The only thing Hermione focuses on as she walks out of the castle is the way Ron's hand fits so perfectly with hers – not the rubble lying on the floor, and definitely not the bundles that litter the corridors here and there.
Ron has always been tall, but he's never really felt it until now. He'll shrink later, when he looks at – at the body (because if he even thinks it he's going to start crying for his mum, and he is a man now), but for the moment, he can play pretend.
Suddenly, everything seems so hilarious to Harry. Ron and Hermione are – giggle – holding hands, that piece of wall isn't part of the wall anymore and – ha, ha – where did that staircase go? But he can't laugh, not when the bodies are silent. Then they emerge and the sunlight hits his face and he manages a smile. It's enough.
Once upon a time, two boys and a girl left everything they had ever known to save the world.
Once upon a time, two boys and a girl became two men and a woman, because to save the world, they had to grow up.
Once upon a time, a man and a woman fell in love, and they jumped in before it was too late.
Once upon a time, a man said good-bye to two of the three people he loved the most, so the third couldn't have a chance to tell him no.
Once upon a time, they said hello.
They join hands and stand together, three parts of the same whole, able to be cracked but not broken, eternally strong. They do not look back.
The story begins.
Long live Harry Potter.