A/N: I do not own Harry Potter. Nor any of the DC Comics Characters mentioned herein. But you knew that.
From there, everything went to hell.
Well, not between us. The 'trio' was intact and pleased with each other. Harry was happy for Hermione and me, and Hermione and I were having fun learning about the whole dating thing.
Which isn't to say everything was perfect. Hermione would threaten to write 'Viktor' whenever I annoyed her. That tended to bring me up short, mostly because I was never sure if she was serious.
No, it was the rest of the world that had gone insane.
It was the official position of the Ministry of Magic that Harry had lied about the return of Voldemort, and they had an active smear campaign against Harry and the Headmaster, aided and abetted by the Daily Prophet, the largest newspaper in Magical Britain.
Oddly enough, even though my father who worked at the Ministry had stories of havoc caused by a mysterious 'Orange Blur' throughout the Ministry building, no reports of this were ever in the paper.
Yeah, I've been known to hold grudges. Sue me.
Then Dementors attacked Harry's house. He and I were out at a movie (wonderful inventions, movies the one we were watching that day was about living Toys and I don't think I'd ever enjoyed time sitting in a darkened room without Hermione quite so much) when it happened, we returned to find his Aunt and Cousin soulless.
Harry of course, blamed himself. He descended into a deep funk that I'm not sure ever really completely went away.
Harry ended up at the Burrow for the last few weeks of the summer, which was great for my plan to keep an eye on him, but it really cut into my alone time with Hermione, though she understood and started taking the Knights bus out to see us. Hermione coming over amused Harry to no end, actually managed to bring him out of his depression. On the other hand, he seemed to have completely lost the concept of 'get the hell out of here'.
The Ministry installed a 'Senior Under Secretary to the Minister' also known as an arse kisser named Umbridge as the new DADA Professor, and she was a total waste of flesh. More than a little bigoted, and she simply hated Harry, making Snape appear to be kind and supportive by comparison.
She was also somewhat forgetful, somehow losing more than half a dozen wands in the first week, blaming the loss on an 'Orange Blur'
Then she assigned Harry detention. When he got back, he had words carved into the back of his right hand.
'I will not tell lies.' It was done with a blood quill. As the name suggests, that kind of quill uses the writer's blood as ink. They are used for contract work. She made Harry do lines with one.
Yeah, she was a bitch. She somehow, accidently, ended up sealed in her room without her wand. On an unrelated note, did you know that if you apply enough friction to stone, it will flow into the crevasses of a door frame and seal the door into place?
It was three days before anyone went looking for her, and it took most of a day to get her out. She left the castle for good not long after. That was at least one DADA Professor who wasn't going to try to kill Harry… at least not within that job description.
Her replacement was an Auror named Tonks and she was nothing like any Professor we had in class before.
To start with, she was young. I remember her coming to the Burrow once or twice with Charlie the summer after his sixth year. I'm pretty sure Charlie was trying to get into her robes, and he may even have succeeded.
With the arrival of Auror Tonks, the tone of 5th year changed radically. Instructions came down from the Ministry naming her a 'High Inquisitor' whatever that was, The end result is that she would show up at random classes to evaluate the professors, which mostly seemed to be a classic meeting of favorite teachers by former students, not terribly different than what happened when Professor McGonagall came to visit my parents.
Tonks also supported and indeed ended up sponsoring the 'Defense Association' that Hermione had talked Harry into forming when it became clear that Umbridge wasn't going to teach us anything.
A week before Sixth year began the Death Eaters staged a raid on the Ministry, led by Voldemort himself, one that was witnessed by almost the entire ministry when the Death Eaters ended up waiting for an ambush that didn't happen.
Harry had been seeing visions of the Department of Mysteries for months, they culminated in him waking up in the room we were sharing screaming that Voldemort was torturing Sirius Black.
I've never been the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I could recognize a trap when I see one, and this was a trap. Harry was dressing to try to rescue his Godfather, while I excused myself to visit the loo.
The trip to #12 Grimmauld Place took less than a second, and I found Sirius Black in bed with a pair of witches.
A pair of witches, and they weren't sleeping either. I paused for a moment to genuflect to my hero before returning to the Burrow. Once there I woke my Dad and together we talked Harry into flooing to #12 rather than the Ministry, 'to make sure Sirius was safe'.
Finding his Godfather only in danger of exhaustion and dehydration, (not to mention deliriously pleased with himself), Harry calmed down and understood that going to the Ministry would have been a bad idea. Dad called for the Headmaster, and Dumbledore mentioned the possibility that they were after a 'Prophecy Sphere' concerning Harry and Voldemort, further suggesting that they wanted Harry to prevent Voldemort from having to appear, because only the people the prophecy was about could touch the sphere.
I excused myself from the meeting to hit the loo… It occurred to me that I had better come up with a better excuse to duck out, or they were going to have me in Madam Pomfrey's tender loving care for bladder problems. Anyway, I went to retrieve the Prophecy Sphere. Actually finding the right one took forever, maybe two seconds, there were so damned many of the stupid things. But, I found it, and got it out of the Ministry, but not before inflicting a bit of damage, spreading the legend of the 'orange blur' to the Death Eaters.
Oh, come on, you're thinking like the typical wizard that Hermione was always complaining about.
No, that's not an unfair comparison.
No, it isn't. Think about it, the magic on the spheres prevented me from touching the sphere. It didn't prevent me from touching something that touched the sphere. I used a stick to tip the sphere into a plastic shopping bag.
I found them in the street on the way to the ministry. Come on, don't you guys have litter?
I gave it to Harry the next day, telling him that extraordinary efforts went into retrieving it before Voldemort could find it. I'm pretty sure that he thought that the Twins had gotten it and that I wasn't going to tell him so he could deny knowing anything about it.
I was getting pretty good at the whole Secret Identity thing.
Together, Harry, Hermione and I listened to the Prophecy. It turned out to our Divination Professor made the Prophecy to the Headmaster in 1990. I don't remember the details, but the gist was that the prophecy said that a child born at the end of July, and that this child, who both Dumbledore and Voldemort thought was Harry, had the power to defeat the Dark Lord.
Which I thought was a good thing, but Hermione really got panicked by the one part I can't forget because of her reaction: "and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives..."
Now, that sounded like nonsense to me, I mean both Harry and Voldemort were clearly living, but Hermione insisted that it meant that in order to beat Voldemort, Harry had to die.
At this point, Harry and I had taken Divination for two years, so I knew it was utter tripe, but Harry heard this evaluation from Hermione, so he decided that it must be true.
