A/N: OK; I still haven’t decided who’s gonna live, but it’s been three days so I’m just gonna see where the mood takes me. Also there’s a time overlap from the last chapter. I don’t know who the poem is by, but it wasn’t me.
CHAPTER 25- SCARS
“What was that?” Harry asked unnecessarily; as he could already see that the pile of crap that was once Lord Voldemort was bubbling more violently and it was causing the castle to shake.
The narrow tower they were standing in seemed to sway in the light breeze. The lead plates started to fall off the roof, crashing onto the ground. A large chunk of the room’s ceiling fell to the floor narrowly missing Spike and Giles.
“Time to go, pet.” Spike scooped the still unconscious Dawn into his arms and made towards the stairs. “Come on; move!”
Spike ducked under the low archway and down the spiral staircase, closely followed by Harry, Buffy and Giles. Spike stopped when he got to the room at the bottom of the stairs. The room was almost completely caved in. Spike took a deep breath and shifted Dawn no his shoulder. He ran across the room, leather jacket billowing out behind him.
Buffy followed dragging Harry with her and Giles was close behind. They continued running, jumping over the bodies of the killed death eaters and the debris as they went. They got through the tunnel into the first room that they were trapped in without too many problems as the tunnel seemed to be firmly supported.
It was when they got into the first room that there was a struggle. Surprisingly, the centre of the room was fairly in tact, but the corner where the entrance was had completely caved in. The only way out, was through that portrait, if they had managed to open it.
“What do we do now?” Harry asked, seeing their escape route blocked off.
Buffy looked to Giles. “I’m open to suggestions!” She shouted over the rumbling that had suddenly got louder.
“The window?” Giles suggested.
“We tried that earlier!” Spike yelled.
“Not with magic; Harry must still have some of Dawn’s key power inside him, he could try to break it with- Ahh!”
Giles was struck on the head with a piece of falling stone and knocked unconscious.
“Boy; this takes me back!” Buffy quipped, heaving her former watcher onto her shoulders fireman-style. “Harry, can you do it?”
He didn’t reply. Harry held out his wand, blue light already streaming from it. At first it just bounced off the glass harmlessly. Harry searched deep inside himself, trying to find the extra power.
The glass started to smoke. Then, without any warning, it shattered sending shards of glass flying outwards.
Buffy looked down. “We’re two floors up.” She told Spike. “If I get Giles down, can you take the kids?”
Spike nodded and Buffy leapt out the window, landing on her feet like she always did. She had barely got her feet on the ground before she started running clear of the building.
Up in the Manor, things were collapsing even more quickly. Spike steadied Dawn on his shoulder and held Harry firmly to him. He didn’t land as gracefully as Buffy, and lost his grip on Harry when he rolled to stand up. Spike had cut himself on a piece of glass that had once been part of the window they had just jumped through, but he was too tired and concentrating to hard on keeping going to pay much attention to the gash.
Spike wearily yanked Harry to his feet just as Buffy came running back.
“I dumped Giles in the woodland. Are you all ok?”
“I think I twisted my ankle and Spike cut himself, but a part from that...” Harry replied.
Buffy nodded. “We have to get out of here!”
She slung her arm around Harry’s waist and he put his around her shoulder so that Buffy acted as a crutch for him.
They set off at a run towards the woodland where Giles was. They had barely run five metres before they heard a massive roar as Malfoy Manor collapsed, burying the three people who lived there (Draco, Lucius and Narcissa) under layers of rubble.
Spike, Buffy, and the two seventeen year olds they were helping, ran as fast as they could until they could semi-safely duck to the ground to avoid the flying debris. Buffy and Harry dove to the ground and covered their heads with their hands to try and protect themselves from the stone. Spike threw Dawn to the ground and sheltered her with his body. He cried out in pain as his tired body was pelted with rock and cement.
When all that remained was a cloud of dust, the three warriors that were still conscious got up and found Giles who was beginning to stir.
“What happened?” He asked drowsily.
“You got knocked out.” Buffy told him.
