The Sugar Quill
Author: Dark Princess  Story: Thousands Say Farewell  Chapter: Thousands Say Farewell
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: Anything you recognize does not belong to me, however much I wish that it did

Disclaimer: Anything you recognize does not belong to me, however much I wish that it did. Instead, it all belongs to J. K. Rowling. However, anything you do not recognize does belong to me.

Summary: “In the past few years, ever since the strength of darkness grew to a power few have ever seen, families have mourned lost loved ones in great quantities. Yesterday was no exception as thousands gathered to pay their own respects to a departed soul.” A young girl discovers an old mahogany chest filled with an assortment of objects, one of which is an old copy of the Daily Prophet. Intrigued, she begins to read the article, and discovers that the content hits closer to her heart than she originally thought it would. Written for the One-Shot Daily Prophet Challenge on Mugglenet.

Author’s Note: A big “Thanks” goes out to PirateQueen for being my beta on this. This idea was one of those that just popped into my mind one night and everything just snowballed completely out of control. So, I present for your enjoyment, Thousands Say Farewell, a one-shot about a little girl and her discovery of a past loved one’s loss.

~**~

Thousands Say Farewell

By Dark Princess

~**~

The room was almost completely shrouded in darkness. Only the single beam of moonlight shining through the glass window and a couple of candles pierced the heavy shadows. Though there was only a little bit of light, it was enough to illuminate the single, kneeling figure in the centre of the room.

Draped in a long, black, silk robe, the figure knelt in front of a large, mahogany chest, her freckled face sparkling with gleaming tears that were streaming like rivers from her eyes as her fingers caressed the parchment in her pale hands. Opening the cover of the chest, the young woman placed the parchment inside, putting it atop an assortment of other objects: several leather-bound books, a beautiful gold watch, a few stacks of papers, a couple of photo albums, and several framed photographs. Sighing heavily, the young woman shut the chest with a thud.

She rose from her position on the wooden floor and, wiping the trails of tears that were falling down her cheeks, made her way away from the chest and towards the exit. Her hand on the doorknob, she turned back to face the chest one more time, whispering quietly into the emptiness.

“Someday,” she said, her voice filled with pain and sorrow, “I’ll be able to look at it all again someday, but not yet.”

And with that, she shut the door behind her as a young baby cried out for her mother from down the hall.

*About ten years later . . .*

Bright, morning sunlight streamed through the large, glass window into the fully furnished bedroom, showing a couple of chairs, a full-length mirror, a chest of drawers, pictures lining the sky-blue painted walls, and a beautiful, fluffy bed. The beam of sun shone like a spotlight on a young, eleven-year-old girl still laying in the bed, sound asleep. A knock came from the bedroom door, causing the sleeping child to stir in her slumber.

“Elizabeth, honey,” said the woman who walked into the room. “It’s time to get up,” she whispered as her eyes caught sight of the bed, where her child still lay. “We’ve got to get your school supplies in Diagon Alley today.” The woman had made her way from the bedroom’s entrance to sit beside her slumbering daughter on the bed.

The young girl slowly opened her eyes, exposing their bright green colour. As she saw her mother sitting next to her, however, she turned her head in the other direction. She grumbled, though, when the sunlight shone directly on her freckled face, thereby refusing to let her get any more sleep.

“Jus’ wanna sleep, Mum,” she mumbled as she turned back to face her mother, her eyes now squeezed tightly shut.

Her mother smiled once more at her daughter as, rising from the bed, she strolled back towards the doorway. “We need to leave in two hours for Diagon Alley, Elizabeth,” she said, facing her daughter as she paused at the bedroom’s door. When her daughter did not respond with any words that could be considered part of the English language, she left the room, a smile still on her own freckled face.                    

Once her mother had left, however, Elizabeth soon realised that she could not fall back to sleep; she was already awake. Sighing, she pulled herself from the white, fluffy covers of her bed and stumbled across her room to where her clothes were. After getting dressed, Elizabeth brushed out her long, red hair until it was nice and smooth and secured it back into a loose ponytail. 

Leaving her room, Elizabeth started to head towards the kitchen, where she heard her mother making breakfast, when an open door caught her eye. It was the single, white wooden door at the very end of the corridor, and for as long as Elizabeth could remember, it had always been shut and locked. She had asked her mother about it once, but her mother had just grown very silent before telling her that there was only a bit of junk behind the door. 

