Without you - Matt
Disclaimer: All characters belong to JKR, so they're not mine -
‘Come on, mate! We’re running late, just leave the hair – you know it won’t flatten anyway.’
‘Coming, just a sec –‘
Harry was quickly running to the front door, where Ron was waiting impatiently for him to finish so they could get going. Today was the celebration for the victory on Lord Voldemort exactly one year ago. Normally Harry wouldn’t have bothered to go to such a fancy party, especially one from the Ministry, but he felt he owed it to all of those who had died in the war. There was going to be a big ceremony to honor those casualties and of course Harry was asked to be the guest of honor. To everyone’s surprise he accepted this time, after declining all other requests of the Ministry in the past year. He didn’t do it for them though - he could care less for the Ministry – he did it for his best friend.
‘Oi, Potter! Looking sharp, trying to impress some ladies I recon,’ Ron said laughing as he nudged him in the side. ‘What are we waiting for then, let’s apparate!’
* * * * *
They were waiting behind the curtains of the big stage the Ministry had set up for today. The Minister was reading his speech with the usual comments on how sad it was these people couldn’t be with them today, how fortunate they were to have survived and how they should be celebrating the defeat of Lord Voldemort in honor of those who didn’t make it.
‘Easy for him to say, he wasn’t there to witness all those deaths,’ Ron said darkly. He had gotten a bit bitter after the Final Battle and even more so after the death of his best friend. But he had a point in criticizing the Minister, who had been notably absent on the battle field that day, preferring to let others fight this battle for him.
Harry stayed silent, his mind miles away; it was on days like this he felt the loss of those he loved coming back in full strength. He had tried to forget the horrors he had seen, while trying to not forget the happy moments that were scattered along those same roads. Hermione’s death had been hard on him, but he had put his life back on trail, because he knew Hermione would have his head if he dwelled on her death till eternity. They had grieved and they had cried, but finally they had accepted her death and cherished her memory. He was whisked away from his thoughts by the booming voice of the announcer.
‘… and today is here to give a speech, the guest of honor: Harry Potter!’
He walked on the stage and looked down on over a thousand faces, most of whom he had never seen before. The Weasleys were waving at him madly and he waved back with a small smile. He waved his wand at his throat and casted a Sonorus charm.
‘Okay… H-hello everyone,’ he started nervously.
‘As you probably know by now, I’m Harry Potter -’
A few laughs and whistled from the crowd.
‘Yes, thank you. Well, seeing as you know my name, you’ll probably know too that I was credited for the defeat of Lord Voldemort,’
A shudder went through the crowd by the mention of the name. Most people were still afraid of his name and Harry knew he was fighting a losing battle to get the people to forget their fears. Expecting this reaction Harry continued gaining confidence with every word he spoke.
‘Don’t be afraid for the name; a wise man once said fear of the name only increases the fear for the thing itself and I strongly believe those words. Saying his name is the first step in accepting the fact that Voldemort (another shudder went through the crowd) was only human too, an evil one, yes, but a human nonetheless. We doesn’t deserve to be feared, not saying his name is like acknowledging his power and maybe he was powerful, but remember he was only a pitiful human.’
‘But as I was saying, most of you give me credit I don’t deserve. I finally think it’s time you get to know the truth and nothing but the truth, I wanted a chance to say this myself and not letting you read it in the newspapers that might twist my words. The one you should all be worshipping instead of me is Hermione Granger.’
The crowd started mumbling, eager to get an explanation for his statement.
‘Never in my life have I met someone as compassionate, as helping and as intelligent as she was. Three weeks after Lord Voldemort was defeated she died an untimely death, giving her life for the fate of both wizarding and Muggle world. It was she, who defeated Lord Voldemort in the end, for she was the one who found the spell that was the key to his defeat. The ancient spell sent Voldemort literally to another world, but it had a price and that price was her life. I was with her those last moments of her life and it was in those hours that my respect for her rose to levels you won’t ever be able to imagine.’
‘She told me she wasn’t sorry that she had given her life in the process, at first I didn’t understand and I couldn’t accept that she did what she did. But now, almost a year later, I get it, she rather wanted us to live in a life where we could be happy without her, then in a world where we would have to live in fear with her in it. Sometimes I find myself wishing quite the opposite, because I’d rather live in a life with her with Voldemort breathing in my neck, then in a life without both of them – that’s how much she meant to me and how much she means to me still. But for that same reason you should not see me as the hero – I couldn’t have done the thing she did – what she did was so completely selfless and we can never thank her enough for that.’
‘Why, you will ask, am I telling you this? Because it’s the truth and though you might not want to know the truth, it’s always better than to live in a lie. So, know that the truth is that those who died in the war died for what they believed in, a better world. Grieve, but don’t forget to live, because that would be a stain on their graves; they fought for the better world we’re in now, so it’s only fair that we keep living in this world because that’s what they would’ve wanted us to do.’
And with that he walked away from the stage, earning a thundering applause from the audience.
This was for you, Hermione. Thank you…