“Just like old times.” He said dryly. Giles got to his feet. Apart from the initial wavering, he seemed to be ok and capable of walking on his own.
Spike lay Dawn down on the floor. She, like all of them, was very dusty, but seemed to be alright.
Harry stepped onto his ankle gingerly. He sighed in relief. It was just a twist, nothing broken and he could even walk on it.
“Are you ready to head back to the portal?” Buffy asked Giles and Harry watching them test out their injuries.
Both replied with the affirmative, so they set off to the part off the ground where Xander and Willow would be waiting for them with the portal.
As they were approaching, they heard Faith and Angel talking to Xander. “Did they get out?”
“What was the last you heard?”
Xander shrugged helplessly, before his face lit up in a big grin as he saw two familiar blonds appear in the clearing followed by two more figures.
“I never had any doubts!”
The three still there said simultaneously.
Buffy nodded. “Where is everyone?”
“Me and Angel sent the troops back when everything started collapsing. They’re waiting for news back at Hogwarts. Whatever you guys did must’ve used beaucoup de mojo to cause that effect.”
“And I told Wills to go back; she was pretty tired.” Xander added with a big grin on his face.
“Is she alright?” Buffy asked full of concern for one of her best friends.
“Fine; just tired, what about you guys?”
“We’re fine; apart from Harry’s arm, Giles’ head and Dawn’s well, you can see. We should get them back.”
Angel held out his arms and took Dawn from Spike. It took a lot to tire a vampire, but a major battle, using his own energy to power a spell that allowed him to walk in sunlight, and carrying his little bit through the bumpy woodlands exhausted Spike. He couldn’t wait to get back to the castle and have a nice, warm cup of blood.
[A/N: I had to let them live!]
The other side of the portal was in chaos, but when the last of the fighters returned there was a deathly hush.
Buffy looked around. The slayers had already begun to heal and most that had made it back weren’t that seriously injured. “We won.”
A cheer went up in the great hall. For a moment everything was good, but soon reality would hit and the joy would be replaced with tears for those that were lost.
Angel had already vanished with Dawn to the hospital wing where the more serious cases were being tended to by medi-witches under the supervision of Madam Pomfrey. Buffy, Harry, Giles and Spike all hurried there and the latter three were ushered into their own cubicles.
Spike went without much fight. It took a lot of his energy to power the spell that allowed him to walk in the sunlight and that combined with the fight had left him quite exhausted.
Giles too went without a fuss, deciding to see Dawn when she was awake and alert, and he was still a little dazed from the blow to his head.
Harry refused to move from Dawn’s bedside despite the begging, demands and bribery of the hospital staff that had been brought in to man the hospital wing. His attention was totally focused on Dawn, so he didn’t see Madam Pomfrey sneak up behind him and by the time he realised she was injecting a sedative into him, it was too late and he dropped to the ground.
Madam Pomfrey levitated Harry to the next bed where she let him rest next to a young, unconscious slayer who had been attacked by a member of her team under the imperious curse as many others had during the fight. She left their wounds until they were conscious and she could heal them properly; who knew what damage those muggle fighters could do?
Meanwhile; Faith and Dumbledore were organizing port keys to the slayers homes. They had decided that it would be easier all round if the slayers went back to their centres now where they were better equipped to deal with everything post battle.
Several sixth and seventh year students plus a group of medi-witches that had been brought in to deal with the injuries of the war were dashing about, healing the slayers and wizards.
Angel returned from the hospital wing and Wes and Gunn were immediately by his side.
“Are they alright?” Wes asked.
Angel nodded. He looked around and saw the hall was less crowded than before. “What kind of numbers did we lose?”
“Only twenty-seven wizards at last count.” Gunn answered. “None of them were students and only two were order members; Bill Weasly and Alastor Moody. Also, Faith said she killed that Malfoy kid ‘cause he betrayed us again.”
Angel nodded. The names didn’t really mean much to him, but his heart went out to the families. “And the slayers?”
