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The day of the Hogwarts rededication ceremony had arrived. Harry was waiting for Hermione by the fireplace. They were first going to the Burrow to meet up with Ron. Hermione walked from the hallway. They were both dressed casually and neatly.

Harry said, "You look nice."

"Thank you," said Hermione giving him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Do you have the invitations?"

"Yes, here in my pocket. Ready to go?"

"Yes."

A moment later, they each stepped from the floo at the Burrow. They saw Ron at the table and went over to him.

Harry said, "Ron, have you heard anything more about what to expect today?"

"Just that we are to talk to McGonagall when we arrive for last minute instructions. Mum and Dad left for Hogwarts a little while ago. There's a new entrance hall floo. I was there all last week helping Katie with it. It's the one we'll use for our classes when term starts. It only works for certain students."

Hermione said, "Ron, has Ginny gone yet?"

"Yeah. She went to meet up with Neville and Luna just before you came. How are your parents getting there?"

"They were provided a portkey by the Ministry. They should be there by now."

"Okay, let's go," said Ron.

Ron stepped to the fireplace followed by Harry and Hermione. He took a pinch of floo powder. "See you there." Green flames erupted as Ron stepped in and said, "Hogwarts!" Hermione and Harry followed.



They joined a large number of people milling about the entrance hall. It was a nice day and most people had stepped outside. Ron motioned for Harry and Hermione to follow; he had spotted McGonagall.

"Good to see you!" said McGonagall. "We will be inviting everyone to be seated shortly. Please wait in the staff room on the left side. Some of your other friends are already there. The Great Hall will be full so I would ask you to sit in the front section on the left."

Ron said, "Thank you professor." Harry and Hermione followed Ron to the waiting area.

As they entered, they saw many familiar faces from the DA. They were all happy to see each other again and milled about talking. Ron went over to be with Katie.

"Harry, Hermione, good to see you!" said Neville.

"Hi Neville," said Harry. "Good to see you too! And Luna, how are you?"

"Exceptionally well," said Luna in a dreamy voice. "There is so much positive force in this room right now. Everyone's aura is glowing so brightly."

Hermione said, "I see some people here that I haven't met."

"They are DA members from last year when you were away," said Luna. "We are going to continue the DA meetings this year too. Headmistress McGonagall is very supportive. You are both welcome to give a lesson whenever you want."

"I might just take you up on that Luna," said Harry. "I'll let you know."

Neville said, "Harry, Hermione, will you be attending classes at Hogwarts this year?"

"Yes, we will," said Hermione. "Mostly evening classes though."

"That's great! It will be nice to see each of you a bit more often. You know, they are making dinner available if you come before your evening classes."

"Yeah, I heard that," said Harry. "Another good reason to come early."

"Hi Hermione! Hi Harry!" said Ginny giving each of them a hug. "Isn't it wonderful to see our friends again!"

"Yes, it's great," said Harry. "Everyone seems to be doing really well."

Ginny said, "McGonagall says there is a lot of interest in the DA. She's leaving it up to the club's judgment but recommends membership to individuals in fifth year or above. She said older students are more ready to make the necessary study and practice commitment."

Neville said, "Charmed coins are the official membership badge used by the club now. That was a brilliant idea Hermione."

"Thanks Neville," smiled Hermione.

The door to the staff room opened and a woman slowly entered. "It's Lavender!" said Neville. "She was discharged from St. Mungo's just the other day. I've been visiting her when I go to see my Mum and Dad. She's still healing but expected to make a full recovery in time."

People were greeting Lavender and wishing her well as she slowly made her way into the room. Lavender and Hermione caught each other's eye and they both moved toward each other. They embraced and whispered in each other's ear.

"Lavender, I've been so ashamed of the way I treated you in sixth year. Please forgive me."

"Oh Hermione, I need to thank you. From what I've been told, another second and his bite would have made my life so very different."

"We need to spend some time together soon," said Hermione.

"I'd like that very much," said Lavender.

"Your attention please." McGonagall was standing inside the door leading to the Great Hall. "Would each of you please take a seat in the Great Hall. We are ready to begin."

They filed out and sat in the section she had indicated. The Great Hall somehow seemed bigger and was filled to capacity with people quietly talking. Instead of the dining tables, many rows of chairs had been setup with aisles down the middle and sides. People were standing in the back and along the walls. A photographer was moving around taking pictures. In the front of the hall, in place of the teacher's table, there were seated two rows of teachers and dignitaries from the Ministry. There was an aisle that separated these seats into left and right sections. It was easy to see that there was a stone missing from the back wall. A podium stood partway to the left side. Headmistress McGonagall stepped to the podium and the room fell silent.

Holding her hands raised and in a loud voice, she said, "It is my great pleasure to welcome you again to Hogwarts."  There was loud applause and cheering at these words.

When silence returned, McGonagall continued. "To our distinguished guests, students past and present, families, friends and faculty gathered here today. Through your support, encouragement and generosity, Hogwarts has been restored and will begin normal term in a few days. We gather here today to rededicate the school and to thank those who have given so much in service and its defense. So, without further ado, I would ask you to welcome the Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt."

