By lethe medusa
It had been a fairly ordinary summer morning for Ron Weasley, consisting of lying in bed for as long as humanly possible. On this particular morning he had managed to stay there several hours longer than usual due to the fact that his mother had taken Ginny off shopping early that morning and consequently hadn't been shouting at him to get himself up and dressed at some ridiculous (for holidays) hour. Ron quite intended to make the most of the situation, even though Harry had succumbed to the demand of his stomach a good half-hour earlier. He was slowly coming to reconsider his position on the matter, however - particularly as there was a rather delectable aroma drifting up from the kitchen to tickle his nose.
His body, however, had other priorities.
Sighing resignedly, he made his way to the bathroom. Another good point about lying in bed so long was that no one else wanted to use the bathroom at that time of day. Thus he was able to walk straight in, do what was necessary, and leave. At least, that was what he intended. The first two parts went as per expected. The third was where he came to an abrupt, mind-freezing halt.
There was a spider over the doorknob.
This was not a welcome discovery. Ron hated spiders. He absolutely detested them. Loathed them, in fact. They also scared the hell out of him, but he didn't really like to mention that part. The spider crouched over the doorknob was not doing anything to improve Ron's perception of the species, and he was observing it quite keenly in the hope that it would.
It was rather large, as spiders go. In fact, you could say it was bloody enormous. It was certainly the largest spider he'd ever seen outside of the Forbidden Forest. And he was trapped in the bathroom with it. The room had never seemed so small, even when all seven Weasley children had been living at home. With friends staying over.
Ron swallowed convulsively, and surreptitiously cast his eyes around for something to knock it away. The toothbrushes were too short and light to be used as anything other than last resort missiles, as were the various bottles of lotions and potions that seemed to have formed a small colony and started breeding at some point a few years back. The back scrubber was a possibility - only it was hanging from a hook on the door, putting it altogether too close to the spider itself. That left...
He snaked his hand carefully to the side, all the while keeping his eyes fixed on his opponent. He groped blindly until his hands clutched at cloth, and snatched it triumphantly to him only to discover it was a rather small washcloth. With cute little kittens on it. Dropping it in disgust, he turned away from the door long enough to grab the towel that had been beside the washcloth, and brandished it like a shield as he faced his foe once more.
The spider hadn't moved.
Carefully. He wound the end of the towel around his hand, and flicked the end at the spider. The monstrous thing abruptly reared up under the assault, and Ron jerked backwards, slamming his back into the basin behind him rather painfully.
It was several minutes before the spider gradually sank back down, lowering its front legs back onto the doorknob and Ron could move again. Ron then spent several more minutes glaring accusingly at the spider, willing it to move.
It didn't work. It did, however, pass enough time that Harry came looking for Ron.
"In here!" Ron yelled back in response to Harry's calls. "Open the door!"
"Ron?" Harry's voice asked from the other side of the door. "Is something wrong?"
"Spider! On the doorknob!" Ron informed him. "Open the bloody door for me, will you?"
There was a moment's pause before the doorknob rattled, and the spider scrambled to tighten its grip on the door - which stayed closed.
"Uh, Ron? I can't open it if it's locked."
It was probably a good thing that Ron hadn't had any breakfast at that point, and that the basin was right behind him.
"Can't you pick the lock?" he groaned.
"That's the twin's specialty, not mine. Want me to go get them? They're just - "
"No!" Fred and George would never let him live it down. "Get your wand, will you?"
"Ron," Harry's response was firm. "You're my best friend, but I do not intend to get expelled over a spider."
"You won't get expelled!"
"I'm not taking that chance!"
"You're just going to let it kill me, then?" Ron demanded furiously.
"Ron. It's a spider. An ordinary house spider. It's not an acromantula."
"How would you know? It's not as if you've seen it!"
"Describe it for me, then."
"It's big. It's hairy. It's got eight legs."
There was a brief pause before Harry answered: "It's a house spider."
"You're just saying that to try and make me feel better!"
"Is it working?"
An odd little snorting noise came from behind the closed door. Ron narrowed his eyes suspiciously.
"Yes, Ron?" Harry replied after a moment's hesitation.
"Are you laughing at me?"
"You sound like you're laughing at me."
"I promise I'm not laughing at you."
"Good. Because if you are, I'll kill you."
"Er - if I do laugh, couldn't you just pretend the spider is me?"
"Well, it would solve your problem."
Ron glared at the door, imagining Harry as a pincushion on the other side.
"Sorry." He didn't sound as sorry as Ron was going to make him be - just as soon as he managed to get out of the bathroom, that was.
"So you bloody well should be!"
Ron gritted his teeth and cast his eyes around the bathroom once more. Still nothing. Well, he could try sloshing some water at it, but he seriously doubted it would like that any better than it had the towel. Bad as it was being trapped with a huge spider, being trapped with a huge, angry spider was much, much worse.
The situation was desperate; and for a wizarding legend - not to mention his best friend - Harry was being absolutely useless.
"Look, Ron - "
"I am looking," he replied acerbically, "and I'm seeing a bloody big spider - "
"I know that, but I can't do much about it from this side of the door now, can I? I'm going to have to get the twins."
"No - don't!" They would make his life utterly miserable with the taunts; he could hear them at it already.
"It's the twins or the spider, Ron. Or you can wait until your mum gets back with Ginny."
Gah. If anything, that was even worse. He'd get teased about having to be rescued by his mum as well as for being afraid of the spider. No. Absolutely not. That left just one choice.
He was a Weasley. A Gryffindor. He could do this.
"Are you all right in there?"
He picked up another towel with his left hand, wadding it around his fist. His right hand he armed with Madam Lucy's Luscious Locks shampoo, the liquid running sluggishly down his wrist as he gripped the bottle nervously.
He charged at the spider, bottle first, wishing desperately that he was somewhere else.
It reared up, waving its hairy legs and clicking threateningly -
- and Ron found himself flat on his face on the floor of his own room.
He sat up, looking around bemusedly. Sure enough, there was a towel next to him on the floor, as well as a half-spilled shampoo bottle. He stared at it for several minutes before wiping up the mess absent-mindedly as he puzzled through the situation. Coming to the conclusion that he'd had one hell of a nightmare, he crawled back into bed and pulled the covers over his head.
He didn't pay much attention to the muffled shouts coming from downstairs until Harry burst into the room in a rather panicked state, only to stop short as Ron half-sat up.
"Ron! You're all right!"
"Well, yeah," he blinked. "I mean, I just had this horrid nightmare, but..." He frowned at Harry's expression. "What?"
"Um," said Harry. "This nightmare didn't happen to be about an acromantula in the bathroom, did it?"
Ron stared at him.
"Well, look at it this way," Harry told him cheerfully. "You know how to apparate now. And you didn't even splinch yourself trying."
Ron worked his jaw for several moments before managing to say stammer out the word "Acromantula".
"Um, yeah. Just a baby one - don't know how it got here. It was probably as scared of you as you were of it. But you were right. Sorry about that."
Ron's mind had heard enough, and shoved consciousness to one side to
allow time to come to grips with what had happened. His last thought
was that he'd throttle Harry when he woke up.
Inspiration for this fic is courtesy of the Huntsman spider that took up residence in our bathroom for a week or so. Any and all rumours that upon discovery of said spider I shrieked 'Daddy!' continuously for half an hour straight while trapped in said bathroom will be thoroughly and vehemently denied. Clear? Good.