I almost hit him.
I got Hermione away from Harry as quick as I could, and for a change, I was the one yelling at her for being thoughtless with her words. She really hadn't considered how he might take her words. This was Harry we were talking about. If he thought allowing Voldemort to kill him would defeat the bastard, Harry would present himself before lunch.
And I was right. As soon as Hermione left for the day, Harry sunk back into his dark depression. It took most of the week we had left before school started to cheer him up. Even though he appeared to have gotten over his depression, I made sure to keep an eye on him, so that he didn't sneak off to be a martyr.
That wasn't happening. Not as long as I could run.
Sixth year was marginally better fifth, but only because we were at Hogwarts, and the Ministry wasn't. Out in the world, the Death Eaters were rampaging about, killing people.
I tried to help where I could, but even with my speed I couldn't be everywhere. One side effect of my trying is that stories of the 'Orange Blur' pretty much stopped being told. That struck me as odd until I realized the reason.
I had finally gotten fast enough to be invisible to the human eye.
I'm not trying to claim that Hogwarts was a little slice of heaven. Quite possibly the most horrible thing that had ever happened in the history of the world, happened at Hogwarts. After five long years, I had finally passed my O. W. L. exams and could drop Potions, and never have to have class with Snape again.
And the Bastard was now teaching Defense, a class that couldn't be dropped. At least we knew who was going to try to kill Harry that year.
Oh, quit laughing, you don't know what he was like.
Ignoring the insanity of Defense, Harry had his own issues that year. He insisted that Draco Malfoy was up to something.
Well, of course he was, the pampered daddy's boy was always up to something, but he was so pathetically ineffectual, why worry about him? Between classes, homework, time with Hermione, and my nightly patrols of magical Britain, who had time for a loser like Malfoy?
Then, three days before Christmas, 1997, the Burrow was attacked.
No one died, but it was a close thing. The reasons for our survival broke down to three factors. The Upgrades that Bill had been making for years to the family's wards, Harry's magical strength, and my speed.
The wards were the most effective factor, killing an even three dozen of the bastards before the came within range of the house. He explained that one of the minor Egyptian Wizard Princes used something like Voldemort's dark marks to control his followers in the second century of the old Kingdom, and that the priests of the time had developed wards against them. Through his work at Gringotts, Bill had gotten access to a Dark Mark and tweaked the old wards to recognized them as a threat.
Sometimes I really hated Bill. It was bad enough he had been a Quidditch Star and Head Boy at Hogwarts. Then he moved on to become the highest ranked and most highly paid Curse Breaker the Goblins employed, but then he came home that Christmas with a fiancé.
Fleur Delacour from the Triwizard Tournament. Quite possibly the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, and one who was madly in love with my older brother.
He considered himself the coolest man alive. Like I said, Bill was so completely hateable.
Only seventeen Death Eaters made it through after Bill's ward additions overloaded. Unfortunately, they were the most dangerous.
Harry was in the middle of the fight, showing just why he was the Dark Lord's primary target. He didn't know many spells, but the power he put into the ones he knew blew through the shields of the Death Eaters he was engaging. He took seven of the attackers out of the fight, maiming five of them beyond the help of any healer.
Mum all but sat on Gin to keep her out of the fight, because in her view Ginny was a child who shouldn't be in the fight. I don't think Ginny ever really forgave her for that. Dad didn't agree with Mum, but the middle of a battle was no place for an argument. He dedicated himself to preventing any of the Death Eaters from coming near the Weasley women.
He did too, though he lost his left leg at the knee to a cutting curse that prevented healing.
The Twins, Percy and Charlie were not at the house that night. Bill and Fleur ended up fighting back to back, between them, four Death Eaters died.
I dealt with the rest, not using any magic at all, but my speed, moving too fast for anyone to see me. I shattered limbs and ribs left and right, leaving five unconscious bodies in my wake. But I missed one.
Fenrir Greyback, the Alpha of Voldemort's werewolves packs was untransformed, since the full moon was two weeks away, but he still attacked Bill literally tooth and nail, savaging my oldest brother, and escaping in the confusion.
In the aftermath, it was discovered that no one knew what happened when an untransformed were bit someone. Bill was subjected to months of imprisonment, through several full moons to determine that no, he didn't transform…
Though the wounds on his face and chest never really healed, and he developed a taste for raw meat and blood, but he never transformed or lost himself to the beast. Through it all, Fleur stuck by him.
Damn it. He is the coolest man alive.
We all ended up at #12 Grimmauld Place with Sirius Black.
It was obvious to anyone who paid attention that this move was a recipe for disaster. So, of course, the adults all missed it completely.
I mean, who could have seen problems coming when you put my never met a rule she didn't like to enforce Mother into close quarters with the never met a rule he wouldn't break Sirius Black?
The fights started almost immediately.
My mother and I say this as someone who loves her dearly, believes that she is the queen of any house she is in. And that included Sirius' home, unfortunately.
Christmas was hellish, I think especially for Harry. Growing up the way he did, he never really developed much in the way of family coping skills. Seeing the woman he had come to see as a surrogate mother and the man he saw as his favorite uncle fighting was almost more than he could take.
Returning to school was a relief.
Once we were back, Harry picked up on his suspicion of Malfoy from where he left it in December. It turned out that he was right. By watching his map of the school and a bit of following Malfoy around while under his invisibility cloak, Harry finally figured out what the Slytherin git was up to.
He was working to repair a vanishing cabinet.
A vanishing cabinet.
Really? I don't know what a muggle magician would do with one; they come in pairs and need magic to work.
What? No, that would be silly. Vanishing cabinets are paired, you go in one and come out the other. Malfoy was trying to fix the one in Hogwarts so that he could smuggle Death Eaters into the castle, to do Merlin knows what.
"We destroyed it of course. The section I dealt with was nothing more than dust when I was finished.
There was some discussion in the Defense Association about just leaving the Vanishing Cabinet alone to keep Malfoy from trying something else, but we decided to remove the threat we knew about and hope the pathetic daddy's boy couldn't come up with a replacement plan in the six weeks left in the school year.
It was a safe choice. He didn't. 6th year ended with no great reveal, no fights, and for a change, the DADA Professor didn't try to kill Harry and he didn't end up in the Hospital Wing.
Though I still think that Snape was thinking about it the whole year.
We spent the summer, still at #12. Mum and Sirius had made something of a peace between them… or at least they weren't fighting anymore.
Harry and I were restricted to #12, so other than my nightly patrols, fighting the Death Eaters where I found them, we didn't get out much. Hermione visited as often as she could, and we even managed some alone time… When I could get Harry to take a bloody hint.
