Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter
A/N: HOLY TOLITO BATMAN, I SPOT DISTRACTION AHEAD! No, but seriously, where did this story come from when I was supposed to be writing Spitfire and Vanguard? Yeash.
As the oldest of six siblings growing up well below the poverty line, a lot of the ugly beasts tackled in this story are my own. I wore clothes that were given to my mother in black bags, shared a room with two sisters and a brother, was frustrated with my mother's financial decisions at a very young age, ate leftovers for weeks at a time. The scene where Ron was so angry that the money was fake from the world cup was one I deeply felt for him. Money isn't about greed, its about possibilities. It's about being able to get a warm coat for the winter or about getting more school supplies as you've written the pencil down to nubs. It's about being able to buy your younger sibling that present they wanted for Christmas or a warm treat for yourself when your feeling down. [And lets not forget, when your parents can't keep their legs closed, that means there's a birthday pretty much every other month to worry about].
Ron's clothes being too short all the time? I was 5 foot 9 inches in 5th grade. You think any of those hand me down clothes fit? No. The standard kid isn't that tall. People might think that you don't notice the ankles or socks showing, but oh, do you ever. You are one hundred percent aware all the time of it. The sleeves are too tight, the waist is too big, the cuffs have broken buttons. Kids are complaining that YOU don't have to wear the uniform correctly so why should they? And teachers are trying to be kind by dismissing it and distracting the other students because it's obvious why you're not wearing it right and while other kids don't understand why, the teachers do.
I was the extremely poor, gangly monstrosity growing up with too many siblings and too little between them. Ron's frustrations were always so close to my heart that when people dismissed them in the books, I bled.
Hand me downs and thrift store goods weave tension in any home. Ron learns to deal with poverty in his own unique ways for the better and the worst and learns a thing or two about self-worth along the way. One shot. Cannon Compliant.
When Ron was seven he learned what it meant to be a truly awful person.
A smell woke him in the middle of the night.
He tried to sleep through it, but couldn't once he realized where it was coming from.
The twins were a nasty piece of work. Everyone adored them. They were funny, witty, clever, and while they caused a lot of trouble, it was mostly entertaining. Ron knew the twins held grudges like no other though. When someone made them angry, they got downright nasty.
Ron sniffled, staring down at his favorite shirt. It was the only one where the sleeves went to the tips of his fingers and the end of the shirt didn't reveal his stomach if he bent down. The cloth was nice and soft as opposed to some of the scratchy material his mum often gave him. It was a pretty green, not the ugly mesh of orange and red most of his other clothes displayed.
Now… the sleeves were missing. Something foul rose up from the shirt, a smell between gnome piss and vinegar. A giant stain spread across the entire front, but it had been folded just as his mum always did, set in his drawer as if it were regular laundry.
Trying to be as quiet as possible, Ron removed the shirt, checking to see if any of his other clothes were damaged, though Ron knew they'd probably been left untouched. The twins wanted to send a message, not ruin his wardrobe.
He tip toed downstairs, into the kitchen, opening the front door and slipping out. He tried not to breathe in as he tossed his shirt out. The stench disappeared the moment it entered the smell resistant, spelled trashcan.
The house made not a sound as he slipped back into bed. The smell lingered, but didn't have the strength of before. Ron curled into himself, trying not to think too hard on it. It was his fault anyways. He knew better.
In a house where everyone used and broke his things, he was not allowed to borrow others. The twins had told him multiple times not to play with Fred's flying broomstick toy. Listening in to a quidditch game with dad though… it had sounded so cool. Bill was at school, the only person to ever take him flying, and it had looked so amazing! The twins had spent hours the other day riding on it, hovering a few feet off the ground and egging each other on. Ron had watched them from his window and when he saw them store it in the shed out back… just sitting there.
Ron took it.
He did the thing that he hated other people doing to him. He took their toy without asking. He flew it around for maybe twenty minutes. And then he broke it. Took a hard turn left instead of a right like he'd intended and slammed straight into a tree.
He'd sat there, sprained wrist and two pieces of a broken toy broom before him, panicking and horror stricken. He'd tried putting it together again, but the wood was completely shattered. Tiny little pieces all over the place. Mum wouldn't be able to fix it either.
It was the first really good gift the twins had gotten in a long time and Ron was the reason it was broken. He'd stolen it and used it and then broke something that couldn't be replaced. Ron couldn't fix this.
For the smallest of moments, Ron considered hiding the broom. It would be easy to simply shove it right back into the shed and pretend like his wrist wasn't hurt. No one paid attention to him anyways. It would be easy to get away with it.
He couldn't though.
He'd hurt his brothers in a way he couldn't take back and the least he could do was be honest about it. He deserved to be punished for this. He didn't deserve to be forgiven because if the tables were turned… it had been turned. Ron had felt what it was like to lose something so precious, something that you held close to your heart. Ron had wanted to fly so badly and now he'd taken flying away from Fred and George and that was awful.
He remembered how angry he'd felt when Ginny had taken his book and left it outside before it started raining. She hadn't cared much either for the nasty thing she'd done. She'd yelled at him for being angry with her.
Ron walked up to the house, trying not to cry at the sting in his wrist and the guilt in his heart. It felt as if he was being stabbed there. He held the pieces in front of him. Not letting himself try to hide them. Fred and George were going to hate him. The thought stilled his actions for a second.
With one shuddering breath he accepted his fate and swung the kitchen door open.
His mum and Ginny froze, and Ron grimaced, feeling his knees go weak.
"I have to talk to Fred and George… I…" Ron choked out. "I broke…"
"Ron, don't move! Hold still, baby," Molly Weasley burst out. "Percy! Percy, dear, call a Healer, right now!"
Ron blinked tears away, confused, he held up the broken toy.
"I broke Fred and George's broom. It's my fault," he admitted, the words hurting to say.
"It's okay, baby, its okay. I need you to hold still though," his mum said shakily.
"It's not okay," he choked out. "I shouldn't have…"
Something sharp stabbed him again and this time Ron knew it wasn't his heart. Molly grabbed his chin and held it firm.
"Don't look down. Everything's gonna be fine."
The toy broom was taken from him and he felt his mum's arms go around him bracingly. She had her apron pushed hard against his side and it was… turning red. His knees felt weak under him and he suddenly realized that it might not be all guilt making them go all shaky like. He kept his eyes on his mum and held her shoulder and did not look down.
Fred and George charged into the room then. They looked pale and horrified and Ron couldn't hold back the crying anymore. Then the Healer was there and saying they needed to lay Ron down and then he saw it. A chunk of the broom was in his side.
