Summary: After the war, the survivors try to find a way to cope with the losses they have incurred and move into a future they have yet to create. As they try to find ways to save themselves, they realize that perhaps the best way is to save each other.
This story will eventually be Harry Draco Slash. It will probably take a while to get there from here. This chapter is rated for general audiences.
Again and still: thanks to ivyingarden for all the help making this a better fic! She patiently helps me brainstorm (with some great ideas to throw into the cauldron), is fabulous with canon, has a knack for language, and keeps at me to "write write write!"
Also, thanks to rosskpr, my new beta, who is both meticulous and enthusiastic. Yay!
Any errors after the two of them have combed through the work are from the author not paying attention!
After the previous chapter, hd_prophetgave my story Editor's Choice!! I am so tickled!
This chapter was a challenge to write. I redid the timeline five times. Rewrote it a few times because my betas agreed that the early version wasn't what is should be. Then Real Life kept interrupting, with taxes, home improvement, and strep. But it is here!
Returning to Hogwarts
May 4, 1998
The Prophet was still delivered every day.
It amazed Harry. Work was in full force at the Ministry, though it was still a mess, and most likely would remain so for awhile, from what Mr Weasley had said. The Prophet, however, seemed unstoppable.
Wizards and witches all over Britain, including all those who had come to repair Hogwarts, were gobbling up stories of the end of Voldemort’s reign. Harry had scanned the paper at the Burrow, so when a flock of owls came toward the end of breakfast, delivering news and messages to those working at Hogwarts, he could just watch people’s reactions. It was odd to see so many owls in what was officially the summer holiday. The Prophet reported that the Hogwarts school year had been declared to be over, almost two months early. Hermione had wondered about N.E.W.T.S., but the paper had not had details, just its usual conjecture.
Harry arrived through the Floo in the Hogwarts Entry Hall in time for breakfast, and continued on into the Great Hall, passing the Aurors standing at alert facing the hearth. Having an open Floo connection into Hogwarts was risk enough, Harry supposed, without leaving it unguarded. Despite the fact that he was full from Mrs Weasley’s table-bending breakfast, served early enough to get Mr Weasley and Hermione off to the Ministry, Harry went to sit at a table and grabbed a glass of pumpkin juice. It wasn’t the Gryffindor table, which did not seem to have a spot to sit in, and he wasn’t surrounded by his yearmates, but he had missed this.
The house elves had straggled back to the castle, and meals appeared in the Great Hall, as abundant as ever. The tables were not in their customary places, as there were sections of the great hall that were cordoned off due to instability in the one wall that had been breached. All the house tables had been moved toward the High Table, which in turn had been shoved off to one side. The Gryffindor table had even been shrunk to half its length to clear the most damaged area. Harry supposed the house elves adjusted the preparations area of the kitchens to compensate for the different layout.
The noise level in the Great Hall was louder than Harry had ever heard it, even after Quidditch matches. Every seat seemed to be full, and Harry was glad to have found a spot at what had been the Ravenclaw table, but was now crowded with witches and wizards Harry didn't know. He was certain they had all left school some time ago. Some of his age-mates sat at other tables, but none of the Weasleys, of course, and no Hermione. Neither Neville nor Luna was in evidence, or anyone from his year in Gryffindor. He wondered if there was anyone he cared to talk to. He wondered if he really wanted to talk at all.
Looking up, Harry let the noise wash over him. The ceiling was still enchanted, but it too was damaged, showing different weather from every angle, flickering in spots so that the stones of the ceiling were visible behind it. It hurt Harry’s eyes to look at it. He dropped his gaze back to the crowded Great Hall.
It seemed wizards and witches from all over had converged on Hogwarts to help rebuild, as if rebuilding Hogwarts would somehow fix everything else. It was here that Voldemort had been defeated, and it was here that the children of Wizarding Britain would again be educated. Hogwarts was the centre of it all, a place where there might be hope for the future. Not Diagon Alley. Not the Ministry. Hogwarts. Seeing all the other witches and wizards in the Great Hall, Harry doubted he was the only one to feel that way. But then, perhaps Diagon Alley and the Ministry were likewise thronged. Hermione certainly seemed to think so.
