The Unexpected Demise of Ronald Weasley

"So, Miss Granger, have you heard from Mr. Weasley lately?" Potions master Severus Snape inquired of his twenty-year old apprentice as she handed him several pieces of Boomslang skin.

"Oh yes, professor. I received a letter from him just yesterday about how much he's accomplishing among the farmers of Tanzania. He says the living is rough and he has to sleep in a thatch hutch, but the work is very rewarding. Thank you so much for suggesting he go abroad and expand his horizons."

"It was my pleasure, Miss Granger. A wizard needs to expand his horizons after all. Mr. Weasley's eagerness to help the unfortunate is indeed commendable," the wizard purred.

"Yes, it is," Hermione agreed. "He's going to grow so much. Before this, his only aspirations were to get married and have a big family. I think this will be good for him . . . for both of us."

Hermione had always been a "big picture" person. Ron deciding to spend a year in Africa helping others had given the young wizard big brownie points in her eyes, although she missed him terribly.

"Undoubtedly," Snape smirked as he stirred the Polyjuice potion.

Ron yawned and stretched on his mat in the thatch hut, feeling nature call.

"Bloody hell," he groaned, sitting up.

He had his own hut, but no indoor plumbing. He'd have to relieve himself outside as everyone did. Groaning and half asleep, he stood up and stumbled toward the door, pushing aside the heavy reeds.

He exited, looking up at the sky. The moon was half-covered by clouds and all was quiet. There were no sounds at all. If he had been fully cognizant, he would have noticed and paid better attention.

He stumbled a few feet from the hut, pulled down the front of his pajama bottoms, ready to piss.

He never got the chance.

Suddenly, he was hit from the side by a snarling, furious, furry form.

He didn't even get a chance to scream as the hungry lioness clamped down on his throat.

It was over almost as soon as it began.

"I can't believe it: Hermione sobbed to Professor Snape. "Ron being killed by a lion. How often does that happen?"

Snape looked at the crying witch, his dark eyes glinting.

"Quite often in rural areas," he replied, "the encroachment of men often depletes the prey animals. Lions have to make up the difference . . . but I am sorry for your loss, Miss Granger."

Hermione blinked up at him with wet eyes.

"Whatever will I do without him, professor?" she asked him tremulously.

Snape's lip quirked.

"I'm sure time will cure your pain, Miss Granger," he replied. "And be assured I will be here if you find yourself in need of someone to talk to other than Mr. Weasley's family. That can be difficult when there are things in your heart you don't wish to reveal."

Hermione looked up at the wizard gratefully, wiping her eyes.

"Thank you, professor," she said softly.

"You are more than welcome, Miss Granger," Snape replied, already making his plans.

A/N: My initial offering. It might not be that great, considering all the Banana 99 and orange juices I've had, but it's a start. Next!