He wondered how he hadn't noticed it right off the bat.
He'd been so afraid of Fred and George's reactions that he'd only noticed his wrist hurt because he was trying so hard to put the broom back together. But there it was… six inches of wood sticking out from his flesh, piercing straight through his brown shirt. The Healer whispered some spells and Ron knew no more after that.
Until he came to laying in the living room.
"…organs, so he should be fine. It was more of a scare than anything. Slid right between his stomach and lungs. Definitely Godric's luck if I ever saw it. I think its safe to say you've rightly earned every single one of those gray hairs, Molly."
He heard shuffling somewhere off to the side and felt someone clutching his hand. It was hard to open his eyes, as if a gnome were trying its best to keep them shut. When they finally lifted though it was to see Ginny curled up half off and half on the couch, holding firmly to his hand.
"Everything's all healed up. He shouldn't suffer any affects, but if for any reason he takes a turn for the worst, give me a floo and I'll skip right on over."
"Thank you," his mum's voice said quietly.
Ron felt his side and stomach, feeling nothing amiss. His wrist felt fine too. He turned his head to see that the sun had set while he was asleep and that George was sleeping in one of the arm chairs, the broken toy at the foot of it. He cringed, wishing he'd never even known it existed. He'd only meant to try it out for a bit and now he'd…
Ron curled into a ball.
He closed his eyes and tugged Ginny's hand closer to him, pulling her fully onto the couch. Carefully, he put the blanket over the both of them and fell asleep with his cheek against her back, listening to her heart beats.
The next time Ron woke, it was to the sound of something very odd.
Fred and George were arguing.
With each other.
Ginny wasn't there anymore and the sun was up. The voices of his twin brothers were harsh and angry on both sides and it took him a while to understand what they were saying.
"…over and over again," Fred said angrily.
"I know. I'm mad too, okay? But did you see his face?! He looked like it was the end of the world when he saw us. He broke his wrist and had a stick coming out of his stomach, but he looked more terrified of us than that!"
"He should be," Fred hissed. "That selfish prat broke the only present we got for our birthday. The only thing that either of us wanted for a whole year!"
"He didn't do it on purpose, is all I'm saying," George shot back. "He just wanted to go for a ride. It was beyond selfish of him, I'm not arguing that, but if we're not careful we'll end up really being monsters."
There was a heavy silence then. Ron wasn't sure what George meant, but it was clear Fred understood it.
"I'm right pissed," George continued. "When it comes to Ron though… we always go too far. I think… I think he really is terrified of us, Freddie, when did that happen? Remember last year when we pulled that prank on Perce and he… he looked at us like he hated us, as if he despised our very existence. A little pay back is one thing, just to make sure Ron doesn't do anything like this again, but we can't… I don't want to ever see the look fear on Ronnie's face again. Not because of us."
Ron didn't hear the reply. They walked off.
That night, when his favorite shirt was destroyed, Ron didn't say a word. He got rid of it and quietly accepted the retaliation. They could have done a lot worse as pay back. Ron probably would have accepted anything they'd done without a word.
Ron had learned his lesson. He didn't touch or borrow anything from anyone else ever again. Even when offered.
When Ron was eight he learned the trick to keeping things to himself. Like all important things in life, it involved quidditch and his family. Ron's budding love for the Cannons ran deeper than just the personality of the team.
The team that never won. The team that no one liked. The team that no one cheered for and who no one knew how they hadn't been disbanded yet, considering they'd been losing so long. The Cannons.
Ron had accumulated a poster, small figurines, and even a book on the history of the Cannons and a series of old story books. And no one wanted anything to do with any of it.
He was so excited.
That was the trick.
To want the unwanted!
At one point he proudly put them all on his bed and just looked at them. It made him feel giddy. The poster sitting next to the book and a few toy figurines. None of them broken. None of them hand me downs. He could put them wherever he wanted and he didn't need to worry about them going missing or anyone taking them and breaking them. They were just there and no one wanted them. No one, but Ron.
His other things sat broken or used or missing throughout the house. They sat in other people's rooms. They lay in other people's closets where he wasn't allowed to go or touch them, but these things never left and they were his until he chose not to have them anymore.
The Cannons always lost, Ron found, but they were a clever bunch, none the less. They always found new ways, new maneuvers to outwit their opponents. They weren't the best flyers, but they possessed the greatest heart.
No matter how much they were losing by, they never seemed to be down in spirit. The radio host never said things like 'things are looking grim for the Cannons, the boys really look shaken out there' or 'the teams spirits are low as we move into the second quarter.' No, never anything like that, instead the radio host always stated things like 'despite overwhelming odds Bayleaf seems determined not to let another one through!' or 'down 150 to the Honeydukes 350 folks, but Radcliff's still barrel rolling like it's his birthday!'
Ron found he wasn't like that. His spirits got down pretty easily. He could go from being pretty happy to downright miserable when one bad thing happened. But he didn't want to be. He wanted to be like the Cannons. They were his idols and if nothing else… he wanted to be that person that just never gave up. He wanted to be the one who always was there for others.
At night he set up each of his figurines in a corner of his room, that way if he got scared or upset, no matter where he looked, one of them would be within view. He was especially fond of Chester, because his toy winked at him whenever Ron looked over.
Of course, the safety of having something that was only his disappeared one fine morning when the twins decided it would be a fun prank to hide his toys in odd places around the house. They thought it was the funniest thing in the world to watch Ron run around, frantically looking for them, while scowling at them every time he passed.
He never found Chester.
When Ron was eleven his parents made a hard decision.
At least, Ron hoped it had been hard for them.
When his parents made the decision, it was his dad that pulled him aside one evening after dinner. His acceptance to Hogwarts sat in the pocket of his old jumper, the edges of the paper almost as frayed as the clothes he wore. He must have pulled it out a thousand times to read over the letter. Individualized. His name written along the inside, inviting him to the school of magic.
There was still three weeks before school started, but Ron had already spent hours deciding what to bring and what not to bring. The essentials were easy. Clothes. Parchment. Ink. A winter cloak that had thankfully not been frayed (there was a few stains at the bottom, but Ron had dyed them black with ink). His Chudley Cannons were coming with him, of course, but the question came with the other things in his room.
He would leave the toys for Gin. Most of them ended up in her room at various times of the month anyways, so he'd just drop them off in there before he left. Then there were the candles set up in his room. He needed to take those, Percy often borrowed them to read in the middle of the night, the bloke having already used all his own long ago. He'd wait until the semester got started, when Percy would most likely have started in on the ones mum picked up for them when they went school shopping. Percy was so huffy, Ron thought with a laugh, he didn't mind sneaking into his room in the middle of the night, but Merlin forbid Ron try to give him the candles.
