Tell Me a Story
Summary: [One shot] A young Ron Weasley has trouble sleeping one night when he is plagued by nightmares. Not wanting to go back to sleep he asks his mother for a bed time story about the Boy-Who-Lived. (This is an experimental look at how I think Harry's story may have been told to countless children growing up).
Five year old Ron Weasley quietly made his way down the dimly lit stairs of the Burrow. He carefully avoided the steps that creaked the most so that he wouldn't wake anyone else up. The sounds of his siblings softly snoring filled the small home mocking the small boy who couldn't sleep. His pajamas, hand-me-downs from his brother Percy, were still a bit too large for him and he had to be careful not to trip as he descended the stairs.
He hastily wiped away his tears with the back of his sleeve. He was hoping to find his mother down below who always made him feel better whenever he was scared. For a couple of weeks now he had been having nightmares again and he found himself reluctant to go to sleep at night because of them.
A couple of years ago Ron had broken Fred's toy broomstick that he had gotten for Christmas. It had only been an accident, but his older brother had be so furious with him that he retaliated by changing his teddy bear into a giant spider, while Ron was holding it. He had never felt so terrified in his short life and the incident had left a mark on him. Fred and George's cruel laughter at seeing their brother so afraid had only made matters worse. Ron had been petrified by spiders ever since.
Recently, during a game of hide and seek with his sister Ginny, Ron had decided to duck into the shed out back looking for a place to hide. He soon found himself entangled in a large spider web that he couldn't seem to free himself from. Completely ignoring Ginny's call, he ran outside and jumped into the swimming hole in order to get the offending web off him. At the time he had not realized that the incident in the shed would trigger his nightmares to begin again. Although he had not actually seen a spider while he was out there, he knew that whatever had made the web had to have been quite large. He was sure that it would find its way into the house and come get him for destroying the intricate web. Ever since then his dreams were filled with herds of giant spiders trying to eat him.
Reaching the bottom of the steps he automatically began searching for his mother knowing that she tended to say up late most nights. He found her rocking in her favorite chair close to the fire in the living room. Glowing embers were slowly dying in the fireplace. A pair of knitting needles were in her hands deftly moving back and forth creating the latest Weasley jumper that she never seemed tired of making.
She sensed his sudden presence and lifted her gaze to meet her son's.
"Oh Ronnie… not again…" she sighed softly, putting down her knitting.
"Sorry Mum. I couldn't sleep…" Ron replied guiltily. "I had another nightmare."
"It's alright. Would you like some of Mummy's special tea?" she asked. Molly had learned long ago that nothing worked better at putting a child back to sleep than a mild calming draught added to decaffeinated tea.
"Yes, please…" he said eagerly.
Ron exchanged places with his mother and curled up in the rocker wrapping the old blanket that had draped her knees only moments ago about himself. Molly had disappeared into the kitchen to prepare the late night drink.
Within minutes his mother returned with a small cup of tea. Ron accepted it graciously and began to sip it. His mother's tea always tasted wonderfully delicious and it was never too hot or too cold. She used her wand to relight the fire so that the room would be warmer.
Having only drunk a half a cup Ron began to feel sleepy again within minutes. His eyelids felt heavy and he had to struggle to keep them open. He didn't want to go to sleep yet for fear that the spiders might be waiting for him in his dreams.
"Okay now… off to bed for you…" said Molly, taking the cup of tea back.
"No… please… I don't want to. Can't I just stay up with you?" Ron whined.
Molly noticed the small amount of fear in her child's eyes and knew that he was still afraid of going to sleep. Part of her was still angry with Fred for causing his little brother to be so terrified of something so harmless. "Alright, but only for a little while. I don't want you making this a habit."
Ron smiled happily knowing what would happen next. He looked forward to these quiet moments they shared alone. It was so rare that Ron ever had his mother all to himself.
Molly took him by the hand to help him stand up. She then sat back down in the rocker and allowed Ron to crawl into her lap, wrapping the worn blanket tightly around him. This would probably be one of the last years she would be able to hold her youngest son like this- he was already such a tall boy for his age.
Ron relished the warmth and relaxed comfortably against his mother's plump frame. He rested his head against her bosom as she began to rock slowly back and forth, brushing the hair off his forehead in a comforting gesture.
"Tell me a story," Ron said sleepily.
"Oh, I don't know. It's getting pretty late," Molly replied, kissing his temple lovingly.
Ron yawned sleepily. "Please… pretty please…"
"Alright," Molly conceded. She wasn't able to offer her children many luxuries in life so she spoiled them any way she could- even if was a simple bed time story told during a stolen moment late at night.
"What will it be tonight? The Little Broom that Could…. or maybe… Gwendolyn and the Three Hippogriffs?"
"Can I hear the one about the Boy-Who-Lived?" Ron asked sweetly.
"But you've already heard that story many times from your father and brothers. Besides it's not exactly a bed time story… too scary…"
"Please… I like it so much better when you tell it," Ron pleaded. His mother always allowed him to fill in the parts that he knew by heart.
"Well, let's see… A few years ago there was a mother and a father that had a little boy named Harry that they loved very much," she began, still rocking her son.
"So much that they would do anything to protect him," Ron interjected, having heard his mother's version of the story several times. "Just like how you and daddy love me."
