Harry & Cho
Chapter Sixty: Somewhere Across Forever
Lily walked into the Great Hall on June 20th, and almost immediately, she felt the proverbial butterflies do a little dance. It had never been this crowded before her mind mused when she crossed the threshold and set out to find a familiar face. Ethan was already in the hall, dressed in his silk scarlet robes, talking with his parents and sister. Rebecca appeared silently beside Lily, dressed in silk royal blue robes. The ceiling was reflecting a bright, sunny afternoon.
Harry, Ginny and Trevor made their way over to her and she saw an attractive black haired woman not too far behind them. Rebecca’s mum, Lily surmised, watching as her friend’s face broke out into a grin.
“Mum,” Rebecca said, kissing her mum on the cheek.
“Your father is over there,” Cho said, gesturing behind her to where David was talking with Selina Walsingham.
“We’re proud of you,” Harry and Ginny said, beaming widely at their eldest child.
“Yeah, me too, Lil,” Trevor said, giving his sister a brief hug.
“Thanks,” Lily whispered.
“This must be Lily,” Cho said, averting her eyes briefly to Harry for confirmation.
Harry nodded, interlacing his fingers with Ginny’s. Ginny appeared for a moment to appear stunned, but she hid her expression by smiling at Harry and squeezing his hand reassuringly. Her unspoken gesture of good faith; it did not go unnoticed by Harry, for he squeezed her hand back and smiled at his wife.
Lily was slightly shocked when instead of shaking her hand like she anticipated, Cho hugged her warmly. “It’s so nice to finally meet you,” Cho said, pulling back, and admiring Lily’s face.
She looks exactly like Harry’s mum, Cho thought, taking in every curve of Lily’s visage, especially her green eyes.
Lily smiled. “It’s a pleasure to meet you as well.”
Rebecca saw her father making his way towards them, Robert close by his side.
Lily’s heart gave a little leap when she saw Robert in his blue robes and hat. He looked quite dashing, despite the shapelessness of the robes.
After all the introductions, greetings and hugs were exchanged, Lily weaved her way through the crowd and spotted Brian.
“Hey,” she said.
“Are your parents here?” asked Lily, trying to pick Brian’s parents out in the crowd.
“Yeah, they’re around somewhere,” Brian said. “Actually managed to put business on hold for a day,” he added acerbically. Lily’s eyes flickered with sympathy for him, and he hugged her with his one arm, before his mother gestured for him to join her and his father.
Her hands twiddled nervously on the parchment she held. Selina Walsingham made her way towards Lily, while she stood stock-straight reflecting on her years at Hogwarts. All the good, the bad, the sad, and the humourous times she had spent in her familiar seat at the Gryffindor table. She remembered first seeing the Sorting Hat and the relief she felt when it made her a Gryffindor. She remembered the times when she felt so under pressure, that all she wanted to do was cry. The times and the memories she had made with Ethan, Robert and Rebecca.
A few seconds later, Selina Walsingham was whispering in Lily’s ear, “The ceremony is going to start shortly. Are you all ready?”
Lily looked up at her Headmistress’s brown eyes, thought of her speech and said, “Yes. I’m ready.”
After everyone was settled into their seats, Deputy Headmaster, Garrett Spindle approached the podium. He looked out at the sea of scarlet, yellow, royal blue and green robed students and their families. “Good afternoon. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to be here with us today.” He paused, briefly to shift his parchment. “This has been an incredible year, not only for Headmistress Walsingham and me, but for the students as well. It’s not just my fellow co-workers who help make my job memorable, but it’s the students as well. I have had the great honour and esteemed privilege of watching all of these graduates grow from young, first years to seventh year witches and wizards. Now, it is time for us to say goodbye to all of them.” He smiled. “I will now turn the podium over to Headmistress Walsingham for some remarks.”
Courteous applause rang in the Great Hall as Selina approached the podium. “Time, it is such a simple word, but it means so much. And, today, would be no exception. It feels like just yesterday, these students sat down to be sorted … and now, they are here, ending their wizarding training. There isn’t much else to say, except that I am very proud of all of these students, and I hope that they excel in their future endeavours.”
The seventh years all applauded, along with the families.
Selina smiled, before making her way back to her seat.
All the Professors, except for two, all made remarks. The ceremony was then turned over to the obligatory speeches by the Ministry. Lily stifled a laugh when she noticed some of the students were trying very hard not to nod off.
After the Minister for Magic – Harry – said his speech, and the other Heads of the Ministry were finished, Selina approached the platform again. “Tradition over the years at Hogwarts has been the seventh years electing a class historian. The criterion includes the person’s grade point average, someone who spent all of their wizarding education at Hogwarts, and of course, someone who the students felt was adequate. I’m pleased to announce, that for the first time, Hogwarts has co-historians. Now, without further ado, please welcome from Ravenclaw house, Rebecca Philips and Marc Errington.”
