In light of the many time travelling fanfics but so little of them being about Ron, I decided to take my own spin at it. Let's see where this one goes.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter in any shape or form. The honor goes to Ms. Rowling.
For the first time in what felt like ages, Ron felt a surge of hope.
His situation was no less bleak than when the whole war began, of course, when the whole mess is in full, twisted swing. The Death Eaters are still relentless in their attack, and some part of his mind was aware of friends and acquaintances falling over like flies in the background. Even Hogwarts is crumbling apart from the destruction and death bombarding it on all sides.
But behind the death and gloom hanging in the air like a thick curtain were all important slivers of small triumphs.
They were finally turning things around. It may have nearly killed them in the process, but he, Harry and Hermione were finally able to destroy the horcrux in Ravenclaw's diadem. He and Hermione were able to destroy the horcrux in Hupplepuff's cup earlier as well. Now all they need is to kill that snake and Harry can finally beat You-Know-Who and end this stupid war!
Best of all, after years of estrangement and in the middle of the raging battle, the Weasley family was finally complete again.
When he first saw his older brother Percy stumbling into the Great Hall before them, a disbelieving Ron thought he had every right to feel righteously angry and cruelly smug, that, after all this time, just when his precious Ministry of Magic had all but crumbled to nothing would Percy come crawling back to the family he essentially abandoned, tail between his legs and begging for the forgiveness and acceptance he did not deserve.
But then, face to face with the Weasley's lost son, Ron felt none of those things, nothing but overwhelming relief and a touch of happiness. The stony wall that was his face will not betray it, but Ron was grateful that Percy had returned because, pompous git or not, he was family and if there's one thing Ron learned throughout all this is that you should never give up on family or the ones you love even if they made the most horrid mistakes.
Harry and Hermione taught him that much.
Besides, deep down, a huge part of Ron really did miss his older brother, posh talk, awkward know-it-all-isms and all that, just like the rest of his family. The easy way Fred and George shook off past hurts like it never happened proved it.
It was with a united front that the Weasleys are up and showing the Death Eaters who's boss, and by Merlin, Ron will do everything he can to make sure that nothing will break up his family—Harry and Hermione included—ever again.
Not if he had anything to say about it!
So when the sight of Death Eaters tearing past one of the walls of Hogwarts and coming for Percy and Fred came to view, Ron was quick to his feet, wand aloft.
Stay away from my family, you sick motherfuckers!
A jet of light zoomed past Fred's head, hitting a masked Death Eater square on the chest.
"Nice shot, Ronnie!" Fred, ever the tease even in the midst of a death defying battle, laughed as he raised his own wand at several opponents. "Relashio!"
"Come on!" Harry shouted after a quick hex on a couple of Death Eaters. "We have to move!"
"Go on! We'll hold them off!" From Ron's periphery, he saw Percy fire a couple of jinxes to one of their attackers. The hood slipped from the man's face as he reeled back from Percy's attack, revealing a long face and streaked hair.
Thicknesse! Ron snarled in recognition.
"Hello Minister!" Percy shouted over another neatly fired jinx straight to the man's chest. "Did I mention I'm resigning?"
"You're joking, Perce!" Fred shouted, struggling to stand after beating several Death Eaters at the price of three stunning spells to his limbs. He and Ron had to crack a grin at the sight of Thicknesse growing spines all over his body like a sea urchin. "You actually are joking, Perce…I don't think I've heard you joke since you were—"
Then it happened.
Ron didn't know why, or how he knew where to look, other than it felt like a pull to the back of his neck when he saw it: a Death Eater aiming an unsteady wand with a roar of "Bombarda Maxima!"
The wand was so wobbly that it barely missed Fred, but to Ron's horror, the spell hit the wall right above his brother's head instead, and with a loud boom, the wall heaved.
The world seemingly slowed down, the sounds of spells and screams muted by the roar of anguish and desperation ringing in his ears, as he willed his legs to move, to do anything to reach his brother who was smiling without a care, not knowing the threat of death careening from above.
No, no, not now! Not when his family was finally together again! Not when they were so close to winning this damnable war!
And then several things happened at once: Ron felt himself hit solid warmth that was quickly knocked out of the way, heard a loud grunt followed by a forceful slam of something hard, cold and heavy, blinding pain, smothering darkness and a chorus of terrified screams.
The world, for some reason, was awfully quiet.
It was the first thing Ron became aware of as the consciousness ebbed back into his senses. He lying facedown, his body oddly light yet too weak to move and his cheek pressed against a smooth, cool surface that reminded him of marble.
W—what? Ron's heart did a lurch at the familiar tone, flat and unfeeling. That voice, it can't be…?
The hem of black robes came to view just as Ron managed to roll off the floor into a sitting position to meet a pair of gazing twin dark pools. "S—Snape?!"
Right before Ron stood his old potions Professor who appeared quite different somehow. If anything, Snape looked a bit younger but there was no mistaking the perpetual scowl or the hard lines that came with it marring the sallow, gaunt face and greasy shoulder length black hair.
"The displeasure is mutual, Weasley, I can assure you." Severus Snape drawled, his voice now colored with obvious disdain.
"But, but what are you doing here?" Ron spluttered, unconsciously backing away from the tall bat-like man. "And where the bloody hell are we, anyway?"
