This is the end.  It's been a long and wild journey.  Thanks for all the wonderful reviews and for all the not so wonderful ones, too.

Part Forty-Eight:  Epilogue

ALREADY?

Kailah Weasley

Five years have gone by and I'm still having a hard time believing it.

Last Saturday marked my five-year anniversary for graduating from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  As class of 1998, I attended Hogwarts with some of the bigger names emerging today in the wizarding world such as Draco Malfoy of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad in the Ministry of Magic, Hermione Granger, Auror, Padma Patil, a counselor at Saint Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, and, of course, Harry Potter, who is known for more things than I can count.  All of these people, in addition to the attributes I have named here, can also count me as a classmate and a friend.

Funny how nostalgia can hit you when you least expect it.  I don't recall a phrase any of my friends must have thought or said more than a similar sentiment.  It is curious how things turn out, especially in a world full of so much chaos.  I transferred to Hogwarts just before my seventh year to live with my father, the infamous Potions Master Severus Snape who many a Hogwarts student after the year 1982 will remember as being evil.  I wandered into the compartment of the Boy-Who-Lived and I still can't get him to go away.  In fact, I just had dinner with him last week along with his charming fiancé, the same Draco Malfoy that I mentioned before.

I was sorted into Gryffindor and taken under the wings of Harry, who insisted my father was like a giant bat that's sole purpose in life was to have him expelled.  My year fell into a whirlwind involving the beginning of many relationships that are currently in states faring better or worse than others.  Draco and Harry, one of the biggest surprises to ever be announced, was only among one of them.  I witnessed the inception of Padma Patil and Justin Finch-Fletchley, Hermione Granger and my cousin, Servius Atwater, David Moon and Blaise Zabini, and my own with Ronald Weasley.

Typically I don't write about my friends for the sole purpose of doing so but my mind has been so focused on how time has changed since we stepped off the Hogwarts Express after graduation that I can't derail.  So many things changed that year and it was a momentous one for us all.  Hermione said at our graduation that the seven years of memories should be kept in our hearts.  I don't know about anyone else as I only had one, but they've remained just as close as my love for my father, my husband, and my daughter.

Things have changed since Hogwarts.  Harry, who became a sports reporter for the Daily Prophet after graduation, left the job only a year later at the urging of Draco.  Fans of Harry's know that he played Seeker for the Appleby Arrows for two years before being traded to the Chudley Cannons, something I hate.  Honestly, if your husband loved the team so much he tried to make your entire sitting room orange, you'd hate the team, too.  I've been to more Cannons games, thanks to Harry, than I would have ever cared for.  Ron, however, is the happiest husband I could ever have.

Draco, who surprised everyone when he sold Malfoy Manor and freed the house elves after his mother moved to a smaller flat, is still at the Ministry.  I can still picture him at our Graduation Ball whining about how the late Albus Dumbledore (may he rest in peace) thought he would be entertained as a member of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad.  He didn't want to be doing paperwork for years but lucky for Draco that he became an active member less than two years there.  Harry's traveling causes problems with their relationship at times (and they fight more than Ron or I do) but it's always in a good nature and Draco now travels with Harry, apparating or flying back when the ministry insists he needs to be there.

The biggest thing that changed, which we all endured together, was the death of Lucius Malfoy only four months ago.  In 1997 the dementors of Azkaban issued an illegal dementor's kiss on the elder Malfoy, and though the readers may think this is a horrible injustice, they never had to sit next to Draco, his only son, and hear him talk about the after effects.  Since graduation, Draco had seen his father twice, and now that the body is dead (as Draco insists Lucius died with his soul), he has started to really move on.  Not to be insensitive, but it gives me the warm and fuzzies.

In addition to the many trials Draco has endured, he has gone public with his former addiction of self-mutilation.  Harry and Draco are often raising funds for Saint Mungo's Hospital to help those with the same problems Draco himself faced.  There isn't a person I admire more in this world than Draco Malfoy.  He's been through so much and to have gotten over his addiction, to no longer have the urge to mutilate himself, makes him the strongest person in my eyes.

Hermione Granger is the only girl I really had around me, which was partly my doing as I avoided some of the other girls in my year who were far more interested in hair and nails than important issues or schoolwork.  She was unfortunate enough to fall for my cousin, Servius Atwater.  They are both Aurors and in Japan as I write this column of nostalgia.  This couple forever frustrates me because it took them weeks to get together despite the fact they were flirting nonstop the entire time (though the same could be said for Ron and myself).  Servius and Hermione are always off-again and on-again.  Currently they are on-again but anything could really happen.  As for my opinion because I can never resist dropping in my two knuts?  They should just commit and get over it.  I know they want to.

Sadly, Blaise Zabini and David Moon broke up a few months after graduation, though they remain friends.  They've been through a series of relationships since and David just got out of a two-year relationship.  Blaise, however, is about to celebrate one year with another Ministry employee, Brian Hugo, an openly gay figure in the wizard community.  I'm thrilled with this pair and let it be known that Blaise deserves to be happy.  Draco put him through so much that Blaise could have no obstacles for the rest of his life and still have had too many to face.

As for me?  Readers of my column will know that I'll be married for five years in December to Ronald Weasley of the Ministry of Magic.  My darling husband works in the Committee of Experimental Charms and entertains himself wandering around our home near Diagon Alley mumbling about various things he thinks should be presented to the committee.  Our four-year-old daughter, Saradonna, thinks he's lost his sanity and though I sometimes agree, I just insist that Daddy is working.  Readers of my column should also feel for poor Saradonna as I tend to mumble to myself about column ideas.  Two crazy parents is a lot to ask a four year old to deal with, not to mention a crazy godfather in Harry Potter.

Five years and we've all come so far so why does it feel like it just happened yesterday?

I suppose it's the hex of growing up and I forgot the countercurse.

And that's it.  The epic that is Falling.  Thanks for sticking around.  Loved it?  Hated it?  Let me know in a REVIEW or drop me a line at angeldlsm00@hotmail.com.  If you email me, I promise to write back, but I won't be responding to reviews.  You can also contact me via AOL Instant Messenger.  My screen name is LavnderRain00.

Thanks to everyone who read and reviewed or read and didn't review.  For those who've been reading since Chapter One, it's finally over!  Who'd have ever thought we'd get to the end?  For those who joined us along the way, we're glad to have you.  For those who will read this weeks and months to come, hope you liked it.

Will be some time until you see something from me again.  Check out my author page if you'd like to read more of my work.  Next story, the Life Left Behind Sequel.  Joel returns!  Ha ha!