Summer crawled to an end and we were on the train to return for our last year. Hermione and I made our Prefect meeting and drew the first patrol. Search as I might, I never found Draco Malfoy on the train that day.
It appeared that his Dark Lord didn't take his failure in good humor. We returned to our compartment after our patrol and found Harry with Neville, Ginny and Luna, the girls were chattering happily away, Nev was deep into a book and Harry was dozing next to the window.
We happily joined in, raiding the Sweets cart when it came along, and playing games to pass the time.
Harry didn't wake up until we were 20 minutes away from Hogsmeade station. He suddenly sat up, gasping for breath.
"He's coming," Harry said when he regained his breath. "Tomorrow, he thinks we'll be too disorganized to offer any defense."
There was a time when I would have scoffed at the idea of Harry having a mental link to the Dark Lord, but I'd seen too much evidence of it over the years.
"Call the DA," I told Hermione. "We need to get ready.
It was still two minutes to our go time when the Surviving Death Eaters attacked.
Bastards. Ruining a perfectly good schedule with their impatience. Voldemort's hordes rampaged over the outer ward line as his wizards started their work to bring down the more dangerous wards.
The sunlight had kept the vampires from the fight, but there were at least three more giants, a flock of harpies, trolls, untransformed werewolves, Dementors, Banshees, and even Veela.
Harry and Hermione focus on the attack, and I was gone.
I was through the wards and on my way to the actual battle, a push here, and one of the masked idiots falls in front of the spell cast by his mate, I trip another and he falls into the wards, where the castle's magic will deal with him unpleasantly. I snatch wands from hands and keep moving, the wood burns off evenly to the point where it enters my aura.
I managed to trip one of the giants, and the lumbering brute started to fall as I moved on to my next target. Hermione had explained how vulnerable giants were to falling once, something about an 'inverse law' whatever that was. Even Hermione's 'simple' explanations tended to fly way over my head.
I spot Fenrir Greyback, and headed back to the castle to raid Snape's potions classroom. I search for the Greasy Git's personal tools and find his favorite silver stirring rod, then return to the battle before the Alpha of Voldemort's pack of Were's had time to blink. I drove the stirring rod into Greyback's neck.
This was the bastard who hurt my oldest brother, the man who ruined Remus Lupin's life and the lives of so many others. Even untransformed he was a threat... But, not any longer. There was something poetic about ending the monster's life with a treasured tool of another monster.
I was gone and had forgotten about Greyback before he realized that he had been stabbed in the neck with a silver rod. I made two dozen circles of the wardline, dealing with Death Eaters whenever they bunched together, using each against the others. I discovered that Banshees really don't like being punched in the throat when I did it to the first one I came across. So, to be fair, I did it to all the rest as well.
Yeah, I killed some of them, hell, I could have killed them all, but somehow, even in the midst of the battle, I just couldn't do it. The difference in our powers made it seem too much like murder. Murder was their game, not mine.
I came to a stop and scanned for more targets, something was happening on the edge of the wards near where Harry and Hermione were. I returned to my starting place, vibrating my way into my robes, still hanging in space, just in time to see that Hogwarts' famous wards no longer mattered.
I stared across the field, my mouth open in shock, as Voldemort simply stepped through the wards. Not good, was the single thought that flashed through my mind at that particular moment.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I noticed the wards arcing and spitting flashes of magic in the form of an arch around him, and I took in the silvery-grey mist that seemed to form that arch. The grass at his feet died, shriveling to a dead brown scrub at his passing. A tree too close to his approach, died. That was when I remembered Bill talking about the Death Wards he had encountered in a tomb in Egypt. Bill pronounced them as being horrifically dangerous, but he noted that they had to be anchored to a single spot.
It appeared that Voldemort had somehow figured out how to anchor a death ward to his body.
Bill had described death wards as being insanely dangerous, but easily disrupted... but I could not for the life of me, remember how you went about disrupting them. I turned to our supply pile to see if anything there triggered that memory, though if I told the truth, I could not even remember if Bill had ever actually told me just how one went about disrupting a death ward. Still, there was some consolation in the fact that magic could not pass through a death ward in either direction.
I searched through our supplies, marveling at the variety of different things someone had decided was important enough to bring along. A toilet seat? Who let Fred and George in on the choosing of what to bring? I was so absorbed in what I was doing; I almost missed it when Harry and Hermione both screamed my name.
"RON!" they chorused.
I turned to see what they were shouting about and discovered the green pulse of a Killing Curse inches from my face.
Lacking any other options, I kicked into high gear, and in the words of my cousin Wally, got the hell out of dodge. I hadn't vibrated out of my robes in my haste, and they burned off in the air friction almost immediately as I moved. Pulling my mask over my head, I reflected on how Mum was going to kill me for ruining my robes. The killing curse, having missed me, continued on into the supplies, striking some of the more volatile of George and Fred's donations, and was already starting to flare. The resulting explosion was going to be a big one. That much was obvious.
I was already moving toward Voldemort, and I had learned just how he had managed to throw an AK my way. The evil bastard had figured out a way to open holes in his death ward, just long enough for his outgoing spell to pass. I watched as the hole he had used to try and kill me started to close.
As I ran, the plan came together. I was going to vibrate through his ward, trust my aura to protect me, beat the hell out of Voldemort before he even knew I was there, break his ward anchor, and then position myself so that the explosion will mask my temporary disappearance.
Yeah, even then, I was still stupidly hung up on the whole 'secret identity' thing.
I hit my stride, moving faster than anyone other than Wally could follow, and was at the edge of Voldemort's ward before the flare of his killing curse had even cleared from his vision. It was going to be simple. Vibrate through, inflict grievous bodily harm, and be found where the explosion threw me. Easy.
I hit the Death Ward... and bounced. I landed in some bushes that quite literally exploded when they tried to absorb my speed. I sat quietly for several milliseconds while I tried to figure out what had just happened. Then, I was up and running again, only to have the same thing happen. Across the battlefield that now made up Hogwarts grounds people were frozen in place while fighting for their lives, and I couldn't break through this stupid ward. My aura, the thing that protected me while I was moving, was an artifact of life, while the Death Ward was an artifact of death. The two simply would not mix. I hit it again and again and again, thousands of impacts before Voldemort had his next heartbeat. And it made only the slightest difference. His Death Ward weakened ever so slightly.
It wasn't fair. For all of my power, for everything I could do, I couldn't stop the bastard. He was going to kill my friends. All because I wasn't fast enough.
