Dislaimer: I own very little, and none of what I own consists of any form of copyright. I have never yet been paid for writing and, while that may not always be the case, it is for now. All characters and plot are the property of JK Rowling and the companies involved in bringing Harry Potter to the public, whether by printed page or by glowing screen.

On with it...

The Long Walk

It's strange. What you think about with your life on the line, I mean. I've heard and read about 'the long walk' before now, but I never expected to experience it myself. The movies and stories of the American 'Old West' talk about it before gun fights, the long walk. It is sometimes mentioned when talking about those on their way to their own death, be it at the gallows, a firing squad or the Veil in the Death Chamber.

But I never expected to experience it myself. Isn't it strange where life leads.

Going over my life as I've been crossing the ground between the castle and the forest, it's disappointing how little enjoyment I've had out of life. They speak of living life to its fullest, but how, exactly, does one go about doing so? Do you wake up each day and do something new? Do you wake up and pursue your favorite activity? What about just enjoying what comes?

Is there an option that includes being raised as a slave, to relatives that hate you? To growing up with a cupboard as a bedroom? What about having to perform annual 'hero duties' to save your school and the world starting at eleven despite the lies and condescension of those who should be responsible for the world?

What should one do before they die? Doesn't the line go 'live, laugh, love'? When have I lived? Possibly for that moment at the zoo. Most of first year was pretty good, I finally had friends and there weren't very many attempts on my life. Second year… no, Hermione was petrified and everyone thought I was the Heir of Slytherin. Third year? Maybe I lived for third year, I finally found that I had family left, Moony and Padfoot, although it didn't last very long… Third year was good. Not fourth year, although the alone time with my best friend was great, but I didn't ask her to the Ball and then Ron ruined it for her, and that's even before the whole Third Task fiasco, so no, not fourth year. Don't even get me started on fifth year, Umbridge and the Inquistorial Squad, the DA wasn't bad though… Sixth year was a mess even before Dumbledore died and the less said about it the better. This last year… it was interesting, dancing with Hermione was great, but the rest I would prefer to forget…

So that is where I stand. Perhaps a few total years of living. When did I laugh? It's hard to remember the last time I laughed. I know I've done it before, at least I think I did. But did I ever laugh with abandon, from pure enjoyment of an activity? Perhaps when I used to fly before or after Quidditch? I don't remember… I think I remember laughing with Hermione and Ron back in the early years, but it's so hard to really recall those times now.

I must have laughed, sometime. Did I love? Well, I began this walk a virgin, but I suspect they meant the line more philosophically rather than physically. Ha! A family type love? Obviously whoever came up with that idea had never met my relatives. Romantic love? Not Cho, that was simply physical attraction, what, after all, did I know about her? Ginny, come on… the fangirl? She was a nice distraction while I thought that Hermione was with Ron, but marriage material? You've got to be kidding me. Hermione, OK, I've loved… We finally got together right before Ron came back to the tent that night, unfortunately we haven't had any time alone since then. I've had one true kiss before this night. I will have to say I have loved, maybe not long, but I have loved.

I hated having to leave Hermione back there. Hopefully she'll understand when all is revealed.

I see a fire ahead, it seems that I have arrived. Forward, into the breach once more we go…

…Well, that was anticlimactic. Tommy died fairly easily after all of that, and it seems that we didn't even suffer all that many casualties. It seems that the Dark Lord should have rounded up a bit more assistance before coming here tonight... we will have to think about cleaning up the Ministry later, but for now, I need to find Hermione...

A/N: I'm not really sure how good this story is or who might like it, so I would appreciate any feedback that you would be willing to send my way. I have quite a few longer projects planned, but I have no idea when and/or if they will become viable chapters and stories, so please tell me what I did right and where I need to improve. Thank you.