(a/n: I just wanted to make a comment to Pamie884. You should read my author's notes! As previously stated this is the very last chapter of Unexpected Losses.)
Chapter 25 of Unexpected Losses
"I can't take much more of this." Giles reported, pinching the bridge of his nose to ward of an impending headache. He glanced over at the desk where his orderly world of sense and logic had dissolved like butter in acid.
"You won't have to." He chuckled. "Well…of course you'll still have to face some stuff. But not all about this lot anyway. And not in the too-near future." He winked at Giles. "I can see these things, you know." The group was currently located in the Auror's office. Angel had been finally clothed in an extra robe, and was standing off to the side with Buffy. Giles, of course, kept an eye on her, but his attention was split. Most of the Auror's were standing around, mostly confused.
Dumbledore was in a right state, making demands and asking questions to nearly everyone involved. Willow was currently attempting to wake Hermione, who had decidedly fainted and didn't seem to be coming to, despite the Ennerviate spell that had already been cast on her. Lupin and Tonks were talking quietly. Harry, Charlie, and Xander, though, were holding a conversation with, of course, a perfectly healthy, perfectly unharmed, and perfectly alive Ronald Arthur Weasley.
"So…lemme get this straight." Xander began again. "You died for the cause of good and stuff. And now some unnamed and previously unheard of 'Powers That Be' have brought you back to be Angel's Lassie?"
"Lassie?" Ron asked, confused.
"A dog. On a television show. It tells people when Timmy's all down the well." Willow explained, glancing down at Hermione, who seemed to have transferred from her faint into sleep. "Announcing danger and all that good stuff."
Ron grinned at the explanation. "Well, they said that I can finish school first, but then I'm supposed to go to America. LA." Ron answered thoughtfully. "Never been across the Pond before. Should be right fun."
"Giles, are these people for real?" Buffy asked her Watcher. "These…Power people?"
"Well, gathering the fact that Angel was pulled from another dimension, and the fact that we all knew that Mr. Weasley was indeed dead, and is now alive…I have no reason to suspect that they aren't real. Or that they aren't here for precisely the reasons they claim to be."
"Well, then why did they wait for now? Why didn't they get Angel back before?" Buffy answered, sounding hurt.
"I can answer that one." Willow admitted. "Or, at least, I have a theory." Everyone turned his or her attention to the redhead, who blushed. "Y'see…Ron's body and Voldemort both went through the portal, right?" Those who were there at the time nodded in agreement to the universal assessment. "Well, It could've been a balance."
"What do you mean by that, Will?" Buffy asked.
"It's like…okay. Remember how Ron was all hurt?" Once more, nods were her silent response. "Well, I don't think Ron's in the same body he was in before. It's like…a whole new Ron, but in a literal sense. Ron's body and Voldemort's went into the portal. Like pretend they went into a full tub. An equal displacement of water would fall out. Angel's that water."
"Angel's water?" Buffy asked, puzzled.
"Pretend it's a scale. You add Ron and You-Know-Who, and the scale is heavier on one side. You have to add Angel on the other side to make it even again." Hermione said, sitting up, holding her aching head with a hand. "Although, really, that's not even, is it?"
"Hermione!" Ron called and ran over to embrace his girlfriend. She clung back onto him with fervor that would've been surprising had the teen not been dead just a short while before. "Are you alright?"
"Must be Ron," Hermione smiled wanly. "Still asking stupid questions."
"Hey!" Ron objected, but was grinning wildly, as he seemed to have been since he'd arrived. It wasn't every day that everyone got to experience death and well…re-life. Granted, Angel was technically a vampire, so he got to, but it was a bit different. Ron wasn't the undead. He was exactly the same as he had been before. With a new talent. The Powers That Be explained everything to him. It wasn't supposed to happen like this. He wasn't supposed to die.
