Chapter 53 : This is Your Night (Smile, 'Cause You'll Go Out in Style)
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You can't turn back
Because this road is all you'll ever have.
. . .
And oh oh open wide, 'cause this is your night.
So smile, 'cause you'll go out in style.
"You guys aren’t leaving; it’s not true." The Marauders awoke, on the morning of their graduation, to a distressed and decidedly emotional me. I was not normally an emotional person. This, however was an exception.
"Humph?" Sirius rolled over in the little space he had and looked at me through bleary eyes.
"I said you guys aren’t leaving." My voice squeaked a bit as I persistently kept any negative emotion out of my voice and mind.
"Yeah we are," said Peter.
I threw my hands in the air in frustration and stormed into the bathroom. I attempted a quick shower to calm me down, but all I succeeded in was getting clean.
When I exited the bathroom, none of the Marauders were still in the room. Despite how odd I found this, I ignored it. I went to my trunk, before pulling out a set of clean, scarlet dress robes. I dropped the red towel that I was holding around myself, before pulling my underwear, bra, and then the robes on.
An instant later I was on my way to the common room. I glanced at my watch and saw that it was nearly ten o’clock; that was when the ceremony began. I hurried my way out to the grounds and searched out Mr. And Mrs. Potter in the crowd. They were sitting next to Mr. And Mrs. Lupin, as well as a person that I could only assume (by the striking resemblance) to be Peter’s mother.
I sat down next to Mrs. Potter. "Hello, dear! How are you?"
"I’m great Mrs. Potter," I replied, smiling. "Just a bit upset that they won’t be back next year."
She placed a comforting hand on my back. "The ones we truly love, never really leave us. A wise man said that once."
"Yeah, and the force will always be with you. All of you." I jerked my head quickly around to see Jason coming to sit next to me. I threw my arms around him in a hug.
"What are you doing here?" I asked.
"I had to see all my Jedi friends graduate from Hogwarts, didn’t I?"
I laughed and shook my head at my brother. "Oh, did you hear they’re making a second one?" he asked. "It’s not out for a couple of years," he said sadly.
"That’s okay," I replied. "For the Jedi, I can wait."
Whether or not he was going to reply, he was stopped when a hush fell over the crowd. We looked forward to see McGonagall and Dumbledore standing there in matching, blue navy robes.
"Soul mates," I whispered to Jason from the corner of my mouth. I heard him smother his laughter.
As Dumbledore and Minnie made the final preparations to begin the ceremony, I scanned the crowd. Robes of all different colors worn by people who sat in uncomfortable plastic chairs. I wondered if the parents of Muggle-borns were permitted to come.
Dumbledore’s powerful voice immediately caught everyones’ attention. "If everyone doesn’t mind, we will now begin the ‘Moving On’ ceremony; let us all stand for a moment, and honor these bright young students."
I stood up quickly and tried to get a look at the some hundred or so students gathered near the makeshift stage. I couldn’t find my Marauders, but I was sure they all looked smart in their black dress robes. Dumbledore made a motion with his hands and we all sat down.
"These students, the Seventh years of 1978, are entering the world in a time of increasing darkness and despair. However, it is with hope that I send these students from Hogwarts; no longer within the confines of their Houses, I hope that they reach beyond their rivalries to turn these times away from darkness."
Dumbledore stopped speaking and Professor McGonagall stepped forward. "I have taught each and every one of these students from the time that they were eleven years old; all of them are capable of changing the world. For the better or the worse - that is their choice. On that last note, we wish to begin the ceremony."
In a manner very similar to the sorting of the First years, the graduating students were called up. Sirius was first.
Sirius’ bright white smile radiated into the crowd. His plain black robes swished around his tall, burly frame as he climbed the stairs and crossed the stage to where the Headmaster and Deputy Headmistress were. First, he shook Dumbledore’s hand. Then, he accepted the rolled diploma from Professor McGonagall.
Before leaving the platform and beginning the congregation on the other side, Sirius did something that surprised all of us. He practically jumped McGonagall as he engulfed her in a hug.
His surprisingly choked voice said, "I’m going to miss you, Minnie."
McGonagall couldn’t help but smile. Her voice was rather watery as well as she released one of the most troublesome students she’d ever had. "Go on, Mr. Black."
He looked out into the crowd, and waved wildly at the group I was sitting with. I laughed and found that I myself was close to tears. Happy tears, sad tears; what ever kind of tears they were, they were foreign to me. But it didn’t matter because I was close to them, not at them.
I tuned out most of the ceremony; I didn’t know the people in my own year, let alone the year above me, but a flash of red caught my attention. I saw Lily stride across the platform. Her tall, elegant figure was nothing like it had been a two years previous.
It’s amazing how such little time can change a person, I thought.
She accepted her diploma with a smile and a hug to both Professors.
I watched in pride as my three other Marauders moved up from their childhood days. As James walked down the steps to congregate with the other no-longer-students, I realized that I was the only one of our group left. I tried to ignore it.
As the last student was handed her diploma, the crowd burst out into loud cheers. Then, unsuspected by even me, something happened. The dark, wooden stage that McGonagall and Dumbledore still stood on became washed in a bright orange. On each corner of the stage, a large bundle of balloons appeared. Streamers hung in the air, attached to nothing. Confetti fell. Above all the commotion was a large banner that read:
We’re going out in style.
I smiled. It was good to know that Sirius, James, Remus and Peter hadn’t quite exhausted their love for pranks.
Dumbledore smiled at the change of scenery around him. "Now, after that lovely display," he began in his usual calm voice, "I would like to introduce this years Head Boy and Girl; James Potter and Lily Evans."
Polite clapping began as Lily and James re-ascended the stairs. They stood awkwardly before the podium. Lily cleared her throat, and James ran a hand through his hair.