Then there was the play quidditch gloves. They were a good, but overly large pair that dad got him last year to play with his brothers. He would need those for the flying lessons, but they wouldn't stay in his chest too long, he knew, because George's gloves were coming apart at the seams. So he'd need to pack the special magical tape in the attic dad kept for emergencies and some of mum's cloth from her knitting. Flying lessons, as Fred and George had laminated with displeasure for weeks when they got back from their first year, were nothing but kiddy tricks that didn't take you more than thirty feet off the ground. The cloth and tape would more than suffice, Ron knew.
His story books too would go into the trunk. Maybe not Beedle the Bards stories, but there were a few books he had that looked studious enough to be mistaken as text as long as no one popped them open. Novels detailing the adventures of witches and wizards.
Still, looking at the bedraggled old trunk, if he didn't put more in it than that, the stuff would rattle around and he'd end up with half the junk damaged. Just his luck. So, he'd throw in the collection of maroon sweaters and shirts his mother knitted, it would keep the trunk secure and make his mum happy to boot.
And now, sitting beside his dad, outside, he knew without question that there would be something less in his trunk than he thought. The devastated look on his dad's face. The way his father's knee bobbed when he was overly anxious. His large hands rubbing the back of his neck as he tried to find the right words. Ron knew what those things meant.
He just didn't know what it was referring to.
He had the hand me down robes.
Charlie's books that had been Fred and Georges and were now his.
Percy had given him Scabbers.
So, pet, books, clothes, the only few things that Ron would get when they went school shopping was parchment paper, ink, one new book that was a new requirement for transfiguration… there was nothing else he could think of, except for his wand. But that wasn't possible though. Wands were personalized. You had to specially choose your wand. A hand me down wand would mean he wouldn't be able to perform spells all that well. The magic wouldn't be attuned to him and would be unnatural.
"Ronald," his dad said carefully, then, taking a furtive glance Ron's way, amended, "Ron."
Then a thought struck him.
"Hogwarts doesn't want me?" Ron blurted out, his hand went to his pocket, a horrible feeling enveloping him that somehow they'd made a mistake, that the letter had come by accident.
"No!" his dad cried, calming down, he continued, "No, no, son, it's nothing like that. You're going to Hogwarts, it's just, Molly and I, that is to say, your mother and I…"
"Please just say it dad," Ron sighed.
Arthur coughed awkwardly.
"Right, well, the thing is that your mother and I… we've been having a bit of… trouble financially."
Ron's stomach sank.
"As you know, Bill became very ill in Egypt this past year."
Ron did know. His brother had been bedridden because of a curse one of his coworkers hadn't properly gotten rid of in the pre-sweep. Bill had been hacking up black blood for weeks, and while his job had cleared him for compensation, there had still been rent to pay for his apartment and no money coming in for the job he couldn't go to. Bill had, reluctantly, reached out for help. Molly and Arthur had risen to the occasion, scraping together every spare penny to help Bill out.
"Yeah, I know."
"Well, we had to cut some corners this year in order to send you lot to school with all you need."
Like every year.
Ron wanted to say, but didn't dare.
And whatever it is that I won't get, Ron thought dejectedly, everyone else has.
"We contacted Charlie," his dad continued, voice hurried now, "and he purchased a brand new one this year with his savings, so he didn't need his original one. It's still in very good condition. You'll do wonderfully with it!"
"A wand?" Ron whispered.
His dad seemed relieved he didn't have to say it out loud himself. Ron sort of hated him for it. He felt anger bubble up inside of him and all the nasty words, all the nasty things he wanted to say danced on the tip of his tongue like nasty little goblins fighting over gold.
'Again?!' he wanted to shout. 'You don't have the right to take this from me! Not this!'
But they did have the right.
"It's only temporarily," his dad promised. "We'll get the money over Christmas and I'll take you to get a wand that's all yours."
There would always be something else. Always something more important.
"You know, Charlie and you are a lot alike, I wouldn't be surprised if you bond with the wand," his dad said with false cheer.
"Sure," Ron said, an edge of bitterness rising, "Charlie's wand and I both got something in common, that's for sure."
"You mean the dragon's core?" his dad winked, not catching on to his son's dark tones. "a fiery spirit and a temper to match, I'd say so."
"More like, we're the useless leftovers, no one really wants around."
"Ron!" His dad called, voice laced with regret and anger all in one.
Ron didn't want to hear it though. He was already up, already running. He blew passed everyone in the living room and the kitchen. Catching sight of Fred's outstretched neck peering at him and Ginny's wide eyed stare. He didn't need to see his mum's face to know the sad, disappointed look there.
They all just expected him to accept it.
Every single time.
Like he was immature and a child for being angry.
Like he didn't have the right to be angry.
Ron hated that. Hated the way they looked at him when they did this. Like he was supposed to quietly accept being last on everyone's priority list.
He hit the last step, looking around on his landing, the one at the top of the house, just before the attic. Pushed away to a place where no one else ever went. Percy had once said Ron was lucky to have the room away from everyone else, but staring at the old attic door, cracked open just the slightest bit where the ghoul lived, and his own bedroom door, he did not feel lucky.
He heard his dad's footsteps following him up. His dad, who would either try to comfort him or lecture him, and more than likely a combination of both. All he really wanted though, was a little time to pull himself together. To accept that this was how it was going to be, that there was nothing he could do to change it, and that it would be best for everyone including himself to just go along with it.
Because they would remember.
Anytime he ever threw a fit, they always remembered.
It was like a tally they kept on an imaginary board. Each child's name on the board had red marks and green marks and blue marks and his was chalk full of red marks against him. Every time another red mark went up, they gave him that look for days. Ron wasn't sure what the red look meant, a combination of stress, anger, sadness, and disappointment to make something Ron didn't like and didn't know how to take away the look except to stop himself from doing it next time.
He didn't care this time though.
They could have that bloody look on their face all they wanted.
Going to Hogwarts, getting his wand, he'd been looking forward to it for years. It was the one thing his parents were required to get brand new for him (at least, so he thought). Yet somehow, someway, they'd managed to crush even this.
So, instead of throwing open his door, he threw open the ghoul's door to the attic. He ran inside and closed the small door behind him, listening in as his dad knocked on his door. The man's large feet, hesitated for a few moments before opening the door.
Ron kept quiet.
There was a deep sigh as his dad closed the door and walked away. When he heard the steps fade into the house, Ron sat down on the floor, bringing his knees up to his chest.