They offered him the option. Become a seer for someone on the side of good, or remain as a ghost in the Hell dimension. Granted, it wasn't much of a choice. Especially as he found out that he was allowed to finish school first, and then that Hermione was permitted to go to LA with him afterwards. Not that he could've stopped her, but having the permission from beings that were powerful enough to bring you back from the dead could seem pretty comforting.
They'd taken a certain glee in explaining that if he chose life and then didn't help the aforementioned "Angel", they would take delight in making him dead again. Far more painfully than Voldemort could've managed. That was actually a fairly convincing argument. As for Angel's seer, there were a few other options beside him if he said no. Among them an Irish half-demon named Doyle and an American girl named Cordelia.
Ron had taken an almost abstract pleasure in knowing that he could probably ace Divination now without having to make up the most horrid things that he could come up with. If the other options had taken the Power to see, it actually would've harmed them. Ron, having been a wizard and (somewhat) trained in the art of Divination, he would be well prepared to take and interpret the visions he would receive. In fact, with a bit more preparation, he would be able to instigate the visions, rather than have them randomly occur. The only thing he was worried about was working well with Angel.
Even if they had their problems, Ron was sure that the "greater good" would assure that they did their part. It helped to see that Angel was becoming calmer and more in-control of himself. He was talking to Buffy, Harry, and Willow, now. The girl was anxious to see that he was okay, and Angel wanted to apologize for attacking the teenager. Part of Ron wanted to tease his best friend, seeing that he was holding Willow's hand without seeming to notice it. But then, with everything they'd all been through in the past few days, it would just seem kind of cruel.
Dating would be good for Harry, anyway. It had been hard on the "Golden Trio" when Ron and Hermione had begun dating. Not that the tension between the two before they dated wasn't distracting or anything. Harry had gone out of his way to make sure that they had time to themselves enough, but they'd always felt a little bit guilty for leaving him out. Sure, they were dating, but that didn't immediately mean poor Harry had to be on his own. Actually, he'd begun spending more time with Neville and the rest of the DA, which seemed to be good for all parties.
"Well, I have a question." Willow smiled shyly at Ron. "What happened to Voldemort?"
Taking on a very grave face, Ron managed to go almost three seconds without laughing. "I was waiting for someone to ask about that. It seems that in the other side there were demons. Very hungry demons." Ron's smile became somewhat predatory at that. "Well, let's just say that their condition has been…alleviated."
"…Voldemort got eaten?" Dumbledore asked, dumbstruck.
"Yep." Ron snickered. "Not that I understand why the bloody hell three of 'em would go at such a bony guy, though. But…there you go."
"Well…that seems to just about round everything up." Giles commented.
"Not quite," Ron answered, unable to stop himself from teasing Harry…just a little. "When's Harry gonna snog his girl?"
Immediately, the raven-haired Boy-Who-Lived glared evilly at Ron, blushing fire-engine red. Willow, though, managed to cover an impish smile with a thoughtful look. Harry, in his glaring, didn't notice that, but when he ended up with a lipful of Willow Rosenberg, it was hard to continue any form of anger.
Xander grinned at that. "I think Mr. Potter and I need to have a conversation about a shovel." Willow gave him a "you-wouldn't-dare" look, and Harry looked very, very puzzled. Xander approached Harry and slung an arm over his shoulders and pulled him away from Willow. "We'll be right back."
Willow, face burning with embarrassment, hid in her hands.
Ron was waiting for Hermione to remember the problem about the unequal displacement. The Powers-That-Be had done something else for Ron. And sooner or later she would think of the answer. Hermione was very bright, and after Angel commenting about his Dog-Star friend…she would remember Sirius, who was currently in another department with a very much alive Wormtail. He would be gaining his freedom, given a well-earned apology on behalf of the Ministry, and would be attaining guardianship of one Harry James Potter.
