The Sugar Quill
Author: Silver Phoenix (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Perfect World  Chapter: Chapter 1: Fate
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

In times forgotten they were written,

Disclaimer: As always, the wonderful world of Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling, and sadly, not to me.

Author’s Notes: Welcome to Bury the Hatchet: Round Two! For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, this story is the sequel to Bury the Hatchet, which can also be found here on the Sugar Quill. I highly, highly recommend reading Bury the Hatchet before you attempt to read this story. Also, keep in mind that both Bury the Hatchet and Perfect World were written before the release of Order of the Phoenix. BtH takes place seven years and PW eight years after Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s graduation, but I created this post-Hogwarts universe without the knowledge of everything that occurred in Order of the Phoenix. Therefore some characters who may or may not have died in Order of the Phoenix (not too vague, am I?) are still alive in this fic. The Aurors, their Headquarters, and even the Ministry of Magic are totally uncanonical and came straight from my head. That said, I think you’ve been adequately warned. I sincerely hope that won’t put anyone off reading this; really, aside from a certain person being alive who really shouldn’t be, there aren’t any other gross “canon errors”.

As always, I’d like to thank Night Zephyr, my amazing beta, who is betaing this fic for me even though she doesn’t have to. Round of applause, please.

Without further ado…

 

Perfect World

In times forgotten they were written,

Placed under lock and key.

Spread cross the borders of many lands,

Spread cross both earth and sea.

In their words dark magic was poured.

When spoken, the world shall see,

A dark hand unleashed to crush it's foes,

And set our people free.

***

Fate.

What a complete waste of four perfectly good letters. Fate was something unsuccessful people invented in order to blame their lack of success on something they couldn't control. Fate was a cheesy plot device in Muggle romance movies. Fate was a word in the glossary of a fifth-year Divination textbook - an evil, evil, fifth-year Divination textbook.

Ron Weasley believed that life wasn't simply a pre-made path that you had to blindly wander down. Life was about choices, not fate. It was your decisions in life that determined what you made of yourself, who your friends were, and if you ended up happy or miserable.

Perhaps it was luck that Harry Potter had sat next to him on the Hogwarts Express almost fifteen years ago, but definitely not fate. Harry made a choice to shun Malfoy and his cronies and become friends with Ron back in first year. Harry and Ron made a choice to try to save Hermione Granger from a club-happy troll back in first year, even though she was a bit of a pill back then. Thus, the infamous trio was born. Choices, not fate.

It was the choices that they made, plus, of course, Ron's exceptional talent and intelligence, which had kept the trio alive throughout their years at Hogwarts. It was the choices that Ron and Harry made that had led them both to become well-known and respected Aurors. It was a choice that Ron had made which had kept him at Hogwarts last year. It was a choice that Ron had made which meant that he could now call himself Professor Ron Weasley, which, everyone admitted, had an very nice ring to it. It was a choice that Ron had made which had brought him together with the same girl who he and Harry had saved from a gruesome death in the girls' toilets fifteen years ago.

Ron Weasley firmly believed that a person was responsible for their own fate. Or he just didn't like the idea of not being in control of his life, as Hermione eloquently put it. This thought, of course, coming from the same girl who stomped out of Divination class in third year.

It was smart choices and good decision-making which determined your fate: not a crystal ball, not some higher power, and definitely not some crackpot Divination professor.

Now Ron was faced with another choice, an extremely difficult one at that. But his decisions in life so far hadn't served him too badly: he had a caring family, a job he loved, the girl he always wanted, and free meals three times a day.

He stared into space, his mind working overtime, the decision he had to eventually make eating away at his very being. Taking a deep breath, he slowly lifted his head to stare into Hermione Granger's brown eyes.

"I will ask you once more, Hermione," he said slowly and seriously. "What do you think would look better, the red or the blue?" Frowning, Ron held up two ties.

Hermione sighed impatiently and threw down her quill on the papers she had been furiously scribbling away on. "For the last time, Ron!" she replied in an exasperated voice. "No…one…cares!"

The other members of the staff of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, who were milling, reading, marking, and lounging around the staff common room, all stopped what they were doing in order to murmur their agreements.