“Fifty-nine.” Wes stated. “Two who were in the fight with the First; thirteen from the Asian hellmouth; twenty one from Cleveland; nine from Australia and fourteen from places in Europe.”
Angel nodded again. That wasn’t too bad on the grand scale of things.
Professor Dumbledore crossed the great hall to where Professor McGonagall was tending to one of the students that had been slightly injured in the fight.
“There.” She murmured. “You’ll have a bit of a scar, but it’ll fade in time.”
The seventh year girl jumped off the counter and ran off to find her friends. Professor Dumbledore decided to make his presence known.
“Minerva? Everyone from Hogwarts has been accounted for.”
“Oh Thanks Merlin!” McGonagall exclaimed.
“Indeed. I understand that Miss Lovegood was the only person seriously harmed?”
McGonagall nodded. “That’s right. There were also a couple of flesh wounds, but they’ve been healed…there’s still a scar though, there always will be.”
“It is not that type of scarring I am worried about.” Dumbledore said mysteriously. “All of these children have seen more death and violence today then I would have hoped them to see in all their lives. That is going to have some kind of effect on them whether they realise it or not.”
The witch slayers had gathered together. They hadn’t been told of the death toll, but activity was bustling in the hall so it couldn’t have been that high. Flick was running her finger along a long white scar down her arm that one of the curses had left when she heard her friends approaching.
“Are you all ok?” Flick asked adopting the roll of leader as she had done before.
“Yes; did you hear about Dawn?” Jade asked.
Flick shook her head and frowned, she noticed that the others were doing the same. “Is she alright?”
Jaden nodded. “Yeah; but Angel says she’ll be unconscious for a while. We should visit her when she’s up. Oh, and Harry’s alright too. Merlin knows how they managed that one.”
“How are you doing?” Flick asked again. “I mean, this was a major battle, it can really mess with your head. I remember the first time I was confronted with my mortality with the First.” She shuddered. “Not a great feeling.”
“It doesn’t feel as bad as it did with the fight at the dance. We were prepared for what was happening and we won.” Ginny said. A smile slid across her face. “Oh Merlin! We won! We WON!”
Skye looked up also grinning as if the thought had finally occurred to her. “It’s OVER! WE DID IT!!”
The four girls suddenly started hugging each other, oblivious to the funny looks they were getting.
“What’s up with them?” Emily asked of Luna who had the arm with the newly re-grown hand held in a sling.
Luna smiled at the younger girl, looking totally sane for the moment. “They’re just glad to be alive.”
Xander stuck his head round the curtain closing off Willow from the rest of the hospital wing. “How’s my Willow shaped friend?”
Willow smiled. “She’s good; just sleepy. How are the others? No-one will tell me anything.”
“Everyone’s fine. Harry’s sleeping and Dawn’s…”
“Is she okay?”
Xander nodded. “She’ll be fine. She died, but she came back, we don’t really know how. Buffy said she did an energy transfer with Harry or something and it knocked her out. She’ll be fine.” He repeated as if he were trying to convince himself as well as Willow.
“Good;” Willow yawned, “I couldn’t bear it if something happened to someone else I love. But I expect major details tomorrow, mister.”
Xander smiled. “You betcha! So what happened with you? Rona said she was worried there for a while.”
“I passed out after the spell and had a real-life dream.” Xander looked confused so Willow tried to explain. “You know when the first slayer haunted us in our dreams, it was only a dream, but if she killed us then we’d be dead in the real world. In my dream I had to beat Dark Willow to stay alive.”
“Does that mean Dark Willow’s dead?”
“Yea.” Willow said happily. “I’m rid of the dark magix once and for all, and there’s something else. Tara was there as a messenger for the PTB. When I won, she told me that I was a higher being.”
“Whoa!” Xander exclaimed. “What’s that?”
“I don’t really know. I think it’s a link to the powers. She said that I would get visions; of people we have to help I suppose, and that I’d be more powerful that the champions.” Willow frowned.
“Cool! Willow finally found her toy surprise, now I just need some kind of wicked cool super power and we’re set!”