He sat back with a piece of toast, content to listen to the conversations around him and not take part. The rebuilding effort seemed fairly organized, from what he overheard. Many of those working to rebuild Apparated into Hogsmeade each day, but the rest had been assigned to one of the dormitories or guest rooms that were still undamaged. Students, teachers, parents, townspeople from Hogsmeade, Aurors and Order members who had fought in the battle (and remained afterward) were joined by construction wizards, volunteers, and ministry officials. Added to all of those were a few prisoners who had not yet been transported to the Ministry for trial. They had to wait until there was room. So prisoners, volunteers, and school administrators were all billeted wherever place could be found for them, either at Hogwarts or in Hogsmeade.
Message board were posted throughout the castle with various lists, tasks needing to be done, work crews, schedules, lists of things missing. It did not feel like school, more like a temporary village.
After breakfast, Harry found Professor McGonagall, already looking somewhat preoccupied by a small crowd of people, each awaiting her attention.
She saw him, waved him to wait for a second, and thanked him briefly for coming to help, before directing him first to put his pack of newly borrowed clothes in a room in Gryffindor Tower and then report to Filch. She turned to the next person, then called him back.
“Harry, would you show Mr Enkelburst to the guest suite next to Sir Cadogan's portrait? It’s not too far out of your way.”
Guest suite? He supposed he would see when they got there. As Harry proceeded out of the Great Hall and up the stairs toward the Gryffindor common room, he looked at the damage. Large sections of the castle were cluttered with debris, or had gaping holes to the outside. He had to wait while the stairway he was on moved to line up with an empty spot where the remnants of the landing hung several feet away, before moving on to another that Harry recognized as being fairly close to Gryffindor. Harry had become so used to the idea of Hogwarts as self-protecting, or at the very least able to repair itself, that it hurt to see all of this damage. It was clearly bad enough that the magic infusing the castle was not able to restore it, otherwise the teams of rebuilders would not need to be there.
The wizard who followed Harry, a short, cheery man with reddened cheeks, chatted amiably in faintly accented English as they walked, asking whether Harry had been in the battle, and making tutting noises at the damage. He told Harry he was a parent of a Hogwarts student from about ten years prior, but had not attended Hogwarts himself. Nevertheless, Mr Enkelburst declared he was excited to do his part to rebuild the Wizarding World. Harry wondered where the wizard had been during the battle, if doing his part had been so important.
They passed the hole in the wall that Snape had jumped through that night, and Harry stopped to gaze at the ragged opening, remembering the sight of the man flying away. It occurred to him that he hadn’t told McGonagall about what he had seen in the Potions Master’s memories. He wasn’t sure anyone knew to look for Snape’s body in the Shrieking Shack. One more thing to ask Professor McGonagall about. Harry turned back to continue on their way. Mr Enkelburst’s sudden gasp alerted Harry that the older wizard had caught a glimpse of his forehead. His slightly incoherent and babbling thanks made the rest of the trip to the wizard’s room uncomfortable.
“I can’t tell you what an honour it is to meet you! I must tell my son!”
“Here we are,” Harry interrupted. They had arrived at Sir Cadogan’s portrait. Harry made sure Mr Enkelburst could get in, and turned to escape.
“Oh, but you must come in for a moment, Mr Potter! Look! There’s a chair! I wonder… would you mind terribly if I took a photograph?”
Harry did mind, but his annoyance didn’t lend him the strength to refuse as it usually did. He sat instead, while Mr Enkelburst dug through his small carpetbag. Harry sighed, looking around the guest room. It was quite nice. There was a thick blue and tan patterned rug on the floor, and the dark blue bed-hangings were of a more luxurious velvet, rather than the woven hangings around student beds. In addition to the wardrobe, a dresser stood by one side of the bed, with a small tea tray ready and waiting for some hot water to be poured into the ceramic pot, and a pitcher of water and a glass as well. Harry had never stayed at a hotel, at least not one of the fancy Muggle ones, but he suspected that this room was nicer—more homey—than any hotel room.
After pictures were taken (Harry did refuse the request that he pull his fringe aside to showcase the scar), Harry escaped.
