Hello! Well, first of all, I'd like to say that I got the idea for this fanfic after I read Et Memoria by hewhoistomriddle, so really, I owe this story to the author. Wouldn't have done it if it wasn't for that, so many thanks to you, though it is unlikely that you'll read this, I love your story. Any similiarities between this two stories are because of that, and they were hewhoistomriddle ideas' first.
Warnings: This story contains death, slash (male/male relationships), and completely ignores book 6. (I really don't like some of the events in that book, thouhg I did enjoy the book).
Disclamer: Harry Potter and all the characters in this story are not mine.
By Eternal Fire
(Inspired on Et Memoria by hewhoistomriddle
For my sister, who almost didn't make it. She truly scared me.
The wind made the tallest of trees move, and there were clouds on the sky that hid the sun. There was snow everywhere, on the ground, on the branches of the trees, and on the frozen lake. White, everywhere he looked there was only white.
Once, all that was white had been painted red.
There was a huge, glorious castle at the side of the Forbidden Forest. Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, that held over a thousand students, all laughing or drinking hot cocoa to keep themselves warm on the winter afternoon. All of them covered with thick cloaks, scarves, gloves, and hats. The cold chilled to the bones.
Once, Hogwarts had not been a school but a battle field, and the cold didn't freeze half as much as the prospect of the future.
One of the students, probably a first year, threw a snowball to a girl, who turned and yelled at him, but soon joined him on his snow war.
Once, the war had been real, and instead of snowballs, they threw curses.
More students joined them, and soon the air was filled with laughter. There were smiles on their faces, and there was no worry in their eyes.
Once, only screams of pain had filled the air, and smiles had been forgotten.
These students were happy, joyful, free, hopeful…
The hope, even in the darkest of days, had never faded. That had been the only thing that had prevailed. That was the only thing that still prevailed.
The children kept playing, oblivious of his watchful eyes. They didn't have to fear the shadows or always be alert. They didn't have to worry about dropping death on any minute or second. They didn't have to be alert, always paying attention to their surroundings. Their carefulness was not mortal.
He always thought it was odd, that he was one of the few who remained, who survived, who lived.
One of the students threw a snowball towards a tree.
The snowball froze in midair, and all students turned towards the tree. Out of the shadows, a man step out, and the student that threw the ball quickly bowed his head.
"I'm sorry, Headmaster Longbottom, I didn't know you were there."
Neville let the snowball drop to the ground, and he gave his student a warm smile. "No harm done, kid. Now, you would all do well if you went back inside the castle and warmed yourselves. It is a cold day, and you wouldn't want to get sick and miss classes."
Some of the students made faces, but Neville just smiled at them. "I know, I know, but you have already been given today."
The students started to move towards the castle, but one of them turned towards him.
"Is it true that you fought on the Dark War?"
Neville's eyes grew wide, but he made himself speak. "I participated, yes."
And now, the students were interested, and he was sure they were first years. He got the same questions every year. He gave the same answers every year, too.
"Did you know Harry Potter?"
"I did know them. We were friends, of sorts." Neville had to look away from the children. His eyes always got a bit blurry when he talked about them.
"Did you ever see Voldemort?"
Neville turned his head towards them, and a feeling of pride filled him. These students didn't need to fear the sound of Voldemort's name. They didn't flinch at it. It was just a name that they had to learn for History of Magic. It was just a name that their parents told them, always linked to Harry's.
"I did see him."
Neville was sure he would never be able to forget those red eyes locked on his.
"Was it really a great war?"
"Then why don't we celebrate it more? Today is the anniversary, but there are no festivities like other important days."
"Wars", he said, "are not to be celebrated, but to be remembered. Today is a day for remembering."
He could see, by the look on their faces, that they did not understand, and he gave a big sigh.
After the war, the survivor learned that the difficult part was now beginning. Friends, brothers, sisters, parents, lovers, heroes…they had died, and the people that remained, the lucky ones that were still alive, had to go on without them. The world, as they soon learned, wouldn't stop to let them grieve, and so they picked the pieces that were left and moved on.