Willow frowned some more. “What if I can’t control it? What if I go evil again?”
“You won’t.” Xander said with absolute conviction. “This is good power Wills, not evil and you’re stronger now.”
Willow’s frown vanished. “Thanks Xander; where would I be without you?”
“Oh, probably sunning yourself on a beach in the Caribbean drink lots ’a rum.” He joked.
Willow grinned before launching herself at her oldest friend and hugging him tightly.
Madam Pomfrey left Harry and returned to Dawn. Her sister was still sitting by her side.
“She won’t wake up for at least two days.” The nurse said. “She’s in a coma, but she will recover.”
Buffy nodded, not looking away from her sister’s face.
“She’ll need lots of rest, and so do you.”
“I want to stay with her.” Buffy protested.
“Would she want you to hurt yourself? You’ve all been through a lot today and if you won’t go willingly, then you’re never too big for a sedative.” She continued.
Buffy looked up at her. “I want to stay-“
“That’s not an option. You will not do either of you any good by staying here. Now, if you’re as sensible as I think you are, you will go back to your rooms and will not return until after breakfast tomorrow.” Madam Pomfrey looked down sternly, refusing to budge.
Buffy looked her in the eye and nodded. She cast a look over her shoulder at Dawn and left the hospital wing that was now quiet.
Madam Pomfrey slumped down on the edge of Dawn’s bed. What a day!
Faith was sitting by the edge of the lake in the dark. How many humans had they killed that day? Five hundred? A thousand? She had no idea. It all seemed like a blur now. She heard someone approaching her. A small part of her wanted to get up and run away, but the rest was tired of running.
“How you coping?” A male voice asked.
Faith looked around confused. She hadn’t expected him. What with the whole trying to kill him thing, Xander had been a bit wary around her. “Fine.”
“Yeah right. Talk to me Faith.”
“I killed Kennedy.”
“She was trying to kill me, and I pushed her right into the path of one of those green light thingy’s.”
Xander sighed in relief. “You couldn’t have predicted that, it wasn’t you’re fault.”
“You’re just saying that.”
“Why would I do that? You should know by now that I would tell you the truth. Does Willow know?”
Faith shook her head. “I can’t tell her. I can’t. That Dumble- guy said he was going to tell the friends and relatives about the deaths tomorrow.”
“She won’t blame you.” Xander assured her. “Things like this happen. The first vampire I slayed was once my best friend. His name was Jesse and I killed him. The guilt is overwhelming; even if you know deep down that it wasn’t your fault.” They sat by the dark lake in silence for a bit. The moon was shining brightly and the stars were twinkling so the duo could still see fairly clearly.
“What are you doing here?” Faith blurted.
Xander looked amused. “Is there a reason I shouldn’t be here?”
Faith felt the old defence mechanisms falling into place. “You know what I’m capable of;” she stood up stalked around him predatorily, “you should know better than to come and find me after a fight.”
Xander still looked amused and he didn’t even bother to get up to face the ‘threat’, and that annoyed Faith more than anything. “I could kill you, you know that!”
“You could.” Xander admitted, still smiling. “You won’t, but you could.”
“How do you know that?” Without any warning, Faith leapt at Xander, pushed him to the ground and straddled his waist.
To his credit, Xander didn’t even flinch. “Why is this familiar?” He muttered. He shifted slightly. “You’ve changed, Faith; you wouldn’t hurt me, not now.”
Faith couldn’t help but be pleased by his answer. Gone was the nervous high school boy. Xander Harris was a man, a rather yummy man at that. She loosened her grip slightly and faster than you could blink, Xander tossed her to the side and assumed the position that she he previously held over him.
Xander braced himself to be thrown rather roughly away from the slayer, but instead he felt her hand reach up and gently touch the skin around his eye patch.
“Why do you do this?” Faith asked softly. “Why do you fight? You don’t have to, you weren’t chosen by the powers; you could just walk away, but you don’t.”
Xander shrugged. “Do you think I could live in this world knowing what’s out there but not doing anything to help?”
