Chapter 58: A teacher's funeral
Disclaimer: Rose, Andrew and Daisy Potter, Daniel Granger, Maggie Longbottom and Ti Malfoy/Black are my own creations. Everything else is part of the wonderful work of JKR and is not being used for any personal profit.
Madam Pomfrey lived up to her promise and discharged Harry from the hospital wing in time for dinner. Ginny waited for him in the corridor while the school nurse gave him a final check. Harry, however, didn't feel like eating in the Great Hall with the rest of the school.
He knew the other students would be curious about where he had been. He just didn't want to face them then. He still felt some guilt and horror from the previous night's events.
Ginny, knowing how he felt, suggested spending some time together in the Room of Requirement instead then going down to the kitchens once dinner was over to ask the house elves for some food. Harry wholeheartedly agreed with that idea and the young couple hurried to the seventh floor.
They walked up and down in front of the blank wall three times while thinking of an appropriate place to relax. When they stepped inside, they found an exact copy of the Gryffindor common room awaiting them. They locked the door and sat in the familiar couch in front of the fireplace which had a roaring fire already in place. They settled into a tight embrace, with Ginny sending comforting thoughts to Harry.
After a few minutes, Harry asked Ginny mentally, "Gin, how did I get to Hogwarts last night?"
"Um, Dumbledore made a portkey. He gave it to me while I had my arms wrapped around you and it took us back to the Quidditch Pitch. Why?"
"I don't remember much after seeing Moody fall," he replied, "It's all vague and foggy."
"Madam Pomfrey said you were in shock, Harry," Ginny said, "It's understandable after seeing Moody d-d-die like that."
"Some hero I turned out to be," Harry said, "Voldemort murders someone in front of me and I space out."
Ginny pulled out of his embrace and hit him hard on the arm. "Don't you dare pity yourself, Potter," Ginny shouted as she glared at him. Harry rubbed his arm as he stared at her, stunned.
Ginny's face then softened and she gently cupped his cheek with the palm of one hand, "Madam Pomfrey said that shock is a natural reaction to something that horrible. It just shows how good your heart is, not like Tom."
She encircled his arms around him again and laid her head on his shoulder. "You care so much, Harry. Otherwise, Moody's death wouldn't have bothered you. Don't dwell on it anymore. Remember, you managed to hold Voldemort off until we came. Moody would have been proud of you. Let his sacrifice be another reason to beat that monster."
"So, how did I get to the hospital wing," he asked.
"Remus conjured a stretcher and placed you on it," Ginny replied. "He, Dad and Bill came back right after we did. You were so limp with a glazed look on your face when we got back. We took you to the hospital wing where Madam Pomfrey managed to make you drink a Dreamless Sleep Potion. You dropped off to sleep almost immediately. Madam Pomfrey wanted us to go to bed but Mum, Lily, Rose and I refused to leave you. We stayed there the entire night."
"But what about this morning?" Harry asked. "I was alone when I woke up."
Ginny scowled, "Madam Pomfrey said that she didn't expect you to wake up until noon and insisted we all freshen up and get some food. I was finishing up my breakfast in the Great Hall when I felt you wake up and get all morose and depressed. So, I rushed back there."
"I'm glad you did, Gin," Harry said, "I'm not sure where my thoughts would have taken me if you hadn't come and convince me that Voldemort was the one at fault for Moody's death."
After a few moments of silence, Ginny said, "Don't think about it anymore, Harry. Let's not let this couch go to waste." She placed a hand behind his neck and drew his lips down to hers. Harry gladly let his thoughts wander off as they kissed.
It was much later when they finally emerged from the Room of Requirement to head for the kitchens and Harry was in a much better mood. They were greeted enthusiastically by Dobby and the other house elves who led them to the same table they had eaten in with their friends after the Second task. In a few minutes, the table was groaning from the massive amount of food the house elves placed on it.
As they were trying to place a dent in the food, Harry and Ginny heard a voice behind them chuckle and exclaim, "I'm glad you haven't allowed last night's events to affect your appetite, Harry."
They turned around to see Dumbledore standing there with the familiar twinkle in his eye.
"Err, hello, Professor," Harry said, "I didn't feel like eating in the Great Hall."