On the way to drop off his bag of clothes onto his bed in Gryffindor Tower, he noticed other witches and wizards being shown to their rooms, Harry shamelessly listened to the conversations between volunteers and their guides as he walked through the castle. It seemed most of the visitors were being directed to Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, and Slytherin dormitories. It was good to be staying in Gryffindor Tower again. The bright red and gold colours were perhaps too energetic for how he felt, but they held so many memories. The tower was undamaged, and that fact by itself soothed him.
Harry assumed the house elves had come to clean it, but it still had the feel, and just a hint of the smell, of the school year. He could almost see Ron barging out of the shower, or Ginny sitting by the fire, her feet tucked under her, or Hermione reading on the couch. He could see Dean and Seamus playing Exploding Snap at the table in the corner, and Neville caring for his Mimbulus Mimbletonia by the window.
The Weasleys had said that Harry could stay at the Burrow, and Floo over to Hogwarts each day to take part in the repair if he wanted to, but there was still a part of Harry that could not face the constant awareness that Fred was not there and would never return. In the same way Grimmauld Place reminded him too much of Remus, of Sirius, even of Tonks, of all those members of the Order he would never see again, the Burrow reminded him of Fred. Hogwarts was… home. Harry needed that. It reminded him of so much that was good in the wizarding world.
Besides, the Weasleys needed their own time to mourn. He had to pick up the pieces of his life, now that he knew he had one to live, and find a new direction. It had been fun to play with Ron the day before, but he realized that was an interlude. He was not a child, and even though he had never really had a childhood, he could not recreate it now. It was too late for him to truly become the Weasleys’ dark-haired son. They each had to face their own present.
Harry’s present was that Voldemort was dead. Really dead. The battle that had shaped his life until now was over. He had completed the prophesied task, fulfilled his reason for existence. He had no idea what to do next. Working here would give him a chance to think, to forget himself for awhile, and then, maybe, figure out what to do next.
After dumping off his bag, he detoured to see Ravenclaw Tower, but it was set behind warning charms. He wondered where the Grey Lady was. He hoped the tower was not too damaged, and that he had not played too great a role in damaging it.
Harry had the chance to view several of the other guest rooms as he traversed the corridors. It was mostly the student (or recently student) volunteers who were assigned dormitory space, however, he overheard that the guest suites were filled to capacity, and several parents and alumni were being housed in the dormitories as well.
How, with the Marauder’s Map at his disposal, and with six years at Hogwarts, could Harry have missed the suites tucked in here or there, much less the entire corridor of rooms, clearly appointed for guests instead of students, past the entrance to Ravenclaw Tower? Glancing into these rooms brought home that Hogwarts was indeed a castle, and not just a school. It was not that there were many of them—there weren’t, but they looked like they belonged in a castle. The room he shared with the other Gryffindors of his year, with clothes strewn on the beds, and the trunks beside or at the end of each bed, and with the bed curtains the only privacy, was clearly a room for students. These were not.
He wondered if the Marauders had discovered all the places that showed up on the map before creating it, or if they had charmed it to show the whole castle. Harry already knew a few places that would not show on the map, such as the Room of Requirement, if it still existed. Harry, Ron and Hermione had never figured out if it was because the room was Unplottable, or because the map was incomplete. Maybe he would have the time to explore. Without Voldemort, and the regular school rules relaxed during summer, the only thing he’d have to watch out for was Filch.
The Great Hall was still bustling when he got back down, and there was a queue to talk to Filch, as well as a cluster around McGonagall. Lists posted on one wall also had clumps of people around them. He joined the group around McGonagall.
“Harry. Was there something else you needed?”
“I need to talk to you about something. Privately.”
“I will be right back,” McGonagall said to the group waiting for her, and then drew Harry to the side and cast a privacy charm.
“Has anyone found Snape?” Harry asked.
McGonagall’s face twisted into a sour expression. “No. He is one of the few Death Eaters that escaped. I think he is the one I most wanted to see captured.”
“That’s not what I meant. He’s dead. I saw him die. I was wondering if anyone found his body? He doesn’t deserve—”
“Deserve? Harry, we deserve peace, and Albus alive, and traitors stringently punished. Severus – Harry, wait. He’s dead? You’re certain?”
