The atmosphere of the Burrow was tense, the magic of that humble house seemed to resonate with the feelings of loss of its inhabitants, for outsiders like Harry and Sirius it was noticeable that that home that always radiated warmth and hospitality now felt cold and claustrophobic, the Weasleys those cheerful people that easily attracted anyone around them had completely closed themselves off to the outside world.

Sirius didn't blame them, he had met Arthur in the first war against the Dark lord, anyone who spent five minutes with him could notice the great love he had for his family, how he proudly told everyone about the twins' first steps, how Percy started to show a love for books at an early age, how Charlie still slept hugging his dragon stuffed animals and how his son William was impatient since he would soon start his first year of Hogwarts.

Arthur died without knowing it, but that happiness that was reflected in his face gave the Order of the Phoenix hope that someday things would get better, it was that love that overflowed that made that in spite of the war which had no end in sight, both the Potters and the Longbottoms decided to start their own families.

"Magical Britain lost one of its best men" Sirius thought solemnly, he was no stranger to death, having lost James and Lily and even before them wartime comrades like the Prewett twins, but thanks to the war and Azkaban he never had the time to mourn them.

He knew his godson was better than the days before, when at last between him and Dumbledore they had been able to convince him that this was not his fault, but still his mood mirrored that of the Weasley ancestral home.

Ron is like Harry's James, he gave him a place in his family without expecting anything in return and because of the conversations he had with Harry he rescued him from the Dursleys in second year. He could still remember how Ron, thinking that Sirius wanted to kill Harry, came between them with a broken leg (thanks to Sirius) saying that if he wanted to kill Harry he would have to kill him first.

Losing your loved ones to war changes anyone, Sirius wished that the teenager who always looked happy and relaxed could survive, Merlin knows that Harry and his family need him.

Sirus swore to the memory of Arthur Weasley that he would never want for anything for that kind family that took care of Harry when he could not.

-

Ron knew that Dumbledore had come the day after the funeral, both to offer his condolences and to ask his mother that all the Weasleys return to Grimmauld Place, as he wanted to avoid any further attacks on the family or Harry, who did not wish to be separated from the Weasleys, but no one had any intention of leaving their home again, wanting to immerse themselves in the memories the Burrow gave of their beloved patriarch.

Knowing that the Weasleys are stubborn by nature, Dumbledore did not insist much, only reinforced the protections of the home and offered his support in any way he could should they need it, and then returned to Hogwarts while immersing himself in the memories of the family he lost almost 100 years ago.

Ron did not wish to speak to anyone, he knew that if he spoke to Dumbledore he would ask him not to plunge into the path of revenge, he would ask him to be the better man in this war and let justice sentence those who killed his father.

Ron let out a humorless laugh at such an image.

What justice?

The one that let Sirius go without trial?

The one that let bastards like Lucius and Fudge sit on the throne?

The one that sent that bitch Umbridge to Hogwarts to torture Harry?

The one who closes her eyes to the impending fight against Voldemort?

No, Ron was sick and tired of good men like his father dying for bloody justice. He could not ignore the feeling that from now on his life would have an emptiness that could not be filled by anyone, the thought that his friends and fellow Hogwarts students might suffer from it also gave him a greater resolve to his new path.

He would not let them come back to take away his loved ones: his mother, brothers, sister, Harry or Hermione.

After all, they had tried before. Didn't Lucius Malfoy try to kill Ginny when she was only eleven? If it hadn't been for Harry, all that would be left of Ginny would be her corpse buried in the Chamber of Secrets.

"They must die" whispered the teenager, but he knew he couldn't do much right now, he wasn't the chosen one like Harry, destined to fight Voldemort, nor was Hermione, a natural genius.

What did he have that could give him an advantage?

"No one expects anything from me" he said to himself as he had said so many times since he was young, with the difference that now it didn't come entirely from his inferiority complex "I am invisible to both sides, they will underestimate me".

"I'm not interested in playing fair, I'll use everything in my power to get revenge."