"I quite understand, Harry," Dumbledore said. "Practically the entire school saw you taken away and some of your classmates can be quite inquisitive. I know that it would be difficult to talk about last night's events."
"Well, they better not bother Harry or I'll hex them," Ginny said, a scowl on her face.
"Now, now, Miss Weasley," Dumbledore said, a smile on his face. "I doubt that will be necessary since I announced at dinner tonight that anyone badgering Harry about the events surrounding the end of the tournament will be seeing Mr. Filch for detention."
"Thanks, Professor," Harry said, grinning. "I doubt anyone would look forward to that."
"You're welcome, Harry," Dumbledore said. "Also, all the rest of the school knows is that Alastor was killed by Voldemort. No one among the students knows the exact circumstances of his death, aside from yourself and Miss Weasley. Now, I will leave you two to finish your meal." The elderly wizard turned to go.
"Um, Professor," Harry said, "Before you go, there is something I need to know."
Dumbledore turned back around, "Yes, Harry?"
"Harry, are you sure you want to do this?" Ginny's voice sounded in his mind.
"I need to know, Gin," he answered her.
"What happened in the graveyard after…after Moody was killed and Ginny and I portkeyed back to Hogwarts?" Harry asked Dumbledore nervously. "I was...in kind of a daze at that point."
"Ah! Yes," Dumbledore said. He sat down in an empty chair. "Well, Harry," he began, "I'm not sure if you are aware that several Aurors had Apparated into the graveyard by then. Seeing them outnumber his remaining Death Eaters, Tom decided to leave. Once you and Miss Weasley were on your way back here, Arthur, Remus and Bill went back to Hogwarts to make sure you were taken care of. Your dad and Sirius stayed with me and the Aurors to search the area and make sure nothing was left."
"Did you get any of them?" Harry asked. "What about Barty Crouch, Jr.?"
"Unfortunately, when Voldemort left, most of the stunned Death Eaters also disappeared," Dumbledore said, "They may have some form of emergency portkey on them, linked with the others when they Disapparated. However, it appears that Barty Jr. did not have one on him, so we managed to capture him. I must say that whatever hex Miss Weasley used on him was quite effective."
Harry grinned while Ginny blushed from Dumbledore's praise.
"That would be her famous Bat Bogey hex, Professor," Harry said, taking one of Ginny's hands and squeezing it affectionately. "It keeps her brothers in line with just the thought of facing it."
"Yes," Dumbledore said, a smile forming on his face, "I can imagine."
"So did you find out anything from Barty, Jr., Professor?" Harry asked. "He was the one who got my name in the Goblet of Fire using some Dark spell. I'll bet he tried to rig the tasks to try and get me killed."
"Your father and the other Aurors took him into custody and back to the Ministry," Dumbledore said, "I believe he is in a holding cell there since Azkaban is not a reliable place for prisoners anymore. We'll have to wait for him for that."
Harry nodded and looked thoughtful for a moment. "Professor, one more thing, just before you came up to me and Voldemort, something strange happened. Voldemort and I were dueling when I think we cast a spell at the same time. The spells hit each other and then our wands started vibrating. They seemed to be connected by a golden beam. Then you came and said something to Voldemort and he broke the connection. Why did that happen?"
"Priori Incantatum," Dumbledore said softly.
"What's that, Professor?" Ginny asked.
"It's the reverse spell effect, Ginny," Dumbledore said, "You see, Harry's wand and Voldemort's wand share cores. They each contain a tail feather from the same phoenix. In fact, you are well acquainted with that phoenix, since it was instrumental in your victory over the Basilisk two years ago."
Harry's eyes widened, "Fawkes? My wand's feather came from Fawkes?"
"Yes, Harry," Dumbledore said, "I was contacted by Mr. Ollivander immediately after you got your wand four years ago. Your wand and Voldemort's wand are brothers. Brother wands cannot work properly against each other. If, however, the owners force them to do battle, something rare happens. The connection you saw last night was the initial effect. Voldemort broke the connection before it could go further."
"What would have happened if the connection hadn't been broken, Professor?" Harry asked, softly.
"One of the wands would have forced the first to regurgitate the spells it has performed, in reverse. The most recent one would manifest first….followed by the next recent and so on."