“Yes! I think—yes. But we – I was wrong about him. I’m not sure I’ll ever really understand him, but he helped me. He helped me all along.”
“He killed Albus!” Her voice was ragged. She glanced at the milling group waiting for her. “I don’t have time for this right now.”
“Just—just send someone to the Shrieking Shack to get his body. He shouldn’t be left like that. There’s something you don’t know. Have you seen Professor Dumbledore’s Pensieve?”
“There hasn’t been time for memories, Harry. I put it aside. I have no idea why it was left out, what that man was doing with it.”
“I’ll tell you… Owl me when you have time. I'll come see you. It’s important. There’s proof. I don’t really know what to think of him, but there was more to Professor Snape—”
McGonagall’s expression let him know her opinion of that. No proof would be enough, her tightly pursed lips told him. Harry would have thought the same. “Very well. Come see me. The password is Victory.” With a flick of her wand, the privacy shield was dispelled, and she turned to the next person waiting for her.
* * *
Filch was in his element, directing volunteer crews toward wherever they could do the most good. Harry queued up in the entry hall for an assignment, surprised that the volunteers from the day before came back after dealing with Filch, but the old caretaker seemed somehow subdued after so much of his bailiwick was damaged. He had a wounded earnestness that Harry had not seen in him before. It was as if the castle was Filch’s child, who was now at risk for its life. Harry hoped the state of the castle, as bad as it looked, was not desperate enough to justify Filch’s expression.
When he got to the front of the line, Filch gave him a perfunctory sneer, but sent him to check in with a tall witch who had more muscles than Harry usually saw on someone in the magical world. Without even a token glance to his forehead, she immediately directed Harry to join a group of witches and wizards clustered around a broken bit of wall.
First, they held short training sessions for those interested in helping with the reconstruction, and tested the volunteers afterwards on the Temporary Reinforcement Spell, and the more advanced Place-and-Balance Charm that would settle the stones back into place and reintegrate them with the magical structure that was Hogwarts Castle.
Over the course of the next few hours, Harry learned and practiced the spells he would use. Harry certified on the Reinforcement Spell, but could not seem to master the Place-and-Balance Charm. It involved connecting with Hogwarts, and the thought of connecting again with something so much larger and more powerful than he was unnerved him. He thought he could do it, since Hogwarts was home to him, something he loved and trusted, but every time he tried, it was as if he felt reverberations from his scar, reminding him what such a connection could become, and he lost control of the levitation and dropped the stone. After a few attempts, the construction wizards refused to let him try again, and used those that had succeeded. There were several students who had succeeded in the Balancing Charm, mostly from Hufflepuff.
Harry was assigned to the reinforcement crew starting the next day, and for the rest of the day, he was asked to clean up debris. So he worked on the castle, levitating stone blocks out of the hallways, learning from the construction wizards how to reinforce the structure until they could rebuild.
The witches and wizards who came to plan the restoration amazed Harry. He got to observe them as he worked, and their orchestrated movements impressed him. The crew leaders seemed to know exactly what they were responsible for, and they checked in with each other periodically, so news of the collapse in the Ancient Runes classroom got passed around, and the volunteers directed to work where they were needed.
He had rarely seen such efficiency in the wizarding world, and usually only in the swiftness of the owls from the Department that dealt with Underage Wizardry sent to chastise him. Harry realized that Hogwarts and the Ministry were most of what he knew of the Wizarding World. Maybe there were wizards who knew how to plan, to organize something other than a battle. It never occurred to him that there would be wizards who constructed things, and crafted things, even though he had seen them: Madame Malkin, and Ollivander, and scores of other people he saw when he went to Diagon Alley. The wizarding world was perhaps larger than he had glimpsed. It seemed most of his closest friends and worst enemies were powerful people, from families of name. Many of them worked in government. Dumbledore, even while being headmaster of a school, had been head of the Wizengamot. Lucius Malfoy seemed to do nothing but play politics, before his altogether too brief stay in Azkaban. Arthur Weasley worked at the Ministry, heading a department, and was now assisting the Minister. Harry had known personally all of the Ministers of Magic since his return to the wizarding world. It seemed such a small world, where everyone knew each other, but perhaps it was not. He was surprised that he had never noticed before. That was one more thing to think about.