Nothing much was left after the war. Plenty of houses and business had been destroyed. The ministry had been blasted to thousands of pieces, and even some parts of Hogwarts had been destroyed. Neville had taken it as his job to rebuild Hogwarts. It had been where he met his best friends, where he met Ginny, where he grew up, and where he learned the meaning of bravery and loyalty. It took a lot of time, help, and effort, but it had been worthy. Ten years later, Hogwarts stood proud and tall, and it was filled with students again. It had, once more, become the best school for wizards and witches in the entire world.
Neville allowed himself a small smile as he kept walking, the students trotting behind him. Finally, they reached their destination.
Neville watched the ruins before him. Once, it had been the Quidditch Court. If he closed his eyes, he could see Harry chasing the snitch, probably with Draco behind him. He could hear the roaring of Gryffindor students, and the exited yells of the rest of the school. Seamus would be narrating the game, and McGonawald would be glaring at him once in a while.
It was the only place that Neville had left intact. He had built the new one somewhere else, but this…this he had left alone.
"How can there be flowers on the middle of winter?"
Neville chuckled. "Magic, of course. These flowers will never die."
On the middle of the ruins, a beautiful garden stood. Neville had planted it himself. It was his monument for all those who had fallen so long ago. It was his tribute to their sacrifice.
"Is that the only way?"
"I'm afraid so, Molly. To destroy the fifth Horcruxe, one of us most sacrifice."
Dumbledore looked at the members of the Order with a somber expression.
"Any volunteers?" He asked, and Neville knew that Dumbledore hated himself at the moment. He was sure his voice had trembled a little, and the twinkle in his eyes was gone. Neville was about to raise his hand when someone beat him to it.
"I'll do it."
All eyes turned to the voice, and Mrs. Weasley let out a cry.
"We all knew sacrifices would have to be made." Charley Weasley said. "This is just the first one. Dumbledore is still needed, as a lot of you are, but I'm not indispensable. You'll still win without me. This is my way of helping you."
Dumbledore nodded, and Molly hugged Charlie with all her strength while Mr. Arthur stood at their side. The other Weasleys stood up and went to join their parents. The rest of the Order was silent. Harry's hands had formed into fists.
Charlie had been the first Weasley to die. More sacrifices would follow. Worse would come. Families were yet to be ripped apart. Friends would be separated. Lovers would lose their other half. Traitors on both sides would appear. For Neville, though, that had been one of the saddest moments of the war.
On one of the sides of the garden, a snapdragon flower was planted.
To remember Charlie, who had destroyed the fifth horcruxe and brought them closer to victory.
Neville shook his head, and Dumbledore sighed.
"It seems", he said, "that no one wants candy anymore. Did you know candy sweetens your life?"
A look of sadness crossed Dumbledore's face, and Neville thought he had never looked more like the old man he was.
Dumbledore took a lemon drop from his pocket and put in into his mouth. He stood up. "Never less" he said "I still believe that all we need in this life is a little bit of sugar."
He smiled at Neville and, for a moment, the twinkle in his eyes was there again.
Birds of Paradise. That was the flower he had chosen for his headmaster.
Joyful, bright, and exuberant, he couldn't have chosen a better flower for a man such as Albus Dumbledore.
Neville took some lemon drops out of his pocket. He lifted his hand towards his students.
"I will be tortured." Cho told him, and Neville's head snapped towards her. "After they get me, they'll put me into so much pain I can't even begin to imagine. They'll try to make me talk. They'll tell me lies. They'll make me want my own death, but I won't break, and I will take down as many Death Eaters as I can."
"Why are you telling me this?" He asked her, confused. The Asian beauty turned towards him, her eyes glimmering with unshed tears.
"You are here. I don't know you very much, but I know that you'll listen."
Neville couldn't think of anything to say, so he just nodded.
"It's going to rain tomorrow. I can feel it."
"Why are you…"
"Doing this?" She shook her head, her black hair flying all around her, and then her brown eyes set on his. "He-who-must-not-be-named will attack a muggle town tomorrow. They have no way to defend themselves. They don't even know about this war. If we don't go there, they will be slaughtered."
Something in her face made him understand what she was not saying.
"Dumbledore is not sending his best men there."
Cho laughed, and the sound gave goose bumps to Neville.