"The spells would be reversed?" Ginny asked.
"No, Miss Weasley," Dumbledore said, "What you would see would be merely an echo of the spell. It is said that if the wand was used to perform the Killing Curse, some form of the murdered person would appear."
Harry and Ginny involuntarily shuddered, both wondering how that would look.
"Well, I think that's all that can be said tonight," Dumbledore said, getting to his feet. "I'll leave you two to finish your meal. I suggest you return straight to your common room and get some more rest. Good night and Harry, I agree with Miss Weasley. Alastor would have been proud of you last night."
The two teens gaped at him. Harry turned to Ginny, "How did he know about that?" "He can't possibly hear what we say to each other in our minds, can he?"
Ginny shrugged, "He's Dumbledore. Who knows how he does things?"
They returned to their meal but found that their discussion with the Headmaster had dampened their appetites. They shared a final treacle tart and thanked Dobby and the other house elves for the meal before leaving the kitchens.
They took their time walking in the corridors back to Gryffindor Tower, unmindful of being caught. When they finally reached the Fat Lady's Portrait, Harry stopped.
"Harry?" Ginny asked, "What is it?"
"I'm not sure I can face them, Ginny," he replied. "Everyone liked Mad-eye in one way or another."
"Harry, Professor Dumbledore did say that no one here knows he died saving your life. Even if they knew, I doubt our friends would hold it against you."
Harry sighed, "I guess you're right, Gin. Come on." He turned to the Fat Lady and said the password, "Leo Victrix."
When they stepped through the portrait hole, Harry was relieved to see that the common room was empty except for their friends, who were huddled together at their usual spot in front of the fireplace. Even Fred and George were waiting for them.
Rose was the first to spot them. "Harry!" she cried, running towards him and Ginny. She hugged him tightly. "Have a good time together?" she asked, looking at the two of them with a smirk on her face.
Before Harry or Ginny could answer, the rest of their friends descended on them, hugging or slapping Harry on the back.
"Glad that you're out of the hospital wing, mate," Ron said, grinning at him.
"Yeah, so am I," Harry said, grinning back at his best mate.
"We were worried when you and Ginny didn't come to the Great Hall for dinner," Hermione said. "We even went to the hospital wing after eating to see if Madam Pomfrey had decided to keep you there another night after all."
"She told us you and Ginny had left hours ago," Ti said. "So we wondered where you two were. Hermione thought you two had been captured on your way to the Great Hall."
"Yeah," Neville said, "They wanted to go to Dumbledore. But then Rose used the Map."
"So we saw the two of you in the kitchens," Fred said.
"You didn't make the house elves feed you again, did you?" Hermione asked, her tone was a bit menacing. "You did! How could you? Treating them like slaves! I expected better from the two of you."
"Hermione!" Ginny exclaimed, "Relax, okay? Did you really expect Harry to go eat in the Great Hall after what he went through last night? Let me remind you that practically the entire school saw him whisked off by portkey with Crouch, who by the way was really his son, Barty Jr. Do you really think he'd want to face the rest of the student body so soon? To be in the spotlight again? You know he hates that." Ginny's voice was low but had a fierce tone to it. She was also glaring at the older girl.
Hermione shrunk back from the tirade of the younger girl. "Um, I guess he wouldn't want that," she squeaked.
"I'm glad you realize that," Ginny said, "I suggested that we just go down to the kitchens and eat there. The house elves were very kind, especially Dobby, and gave us some sandwiches to eat and pumpkin juice to drink. We ate as much as we could then we came straight here."
"All right," Hermione said, sighing, "we were just worried, that's all."
"I'm grateful for your concern, Hermione," Harry said, hugging her, "Thanks." He turned to the others. "Thanks to all of you. I'm touched that you guys stayed up late to wait for us."
"No problem, mate," Ron said. "We're just glad you're okay. Of course, I'd like to know where you guys were during dinner. Madam Pomfrey did say you left the hospital wing in time for dinner. So where were you two?" Ron's eyes narrowed as Harry and Ginny started to blush. "You didn't, did you? Please tell me you two didn't go into a broom cupboard to snog."
"Okay, we didn't go into a broom cupboard," Harry said, smirking.