"That's right. But unfortunately there was a very bad wizard who was trying to take over the world. It was a very scary time and everyone was afraid."
"What did the bad wizard do?" Ron asked in a whisper.
"It doesn't matter now, Ronnie. The important part is that the bad wizard is gone," she said. She would never tell him how Voldemort had tortured and killed all those innocent people. There were some things a mother never told her child.
"Did he kill people?" Ron asked, wanting to know more.
She was surprised by his question and stopped rocking momentarily. Molly sighed with regret knowing she couldn't lie to him. "Yes he did," she admitted. "But a secret society was created to stop him from doing all those horrible things."
"And you and daddy were a part of the secret sighty… and so were Harry's parents. Did you know them?" he asked, realizing for the first time that his Mum may have known the Potters.
"Yes, but not very well," Molly said sadly, rocking him once again.
Ron wanted the story to continue. "What happened to them?"
"Well, one night the evil wizard went to the Potters' home because he found out that they were trying to stop him. Their own friend betrayed them and gave away their secret location." This was the part of the story that always got to Molly the most. The fact that one of their closest friends had betrayed them was horrifying. As a result she found herself being much more guarded about who she would allow around her children.
"The bad wizard broke inside the house and the mummy and daddy died protecting baby Harry," Ron added knowing this part of the story.
"That's right. And then something miraculous happened," Molly prompted, waiting for her son to fill in the rest.
"The bad wizard tried to kill Harry Potter, but something happened and the baby survived," Ron continued for his mother.
"Yes, the evil wizard vanished without a trace and Harry was left with a scar on his forehead in the shape of a lightning bolt. He lived when he should have died and saved us all. That's why they call him the Boy-Who-Lived."
"So he's a hero?"
"Mm-hmm…." she responded, brushing the hair on his forehead.
"But he was just a baby. How did he do it?" Ron asked again as he did every time. This part of the story always confused him.
"No one knows for sure," Molly admitted.
"What was the bad wizard's name?" Ron suddenly asked, startling his mother greatly.
Molly hugged him a bit closer and firmly said, "I'll tell you when you're older, but you should never say it aloud. No one does."
"Why not?" He looked up at his mother curiously.
"Many believe that saying his name is bad luck and it may bring him back."
"Then I'll never say it. I don't want the bad wizard to come back. What should I call him?" he asked, resting his head against her chest once more.
"You-Know-Who or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."
"Oh… What happened to the baby Harry?"
That was a good question. Molly had to think back for a moment. "I believe he was sent to live with his Muggle relatives."
"Muggles? Really?" Ron asked excitedly. His father worked in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office in the Ministry of Magic and often told them stories about Muggles and their strange inventions.
"Yes, really. Now I think it's time for you go to bed," she replied, seeing that he was utterly exhausted by now.
Ron didn't want to go to bed yet even though he was really tired. He hoped that if he kept asking his mother questions she wouldn't put him to bed. "How old is Harry now?"
His mother did the math in her head realizing for the first time their closeness in age. "Well he is about your age I would say… so nearly five."
Ron yawned again loudly and snuggled closer. "Does that mean he will be in my year at Hogwarts?"
Molly nodded. "Yes. I guess he will."
"Wicked!" he said with a smile. Suddenly looking more serious he added, "Do you think he knows what happened to his mummy and daddy? Do you think he's sad?"
Molly heard a softness in his voice that she had never heard before. "I'm not sure, but any child would be sad not to know their parents."
"I'm going to be his friend," Ron said determinedly.
Molly smirked. All children aspired to someday meet the Great Harry Potter. "Really? Why's that? Because he's a celebrity?"
"No, because I don't want him to be sad. If I'm a good friend to him maybe he won't be so sad." His eyes were completely closed now as sleep began to overtake him.
"I think that's a wonderful idea," said Molly, kissing her son's head once again. She had never been so proud of her son before. "I hope you do become friends."
"Me too," said Ron through half closed eyes.
Molly stood up with her son in her arms and carried him up a few short flights of stairs to the bedroom at the top that he shared with the twins. She placed him in his bed and pulled the covers up to his chin. She left the blanket he had been wrapped in earlier on top for added warmth. She kissed him once more and bid him good night. She was about to leave to check on the others when she heard Ron stir once more.
He opened his eyes and sat up as if he had just thought of something. "Mum… do you think Harry will want to be my friend?" he asked worriedly.
"How could he not? You are a perfectly nice little boy," she said to reassure him. "I just know that you will be good friends. Now go to sleep."
Ron smiled as his eyelids began to droop he lay back down. Soon he was fast asleep, a small grin plastered on his face. He had pleasant dreams that night thinking about all the adventures he would have with Harry once they were friends. His nightmares about the spiders had been long forgotten. He couldn't wait to meet his future best mate.
A/N: Aw… wasn't that sweet! I hope you all liked this much as much as I did. I got this story line in my head last night and I couldn't rest until I published it. I'm not even sure that if it has even been done before, but I just had to write it. This little ficlet could be a side story to Shattered Illusions, but could apply to any universe and even to the canon really. Don't worry. I'm not neglecting my other stories. I just couldn't wait to write this.
A/N2: My beta corrected this story when she came back from her vacation so this is now the beta'd version.
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