Faith looked up at him with her big brown eyes. Xander felt a lurch in his stomach. He scrambled to his feet and held out his hand to Faith. She took it and he pulled her to her feet. They stood there for a moment, neither moving.
“Besides,” Xander quipped finally; “you guys need me.”
“Yup. I am Super Xander!”
She chuckled. Xander swung his arm around her shoulders and they set off back towards the castle.
Faith leaned into his side. She felt safe there, like he would protect her and he wouldn’t let anyone hurt her. She noticed his strong grip around her shoulders and cast a quick glance up at his face. He looked like he hadn’t shaved for a few days and had that ruggedly handsome look going... Did she just think Xander Harris was attractive?
Xander’s arm seemed to have a mind of its own. This was Faith! She tried to kill him and he was pulling her close like he would Buffy or Willow. He felt her lean closer to him and he tightened his grip around her shoulder. OK; now this was closer than he had held anyone, well, anyone since Anya.
He looked down at the brunette by his side. She’d grown up a lot, both in her attitude and her appearance. Her features were softer now and her hair framed her face and made her look a lot less threatening. The rest of her wasn’t half bad either. His eye raked over her body appreciatively.
“Mr Harris, are you checking me out?”
‘Dammit.’ He thought. “And what if I was?”
Faith was surprised by Xander’s reaction; he didn’t even blush. “Like what you see?” She purred seductively.
Xander felt an uncomfortable tightness in the crotch of his jeans. Faith reached up and kissed him. After a moment Xander pulled back.
“Sorry Faith; I don’t want to be another notch on your bedpost.” Not again. He added mentally. Faith looked as if he’d slapped her round the face.
“The last ‘notch on my bedpost’ was Robyn.” She said coldly before stalking off towards the castle.
“Faith, wait!” Xander caught up with her and held her shoulders so that she was facing him. “I’m sorry. Forgive me, please?” He gave her his best puppy dog eyes.
Faith felt like she was melting. She’d seen a lot of puppy eyes in her time, but none as good as Xander’s. How could she resist?
“I’ll make it up to you.” He wheedled.
Xander saw a slight smile grace her lips. “Alright then.” She said begrudgingly.
Xander gave a little whoop and lifted the slayer in his arms. He swung her round in a circle and watched her laugh.
Even after he put her down he still kept hold. He brushed a stray hair out of her face and leaned down and let his lips brush hers.
It would be useless to say she wasn’t attracted to him. So she responded willingly to the kiss. For the first time in years, Faith didn’t use a guy. She wanted something in her life to work for once and although she’d never really seen Xander in that way before, he was a nice enough guy and she was going to do it right… this time.
A little bird was singing outside Buffy, Willow and Faith’s bedroom. Faith groaned and ducked under the covers but the shrill cry of the bird pierced through the thick duvet.
She moaned and picked up her crossbow from where it still lay next to her bed. The little birdie sung no more.
“What happened to the bird?” Willow asked amused. She had been up for a while and was just coming back from the bathroom.
“I slayed it.” Faith commented. “It had to be stopped.”
“You slayed it? But it was just a little bird?” Buffy said from where she was sitting in her bed.
“Oh, um no, of course not! It, umm, was an accident!” Faith tried, attempting to look innocent. She dropped the crossbow to the floor, right onto her foot. “OW!!”
Willow smirked. She kicked the crossbow across the room. “I think I’ll move this before you have anymore accidents.”
“Hey!” Faith exclaimed has her precious, and deadly, weapon was carelessly kicked along the cold floor.
“I’m doing you a favour!”
Faith grumbled and got fully out of bed, wincing as the cold air whipped around her. “Bathroom.” She said as she stumbled into the en suite.
Buffy and Willow exchanged grins. Faith was not a morning person.
“How are my favourite girls?” Xander asked bounding into their room.
“Xander! Don’t you knock?” Buffy said, but there was a big grin on her face.
“How d’ ya feel? Glad it’s over?” He plopped down on the slayers bed and she nodded vigorously.