I wasn't fast enough, echoed in my mind. I wasn't fast enou...
That's when it hit me. I needed to be faster. I always reached my highest speeds in straight runs. Turning slowed me down. No more turns I decided as I pushed myself ever faster.
"The faster a speedster runs, the further his aura extends from his body," Barry had told me once. I needed to hit the Death Ward hard with all the aura I could get. That meant speed.
I threw myself into the run. One foot in front of the other, faster, faster, faster. The world melted away, and I hit Voldemort's ward hard. I bounced off, pulling the new direction into my stride, moving through every obstacle in my way, buildings, people, even a huge ship off the coast as I once again set foot in Scotland and hit him with everything I had.
It was working. On the thirty fifth impact, I bounced, but not before sinking into the ward as if it were a deflating balloon. Forty three impacts allowed me to push far enough inside the now flexible ward that I could almost reach out and touch Voldemort before being thrown out again. On my seventy fifth strike, I manage to punch him firmly in his non-existent nose before I was thrown out on yet another around the world vector. Voldemort hadn't even noticed yet when I hit him again, this time a glancing blow to the kidneys. Again I hit him in the stomach as I returned again. And again, and again, and again.
The eighty-seventh impact shattered his Death Ward. Now he was mine.
I won't describe the beating I gave the bastard. Let it suffice to say that it got old after a while, and that there wasn't a healer in the world that would be able to fix all the things I'd done to him.
The explosion that the Killing Curse had set into motion was in full bloom. Hermione was staring at the fireball with tears just starting to flow down her face.
I was going to get so lucky when they found me in the tree.
Harry on the other hand had reacted to my apparent demise in a most Harry-like manner. A look of rage on his face, his wand whipping downward fast enough that I could actually see it start to move.
Perfect. That was my best friend there. I put Voldemort back onto his feet and zipped over to Harry. I curled my right hand around his and pushed his arm down to point at the Dark Dink, and add my will to Harry's and the spell he was thinking cast.
My will added to the spell's speed, giving Voldemort no chance of dodging, even if my beating had left him capable of conscious movement, and the bastard died.
Ok. Time to recover. I needed a change of clothes, and I needed a convenient place to be found, barely hanging on, having miraculously survived the horrific explosion. I had almost decided to head to the dorm for a quick change when I saw it.
A wraith was rising out of Voldemort's body. Just as I'd seen it do first year when he abandoned Quirrell to Harry's burning touch.
He wasn't dead. The bastard was still alive and as long as he was, Harry, Hermione, my family and all of our friends were still in danger.
I had to do something. But what? I hadn't been able to keep him from slipping away first year, what could I do?
Of course, I wasn't the same speedster I had been at 11. I was faster. I was stronger. I was...
Almost unbidden, something Barry said to us came to the front of my mind. "The Speed Force is a dangerous mistress, boys," he said to Wally and me. "As you get faster, you'll have to be careful. We aren't the first Speedsters. There have been many before us. You've both met Jay and Max for examples of those who came before us. When you get fast enough to get to the edge of the Speed Force, it starts to call to you, making you want to enter it. No one who has ever entered the Speed Force has ever come back. It's a one way trip."
You don't come back. That meant that anyone with me wouldn't come back either. I pulled Harry's unmoving body into a hug. "Take care of her," I whispered.
With a thought, I was standing in front of Hermione. I took her face in my hands and as gently as I could, kissed her statue like lips. I pulled away and thought that I might have seen a bit of awareness in her eyes.
Had I imparted a fraction of my speed into Hermione without noticing? Did she know? Would she understand?
I left my friends were they were and was standing over Voldemort's not quite yet cooling corpse. The wraith was almost a quarter inch from the body now. I passed my hand through it, trying to match the frequency of its existence. Everything has a frequency. It was just a matter of matching it.
It took two hundred tried before I got hold of his essence. I curled my hand into a fist, gripping him tight and started to run. My race around the world to defeat the Death Ward had been the fastest I had ever run. Now it was time to move even faster.
There are those who ask questions about how speedsters do the things they do.
A favorite is 'how do you stay in contact with the ground when you surpass 7 miles per second?' which is evidently something Muggles call 'escape velocity'.
Short answer: I have no idea. The 'science' behind what we do was Barry's thing. Me, I just run.
The world tunneled in front of me as I picked up speed, until I was moving through a universe of colors. Voldemort's essence started trying to move in my hand, and I felt a slight tickle in the back of my mind, something that Wally had taught me meant someone was trying to read my mind.
Voldemort was the only one there with me, so, it had to be him. A smile crossed my lips; he had tried to possess Harry once. That hadn't worked for him then, and now he was trying with me? I unleashed the controls on my mind and allowed it to go as fast as it wanted. Since the accident, my mind has always run faster than my body, and even though I was moving faster than almost anyone ever had, that had not changed. Voldemort... Tom Riddle accessed my mind when it was working faster than any he had ever imagined, much less encountered.
The wraith's screams made everything worth it.
Then the screams were drowned out by... something wonderful.
I hadn't yet reached the Speed Force, but it was calling to me. One time when Harry got hurt, Professor Dumbledore's phoenix Fawkes visited the hospital ward and sang to him so as to aid in the healing. I had never heard anything so beautiful. Until that moment. The song the Speed Force sang made phoenix song sound like fingernails on a slate. It was amazing, it was beautiful, and I wanted it, more than I wanted anything.
I just needed to go a little faster. I dug deep and kicked.
It was working. I forgot about Voldemort's wraith squirming in my hand, I forgot about the war, I forgot about all of my friends laying wounded on the grounds of Hogwarts, I forgot about Harry, I even forgot about Hermione. All I wanted, all I needed was to become one with the Speed Force. Each stride brought me closer to that goal and I would...
That's when I noticed I wasn't alone.
Matching my pace stride for stride was a Flash.
Not Barry, not Wally, not even Zoom... He was clad in black. It was the Black Flash. The Speed Force's incarnation of death.
After I got over the surprise at seeing the Black Flash, I found I wasn't really frightened.
Which, if you think about it, is an odd thing to realize when you're facing death.
I guess it was because I'd always known that the trip into the speed force was one way.
I found myself wondering what the protocol for greeting the aspect was. He (It?) was matching my pace exactly, his (it's?) form was perfect, exactly the way Barry tried to teach me to run, but I never really had. His (it's?) eyes were hidden behind it's mask but where the cowl exposed the face from the nose down nothing showed but a macabre skeletal jaw and teeth.