"Well," Lily began. "I suppose there is no other way to start this speech than: This has been quite an interesting year."
James nodded in affirmation. "That it has. Now, Lily and I spent hours trying to come up with a speech today; I’ll have you all know that we couldn’t come up with one. There’s no real way to put this year into words."
Lily took over again. "We’ve been with these guys and girls since we were eleven years old; some knew each other even longer.
"It’s been a long, hard road, but I know that I came out for the better. I can say that for my counter-part, here, as well. I can’t speak for everyone, but I bet most of our classmates have, too."
Lily paused and I saw James cast an eye towards his classmates. I couldn’t help but notice that every single one (Slytherins and all) gazed at the Heads in respect.
I saw James’ chest heave upwards as he took a breath. "At this point, Lily and I would like to invite each and every single Seventh year onto the stage; this may me our speech, but this year is all of ours."
I smiled to myself; how noble of James.
In a true, child-like fashion, the staircase leading to the platform was crowded and slow-moving. Everyone pushed a bit, even though they were going to the same place. Of course, it was not my place to call their behavior child-like; I would have been the one trying to crowd surf to the front.
Once everyone was situated on the stage behind James and Lily, the Marauder continued. "We’re all going to do great things, whether we’re a Gryffindor, a Hufflepuff, a Ravenclaw, or a Slytherin." I heard the pain in James’ voice as he associated the Slytherin house with goodness. I figured he was thinking of Snape, specifically.
I could see Lily’s eyes brighten as she beamed at James, even though I sat in the third row back. "In this last year, I made a lot of friends; I opened up my eyes to my faults, and learned to overlook the faults of others. It took a very unexpected person to show me that I was going about my life all wrong." Lily’s eyes connected with mine. She nodded in my direction and I smiled back. I was quite content with myself at the moment; I had made it into the speech.
See, you are awesome, I told myself. Even Lily Evans said so, and everyone knows how high her standards are.
"When I came to this school," Lily continued. "I didn’t know a single person, or a single drop of magic. Now, I’ve got the best friends anyone could ask for, and I feel ready to conquer the world . . . Not that I would, of course."
James put an arm around Lily’s shoulder before speaking. "Hogwarts has been the greatest years of my life; I know that not everyone will agree with me, but I hope that everyone can at least find something about their years here that they like. I know that I’ve made memories to last a lifetime."
James looked back into the crowd of students. I watched his face. He was either about to do something very unpleasant, or puke all over the stage. I earnestly hoped it was the former, rather than the latter.
"To a certain someone that I won’t name specifically, you know who you are; this is my formal apology to you. I’ve been an arse the entire time we’ve been at Hogwarts. I can’t say that I want to apologize to you; what I am saying is that I’ve grown enough as a person to realize that I was wrong. I hope you’ve grown enough to accept it."
"Nooooooooooooo!" Everyone in attendance turned the attention to the left-most area of the stage. Sirius had dropped to his knees and had his head in his hands. "No, Prongs! No! You bloody, grown-up fool!" Well, it seemed that Sirius knew who James was talking about.
I burst out into laughter. No one else, however, seemed to find it as quite as funny as I did. In fact, Jason, the Potters, and the Lupins were the only people laughing, besides me. And they were doing so very discreetly. Everyone else seemed to have rather large sticks shoved up their arses. And Dumbledore was chuckling, as well, but he always seemed to laugh whenever the Marauders were concerned; therefore, he was just assumed to be part of that group.
McGonagall loudly cleared her throat, and scolded Sirius. After a minute or so more, order returned.
"As I was saying," James said. "I know that we have all grown as people, and now we are going out into the real world."
"Some of us are moving on to fight against this rising threat, Lord Voldemort. Others of us, will move on to fight with him," Lily interjected.
I frowned. Why did everything seem to lead back to bloody Voldemort? Good job, Lily.
"All I know," said Lily, who was obviously beginning to cry. "Is that I’m going to miss this place."
James patted her lightly on the back and took over for the final time. "We are the Hogwarts Seventh years of 1978. We will change this world." He paused. "Why?" He paused again, probably for dramatic effect. "Because we are bright young things, and we aim to impress."
A/N: I want to credit the author ‘Kahlan’ for the last line (We are the bright young things, and we aim to impress) I used here. It was the title of a fic that she wrote. (It’s quite good, by the way, and I totally recommend it for you guys that have some time on your hands.)
A/N2: There you have it; the Marauders (and Lily) have graduated. But never fear; this story is very, very far from being over. We’ve still got quiiiiiite a ways to go. :D Yay!
A/N3: Yaaaay! Fun facts! And trust me, today, they are especially fun. :D
Remus: tally of the girls he’s shagged - 11
Peter: tally of the girls he’s shagged - 9
Darren: tally of the girls he’s shagged - 7 (However, as a side note, he is much less cavalier about his hook-ups than Remus or Peter.)
Anna: bra size - 34DD (I believe in the UK, this would be equal to a 34E.)
Lily: bra size - 34B
Sirius: bra size - just kidding. :D
I couldn’t resist; he’s just such a girl.
A/N4: Tons and tons of thanks to DefyingBoundaries, who’s totally helped me pick out the perfect picture for Darren’s POV chapter image! :D (Yay! Getting closer . . . )
A/N5: I just wanted to thank you all especially much today, both for the consolations about my shoulder (which is getting increasingly better after surgery) and for the support you guys have given me through this story. I'm sure I've mentioned before that I've never gotten this far in a story before, and I know it's all the love and stuff you guys have given the story that's kept pushing me with it. So, I wanted to thank you guys for that. And since I love all you so so so so so, here's your Valentine's Day Present! Happy Valentines Day!
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