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Chapter 27: Endings and Beginnings

The next morning dawned faster than Lily had expected. She woke up early and looked around her dorm. Then it hit her, this was her last day in Hogwarts ever. Today she was graduating and tomorrow would be getting the train away for the last time. The thought brought tears to her eyes. The fact she was never going to come back to Hogwarts hadn’t fully hit her yet, but it was starting to.

She got up with a sigh and started to get ready. She had to look better than she ever had today. She had to leave the school and make sure noone forgot her. Plus she had to make a speech and stand in front of all the seventh years, so she wanted to look her best.

In little over an hour she emerged from her room and stood in the common room with a smile. This room held a lot of memories even though she had only been in it for a year. But this year had been very eventful and had reason to be remembered, some things fondly but some that brought even more tears to her eyes.

She looked around the room and laughed remembering some of the evenings she and James had spent in it. She didn’t notice James had appeared in his doorway and was watching her with a wide grin. He shook up behind her and put his arms around her waist, making her jump.

“Ahh…oh James, it’s you. You scared me,” Lily told him but turned around to face him with a smile.

“What were you thinking about?” he asked her.

“Just remembering all that has happened this year,” she told him with a smile that was happy but had some sadness hidden it.

“But why were you laughing?”

She grinned mischievously at him. “I was thinking about all the times we were spent here in this room,”

James laughed too and gazed around the room. He was going to miss it here. He could hardly remember life before Hogwarts. Hogwarts was his life and now he had to leave it behind him, but not without taking a few things with him he had picked up along the way.

“I think we should go down to breakfast. The ceremony is starting in a hour and we have to go down to it early,” Lily said leading him out of their common room.

The Great Hall was packed when they reached it. James smiled at it as he walked over to his friends at the Gryffindor table. It seemed he was going to be doing a lot of smiling and remembering today.

“Can you believe this is the last breakfast we will ever eat at Hogwarts?” Alice said as they sat down. “It is so sad,”

“She’s just a little ray of sunshine isn’t she?” Sirius said.

“But it is sad. After tomorrow we have to go out into the world on our own. It is a scary thought,” Lily said.

“You people are going to depress me before I have a chance to enjoy my breakfast!” Sirius complained and James laughed at him. He was really going to miss here.

Soon after they all stood up to make their way outside to where the ceremony was taking place, but as soon as the pushed back their chairs to stand up the Hall started to applaud them. Lily looked around to see students clapping them and more joining in as they began to leave the Hall. James and Sirius were laughing and waving at them all.

“Looks like they will never forget the Marauders!” James said with a big grin.

“How could they? We are unforgettable!” Sirius told him and clapped him on the shoulder.

Over by the lake were rows pf chairs laid out for the students to sit on. In front of them a stage had been erected and a podium in the centre. Lily began to get nervous and even upset as she saw it. This was it, this was the end of Hogwarts for her.

They sat on the row of seats at the front of the crowd and waited as the remaining seventh years took their seats. Teachers began to arrive as the students settled and finally Lily noticed Dumbledore walking up the aisle between the seats. He stepped up onto the stage and stood at the podium, looking down at all of them with a smile.

“Today we are here to celebrate your years here at Hogwarts. For many they were a challenge, for some it was like home, but to all I believe they were enjoyable and an experience you will never forget,” he started glancing around the sea of students.

“This year was different to any I have seen before. You dealt with a lot and still came out on top. I am very proud of each and every one of you sitting before me. All though you might not have all gotten along, you never let your personal prejudices cloud what was the best decision. Remember that when you leave here and go into the real world. The world is lucky to have such amazing people about to be put into it to help defend it and make it better. Whatever you decide to do as a career remember all the lessons that you learned here; stand up for what you believe in, don’t stand aside and let your fears take over, fight for what you think us right no matter what the risks are. Remember it is more important to make an ally than an enemy and fight for those younger than you and for those you love. Don’t give into the pressure you will be faced with. I’m not worried about any of you here. You have all proven yourselves that you can handle anything that is thrown at you. Whether it was with laughs or pranks or hard work, all of you managed to get through your seven years here and I must say I have never been more proud of anyone than I am of you sitting in front of me,” Dumbledore said with a smile as he looked at every student sitting in the crowd.

