A/N: I do not own anything associated with Harry Potter, that right is JK Rowling's. *Sigh*. The plot is mine though! *grins evilly* Lyrics belong to Coldplay (The Scientist).

A Lifetime In Ten Minutes

Nobody said it was easy,

Oh it's such a shame for us to part.

Nobody said it was easy,

No one ever said it would be so hard.

I'm goin' back to the start.

The grounds are still now. The bodies have been cleared. The grass is no longer stained with the loss of innocent life. And here I stand.

On the edge of the Forbidden Forest, the Whomping Willow still shakes, smoke still rises from Hagrid's hut, and the sun still beams onto the castle windows, reflecting a thousand fairy beams of every colour imaginable onto the churned grass. Everything is the same, yet nothing will be the same again.

I have waited what seems like a lifetime in ten minutes for this moment. I always had this huge list of things I might do, say and think. Yet now, standing here at the end, I find words escape me.

I guess I pictured this moment as somewhat monumental, a time for grand finales and constant celebrations leading up to that final minute when we will all stand together for the last time - after five years of living like a massive extended family. It hurts to say goodbye.

Nobody said it was easy, let's take it back to the start. Although filled with death and nightmares, the past seven years have been strangely wonderful, by far the worst and best years of my life.

When you can look someone in the eye and honestly say that you won't miss them, you don't love them anymore. If it is someone you have loved, there always will be a tinge of regret in your heart as you say that final goodbye. If it is someone you still love, that overwhelming feeling of guilt, regret, sorrow and slight insanity will always be there in the background, tugging on your heartstrings when all you want is to be alone. Saying goodbye is never forever, you do not truly let go of something until you do not need it, nor desire it. You cannot let go of someone if you still feel something for them, whether it be love, regret, guilt or hate.

It is always hard to believe that the end has come, but this is not the end, merely the end of the beginning. With the death of an era come knowledge, understanding and the ability to go on and face our mistakes with our heads held high and hearts on our sleeves. Sometimes recoiling from people and hiding our emotions can lead to misunderstanding and heartbreak rather than protection, and it is easy to wither away inside without the love and support of those around us. Every day the heartbreak grows a little stronger, until eventually the careful wall we have built around our hearts just crumbles. Emotions that we so carefully locked away emerge unwanted into the sunlight, and we make a right fool of ourselves trying to cover them up. It's hard to see the pain behind the mask. We all live in a world that we can't rise above. We can, however, float, if we only try.

We'll all look back at some point, and wonder what if... Things we'll never know, outcomes we will never explore. Maybe it is for the best.

I guess that this is all I have to say. Go and live life. Make it the best you could have. There are more important things in life than books and cleverness, things like friendship. Bravery. Love.

A lifetime in ten minutes.

Hermione J. Granger