The Wisdom to Know the Difference

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference

Finally! An update! There will be a nice explanation for that later. Anyway, here is the end! Enjoy...


Harry sighed in defeat. Yet another game lost to Ron. He should know better.

"I must be a glutton for punishment," Harry said, mock-glaring at Ron over the chessboard. "You have never failed to beat me in a chess game. I'm beginning to think you only play against me for a morale-boost." Ron grinned at his friend, happy to see what he was beginning to think of as the "old Harry" back. Rising to the bait, he said,

"Well, I am not going to deny any of that. Chess just happens to be my forte."

"Ooooohhh, French word. I'm impressed. Have you been studying with a certain Fleur Delacour? Or maybe studying isn't the right word..." Harry said, referring to last year when Ron had been somewhat enamored with a bewitching French witch. Ron threw a pillow at Harry, pretending to be angry, but laughing all the same.

"Oy, watch it, you. Hermione wouldn't be happy hearing you talk about her. Although I bet she and Krum are getting pretty well acquainted right now." Harry shook his head, grinning. He decided to let Ron in on something that Hermione had told him before he came to the Weasley's.

"Nah, Ron, she owled me a few weeks ago and said she decided that it would be 'too awkward.' She didn't want me telling you, though. I think she wanted you to suffer. I just took pity on you. I can't stand seeing you so oblivious..." It was as clear as day to Harry that Ron and Hermione were meant for each other, but they both seemed not to realize it. If anything, their little squabbles they had had last year proved their feelings. 'Poor Hermione,' Harry though to himself amusedly, 'Ron can be a bit...daft sometimes. She's going to have a rough time...'

"What do you mean, oblivious?" Ron demanded his tone a little more suspicious. Harry just shook his head with a small smile on his face that irritated Ron even more.

"Fine, then. You don't want to tell me, I'll just find out myself." Ron pretended to pout, which made Harry burst into laughter. Unsurprisingly, a vicious pillow fight ensued. Thankfully, all of the other Weasley's were out of the house, so they could battle uninterrupted.

Finally, both exhausted, they dropped onto the couch. They sat in silence for a few moments, just relaxing. Then, Harry spoke up.

"Ron, I was meaning to ask you- it's about Hermione-" Ron could tell Harry was serious from his tone of voice.

"Yeah, what about her?" He encouraged gently, knowing that Harry both wanted and didn't want to say this at the same time.

"Well, you see- well, I was wondering if you could tell her." Here, Harry paused, trying to collect his thought and phrase what he was trying to say. Ron looked confused for a moment, and the clarity shone through on his face.

"Oh, you mean- tell her about-" Harry broke in, finishing his sentence for him,

"Tell her about the Tournament. About what happened. I want her to know. She *deserves* to know, I just- I just don't think I can tell her so soon after telling you. It still hurts. Every time I talk about it, I have to re-live it all over again. I'm just not ready to do that again so soon. I mean, I care a lot about Hermione, she's a great friend, I just want you to be the one to tell her. That is, if you don't mind-"

"Harry," Ron interrupted, "I know what you're going to say. No, I don't mind. If it would help you, if it would make you feel better, of course I would do it. In fact, I would have told her myself a while ago, I just wanted to wait for you to ask me. It'd kinda be like invading your privacy if I didn't. So, I'll tell her. Don't worry about it."

At these words, Harry felt a rush of relief. 'Thank God for Ron,' he thought to himself. 'He makes things so much easier. Besides, if there were one good thing that could come from this, perhaps it would draw Ron and Hermione closer. They'll need each other. Especially now. A war is coming, and we have no idea what could happen...' Harry broke off this train of thought. It would do him no good, and possibly a great deal of harm. He looked over at Ron, and said,

Hey- Ron?" Ron looked over, and met his eyes.