"I don't think all life is equally important" Ron would kill any of those bastards if it would keep his loved ones from suffering again.

"I'm Harry Potter's friend, whether I want to or not I'll be in the middle of the whole war."

"DA will give me the training I need, I can ask Harry for the cloak to get in and see the worst tomes in the library, I have the knowledge of the room of requirement, in which I can train for as long as I want."

They were advantages maybe not great, but they would be a good start.

-
The vacations had passed slowly, no one bothered to celebrate the holidays, not even to eat all in one room, Harry couldn't stand to see his best friend and his family so miserable, but every time he tried to talk to him Ron would shut down even more, to the point that Harry preferred to sleep in Percy's room.

Harry couldn't help but feel like he was on Privet Drive again, all the inhabitants not acknowledging his presence and with a heavy atmosphere, only Bill and Fleur gave him a bit of conversation from time to time, but he was starting to get uncomfortable as Bill forced himself to swallow his own pain so Harry wouldn't feel so alone in that sea of sorrow.

On the train back to Hogwarts they finally saw Hermione who was quick to wrap Ron in a tight embrace as she sobbed comforting words and apologized for not being with him when he needed her most.

Ron only slightly returned the hug, his gaze seemed lost and his mind elsewhere.

"I'm fine Hermione" was what he commented when she tried to get him to talk about how he felt "thank you for caring" he said with a distant tone.

"It's not healthy for you to keep those emotions to yourself Ron, I know if we talk about it you'll feel better" Hermione pleaded lightly, Harry only asked not to escalate this conversation as it always happened with the two of them.

"My father died, murdered in his own office, his blood clotted from the poison made his veins explode. Do you really think I want to talk about it?" some of Ron's usual fire was present in that statement, Harry hoped Hermione would leave it at that, there would be better times to help their mutual friend.

Tears were beginning to form in Hermione's eyes, Harry didn't know if it was because of the details of Mr. Weasley's last moments or because of Ron's tone "R-Ron... please, I want to help you in any way I can..."

It was at that moment that it was obvious to Harry how much it affected Hermione not to have been able to be in those stormy days of mourning at the burrow, supporting Ron at his lowest moment, she just wanted her friend to lean on her, she wanted to relieve him of a burden that she couldn't imagine the size of.

But Ron didn't seem to want to let anyone in, he just looked away from the brunette and headed for the entrance to the compartment.

"I'll go check on Ginny, I want to be alone with my family for a moment."

And without giving his friends a second glance he left. Hermione now turned her gaze to Harry, as if waiting for him to give her the answer on how to get to Ron.

If Harry knew he would have done it since Christmas.

"He just needs time Hermione, when he is ready he will look for us."

Harry hoped he could convince her, as he could not convince himself.

"It's not fair Harry, Ron... The Weasleys don't deserve this" without Ron in the same room as them it seemed Hermione didn't need to hold back tears "It's unfair"

Harry knew it, if there was one family that deserved heaven and earth it was the Weasleys, the first people he related to the phrase "perfect family."

The loud sound of the carriage doors made them both turn to greet their best friend.

But instead it was Draco Malfoy and his two bouncers, with one of the cruelest smiles either of them had ever seen.

"Please tell me it's true! That old weasel finally kicked the bucket!" it seemed as if Malfoy was still celebrating the December holidays because of the happiness he was radiating, his two henchmen were just laughing like two big toads, smart enough to know that other people's suffering was funny "Well I don't think Weasley is that affected, is he? There are still too many red-headed rats in his house and it's not like his family could be any poorer!"

Indignation and fury ran completely through Harry and Hermione, how could someone their age be so cruel in the face of someone's death?

They knew that Malfoy had previously mocked Hermione's near death in second year and lied to have an innocent creature sacrificed in third year.

But this was a new level, Malfoy didn't have a single redeeming quality.

"Hey, where's Weasel? I must be the first to congratulate him that he'll finally have enough room to stretch his feet in his pigsty!"

