Authors note: Huge thanks to Thren for her most awesome beta.
For Julie, 1962 - 2005, RIP
They shall not grow old as we who are left grow old;
Age will not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Hermione knew all about Remembrance Day. It was the day that signified the end of the most horrific war that Muggles had known to that point in time. At eleven o'clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns fell silent on the Western Front. And every year, at that exact time, the country stopped for two minutes to remember those that had fallen.
When she first came into contact with the Wizarding world she had been surprised to find out that they had no equivalent. No day set aside to remember the dead of the First Wizarding War. She had asked Professor Dumbledore about it once.
"It is because we do not wish to remember the horrors of the past. We want to look forward."
Hermione had found that strange. "But one reason that we - Muggles - set aside a day to remember their war dead is to look back and hope that nothing like this happens again."
"I agree, however the Ministry feels that it would be improper to have such a ceremony."
"They deserve to be remembered, and I'm going to make sure they are."
Dumbledore, she remembered, had smiled sadly. "I know you will, Miss Granger. I look forward to watching your efforts."
Dumbledore hadn't lived long enough to see the Memorial Wall erected in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic. He had died at the end of Hermione's sixth year. She knew exactly where his name was to be found on the black marble wall.
There were over five hundred names there, and she knew how all of them died. She had a nightmare for just about every one of them.
Cedric Diggory. She remembered Hogwarts' first victim of the war. A handsome, popular boy who had the misfortune of merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Sirius Black. More a victim of the first war than the second. His death had taught her a very painful lesson about how random and unfair wars were.
And the names were so familiar as she kept reading down the wall.
Oliver Wood. Killed by an unknown Death Eater as he made his way to a Quidditch game. It was to have been his first game in the Puddlemere United A team. Instead, they cancelled the game.
That would have outraged the Oliver Wood she knew. Hermione could just picture him saying "You can't cancel Quidditch!"
Rubeus Hagrid. He died exactly the way he would have wanted to, protecting…
Albus Dumbledore. His death bought Hogwarts a much-needed year to prepare for the final battle.
Percy Weasley. That one had hurt. Percy was killed trying to protect Cornelius Fudge from harm. The Weasleys were still trying to come to terms with the loss of their black sheep.
Cornelius Fudge. Percy had tried to save him, but Fudge hadn't believed Lucius Malfoy would harm him. It was the last mistake he ever made.
Dolores Umbridge. She died in the attack on the Ministry that killed Percy Weasley and Cornelius Fudge. Hermione supposed someone somewhere must mourn her.
Hermione wrapped her arms around herself as she read the names on the last column. They had all died in the Battle for Hogwarts that ended the war.
Ernie Macmillan. Ernie had stepped in front of Harry and had been hit with a Killing Curse from Draco Malfoy.
Peter Pettigrew. Perhaps the most surprising name of them all. A Death Eater had killed Pettigrew while he was trying to protect Harry. It seemed life debts in the Wizarding world were very much binding.
Severus Snape. He had always been an enigma. She had never been quite sure whose side he was on till he faced Malfoy in the last battle.Bill Weasley.
Fleur Delacour. The names were starting to blur together.
She impatiently rubbed the tears from her eyes. This time she was going to read right to the end.
Parvati Patil. Hermione suddenly wondered how Padma was. Losing her sister must have been devastating for the more introverted twin.
Dean Thomas. It was somehow quite fitting that the two sets of best friends had died side by side.
Anthony Goldstein. He had fallen right in front of Hermione. And then, the last name; the last of their dead.
Harry Potter. For most of that last year he knew what his fate would be. He had told Hermione and Ron the night before the battle. They didn't sleep that time; Harry hadn't wanted to, and, rather uncharacteristically, he'd wanted to talk.
"It will be over tomorrow." Hermione watched the slim young man looking out over the battleground. He had turned back to her with a strange expression on his face and then she knew exactly what it was he had to do.
"Harry, no. You can't. We'll win."
"Yeah, we will win, but I won't see it."
