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"Ronald, I need to talk to you, now." Hermione stated coldly, as she stepped from the fireplace and into the Weasley's living room. Ron was sprawled on the couch, reading through a Quidditch magazine.

"Huh? Hermione! What are you doing here?" he sat up, the magazine falling onto the floor. His red hair had grown longer over the summer, it now touched his shoulders, and was currently sticking up untidily, reminding Hermione of a feather duster gone wild.

"I came to talk some sense into you," the girl said shortly, putting her hands on her hips. She was wearing jeans and sassy pink short sleeved top, plus her ever present silver unicorn pendant. Her curly brown hair tumbled down onto her shoulders in a riot of curls and for the first time Ron noticed how . . .curvy she had become . . .and also how annoyed she seemed. Her brown eyes fairly crackled with anger.

Her Housemate swallowed hard. Now he understood better Harry's fascination with the avowed bookworm. "Talk some sense into me?" he repeated. "Why? You're the one who came up with that crazy unicorn story."

"It is not a story, Ron!" Hermione said through clenched teeth. Sometimes he was so dense she longed to smack him upside the head. "It's the truth. Come outside and I'll prove it to you!"

Before Ron could dig himself any deeper into his own grave, Molly came in. "Hermione, dear! It's so good to see you!" She beamed in delight and came over to hug the young witch. "How are you getting on, dear? I'm so dreadfully sorry about your loss. I meant to tell you before, but there wasn't time. How are Harry and Professor Snape doing?"

When Molly paused for breath, Hermione said quietly, "It's good to see you too, Mrs. Weasley. Thank you. I'm adjusting to my parents' loss, though it'll be a long time before I stop missing them. Harry and Severus are doing just fine."

Ron watched the two hugging and thought, Sure, you're adjusting all right, Hermione. You've decided to pretend you're a unicorn transformed into a human and adopted by your real parents. Bloody hell!

Molly patted her cheek. "Good, I'm glad to hear it. Now that this war is finally over, we can get back to normal around here, thank the Moon Lady! Well, I'll leave you and Ron to get caught up. There's tea and cakes in the kitchen if you get hungry."

Then she bustled away, muttering something about doing the laundry.

Ron looked at his best friend resignedly. "You know, Hermione, there's no need for you to . . .err . . .pretend that you had different parents just because your mum and dad died—"

"Ron, I am not delusional!' Hermione snapped. "Come outside and I'll show you!" She reached out and grabbed his ear and dragged him off the couch.

"Ow! Hermione, let go! That hurts!"

She ignored his whining and frog-marched him out the back door and into the garden.

Harry exited the Floo a few moments later, and glanced about. He saw no sign of Ron or Hermione and called, "Ron? Anybody home?"

"I think they're out back, Harry dear!" answered Molly from another room.

"Oh. Thanks, Mrs. Weasley!" Harry quickly ran for the back door, which was off the kitchen.

He got there just in time to see Hermione shift into Imara, the glittering gold unicorn filly.

Ron's jaw dropped and his eyes bugged out.

Harry couldn't help chuckling at his friend's thunderstruck expression.

Ron spun around. "Harry! Did you see . . .what she . . .Hermione's a unicorn!"

"I know. And that's not an Animagus form, like mine. She's the real thing."

Ron backpedaled. "You mean . . .you're one too! When did that happen? What else have you been keeping from me?" his tone changed, becoming defensive and slightly hurt.

"It happened at my Initiation into the Mysteries. Selene granted me that form as a Gift, because I'm Her descendant."

"You're all barking mad!" Ron groaned. "I think I need to sit down."

Harry Summoned a worn lawn chair and Ron sat down in it, looking from the beautiful unicorn to Harry and back again, his expression still one of disbelief.

"Look, I know this is a lot to take in at once—" Harry began.

"First, you tell me that Snape's your guardian and you actually like it, and then Hermione tells me he's her guardian too and she found out that she isn't even a human, but was born a unicorn, which is like, Selene's bloody sacred animal—"

"Ron, please don't take Selene's name in vain, it's not polite," Arthur interjected, coming out of his shed to see the two friends and a unicorn standing in his garden. "Blessed Lady! She sent a unicorn here?"

"Dad, it's Hermione," Ron cried, pointing to the rather amused unicorn. "That's Hermione right there!"

"Really? How marvelous!" Arthur exclaimed. "You're lucky to have such a fine Animagus form."

"Dad, she says it's not her Animagus form. It's her real one." Ron told him. "She's actually a unicorn that can shift into human form."