Everyone applauded as Kingsley walked to the podium.

"Thank you, headmistress McGonagall. Hogwarts is once again the place we all remember and cherish in our hearts. Well done indeed!" There was more applause.

"Friends, these last few years have brought turmoil, destruction and death to so much we hold dearest in our world. Some of it can be mended and restored in time. But some of it ... is lost forever. Professor Flitwick, if you would present the commemoration."

Professor Flitwick stepped forward and waved his wand. A pedestal and stand appeared opposite the podium on the right side. With another flick of his wand, a large plaque appeared and floated to its place on the stand. The plaque contained an ornately framed area. Within the frame, a magical moving image of a fallen defender was seen. The framed image periodically changed. Below the framed image, a commemoration was engraved.  

Kingsley said, "This commemoration honors those who were lost in the great battle of Hogwarts this year. It will serve to remind us of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of Hogwarts and the ideals is teaches. We are awed by their courage and strength of character. They inspire us to see beyond ourselves. To strive to make the world a better place for all. Please observe with me a moment of silence for our lost friends and loved ones."

Harry had his arm around Hermione. He glanced around at his friends. Katie held Ron's hand as he stared motionless at the plaque. Ginny had tears in her eyes sitting between Neville and Ben holding each of their hands. Neville had an expression of pride on his face and was holding Luna's hand. Luna was smiling with tears in her eyes. But it seemed to Harry, by the expression on her face, that Luna's tears were not of sorrow but of joy. She seemed to be seeing beyond the loss. It reminded Harry of what he and Luna had heard from beyond the veil in the department of mysteries.  

"Thank you," said Kingsley. "The commemoration will be permanently mounted in the entrance hall. I encourage you to have a closer look at the conclusion of this ceremony."

"I would now like to introduce to you Tiberius Ogden, head of the governors for Hogwarts School."

Tiberius stepped to the podium and motioned to Flitwick. Professor Flitwick stepped forward again and waved his wand. A stone floated to the center of the hall.

Tiberius said, "This is the final stone to be replaced. It bears the names of those who have contributed in so many ways to the reconstruction of Hogwarts. I would ask that the governors please take their places along the aisles."

The governors all stood and moved to the side aisles; six on each side and equally spread along the length. They each raised their wands and pointed toward the ceiling of the Great Hall. The final stone then began to float toward the opening in the back wall.

Pointing his wand toward the ceiling, Tiberius said, "We rededicate Hogwarts to the education of witches and wizards. May it stand today and into the future as a pillar of strength, a source of knowledge, and a beacon for those values that empower the good in us all. May the wisdom of its founders, the conviction of those who have served throughout its history, and the ongoing efforts of its staff and professors today, continue to faithfully enrich the lives of all who enter into this hallowed Great Hall."

As the stone fit into place, Tiberius said, "Dedicavit ad veritatem et scientiam". (Dedicated to truth and knowledge)

A glow emanated from the final stone and quickly spread to the walls. Everyone watched as the four walls began to glow. The glow rose toward the ceiling, guided by the twelve governors. It joined and formed a canopy high over everyone's head. There was a brief flash of light, a rumble of thunder and then the enchanted ceiling came to life again. A blue sky dotted with small puffy clouds became visible. The silence erupted into applause and cheering!

The governors returned to their seats. Kingsley stepped to the podium and the Great Hall fell silent again. "Tiberius, governors, thank you."

"The Ministry of Magic will now recognize those who have long demonstrated the highest regard for others in the face of adversity. Will the following individuals please step forward: Hannah Abbott, Katie Bell, Susan Bones, Terry Boot, Lavender Brown, Cho Chang, Michael Corner, Seamus Finnigan, Anthony Goldstein, Angelina Johnson, Lee Jordan, Ernie Macmillan, Cormac McLaggen, Padma Patil, Parvati Patil, Leanne Spinks, Alicia Spinnet, Dean Thomas, Romilda Vane, George Weasley, and Nigel Wolpert."

They came forward and stood shoulder-to-shoulder facing the assembly.

"Will Dennis Creevey step forward to accept posthumously for Colin Creevey. Will Arthur Weasley step forward to accept posthumously for Fred Weasley."

"By the authority vested in me by the Ministry of Magic, I confer on each of you, 'Order of Merlin 3rd Class' with all associated rights and privileges." There was applause and cheering.

A bronze medal on a charcoal black cord appeared and hovered before each of them. Then, each cord threaded itself around the neck of its recipient. A green vine began to spiral-wind itself down the cord from behind the neck toward the medal. An emerald leaf inlay appeared around its edge. The medal shimmered. It contained an image of Merlin who looked out with an expression of satisfaction and pride. Made of the purest bronze metal, the image appeared life-like and moved occasionally.

The recipients all fidgeted in embarrassment but were happy and smiling broadly. Kingsley and the Ministry officials moved among them shaking hands and congratulating them. The applause subsided and they return to their seats.

After a short pause Kingsley said, "The Ministry of Magic will now recognize three individuals who have demonstrated leadership, fortitude and tenacity in the face of affliction. Their courage and bravery rescued many from unjust and deplorable circumstances. Through their selfless efforts, they prepared the way for what was yet to come. Will Neville Longbottom, Ginevra Weasley, and Luna Lovegood please step forward."