“So, I would now like to ask our Head Boy and Girl to come up here and say a few words,” Dumbledore said, gesturing to James and Lily who stood up together and walked onto the stage. Lily looked at James and he gave her a smile telling her to go first. She took a deep breath and walked over to the podium.

“This year has been a tough one. We have all had to deal with a lot. Between the loss of a fellow student and friend to the loss of family some of us have experienced it has been a sad and sorrowful time,” she started looking at the crowd.

“As our Headmaster has said, Hogwarts was many different things for all of us. For me at the beginning it was a new and exciting challenge. I had never known anything about magic, or Hogwarts, until I got my letter. I didn’t know what to expect, but nothing could have prepared me for what it really was. I wanted to prove to people I belonged here, that you don’t have to be pureblood to be one of the best. So I worked hard and achieved high marks in my classes. But until this year I never realised that high grades and perfect behaviour aren’t the most important thing in the world,” she said looking at her friends.

“I learned this year that having people who care for you is something that nothing else can compare to. It doesn’t matter if you have the greatest marks in the school if you don’t have anyone to share it with. I learned that this year, surprisingly, because of James Potter. Who would have ever thought he would be the one to turn me around?” she asked and the crowd laughed.

“He showed me after my parents died that there were still people in the world who cared for me and that I should never give up on them or myself. I want to give you all that same advice. We are all facing difficult times but don’t underestimate you or your friends strength because they could be the ones who save you in the end. Enjoy them while they are there because you won’t realise how much you depend on them until they are no longer there to help. Until my parents died I never knew how much I counted on them even though I only saw them during the summer. The same held through when Jo died. I never knew how important she was to me and many others until she was gone. We never get over the loss of someone we love, but we can’t stop living because of it either, we have to move on. It is hard at times and many of us have felt that pain this year, but don’t let that pain control you and make you afraid. Don’t let the ones who have died for us have died in vain,” she said sadly with tears forming.

“We are all about to go out into the world where there are many things awaiting us. Some of us may choose to become Healers, Aurors or even Qudditch stars, but don’t ever forget the times we had here. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the laughs and fun we’ve had over the years. Especially because we were unfortunate enough to land in the same year as the Marauders,” she said with a grin looking at Sirius, Remus, Peter and James behind her. Everyone laughed before she continued.

“The point of this very long speech is to remind you that there are more important things than succeeding in life; your friends, family and maybe one day husbands, wives and children. Don’t let the dangers out there stop you from living your life. Fight when the time comes, but live before it does because we are never sure what can happen,” she told them all with more tears running down her cheeks.

“I’m honoured to have been here with all of you for the past seven years and then be your Head Girl. Experiences here I will never forget and people I will always remember. Congratulations to all of you and the best of luck in your future,” she finished and everyone stood and clapped as she returned to her seat beside James. He gave her hand a quick squeeze before walking towards the podium.

“Thanks for stealing my speech there Lils!” James said as everyone took their seats again and laughed at his first comment. “Is there really much I can say after that? She never fails to surprise me that Lily Evans. She does something different every day and can be quite terrifying at times with that temper of hers,” he said to more laughs.

“Ok so I hope you aren’t expecting another big speech because they aren’t my specialty, though many other things are,” he said. When the laughter ceased again he continued.

“I came to Hogwarts expecting a lot, but not even my expectations matched what we all came to know as a second home for the last seven years. Everyday here held a new adventure, especially for the Marauders. I discovered things I never knew were possible. As you all know I was a very well behaved and model student,” James told them all and everyone burst out laughing.

“Ok, so maybe I wasn’t always well behaved and yes the Marauders bended a few rules but that doesn’t really matter right? Oh yeah, and Professors, the Marauders and I are all very sorry for any stress we may have caused you over the seven years, though I can’t imagine how we could have done that!”

“It is quite all right Mr Potter, though the grey hairs you all gave me might be a bit of a problem,” Professor McGonnagall said with a rare smile.

“Thanks Professor. So now continuing to be serious-” James said but a smile crept onto his face as what he expected to happen did.

“You can’t be Sirius! I’m Sirius!” Sirius shouted from the crowd amid more laughter. James laughed himself before he continued.

