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Halloween Missing Moment story

Title: An Adequate Speech
Rating for the story: G
Word Count: 1360
Summary: Two speeches, many years apart, delivered with the same hope, the hope that some things would never be forgotten.
Notes from author or recommender: I was wondering why, considering that Halloween isn't really a big holiday in England, Hogwarts has a big feast. Now my husband is certain that it's because it's a witches' holiday, and he's probably right, but I chose to think of it a different way and that led me to write this story. I chose to think that there was a very different reason why Halloween was celebrated.



An Adequate Speech

Minerva glared at him over her goblet. "Albus, this is just completely inappropriate. I never thought I would have to-"

"The decision has been made, Minerva. Just because bad things happen does not mean we can afford to ignore the good. I just hope I can give an adequate speech to stress that point. If I should fail to do so, you may berate me then."

She pinched her lips together, forcing a neutral expression onto her face as the first of the students filed into the Great Hall, their eyes opening wide with pleasured surprise as they noted the fanciful decorations. Hagrid had gone all out with huge pumpkins carved into jack-o-lanterns, bats flying around, and candles floating riotously around the room. The elves had prepared a huge meal and she suspected that even though it was not yet on the tables and wouldn't be until Albus had finished his "adequate speech," the children knew that decorations this fancy would be accompanied by a feast. Hogwarts feasts never disappointed.

Many students looked somber, some looked puzzled, others just looked overjoyed to have a break in the routine. The noise level was muted and Minerva was grateful for that. Her own heart was heavy, aching. Had been for a week and she tried to force her thoughts away from replaying the events over and over again in her mind. She simply could not celebrate today. She simply could not. Albus stood as the last of the first-years slid into his seat at the Ravenclaw table and she took a deep breath, wondering too late whether she should have charmed her eyes to remain dry.

"Students. I hope I can speak a few words without interruption and that you will listen carefully. Not all that we learn at school comes from books. Some comes from the heart. Today, I open my heart to you and I hope that you will find valuable knowledge therein. Today, as I am sure you have been reminded by the decorations, is Halloween. I know that here in England Halloween is rarely noticed and even more rarely celebrated. However, starting this year, that will change. One year ago tonight, a wizard calling himself Lord Voldemort" he waited patiently for the inevitable murmur to die down and then continued as though he had not been interrupted "disappeared. He was killed by the rebound of the Avada Kedavra curse onto himself when he attempted to kill a small boy, Harry Potter.

"Harry Potter survived the curse with only a scar. Unfortunately, Voldemort" there was a shorter interruption this time, "killed both of Harry's parents, James and Lily Potter. It is of them I wish to speak tonight. Some of you remember James and Lily. They were Head Boy and Girl four years ago and I know that many of you wept bitter tears when you heard of their deaths. They were truly extraordinary people and they willingly, no matter what else you may have heard, willingly gave their lives to fight for what is right and true and good. They did not do it lightly. They died that their child and other people's children, your children, can live in peace. They died not knowing if their sacrifice would be successful.

"Sometimes that happens. We die with our work unfinished, and we can only dream that our death brings about a good end. Tonight's feast is a celebration, students, of their sacrifice and the good end they were never able to see. Each year from now into perpetuity, we will celebrate this holiday. I imagine as the years pass the original meaning for this Halloween feast will pass from the students' memories. But I, for one, will not forget. Nor, I hope, will each of you here tonight." Albus reached for his goblet. "To James and Lily Potter, and the others who died to fight evil in this war. And to Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived." He raised his cup, and the students echoed his movements. He drank deeply and then sank into his chair, looking at her with a questioning expression.

Minerva simply nodded in approval and secretly wiped away a tear.

_________________________________

Minerva took another deep breath, remembering how angry she had been at the Headmaster sixteen years ago. And now it was her turn. The doors to the Great Hall opened and the students filed in, their eyes wide with surprise. There were a lot more knowing expressions this time, a lot more pale faces, and some students that burst into tears. Because unlike when the Potters were killed, this time her students had been the ones fighting. This time, there were students that should have been at this feast that weren't, and there were very few wizarding families that had remained unscathed. The noise level was muted and Minerva was grateful for that. Her own heart was heavy, aching. Had been for a week and she tried to force her thoughts away from replaying the events over and over again in her mind. She simply could not celebrate today. She simply could not. But, like so long ago, she must. The decorations were more subtle for this anniversary, because May meant flowers as opposed to pumpkins. But there were beautiful banners with bright colors and the windows to the Great Hall were thrown open to let in the dusky evening light.

Again, Minerva waited for the last youngster to sit down and then she stood, nodding as she looked over the student body. They had survived. They had made it through the fire and come out on the other side and she recalled Albus' words about how they needed to celebrate that fact despite the sadness. He had been right, of course. She should have known.

"Students. I hope I can speak a few words without interruption and that you will listen carefully. Not all that we learn at school comes from books. Sometimes those of us with a bit more experience in life can also impart some wisdom. Today is second of May. It is a day that will long be remembered in the wizarding world, hopefully for centuries to come, and we will have a feast each year to be sure that the lessons we learned in this last war are never forgotten. One year ago today, as the morning sun broke over these grounds, a wizard named Tom Riddle, calling himself Lord Voldemort" she waited patiently for the inevitable murmur to die down and then continued as though she had not been interrupted "was killed. He was killed by the rebound of the Avada Kedavra curse onto himself when he attempted to kill a Hogwarts student, Harry Potter.

"Harry Potter had offered himself up as a sacrifice that night, but survived to return to the school and kill Voldemort" there was a shorter interruption this time, "for the final time. He did not act alone. Nor was his the only sacrifice demanded in battle. The names of those killed live in our heart still. Fred Weasley, Colin Creevy, Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks Lupin, and Severus Snape all lost their lives that night, but there were many others in our world, including Albus Dumbledore, who gave their lives to fight for what is right and true and good. They did not do it lightly. They died that their children and other people's children, your children, can live in peace. They died not knowing if their sacrifice would be successful.

"Sometimes that happens. We die with our work unfinished, and we can only dream that our death brings about a good end. Tonight's feast is a celebration, students, of their sacrifice and the good end they were never able to see. Each year from now into perpetuity, we will celebrate this holiday. I imagine as the years pass the original meaning for this spring feast will pass from the students' memories. But I, for one, will not forget. Nor, I hope, will each of you here tonight." Minerva reached for her goblet. "To Albus Dumbledore and the many others who died to fight evil in this war. And to Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived."

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
sagedarkwoods
Nov. 12th, 2008 01:09 am (UTC)
This was beautiful, and made me cry.
snuggle_muggle
Nov. 12th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC)
Well, not to be mean, but I'm sort of glad you were crying because every time I've read it, I've broken down. I really got weepy when I wrote it and it still makes me cry. So, I'm happy to hear that it affected you the same way. Thanks for reviewing, also.
hmrpotter
Nov. 12th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
Beautiful.
snuggle_muggle
Nov. 13th, 2008 10:00 am (UTC)
Thank you. I'm pleased you enjoyed it.
malinbe
Jan. 28th, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
Oh, it was absolutely beautiful, and so perfect. Of course that's the reason... it made me cry (not that that is terribly difficult). It was great, thank you.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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