"Yeah, Harry?" Harry held his gaze for a moment, the cleared his throat roughly a few times. His eyes beginning to sting, he said, very simply,

"Thanks." Ron clapped his hand onto Harry's back, and smiled. He didn't have to say anything. Harry already knew.
Later than evening, after Harry had already gone to bed, Ron stayed up, watching the fire. It was very late, well past midnight, and all of the other family members were in their beds. 'Only two more days left until school starts,' Ron thought. The feeling brought both happiness and sorrow. They would be returning to world with Voldemort alive, a world that would most likely break out into war in the near future. A world that would be hard to face. The hardest part was not knowing. Not knowing what would happen next. That kind of fearful anticipation was hard to face. But they would have to do it. Ron thought of an ancient muggle saying, which was supposedly a curse. 'May you live in interesting times.' Well, that's what we have now. Interesting times. We'll just have to deal with it, I suppose.

Ron's mind went back to that afternoon, and the conversation he had with Harry. Ron felt honored that Harry would trust him with something like that. Over this summer, Ron and Harry's friendship had grown a great deal. Ron knew that Harry trusted him, and needed him. Although Ron didn't know what the future would hold, he did know that if it were necessary, he would give his life for Harry. He knew this as surely as he knew that magic existed, and that the world was round. It wasn't a notion, or an idea in his head. It was a fact.

Ron got up, stretched, and walked upstairs. Little did he know that Harry was lying awake, and thinking of how lucky he was to have Ron, and how he would give his life for him if he needed to.

The next morning, Ron, Harry and the twins were playing some early morning quidditch on the yard. All of a sudden, Mr. Weasley cam bursting out of the door then slowed down and walked to wards the boys. He called up to them,

"Boys. Come down. I need to tell you something." They obligingly flew down, landing around Mr. Weasley, and looking at him quizzically. They took in his pale, drawn face, and noted the piece of parchment clutched in his fist with growing fear. Mr. Weasley took a deep breath, and began.

"I just got an owl. There have been several attacks in the wizarding community. Some houses were burned down, and the residents murdered. Floating over each house was a Dark Mark." Arthur Weasley looked around at the horrified faces and wide eyes. He took another breath, and said the words that would always be remembered. It was one of those moments that clearly divided time, and now their lives were only made up of *before* this moment and *after* this moment.

"It has begun."

Wow! And so ends The Wisdom to Know the Difference. I know what you're thinking, there will be a sequel, but it will take a while to get up. This one will have a lot more action. It will deal with Harry's fifth year (and, no, the title will not be Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. that's getting old, and the book hasn't even come out yet!) There will be fights. There will be Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and a bunch of other goodies! The title will be, (dun dun DUN!)

"Let Slip the Dogs of War." I know, I know, I can't seem to get away from these quotes *BAD Balizabeth!* I'm sorry, I just can't help myself....

Anyway, this chapter was SO hard for me. I worked so long on it and I still don't like it. That's what the delay was about, I was just having so many problems. And now you are all probably mad at me, what with the ending and all. *urg...Balizabeth runs and hides in a corner away from her angry reviewers.* Anyway, on with the comments....

WhetherRose- Thank you so much for your dedication to my fic. You have been great, and I hope you enjoy my next one, whenever it comes up. Yours is awesome, keep at it!

neutral- Thanks for reviewing! Your opinion means a lot, and I am glad you like it. Don't worry about the delay, I am just as bad. Oh, and CoS is going great! Can't wait for more!

JaimeyKay- Yay, an LOTR buddy! I'm glad you spotted the quotes...*sigh*...I'm hopelessly obsessed! I must admit, I love Ron too. He is just so good. And I have plans for Malfoy in my next fic, don't worry. Thanks for all your reviews!

Jagged Edge- so much for every day. Thanks for the review.

I know, I know, I probably forgot people. Sorry! I am really bad about stuff like that

Please, review! It may help my motivation for my sequel! Come on, it's not hard...I'm even accepting not-signed reviews. I'm making it very easy for you. Now press that button! Please!