Supportive applause rung throughout the hall as Rebecca and Marc reached the stage. Another tradition Hogwarts observed was each house wore their house colors. Gryffindor, scarlet and gold; Slytherin, green and silver; Ravenclaw, royal blue and bronze, and Hufflepuff; yellow and black.
Rebecca adjusted her blue hat, the tassels flapped loosely against her head as her and Marc approached the podium.
“Good afternoon, so who thought there would be co-historians?” Rebecca began. “I guess, in a school where we have a Deputy Headmaster and Headmistress, it was inevitable. It’s a pretty challenging gig. So the plan is this … we’re going to summarize years one through seven in about five minutes. Years filled with studying hard, pleasing our parents, exceeding expectations and achieving our dreams. And also Quidditch games, the Halloween and Yule balls, and Hogsmeade trips.”
“I guess you are right, Rebecca, it’s those events that take place outside the curriculum that we often remember most. So, we need a way to tie these seven years together, in some clear, thought provoking way. Well, Rebecca, I am sure the reason you and I were selected to give this speech is because when people think of us, two things come to mind: comedy and poetry,” Marc said, reading off his own sheet of parchment.
“Oh, so true, Marc.”
They all took a look out at the Hall before starting with their speech …
“Why, we will remember Hogwarts,” Rebecca started.
“Because, that’s why,” Marc said, smiling warmly out at the sea of students, before looking back to Rebecca.
Rebecca and Marc began alternating lines from there:
“Because it was the people in the school, not the building itself that made Hogwarts memorable.”
“Because you’re not a full-fledged student at Hogwarts, unless you got soaked during your first year while riding in the boats.”
“Because which student could possible forget their experiences with Peeves the Poltergeist?”
“Because all the Quidditch captains made sure to let us know when the next Quidditch match was.”
“Because the Head Boy and Head Girl basically owned the house points system.”
“Because our Quidditch matches draw the biggest crowd.”
The next line saw Rebecca and Marc pause briefly to exchange laughter-filled smiles, before both said, “Because Bryce Reagan.”
At this comment, the seventh years erupted in laughter. Bryce Reagan was the seventh year’s most humorous student. As eyes fell on Bryce, he smiled and turned a lovely shade of scarlet.
Rebecca finished laughing and started on her speech again. “Because of the infinite times that Moaning Myrtle floods the girl’s bathroom.”
“Because Lily Potter’s one-hundred percent on the Transfiguration N.E.W.T. can just make you sick.”
“Because the Yule Ball started at seven, but the organizer didn’t arrive until seven thirty.”
“Because our friends will never let us forget how fun those Hogsmeade trips really were.”
“Because it brings a tear to your eye when you think of all the Hogwarts couples.”
Marc’s eyes sparkled with a teasing nature as he delivered his next line, “Namely, the time the entire hall had looks of ‘FINALLY’ on their face when the Head Girl and Head Boy walked into the hall holding hands.”
“Because Pearl Malfoy and Ryan Weasley’s wedding was an event that the whole school was invited to.”
“Because we can tell every other wizard that we had a bewitched ceiling.”
“Because witnessing the camaraderie each house shares during Quidditch matches will be hard to forget.”
“Because when Durmstrang School was shut down after the Great War, we were even happier that we were accepted at Hogwarts.”
“Because no matter how much the Ministry cut from our school budget, the passion and commitment of the teachers never changed.”
“Because someday we will look back on the studying for NEWTs, having our grad ceremonies and dealing with the stress of what we’re going to do with the rest of our lives and realize it was an important learning experience.”
They both eyed each other, before delivering their second-to-last line: “And if that’s not enough then because we can read this to you today and carry on with the rest of our lives, knowing that we will forever be part of the Hogwarts family.
“Congratulations seventh years. It’s been a great time. Thank you.”
Rebecca and Marc smiled, shook hands and made their way back to their seats.
Selina rose once again. “It is time for all the students to come up and receive their diplomas.”
Diplomas at Hogwarts were quite different from muggle high school ones. They were written on a sheet of rolled parchment and written in shiny green ink.
Garrett and Selina traded places at the podium, and Garrett began calling out names.
One by one, the seventh years made their way up onto the stage when their name was called. Finally, ‘Lily M. Potter’ was called.
Lily made her way up on stage, took her diploma, shook hands with all the professors and took a picture with Selina Walsingham. As she made her way back to her seat, she untied the scarlet ribbon on her parchment and looked at her diploma.
Lily M. Potter, Gryffindor Prefect and Head Girl
is a graduate with extraordinary honours
Of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Selina Walsingham- Headmistress/Garrett Spindle- Deputy Headmaster
Ethan read her parchment along with her.
“Congratulations. Are you all ready for your speech?”
