He's never been the best at anything.
He's never been cool like Bill, daring like Charlie, perfect like Percy, funny like the twins, or even the youngest like Ginny.
He's just Ron.
Until he was eleven, he lived in the shadow of his older, better brothers.
And then he met Harry Potter.
Famous Harry, who didn't want his fame any more than Ron wanted obscurity. Harry, who wanted to be friends with Ron – with Ron Weasley, whose clothes were hand-me-downs and whose family was poor. Harry, who was the best mate a guy could ever ask for – except for casting shadows in which Ron continually got lost.
Harry is his best mate, but there are days, weeks, months when Ron wishes Harry was 'Ron Weasley's friend' instead of 'Harry Potter'.
Things happen to Harry – whether he wants them to or not.
Yeah, Harry's special – and everyone knew it even before Harry realised it at age eleven.
Ron's never been special.
Then there's Hermione.
How she manages to read everything before the term starts, Ron will never know. How she manages to keep on top of an insane workload without cracking, he will never know. How she manages to be the most irritating girl he'd ever known – and yet the saving grace of girls, Ron can't figure out.
She's clever and focused and driven and far more proper than she ever needs to be.
Clever Hermione, who thinks things through at least twelve times before she does anything. Hermione, who puts up with Ron – with Ron Weasley, who isn't smart and who'd never top the class in anything. Hermione, who fusses and flutters and manages to not only do her own homework but also to prod her friends into doing theirs.
Hermione is his best friend, but there are days, weeks, months when Ron wishes she'd just shut up about homework, OWLs, futures, and SPEW.
In contrast to Harry, Hermione makes things happen.
Yeah, Hermione's amazing – and everyone knew it within a month of her arrival at Hogwarts.
Ron's never been amazing.
Between these two certainties, Ron Weasley is cast. He is the uncertainty, the blind spot, the wandering generality, the ordinary boy between the boy and the girl who are anything but ordinary.
And he hates it.
He hates being too tall, with hair too red and a family too poor. He hates being the sidekick and the dummy, the third wheel, the unwanted extra.
But then one day, he and Harry will sit in a moment of stifling boredom, staring out the window of the Gryffindor common room, unable to concentrate on the essay Hermione industriously writes. They will sit and stare at the bright blue sky of a late autumn afternoon, then turn to look at each other and grin.
Ron will take off up the stairs as Hermione starts in surprise because Harry has whipped her essay out from under her quill. She will protest and complain and pull out her wand to 'accio' it back to her hand, but Harry will confiscate the wand, and tell her that they're going out for a breather and she's coming, too.
They will drag her out to the Quidditch pitch, ignoring her copious complaints and the stares of the juniors. They will haul her past an astonished McGonagall and a distasteful Snape. They will pull her into the bright, bright sun and give her the option: Harry's broom, Ron's broom, or they can carry her between them.
She will want to stay on the ground, of course, but they'll tell her that won't be an option. They've come out to go flying with Hermione Granger, and go flying with Hermione Granger they will – will she or nil she.
So she'll choose to ride behind Ron, reasoning that he's not a fancy flier like Harry. Of course, Ron will take the opportunity to swoop and dive and laugh. He'll grin with the wind in his face as they plummet thirty feet or more and she shrieks fit to burst eardrums - or maybe just make cute little squeaky sounds against his shoulder blades. And all the while, he'll enjoy the feel of her arms wrapped so tightly around his ribcage that he feels like she's cracked a rib.
He and Harry will race each other and try to outfly each other, and Hermione will call them names and demand he put her back down on the ground again – requests that he will repeatedly ignore until she no longer makes them at all.
And when they come back down to earth, and Harry slyly comments that surgery may be required to separate them, Ron won't care that she's leaped away from him as if he scalds her.
He won't care that he's flushing as bright as his hair – or that she's flushing just as radiantly through her anger-embarrassment.
He won't care that she gives him the mother of all dressing-downs for his reckless behaviour up in the air, or that Harry is smirking worse than Malfoy at his most smug.
Because Harry has all the fame, and Hermione has all the brains, but Ron has them.
He'll be 'just Ron.'
And it'll suit him fine.
- fin -