Before the duo could vocalize their outrage or act out of it they could make out how Ron seemed to have heard at least some of Malfoy's comments, not surprising since Malfoy seemed to want the whole train to hear his humor.

Ron looked stiff, showing his full height, looking down at everyone from above. Harry could make out the intense look he was giving Malfoy and how his hands seemed to be shaking showing how little he was controlling his anger.

Hermione seemed to want to stop Ron from doing anything that might get him in trouble but any attempt was frozen as she saw the fury reflected in Ron's red face.

"What did you say ferret?" Harry could hear the venom Ron was injecting into those few words.

Draco felt a chill run down his spine at Ron's presence, but remembering that he had his bodyguards Crabbe and Goyle at his side, plus Umbridge when they arrived at Hogwarts injected him with courage.

"Look guys it's the new orphan, stealing Potter's style eh? Just missing your fat mad..."

Malfoy was unable to continue taunting as Ron, taking advantage of his proximity to him used all the momentum he could to deliver a hard headbutt to his nose, a horrible crack followed by piles of blood flooded the train.

Malfoy, in pain, collapsed to the floor in pain, which Ron took advantage of to give him a hard kick in the stomach that made him vomit.

Crabbe, finally recovering from the shock of seeing his "boss" being hit by the blood traitor, quickly punched Ron in the jaw, the latter still with his full attention on Malfoy could do nothing to avoid the blow, which shook his brain with so much brute force applied.

Before Crabbe could continue his assault or Goyle could join him Harry and Hermione attacked each with a depulse sending both of them flying into the wall.

"Ron! Are you okay?" Hermione asked him worriedly as she saw the blood coming out of his mouth as she helped him stand up.

Ron didn't answer her, still resting his hate-laden gaze on Malfoy, who through the tears in his eyes was looking at him with a contempt that would make Snape proud.

"How dare you touch me you poor bastard! When my father finds out about this you'll be keeping your unhappy father company!"

"Tell him! Go ahead! When I see your bloody father I'll be sure to blow his bloody pretentious head off" Ron was saying possessed by rage, Hermione was making a superhuman effort to stop her friend from hitting the Slytherin again.

"Get the hell out of here Malfoy and take your nannies with you, I don't think you want to see what you ate for breakfast scattered on the floor again" Harry said pointing his wand at him.

Draco with a red face knowing that he had lost his dignity in this encounter decided to leave with his companions, but not before seeing Weasley's eyes again, they reflected an intense hatred that he had never seen in them, he had to be more cautious with him from now on.

"Ron, you shouldn't have done that" Hermione said to him with little conviction, truth be told she was about to curse Malfoy for being a cruel jerk before Ron arrived "You'll get in trouble at Hogwarts."

"I don't care Hermione! I'm sick of families like the Malfoy's thinking they can talk bad about my family, of hurting them and thinking nothing will happen to them!" Her volume and voice reflecting her darkest feelings "If Malfoy thinks he can talk about my father's death and still be intact he's wrong!"

Again Ron walked out of the train compartment he shared with his friends, Hermione could only watch him leave with tears in her eyes.

Harry could feel that his best friend had changed, the ferocity he showed against Malfoy had never been exhibited before, a shiver ran down his back when he thought what he would have done if Hermione had not stopped him from attacking.

At what point would he have stopped?

Because he would have stopped, right?

-

The welcome banquet passed without a hitch, apparently Malfoy had gotten someone to fix his broken nose before arriving at the castle.

Snape was looking at him with the same hateful face he always looked like when he addressed Harry, apparently the ferret had already gone crying to him.

Ron knew that the next potions class was going to suck.

Thanks to Merlin he didn't have to patrol the corridors that night, when his roommates finally fell asleep Ron borrowed Harry's cloak and map, he had to find strong spells in the library to add to his arsenal, if his family's enemies were so fond of dark curses they shouldn't complain if someone paid them back in kind.

Ron couldn't help but laugh a little knowing that they would do what Hermione could never do.

Make Ron go to the library of his own free will.

But well... the dark families and Voldemort would not exterminate themselves.