He remembered his dad taking him to his work a few years ago. The Ministry had been as big and intimidating as ever, people walking around in a rush and muttering to themselves as they went about their day. He remembered Mr. Stine walking up to his dad, a dark look on his face as he brandished his wand, or what Ron thought was his wand.
"Weasley! There you are, my good man, listen, that case you're working on for Dawson involving those muggles?"
When his father had nodded, the man went on.
"Well, here's the thing, the Auror's got involved and since my son was involved using my wand, the blasted bastards decided my wand was evidence! Can you believe that?"
His father didn't have the chance to answer this, as Stine went on.
"I was hoping, since you are the one examining the muggle objects, if you wouldn't mind moseying along a bit faster about it? My cousin's wand just isn't the same! Poor bloke kicked the bucket last year and I happen to find it among his house. Can't get used to the differences though and…"
Stine leaned forward, seeming to share a secret, though his voice remained loud.
"…feels weird using a dead bloke's wand. Seems to sense I'm not Jack. The magic's jerky at best and I can only perform half the spells I do with my wand."
The man finally paused, waiting patiently for his dad to answer.
Arthur blinked several times, seemingly waiting for Stine to go on, before clearing his throat.
"Well, Stine, that is a bit of trouble, isn't it?" his dad scratched his head, before looking off in the distance. "I'll try the best I can, same as I always do, to get things done as quickly as possible."
Stine was already nodding, feet taking him across the room before his dad had finished his sentence.
"Right, right, good man, Weasley, always a good man, I'll be seeing you around, and thanks for your help in the matter! Blasted thing's a nuisance, I tell you! See you!"
Ron leaned around his dad to get one last look at the departing man. His dad tugged at his sleeve pulling him along. Stine was muttering to himself, flicking his wand about, the end of it spouting black and red sparks at the end.
Thinking about Stine brought up all sorts of fears he hadn't thought about before. If a full grown adult had problems with someone else's wand, even though it was a family wand, then how did Ron, who'd never used a wand in his life, stand a chance using Charlies?
Ron resolved not to make a big deal out of it after that… outwardly. He didn't say anything about it to his dad and his dad didn't say anything more about it to him. Charlie's Wand arrived in a carefully wrapped box, a hand print stain on one side with what might have been dragon dung or might have just been Charlie leftover sweat after a long hard day on the job (either way it smelled awful).
His mum had gushed about Ron 'receiving' his wand earlier than any of her other children. He had to restrain himself from snapping at her, but he knew he failed to keep his face from turning red in anger from the way his dad shook his head at him. How exactly was he supposed to control his physical reactions, huh? Ron had taken the box with a little more force than necessary, pulling the wand out and tossing the box (with Charlie's letter still in it) directly into the trash can on his way upstairs.
"Ronald, your brother went to a lot of trouble to send you that wand!" his mum called up to him, voice tight and angry.
His long legs let him take the stairs two at a time.
"Ron!" His dad's voice called.
He pretended not to hear. A confrontation with his parents would just end with Ron in trouble. If he spoke up in his defense then he was back talking, if he kept quiet then he was being 'stubborn' and all the while his ears would turn red in anger and his mouth would go downwards against his every wish. In terms of arguments, Ron always lost, because everyone was against him (even himself, apparently, because it reacted without his consent). No one ever picked his side (well, unless the twins were involved, they were blamed for every misfortune because they tended to be the cause of every misfortune).
Ron hopped onto his bed, holding the wand up to see. It was the familiar thin, 12 inch ash of his brothers. He could remember Charlie happily performing spells all about the house with it the day (and year) he came of age. His brother had left some nasty spell traps just before leaving for his last year of school in Fred and George's room. The twins skin had spent weeks changing in subtle tones of greens and blues much to their disgruntlement and Percy's amusement.
Ron's big hands felt clumsy around the wood. The straight, smooth edge awkward in his hands. Three black lines, two in the center and one at the hand grip, encircled the wand.
There was something else that bothered him. He remembered Percy telling him about ash, Percy and Charlie being the only ones so far to have ash wands, said that the wands bond strongly to the first user. What about the second? Would it not bond with him at all? And did that mean he wouldn't be able to perform magic well?
Ron had never worried about being inferior to the other students in magic. As a child he'd performed accidental magic on a number of occasions. After falling out of a tree, he'd broken his arm, then, miraculously, it had healed. When the twins had been rough housing with Charlie and they accidentally broke through the railing, Ron had reached out his arm and suddenly a giant mattress with lots of pillows appeared from mum and dad's room to the bottom where they landed. Not to mention the incident with is bear…
In any case, his magic had never been something he'd even thought twice about.
He didn't expect to be the top of his class, but he never even considered the possibility he might be at the bottom. Holding Charlies wand, feeling the gentle, unnatural hum of magic running through the wand, Ron knew, suddenly that there was every possibility now.
He remembered how the twins and Percy talked about their first wand. The way holding it after all the other wands had felt almost like meeting an old friend they never knew was missing from their life. There had been a spark of something special when they'd touched the wand that bonded with them. And now he wouldn't know how it felt for years to come.
Because his parents wouldn't get him a wand next year.
They had Ginny's wand to get.
It wouldn't matter then that he had a hand me down wand while the others had brand new ones they'd bonded with because why would Ron need one? He had one. How selfish of you, Ron, to want a wand of your own, when you already have one. That was always how it went.
Ron put the wand away into the trunk, determined not to take it out again until they got onto the train to Hogwarts. If it was out of sight then it was out of mind. He could pretend like it didn't bother him until his parents truly thought it didn't.
It wasn't like his parents would actually do something to fix the situation, but rather, they would send him annoying worried glances and keep asking questions, of which they already knew the answer to. And they would say meaningless things like 'sorry' and 'it won't be so bad.' Why did they have to talk things into the ground? Why couldn't they just give him the bad news and then leave him alone?
Ron spent nearly two weeks avoiding the topic and pretending to be hunky dory, still keeping the letter from Hogwarts in his pocket, but now pulling it out with apprehension as well as excitement.
It had all been relatively alright until the day they went to Diagone Alley.
Percy was a prefect. The letter had come the same day as Ron's own letter from Hogwarts. Their mother had made Percy's favorite dinner that night. If mum wasn't going on about how wonderful and smart her boy was, then Percy was going around, puffed up like a bird talking about it himself.
Ron hadn't thought much of it. He knew, of course, that it meant Percy would be even more unbearable and strict when they were at school, but he was sure most of that attention would be focused on the twins or other students. Ron avoided trouble when he could, so while Percy would check up on him, he didn't expect Percy's full wrath to come down on him.