It was the beginning of September - the Hogwarts term had only just begun, and most of the teachers, not to mention the students, were in a foul mood after their lovely summer vacations had been so abruptly snatched away from them. Ron was only just getting into the groove of teaching again; he'd only had to begin a school year as a teacher once before, and the adrenaline boost caused by his mission at that time, not to mention seeing Hermione again for the first time in seven years, had kept him going.

Now, though, he was starting to see why the beginning of the school year was often the dreariest time for most of the teachers. He had had an amazing summer - half was spent at the Burrow, where he made up for lost time; with his previous occupation, he could rarely visit family and friends, and only for only brief periods at a time. The other half was spent on holidays in Greece with Hermione. His hideous sunburn was only now just fading into a mass of stupid-looking freckles on his face, as the temperatures cooled considerably across Britain and the sun settled itself to hide behind clouds for the remainder of the year. But the sunburn and freckles were definitely worth it; it had been the best month of his life.

Ron ignored the rest of the staff, staring at the two ties and chewing his bottom lip. He placed the ties carefully on the table he and Hermione were both working at, tilting his head slightly so as to properly judge them from all possible angles. "I mean, the red definitely says 'Weasley'," Ron said contemplatively. "Yet the blue…it matches my own sparkling sapphire eyes so well…"

"'onestly," a droning, heavily accented voice said from where it's owner was lounging in an overstuffed, forest-green arm chair. "You are worse zen a woman," Professor Renee Bouchard said in disdain, rolling his eyes.

Bouchard was currently the replacement for Diana Drago, Hogwarts' cold, sarcastic Potions Mistress from last year. Professor Drago, whom Ron had never been particularly fond of, had left after last year to pursue a career in Magical Law Enforcement as an Auror. After Diana's swift departure Ron had found out from Hermione that the raven-haired Potions Mistress had taken his place as Harry Potter's partner. Ron had been slightly displeased.

Thus, the staff of Hogwarts had the pleasure of spending the entire school year with a former Beauxbatons Potions Master, "Bright 'N Cheery" Bouchard. The snobby, egotistical, smug Frenchman had Ron almost pining for Diana Drago's cynical comments.

"Shut it, Frenchie," Ron snapped.

"Oh, it eez a knife to my 'eart when you taunt me so," Renee replied in a mocking tone, clutching his heart. Ron heard Hermione stifle a snicker. Whipping his head back around, he glared at his girlfriend, who promptly returned to busily making up lesson plans, a look of innocence plastered on her face. Hermione had lesson plans made up for every day from now until June. Ron was currently free-styling it in all his classes.

"Honestly though, Ron," Hermione piped up after Ron's glare had slowly transformed back into a pensive stare. "God forbid you ever have to make an important decision in life if you're losing sleep over which tie to wear to your brother's wedding." She gave him her I-know-everything-there-is-to-know-about-everything-and-will-now-proceed-to-look-superior look, which was admittedly extremely cute, but Ron refused to soften. Instead, he sighed impatiently.

"You don't understand, do you?" he asked carefully. "Percy is the very first Weasley to be married. My family will be amalgamating with another as he and his bride exchange vows and bind themselves together in holy matrimony. I am obligated, as his brother, to make a good impression on Penelope’s family. Because Merlin knows Fred and George won't." Looking important, Ron settled back into his chair.

Hermione stopped writing once again to glance up at Ron, frowning. "I didn't realize this meant so much to you," she said, sounding guilty. "I wasn't really planning on going all out…do you think I should buy something new to wear?"

Ron rubbed his chin. "Yeah, maybe you should, that one red dress of yours is kind of old…"

Professor Bouchard murmured something in French that sounded suspiciously like "idiot", carefully turning a page of the book he was reading in a melodramatic fashion.

"I'm kidding," Ron announced loudly, turning his attention back to Hermione and trying to think of a suitable, mushy line to say next. "You’ll look beautiful no matter what you're wearing," he said, quite proud of himself. Hermione ducked her head a bit and blushed, though she smiled brightly. Ron grinned like an idiot back at her.

Professor Bouchard sighed loudly from his arm chair. "Oh please."

Angrily, Ron turned around and chucked the blue tie at him. Not missing a beat, Bouchard flipped another page, feigning obliviousness to the tie that had landed on his head.

"Red, then," Ron decided, turning back to Hermione. And that settled it.

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And we’re off! Please review, as reviewing is fantastic and educational. …Yes, educational. Reviewing is mass educational! It teaches you to…write…and…form constructive criticisms…really…

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