At Hogwarts, it seemed to be assumed that you would do something important after school. So many of his friends had Ministry connections, they could be assumed eventually to go into the Ministry, or possibly St Mungo’s, or in some way become part of the grand fight between good and evil. Harry suddenly looked at it from the Muggle point of view. Surely there was something other than government work, healthcare, education, or police work. Why didn’t any of his friends talk about opening a shop, much less working in one for a few years? Maybe he just never listened. He remembered how Molly Weasley had reacted when Fred and George opened Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Of course, that may have been because they did not finish their education. Harry realized that he didn't really know much about the families of the wizards he knew—except the Weasleys. What would Neville do, once he got his NEWTS? When would any of them take their NEWTS? There was too much to think about. It was all just too much.
He returned his attention to the work at hand.
Harry found himself perfectly happy to clean up debris. It was restful. Images of the battle receded, images of dead friends faded, concern for what he would do next dwindled. The rhythm of the work formed a cadence for his thoughts, and he sank into it.
The rubble had to be sorted. Larger chunks of stone could be reused, carved to fit their new positions with a precision only a master craftsman, or someone competent with a wand and the spells, could accomplish. It was nice to see this side of magic.
So much of Harry’s training had been in destruction, in war, in defence. Voldemort had ensured that. Harry wondered if the curriculum would be altered, now that Voldemort was dead.
Probably not too much. Even though they had a Defence class, it was just one class, focused on magical creatures. So much of his own Defence knowledge had been applied to defending himself from dark wizards, and he learned it working with the DA. He supposed few students had felt the particular urgency he had to learn Defence. Harry grinned wryly to himself. Maybe they’d get decent Defence professors, now that they wouldn’t be trying to kill him. Maybe.
He tried to remember who had said that there will always be another dark wizard. But not for Harry. He had had enough. Perhaps he could find a class somewhere on building something: a building, a sculpture, something.
There would be time, now, to decide what he wanted to do.
He wondered if he would be allowed to attend Hogwarts next year, to take his seventh year. Did he need to? Probably not. But he could not imagine taking a job offered merely because of his name and his scar. He needed time to sort things out. He wanted to be at Hogwarts. He would be able to be a student without constantly having to fear some attack. He was sure Hermione would want to return for classes, to get the best score she could on her NEWTS. Would Ron? They would be a year behind. Surely, with all the students that were kept out of Hogwarts last year, there would be others. He would not be the only one held back a year.
Harry suddenly realized he would be in the same class as Ginny. He wasn’t sure how he felt about that. He tried to remember the feel of her lips on his, that last day before he, Ron and Hermione left the Burrow. So much had happened in between. And when he returned… They hadn’t even talked much. He hadn’t really noticed it at the time, but … was Ginny avoiding him? And why hadn’t he noticed?
He thought back. She had turned her head when he looked at her. He poked at the thought, like poking at a wound. Did he still love her? Did she still love him? It was all just too much. Would he ever be able to feel for someone else what Ron and Hermione felt for each other? Would he ever be able to feel strong emotions like that again? He couldn’t think about that right now.
For now, he would clear out the damage from the past. Sort the reusable chunks from the dust. Vanish the dust with a quick Evanesco. By the end of the day the wrist of his wand arm hurt from all the fine tuned movements of the various spells. Wingardium Leviosa. The first spell he had ever learned, and it was so useful, here. The Vanishing Spell. He had learned that in Transfiguration, but was using it in reconstruction. And once there was a clean slate, a clean floor, and the holes in the walls were shaped to make it easy for the next team to place blocks, balance them, and seal the edges with yet another spell.
Partway through the afternoon Professor Flitwick came and worked alongside him. It was amazing to see the tiny man hefting stones 20 times his size with his wand and a phrase. Ever the teacher, when Flitwick saw Harry massaging his forearm and wrist, the professor gave him a few suggestions, this time about ways to ease the stress on his wrist as he cast. It helped, as his wand swished and flicked, and circled and jabbed forward.