"There will be two attacks tomorrow. The other one, it seems, will be bigger. He is sending his best men there. You know, save the larger group, but he couldn't ignore the other ones, so he is sending some of us there."
"He would have sent you to defend the other attack."
She lowered her head. "I volunteered for this mission."
Neville closed his eyes, not understanding her reasons to go on a suicide mission.
"You'll save some, but most of you will die."
She smiled. "I have a feeling…tomorrow is my last fight."
She shrugged and didn't let him continue. "They are attacking the place where Harry's relatives live. He doesn't know, but if he knew, he would want to be there. He would want someone to save them."
"He may never love me, but I do, and I will do this for him."
Cho Chang had, as she had predicted, been taken prisoner and tortured. It was said that she had taken curse after curse after curse, but she had never once said anything. She had also managed to save Harry's aunt and cousin. It had been too late for his uncle.
Words of her death had reached Neville's ears a week later. True to her words, she had managed to get a wand at the end, and she had killed many death eaters before they managed to eliminate her.
Harry had told him her favorite flowers were the tulips.
A pink tulip stood proudly on his garden.
"Bring him over, fast."
"Merlin, he is loosing too much blood."
Neville watched, in utter astonishment, as Ron and Harry carried a bloody body trough the door of the infirmary. They put the body as gently as they could on a bed, and the Ron turned towards him.
"Bloody hell, Neville, don't just watch. Come over here and make yourself useful." The red haired man shouted at him, and then he turned and left with Harry following him behind. Neville turned towards the body and wondered if there was anything he could do.
Much later, after it was discovered that, indeed, there was nothing left to do and Neville had to kick Ron out of the infirmary for the eleventh time and Molly and Arthur had fallen asleep, Percy woke up.
"I am…pompous…" he said through his pain, "and arrogant." He stopped to get some air, and Neville rushed towards him. "I didn't want to believe at first. I didn't…didn't want to believe in…Harry and my parents. I…"
He coughed blood, and Neville watched his glazy eyes and knew he would not make it. He offered Percy water.
"Do you want me to wake your parents?"
Percy fixed his eyes on him.
"No." He said. "Just tell them…tell them I died fighting. I never…I never meant to…I thought the ministry was right. I'm sorry."
And that was that.
"I thought Percy Weasley was a traitor." One of the students said, and Neville turned towards him.
"He was an idiot most of the time." Neville informed him, "But he died like a warrior. Never forget that."
Percy had, Neville thought, redeem himself on his last moments. He had died that night, and all his shame, all his guilt, all his pride had died with him. All that was left of him was a difficult and greedy flower. All that was left of Percy Weasley was an Anemone.
Neville thought it suited Percy's personality just fine.
Tonks had decided on bright, magenta hair.
As she came down the stairs followed by Remus Lupin, she called for their attention.
"He agreed to marry me!" She announced while Remus smiled shyly.
"I know it's not a good time…" he started, but Molly cut him off.
"There's no time like now."
Tonks smiled so brightly she seemed to glow, and as she kissed Remus loudly, the Order cheered around them.
As the wind flew over a Red Catchfly, Neville felt a hole in his stomach. Tonks had died the day after her wedding. She'd been tortured to death, but she had not cracked, and she didn't say anything about the Order. She died defending them. She died as Remus' wife. When they found her, her magenta hair was gone, and her original color was there to replace it.
She was a blond.
"It's not" Lupin told him "what is on the outside that matters, but what is inside."
Neville looked at the floor. "I am never in danger. I know healers are supposed to wait for the wounded, but I want to do more. I feel useless."
"You are many things, but not that. You've saved many lives."
"I have also lost many."
"Yet you've always done your best. This is a war, Neville. People die. More are yet to come. We, soldiers, know that."
"You do more than me."
Lupin sighed and gave him a sad smile. "We kill. You cure. That is the difference between you and me."
"Saving one life is always more worthy that killing a thousand. Don't ever feel less of yourself."
A California Puppy stood next to the Red Catchfly. The sight of both of them together made such a contrast that people tended to smile silently or give a big laugh. It was the resume of what had been Remus and Tonks. The resume of two lives.
"You idiot", Snape yelled at him as Neville cured his wounds, "you shouldn't have gone after me."