“As I was saying, this place holds many memories for all of us. Some good, some we would all rather forget I think, I know there are a few incidents I would like to forget regarding a certain redhead sitting behind me. Anyway, Hogwarts was more than a school to me, it was a home. The strength of some of the friendships that were made here will never break. Hogwarts has been creating the worlds best wizards and witches for thousands of years and will keep on doing it even when our own kids come here. Can’t you see mini-Marauders running around here in twenty years Professor?” James asked and say McGonnagall sigh but still smiling at him.

“Many relationships have been created here and many may last forever. The same is true for friendships that have formed. As Lily has already said, friends will be the most important thing you can have. I would also like to quote on what Ms Evans said about living life and not waiting for something to happen. As you all know she and I have been going out this year, after she finally realised what an amazing and charming person I really am. But to me she is more than a girlfriend, more than a friend. I love her with all my heart and am never going to let her go. I have asked her many questions over the years, mainly asking her to go out with me, but I want to ask her one final question,” James said.

He turned away from the podium he walked towards Lily who was looking a bit confused. He took her hand and kneeled in front of her. There were a few gasps from the crowd as some realised what was going on but James paid no attention to them. He started into Lily’s tear-filled eyes and smiled at her.

“Lily, I have loved you from the moment I met you. Since that first day on the platform I knew you were the one for me, that there was no one else out there for me. It was you or no one. As the years passed I fell more and more in love with you than I ever thought possible. Everytime I saw you with another guy my heart would break, thinking you would never be mine. The day you finally said yes was the happiest of my life. Loving you felt perfect but being loved by you was better than I could have ever imagined. You are my world Lily, I don’t know what I would do without you. With every breath you take I continue to fall deeper in love with you. So I want you to answer one last question for me,” he said never breaking eye contact with her even though she had tears streaming down her face.

“I love you Lily Evans, will you make me the happiest man on earth and marry me?” he asked. He opened a purple velvet box to reveal the most beautiful ring Lily had ever seen. It was gold with three diamonds on the top of it. It was gorgeous.

The grounds were completely silent. No one said a word, they were all watching James and Lily to see what she would say. Even the teachers were watching the couple attentively.

James started to worry when she didn’t answer. Surely she wouldn’t say no? What if she did? He couldn’t imagine what he would do.

Lily stared at James, completely shocked. She had not been expecting him to ask her to marry him! At first she was scared but the more she considered it the more the idea appealed to her.

“I love you James Potter! Of course I’ll marry you!” she shouted. James slipped the ring onto her finger and jumped up. He scooped her up into his arms and spun her around. When he stopped he leaned in and kissed her fiercely. He had never been happier in his life.

Everyone jumped to their feet shouting, cheering and clapping the couple. James broke away from Lily and smile at them, but Lily pulled him back and kissed him again. Sirius turned to a smiling Remus and held out his hand.

“Pay up Moony! I told you he would ask her before the year was over!” Sirius said triumphantly as Remus passed him ten Galleons.

Alice and Emma were jumping up and down hugging one another, tears of joy running down their cheeks.

When James broke away again he walked to the podium, Lily still in his arms.

“Oh yeah, I almost forgot, CONGRADULATIONS!! WE GRADUATED!!” he shouted before returning again to Lily who was smiling more than she ever had before.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Lily stood outside the castle the next morning waiting for the carriage to bring them to the station. Her last night at Hogwarts had been memorable. They had all stayed in the Gryffindor common room until three in the morning before James and Lily left for their own common room. The fell asleep together on the sofa after talking the whole night. She had never had a better time.

But now it was all over, they were leaving in a few minutes and would never be coming back. She sighed and leaned against James.

“Well, looks like this is the end now, it’s all over,” Sirius said with a last look at the castle as the carriages appeared.

James smiled and put his arm around Lily.

“No Padfoot, this is just the beginning.”


~THE END~


A/N: Well there you have it! The last chapter! I hope you liked it! Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to read this for me and especially to those who reviewed! i loved reading you views on what you thought of my story! Since it's the last chapter will everyone who reads it please review for me? even if you haven't reviewed before please do it for the final chapter? Once again thanks for reading and encouragement you gave me! Hope you liked it!

Oh and there is a sequel to this story! It's called 'New Beginnings' and should be here soon!

Thanks once again!

Love Ginny! = )

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