"You can't, Harry. I'll … I'll tell Professor McGonagall. Professor Lupin. They'll stop you."
Harry shook his head. "They can't stop me. This is the only way." He had looked at Ron, then at Hermione. "You know that."
They had known, but now all Hermione knew for sure was that she missed her best friend.
"I'm not - I'm not sure what to say here," Harry said. He looked down at her hand, held tightly in Ron's. "You're going to be really happy together, you know. And if you name a sprog after me, I swear I'll come back and haunt you."
Hermione smiled at the memory. She kissed her fingers, then touched Harry's name. He had been right, of course. Voldemort had been reborn in part by Harry's blood. In order for him to finally be destroyed, Harry had to die.
Someone coughed behind her, and she turned to see Ron standing near the fountain. She smiled at him, and he came to join her.
"This time last year …" Ron began.
"I know," Hermione said. This day last year was the last day the three of them spent together.
They stood in silence staring at the wall. "I can't believe it's been a year."
"Sometimes it feels like I haven't seen him in forever, and sometimes it seems like it was only yesterday," Hermione admitted. "I keep expecting him to come through the door."
"Yeah." Ron ran his fingers over Bill's name, then Harry's. "This was a good idea of yours - to have somewhere to remember them by."
"Every Muggle village has a war memorial. It's always seemed odd that Wizards don't have one, and since we don't have a village anymore…"
"It's the perfect place for it." Ron looked at the inscription on the bottom of the wall and smiled. "That's perfect."
It read, very simply: For our tomorrow, they gave their today.
Hermione nodded. "It's perfect." She stepped back from the wall and drew the curtains that surrounded it. The Minister of Magic would unveil the wall tomorrow as part of the ceremony marking the official end of the mourning period.
She just knew that Harry would be rolling his eyes at the ceremony. He had never really enjoyed being the centre of attention.
"Is Remus coming tomorrow?" Ron asked suddenly. The older man had become extremely reclusive since the battle.
"He's coming even if I have to drag him there," Hermione told him grimly. She looked at the curtains around the memorial. "Let's go home."
Just before dawn, Hermione slipped through the cemetery gates. She quickly made her way to a secluded corner, and knelt down in front of a headstone.
"Good morning, Harry." She kissed her fingers, then ran them over his headstone and began arranging the many flowers that had been left. "It's a year today, you know. Doesn't seem possible."
They buried Harry beside his parents, so they could at least be together in death as they'd never been able to in life. Hermione felt that was fitting.
She watched the sun emerge from behind the hills to the east and remembered.
The three of them stood in silence at the top of Gryffindor Tower and watched the sun rise. "I've never paid that much attention to sunrises and sunsets before," Harry said suddenly. "But today …" He shrugged uneasily.
"Don't do this, Harry." Tears were rolling down Ron's face. "Just - no. There's got to be another way."
Harry smiled, that strange smile again. "There's no other way. I wish there was." He turned from them. "I want to live. I want to grow old and die in my bed."
"You can still do that," Hermione said.
"There's no other way," he repeated. "And part of me doesn't want there to be." Harry turned back to them. "I miss Sirius," he said simply. "I want to see him again - and my parents."
Hermione scrubbed at her eyes. He had been right, of course. When it came to fighting the Dark Arts he usually was. There was no other way that Voldemort could have been defeated, but it didn't make it any easier to accept.
In a way she was thankful that she hadn't seen the final confrontation. By that stage she'd been unconscious after ducking into a curse Draco Malfoy had flung at her. That was something that Ron wasn't going to let her forget in a hurry - being bested by Malfoy. Part of her wanted to have been there for Harry at the end; to make sure he knew how much their friendship had meant to her. But another part of her was grateful that she hadn't seen what happened to Harry and Voldemort.
Ron stood beside Harry during the last confrontation with Voldemort. She had lost count of the number of times she'd woken him from nightmares about the battle.
Then again, he'd done exactly the same for her far too many times to count.