"Professor Snape", Neville said, satisfied hat his voice didn't tremble. "If I had to do it again, I'd do it."
Snape glared at him, and Neville felt like he was back at school.
"You are an idiot, but I suppose that is expected of a Gryffindor." Snape repeated, but he gave him better access to his wounds.
Neville decided to take the potions master's words as a compliment.
"He died at the hands of Voldemort." Neville informed his students, who had big eyes full of curiosity.
"Voldemort did not need a reason to kill, but in this case…"
Voldemort had found out about Snape's spying. The result had been terrible.
The Rattlesnake Master was not a pretty flower, but it was a useful one. Neville thought Professor Snape would have liked his choice of flower. At the very least, he would not be offended by it.
"I don't care! I want you 'ere!" The angry French half-veela yelled at her husband who, although was much taller, cowered under her glare and seemed to become smaller.
"It's dangerous, love. Please, stay here?" Bill pleaded her, but Fleur would have none of that.
"What do you mean by zat? Do you think I can't take care of myself? Zat I'm not strong enough? I will go with you. You are my husband, and my place is by your side."
"I 'ave spoken. Don't even try to change my mind. You will only waste your time."
Bill sighed and hugged Fleur as tight as he could without hurting her.
"I love you."
"I love you too, Bill."
That was the last time Neville had seen them alive. That very same night they had gone together to destroy the sixth horcruxe. They had succeeded but, like Charlie, they had perished in the process.
If he concentrated hard enough, he could still see them, both gorgeous, together, happy…
There was a white rose next to a red one.
They had been together until the end, and they should be together after that.
"They scream. They laugh. They love. They hate. They're all scared of the end."
Neville gave Luna a weird look. He couldn't come up with something to say to that.
"They think…" she continued "that everything ends after they die. They forget about ghosts. They forget about the veil. I know better. I never forget."
"Are you alright?"
Luna turned her big, dreamy eyes towards him. Something in them made Neville want to hold her. Her lower lip trembled.
"This is a war, and I'm not afraid of dying, but…I just wish…I wish they weren't so sad. Perhaps…they'll be better off death. Maybe in death they'll find the peace and happiness they couldn't find in life."
Neville smiled a little as he watched Luna's flower, an Anthurium. It was an odd flower. It had taken him ages to find it, but it had been worthy. It was perfect for Luna.
Neville had always thought she was rare.
He never thought he'd miss her as much as he did.
"We are trapped."
"They're going to find us soon."
"I think…I think this is the end."
Fred stood up. "Don't be…"
"…idiots." George finished for him.
"We all don't have to die. We need…"
Harry quickly stood up. His eyes shone angrily. "You will not sacrifice yourselves. I will not have another Weasley die for me or this cause." He yelled at them, but the twins smirked.
"You've done much for us. We can't let you die."
"Besides, we Weasleys were born to defend you."
"You can't do it alone." Hermione pleaded with them, trying to bring logic into their minds. "Perhaps, if we all go…"
"We will all die." Seamus said.
"We can't risk it." Dean added.
"It's settled." Fred said happily, and George's smirk grew wider.
"Seamus, Dean, and we will distract them so you can get free."
Ron got up and hugged his brothers.
"I'll tell mom that you died with a smile on your faces and planning a prank."
Seamus turned to Dean and kissed him fully on the mouth. He winked at Harry, smiled, grabbed Dean's hand, and ran out of the cave.
"You're our savior." George told Harry, and then the twins followed Seamus and Dean.
They knew the twins had died when their laughter stopped. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, and Neville knew it was time to run when they heard Seamus' and Dean's screams.
Two sunflowers surrounded by wind flowers stood happily at his garden. A wave of sadness passed through Neville as he remembered his friends. Still, looking at the flowers, he couldn't help but laugh at the thought of those four.
"Why did you marry him?"
Hermione looked up from her book and blinked at him. He had never seen her look…uncertain about something.
She put all her attention on him, and Neville shifted uncomfortably.
"Why did you marry Ron?"
"Why do you ask?"
"Well…Ron and you…you aren't really compatible."
Hermione smiled softly and played with her ring. "I guess…that's why I married him."
Neville made a good imitation of a gold fish, and she laughed, her curly, brown hair waving all around her.