Lily perused the parchment one more time, rolled it back up and looked back up at the podium, where ‘Orlando T. Richardson’ had just been called. “As ready as I’ll ever be.”
When Daniel Zabini had gotten his diploma and taken his seat, Selina once again approached the makeshift podium. “The Head Boy and Head Girl make speeches to end the ceremony. So, I am pleased to call our Head Boy, Robert Philips, from Ravenclaw house to the stage.”
Deafening applause from Ravenclaw house was heard as Robert reached the platform. He adjusted his hat before approaching the plinth.
“Good afternoon,” Robert began, smiling at the sea of students and families. “I feel as if Hogwarts has been my home, because for most of my adolescent life, it has been. Incredibly amazing years at the best wizarding school in the UK, well … at least that’s what I think, and I’m sure a lot of people would agree with me.
“Here I stand, before you all, reading my graduation speech, when it seems like just yesterday I stepped off that scarlet steam engine, known as the Hogwarts Express, ready to begin my wizarding training. I can attest to what my sister and Marc said in their speech, because, over the years, I have truly become a ‘Hogwarts’ student. After all, what other student can say they got drenched while crossing the lake to come here? Not many. But, I’m rambling.
“When I was first told that I would have to make a speech, I honestly had no idea what to say. All I did know was that I didn’t want to re-iterate every point that the historians have made. With that being said, all there really is to say is thank you Hogwarts for making me who I am today. Thank you to the faculty for helping to shape and mould me into the wizard that I am today. Thank you to my parents who never gave up on me, even when they were at their wits end. To all my friends, past and present, thank you for helping make this the time of my life.”
Robert’s eyes searched for his sisters’ then, and when he found them, he smiled. “Rebecca, since I had to be someone’s twin, I’m glad it is you. I just hope that when we all leave here, we will all aspire to learn more, and appreciate the amazing start we all had the pleasure of having here at Hogwarts. Good luck to everyone in their prospective futures.”
Applause rang out in the Great Hall. As Robert stepped away, and looked over to the Ravenclaw section, he saw tears in Rebecca’s eyes.
Selina smiled at Robert as he made his way back to his seat. “Now, here is Lily Potter, from Gryffindor House to close this ceremony.”
Lily took a deep breath when she looked out at the audience. Rebecca, Ethan, Trevor, Brian and Robert all gave her small waves. She inhaled one more time and began, “It feels as if Hogwarts is all we know, because for a long time, it has been. Hogwarts has been our home away from home, our family, our life. At Hogwarts we have laughed, and we have loved, and we have lived. And within these walls, we have all been preparing for the life ahead of us … the life that starts in a few short weeks.”
She looked up briefly, and saw her parents smiling proudly back at her. “When I first sat down to write this speech, I had no idea where to start. I did know that I wanted to be sincere and honest … no lies and no clichés.”
One more deep breath, she thought to herself. “Hogwarts is not a wizarding school where everyone is friends with everyone else, nor is it somewhere where everyone gets along with everyone else, nor even a place where everyone knows everyone else. Hogwarts is a school where all the students are united by the unique, the wonderful, the absolutely life defining fact that they are just that … students of Hogwarts.
In this hall, you may be sitting next to someone with whom you have never exchanged a word, but the common bond of receiving your wizarding training from the same remarkable wizarding school will connect you for life. That remarkable school where we know how to have fun, and enjoy helping out, where the seventh years respect their teachers, and often befriend them as well, where the grads know all about life choices and house points, and being true Hogwarts students. All of us here today have had the chance, and the blessing to be part of a graduating class that knew just who they were, and knew the privileges and responsibilities that that special identity entailed. I think that all of us have lived up to the expectations of Headmistress Walsingham, to the hopes of our teachers and to the dreams of our parents.”
Lily looked briefly at the top of her parchment to clear the tears that were attempting to cloud her vision. “June 20th … today our time at Hogwarts comes to an end, so that the rest of our life can begin. Each of us has come up on this stage and shaken hands, held a diploma and smiled for a picture, a picture of us graduating. And now it is time to leave the world of Hogwarts for the outside world … a world where we can wear muggle clothing all we want, and where there has not been a History of Magic for a long time, and where there is no bell to mark the end of every day, and yet, the outside world is really not going to be that different.
Hogwarts has been a microcosm of what our lives are going to be. We will broaden our horizons and widen our focus, but Life is simply going to be a larger school. The Quidditch players will convert their love and energy for a game of Quidditch to a love and energy for the game of Life … and every student will take the lessons they have learned in Periods One through eight, in some cases nine and apply them to the block of time ahead of us called Life. Each and every one of us from Arisen to Zabini has been prepared by Hogwarts for a life of success and happiness, and we owe it to our school to use the life lessons that it has taught us. Hogwarts has been our oyster, now the world is our Hogwarts … Life is going to be a fantastic ride, let’s enjoy it.”