There was shock and surprise on their faces as they came forward and faced the assembly. Neville held the hand of Ginny and Luna on each side of him.

"By the authority vested in me by the Ministry of Magic, I confer on each of you, 'Order of Merlin 2nd Class' with all associated rights and privileges." The assembly applauded and cheered.

A shimmering silver medal appeared before each them. As before, the cord threaded itself around their necks. A blue vine spiral wound itself down the cord from behind the neck. A sapphire leaf inlay appeared around the edge of the medal. There were silver points of light that sparkled like stars in the inlay surrounding the life-like image of Merlin.

Neville, Ginny and Luna smiled for a moment and then turned and hugged each other. They were happy and very moved by the honor they had just received. Kingsley and the Ministry officials congratulated them.

After they returned to their seats, Kingsley said, "For the final award, it is hard to know where to begin." The hall was completely silent now. There was an intense focus by all present to clearly hear the words about to be spoken. Harry, Ron and Hermione glanced at each other and saw an uneasy expression on each of their faces.

Kingsley said, "These individuals have been united in a quest to defeat evil and defend justice since the first year they entered this Great Hall. The journey was often difficult, filled with hardships and dangers to each of their lives. They chose to walk this path guided by faith in a mentor and trust in each other. In doing so, they have shown courage, fortitude and love for both the wizard and muggle worlds. These worlds are a safer place today because of their selfless efforts. Will Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley please step forward."

They got up and took their place in front of the assembly. Hermione, between them, took hold of Ron and Harry's hand. As they looked out at the assembly, they saw wonder, admiration, and happiness in the eyes of those looking back at them. They heard a rustling sound behind them. Glancing over their shoulders, they saw that the Ministry officials and governors had all stood.

Kingsley said; "With pride, admiration of your noble accomplishments and the authority vested in me by the Ministry of Magic, I confer on each of you, 'Order of Merlin 1st Class' with all associated rights and privileges." The assembly rose to their feet and broke into thunderous applause and cheering.

A shimmering gold medal appeared before each them. Then the cord threaded itself around their necks. A crimson vine spiral wound itself down the cord from behind the neck. A ruby leaf inlay appeared around the edge of the medal. There were points of gold light that sparkled like stars in the inlay surrounding the image of Merlin.

Kingsley and the ministers congratulated them. The applause went on and on, cheering and shouting of their names. Harry, Hermione and Ron beamed at each other, Hermione through tears of joy. They embraced each other with warm and affectionate hugs. After a moment, Harry went over to Kingsley and spoke in his ear. Kingsley nodded and stepped back from the podium as Harry moved to stand behind it. Hermione and Ron moved to stand on each side. Harry motioned to those gathered and the applause fell silent. The assembly seated themselves.

Harry said, "Um... I just want a quick word to say how honored and overwhelmed we are." His voice became shaky and he looked down for a moment. Hermione moved close, took his hand and gently squeezed it. Ron put his hand on Harry's shoulder.

After a short moment, Harry looked up and said, "Thank you to those who taught us here at Hogwarts and encouraged us by the sharing of your knowledge and collective wisdom. Thanks to Severus Snape who taught us bravery. Thanks to Albus Dumbledore who taught us the power of love. Thanks to the families and friends who defended and sheltered us. Thanks to our friends in the DA, you've kept the spirit alive. Thanks to all of you here present for your faith and trust in us. And most of all, thank you to my two best friends for being by my side through it all."

The assembly applauded and cheered. Harry, Ron and Hermione exchanged a warm glance with each other and then returned to their seats.

McGonagall stepped to the podium. "Thank you for those kind words. I wish to extend my congratulations to all of you who were honored today. We, and Hogwarts, are very proud of you. This concludes the formal activities. Please feel free to remain and partake in refreshments. For the remainder of the afternoon, Hogwarts will be an open house so that you might leisurely look around the classrooms and castle grounds. Please enjoy your stay. Thank you."

People got up from their seats and began talking and milling about. The DA members excitedly congratulated each other and then began to leave to be with family and loved ones. Harry and Hermione stayed close to each other, as did Ron and Katie. Their senses became dulled as people smothered them with congratulations, saying how much they deserved the recognition and shaking their hands. Eventually, they made their way to the refreshment table and then went outside onto the grounds. A bit later, Ginny, Ben and a few others came over to them smiling.

Ginny said, "How about a friendly game of quidditch? The pitch is ready and there are recently donated school brooms in the team rooms. McGonagall said it was okay."

A broad smile came to Harry, Ron and Katie. Harry looked at Hermione. She smiled and nodded back saying, "Go have some fun. I'll get my parents and we'll watch from the stands. They've never seen quidditch."

Harry gave her a quick hug and a kiss. Then, he joined the others as they headed to the pitch. A while later, there were double the normal number of players on each team. The stands held a large number of people who were talking to each other and watching the loosely played game. The team members mostly just chased each other, laughed and passed the quaffle to one other. They zoomed about and raced up and down the pitch. It was an enjoyable and wonderful afternoon.

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