"Whew," Ron said, "That's a relief. For a minute there I thought you spent dinnertime in a snogging session." When they started to blush again, Ron exclaimed, slapping his hand on his forehead, "You did! I can't believe it! A day barely passed since you faced You-Know-Who and you're snogging, with my sister. I'm just glad you didn't do that in front of me."
"Hmm," Ginny said, "It's not too late to do that." With that, she pulled Harry into her arms and started to kiss him passionately.
Ron gaped at them for a moment before turning in disgust and heading up the stairs to the boys' dormitories. The others just smirked as they watched. When several seconds had passed by without Harry or Ginny breaking the kiss, they looked at each other and shrugged. They went up the stairs to their dormitories leaving the young couple alone.
Finally, Harry and Ginny drew back from each other and touched foreheads as they tried to catch their breath. Seeing they were alone again, they smiled at each other.
Harry guided Ginny to the couch in front of the fireplace where they settled in the same position they had been in when they were in the Room of Requirement.
After snogging for few minutes, Ginny drew back, "Harry? You'll tell the others what happened in the graveyard, right? Harry?"
"I don't know, Gin," he answered after a couple of seconds, "What if they blame me for getting Moody killed?"
"Harry, they're your sisters and friends. They won't do that. They deserve to know the truth. Don't worry. I know what happened and I don't blame you."
Harry sighed, "All right, Ginny, but let's leave it for tomorrow. Right now, I need a little more comfort from the beautiful redhead in my arms."
"My, my, Mr. Potter, such flattery can swell a girl's head." She closed the gap between them.
After another half-hour, Ginny reluctantly suggested that they get some sleep. They had one final kiss before ascending up their separate stairs.
The following morning, Fleur and Viktor came up to the Gryffindor table while Harry and his friends were having breakfast.
"Harry," Viktor said, "Fleur and I vould like to offer our condolences over de death of your professor."
"Oui, 'arry," Fleur said. "We are so sorry."
"Thanks, guys," Harry said, "That means a lot to me. He taught me a lot this year."
"Da, I'm sure he did," Viktor said, "He vas said to be a very gud Auror."
"We also came over to say goodbye," Fleur said, "We are going back to our countries this morning."
Harry stood and shook hands with both of them, "I'm glad to have met you, Fleur, Viktor. I consider you good friends now. Hard and evil times are coming and we could all use friends in other countries."
"Of course, 'arry," Fleur said, "You helped me save Marie and we are fellow champions afzer all. Who knows, I may be back here soon. Au revoir, 'arry." She gave him a quick peck on the cheek.
"If you are in need of a friend on the continent, Harry," Viktor said, "I vill be there."
They then said goodbye to Ginny and Harry's other friends. Fleur even embraced Ginny and whispered to her, "Take good care of 'arry, mon cheri. He iz lucky to have you." Ginny blushed from the compliment. Fleur and Viktor then left the Great Hall.
The Hogwarts students then continued their meal. When they had finished, Ginny turned to Harry, "Harry? Are you going to tell them?"
"All right, Ginny," Harry replied, "But I think we should do it in the Room of Requirement. Tell the others." He got up and left the Great Hall, climbing the stairs to the seventh floor.
Ginny and the others soon followed and they meet in front of the blank wall near the statue of Boris the Befuddled. Once inside, Harry slowly told them everything, including his impulsive act that had cost Moody his life. Ginny held his hand the entire time, sending soothing thoughts to him. Several times, Harry had to pause as the horrible memories threatened to overwhelm him but a gentle stroking of his knuckles by Ginny's fingers settled his nerves every time.
When he was finished, he searched his friends' faces for any sign of loathing or disgust. He saw sorrow and understanding on all their faces. Rose and Hermione embraced him as the tears ran down their faces. Fred, George, Neville and Ti each gave him a sympathetic squeeze on the shoulder. Even Maggie gave him a solemn nod. Then Harry turned to his first and best friend.
Ron clapped a hand on Harry's shoulder. "Don't worry, mate," Ron said, "I know you didn't mean for Moody to get killed."
"Yeah," George said, "You just wanted to save Dumbledore."
"That's right, Harry," Fred added. "It wasn't your fault."
"Thanks, guys," Harry said. "Thank you for not thinking that it was my fault Moody died."