When Lily stepped down from the stage, she saw that she had received a standing ovation. Not just from Hufflepuff, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, but also from Slytherin. She saw her parents wiping away tears, Robert, Ethan and Rebecca looked proud, and Brian was beaming widely.
After the applause had died down, Garrett Spindle approached the podium. “Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the graduates of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
x x x x
The ceremony was over and after about an hour, the Great Hall had been set up into a banquet hall. The banquet was to last for about an hour to two hours and then everyone’s families would leave. The Grad Ball was to be held after that, and then, the next day, promptly at eleven o’clock, the Hogwarts Express would whisk everyone back to Kings Cross.
Lily was seated at a table with her brother, her parents, Robert, Rebecca, Cho, David, Ethan, Draco, Hermione, Pearl, Ryan and Brian. Brian’s parents had decided to sit with Daniel Zabini’s parents.
“Your speech was amazing, Lily,” Brian said, taking a bite out of his food. “You deserved that standing ovation.”
Everyone else at the table all nodded their heads in assent.
“I still can’t believe it is over,” Rebecca and Ethan said.
“I know. Doesn’t it seem like yesterday we arrived here?” Brian said.
“Well, I still have two more years left,” Trevor said proudly. “Who knows, maybe I’ll be up there making a speech as the Head Boy.”
Lily smiled at her brother. “Anything’s possible, Trevor.”
Conversation fell into a lapse after that, except for the occasional pleasantries.
Before anyone knew it, the hour and a half was over, and it was time for the families to leave. After a couple long, tangent filled goodbyes, the families were all gone, and the hall looked like it was ready to be set for the Ball.
Lily entered the Great Hall, escorted by Robert. She was wearing a muggle dress in a filmy, light purple color. The princess type style, nipped in under her breasts, so that no curves could be detected. It fell to her feet in a puddle of snowy, lilac-like silk. She wore matching high-heeled shoes. Her long, red hair had been pulled up into a high bun, with a couple wisps framing her face.
“You look beautiful,” Ethan said, coming up to them.
The Hall was beautiful. The ceiling was now reflecting the clear night sky, complete with glittering stars.
“It’s gorgeous,” Rebecca breathed, coming up behind them.
“It sure is,” Lily said, her eyes not leaving the ceiling.
“Do you want to dance?” Rebecca asked Ethan.
“Hm? Oh, sure.”
Rebecca took Ethan’s hand and they disappeared into the crowd. Robert and Lily followed suite, and for once, in a long time, Lily felt the butterflies start dancing a waltz in her stomach.
“It’s all over in a couple hours,” Robert mused as him and Lily moved in time to the music.
“Yeah. I still can’t believe it.”
Robert looked down into Lily’s eyes. “We’ll be fine,” he answered, seeing her unanswered question reflected in her matching emerald coloured eyes.
She felt her brow furrow. “How did you know I was thinking about that?”
He laughed. “I know you quite well, Lily.”
Lily laughed lightly. “We’ve had a rollercoaster of a year.”
“Well, the situation with Brian. Me dating Ethan, finding out he wanted to get married, breaking it off with him, kissing you shortly after, then waking up the next day not knowing what to do, fighting with him, nearly losing him … well, you get the idea.”
“I know, I know,” Robert agreed. “But, here we are. And -” he paused to cup her hand in his hands, his thumbs brushing across her cheeks – “I love you.”
She looked up into his face, and, Lily was not sure if it was the atmosphere, or if it was the prospect of where they were headed, but in that instant, she felt something click into place. “I love you,” she returned sincerely.
He chuckled, his soft exhalation of breath tickling her cheek. “Well, you sure took your time about it,” he joked.
She wrapped her arms around his neck, her green eyes meeting his. “Well, Robert Philips, I’m saying it now, so I hope that makes up for all the time I ‘wasted’.”
Robert leaned in and kissed her lips lightly. “It does.” He continued to sway in time to the music with her, his eyes far away.
“Something else on your mind?” she asked.
He squeezed her small frame tightly. “My parents want to have you over for dinner.”
She was silent for a while, and Robert was worried he had scared her off. So, when Lily began giggling, he blinked, and eyed her warily.
“Funny,” she said, after catching her breath, “my parents said the exact same thing as well.”
“Three guesses as to what the first two weeks or so of summer are going to look like,” he replied, “and the first two don’t count.”
Lily just laughed as they continued to dance the night away.
x x x x
Author’s Note: The original idea for the graduation ceremony comes from the story On the Way to Infinity by GNess. A ton of thanks to her for letting me borrow it for the original version. Marc and Rebecca’s historian speech, as well as Lily’s speech were adapted from my own graduation ceremony - which, was … oh, geez … well let’s just say more than a year ago XD.
Thank you so much to everyone who has reviewed. Until next time, you know what to do.