I remember thinking that this was what I suspected a dementor to look like under its robes. But unlike the aura of despair that a dementor offers, all I felt is peace. Peace and a longing for whatever is on the other side of the Speed Force. Barry was on the other side, and had been for years. Who knew what he could teach me now?
The Black Flash never looked at me; he simply altered his stride so that he was running at my side until we were shoulder to shoulder.
"This plane is not intended for one such as you," a voice said, coming from every direction. There was no indication that the Black clad speedster had spoken, but it had to be from him. At some level beyond the longing, I felt disappointment. This wasn't for me? Was it because my connection to the Speed Force wasn't a pure one? Was it because my magic had formed the bond? Why didn't I measure up?
As if he could hear my thoughts the specter of death continued, "No, Tom Riddle, this is not your reward, instead, I think you will discover an eternity of punishment instead."
Apparently, without effort, Voldemort's wraith was snatched from my hand. Joy flooded my mind. He hadn't been talking to me; it was Voldemort who didn't belong. I was going to reach the Speed Force, and the Black Flash was going to show me the way.
However, he wasn't finished. "And you, Ronald Weasley," the voice continued. "It is not yet your time."
I screamed my fury as the bastard tripped me.
I fell as if in slow motion as the Black Flash and Voldemort's wraith vanished into the colors that surrounded us.
I was utterly alone when I hit the ground, my aura protecting me as I bounced. Again, I impacted on the ground, and bounced. On the third bounce, I started to tumble arse over teakettle along the ground. It hurt, but my aura was protecting me from the worst of it.
That's when I started to hope I was going to survive my adventure. Barry had been right about the pull of the Speed Force. When I had been approaching the barrier, it was all I wanted. I'd actually stopped thinking about Hermione and Harry while I was there; it was only now that I was slowing down again I dared to hope to be back with them.
I was back into what passes for a 'normal' world for a speedster, skipping over an expanse of water, then rolling up a beach, being launched into the air by cresting a hill, a long arc, then hitting the ground, only to continue on.
I was slowing, but I was still moving far too fast for anyone beyond Wally or maybe Max to see. If only I could get my feet under me, I could take control of my forward motion, but that was still beyond me as I hit the ground hard and kept rolling.
I was over water again, then a vast plain, then right through the center of a city, they all flashed by in between blinks. Water, mountains, plains, deserts, swamp.
Was I ever going to stop?
It seemed to go on forever, though I knew that in 'real time' I'd likely left Hermione something less than a second before. That was when I noticed that I was leaving a trail of dust in my path. That meant I was moving slowly enough to actually interact with the ground. Again I was launched into the air, I caught my breath and again tried to get my feet under me. I came down in some kind of scrub country that I didn't recognize, and directly in front of me was…
The biggest hole I'd ever seen.
Shedding speed, but still tumbling out of control, I only caught glimpses of the big hole as I rolled. It was a sort of slash in the ground. I couldn't see down into it, but it had to be at least 10 miles across.
My tumbling finally stopped, but my forward motion did not. I tried to stop by grabbing at the ground as I slid on.
Finally, I had my feet on the ground and I tried to move, when I slid over the side of the hole, the edge of the cliff crumbled in my hands as my forward motion came to a stop, just as gravity took over. My aura vanished and I fell into a long arc into the hole.
Free fall focuses the mind.
Really it does. I found myself falling head down, screaming my head off.
For once, the way my perceptions sped up when I wasn't paying attention was a major advantage. I burned through my panic in less than a tenth of a second, before I managed to fall three full feet. Looking down, I saw the bottom of this hole.
At least a mile below was a tiny blue ribbon. A mile? I was going to fall a mile? My mind veered from the panic to survival.
Distance and time is second nature to a speedster. The mile I had to fall, at normal gravity, would take just over 18 seconds.
That was a long time for me… A long time to contemplate dying anyway. In all honesty, I had no idea how I was going to go about surviving. Lacking any other ideas, I tried to regenerate my aura.
A speedster's aura is tied to his speed. If I could get it to bloom large enough I'd bounce, just like I did when I was skidding to a stop. I started running in place… And discovered it didn't work.
No velocity, no aura. Damn.
Yeah, I know, I'm telling you what happened, so obviously I survived. Allow a bloke to tell his story with a little suspense, eh?
I then decided to simply vibrate myself into intangibility and pass through the ground like I did buildings on a run, while hoping that I could make it back up to the air before I suffocated.
Merlin, but that sounded like a horrible idea. I tabled that as plan C.
I was about a quarter mile from the bottom. I knew I needed my plan A and B in real short order.
Maybe I could flap my arms like wings. Sure, I didn't have any feathers, but if I could slow myself enough.
It actually worked… sort of. Flapping my arms like a lunatic slowed my fall. Not enough, but some. I tried windmilling my arms, and that worked even better. In for a knut, I told myself, in for a galleon, I pointed both my arms downward and spun them in tight circles as fast as I could.
That did the trick. I stopped in midair and hung there on a pair of vortexes coming from my arms. This allowed me to steer toward a small sandbar on the shore of the river. Considering what I was seeing of that River, I certainly didn't want to end up in it if I could avoid it. I'd seen a lot of rivers in my life, but none as nasty as this one looked.
A pair of bright orange rectangular things lay on the sand, along with a small fire and eight people, all of whom seemed to be looking up at me.
Lacking any other options, I landed between the orange things, and wondered what I'd done to my secret identity… not that anyone would know me… I was relatively sure I wasn't in Britain.
"Nice landing," one of the women said with a yank accent, "but you got the colors wrong."
"What?" I asked. I'm not sure what I expected to say, but that wasn't it.
"Your Flash outfit," she explained. She was a girl only a bit older than me, dressed in a pair of denim cutoffs and what I assumed to be her bra. I think it was a bra, the only ones I'd ever seen were Mum's and Ginny's. Ginny's didn't show that much flesh, and Mum's… well I try not to think about them. "It should be red, not orange."
"Oh," I answered. "Sorry, I'm not the Flash. I'm the Whiz."
"The Whiz?" one of the other girls asked, wearing if possible an even skimpier version of the first girl's outfit. The crowd of women giggled at some kind of private joke. Someday, someone was going to have to explain what was so funny about my name.
"Yeah," I nodded, trying very hard not to stare at the partially covered breasts on display by concentrating on my memories of Hermione's face. "I'm from Britain, you see, and I'm kind of lost. Where am I?"
"How can you not recognize the Grand Canyon?" the first girl asked.
"Falling into it is a bit distracting," I confessed while trying to remember where the 'Grand Canyon' was and coming up blank.