The work was repetitive, but it was also relaxing. He could see the progress, and he felt as if he were giving something back to Hogwarts for the destruction that he had been part of. He fell into the routine of it, and the afternoon hours passed unnoticed.
So much so that he was surprised when it was time to go in to dinner. They ceased work early enough that Harry had time to shower the dust off his skin and the soreness out of his muscles.
He found a seat in the Great Hall, at the Hufflepuff table this time. It was kind of fun, sitting at the different tables. Perhaps tomorrow he’d sit at Slytherin. He thought about it. Perhaps not.
With a plate full of chicken and roast potatoes and mushy peas, he looked around the tables. They were not quite so full. He supposed some of the volunteers had Flooed or Apparated home. But he recognized several students, scattered at the different tables. He thought about moving, to talk to someone he knew. He could see Terry Boot and Mandy Brocklehurst sitting across from each other at the Ravenclaw table, and Hannah Abbott at the shortened Gryffindor table. If it were Neville, or Luna, or any Weasley, he would have. Probably even some others. But Ron and Hermione weren’t here, and Ginny was at the Burrow, and it just seemed a bit too much. Besides, he was hungry. Maybe after he ate.
Professor McGonagall tapped her goblet for attention, the sound unnaturally loud. Looking closely, Harry could see she had transfigured one side of it into a bell. She stood up and looked out over the Hall. “Thank you all for coming to help. There is still quite a bit of work to do, but I have no doubt that we will finish it in time for the coming school year.”
Applause roared through the Hall.
“Over the next weeks, we will be making plans for the coming year. As these plans are finalized, we will be sure to let you know.
“We did not come to this point without losses. A list of services for the fallen has been posted in the Entry Hall and by my office. Know that those who have given their lives to this fight will always have our gratitude.”
McGonagall sat down a bit more abruptly than usual, and Harry caught sight of a handkerchief. After a moment, she got up and disappeared out the door behind the High Table. Suddenly he did not feel hungry. Nodding to the others at the table, he got up and left. As promised, the list was posted by the door to the Great Hall. It was on the same message board that Umbridge had used. The thought made him mildly ill.
The list was too long. Too many names. He did not recognise all the names, but he recognized some. Colin Creevey. Fred Weasley. Nymphadora Tonks.
He scanned the list again. Upon reaching the last name a second time, he turned, and started to run. He dodged around rubble, slowing down when it became clear that running was not safe, but still moved quickly through the castle, until he reached the stone gargoyle.
In The Headmistress’ Office
May 4, 1998
The password came out a bit raw, but the stone gargoyle moved aside, and Harry climbed the spiral stairs. It had been a victory, Harry knew. He, more than anyone, could feel Voldemort’s absence. It just didn’t quite feel like he’d hoped it would. After just one day of sifting through debris, and seeing exactly how damaged the castle was and how full the infirmary was, he couldn’t quite feel the victory of it. Seeing the list made it even less so. Over 50 names.
Harry was just as glad not to have to say Dumbledore’s name for the password. What was Snape thinking, using that as a password, knowing he’d have to say the man’s name, several times a day? Was it some kind of penance? Before watching the Pensieve memories, Harry might have thought it was gloating, and perhaps the Carrows assumed that, if Snape had given them the password. He wondered what the teachers and students had made of it. Harry had not considered it at the time he went to use the Pensieve, he was just thinking of it as Dumbledore’s office, Dumbledore’s Pensieve, Dumbledore’s … everything.
But that was not why he was here.
McGonagall lifted her head as he entered. “Harry. Good, I’m glad you’re here.” She had been calling him Harry since Ravenclaw Tower. He supposed casting an Unforgivable on someone’s behalf could not help but change the relationship, although he would not have expected his stern head of house to forgive the unforgivable. Perhaps it was her new role as Headmistress, replacing sternness with genial benevolence. If her eyes started to twinkle, he was not sure what he would do. That would be just a bit… scary.
“We were unable to find Snape.”
Harry stopped suddenly, as if he had run into a wall. “You had someone search the Shrieking Shack?”