They all smiled while Ginny squeezed his hand. They spent the rest of the morning telling each other stories about Moody and his classes.
The next three days saw most of the students staring at Harry and whispering behind his back. Most were curious to know what had happened to him when he had been Portkeyed away from Hogwarts. Thankfully, few attempted to approach him. Harry's friends intercepted the few that did, for which Harry was grateful.
His friends, especially Ginny, did their best to keep his mind from thinking about the horrible things that had occurred that night. Ginny, in fact, decided to fulfill Ron's nightmare scenario and dragged Harry into various broom cupboards, not that Harry resisted much.
Ron, for his part, refrained from commenting whenever he saw his best friend and sister enter the common room a little disheveled. He just hoped they weren't doing anything more than kissing. Luckily for him, he didn't air that sentiment to the couple in question.
Three days later and five days after his death, a morning memorial service was held for Mad-Eye Moody on the grounds of Hogwarts. Harry and the others picked at their breakfast, uncomfortable with the silence that hung in the Great Hall. Finally, Dumbledore rose to his feet and asked the students to file out of the Great Hall behind their heads of house. He and the other teachers preceded the students.
Harry noticed that Snape was absent. He then recalled that he had not seen his Potions professor since he had returned from the graveyard. He turned to Ginny.
"Gin, have you noticed Snape around the last several days?" he asked her in her mind.
Ginny looked at him in surprise, "No, Harry. I don't think I have. I wonder why?"
"I don't know either. I know he didn't like Moody much but I can't believe he would skip out on his funeral. I doubt Dumbledore would allow that. I wonder where the git is."
"We'll just have to wait and see, Harry. Maybe we can ask Dumbledore."
"As if he'd tell us," Harry grumbled.
The school's students and staff walked down to the grounds beside Black Lake. There, a bronze and wooden coffin lay on a marble table a dozen yards from the lakeshore. More than a hundred white plastic chairs were arranged in several rows in front of the coffin.
There were already people sitting in the front rows of the plastic chairs, among them Harry's, Neville's and the Weasleys' parents, Sirius, Nymphadora Tonks and several other Aurors. Fortunately, there were no other Ministry officials there, least of all Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge.
There was a small platform beside the coffin, with a podium and a few wooden seats set upon it. Dumbledore and the other teachers sat down on the seats on the platform. Dumbledore asked the students to walk past the bronze and wooden coffin for one last look at their DADA professor. The Gryffindors were among the first to reach the coffin.
Harry walked slowly forward, Ginny and Rose beside him until he stood in front of the coffin. The two younger girls held one of his hands, seeking to comfort him as he gazed at Moody's body with pain-filled eyes. After a few seconds, Ginny gently tugged on the hand she held, pulling Harry forward. They proceeded to seats in one of the middle rows.
Harry watched the other students pass Moody's coffin. Most had solemn or saddened looks on their faces. A few simply strode past it without sparing a glance at the deceased ex-Auror and professor. Harry noted that most of them were Slytherins.
Harry saw Draco Malfoy walk past the coffin. He thought he saw the shadow of a smirk on Draco's face when the Slytherin boy stood in front of the coffin but it was gone before he could be sure of it.
Once all the students were seated, Dumbledore got to his feet and strode up to the podium.
"Today," he began, "we are gathered to honor the memory of a brave and honorable man, a man who spent his life defending the Wizarding world from the Dark. Today, we remember Alastor Moody, who some called 'Mad-Eye'." He paused for a moment. "Alastor was a man who dedicated his life to defending the Light against the Dark. He sacrificed his own life to allow others to have peaceful lives. In over thirty years of service in the Aurors, he managed to catch many Dark wizards, including several Death Eaters. He was one of the few people who were considered a threat to Voldemort." Dumbledore ignored the gasps and flinches from most of the people gathered when he mentioned Voldemort's name.
He went on to mention the names of the people Moody had captured and other accomplishments of the ex-Auror. "And finally," he concluded, "he spent this past year teaching young wizards and witches the skills and knowledge they need to cope against the Dark Arts. He will be sorely missed. Let us spend a few moments of silence in his memory."