Arthur's eyebrow went up. "Really? That's . . .quite fascinating! I've never known that unicorns can shapeshift. When did you find out, Hermione? Oh, err . . .I guess you can't answer me in that shape . . ."

Hermione walked over and tapped him on the head with her horn lightly. She then turned and did the same to Ron. Amicus had told her that she could give humans the temporary ability to hear her via mindspeech if she chose.

Yes, I can, you just wouldn't have been able to hear me, she sent. Hello, Mr. Weasley! I found out right after we came home from the battle. My true parents are Amicus and Sirocco, the unicorns who helped us fight the Death Eaters at Riddle Manor. I know it seems impossible, but I'm really their eldest daughter, Imara, who was changed and hidden away for my own protection, because Voldemort had created a purge and wanted to hunt down and kill all the unicorns right after I was born . . .

She told them all the tale Amicus had told her, and both Weasleys listened intently, and when Ron would have interrupted, Arthur made a shushing gesture and he closed his mouth.

Harry was glad Arthur was there, he seemed to be able to keep Ron from flying off the handle. Harry had observed that Mr. Weasley seemed to have that effect on a lot of people. He had a calming presence and was naturally soothing, especially during a crisis.

When Hermione had finished, Arthur bowed to her and said, "Well, that's something, that is! D'you mind if I tell Molly? No? Good. You're an extraordinary girl . . .err . . .filly and Ron's lucky to have you for a friend. Have you tried healing with your horn yet? Or purifying water?"

No. I only just learned about what I am, and the only thing I've done with my horn is enable you and Ron to hear me mind-to mind. But I'm sure my unicorn parents will teach me everything about my abilities when I go visit them once I return to school. Then I can meet my siblings too. I think I have five of them.

"Five?" Ron repeated. "You're the oldest of five? You have almost as big a family as we do."

I know. It's really odd, but I'm glad. I always wanted siblings and now I've got them, plus parents again. I feel like I've been given a second chance.

"In a way, I believe you have," Arthur said. "Selene works in mysterious ways, Hermione."

"You can say that again," Harry agreed.

"Well, I'm off to have some tea. Repairing that Muggle toaster really gets my appetite going." Arthur said, then he gave them a wave and disappeared inside.

Once he was gone, Imara slipped the pendant over her horn and changed back into Hermione again. "Now do you believe me, Ron?" she asked, somewhat tetchily.

Ron nodded. "Yes. But, you have to admit, you did sound like you were cracked, Hermione. I mean, whoever heard of a unicorn becoming a human?"

"Ron, you're a wizard, and see hundreds of thousands of strange and unbelievable things every day that you just accept without question. What makes this so difficult?"

"Maybe because I haven't been around you for the whole summer, and then you just write to me and it's like everything's changed. I feel like I . . .don't really know who you are any more. Either of you. I mean, when we left school, Harry still hated Snape and you were telling me all about your summer study program or whatever. Next thing I know, Harry's moved out of his aunt's house, which was great, but then he tells me he's living with the dungeon bat. Whatever happened to living with Sirius, mate?"

Harry sighed. He should have known Ron was going to be difficult. "Look, I explained why I couldn't live with Sirius, it wasn't safe enough at Grimmauld Place, plus when Severus left Privet Drive, I wasn't exactly given a choice of where I wanted to go. It was his house or become a Ministry charity case. And after what he did for me, Ron, I felt he was the one who had my best interests at heart."

"You could have come here. Mum and Dad would have helped."

"Ron, I didn't want to put you or your family in danger," Harry explained patiently. "Death Eaters came to Privet Drive looking for me, they killed the Dursleys because I wasn't there and they didn't know where I went. They might have tracked me to the Burrow and done the same thing. I couldn't put you at risk that way."

"Fine, but how could you trust Snape after the way he treats you at school?"

"Ron, he's changed. A lot of how he treated me was because he assumed I was a spoiled rich brat like my father and I also—we also—tended to break a lot of school rules. He was wrong, he knows that, and he regrets what he did to me. When he learned the truth about how I lived with the Dursleys, he acted to protect me. Dumbledore would have made me go back there, because of the blood wards. Severus understands what I went through, he's actually a decent man, Ron, once you get past his snarky side. He helped me a lot. And I helped him. I know you don't like him, but well, he is my guardian now and I'm asking you to just . . .respect that, all right?"

Ron nodded reluctantly. "All right. I guess I can do that. But I wish you'd told me sooner. I feel like I've been spending my summer in limbo while you and Hermione have been having all the adventures."

"Ron, I wish I didn't have any adventures, as you put it," Hermione said sadly. "A lot of them weren't fun. At all. In fact, this was the worst summer of my life."

