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Chapter 14 : Chapter 14
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“Hermione,” Ron started. “What’s the matter?”
With tears in my eyes I looked at the person I had once thought would be the great love of my life and answered, “It’s just this night. I’m not ready for this.”
Quickly he gathered me in his arms and soothed me. “It’s alright. I’m not ready either.”
Just then Harry noticed the placard announcing where we sat and said, “I wish Lupin was here. After Sirius he understood. There are times I wish we had accepted his offer to go with us.”
“Me, too,” I said thickly. “But it was better that he hadn’t. At least he got to see his son before he died.”
At the mention of his godson Harry began crying in earnest. I knew he felt terrible because that little boy would never know his parents. Teddy Lupin was another orphan like Harry because of Voldemort and his followers. At least we don’t have to worry about it anymore. Of course I wish I could believe this. I knew that there were still some of Tom Riddle’s followers lurking around somewhere and it was only a matter of time before someone else decides to continue the war.
I hoped beyond hope that if this did happen it would not be in my lifetime. I had had enough fighting to last me until the day I died. I knew my best friends felt the same way.
An hour later the banquet officially began. Kingsley Shacklebolt stood up at the dais and everyone voice in the hall fell quiet.
“Thank you ladies and gentlemen,” Kingsley began. “This evening is to remember those we lost and to celebrate those who are still with us. Last June many members of our community lost their lives at the Battle of Hogwarts. If you look around you will see placards naming those who didn’t walk away from here that night. Also towards the back is a table holding photos of those whose names are on the placards. As the speeches are given tonight you may see some cauldrons floating around. These are for special notes of remembrance. Don’t be shy. Write whatever you wish to your loved ones. No one will know what you say. Now before we begin I have a few more words to depart on you.”
He took a deep breath as though bracing himself and continued, “I realize that we are only supposed to remembering those who died here last June, but I think it important to let you all know something. And that is this last war began with the deaths of Bertha Jorkins, Frank Bryce and Cedric Diggory. We should remember these three as well as those who died before the great battle. And now for the reason I know many of you are here. After all the speeches are given Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, and Hermione Granger will be asked to come forward and accept the Order of Merlin; First Class. And now please welcome Minerva McGonagall, the new headmistress of Hogwarts.”
Everyone in the hall applauded as Kingsley stepped down and Professor McGonagall took her place. I was pleased that Kingsley had decided to honor the three that had died before anyone had even known that Voldemort had come back. It was also a shock that one of the people named was a mere muggle. I clapped especially hard for this fact alone. People needed to know that it wasn’t only witches and wizards that were lost in the war. Once again the noise subsided as McGonagall began to speak.
“Thank you Kingsley,” she said. “It is an honor to be asked to stand before you all and give a speech. I would rather not do this. I think all these speeches will take away from the memories we all have of those we lost. I would rather take a moment and name some of those we lost whether it was at the Final Battle or before it. These are the people that need to be remembered. Not all of them were on the winning side, but they need to be remembered so we don’t allow history to repeat itself. Their names are; James and Lily Potter, Professor Quirrell, Frank Bryce, Cedric Diggory, Sirius Black, Albus Dumbledore, Alastor Moody, Fred Weasley, Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, Ted Tonk, Peter Pettigrew, Severus Snape, Bellatrix Lestrange, and Tom Riddle.”
The last three names came as a shock to everyone in the room. I could see people rising to their feet in anger. I knew why she had mentioned them, but the people around me did not. As the shock wore off the was a wave of angry hissing. I felt as though I needed to explain why their names were mentioned, but McGonagall raised her hand and continued with her small speech.
“For those of you who are angry at me for my little announcement here is the explanation. Severus Snape was actually on the our side. His deception was so well played out that until the very end I thought him an enemy, but it was brought to my attention afterwards that it was all rouse. As for Bellatrix and Tom Riddle these two need to be remembered as well as the rest. The reason is this; if it had not been for them and people like them then this war would not have happened. If we remember them then it is far less likely this will happen again. Please join me in a moment of silence.” Then she stepped down and walked straight out of the hall.
The rest of the night went a little more smoothly after that. People were still angry at Professor McGonagall for her speech, but no one had followed her out of the room. Finally it seemed the speeches were over and now was the time for the three of us to go to the front of the hall and accept our undeserved awards. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to give a speech, but I knew they were all expecting one from me.
Harry accepted his Order of Merlin first. After shaking Kingsley’s hand he stood before the crowd and said, “I’m not going to give an acceptance speech as I don’t accept this award. I don’t deserve it and so it is with a heavy heart that I take it.”
Ron was next and his speech was similar, “I’m with Harry, I don’t deserve this. I left Harry and Hermione last year when we were out in the world trying to find a way to destroy Voldemort. If anyone in my family deserves this it is my brother and so for Fred I accept this.”
I smiled when Ron accepted it on behalf of his brother. I felt the same way. The Ministry should’ve given posthumous awards to those who had died. Slowly, awkwardly I stepped up and took my award from Kingsley. Looking at the reporters and everyone else I said, “This is for all those we lost that night. I will not accept it for myself, but I will donate it to anyone who lost their life that night.”
The crowd didn’t know what to say. It was bad enough that one of us didn’t accept the award, but for all three of us to say we didn’t deserve it was beyond comprehension. I didn’t stick around to find out what they were saying about us. I would read about it in the paper the next morning. No I was ready to be by myself so I could cry my eyes out and not be disturbed.
On my way out of the hall Draco stopped me. I looked at him not knowing what to say. Thankfully I didn’t need to worry about it because he did the talking.
“Hermione, I’m sorry for everything that has happened to you. I will always remember you as one the three people that saved my life that night,” he said, and then he leaned down and kissed me. It wasn’t one of those romantic kisses that causes bells to toll and birds to sing, but it was enough to set any reporter that wasn’t at the front of the room on the scent.
“Thank you,” was all I managed to get out before the flashbulbs were blinding me again
A/N: Like I said in the summary I'm not sure if I like this chapter, but it seemed to fit better than anything else I could come up with. Let me know what you think in the review box. Thanks again for reading my story and a double thank you to everyone who has left a review. Reviews are the life-blood of this story, so with that in mind don't forget to leave one for me.
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