After a few seconds of silence, he said, "Now, a few of Alastor's colleagues and former students are here to share their memories of Alastor and say a few words in his honor. First, let me call James Potter."
Harry gave a start of surprise as he watched his father get up and go to the podium. James scanned the crowd for a few seconds. "Alastor was quite a character, unique and strong. I first met him…." He went on to narrate a few of his experiences with Moody. At the end of his stories, he said, "It was my honor and privilege to have worked with a great man. I will always be grateful for what he has done for me and my family." His eyes flickered to Harry for a moment. Then he stepped down from the platform and returned to his seat.
After James, several other Aurors took their turn speaking like Sirius, Tonks, Frank Longbottom and a tall, bald, dark-skinned male Auror named Kingsley Shacklebolt.
Then, Dumbledore started to call some of the Hogwarts students, like Oliver Wood, Cedric Diggory and Cho Chang. He even called Hermione and Rose. All of these students talked about Moody's dedication as a teacher and how he encouraged his students when they did practical spellwork. Harry wondered why he wasn't called to speak.
"Dumbledore probably feels you would feel uncomfortable talking about him, Harry," Ginny said to him in his mind, "I guess he didn't want to cause you more pain."
"I guess that's true, Ginny," he replied to her, "But they aren't saying enough. I think someone else has to remind them the real reason he died, how he would want to be remembered. I have to say something, Gin." With that he stood up and walked up to the podium just as Rose was stepping down from the platform.
She raised an eyebrow but didn't say anything. As she passed him, she did touch his arm momentarily and gave it a squeeze. The crowd was silent as Harry stood behind the podium, with many having puzzled looks on their faces.
Harry gazed at the coffin as he struggled to put his feelings into words. Finally, he looked at the crowd. "I will always remember Mad-Eye Moody as one of my favorite Defense teachers. He taught us many things this year that will help us in the coming years. But I will remember him mainly as a hero in the fight against Voldemort." Like Dumbledore earlier, Harry ignored the gasps and flinches. "Many people said earlier that Professor Moody was a constant opponent of the Dark and for many years now, fighting the Dark has meant fighting Voldemort." There were more gasps.
"But unlike what most people believe, that fight has never really ended. Most people believed that Voldemort died the night he attacked me and my family nearly fourteen years ago. But that's not true. Somehow he was able to retain a semblance of life and continued to survive for the past thirteen years. Last year, however, Voldemort was able to regain his body. I know that he will want to take up where he left off years ago. We can't let him win. So Moody's fight is now our own. We have to continue the fight Moody can no longer be a part of and oppose Voldemort until he is gone forever. We will best remember Alastor Moody that way, by beating Voldemort once and for all. Just remember his motto: 'Constant Vigilance.'"
Harry paused for a moment then stepped down from platform and returned to his seat. He noticed that his parents, godfather and Tonks had proud looks on their faces. As he sat down, Ginny again took Harry's hand in hers and gave it a gentle squeeze.
"Great speech, love," Ginny said in Harry's mind, "You said exactly what needed to be said."
"Thanks, Gin," he replied to her mind, "I think my parents and Sirius liked it too."
"I know they did, Harry. They've always been proud of anything you do. I am, too."
Harry felt his face heating up and decided to concentrate on Dumbledore who was again standing at the podium.
"I thank you all for your words in honor of Alastor Moody," Dumbledore said, "Thank you especially to Harry Potter for his words. Young Mr. Potter is correct in saying that the best way to remember Alastor is to continue the fight against Voldemort, because it was Voldemort who murdered Alastor Moody. He will stop at nothing to take over our world and impose his ideals of pureblood supremacy on all of us. We cannot allow that to happen for it will plunge the whole world into an era of terror and evil, not just our world but the Muggle world as well. We cannot let that happen. Alastor Moody fought all his life to prevent that. Now that he is gone, it is up to us to continue the fight until Voldemort is finally vanquished for good."
A/N: Another chapter done, actually the second to the last. There's just one more to go then this story is done. I decided to end this story at the end of Harry's fourth year since the rest of my version of Harry's Hogwarts years will not follow the remaining books. I'll deal with that in the next story which I've entitled 'Harry Potter and the Prophesized Six'. I'm presently working on the first chapter. Now, back to this chapter, please r&r.