Ron looked awkward and uncomfortable. He hadn't thought of that. "Oh. You're right. Sorry. When you put it like that . . .maybe I shouldn't complain."

"You shouldn't." Harry put in. "I know it might seem unfair, but half our summer was spent feeling really miserable and rescuing our Potions professor from Death Eaters and then trying to restore him to his true self with help from Andromeda Tonks and Draco."

"Malfoy? When did he come into this?" Ron gasped.

Here we go again, Harry thought resignedly, and then told Ron about Draco and how they had become comrades during the whole Moon Fire rescue.

Ron's eyes got bigger and bigger and then he threw up his hands and cried, "All right, I think I'm having a bloody waking nightmare here! Now you're friends with Malfoy? Have you both gone CRAZY? Malfoy hates us! He's a Slytherin, we're Gryffindors. He's an arrogant little shit! I'm not going to be friends with him. He insults me and my family every chance he gets and now I'm supposed to feel sorry for him? Well, I don't. He can go to hell!"

"Ron!" Hermione cried. "How can you be so . . .?"

"So what? You want to be friends with that lying prat, Hermione? Go right ahead! And you too, Harry! Stab me in the back, why don't you? But I'm not going to cozy up to a slimy snake, no way in hell."

"I never said you had to, Ron!" Harry shouted back. "You don't need to go all nuts and act like I betrayed you, because I didn't. I'm not saying you or Draco have to get along, and I never said I liked him more. All I'm saying is that he's not as bad as we thought and I want to try and be friends with him."

"Friends with a Slytherin, ha!"

"You know, Ron, for somebody who claims he's not biased, you sure have an awful prejudice against Slytherins," Hermione pointed out.

"Because all of them are scum."

Hermione's eyes flashed. "Severus is not scum, Ron. He saved my life and gave me a home and a family! And Draco helped me when I was a prisoner in the manor and Bellatrix was torturing me. His father beat him because of me!"

"Well, bully for them! He probably had it coming!"

"You're impossible, Ronald!" she declared angrily. "Being friends with Draco doesn't mean we stop being friends with you. You can have friends who don't like each other, there's nothing wrong with that."

"There is too!" Ron growled petulantly.

"Oh, grow up!" Hermione glared at him. "You're not mad just because of Draco, you're mad because things have changed between us and you can't handle it."

"Too much has changed!"

"Hey, that's how it goes," Harry said, giving Ron a stern look. "Things can't stay the same forever. That's how life is. You change and you grow or else you die. I'm not the same person I was two months ago. Neither is Hermione. We've learned things . . .about ourselves and others that have changed the way we see things. And see people. It's not all black and white, Ron. And nobody's perfect. We all have things we regret, choices we made that we wish we could change. But we can't, and so all we can do is move forward. And try and forgive past mistakes."

"I can't do that."

"Okay, but you're only hurting yourself." Harry sighed.

"I don't care. While you've been out saving the world and making nice with Malfoy, I've been stuck here all summer, going batty and bored out of my mind."

"Would you have rather been locked in an attic with a crazy bitch, getting Crucio-ed?" Hermione demanded.

"Or nearly getting killed by undead zombies?" Harry added. "Like we said before, this summer was no holiday by the sea."

"I would have taken a zombie over Ginny and Percy quarreling," Ron admitted. "It just seems like . . .I don't know . . .I got left out of this one . . .and we were always together before . . ."

"Look, we didn't plan it like this, it just happened," Harry said. He could sympathize with Ron's hurt feelings, up to a point. "And you ought to be glad you didn't have to face what I did. Or Hermione. But now it's finished and we can finally have a normal life again. Or as normal as it gets."

"Like living with Snape is normal. Does he make you scrub cauldrons and brew potions if you back talk him?"

"No, but he makes me whitewash the paddock fence. And once he made me swallow a spoonful of cod liver oil because I swore at him."

"Cod liver oil? Is that like some kind of poison?"

"No, you fool!" Harry laughed. "It's nasty tasting fish oil. Why would Snape ever want to poison me?"

"To get revenge for all the times we acted up in potions?"

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Honestly, Ron, if he wanted revenge for that, all he'd have to do was fail you both. And he hasn't. Not all Slytherins are bad, Ron. Severus has always been on the side of the Light, we just never knew it until now. He's Selene's Chosen Consort."

Ron fell off his chair with a thump.

"Bloody hell! Now I know I've gone crazy." He rubbed the small of his back. "Next thing you know, you'll be telling me Malfoy is Her son!"