"He annoys me and most of the time I want to smack him, but…" She raised her hand, her wedding ring shining, "He taught me that you don't learn everything from books. He showed me love in the middle of all this pain. He showed me that there is still hope, and that is my most valuable knowledge."
The Alstroemeria was a small flower, but it radiated strength. Of all the friends he had had, Hermione had helped him the most. When he went to the library, he could imagine her somewhere hidden among piles of books. Nothing would disturb her from her reading.
"You just married Hermione. I can't let her lose you." Harry said, and there was a desperate tone in his voice. Ron stubbornly told him that Hermione would understand.
"You deserve to be happy with her."
"Harry, they won't get you unless they get through me."
"He's right, Harry." Hermione said as she came out of the shadows and Ron wrapped an arm around her waist. "We are your friends, and we will be with you until the end."
"How many times do we have to tell you this? You gave us the option to turn away a long time ago, and we didn't. We still think the same way."
"Draco would do the same for you." Ron said. "And you know why? Because he loves you! He'll be with you until the end, and so will we."
"We love you, Harry, and we are not leaving you. Not now, nor ever." Hermione stated simply, and Harry could only sigh.
When he imagined Hermione sitting in the library, he couldn't help but imagine Ron at her side. He would be bored, but he wouldn't leave her alone. Besides Ron, of course, there would be Harry, who would be entertaining Ron while they waited for Hermione. The three friends, together no matter what. He would never forget how much they loved each other, or the loyalty Hermione and Ron had towards Harry.
Besides the Alstroemeria, a Daffodil stood. For Ron. For lost friendships. For the love Hermione and Ron had. For the Golden Trio.
He usually stayed somewhere safe and waited for the wounded. This time, however, they had been ambushed, and he had no other option but to fight.
"Neville, look out."
He had enough time to duck a killing curse, and he quickly stood up and started fighting again.
Some time later, he found himself back to back with the fiery Ginny.
"Neville, this may be our last time together."
Neville fought against the cry that wanted to come out.
"I love you, Neville Longbottom." She said, and turned to kiss him passionately. Neville wrapped his arms around her, bringing her closer to him, forgetting they were in the middle of a battle. Forgetting the curses flying around them, the screams, the pain...this was heaven, right here where their lips wanted this moment to last forever. He didn't want to let go. God, he didn't want her to die. He would give anything away for her to not die. "Don't ever forget that." She whispered against his ear.
And then she was gone, and Neville watched as she fought bravely and passionately. Her red hair swooned around her as she dove and sent curses everywhere. She was a sight to see. She was a breathtaking warrior. She was his Ginny, his wife...
It still hurt Neville to think of her. So many years had passed since she had died at the final battle, but that didn't lessen the pain.
"You shouldn't be here. Go back to the castle before I take points from your houses."
"But Headmaster Neville…"
"Go!" Pansy Parkinson, Potions Master and Head of the House of Slytherin, said as she glared at her students, and they turned and ran back to the castle. Draco would have been proud of her. Snape would probably be proud too.
"I thought I'd found you here." She said to Neville.
"It's the anniversary of the End of the War."
She rolled her eyes. "No kidding. I was there, you know."
I, too, lost people I cared for.
Between them, they always said more with what they didn't voice aloud.
Neville watched as Pansy kneeled to brush her fingers against a Sweet Pea.
"She loved Sweet Peas." Neville informed her, and Pansy knew she was talking about Ginny. She knew every secret this garden held.
"It's a beautiful flower."
"She was beautiful."
I loved her so much. It still hurts.
Pansy stood up and brought a letter from one of her pockets. "Your daughter sent you this."
Neville took the letter and held it close to his heart.
"Ginny would have been proud of her."
She looks like her. Sometimes, I can't stand it.
"She is the only member of the Weasley Family left."
Pansy put her hand over his shoulder. "She holds her family name with pride."
"They all would have loved her."
Fred and George would have taught her mischief. Ron would have overprotected her. Bill and Charlie would have taken her on trips. Percy would have tried to make her serious about school. Her grandparents would have cherished her.
"Don't you dare order me around, Potter. I'm not one of your fans. I will not do as you wish."