Then I remembered Max. Perhaps a more important question than where I was would be when I was.
"This is going to sound really dumb," I said hesitantly. "What year is it?"
The relief I felt when the first girl said the magic words "1998" was truly amazing. My stomach evidently agreed because it then decided to rumble loudly. I was ravenous, which was understandable, considering how much energy I had expended in the last few seconds.
"We've stopped for lunch," the second girl said, "would you like a sandwich?"
"Or a beer?" another asked.
In the end, the women fed me a half dozen sandwiches, two bags of crisps (which they called 'chips' I wondered what they called chips) three of their beers and an entire apple pie.
They were, they told me Sorority Sisters ending their summer with some 'white water rafting'. Having no clue as to what a 'Sorority Sister' might be, I just nodded wisely, while trying to figure out why they were 'ending their summer' on the 4th of June.
"So," the girl sitting to my right said, running her hand down my back and cupping my left arse cheek. "Do you do everything fast?"
I shot to a standing position and was at standing at the edge of the river before she could blink. "Thanks for lunch, I've got to get home… to my girlfriend!" I shouted, much too loudly.
Sure, laugh. In my entire life, no girl had ever touched me like that. Damn it.
The girls all started laughing at my reaction, or maybe just at me. Either way, I was gone. I found my stride in three paces and ran up the wall of the canyon.
I headed for home. I needed a change of clothes before I got back to Hogwarts.
Except, the Burrow wasn't there. Neither was Ottery St. Catchpole. The whole area was nothing but carefully maintained farmland. This wasn't good.
Once again, my mastery of understatement made itself evident.
So I went to Hogwarts… or at least I tried to go to Hogwarts. It wasn't there. Neither was Hogsmeade.
Then I went to London. Grimmauld Place wasn't there. There were houses, but the street itself was called something else, and no #12 either.
I tried Diagon Alley, nothing. The ministry wasn't where it was supposed to be, St Mungos was a vacant lot.
I tried to find Harry's house. Finding Surrey was easy enough, but there was no village of Little Whinging.
I thought about heading to Hermione's home, but decided that it didn't matter.
There were no Weasleys, no Harry Potter, no Hogwarts, no magical world at all that I could find. Even if there was a Hermione Granger here, she wouldn't be my Hermione, she wouldn't know me. I wasn't sure if I could have handled that.
Like Max, my adventure to the edge of the Speed Force hadn't returned me to where I started, but unlike Max, I hadn't traveled through time, I had ended up in an entirely different world.
As the sun went down I found myself in a small playpark sitting on a bench as various mothers and nannys looked at me aghast at my uniform, though some of the kids like it. Of course, they all felt the need to tell me that the color of my uniform was wrong.
That's when it hit me. The magical world might be gone, but there was still a Flash. Wally would know what to do.
I made my way to Blue Valley.
I can't describe the relief I felt when Blue Valley was actually where it was supposed to be. Not sure why, I mean, London was where it was supposed to be, but that was aside the point. I found Uncle Ruddie's home, but no one was there.
I considered my options. Titan's Tower was in New York and the Hall of Justice in Metropolis.
Even if this wasn't my world, and it wasn't, I had a closer relationship with the Titans. The trip to New York took no time at all. No, scratch that. Titan's Tower didn't exist. No Titans here then.
The Hall of Justice was just where it was supposed to be. That was good, but it was empty, even the monitor room was unmanned. But that was where I found out where I needed to go.
Every monitor screen in the room was concentrating on the North Pole, where some sort of construct was throwing off massive amounts of energy.
Energy that was being contained by three speedsters. The Flash, a smaller speedster in white and red, and…
I was out the door and heading north before I fully recognized Wally's face behind his old yellow mask.
I arrived at the pole in less time than it takes a normal person to blink.
There was a small crowd of heroes clustered around an aircraft, all watching the three runners as they used their speed to contain whatever the construct was trying to do.
The damned thing just hovered in midair, throwing off bolts of energy that bounce off the auras of the Flash and the kid in red and white. I watched as it hit Wally, and his aura did not deflect the energy at all. He stumbled, but immediately regained his stride and kept running.
Oh, hell no. I was alongside my cousin in a blink. "Get out," I said. "I've got this."
"Who the hell are you?" He asked.
"I've lost just about everything today," I explained, as I hit him, hard, just behind the ear. That coupled with the fall to the ground at the speed he was travelling knocked Wally out. "I'm not losing you too."
I scooped Wally from the ground and hauled him over to the crowd of unfamiliar heroes. I stopped in front of a man clad in an odd bug themed armor. "Sit on him. Keep him away from that thing, I'll take his place."
A masked blonde dove for Wally as if to protect him, while a tall man in black with a blue bird symbol on his chest stepped forward.
"Who are you?"
I blinked. "Dick? Is that you?" I looked back to where Flash and the kid where holding in the energy. "We'll catch up later. I've got to get back."
Before any of them could question me, I back with the other speedsters running laps around whatever it was we were running around.
"Wally's out Barry," I called as I passed the pair. "Time to kick it," I explained on the next pass. "Think you two can keep up?" I asked as I passed them a third time.
The two shared a look and then matched my speed.
"You'll be explaining who you are and how you know me once this is over," Barry said reasonably.
"No problem," I agreed. "What is this thing, and why are we running around it?"
"It's a Reach Weapon," the Kid in red and white said. "I'm Impulse by the way, who are you?"
"Whiz," I said introducing myself and wondering what a 'Reach' might be.
"Never heard of the Whiz," the kid said, reminding me of Colin Creevey more than a little bit. "And I mean never, I thought I knew of all the heroes of this era, but there wasn't a speedster named Whiz."
"Impulse is a time traveler," Barry explained. "And a little hyper active, even for one of us."
"I can relate," I laughed as a bolt of the machine's energy bounced off my aura. "My link to the Speed Force isn't like yours. My problem isn't getting up to speed, it's slowing down. I'm not from here, that's why you've never heard of me."
"We'll talk about that later," Barry said. "For now, this is a weapon with the potential to destroy the world. Its shields are impervious to physical attack, even our speed. Our only hope is to contain it until it runs out of energy."
"Ah," I said nodding. "Did anyone try magic?"
"None of the League magic users are here," Barry noted.
That made sense. I wondered if my magic worked here, since I'd found no evidence of the magical world. My wand was still strapped to my forearm underneath my uniform. With a thought, it extended to fall into my hand.