“Yes. They found blood, plenty of blood, but no body. Are you sure of what you saw?”
“I was there! He gave me his memories, and then he died. I saw it.”
“He gave you—“
“They’re in the Pensieve. You—just—you should look at them. After you’ve seen the memories, I need them back. They’re … my responsibility.” Harry didn’t want that responsibility, but he also didn’t want anyone, even Snape, to be convicted unfairly. Once was enough. It seemed history was repeating itself, first Sirius, then Snape. But if his body wasn’t there… He didn’t want to think of what had been done with his body. He shook his head. He couldn’t deal with that right now.
“ I need to talk to you about something else.” He perched on the edge of one of the chairs.
“The funeral list.”
McGonagall nodded, casting one last glance at the Pensieve sitting on a shelf behind the now closed glass door. Harry felt bad for leaving it out. It felt disrespectful. He shook his head again. They had been in the middle of a battle, taking time to put the Pensieve away would have been foolish. The Headmistress turned back to Harry, putting both hands face down on the desk as if to close the previous topic. “What about the list?”
“It’s missing a name.”
McGonagall sorted through a few scrolls on her desk. Of course she’d have a copy to hand. She scanned it. “Who?”
McGonagall’s eyes flew up to meet his.
“Oh, Harry, I thought you knew. The Ministry took him – took his body."
“What? Why?” Harry burst from his chair, more alert than he’d been since –
“It’s the law. Werewolves must be cremated. At a Ministry sanctioned facility.”
Harry felt like he had been stabbed in the gut. His parents had died before he could remember. Knowing Dumbledore, baby Harry would not even have been permitted at the funeral. Sirius, falling through the veil, left no body. No one had said anything about a funeral or memorial service. There hadn’t been time after the battle at the Department of Mysteries, and it wouldn’t have been safe. Then he had been stuck at the Dursleys’. And now Remus. He had not had a chance for a funeral for any of his family. He was not going to give up on this one.
“Okay. No casket. But the ashes…”
“They use a magical fire, Harry. There are no ashes. Nothing is left behind. It is supposed to—” McGonagall’s voice caught, then became very dry, devoid of emotion. “—prevent the spread of infection.”
“They had no right!” Fury welled up, burning from Harry’s belly into his chest, his eyes glittering fire. But he couldn’t sustain it. There were too many losses, he had given away too much, and Harry just felt depleted. They had taken too much from him, The Ministry, Dumbledore, Death Eaters, Voldemort… Harry was not sure if he had anything left to give. He needed just one thing for himself, a funeral for his last ‘family’, something that was for Harry: not the Boy who Lived, not the Saviour of the Wizarding World, just a boy who had never had the things others took for granted, childhood, family, privacy. It was not right that Sirius had not had a service, and it was not right that Remus was being denied one as well.
He sank back into his chair as if his strings had been cut.
“A memorial, then.” His voice was hollow.
“Harry, Remus has no living family, no one to plan one.”
Harry thought. The Marauders were dead. Tonks was dead. Harry’s heart contracted at the memory of yelling at Remus to stay out of it, to keep himself and Tonks alive for Teddy’s sake.
Harry could not remember Remus ever talking about his parents. He vaguely remembered Remus talking about when he had been changed, but he had mostly focused on how Dumbledore arranged it so he could attend Hogwarts. Tonks’ mother, Andromeda, would be too busy dealing with the loss of her husband and daughter. Teddy was too young to care. He would care later, Harry knew, and Harry was not going to deprive Teddy the knowledge that he was at his parents’ funerals.
“There’s me,” he said.
He remembered seeing the bodies, Remus and Tonks, laid out side by side, as Harry ran to the Shack, intent on the battle, intent on his tasks. That was the last he’d seen them. A glance. A stab in the heart, to be set aside as he raced on. And then, the spirits from the Resurrection Stone, echoes of people he knew and loved, accompanying him to his death. Only it hadn’t worked out that way.
He might not know what direction he would take for the rest of his life. He might yet be too numb, to overwhelmed to even think about that. But he could do this. He had to do this.
“He deserves to be remembered.” Harry stated. “What do I need to do?”