But today, the door was open, and Elizabeth allowed her curiosity to get the better of her as she pushed it completely open and walked into the room beyond. The sight that greeted the young girl was definitely not what she had expected.

Elizabeth had assumed the room would be dark and depressing, maybe even a little frightening, and she had expected to see a lot of old boxes and pieces of worthless furniture all covered in dust and scattered throughout the area, but what she saw was just the opposite. The room had an almost welcoming and comforting feeling to it, and it was almost empty, with only a couple of wooden chests and a single rocking chair located in the centre of the room.

Intrigued, the young girl walked over towards the chests and knelt down in front of the first one. It was coloured the deep shade of mahogany that her mother had always favoured, (she loved it so much that several pieces of furniture in the house was shaded similarly), and the chest did not look very old, like Elizabeth had thought it would, but nor was it in brand new condition. Reaching her hands up, she ran her fingers along the chest’s cover and, seeing that it was not locked, opened it.

Inside the large chest was an assortment of many different objects. At the bottom of the chest, Elizabeth saw several leather-bound books (some small and some extremely large); a beautiful gold watch that, remarkably, still showed the correct time even though it looked as if it had been in the chest for years; a few stacks of papers, ranging from what looked like school lessons to numerous doodles; a couple of photo albums; and several magical photographs still in their frames. On top of all of these other objects, however, was the one that caught Elizabeth’s eye.

It was an old issue of the Daily Prophet. Already slightly coloured from age, the paper had some bends and tears around the corners. Because it seemed so fragile, Elizabeth picked it up with near reverence and glanced at the date. The paper was around ten years old and, intrigued, Elizabeth began to examine the front page. Her eyes fell on a somewhat lengthy article in the very centre, and she began to read.

 

Thousands Say Farewell as Hero Embarks on His Next Great Adventure

The Wizarding World has discovered many heroes throughout the past several years. Whenever darkness was present, there were those who were prepared from the very beginning to fight it, those who were ready to stand against the evil and even to give their lives if the need arose for such a sacrifice. These heroes, the ones who fought and the ones who died for the goodness in the Wizarding World, will always be remembered by the loved ones that they left behind.

In the past few years, ever since the strength of darkness grew to a power few have ever seen, families have mourned lost loved ones in great quantities. Yesterday was no exception as thousands gathered to pay their own respects to a departed soul. But this time, it was not just any death that had created holes in people’s hearts. This time, the death of a hero was felt throughout the world. A young man who had fought the darkness numerous times for the world that he came from, but above all, for the ones that he loved, was laid to rest in front of thousands at Godric’s Hollow, where he joined the graves of his parents at the very location that his entire journey had begun so many years ago.

The entire Wizarding World knows the story of Harry James Potter: the Boy Who Lived and the defeater and vanquisher of the Dark Lord Voldemort. It is a story that is told to children as a true example of light overpowering darkness, of good conquering evil. The thousands of people — witches, wizards, and Muggles alike — who attended the funeral can all testify to the fact that they know Harry Potter.

But do they really know him, or is it that they have just heard his remarkable story so many times, and they only know about him? Of the thousands of people who attended the funeral yesterday, how many had gone strictly because it was the Boy Who Lived, and how many had gone because it was Harry, a true friend and loved one? The exact numbers are almost impossible to obtain, but it was clear at the funeral just who were those closest to the young wizard.

Sitting in the front two rows of chairs, those closest to the body, flowers, and pictures of a smiling Harry, were the Weasleys. Their love and care for Mr. Potter was shown throughout his entire years at Hogwarts, and it all began after he befriended an eleven-year-old Ronald Weasley on the Hogwarts Express. An orphan without a family of his own, Harry Potter quickly found parents and siblings in the Weasley family. He also found love of the romantic nature with the family’s youngest child — Ginny.

Sitting between her mother and father and clutching a four-month-old baby girl is the young woman, who became known to the world as Ginny Potter only a little more than a year ago. She does not shed any tears as the speaker talks about her husband, about his courage, bravery, and overall goodness, though exactly how much sorrow she has unleashed in the privacy of her own home, or the amount of pain that she feels in her heart, is unknown and will probably forever remain as such. Her strength and resolve, which was seen repeatedly throughout the entire war, showed itself once again as she kept her eyes dry throughout the entire service.