"No, but he is Her initiate," Harry informed him, smirking.

"You're putting me on, mate! Enough is enough!"

"I swear on my wand, I'm not," Harry answered solemnly.

"Bloody flaming hell!"

"Ronald Bilius Weasley, you watch your language!" ordered Molly. "Don't make me get out the Firkin's."

"Sorry, Mum," Ron called back quickly, his face going pale.

"Firkin's?" Hermione queried.

"Firkin's Explosive Hot Sauce," Ron explained, grimacing. "Sets your mouth on fire for half-an-hour. She always used that on us when we were little and repeated bad words."

"Sounds about as bad as Severus' cod liver oil."

"Parents! They're all sadists." Ron grumbled. He shook his head. "You're sure Malfoy worships the Bright Lady?"

"Absolutely. He wears Her symbol and She granted him the form of a white viper," Harry told him.

Ron groaned. "Great! Absolutely peachy! Just what we need . . .a venomous Malfoy! Like he wasn't bad enough already!"

"Ron, he's not going to bite you. If he misuses his Animagus form, Selene will take it from him. Your parents worship the goddess, and you know She doesn't tolerate Her followers misusing their Gifts."

Ron did know that. He had grown up learning about the Moon Lady, though lately he had been trying to figure out what deity he wanted to worship, because he felt dissatisfied with Selene's doctrine. "Who said anything about biting me? I wasn't worried about that!" he blustered. Great! Now Malfoy has an Animagus form too! What about me? When do I get something? He thought resentfully.

"I still don't want to be his friend."

"That's fine," Harry said affably. "I never expected you to. Just don't think you can guilt trip me into choosing you over him. That wouldn't be fair. I like you both, for different reasons."

"I've known you longer," Ron pointed out.

"I know. I'm not likely to forget all you've done for me, Ron. But Draco helped me too when I needed it, when Severus was lost inside Moon Fire. He didn't have to, he didn't even know who Moon Fire really was. But he didn't quit on me, and what's more important, he helped Hermione and Moon Fire at the manor. He could have taken the easy way out and just obeyed Lucius, but he didn't. And he even helped humiliate Lucius and Bellatrix." Harry then told him about the revenge they had wreaked upon the two Death Eaters.

Ron started laughing so hard he almost fell off his chair a second time. "Oh, I wish I could have seen that . . .oh . . .Merlin . . .!" He wheezed, then managed to wipe his eyes and say, "Maybe Malfoy isn't such a prat. But I still don't like him."

"You don't? I never would have guessed," Hermione teased. Then she said, "Why don't you come over one afternoon? Or maybe this weekend? You could hang out around the farm and see how different Severus is there from his classroom. Maybe Harry and I can teach you how to ride too."

"Me? Ride a unicorn? But unicorns only like virgin girls, not boys! Err . . .ahh . . ."

Harry and Hermione burst out laughing. They nearly fell on the ground, convulsed with mirth.

"What? What's so funny? It's true, right?"

"Not always, Ron," Harry finally managed to say. "Unicorns can choose who they allow on their backs, it has nothing to do with virginity, just with a pure heart."

"But thanks for sharing," Hermione added, her eyes dancing with pure mischief.

Ron blushed as red as his hair. "Forget I said that. Please."

"Will you come and visit?" Hermione challenged, tossing her hair.

"I . . .err . . .all right. Just as long as Snape doesn't make me brew any potions."

"He won't," Harry reassured him. But he may make you muck out a stall. "Saturday, then?"

"Sure. That way I can get away from Mum's spring cleaning," he told Harry conspiratorially. "Is riding hard?"

Hermione and Harry exchanged glances. Should they tell Ron the truth? Or let him find out for himself?

Finally, Hermione winked at her boyfriend and said, "You'll see. The most important rule though is—don't fall off!"

For some reason, that started Harry off again in a fit of giggles.

Ron just stared at him. "You're bloody insane! The pair of you." Then he added with a grin. "And so am I."

The three smiled goofily at each other. The Golden Trio was alive and well, Harry thought. And perhaps someday it would be a quartet. Though it would take a miracle for Ron to get over his dislike of Draco. Still, Harry had seen Selene work plenty of miracles before. He shrugged. If it was meant to be, it would happen. Right then he was just happy that Ron was finally seeing reason, that was enough of a miracle right there.

So, what did you think of this one? Should Ron get an Animagus form? Yes or no? If yes, what should it be and how should he get it? Ie-learn it from a teacher or be given it like Harry? Who should teach it to him?

This may be the second to last chapter of this story, plus a short epilogue.

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