So many pretty reviews. You really like my story : tearful: Thank you all, Thank you all so much. Well, here's the promised epilogue. Which of course means there will be a sequel. It will be a few months before I start posting the sequel though. I think I want to get most of it written first. I've started planning the next part and it seems like its going be pretty complicated. So I can't make stuff up as I go like I did in this story. Hopefully that will mean there will be no gaping holes in my plot, and there will be very few mistakes, if any at all.
But I won't say any more about that. I just hope I can entertain you as much next time as I did this time. Again thanks to everybody who reviewed. You made me very, very happy. Again no review comments this time. Any specific question you have, can be e-mailed to me and I will be very happy to answer.
And for the last time this story, I don't own Harry Potter.
Well, what are you waiting for? Go, read, enjoy, review (but only if you feel like it).
Love you guys, bye
"Thanks for stopping, Mr. Weasely," Firenze said as he led Ron away from Hermione and into the Divinations class.
"Sure," Ron answered, following the centaur through the trees, dragging his trunk along behind him. "What is it you need?"
"I wanted to give you this," Firenze answered, stopping beside a rather large tree stomp that was serving as a desk. The centaur picked up one of the books stacked on top and handed it to Ron.
Ron took it, surprised at how heavy it was. The book was fairly large and thick, and covered in a warm toffee-colored leather. The thing that struck Ron most about the book was how old it looked. It looked much older than any book he had ever seen (and thanks to his relationship with Hermione he had seen quite a few books). "Er, thanks?" Ron said, a little unsure.
Firenze smiled. "That is an ancient Centaurian text on seeing the future and reading living things. Including the stars." He explained, casting a glance at the twilit ceiling and the few stars blazing in it. "Centaurs have been referring to that for many, many generations. We use it when we are young to help us learn to read life, and when we are old to help us understand what we are reading."
Ron stared at the book with new eyes. He was holding a real book on Divinations. A book that he could actually learn from. "Thanks," he said again with more enthusiasm. "Really, thanks a lot."
Firenze looked at him smiling again. "I want you to study that over the summer whenever you can. You may not understand much of it. Actually, you may not understand any of it, but I still want you to give it your best effort."
"I will," Ron promised.
Firenze nodded. "And I also want you to study the stars every night. Use the book to help you. I know that it will all be very confusing, but you must begin sometime."
Ron nodded again, much less enthusiastic. He still remembered the pain of trying to read the stars during his private lessons with Firenze. He wasn't looking forward to trying it on his own. "What about on clouded nights?"
"Especially on clouded nights."
Ron grimaced, thinking of all the nights he would spend lying outside during a summer downpour. "Alright," he said.
"It will be alright," Firenze said reassuringly. He placed a hand on his shoulder. "I look forward to teaching you again next year. You have progressed more than I could have hoped. I'm very proud of you, Ron."
Ron beamed, feeling his ears burn red. "Thanks, but it doesn't seem like I've done much."
"You've made me proud to be here."
Ron didn't know what to say to that, but it seemed Firenze wasn't look for a response. With a pat on the shoulder, the centaur started for the door, "You'll have a productive summer," He said confidently looking back at Ron.
Ron nodded, hoping that was a good thing. He started after the centaur, but decided to stow the book in his trunk first. Flicking it open he stuffed it between his dress robes and his posters of the Chuddly Cannons. Closing the lid tightly, he started for the door. He was half-way across the room, when he stopped and walked back to the tree he had read the very first time. He dropped his trunk and walked up to the tree, placing one hand against it.
It was this tree that had made him special. Harry was his best friend, and Ron loved him like a brother (even better than a brother if he took Percy into account). But he had spent so much time in Harry Potter's shadow it felt like he hadn't seen the sun in ages. That was until this tree. Ron pushed at the bark feeling the deep grooves. He hadn't been having much luck reading the trees lately, not that he mind. Everything he had ever seen in them had not been good. But still, he could try one more time before he left for the summer.
Ron did as Firenze had instructed him so many times before and let his mind go blank. It was easy for him now, and he relaxed almost immediately. He stared at the tree and the swirling pattern of the bark. He looked up at the leaves and the half light pouring through them. Glancing back at the tree again, Ron closed his eyes to see if anything would happen. No. Nothing.
He was just about to pull away when the bark in front of his face slowly started swirling in that familiar way, just before the words appeared. Ron's heart started thumping quickly in his chest. It was happening again. Another reading. He concentrated, focusing all he could on the moving, swirling patterns. And slowly, very slowly, everything started to make sense and the tree spoke:
The Earth sees dark times. A friend of the dark, a foe of the light will rise and attack the strongest castle of its enemy--
Ron frowned. What was this? Why was he seeing this again?
