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I. Hate. The Ministry. Honestly, I do. They gave me a list, yesterday, of all of the funerals I’m meant to attend, and the part I’ll play in each of the ceremonies. Of course, this is the first one. It had to be the first one. The one where the entire world gets to see what kind of man I am.

I didn’t really understand what most of the list meant. Ron had to explain most of it, Hermione had never quite got round to researching burial traditions. Well, she will now. In this funeral, I get to write the epitaph. Yeah. I write the bit that goes on the stone.

I don’t know why I’m so worried about what I put on the stone. It’s not as if there are any actual mourners. They’re all here to spit on the grave, or to take photographs to prove he’s dead.

That’s a lie. I do know why I’m so worried. Whatever I put, reflects on me. If I put something nice, then I’m a sap. If I put something nasty, I’m as bad as him. And, Merlin knows, there are enough people worried that I’ll be the next Dark Lord as it is.

I’m really tempted to put a Muggle saying on it. He hated Muggles, it would serve him right. Nobody would know it though, so all of the irony would be lost.

This is the first funeral. How amazingly clever is that? The first one to be buried, to be remembered is the man we all want to forget. I don’t particularly care that he’s dead, other than to be glad he won’t harm anyone else. He was a real bastard.

Maybe I could put that. Bastard. Succinct, and oh-so-honest. After all, Dumbledore never told me that his parents were married - something to do with a love potion I think.

This is horrible though. I don’t want to remember him. I want to forget him. I want to forget my whole life. If he hadn’t existed, just how much better could my life have been? I’d have parents. I’d have a godfather. I’d have Dumbledore.

But without him, would I have known Hermione and Ron so well? Would there have been any need for the Order of the Phoenix, would I have known any of those people? It’s weird to think of it, but he made me who I am today. Without him, I’d be nothing.

I think Dumbledore would want me to put something forgiving. Yes, that’s what Dumbledore would do. He’d write about him as a boy. Prefect, Head Boy, Heir of Slytherin. No, let’s not even go into the basilisk area.

Speaking of Basilisks, what would Ginny think if she saw that? After all, that’s what he used her for, isn’t it? No, I can’t write anything that would hurt my sweet Ginny. I’m so glad she forgave me. I suppose killing the man who’s haunted her nightmares since she was eleven only helped my suit, but I’m just glad I have her back in my arms.

Maybe I should just put his alter-ego on the grave. Lord Voldemort. Or is that me giving him what he wants? Should I give him what he wants? He’s dead, after all, and a name is nothing to be feared. No. I won’t put that there. It wasn’t his real name.

What else is there to write? Hated, would fit in, but I’m pretty sure that Rita Skeeter doesn’t need any fuel added to her fire - if you listen to her and Umbridge, I’m the anti-christ.

Oooh, that’s a good one - Anti-Christ. It’s a pity that more of the Wizarding world aren’t religious enough to understand the connotations that go hand in hand with that phrase, or else I might be even more tempted to write that on his stone.

What about some of the names that me and Ron came up with? Mouldy-shorts? Voldy-poo? Or what about Fred and George’s U-No-Poo? No, I won’t be the one to ruin Fred and George’s good reputations.

What’s the first thing I think of when I think of him? Bastard. Other than that. Murderer. Sadist. Crazy. Insane. Deluded. Well, they’re all true, but I have the feeling that some of the as-yet-un-captured Death Eaters might just step up their efforts to get to me if I did.

 Half-Blood is tempting. Very tempting, considering the ideals he held. I’d love to see the faces of his followers once they saw that. Though, again, they would try to kill me again. Not that they don’t try that every other week or so.

It’d probably be a bad thing to write something comedic - I’d just get labelled as callous and unfeeling towards the families of his victims. Something serious then, I suppose. But what serious things could I put?

Statistics, perhaps? The amount of people he killed? But would that be the amount he killed personally or the amount he was responsible for killing? And what about the people whose lives were ruined? How do you measure the worth of a life? Do you count Muggles as well as Wizards? Creatures as well as humans? Would you count the Death Eaters forced into his service? As far as I know, there aren’t any statistics for this war, at least not until the Ministry takes it’s collective head out of its backside and actually does something worthwhile.

Aha. I think I have an idea. I’ll do a Snape. Something just this side of snide and snarky. My wand touches the stone as I say the words that will forever haunt the bastard.

The reporters descend on it, of course, they being the only ones who wish to see the grave. There are no mourners here. At least, none who mourn for the man who lies dead. No, those who are gathered here are more anxious to be sure that he is truly dead.

Rita Skeeter sidles up to me, her musty perfume clogging the air. Her Quick Quotes Quill hovers above a sheet of parchment, ready to write whatever I say.

“So, Harry darling, have you anything to say for the occasion?” she asks with a wink.

“All I had to say is written on that stone.” I tell her, pointing to the words.

Tom Marvolo Riddle

A lesson learned in failure.