When they walked by Ollivander's wand shop, Ron actively avoided looking at the store. There was a pull though, a sort of… He felt eyes on him. Ron looked at the window where Ollivander stood. When the old man caught sight of him, he smiled, though there seemed to be something troubling the man. Ron shot his head down. The family stopped in the middle of the road, his mum and dad exchanging a look before his dad cleared his throat.
"Fred, George, Ron, why don't you three come with me? We're going to go get your books," Arthur declared.
Ron frowned, staring at the way his mum shifted from foot to foot.
"Sounds good to me," Fred muttered.
"Yeah, anything to not go into a book store with Perce," George drawled.
"Oh look! It's a book on Astronomy! That must be useful!" Fred cried.
"Uh, uh! It's a book on the history of House Elves, I have to read that!" George declared.
"But wait! Is that? I think it is! A bonafide book on the history of ancient curses no one uses or cares about anymore!"
"Oh, shut up, you two," Percy hissed, glowering at the twins.
"Yes, quite the good idea," Arthur murmured. "Come on lads, let's not waste daylight."
They wandered by the pet shop on their way to Florish and Blotts, Ron stopped to stare at a beautiful snow owl, the creature tilted its head at Ron. He grinned, waving at the creature, and was delighted when it hooted back at him. The shop keeper gave him a strange look, but Ron ignored him as they wandered off down the street.
Ron read book titles as the twins gathered George's books for classes. His single none hand me down transfiguration book already in dad's cart. He passed by a book he'd wanted to read for as long as he could remember.
It was the story of a wizard who was pretending to be a knight in King Arthur's Court in order to get close to Merlin. In the story, Merlin had invented transfiguration and so was the only one capable of such abilities at the time in the story, and Lancelot had wanted to learn the complicated art in order to help his ailing wizarding community back home.
Ron had reread the first chapter many times, but was always interrupted before he made it passed that point. The local library near their home was a muggle one, so he hardly could relate to the characters in the books. There were always a bunch of terms he didn't know and anyone he asked always gave him weird looks. The closest wizarding library was in London, unfortunately, and from what Percy said, there were no story books in the Hogwarts library. He took Lancelot off the shelf and turned to page 26, it took a few moments to find his spot from a few months ago, but once he did, the character easily fell into place.
…crotchety old man is set in his ways. He understood the value of aiding muggles and building their world in a more sustainable way. Helping them flourish in these dark times. King Arthur was a great man and a good friend. Lancelot would put down his life to help him protect his people, but why must Merlin refuse to aide his own kind?
He needed to prove to Merlin he was just as good as these muggles. These men and woman forced to toil away with nothing to aide them. Lancelot paused in the hallway of the castle, the walls of which had been painstakingly carved and set in place by the muggles. That was how he would learn from Merlin.
He would become a muggle and earn his way into knighthood.
"At it again, are you?"
Ron winced, looking up to see the shop owner eyeing him in annoyance. Ron closed the book with a snap, realizing he hadn't even made it to the end of the page this time. He went to put the book back when the shop owner tapped his wrist hard.
"When you hold a book, don't open it so wide that the spine begins to break!" She admonished. "It's a book for sale, not one in the library, not that you should be damaging those either…"
"Er… sorry, I didn't realize," Ron muttered, eyeing the spine for damage. If his dad had to buy the book, he'd be really angry with him.
"And your fingers are laced with oil, try not to touch the pages," the woman went on. "If you're going to continue pilfering my shelves without buying anything, then you'll at least learn to respect the merchandise!"
"My hands are dry," Ron tried, holding them up. The woman snorted, taking Lancelot from him and carefully popping it open. The palm of her hand sat on the spine, balancing the book, keeping it on the right page by holding the cover.
"That doesn't matter a lick, your hands naturally produce oil, whether you realize it or not. This is the proper way to hold a book."
Huh. Percy held his books like that. He hadn't realized there was a reason for it. He'd just thought Perce was trying to look as pompous as possible. She held out the book for him to hold. He copied the way she'd done it, noticing how by balancing the spine on his hand and arm it made it easier to hold. Now that he knew to look for it, he did notice a small darker spot on the page that was just about the size of a fingerprint.
Ron looked up, grinning sheepishly, but the woman already had her back turned, walking towards the register. Ron scanned the page with his fingers, finding his place.
He'd never held a sword in his life, but he knew someone who had.
DuLac, Ron thought instantly, the man Lancelot had encountered on his way to Camelot. His carriage had been carried away down the river when trying to cross it and Lancelot had used his magic to retrieve the items for the hysterical man, only to learn that it hadn't been the material things, but DuLacs daughter inside the carriage that had made him panic so. The three of them had traveled together and traded stories, Lancelot becoming quite fond of the four-year-old daughter.
By the end of the day, he'd found himself in the city of Ross where they'd settled. The best way to DuLac's heart was through his daughter. He picked up a doll and treats from the market place before heading over to the blacksmiths where they'd rented the small room above the shop.
Ron turned the page.
"Ron! We're going!"
His head shot up and he couldn't help the look of pure annoyance that crossed his face. It must have been quite thunderous because George took a step back, eyeing him wearily. He scowled, carefully putting the book back in its place.
"You'll get to the end someday," the shop keeper told him in amusement.
Exiting the shop, his dad handed him a bag of miscellaneous items they'd picked up throughout the day. He carried it without a word. Following them around as Fred was fitted for robes. George had gotten Percy's hand me downs. Fred had taken Percy's old books that had been Charlies and Bills before him. Since there were two of them it meant that one of the twins got at least one new thing each. Percy, of course, was much taller than the twin's stockier frames and so George's 'new' robes were ill fitting. Ron was pretty tall, so as long as George didn't accidentally set them on fire or destroy them in some other way, he figured he'd probably be getting the robes after George grew out of them.
If he got George and Fred's robes he could probably sew together something that fit Ron a bit better. Ginny didn't have to worry, after all, she was a girl and would pretty much require new everything. A bitter, ugly feeling crept up in his gut and Ron took a metaphorical pitch fork to the creature. Stabbing it over and over again.
It wasn't Ginny's fault and he'd never let her think he thought that.
Down the road he could see his mum coming towards them. Percy was probably steps behind her, hauling his own stuff. And finally this little nightmare in patience and understanding could be over.
He clutched at the bag in his arms as he spotted what was in Percy's arms. Percy who was grinning ear to ear and talking rapidly about names and plans and letters. In his arms was a cage that held a screech owl. A brown and white owl inside the cage that must have cost quite a bit because the creature looked young. Nothing like Errol.
"Thank you, dad, I now you must have had to work extra shifts for him," Percy was saying. "I promise I'll use him to help get internships and to work hard! I won't use him for silly things."
