Prompt: In the end, all roads lead back to the Astronomy Tower, and that perilous fall beyond it.


~ Tea Leaves ~

Harry stared at the unfortunate mass of tea leaves sitting in front of him. "Bugger," he said.

"She's still over at Lavender's table, plenty of time to make something up." Ron pulled out his copy of Unfogging the Future and flipped towards the back. "What's it look like?"

Harry tilted the cup backwards, trying to get the contents into the light for a better view, and a clump of wet leaves shifted down to the side. "I don't know, maybe a house?"

"House, right." Ron flicked a few pages. "No entry for house, there's 'home' or 'castle' though."

"Castle is fine," Harry said. He turned around to keep an eye on Trelawney, still several tables away.

Ron grabbed his quill and scribbled something down. "What's the purpose of the castle? Has it got a moat or a wall or anything? Is it being attacked?"

"It's a bunch of soggy tea leaves! Just pick one."

"Right, moat then. That signals danger." He ripped a page halfway down the middle in his haste to get back to the questionnaire.

"Give me that," said Harry. He handed Ron the cup and grabbed the textbook. "Would you say the leaves are more of a muddy brown, a dark brown, a soil color, or something else?"

Ron peered into the cup. "You know how when someone burns the bacon, the edge is really dark? Bit like that."

Harry sighed and wrote down the readings for 'burnt brown,' which indicated an opposite. "What's the opposite of a castle?"

"Dunno." Ron picked up a magnifying glass lying nearby and proceeded to look busy doing nothing. "Opposite of the moat could be a tower?"

"Fine," said Harry. Only a few questions left. "What percentage of the bottom of the cup are the tea leaves covering?"

"What?" asked Ron. "Oh, right. Sixty I guess? They're sort of spiraling out from the middle."

"Let me see." Harry traded with Ron again, to see that the leaves looked different from before. "Did you spill some?"

"That bit you knocked loose fell out, but I cleaned them up." He waggled his wand and turned to the index in the back of the text. "So that means travel of some kind?"

Trelawney was one table away. "Right, good enough," said Harry. He started making notes. "Travel, Tower, Castle, Danger. Ideas?"

"Don't travel to a castle and get pushed off a tower?"

"We've got to make it sound all prophecy-ish if we want decent marks. Perilous fall?"

"And all the roads take you there, so you can't avoid it," added Ron. "She'll like that bit."

"Right," said Harry. "Make it the Astronomy Tower, so we can pretend it's someone we know." He scribbled out their prediction:

In the end, all roads lead back to the Astronomy Tower, and that perilous fall beyond it.

As soon as he'd written the last word, a chill came over Harry. It was unlike anything he'd ever felt before, and it reminded him of the old muggle saying about someone walking over his grave.

He barely noticed as Trelawney came around and checked their work, praising them and glancing at the leaves herself. His eyes didn't leave his scribbled prediction until she took the parchment away, giving them an "E" for the day.

"Harry, mate, you alright?" asked Ron, breaking through Harry's stupor a second later. He sounded worried.

Harry shook his head to clear it. "Yeah, Ron, it's nothing. Probably just the fumes." The whole thing seemed silly now, even a minute later. Why had he been so fixated on their prediction? It was just a stupid, made up assignment. "Let's go eat."