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An Auror and Music

By MarshalofMontival


Chapter 1

As the applause for the last song faded away, the band’s singer took a quick swallow from the bottle of water standing by the base of his microphone and cleared his throat.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this next ballad is in honor of those who died in the First and Second Wizarding Wars. It is about a young Irish soldier named William McBride, who was deployed to Western Front of World War 1, and there joined the 18 million men who didn’t return home.”

He swallowed as the pianist keyed the first few chords of the song and then began to sing in his strong baritone.

Oh how do you do, young Willy McBride
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside
And rest for a while in the warm summer sun
I've been walking all day, and I'm nearly done.
And I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen
When you joined the great fallen in 1916.
Well I hope you died quick
And I hope you died clean.
Or Willy McBride, was it slow and obscene?

Did they beat the drums slowly?
Did they play the fife lowly?
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down?
Did the band play the last post and chorus?
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest?

In one of the Ministerial boxes, a grizzled veteran Auror let out the breath he’d been holding. He had fully expected a horrible rendition of a song that he felt encompassed the ultimate futility of war. But his fears had been laid to rest by the singers strong, clear baritone voice and the soulful quality of the mingled piano and tin whistle.

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind?
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined?
And though you died back in 1916
To that loyal heart you're forever nineteen.
Or are you a stranger without even a name
Forever enshrined behind some old glass pane?
In an old photograph torn, tattered, and stained
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame.

Did they beat the drums slowly?
Did they play the fife lowly?
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down?
Did the band play the last post and chorus?
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest?

The Auror remembered the funeral he had attended the weekend before. It had been a young Auror, this time; a reminder, as if it was needed, that the most vulnerable things to be in combat were an NCO, an officer, or a raw recruit. This one had gotten married only four months before his death, and his wife was expecting their first child. She had managed to maintain her composure throughout the funeral, but afterwards she had spent a full half-hour watering her husband’s grave with her tears. He knew that the paperwork for benefits was horrendous, but he would flex whatever muscle he needed to expedite hers. It was the least he could do.

The sun shining down on these green fields of France;
The warm wind blows gently and the red poppies dance.
The trenches have vanished long under the plow;
No gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard that's still no man’s land
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
And a whole generation were butchered and damned.

Did they beat the drums slowly?
Did they play the fife lowly?
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down?
Did the band play the last post and chorus?
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest?

Every year on the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, he went to the memorial that had been erected on the grounds and laid a laurel wreath. To the Romans, such a wreath had crowned a general who was given a triumph. The dead buried there had given everything they had for one reason. The reason which he had had inscribed on the plaque that was the centerpiece of the whole construct. Peace and freedom for all mankind.

And I can't help but wonder oh Willy McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause?
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing and dying it was all done in vain.
Oh Willy McBride it all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again.

There were still Death Eaters out there, or rather, those who claimed to be the successors of the Death Eaters. For every criminal he put away, it seemed that two took their place. He had made his peace with that long ago. He could not save everyone, or stop every criminal. But those that he could save, he made certain that they were. And those criminals he could stop were stopped. By any means necessary. That was attested to the Auror Corps’ new policy, supported by the Ministry and by the public. Where the criminal was a proven murderer, a rapist, or a terrorist, all bets as to his survival were off. Officially, he was to be arrested and brought in alive to stand trial if possible, but unofficially, he, or she, was fair game the second the scarred veteran who headed the Aurors issued the phrase lupus caput eius erit. Let his be a wolf’s head.

Did they beat the drums slowly?
Did they play the fife lowly?
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down?
Did the band play the last post and chorus?
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest?

Every time an Auror died, he made sure of two things. Firstly, that the funeral was given with full military honors. They were soldiers, and they deserved to be sent off as such. Secondly, that he attended the funeral. They were his soldiers; they had sworn themselves to him as their commander along with the Ministry as their paymaster and the Wizengamot as their conscience. It was his obligation in turn to honor them as they were interred with the old heroes.

Did they beat the drums slowly?
Did they play the fife lowly?
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down?
Did the band play the last post and chorus?
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest?

The singer noticed the scarred Auror in the Ministry box and smiled even more broadly. It wasn’t every day that you got a standing ovation from Harry Potter, was it?

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, MarshalofMontival
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