In honor of the anniversary of my babies' deaths yesterday (yeah, I'm a day late, oh well). (Also in honor of my first college application being officially submitted.)

Within the walls of Hogwarts, rumors and gossip spread rapidly, like spells flying through the hallways. But it often takes a lot longer for the truth to reach the Hogwarts students, especially when the story is coming from outside.

On November 1st, 1981, there were a lot of rumors flying around Hogwarts, and each one seemed to contradict the last.

Owls had been coming in all day with messages from parents and siblings and older friends. The Daily Prophet had published a vague headline about the end of a war. But it seemed that nobody knew why, and nobody knew how.

"Wait till dinner," wise students would tell each other. "Dumbledore must know something. He has to tell us at dinner." And when Dumbledore rose at the start of dinner and the whole of the Great Hall quieted to hear him speak, it was clear that they were finally going to get an answer – a real answer.

"I'm sure all of you have heard the rumor that Voldemort is dead by now," he said, looking out over them. His eyes were hard to read, as normal. "And I will tell you that, at the moment, it appears that this rumor… is true."

Dumbledore's words were overwhelmed by a cheer that started at the Gryffindor table, a cheer that ripped up the table and spread out over the hall as students stood up, embraced, clapped, and even began to cry. It was over, Dumbledore said. This thing that had been haunting many of them for their entire lives was over.

Voldemort was gone.

The professors were hugging one another, too – it seemed that they had been as uncertain about the rumors as the students had been.

All except for Dumbledore and McGonagall, that was. They simply exchanged a look, and waited for the room to calm back down, which it did as people began to realize Dumbledore was waiting for them.

"You'll all want to know how, I assume. And it won't be easy for me to tell you, and for many… well, it won't be easy to hear," Dumbledore said.

All eyes glued to his face.

Dumbledore took a deep breath. "Some of you may know James and Lily Potter. They were Head Boy and Girl four years ago."

At the Ravenclaw table, Jane MacDonald let out a slight gasp. It had been a long time since she had heard those names… too long.

The older Gryffindors looked around at their friends. They remembered James and Lily, of course, more than any of the other students. They remembered Lily's warm smile when they first arrived at the school. They remembered James' jokes and the way he treated them like good friends before they had even been introduced. They remembered the pair curling up on the couch in front of the fire during their last months at Hogwarts.

Professor McGonagall turned her head away from the Dumbledore and the students.

Dumbledore continued. "The Potters have lived in Godric's Hollow for the past few years, and they have a one-year-old son named Harry. Last night, Voldemort went to their house."

Hearts sank around the room.

"Voldemort tried to kill baby Harry. But he was unable to. Something happened… something… the curse did not work on Harry, and it seems that the curse rebounded upon Voldemort, and destroyed him instead," Dumbledore said, looking very pensive. "Harry Potter survived the Killing Curse – Voldemort's Killing Curse."

There was silence as the room struggled to absorb this. They had been taught that nobody could survive a Killing Curse. How could a baby do that?

"Unfortunately, Lily and James did not have this same luck. They died trying to protect their son, trying to fight off Voldemort when there was no hope." A few students would later swear they saw a tear trickle down Dumbledore's face here. "They died with the most dignity possible."

Jane MacDonald began to cry. Lily had always been so nice to her. She wondered if Mary and Lily were together now, and the thought of that just made her cry harder.

Professor Slughorn's face was whiter than a sheet of paper. Everybody knew that Lily had been his favorite.

Even the Slytherins seemed subdued, stunned by the news they had just received.

And the elder students were faced with a dilemma – how did they celebrate the end of the war when it meant the loss of two people who had inspired them, comforted them, and been there for them? How did they celebrate and mourn at the same time?

They never really found an answer to this question.

*Cries* Halloween is a really rough time for me, okay?

Shout-out to everybody who has been waiting for me to update another story: I'm sorry, y'all, applying to college is apparently a very real thing.

Thanks for reading!