The same cannot be said, however, for another important young woman in Harry’s life. Hermione Weasley, formerly Hermione Granger, did not attempt to keep her sorrow hidden while at the funeral. Her husband’s arm wrapped around her shaking shoulders, the young witch cried for her departed friend, a friend that had, over the years, grown as close as a brother to her, and she his sister. Ronald Weasley, her husband for little over a year, also shed his own tears at the death of a beloved friend that had been another brother to him for so many years.

Many others were there who were close to the young wizard: old school professors, school friends, etc. But there were also the thousands who had gathered to show their respects to the Boy Who Lived, among which was the former Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge and the current Minister, Rufus Scrimgeour. Most of the Auror Department, possibly even the entire Ministry, was present at the funeral as well. These are the ones who it can be said knew about Harry Potter, but for the most part at least, did not truly know the person.

Bright sunlight shone down on the mourners during the funeral, which surely helped to draw even a greater crowd to pay respects, rather than had the weather been dismal. The sunlight also surely held great symbolism for many who, indeed, felt the pain of the great loss of their friend, brother, lover. But even though many now felt gaps in their lives where a loved one had departed, it also must be remembered that, while he is no longer on this earth, the world that he helped create, that he helped to save, is now standing strong and will remain. While physically, Harry Potter can no longer walk on the grounds of Hogwarts nor the streets of the city, his beliefs, the beliefs that he fought to protect, will always be here, and the final farewell to this beloved hero reflected those emotions.

The service in and of itself was actually quite simple. Only a couple of people present rose to speak and give their own views of Harry Potter, among which was Remus Lupin, a former professor to Harry and friend to his parents; Neville Longbottom and Dean Thomas, friends and House mates from Hogwarts; and many members of the Weasley family. It is almost certain that, had the funeral service been allowed to go on for days, hundreds more would have spoken, for Harry Potter was a boy and a man who had touched many lives in one way or another — either as the Boy Who Lived and hero of the Wizarding World, or strictly as Harry Potter.

There was one man, however, who could not be present at the funeral of Harry Potter. Albus Dumbledore, the beloved late headmaster, spent many years being a true mentor to Harry as the young wizard struggled along the trying and turbulent path that fate had dealt to him. Had Albus Dumbledore been alive, he surely would have said many things about death not being the end, for he believed that thought himself. He was certain that death was in no way the ultimate end, and that there was always more beyond that step, that transition from the living and physical world to the world beyond. He surely would have said that death is only the next greatest adventure, and for a man like Harry Potter, — a hero who, though his life was short, was a true example of Gryffindor House in every way — another adventure seems like a wonderful ending.

 

Elizabeth immediately felt the old copy of the Daily Prophet slip from her hands as she finished reading the lengthy article. Feeling her eyes well up with tears, she sat back and leaned against the single rocking chair as she tried to wrap her mind around what she had just read. For years she had wondered what was in this room, why her mother had grown silent whenever she asked, but she had never even guessed that it contained these chests and these particular Daily Prophet articles. Finally bringing herself to stand, Elizabeth grasped the cutting in her hands and left the room, though she did not shut the door behind her.

As she came down the stairs and entered the kitchen, she saw her mother sitting at the kitchen table and reading this morning’s issue of the Wizarding newspaper. Her mother looked up from reading the moment she heard her daughter enter the room.

“Breakfast is almost ready, Elizabeth,” she said, but then paused as her eyes locked on her daughter and she noticed the streaming tears and pale complexion on the girl. “What’s wrong, sweetie?” she asked.

Elizabeth could not bring herself to speak at first, so she just silently walked forward until she was standing directly in front of her mother. Without saying anything, she laid the old copy of the Daily Prophet directly on top of the new issue and locked her green eyes on her mother.

“Mum,” she finally whispered as she watched her mother visibly pale at the sight of the paper, the loss of colour in her face making the vibrant red colour of her long red hair stand out even more than usual. “Tell me about Dad.”  

~**~

Author’s Note: Okay, this is the result of an idea that came at the very last minute for this challenge, and once it came, it just would not leave me alone until it was written out. I don’t procrastinate (really, I don’t), but the Idea Well seems to like staying completely dry until the last 72 hours before a challenge deadline. Remarkably, though, this entry won third place in the challenge, and I was so proud of that accomplishment, especially considering how little time I had to complete it!

Anyway, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it. This being a story type that’s slightly unfamiliar to me, I would really like to know what you think. Is it good? Bad? Give me your opinion, and happy reading (whatever that reading may be)!

//
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