A blurry eyes Faith re-entered the room. She yawned widely, not looking where she was going. So, with all the grace of a slayer, she tripped over the crossbow in the middle of the room.
Buffy laughed. “Let me get this straight; you moved the crossbow so she wouldn’t have another accident?” Willow nodded sheepishly. “Right; ok!”
“Wills;” Faith said as she started to get up; “Don’t do me anymore favours, please! You’ll just end up killing me!”
The mood in the room immediately sobered. Faith sat down next to Xander on Buffy’s bed and he put his arm around her. Faith immediately leant against him, resting her head on his shoulder.
Buffy thought of her little sister still comatose in the hospital wing. “I wonder how she’s doing.”
Buffy returned from seeing Dawn to find Willow sitting on her bed, her face full of emotion.
“What’s wrong?” Buffy asked.
“Kennedy.” Willow whispered. “She was killed.”
“Oh Will, I’m so sorry.”
Willow shook her head absently. “It’s weird. We broke up and it’s really confusing. I don’t love her, I never did, but it hurts, you know?”
Buffy nodded and Willow shook herself. When she looked back at Buffy, she seemed more herself. She hadn’t spoken to Kennedy since they had broken up and Willow couldn’t help but feel guilty at the lack of pain she felt over her former lover’s death.
They sat there for a while, just thinking about all the people they had seen die over the years until Buffy finally broke the silence. “Was there anyone else?”
“Yes, but no-one we know. One other girl from the First-fight, Jenny or something, but the rest we didn’t know.”
Buffy shrugged uncomfortably. “Do you think that, maybe we should have had more to do with them? We do send them into battles quite a lot, but we don’t know their strengths or names or anything.”
Willow nodded. “I know what you mean; it’s like we tell them what to do and we know they’re there, but we don’t really think about them until their dead.”
Buffy gasped in horror. “We’re like the old watcher council!”
“No.” Willow said firmly. “Well, not yet. Maybe we could go round the slayer centres when this is over; she how everyone’s doing.”
Buffy nodded enthusiastically. “I don’t want to end up like those stuffy, tweed wearing, murdering, stupid, dull, English- what was my point, again?”
“Dead? Bill’s dead?” Ginny gasped.
“I’m very sorry, Ginny, Ron.” Dumbledore said. “There was a threat to another order member, Patricia Rowland, and he saved her…but it cost him his life.”
Ron hadn’t said anything so far, but a small smile slid across his face. “That’s just like him. He would’ve wanted to go like that.”
Dumbledore smiled in understanding. “He died a hero.”
Ron nodded. “I’d like to go now.” He said after a moment.
Dumbledore nodded and he left, leaving Ginny alone with the headmaster. “Miss Weasly; would you like to go home?”
Ginny nodded, tears sliding down her cheeks.
“I understand that your brother would prefer to stay here with his friends at this time, do you understand?”
Ginny nodded again and Dumbledore set about her travel arrangements.
Hermione pulled Ron into a hug when he returned to the common room. “I heard about Bill, are you ok?”
Ron nodded. “I’m fine.”
Hermione gave him a look. “You can talk to me Ron, I want you too.”
“I’m as good as you’d expect me to be.” He sighed. “I told Dumbledore I’d rather stay here than go home. At home everything would be too intense; Mum as Charlie, Percy and the twins to look after her and I really think it would be better for me to stay here. Less crowded.”
“If you wanted to go home there would always be room for you.”
“I know; but I’d rather stay here…he died to save some girl, I don’t even know her.” Ron said quietly. There was a short silence. Hermione had never had anyone that close to her die, and didn’t really know what to say.
“It’s ok to cry, to let it all out.” Hermione said soothingly.
Ron nodded wordlessly. She pulled him closer to him and soon felt wet tears against her neck.
Harry awoke the next morning to find himself in a strange bed looking up at a very white ceiling. Then it all came rushing back.