"You earned it, Percy," his dad said warmly.
Ron kept his eyes on the ground.
Ron was not patient and he'd never been very understanding, but he tried to be both. More than anything though, he tried to not feel hurt by stupid things like this. And it was stupid, wasn't it? It was. It was. It was. It was.
How could he resent Percy for getting something nice?
How could he feel bitter that his dad had worked extra hours for Percy?
'Not for you.'
This is stupid. Ron was like one of the villains in the books who had nothing but stupid reasons for turning evil and resenting his family. The person who let one small, insignificant thing push him over the edge and spends his life like some sad second rate evil minion.
You earned it, Percy.
…earn his way into knighthood.
Ron followed behind his family. What was it that the characters had in common? A goal. They worked towards a goal and it kept them from getting lost. It kept them from losing themselves and to always keep moving forward. It helped them to not let things get them down. For Percy, his ambitions were big, he wanted to become Ministry of Magic. He'd told Ron once when he'd asked why Percy insisted on being so serious all the time, why he didn't let up.
Ron wasn't that ambitious. He really just wanted to find something that made him happy. He wasn't a complicated person. He'd be the first to admit to that. He wanted something to call his own. He thought of Lancelot whose goal was to help his entire wizarding community. Willing to become a knight who fought in battles and helped in the protection of a kingdom in order to attain that goal.
Maybe if he aimed a little high. Maybe if he tried for prefect or quidditch captain or, hell, maybe if he kept his goal high say, head boy, he'd make it to a spot that was important. Something worth wild. Someone who was worth having their own wand.
That would be his goal then; to earn a title of importance.
These thoughts kept him distracted as the Weasley's were flooing home and putting items away. His dad kept trying to catch his eye, but Ron was too busy considering all the things that went into such a plan. It was a nice fantasy, but Ron wasn't really the type, was he?
The type of person who made titles were people who had… more. More desire to study like person. Ambition. Bravery like Lancelot to take risks. People like Bill who went out of their way to help others because they genuinely cared.
Ron wasn't like that.
He genuinely didn't care about strangers. Sure, he'd do anything for his siblings or his parents, but why would he spend his time helping people who he didn't know? It reminded him of Lancelot who'd helped DuLac on a whim. He was sure that when Lancelot went to DuLac for help the man would definitely teach him sword play. But that was underhanded and selfish, helping someone just because they might help you in the future. Lancelot had earned a friend though.
Friendly people made friends.
Ron really wasn't though. Talking to people didn't come easy for him. He was too blunt and thoughtless. He liked to argue, but that wasn't really friendly, now was it? Most people didn't like arguing. It was too aggressive.
He wasn't friendly or helpful or ambitious or smart or brave really. So who was he? He was a cannons fan because the players had heart, skill, and fun even in the middle of defeat. Ron loved quidditch and chess. Ability and strategy. Theses were the things he valued.
He wanted to be recognized as important, but he didn't much care about the what or how. He wanted to have friends and to enjoy life rather than toil away for some far away goal. These were the things he wanted.
He loved books, but not academics. He hated nonfiction books. Instructions and complicated explanations. He wanted life and presence and action in books. Characters who had heart and enjoyed life, not dreary explanations on how to live life.
And Fred and George would never ever, ever learn about this last fact. Ever.
It didn't really paint a good picture really.
Ron was kind of a loser.
He let out a sound of frustration before going over to his trunk, cracking it open and making room to put his quills and paper away along with the single transfiguration book. Ron paused, thinking of Lancelot going through all that trouble just to learn transfiguration because it wasn't available to him.
Ron had a lot more than other people.
It was all about how he used what he had.
Ron itched to finish the story. To know how it all played out. Ron put the transfiguration book into the trunk, but kept the paper and ink out, looking at it thoughtfully. What if he wrote his own story?
He could write whatever he wanted. Create whoever he wanted. A character with heart and courage, but who was lost. The more he thought about it, the more he liked the idea. Lost where? Ron pulled a single sheet of paper from the pile.
Ron felt giddy at the thought. He knew a lot about giants. It had been one of the few books Percy had borrowed from Hogwarts during the winter holiday that had really caught his interest. It had been for a Care of Magical Creatures class, though that wasn't very fair. They weren't magical creatures at all. They were a type of people like elves and goblins and Centaurs and the fair folk in America or Veela's in France. They spoke and communicated like people did so they were a type of people.
Ron dipped the quill in ink, hardly knowing where to start.
Chester ran away from home to find adventure and instead found giants.
"Are you lost in another world?"
The voice nearly gave him a heart attack. It was soft and feminine and Ron looked up in time to see Loony Lovegood… er, Luna Lovegood, gracefully sit down next to him. The DA were practicing all around the two of them. Ron had been going at performing a patronus for an hour now though and decided to give it a break for a bit.
"Kind of," Ron admitted, "but don't tell Hermione, she thinks I'm working on homework."
Luna laughed, bold and loud, startling a few people including Ron.
The odd Ravenclaw was sitting a little too close for Ron's comfort, still as awkward as ever when it came to talking to people outside of his small group. He hadn't bothered to get to know those members that he wasn't already familiar with which Hermione had already scolded him for.
But really, what was he supposed to say to, say, Michael Corner? Hey, I know your snogging my baby sister, lets try to beat each other in a friendly duel now? Or Zacharias Smith, that smarmy little shit who'd given Harry such a hard time at the meeting. He didn't know a thing about most of them and besides… Harry was doing a brilliant job interacting with and coaching them. He was practically glowing, he was so happy.
It was then that he realized that Luna hadn't said anything at all after she'd sat down. There was sweat along her brow, telling him that she'd been working just as hard. She'd pulled out paper and a black chalk and was drawing a very good impression of Susan Bones. There was contentment on her face as she worked and Ron decided that this was nice.
He continued his own project.
The adventures of Chester had ended ages ago. He had the stories packed away safe and bound in a trunk at home in his room where no one would ever be able to find them. He'd played with the idea of writing about a witch once upon a time in fourth year, but had quickly come to the conclusion that he had no effing clue what girls were thinking and it would be a lost cause to try to pretend he did.
He rather liked Hugo though and was pleased with the story so far. He'd been inspired by Harry and Hermione, he had to admit, and had taken bits and pieces of their lives to fit in with the story, which felt a little like cheating, but his best friends were both so talented and smart that Ron could hardly help himself. Not that he'd ever tell them or let them see the pages anyways. The writing was just his way of escaping. A means to relax when he should really be working on homework.
