when he had seen Harry taking Hermione with him after finally succeeding in killing Voldemort, he had pulled her back...
The drain on her life and magical forces had left her in a three week coma. He had laid in the bed next to her, recovering from the horrible wounds he had taken while keeping The-Boy-Who-Lived alive long enough to kill the Dark Lord, and waited for her to wake up.
She had, and once she'd heard the final death toll and seen the final list of those who were deceased, she had receded into a shell shocked version of the Hermione he had known for so many years. They graduated a week after she awoke, both still bed bound. She had been unable to get up for over a month, and unsteady for nearly six. She only gained her full magical power back after almost a year.
Once she had, she disappeared to Italy where she had decided to go to college. He had enrolled in the same college.
After over a year of barely acknowledging each other, two years after That Day, she had finally come to him, tears streaming from her eyes. She had done so in the middle of the school's common grounds, in the middle of the day, surrounded by curious people. Her eyes looked up at him, so old and tired, full of despair, begging for help.
Almost immediately after they graduated, just over two years later, they married. Nine months later saw Harry Severus Malfoy into the world. In between they had both taken jobs at Hogwarts. Teachers had been hard to come by, after the whole wizarding world had learned just what the teachers of Hogwarts had been: a guard against the demise to the entire social system that they had grown accustom to.
Slowly, the positions were filling. But after having had a certified Potions Master as the Potions Professor for so many years, the one they had acquired was a shady second. And the Defense Against the Dark Arts post had been just as hard to fill after the war as it had been before.
So they had become teachers at the school, he the Defense Against the Dark Art's Professor, her the Potions Professor, also taking over the positions as Head of their houses from a grateful Alica Spinnet, the charms teacher, and the reluctant Marcus Flint, who was being let go as a Potions teacher as well.
Eleven months after Harry came brought Ginevra Narcisaa Malfoy.
Upon their return to the school, his wife had been sought out by the students who remembered her. While their own Head Girl was well and good, Hermione was The Head Girl, the one who had been Head Girl when That Day happened, the one who had made it possible for The-Boy-Who-Lived to kill the most feared Dark Lord.
They had not asked her questions, just asked for her comfort. And she had granted it. She did not care which house they were in, she had allowed them to come to her. It had surprised him that every single Slytherin came to her at one point or another, and had calmly answered any mail from parents questioning why the Head of Gryffindor would be consoling students from other houses.
They had all been bound together as The Lost Generation when they watched all those people fall in a fight of students and their protectors against Death Eaters, a fight of Right against Might, a fight that, against all odds, they won.
Now he watched his wife, the last of the Great Golden Trio, leave to mourn the passing of so many people they had felt were always going to be there, and not to his surprise, he felt like joining her.