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Chapter 23 : Graduation
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Harry sighed as he looked at himself in the mirror in the Gryffindor boy’s dormitory. It was late afternoon the morning after the concert. All those below seventh year had left on the train about eleven that morning while all those graduating ate lunch in the Great Hall before having the afternoon to relax and prepare for their graduation that would take place in the evening.
Harry frowned while adjusting his cap and tassel once more. All those graduating wore black caps and gowns while the tassel on their caps showed which house at Hogwarts that they had belonged to. While Harry had no problems with the gown, the cap with red and gold tassel refused to co-operate.
“Don’t worry, mate,” Ron commented as he appeared beside Harry, clapping his best friend on the shoulder as the two looked at their reflections in the mirror. “It’s not working with me either.”
Harry laughed as he looked at the lopsided cap sitting on Ron’s head. Ron smiled and smacked Harry’s arm, for Harry’s cap didn’t look much better. Harry shook his head and left the dorm to head down to the common room, Ron a few steps behind him. All the Gryffindor seventh years milled around the common room, waiting for Professor McGonagall to come and tell them it was time to head do to the Great Hall, where the graduation ceremony would be taking place.
At that moment, Jenny and Hermione came down the stairs for the girls’ dormitory and made their way over to them. Hermione laughed at their caps and moved forward to fix them, Jenny chuckling and shaking her head behind her.
“There. That’s better,” Hermione stated with a smile as she finished fixing Harry’s cap.
“Yeah, they’re not lopsided,” Jenny commented with a laugh, moving forward to stand beside Hermione. At that moment, the portrait hole opened and Professor McGonagall stepped through. The room went quiet as they all turned to face her.
She stood there for a moment before her mouth twitched and turned into a smile. “It’s time.”
With that simple statement, the seventh years followed her out of the portrait hole. The seventh years of Gryffindor made the trip down to the Entrance Hall in silence, all of them nervous and excited for the ceremony that would begin in a matter of minutes. Excited murmuring could be heard through the closed doors to the Great Hall.
When they reached the Entrance Hall, they found the graduating students of the other houses were already there. Professor McGonagall turned to face them once more. “You must now get into alphabetical order.”
After a few minutes of people asking each other’s last names, they were all lined up alphabetically in one straight line. Harry stood right in front of Jenny, who was glancing around the hall excitedly. The Entrance Hall was filled with an excited buzz until McGonagall moved to stand before the closed doors of the Great Hall. She smiled one of the few smiles Harry had ever seen on her face. “It has been a pleasure teaching all of you for the past seven years and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.”
With this statement made, she turned away from them to face the doors. From inside the hall, Pomp and Circumstance could be heard and after a few measures of music had gone by, the doors to the Great Hall swung open.
“Thank you, Mr. Malfoy and Ms. Granger,” Dumbledore announced as Hermione and Draco moved back to their seats. The high table had been removed and replaced with several rows of chairs, where the seventh years sat in alphabetical order. The rest of the hall was filled with chairs facing the podium that had been placed a few feet in front of the first row of seventh years.
The first row of seats in the audience were occupied by the teachers and staff members of Hogwarts. In the row behind them sat the members of S.P.D. and the Order. Among them, Harry could make out a large group with ginger hair and he smiled as he locked eyes with Ginny.
“And now, for the distribution of the diplomas,” Dumbledore announced from where he stood behind the podium. Behind him, the first row of students stood as he began to call out their names. After what seemed like hours, but had only been about fifteen minutes, the row that Harry and Jenny had been seated in stood as the last person of the row before them received their diploma.
As the line moved forward, Harry glanced back at Jenny. She grinned at him excitedly and motioned for him to move forward, looking as if she wanted to jump up and down in excitement. Harry laughed as he moved forward, getting ever closer to the end.
“Harry James Potter,” announced Dumbledore. The hall rang with cheers as the members of the Order and S.P.D. stood and cheered as Harry made his way across the stage to the podium. With his right hand, he took the scroll from Dumbledore and shook his hand with the other. Dumbledore smiled brightly down at him before motioning for him to continue on back to his seat.
“Jennifer Lillian Corral-Potter,” Dumbledore announced as Harry made his way back to his seat. Jenny made her way across the stage with the audience cheering just as load for her as they had for Harry. She reached Professor Dumbledore and, with the same motions as Harry, took the scroll and shook his hand. She smiled brightly and bounced on the balls of her feet as she walked back to her seat next to Harry.
Neither of them paid any attention to the ceremony until Ron was called forward. The youngest Weasley male was beat red as he walked to Dumbledore, Molly’s screams of joy was heard clearly above all others. Harry and Jenny glanced at each other and laughed. As the last line of seventh years had all gotten their diplomas, Hermione and Draco stepped forward to the podium.
“Class of 1998, please stand,” the two Heads requested, glancing back at the podium to the fellow students. Once they were all standing, the two turned back to the podium. “Now move your tassel from the right side, to the left.”
As the students did this, Hermione and Draco stepped away from the podium to allow Dumbledore to stand behind it once more. He smiled back at the graduates before turning back to the audience. “I present to you the Hogwarts Graduating class of 1998.”
The audience applauded and as they did, the students took off their caps and tossed them into the air, cheering as they did. Harry and Jenny both threw theirs up and watched as they disappeared into the mass of black caps that had been thrown into the air. Jenny laughed as she looked down from the caps and towards Harry before pulling him into a tight hug.
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