"If you listened to me, Malfoy, I wouldn't have to, and I never would think of you as one of my fans. Idiotic Slytherin."
The two boys glared at each other, and Neville sighed. It was common, this fights. He took another sip of his coffee.
When he looked at the two boys again, he smiled. Harry was about to lose this battle. He always did when it came to Draco.
As predicted, Harry cracked first.
"I just don't want anything bad to happen to you." He said softly. The worry in Harry's green eyes was enough to make Draco forgive him.
"I know, Harry, but I need to be with you, and I need to be where you are."
"Harry..." Draco reached out for the smallest man and brought him close to himself. Neville had never heard Malfoy tell Harry that he loved him, but the feeling was in every fight, every glance, every touch, it was always there, warming them both, making them stronger. "I'll be with you, even if you stop caring. I want you, and I always get what I want."
Harry chuckled. "Arrogant prat, and you know I'd never stop caring. That is impossible."
Draco brought his forehead to Harry's. "Then stop trying to protect me. I am far more stronger than you, and really, Harry, what would you do without me at your side?"
Harry punched him lightly on the shoulder.
Harry was the Savior of the Wizarding World, but Draco was Harry's savior. Draco was, most of the times, an arrogant bastard, but when Harry was around, he was tender, caring, and he was even nice to Harry's friend. In his arms, Harry was happy, and that was why everyone had accepted Draco Malfoy.
Draco had, of course, been there for Harry until the very end. When Neville found them lying on the battlefield, their bodies without life anymore, they both had peaceful expressions on their faces.
They didn't look war worn and tired. They didn't look haunted. They looked happy in each other's arms.
A Lily was close to the Daffodil and the Alstroemeria. An Orchid was besides the Lily, as if watching over it. Opposites, just like Harry and Draco, opposites that fitted together just fine.
"You will remember, won't you?" Harry asked Neville, and he looked at him strangely. Harry smiled. "When the war is over, and all of us are gone…you will remember. Remember what we've been fighting for. Remember the sacrifices, the pain, the tears, the joy, the love. Just…remember us as we are now, and not as how we will be portrait."
Neville opened his mouth to argue that he could die too, but Harry gave him a bright smile.
"You have to stay here and cure the wounded. You have an important job." Harry turned to go talk to his soldiers, but he looked at Neville one last time.
"You will live, Neville."
"Many will die today." Harry stated. "But we've proven that love is stronger than hate." Draco squeezed Harry's hand. "And that friendship never dies." Hermione and Ron stood proudly at his side. "We've seen help come from unexpected places. " Harry looked at the Slytherins. "And we'll prove it one more time. So yes, many will die today, but it will be worthy. It'll be worthy because today, at last, we will rid the world of Voldemort. Today we'll go and fight and be proud to say that we did not fight in vain. We'll fight for our families and friends. We'll fight for the people we love, and if we die, we'll do it proudly, knowing that we did the right thing. Do not fear, for they have more to fear."
Harry then turned and kissed Draco as the crowd cheered around them. Ron quickly stood at Harry's side, and Hermione at Draco's. Neville saw that she was playing with her ring, as was Ron. They were wearing the colors of their houses. Harry, Ron, and Hermione looked stunning in red and gold. Draco looked magnificent in green and silver.
Ginny, Lupin, Moody, Justin, Ernie, Blaise, Pansy, McGonawald, Flitwick, Sprout, Parvati, Lavender, Padma, Crabbe, Goyle, and so many others joined them.
They all looked like warriors.
They were all going to meet their destiny, to end this blasted war.
Neville heard Harry's words echoing in his head.
A white Magnolia stood at the center of the garden. It was there for all those that had died. It was there for the ones that hadn't made it.
A monument to their bravery.
A reminder that they had not died in vain.
They were here, together, no longer broken, but healed. As if they had never suffered.
Pansy took his hand, bringing him to the present.
Don't you dare cry.
Neville squeezed her hand.
"We owe them that much."
Pansy just stood at his side and looked sadly at the Orchid and Lily.
'Yes' she thought 'We remember.'
Do review, though if yoy have flames because of the slash, I will not listen. I clearly said that it contained slash. Anyone else with something to say, you are welcome and would make me very happy.