He swung his legs out of bed and saw Dawn lying on the bed next to him. He went over to her. She seemed to be sleeping peacefully, but there was still a frown on her lips. He reached out and gently stroked her hair out of her face.
“She won’t be conscious for a while yet.” Madam Pomfrey said from behind him. “You should be in bed.”
Harry ignored her completely, not even bothering to turn around. Her top had ridden up slightly and he could see a new scar on her stomach. The trip to heaven may have healed the wound, but the mark would never go away. They all would have marks and scars, not all of then visible; the pain would fade, but it would never go away.
“Mr Potter! I really must insist you get some rest!” Madam Pomfrey ordered. “You won’t do her any good if you too are exhausted.”
The school nurse steered the famous Harry Potter to a cubical where his wounds were tended to.
“You need to take good care of your arm, Harry. It won’t be up to scratch for at least a week, and that’s only if you rest it completely.”
Harry wasn’t taking the slightest bit of notice. Madam Pomfrey saw where he was looking. “She’ll be fine Harry.” She said kindly. “She just needs rest, for quite a while I’m afraid. She won’t be up for anything strenuous until the end of term. Lot’s of rest.”
FOUR DAYS LATER
“Flick!” Dawn hobbled over to her friend as fast as she could using her crutches.
“So you’ve finally got out of the hospital wing then?” Flick said with a grin, happy to see Dawn up and about after all she had been through.
Dawn nodded enthusiastically. “Yea, finally. Where is everyone?”
Flick face clouded over. “They’re in the common room. We’re having a mini memorial service for everyone who didn’t make it.”
Dawn nodded again, less enthusiastically. “Mind if I tag along?”
“Not at all.”
The memorial service was short and sweet. There were no overly flowery speeches by people who barely knew the person they were talking about, no posh hymns that everyone knew the deceased would have hated.
The common room had a large basket of pure white roses on each side of the fire place and there were several candles, also white, on the mantle place waiting to be lit. Each house had the same set up, even Slytherin; not everyone in that house was a death eater.
The usual red and gold armchairs were replaced with rows of chairs with red cushions and white ribbon twined around them. The chairs were soon filled with students, not just from Gryffindor, Luna, Emily and Jaden were all there as well as a few others who were close friends with Gryffindor’s.
When all the movement had stopped, Hermione stood and went to the front.
“I was asked to say something today, about everyone who died. Not just those who died in the final phase of the fight, but everyone who was killed trying to stop V-Voldemort. I heard this poem at my Grandpa’s funeral and I thought that it would be good for today:
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.”
Hermione went back to her seat silently and nodded to Harry who left his seat next to Dawn and lit three of the white candles saying: “For Sirius and my Mum and Dad.” He put three glass bells over the candles which continued to burn despite the lack of oxygen.
There were little gold plates at the bottom of each bell and when Harry put them over the candles they magically inscribed themselves with the names of the people they were dedicated to.
Ron got up next. “For Bill and Mad Eye.” He choked out before sitting back down next to Hermione.
Surprisingly it was Neville who got up next to dedicate a candle to his parents. Although they were not dead, the people who loved him and took care of him died when they went insane.
Soon, the mantle place was full of candles, each burning for someone who had died fighting Voldemort, both wizards and slayers. Dawn had lit a candle for both Robin and Kennedy and a third for ‘the slayers who died’.
After everyone had lit the candles that they wanted to, they all sat in silence for a while before getting up and leaving one or two at a time. Soon the only people left were Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Dawn, Flick, Jaden, Skye, Luna and Emily.
They too got up and sat in the bean bags and comfy chairs on the other side of the common room.
Harry slung his good arm around Dawn’s shoulders. “That wasn’t so bad.” He said softly.
Ron shook his head. “No; it wasn’t.”
“It’s a shame we couldn’t have a wake or something.” Flick commented.
“Why can’t we?” Neville asked.
“Wait here!” Harry exclaimed. He went upstairs to his room and quickly returned with a large bag of something. He set the bag down with a loud clink. “I’d forgotten all about these. I got them on the last Hogsmede visit ages ago.” He said handing each person sitting then a bottle of butter beer.