Their scars were less visible than those carried by many of their friends, but nonetheless they were there.
Of the eight Gryffindors who entered Hogwarts together eight years ago, there were three survivors. Well, theirs was the house of the brave - or the lunatic, depending on your point of view.
She heard a noise behind her and turned to see Remus Lupin standing there. "Good morning."
He smiled back. "Good morning, Hermione. I wasn't expecting anyone else to be here this early."/p>
"I thought the same thing," she admitted. "It'll probably get busy here later on."
"Yes, it will. On the first anniversary of James and Lily's death, this was extremely busy." He slowly eased himself down beside her, and gently ran his fingers over firstly James, then Lily's then Harry's name on the headstone.
Hermione noted that he was moving even more stiffly than he had a few weeks ago. "Are you all right?"
"My body doesn't recover as quickly as it once did." Remus waved away her concerns. "How are you, Hermione? Really?"
"I'm … getting there. Ron and I couldn't have made it through this year without each other." She frowned, remembering a young man that had been left completely alone after one Halloween. "How did you manage the first time?"
"I'm not sure I did. Not for the first few years, anyway." He met her eyes. "I travelled a lot. Here - in Britain - everyone knew who I was and what happened. Abroad, they didn't know who I was at first. When they found out, I moved on."
"Did it work?"
"No. Not at all. Dumbledore caught up with me when I was in Siberia and forced me to talk about James and Lily - and Sirius and Peter too, of course." He looked keenly at her. "Figuratively speaking, you've been running away as well, haven't you?"
"Of course I haven't. I've stayed here, began working for the Ministry…"
"Spent most of your time working on the Memorial," Remus interrupted. "Do you think that it's time to let them rest in peace, Hermione?"
"I lost just about every friend I have, and I want to make sure that they're remembered - as they should be." She ran her fingers over Harry's name. "I can't forget him."
"You won't forget him, but you and Ron can't spend your lives living in the past. Make a good life for yourselves, but move on. Get married and have a houseful of kids and name them all after Harry if that's what you want to do."
She smiled. "That last morning - Harry told us that if we named a kid after him, he'd make sure he came back to haunt us."
Remus laughed. "I can just imagine it."
The Atrium was crammed from wall to wall with witches and wizards. Hermione stood on tiptoes to try and see if she could spot Ron, but was unable to see over the crowd. She was actually quite surprised by the number of people that had turned up. Privately she had been afraid that nobody would turn up, and wondered what the Ministry would do if that happened.
"Curse you, Ron, why can't you be on time for once in your life," she muttered. Several people standing around her backed away slightly. Finally she spotted Ron at the front by the wall and began making her way through the crowd towards him.
"There you are, Hermione," Ron said when she got to him. "I was beginning to wonder whether you'd got lost."
I'm not going to pick a fight with him now of all times. Hermione silently counted to ten, then smiled. "Not lost," she said sweetly. "Just - I wasn't expecting so many people."
"Neither was I," Ron admitted. "I was expecting it to only be people like us - you know, who fought and lived - and perhaps the families."
They fell silent as the Minister began speaking. Amelia Bones spoke briefly but eloquently about the war, and those that had given their lives. As she read each name, the curtains had moved down, revealing that person's name on the wall. And then she got to the name that Hermione didn't want to hear.
She couldn't help but notice how Madam Bones' normal iron control slipped and her voice shook when she mentioned Harry's name. Ron noticed the same thing. He gripped her hand tightly, even harder than he had when Madam Bones read out Percy and Bill's names.
But Harry often had that effect on people.
Had he survived he would have hated the ceremony. He hated being the centre of attention and really only wanted to be just Harry, not The Boy Who Lived.
Ultimately, The Boy Who Lived was never able to have a happy life.
Hermione hoped that he was with Sirius and his parents and was now at peace, wherever he was.
"Let's go home."
She realised with a start that the ceremony was over. "Yes," she smiled up at Ron. "Let's go home."
As they got to the end of the Atrium she turned back and faced the wall.