"Time to experiment then, I guess," I said. "Confringo!" I cast. "Confringo! Confringo! Confringo! Confringo! Confringo! Confringo! Confringo! Confringo!"
I had timed it so that all nine of the blasting curses hit the machine's shields simultaneously. The result was fairly spectacular. The soft shimmer of the shield flared bright than the sun, before winking out.
Barry shot me a look that clearly said that we were going to talk and I had a whole lot to explain. I shrugged and moved to the device where I pushed my hands against it, and gave it the sum of my stored inertia, just as I had to the oak tree with the giants.
Of course now, I had substantially more inertia stored than I had then. The machine shredded itself spectacularly.
I pushed my perceptions back down to real time, and waited as Barry and Impulse approached me cautiously, followed by a newly conscious Wally and the rest of the assembled Heroes.
"So," I said to the group, "anyone else hungry?"
The silence of the room stretched into several seconds. Ron looked around the room as he waited. This Watchtower place was very cool. He wondered if he would fit in.
"So, your story is you're my cousin?" Wally asked. Ron noticed that he blonde masked girl was still molded to Wally as if she thought he might disappear.
"Yeah," Ron agreed, before correcting himself. "Well, not here. I looked around your house in Blue Valley and, as far as I can tell, your version of the West family never had any connection to any version of the Prewett family, but back home, yeah. We're third cousins, I think."
"Do you seriously expect us to believe that you are a magic using speedster from an alternate timeline?" the Batman asked. Ron had noticed that the man's questions had gotten progressively more hostile since he let slip that the villains and at least some of the heroes of Ron's home world considered his counterpart to be a head case. From what Ron had seen, this one was as well, and it wasn't as if the detective wouldn't have noticed.
"Well," Ron said as he looked around the room. "Alien, alien, alien," he said pointing at Superman, the Martian Manhunter and his niece. "Water breathing Men from Atlantis," he pointed to Aquaman, and Aqualad, "time traveling speedster from an alternate timeline," as he pointed to Impulse, "an immortal princess from an island of women who wasn't born, but molded from clay, and a lad in alien armor," pointing to Wonder Woman and Blue Beetle in turn. "As weirdly unbelievable things go, I'm pretty normal for this group."
"As I told you, Batman," the Martian intoned. "He believes what he has told us."
"The only thing here weirder than me," Ron snarked, "is the normal bloke in a bat suit fitting in with this crowd."
The cowled man actually growled. Ron smiled widely and waited for the next question.
"This," Barry said, holding up Ron's orange uniform, "appears to be my work. The ring is one of mine, I matched the numbers with one of the rings I keep in storage. I have no explanation for the pseudo invisibility it exhibits. I retrieved my matching ring and asked Green Lantern to examine them both.
"As far as my power ring is concerned, they are the same ring," the man in green said. "And I mean identical down to the molecular level. The ring's AI really, really, doesn't like that. It's still trying to figure it out and suggested time travel as a possible solution for the duplication."
"And this," the man wearing a golden helmet intoned, "appears to be nothing more than a carved stick from a willow tree with some sort of hair inlaid as a core."
"Hair from a Unicorn's tail," Ron said helpfully.
Wonder Woman looked up, concerned. "Your people took hairs from unicorns?"
"I'm not a wand crafter, I'm not sure where they get their parts or anything, but I think they were harvested from the forests where Unicorns live, hung up on plants and sheddings, I remember Hagrid coming from the forest with bundles of unicorn hair." the wizard explained. "Because, you know, Unicorns are hard to approach unless you're, you know, a young girl."
"Why?" the green Ms. Martian asked.
"Virgins," Wonder Woman supplied. "Unicorns are repelled by the lack of sexual purity."
"What about male virgins?" Nightwing asked.
"There is the occasional young boy who the Unicorn herds will accept," Ron noted. "For a while at least. They told us that boys, by and large, don't want to be virgins, and that's enough to spoil the purity.
"So, the wand itself isn't the source of your power?" the Batman asked, trying to bring the discussion back to an investigation of this young stranger with power.
"Nope, the wand is just a focus," Ron said, shaking his head. "Normally, this isn't something I would tell, well, Muggles, but there doesn't seem to be a 'magical world' as I know it here, so I'm only telling you how MY magic works. They covered the exact relationship of a wizard's magic and his wand in some of our theory classes, but I didn't really follow that too closely. That part of the Theory instruction wasn't tested and, really, who cares? Some really powerful wizards can do things without their wands, I've seen Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape, Voldemort and my friend Harry all do some wandless magic, but for most of us, take away the wand and we're powerless… Magically anyway."
"You've lost your whole world," Artemis noted, "Your best friend, your girlfriend, your family, and yet you're sitting here joking like it was nothing."
Ron sighed, and then continued. "I have it on good authority that I have the emotional depth of a teaspoon. Yes, I've lost my family, my world, my friends and even Hermione. But, I set out to protect them by sacrificing my life to make sure that Voldemort was gone. When it turned out that I accidently survived, I sort of got my mentor back, I got to save my much cooler than me cousin, and I'm in a place where I can openly use both my magic and my speed."
"I'm not sure that would be the healthiest way of dealing with your loss," Black Canary suggested.
"Oh, don't worry, after everything sinks in, I'm sure I'll turn out to be the whiniest, most annoying little bitch around for a while," Ron laughed. "For now, I'm looking forward to a chance to run with the Flash again, and for once in my life, beating Wally in a race before we figure out how to fix his speed problem."
"Do you think I can be fixed?" Wally asked.
"My cousin was the fastest man alive, bar none," Ron answered. "He taught me the inertia transfer attack that destroyed that chrysalis thing. If he could do it, then so can you. He IS you."
"So, you're here, at least for now," Superman said quietly. "Your plans are to be a hero?"
Ron smiled. "If there is ever a chance of my making it back home, I'll likely grab it with both hands. As far as being a hero goes, I was sorted into Gryffindor House. Mindless knee jerk heroics are pretty much what defines us." His smile grew larger. "This may be stealing a line from the Wally of my world, but I don't care. He's not here and I am."
"What are you talking about?" the Batman growled.
"I'm Ron Weasley," Ron said, his smile spreading ever wider, "the fastest Wizard alive."
Ron stood on the observation deck staring down at the Earth.
"Quite a view, huh?"
Ron glanced to his left and nodded to Wally West and Artemis Crock, "Yeah, I mean I'd always known Earth was a planet, but to actually see it…"
"You've got a place on the team, if you want it."
Again Ron nodded, "Kaldur told me the League approved it," he grinned, "they're still not taking me seriously."