The group spent the next hour exchanging tales about anyone they knew who had died.
“…And then Kennedy pretended to be sick to get out of the hokey-pokey trip and so she could spend some quality time alone with Willow.”
“Quality time..? Wait; Kennedy’s gay?”
“Yes, well, she was.” Dawn sighed and silence overtook them. “I propose a toast: to those we have lost; they’re at peace now.”
“To those we have lost.” The rest chorused.
FOUR MORE DAYS LATER
“Aww come on guys; it’ll be fun!” Dawn whined, playing with her crutches. She was still supposed to be taking it easy, but that wasn’t working out so well.
“I don’t know Dawn; you’re supposed to be resting. You know how much trouble we got into when we played quiditch yesterday.” Harry reminded her.
“But I’m not tired; I’m bored!” Dawn seemed more like a seven year old than a seventeen year old. “It’s been over a week! I feel fine! We can double date, it’ll be fun!”
“Bloody hell,” Ron mumbled. He had decided to stay at Hogwarts following his brother’s death and was handling it quite well. He had grieved and cried, but had had Hermione to lean on the whole time which was a big help. “Just give into her Harry; we all know you will eventually. Besides Hogsmede only comes a couple of times a term and I don’t want to miss it.”
“Fine! But don’t blame me if you collapse again!”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Dawn gave him a kiss.
In Hogsmede it was like a big party. Everyone was still celebrating the fall of Voldemort in spectacular style and wherever they went, shops gave them freebies as a ‘thank you’.
“Ohmigod thanks!” Dawn exclaimed upon being given a humongous bag of sweets from Honeydukes.
Harry looked at her worried; it had only been six days since the battle and Dawn should be taking it easy not jumping about like a thing possessed! Her sugar rush could only last so long, and when it wore off there would be hell to pay.
As if on cue, Dawn swayed violently, dropping the crutches that held her up. Harry leapt forward and caught her before she hit the ground. Pain immediately shot up his arm, but he kept hold.
“And what, young lady, do you think you are doing?” Buffy’s very stern voice loomed over them.
“Oh crap;” Dawn muttered, still in Harry’s arms; “busted.”
"Bed-rest." Buffy said, looking down at her sternly. "Have you any idea what that means? Hmm... Here’s an idea... it doesn't mean trying to play quiditch or going to parties."
"It doesn't mean shopping literally until you drop." Xander added, staring down at her with the same hard expression.
Dawn dropped her shoulders but refused to apologize. "You guys are over-reacting. Besides, I'm sick of lying down so much." She fell back onto her bed and looked up at all of her friends who were crowded into her dorm.
Dawn rolled her eyes, "Guys, please, I'm okay. Stop babying me. All I want to do right now is go to the Common Room and get a drink, okay? That's it. I promise I won't do anything. I'll just sit at a table and talk quietly with my housemates."
Somewhat doubtfully Harry said, "You promise?"
"I do if you promise to lay off on your arm." Dawn shot back. Harry gave her a sour look. "Well, do we have a deal?"
"Come on, Harry, it's only fair." Ron said with a grin. The others joined in.
Finally he nodded. "Okay, fine but you gotta promise too, Dawn."
Dawn nodded, "Okay, I'll be good."
The others sighed, obviously relived. Then they turned and started to leave. Harry shot her a dirty look and stayed back and helped her to her feet. He handed her the crutches and then whispered: "Remember, you promised."
She hit him lightly on the shoulder, "I know." She moved out into the hall and then shot back over her shoulder, "But all I said was that I'd be good for today."
I can’t believe it’s over! I started this five months ago, I can’t see how people can keep up with the same story for over a year. But anyway; do you want a sequel?
If I get enough interest, then I will write one, but not for at least a month, I already have another project on the go (A Buffy non-crossover)! I would appreciate any plot ideas for if I decide to write one as well. If those who would be interested in a sequel would like to leave their email, then I would be happy to contact you and tell you what is happening.
For the last time; please review!