Hugo was taught by a fugitive on the run [thank you snuffles]. Together Hugo, Snuffles, and a house elf named Lulu, worked together to prove Snuffles innocence, free Lulu the house elf from her evil master, and discover why Hugo's brother had disappeared. They traveled across all of England, barely escaping from their enemies and causing havoc wherever they went. It was fairly light hearted despite the plot and Ron liked it that way. Not too heavy, but with a lot of heart.
Bent down over his work as he was, Ron hardly noticed when Luna gently tugged one of the still drying papers to her and started reading, a delighted smile slowly spreading across her face.
Currently Lulu had been separated from the group. Hugo and Snuffles were searching the run-down shops of Bulgaria for her while trying to lose a group of Aurors hell bent on taking Snuffles down. Of course, Hugo wasn't an ordinary wizard, that would hardly be fun would it? He had the ability to travel though…
He'd caught sight of Luna's picture and she was no longer working on the profile of Susan. Instead, it was a picture of a long mirror, one that had a scarf hanging off of it. There was a boy standing a few feet away, eyes wide and worried and hand reaching up as if to grab the scarf.
"That's…" Ron breathed. "How did… when did…"
He reached for his papers, finding everything there, but one sheet, the sheet that sat just by Luna's knee. She caught his eye and beamed, gesturing to the paper that must have been sitting between them for a while.
"It was only a few paragraphs, but I'm smitten with him already. You are wonderful, Ron, I would love to read more."
"I…" Ron snatched the page up in panic, looking around the room to see if anyone else had heard the exchange. "I don't know what you're on about, its rubbish…its just for fun."
"I hope they find this Lulu, she seems to be very important. I love the idea of traveling through mirrors. It sounds like so much fun." And then Luna handed him the drawing. "Make sure to put a piece of paper on top so that it doesn't get smudged or ruin your papers."
Ron gaped as Luna stood up.
Luna turned at his yell, blinking innocently at him.
"Don't… I mean…"
"Oh, no worries, Ron, I won't tell anyone because I don't really have anyone to tell."
Then she was asking Terry Boots if he would like to practice with her and Ron was collapsing on his arse, trying to find his way around this life altering event. No one had ever read a single word of his work.
She liked it.
Luna Lovegood thought his work was good. Ron stared down at the picture again. It really was exactly how he pictured the scene in his head, how he pictured Hugo. Luna was extremely talented. He wondered if anyone had ever told her that.
Ron pulled out his wand. His wand. The fourteen-inch willow wood fitting comfortably in his hand. He thought he could do it now. Ron put his papers away and stood among all the other practicing DA members.
Something happy. There were plenty of things that made Ron feel happy. He'd thought that he could pick any one of those things and it would suffice for what the spell needed, but now the thought, that maybe it wasn't just something that made you happy, but something that made you feel complete and brimming with happiness.
He'd never really been any good at anything, or well, that was an over exaggeration. Ron made pretty decent grades, they just didn't compare to Hermione's. Ron did pretty well when it came to dueling and spells and what not, but Harry was always so much more impressive. There was nothing that was really Ron's. No talent that he could boast about that made him feel confidant and alive.
His stories though…
He'd always kept them locked up with the expectation that they really weren't all that good. They certainly weren't serious writing or useful writing like the school text and papers that Hermione was always pouring over with abandon.
You are wonderful, Ron, I would love to read more.
His heart felt light and full, with those words in mind, he remembered his goal from childhood. How he'd wanted a title of importance, something to say he was worth something, but it wasn't really until that moment when Ron realized he wanted someone to tell him he was important in some way. Ron had created something that had cheered another person up and it was so satisfying. Ron felt so content. He thought of her words along with the memory of writing Hugo for the first time, thinking he'd stumbled upon a story that was going to be really special.
Ron raised his wand and cast the Expecto Patronum. Light shot out, much to his and everyone's surprise, and a dog materialized. Flowing around the room before gliding down at Ron's feet, yipping and barking in excitement.
Ron met Luna's eyes from across the room and grinned.
'Thank you!' He mouthed.
She blushed a little, looking decided pleased, giving him a soft nod.
"How did you do it?" Hermione demanded, bending down to look at the dog.
"Had a little help," Ron admitted. "You need something a little more than just the memory."
Across the room, he caught Harry's eye. His best mate nodded his head, a proud grin on his face. Ron nodded back. Maybe he would tell Harry and Hermine about his stories… one day.
He didn't expect Hermione to find Hugo in the midst of his absence hunting for Horcruxes. She'd been sneaking around, trying to subtly take one of Ron's sweaters from the ones he left behind so she could sleep with it tucked against her. His clothes always smelled of ink and mint and she needed that in the frightening silence she and Harry existed in.
It was a story he'd been working on before the voices in the locket got too bad. Not any of his older works, which had been left behind at the Burrow. A piece where Snuffle's true name, Baldwin, had been revealed and both Hugo and Snuffles had agreed that 'Snuffles' was much more appropriate. It was supposed to be a light-hearted piece before they faced the Aurors together one last time. It had come out more bittersweet though and Ron had been playing with the idea of rewriting it. It was going to be the final book for Hugo and Ron had been letting too much of his own emotions bleed through into the work.
Hermione didn't know that though.
She only knew that shoved far under the bed in Ron's handwriting was about fifty pages of a story she'd never known Ron was working on. Morbid curiosity had egged her fingers on and she found herself diving into the tale with gusto.
She enjoyed it immensely. She was taken off guard and touched by Lulu the house elf. The young female, recently rescued and freed when her Master was killed, was being used as leverage to get Snuffles to turn himself into the Hit Wizards. She found she lost track of time as Hugo jumped through mirrors across all of England in a race to find Ramounge, the kidnapped witness who was the key to Snuffle's freedom and finding Lulu.
But Hugo was too late.
The man had been murdered.
Now Hugo and Snuffles stood before a hoard of Dementors and Hit Wizards, one of which was the evil mastermind behind Snuffles being framed. Time was up. They had no mirrors, no evidence, no Lulu, no hope, but they had each other.
It had brought tears to her eyes and hurt her heart. She hadn't been on the journey with these characters, but she felt for them. Ron was a brilliant writer. She'd never known. He was her best friend and she'd never known about this.
Hermione found herself flipping the page eagerly to see what happened next, but…
Words were crossed out over and over again. There were dark ink stains all over the paper. Hugo was nowhere to be seen. There was even a tear in the page near the end. And all of it was covered in ugly words and thoughts. Hermione covered her mouth as she read through them. Scattered randomly and violently across the page.
Across the pages. She leafed through two, three, six, twelve pages of… of agony and self-loathing. It was like a switch had been flipped in Ron's head and with a dawning horror settling in Hermione's chest she realized for the first time exactly what wearing the Horcrux had done to Ron.