"They're taking you very seriously," Wally disagreed. "Part of the reason you're on the team is so that someone can keep an eye on you."
"Well, that's something, I suppose," Ron laughed.
"Tell him, Wally" Artemis hissed.
"Yeah, tell me, Wally."
"Artemis and I have pretty much retired from the whole hero thing," Wally explained, "we're both in college and…"
"Really? You were both in costume?"
"End of the world gets a general dispensation," Artemis pointed out sarcastically.
"Anyway," Wally continued as he looped his arm over Ron's shoulders and lead him away from the observation deck, "since you probably don't have a place to stay, we thought you could use our spare bedroom and my clothes until you get your own stuff."
"Really?" Ron asked.
"Well, after all," Artemis said with a shrug, "You're family… in a weird multidimensional super hero sort of way."
"Ok, cool. How do we get down? The bioship?"
Wally gestured toward a tunnel shaped structure they were standing in front of. "Teleporter, just walk into it."
Ron nodded, and started into the tunnel, then paused. "You know, given that I thought I was going to die, all of this is about the best I could wish for…"
"But?" Artemis asked.
"I just wish I could tell Hermione and Harry that I'm ok," He turned and continued his walk into the tunnel.
"Recognized:" a woman's voice said with an odd metallic tone, "Whiz; B Three Four."
Wally and Artemis laughed, and then followed him into the teleporter, neither noticing Dr. Fate standing in the shadows of the room.
The pair stood in silence, well away from the ceremony that was memorializing those who died in the final defeat of the forces of the Dark Lord Voldemort.
It had been ten days.
Ten long days without the touch of her first love. Ten days without a joke from his goofy brother in all but blood.
Harry Potter had his arm around the shaking shoulders of his sobbing friend. His tears came in private. For now, he was there for Hermione, somehow knowing that Ron would want him taking care of her. The pair stood at the edge of the cursed ground where they had last seen their friend.
Despite the best efforts of the Hogwarts staff and the Unspeakables of the Ministry of Magic, nothing would grow here. Nothing could be built here. People who spent too long in the area became sick.
The land blighted by Voldemort's Death Ward had been repaired, but not here. Was it the spell the Dark Lord had used? Or was it the stockpile of magical weapons and tools that detonated when struck by a killing curse? No one knew. That meant that despite the protests of Harry and Hermione, the monument being dedicated today was taking place a full quarter mile away.
The pair knew where it should be, and by all that was magical, it would be someday if they had anything to say about it.
Harry tightened his hold on the sobbing girl pulling her into a full hug, wrapping her tightly in his arms, and stiffened.
The world had gone silent. The silence was broken by an almost musical chime and a golden form appeared in the sky over the blighted spot, brighter than the noon day sun. Harry's wand appeared in his hand, while Hermione used her hand to shield her eyes, blinking through the glare to see a 40 foot ankh that had appeared.
"Calm yourselves," a deep voice ordered. "I offer you no threat Harry Potter. And I will explain what is happening Hermione Granger."
Hermione drew her wand and stepped away from Harry, she watched as a man's form replaced the ankh. A man clad in blue, with a golden cape the same color as the ankh had been. The man's face was hidden behind a golden helm.
"Who are you?" she called out.
"I have many names," the man responded. "The name I am best known by on this plain is Dr. Fate."
"The hero?" Harry asked, starting to relax a bit.
"The aspect of Order," the man disagreed. "My actions are frequently deemed heroic, but Order must be maintained."
"Why are you here?" Hermione asked.
"Two reasons," Fate responded. "The first is due to an emotion I am unused to feeling, which is shame. I was unaware of the actions of the Villain Voldemort. His chaos could potentially have tipped the entire world to that side. I am here to thank you for your actions in defeating him before he would poison the world."
"So, he's really gone for good this time?"
"Yes Harry Potter," the Sorcerer responded. "Your friend Ronald Weasley, dealt with Voldemort, quite finally. The villain left certain… talismans behind, but I have… disposed of them. He will bother you no more."
"Ron?" Hermione asked, wondering why no one was responding to this quite frankly, terrifying display of raw magic. "Ron was killed long before…"
"No one is reacting to us because I have isolated us from time Miss Hermione Granger," Fate responded to the question she hadn't asked. "And you are wrong. That is the second reason for my visit today, Ronald Weasley destroyed the villain Voldemort in a most permanent manner and in doing so, he did not die."
"But we saw…"
"You saw an explosion, Miss Granger, nothing more. The manner that Mr. Weasley defeated the villain is really not something you need to know, just that he did, and he did so to protect the two of you."
"You said that Ron didn't die," Harry pointed out. "Where is he?"
"Ronald Weasley's fight with the villain Voldemort ended with his translation to another world, one very like this one, but different in a few key ways, one of which is that the world he finds himself has no culture of wand using wizards."
"How do you know this?" Hemione demanded
"I am an aspect of Order, and as such exist in every plane of existence, simultaneously. My aspect in the reality Ronald Weasley found himself in over heard his worry about the two of you. I am here to ease your mind in payment for the service he did Order."
"Can he come back?" Hermione asked.
"No," Fate answered. "He cannot. At least not at this time. I am powerful, but not omniscient, there is always the possibility that this may change sometime in the future."
"But it's not likely, is it?" Harry asked.
"No, it is not," Fate admitted. "My spell isolating us from the rest of time is about to end, so I will say goodbye. Ronald Weasley is safe and you need not worry about him."
Again the golden ankh bloomed, blinding them with its glare. When the light faded the man in blue and gold was gone. The sounds of the ceremony returned, as did the other sounds of the world around them.
Hermione rushed to Harry and wrapped herself around him. "He's alive."
"Yeah," Harry agreed. "But lost."
"Since when does Ron Weasley being lost bother him in the slightest?" she laughed, tears in her eyes once more. "He's used to it."
"You know," Harry said wistfully. "It's going to bug me forever knowing that Ron was the Power the Dark Lord, and I, knew not."
AN: And so ends my Hero Ron story. Hope you liked it. When I originally plotted out this story, a couple of years ago, I intended for Ron to be telling his story to the Teen Titans of the classic Marv Wolfman era, Nightwing, Starfire, Cyborg, Beastboy, Raven and yes, Kid Flash. But then I fell in love with the Animated Young Justice cartoon (the first season is now on Netflix...), and the series ended with Wally West's heroic death in saving the world. That story seemed a better fit, so this is the result, with Ron telling his story to the Justice League and the Team.
A lot of people have problems with Ron as a central character, and told me so emphatically. Thanks to everyone who stuck it out with me.