--The marked one must be wary of the black hate. --
Ron shook his head. This was wrong. He shouldn't be seeing this again. It was over. Harry had face Lestrange and it was over.
--The corrupting black will twist the marked one. The strongest castle will lie in rubble at his hand, then he too will fall into darkness.--
Ron jerked away from the tree, waiting for the pattern to disperse and go back to normal. He had seen enough, but apparently the tree disagreed. The words didn't stop swirling before him. It was the same message over and over again, but now he saw undercurrents of meaning. He knew who the friend of the dark really was. There was now no doubt that the marked one was Harry. And now he could see the time frame. Apparently, the earth liked to count in in lunar cycles, because above him the moon circled the sky. It changed from new moon to new moon so rapidly, it was as if the moon was extinguishing itself just as it was made. Somehow Ron manage to keep up with the madding progress, counting cycles as quickly as they came.
"Nine, ten, eleven…" Ron counted, under his breath.
And his concentration was broken. The tree was no longer the mass of swirling patterns and words and meanings. The sky was back to its permanent twilight state. Everything was as it should be. Except that he had seen something he wish he hadn't seen at all.
Ron jerked again and this time opened his eyes. He set up incredibly confused. Where was he? Oh, right, on the Hogwarts express heading back to Kings Cross Station. He must have fallen asleep. Hermione was leaning over him, that worried expression on her face again.
"You okay?" She asked.
Ron nodded. "Dandy," he mumbled. "Where are we?"
"Almost to London."
Ron looked around, surprised to see Neville sitting next to him. He was putting a copy of Magical Plants and You away. Across from him sat Hermione, Harry, and Luna Lovegood.
Luna smiled dreamily at him. "You've slept the whole way back," she said. "I was worried a Dozia Worm had crawled through you ear and attached itself to your brain while no one was looking."
Ron didn't say anything. He didn't even want to know what a Dozia Worm was. Instead, he looked at Harry, who leaned forward and said quietly. "If there's anything you want to talk about, we should do it before we get to the station. I won't have much time afterwards."
Ron didn't say anything. He had decided almost immediately after the reading not to say anything to Harry. Harry had already been through so much. Besides, there was the chance he could be wrong. Harry didn't hate the way he used to. He had dealt with that when he dealt with Lestrange. After all, he had been wrong about Harry and Min. He thought he had seen them together for a long time. But there relationship hadn't lasted more than a few months longer; ended by something that was well out of their control. He had to be wrong about this too.
"I'm not sure what you're talking about," he said, feigning innocence.
Harry shrugged and sat back.
"Do you have all your things together?" Hermione asked. "We'll be back soon."
Ron nodded, wondering when Hermione thought he would have had the chance to take anything out. Soon though, he felt the train slowing down and stopping. A whistle blew somewhere and everyone stood up and started off the train.
Harry reached above, pulling down his and Ron's trunks and grabbing Pig now in his own cage.
"Well, let's go," Hermione said, taking her own things.
Ron grabbed the handle of his trunk and followed his two best friends off the train. He met up with Ginny on the platform and soon enough found his parents. Mrs. Weasely rushed them and wrapped her arms around each in turn.
"I've worried about you all so much this year, what with everything that's going on and all," she said. She looked a little tearful as she grabbed Harry again. "I heard what happened, Harry dear. Are you alright?"
"I'm fine," Harry answered, trying to disentangle himself from Mrs. Weasely.
"Let's go, Harry," Professor Lupin said, appearing almost out of nowhere.
Mrs. Weasely squeezed Harry one more time before releasing him into Professor Lupin's care. "Surely he doesn't have to go back to Dursley's now. Arthur and I are more than happy to have him with us this summer."
Professor Lupin shook his head. "He has to go back to the Dursely's, at least for a little while," Lupin answered.
Harry waved a feeble goody-bye, looking back at his friends.
"Send us loads of owls," Hermione said.
"I will," Harry promised. He looked back a Ron, who avoided his eyes.
"Bye, Harry," Ron mumbled.
"Bye," Harry responded, then followed after Lupin, disappearing in the crowd.
"I know I shouldn't," Ron's mum said, rubbing her hands together, "But I really worry about him."
"Actually, you should," Ron said, quietly. He pulled his trunk after him, leaving platform nine and three quarters, oblivious to the stares following him.