Fudge, of course, wouldn't be reelected for Minister; there was no question about that. It would be Kingsley Shacklebolt who would be granted the position. He was good with people and open-minded, finding answers for problems that shouldn't exist in the first place. Trusted by Dumbledore, a natural leader, and a long-time successful Auror, he was a natural choice.
Lucius Malfoy would be sent to Azkaban, which would no longer be guarded by the untrustworthy Demetors. Tonks and Remus Lupin were secretly pursuing a relationship that would be openly announced in short order. That would be followed by the announcement of what would be one of the first born-werewolves in many decades.
Ron was already planning on asking Hermione to marry him after their seventh year, and knew that she would go with him to LA. Once there, Xander and his girlfriend Cordelia, who would never receive the gift of Sight, would join them. Harry and Willow would attend UC Sunnydale together with Buffy and Faith, who - having never been in the position of killing a man – would never stray from the side of light.
After a while, Buffy would leave the Hellmouth to Faith's eventually more mature and capable hands. Wesley would stay with her, and eventually would outgrow his pretentious and stuffy attitudes. The Watcher and his Slayer would begin a doomed-to-fail relationship that would never actually fail permanently, despite all signs that it would never work. Buffy would go to LA to help Angel, and surprisingly, they would find a way around the curse that tormented both lovers. That escape, of course, would come from the combined minds of Willow, Hermione, and a girl named Tara, all three of whom would quickly become close friends. Tara would surprisingly end up dating another fiery redhead in the form of one Ginny Weasley.
Dawn Summers would come, but thanks to Ron's Sight, and thanks to the alliances that the Slayers and Wizards had formed, Glory would never find out she was the key. Nor would Buffy Summers die in attempts to save her sister. Surprisingly, the demise of the God would come about by a frustratingly normal death (for Sunnydale, anyway). Ben would be killed by a regular vampire walking to the Hospital for a shift of work.
Willow would become an extremely powerful witch, as she was always destined to become. She would never be completely taken by darkness, though, and thus would not gain the complete power she might've otherwise attained. Then again, she would be spared that sacrifice. It was always a risk that magic could take her over, but Harry grounded her, and was unafraid to tell her when she'd gone too deeply into trouble. It helped that Ron knew what the alternative of her listening to Harry was, and told her. The threat of losing oneself completely was one that Willow couldn't face, and thus she worked with Dumbledore and a Coven of Wiccans before she found herself too far gone.
Ron would never be the same as he'd been just so much as a week before. Seeing death, despite his light attitude about the situation, changed him, and changed him on the deepest levels. Achieving a surprising maturity, and with an affinity for understanding people and the reasons for their actions, he and Angel would work well together. Buffy, Willow, Harry, Xander, Cordelia, and Hermione would eventually join them in LA. Faith and Wesley would stay in Sunnydale together.
They would all return to Sunnydale once in a while. It was where everything began, and it was where the end would also begin.
It would never be easy. They were fighters on the side of light attempting to eradicate the world of darkness and evil. It was an impossible quest, and they would never truly succeed. People would die, people they loved, and there would be insurmountable obstacles on their way. They would shed tears and blood alike in their quest to bring the world to a brighter place. But someday, to even the smallest degree, they would all have happier endings than they ever could've had on their own. They would all be okay someday.
Ron could see it.
(a/n: That's it. The end of the journey. I hope that you liked it, and I hope that everything was explained and that all of you enjoyed it. Never have I so enjoyed a story. Never has a story driven me so far from the plot I designed. It was fun, and it was the biggest headache I've ever had in my life. It brought me to tears more than once. I wouldn't trade a second of it. Thanks for being here with me and for me. This last chapter is dedicated to everyone who reviewed, and to everyone who read but didn't review. It's dedicated to everyone who had a word of encouragement to keep me going, and to a few of you who told me it was okay to give up for a while. There is a 99.99999999 chance that there will not be a sequel, but I'm not so close-minded to say never. I don't believe in "never". Anyway, please tell me what you think? Love to all. Sloane Miette.)