Ron was giving Chester an autograph. No. Not his character and not in a story either. In real like. He was giving a retired Cannon's famous quidditch player an autograph! Inside the front cover of Ron's own bloody book.
"My kids adore your stories, Mr. Weasley," Chester was saying in excitement.
"Do they?" Ron said faintly.
"Yes, they get all excited for the books 'cause they think it's 'daddy's adventures' and I've told them its not actually me, but you know how kids are."
Ron's voice cracked when he laughed.
If he didn't feel like his knees were going to give out on him and his heart was trying to choke him, he might have been brave enough to ask Chester for an autograph in return. Instead the man waved Ron's book at his kids across the room, all smiling faces, and disappeared before Ron could get himself to reply in any manner.
"Breathe, Ron," George said in amusement. "I already got you his autograph when he walked through the door. George handed him one of his books, open the front cover, and had the urge to tell him not to hold the book like that. He only just managed to stamp down on that ridicule worthy sentence. Instead he took it, snapped the book shut, placed it in his jacket and vowed never to remove it again.
"Blimey, I can't believe there's so many people here," Ron practically sagged in his chair, staring at the filled to the brim room.
"I know," George intoned cheerfully. "And I've got six more fully booked meetings this week for you."
"I wrote these books when I was eleven," Ron said faintly.
George clicked his tongue, still looking overly amused.
"Who knew you were so talented?"
"Not me," Ron immediately replied.
"You're probably right. I bet its Luna's illustrations that sold the books so well." George clapped him on the shoulder hard. "But seriously, Ron, you should have shown us these stories ages ago. They're brilliant."
"I thought you were George."
George hit Ron over the head.
"These people are here for you, Ron, now wipe that gobsmacked expression off your face and pretend to be proper and posh while the little midgets ooh and awe over you."
Ron found himself lifted off his feet and thrown to the wolves in the next second. His brother watching him as he stumbled and stuttered his way into a hoard of questions being fired off from every direction.
"It's like his first quidditch game all over again," George moaned.
"Nah," Harry said, coming up from behind. "He'll turn things around in a mo,' just give him a minute."
"I'm still a bit dazed myself, to be honest," George told Harry. "Ron hates reading. Always has. Thought I'd stepped into another dimension when Gin showed up like a heliopath thrusting books into my chest and claiming Ron wrote them."
"I know what you mean. He admitted he always read his books with the curtains pulled up and a quidditch magazine within reach. Said he'd thought we'd make fun of him or something."
"Dad wasn't surprised," George bit out in annoyance. "Said Ron was always asking for one book or another for Christmas and holidays. He always put Ron's books in his room though 'cause Ron treated it like he was committing a crime or asking for pornography or something."
There was silence for a long stretch before George added.
"I think what bothers me is that he felt the need to hide such a big part of him for so long."
"Ron's not great with words. It's always been that way."
"With speaking, you mean, apparently he's a god on paper."
"Hermione was shocked when she went to speak to the owner of Flourish and Blotts about getting Ron's books in her store window and found out that the owner knew Ron personally," Harry said with a chuckle. "Apparently Ron snuck in behind Hermione's back a lot."
"He does realize that could have been a great way to flirt with her, right?" George said in a disparaging tone.
"Ron doesn't think stories are real books," Harry stage whispered. "To be fair though, Hermione's mentioned once or twice that's how she feels about fiction books."
"How can two people be the opposite in every way and yet so perfectly in sync?"
"Half the time I don't know if they're violently arguing with each other, flirting, or just talking. It all looks the same to me."
"I wish Fred could see this."
Harry was thrown off guard by George's change in topics. He glanced at the sole owner of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, but he didn't appear angry or on the brink of needing space. He just looked very sad. George gestured to Ron, talking to all the kids in the center of the shop, gesturing wildly and looking far more happy and content than Harry had seen him in a long time.
"I wish Ronnie would have told Fred about this. Let Fred read his books and see how… Fred was always afraid Ron would get lost in the shuffle, you know? Especially when Ron let those arsewipes get to him so badly on the quidditch pitch. Ron has always been his own worst enemy. He does all these incredible things and has all this talent and he just…"
"Yeah, I know," Harry said softly.
"He cares too deeply, falls too hard, loves too much… I'm glad he has you and Hermione."
"And you," Harry added.
"The whole family," George amended, tugging Harry into a hug. "And the DA and the Order and his vast adoring fans."
"The real one's being born the same day the fictional one is being released in stores, right?" George asked.
"That's what Hermione's hoping anyways. Ron thinks the little buggers going to be early."
"Well have to get Hugo to sign the first edition so Ron can have a matching set." At Harry's quizzical look George pointed at the Cannon Quidditch player in the corner. "Chester signed Chester's first edition book."
"Does he know?" Harry asked in awe.
"Ron was being too Ron to explain."
"I'm going to invite him to dinner."
Ron gently rocked Hugo back and forth.
"I knew you were going to be early," he murmured to the tiny redhead in his arms. "Your mum's a bit of stickler for deadlines, but sometimes you just have to work things out in your own time."
On the desk in the room was a set of papers with ink still drying across the pages. A parcel was opened with the first couple of chapters sent back to him from Luna Lovegood with a few tentative character sketches and her thoughts on the story.
"This room is going to be all your once you start walking and talking and showing a little independence, but we're going to share it for a bit. I'm going to write and you're going to grow and we're both going to see where things go."
Only a couple days old, but Ron could tell Hugo had inherited his mother's brown bush hair. He was rather glad for that. Rose was all him and while he found that he wouldn't change a thing, he was happy to see Hermione in his children.
"Daddy?" Ron turned to see Rose wiping at her eyes. She was holding a stuffed spider, curtesy of George. "Can't sleep."
Ron laid Hugo in the crib before scooping up his little girl.
"Do you want me to read you Lancelot?"
She shook her head.
"I've heard those stories."
"You have," Ron agreed easily, eyeing his newest work thoughtfully. "So how about I read you the story of young witch who got bit by a werewolf."
Rose's eyes lit up in interest.
"A very brave little witch who wanted with all her heart to make friends, but I have to warn you, its not finished, so you'll have to wait for the ending."
"It's worth the wait," Rose piped up, settling into her father's lap and waiting attentively for him to start. Ron smiled, pulling the papers in front of him and clearing his throat.
"Rose would get to the falls before any of the boys, even if that meant traveling the woods alone in the dark," Ron started.
His daughters face lit up in joy as she realized who her daddy had based his new character off of.
It was going to be a good one.