The Sugar Quill
Author: potions gurl  Story: Choosing a Path  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

“Well, if either of you do see anythin’, let me know, won’t yeh

Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the characters or situations of this story. Some of the dialogue was taken from chapter fifteen of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, American Edition, by J.K. Rowling. No copywrite infringement is intended nor is any money being made form this story.

 

~*~*~*~

 

Firenze often strolled through the forest to clear his mind. Ronan always focused on studying the stars and preparing for what was going to happen, but Firenze was tired of it. He knew that that was how the Centaurs predicted the future, but he always wondered if anyone could truly divine what was to happen. He also knew the stars had been wrong in the past, and there were other forces that needed to be taken into consideration.

 

He was lost in thought when he heard voices up ahead. He recognized the unaccommodating voice of Ronan and the friendly one of Hagrid. Knowing Hagrid didn’t often come into the forest simply to visit, Firenze decided to go see what was happening. He got there just has Hagrid was leaving with a couple of students.

 

“Well, if either of you do see anythin’, let me know, won’t yeh? We’ll be off then.” With that, Hagrid led Harry and Hermione away.

 

“Unicorns in danger? Such sweet creatures, who would want to harm them?” Firenze asked as he joined Ronan and Bane.  “I hope they find it and whatever attacked it.”

 

“Firenze, you know that what happens to others in this forest is none of our concern. And that we Centaurs do not interfere with fate,” Ronan admonished as he headed back into the forest.

 

Firenze stood and watched as Bane followed Ronan into the dark. He knew Centaurs kept to themselves as a general rule, but couldn’t help feeling that this was a time to ignore the rules. Sometimes you had to do what you felt was right even if it went against what others thought or what the fates had written into your life. Having spent most of his life studying the stars Firenze knew that it was possible to alter fate, even though it was not done very often.

 

Heading off in the opposite direction from the other two, Firenze meandered through the forest looking for any sign of the students or the unicorn. The forest was such a vast place that he wasn’t sure if Hagrid and the students would be able to search all of it. At one point he paused, thinking he heard something moving though the brush, but then it was quiet again so soon that he didn’t trust his ears.

 

He started to wonder if anything was to be found when the forest in front of him lit up with red sparks. Without any thought of danger, Firenze took off in the direction of the sparks. He slowed his pace as he got closer and was just about to come out into the path when he heard a familiar voice.

 

“Neville! Malfoy! What happened? Where are yeh?”

 

It was Hagrid. Firenze stayed hidden but near, in case he might be needed. One of the boys was doubled over; at first Firenze thought he was hurt until he heard the laughter.

 

“Your face, Longbottom, it was priceless. I’m surprised you didn’t wet yourself. You are such a gullible prat.”

 

“What’s goin’ on here? Why’d yeh send off the sparks?” Hagrid charged into view, crossbow gleaming in the moonlight filtering down though the leaves overhead. Firenze moved a little closer to where they were standing so that he could hear better and maybe find out if they had found anything.

 

“It…it was Malfoy. He jumped out at me and I…I sent off the sparks he startled me so.”

 

“All right then. Stop yer laughing now. Both of yeh come with me.”

 

As soon as the three of them were out of sight Firenze headed off in the opposite direction. “I don’t see what’s so funny about scaring a classmate in this forest. He could have been seriously hurt.”

 

He went down the path for a ways before turning off in a different direction. He was rather deep in the forest when a rustling overhead attracted his attention. It was hard to see anything, but there was definitely something up there. And though Firenze wasn’t positive, but he believed it wasn’t native to the forest, although it seemed used to roaming around the forest.

 

Just as he was about to give up and continue on his way, Firenze saw something leap from the tree and slither away in a crouch. He stayed a respectable distance back and made no noise as he followed it. The creature moved out of the darkness and into the moonlight of a small clearing. It stopped and bent over something white.

 

The unicorn!

 

I need to go find Hagrid, Firenze thought, turning away. He hadn’t gotten very far when the air was suddenly split by a scream.

 

“AAAAAAAAAAAARGH!”

 

Turning towards the sound Firenze galloped back to the clearing. He saw the blond-haired boy who’d played the earlier prank running away. But another boy, the one he saw with Hagrid first, just stood there with the creature heading straight for him.

 

Without pausing, Firenze jumped over the boy to challenge the creature. But at the sight of the Centaur the creature backed into the darkness of the forest and disappeared. Firenze turned to the boy and was surprised to see that it was Harry Potter.

 

“Are you all right?” he asked reaching out to give Harry a hand up.

 

~*~*~*~

 

After seeing Harry safely back to Hagrid and his classmates Firenze went back into the forest thinking about what he had told Harry. And about what Ronan and Bane had said. The forest belonged to everyone, not just the Centaurs. They couldn’t just sit by and watch evil take over if there was something that they could do about it.

 

Hagrid is a good person, he thought. Sometimes he doesn’t understand the dangers of some of the creatures that he takes a liking to, but he means well. And he wouldn’t just bring students into the forest for an idle reason.

 

He now knew what the creature in the forest was and that didn’t make him feel any better about their situation. When it was still unidentified it could have been either evil or good and he might have ignored its presence, but now he could not. He just hoped that he wouldn’t become its next target because of his interference with young Harry Potter.

 

Nor was he looking forward to seeing Bane or Ronan any time soon. He probably shouldn’t have reacted to them in anger, but some things were just too important to ignore. And if they wanted to pretend that what happened in the wizarding world had no effect on them, then he would let them. But he would read all the signs, not just those in the stars, and be prepared for what was to come.

 

 

 

 

Author’s Note: A huge thank you to Lady Narcissa, my fabulous beta reader. Also, thanks to Sammy Weasley for being my unofficial beta and for your help with the initial write of the story.

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