"I would not know, Weasley, you tell me." Snape said curtly before his face curled to distaste. "And for Merlin's sake, put some clothes on!"
"What are you—?" It was then that Ron realized, looking down, that he was indeed naked. Right in front of Snape! Holy shit, what he wouldn't kill for even just a decent robe right about now.
But as quickly as he thought it, a simple red robe appeared out of nowhere, draping his shoulders. Bug eyed but not the one to question what was shielding what remained of his dignity, Ron quickly pulled it closer. "What the hell was that about?"
Snape sighed from his hooked nose. "We are in the recesses of your consciousness, you fool. Should you not know more about your own mind than me?"
"Consciousness? My own mind?" Ron echoed while turning his head, recognizing his surroundings for the first time, alternating squares of black and white as far as the eye can see with two stone doors and two rows of familiar statuesque pieces on either end. "Is this a chess set?"
"Your power of deduction is astounding." Snape answered dryly.
Ron ignored him. "But if we're in my head, then what are you doing here? You're one of the last people on Earth I'd ever want to dream about!"
"I said that this is within your own mind, Weasley, not that I was a part of it." Snape drawled. "As for why I am here, it is primarily because we share the same miserable state."
"The hell is that supposed to mean?"
Snape groaned. "Think, Weasley. Where are you really supposed to be?"
Ron frowned as he strained his mind to remember. Where am I supposed to be? The last thing I remember was being in the Room of Requirement, finding the Diadem, the Fiendfyre, the Death Eaters, Percy and Fred…
"FRED!" Ron cried out as the memories all came rushing back to him. "Bloody hell, Fred! The wall and that Death Eater—what happened?! I have to know if he's OK."
"Calm down, Weasley. Your brother is safe, considering the circumstances, which is more than I can say for you." Snape said coolly.
"I don't like repeating myself, Weasley."
"Oh thank Merlin!" Ron said happily, again ignoring Snape's irritated snap. "For a minute, I thought I was too late. But not that I'm not happy about it, but that still doesn't explain why I'm here."
There was a pause before Snape replied. "You are here because unlike your brother, no one was able to save you."
Ron felt like he was dropped in a bucket of iced water. "What?"
"You were able to push him out of the way of the wall, but in turn, caused the debris to fall onto you instead." Snape elaborated, his voice uncharacteristically something akin to gentle. "Potter and your friends were able to retrieve you from the rubble, but by then it was far too late."
The air around them seemed to ripple, and then, before Ron, a scene flashed: Harry, Hermione and his brothers kneeling around Ron's fallen form caked with dust and crimson from a huge head wound, blue eyes fixed unseeingly to the sky.
The voices that came with the sight were garbled, but the emotion behind them was undeniable.
"No—no—no!" The anguish in Percy's voice made Ron's knees quake. "No! Ron! No!"
"Don't you dare do this, Ronnie!" Fred—his strong, witty and at times cruelly mischievous brother—reduced to a sobbing, hysterical mess. "If this is one fucked up joke, I swear I'm going to—! Fuck it all, this can't be—"
Hermione was gripping Ron's cold hand with a wail not unlike that of a wounded animal's. And Harry, the hope of the Wizarding World who lost far too much for its sake, was far too still, wand clenched in his fist, his eyes shining but unyielding of their tears, seemingly unaware of the war erupting around them.
No, Harry, please! Ron found himself begging at his best friend's reflection. "Snap out of it, Harry! Get them out of here. There's nothing you can do for me but you can still save them! Get them out!"
Another loud boom pierced the air before Harry had seemingly heard Ron's pleas. "Fred, Percy…we have to go. We can't do anything for him. We're going to—!"
"NO! We're not leaving him!" Percy cried back. "Ronnie, oh Merlin, Ronnie, please—!"
"Stupefy!" Hermione screamed, whipping her wand to fire at an incoming arcomantula. To the group's horror, more spiders came running out of the hole in the wall, all gigantic with jerky legs and flashing pincers.
"Let's move, NOW!" Ron watched dazedly as Harry pushed Hermione forward before dragging Ron's limp body by the armpits away from the fallen rock and giant spiders.
He watched with watery eyes as Percy and Fred helped Harry lay his body at a protected niche, watched as Percy laid a trembling hand on his face with a choked sob while Fred whirled around with an air of a raging bull looking for a target.
It took only a second.
"ROOKWOOD!" Fred roared, tearing off to the direction of the tall Death Eater at the distance, ignoring Hermione's cries, with Percy on his heels not a moment later. Both brothers' wands were at the ready and their eyes burning with a dangerous cacophony of rage and grief.
"NO! Damn it, Fred, Perce, you bloody prats!" Ron screamed in the reflection but to no avail. The last thing he saw was Percy and Fred firing hexes at the stunned Rookwood before the memory faded. Ron hardly noticed as he sank to the floor, arms around his trembling form, the horrid reality of his situation crushing at his very soul.
He was dead. Ronald Bilius Weasley was dead.
And he had never felt so barren of hope.
EDIT: So I'm doing some minor (or major) revisions for TBA, because the past chapters may be riddled with grammatical errors and lines that are better off in the recycling bin. Jolly good fun, eh? :D
UP NEXT: So Ron is dead, and stuck with Snape in the afterlife. Or is he? Two things that can be said: Snape isn't a happy camper, and fate is far from done with our favorite gangly redhead.